Wine Reviews

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Over two thousand wine reviews! While most of our reviews focus on great wines under $20, we also offer reviews of luxury and collectible wines. As we are located in Philadelphia, most  wines reviewed here are available via PLCB Wine & Spirits Shops in Pennsylvania. Our main reviewer is Keith Wallace, the executive director and founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia.

 

 

Bodega Goulart 2010 “The Marshall” Malbec

Posted by on 3:27 pm in South American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

This wine is a bit of Argentine history. The Bodega Goulart vineyard was originally planted by Gastao Goulart in 1915 to Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  At the time, he was a Brazilian political exile living in Argentina at the time. Soon after, he became a South American legend when he returned to  his homeland  and led it’s Constitutional Revolution in 1932.   The vineyard was  lost to time and war, but the vines somehow thrived on their own. Flash forward to 1988, and  Goulart’s granddaughter, Erika Goulart, discovered the deed...

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Poggio Scalette 2012 Chianti Classico

Posted by on 6:36 pm in Italian Wine Reviews | 0 comments

The Greve Valley is lined with terraced vineyards. Looking across the valley from this winery, those stone walls can look like a giant scallete (ladder, in Italian).  At least it did for the wineries original owner.  We will never know where he thought that ladder would take him. He disappeared a long time ago and his winery fell to ruin. Only much later, in 1991,  was Poggio Scalette  raised again, by none other than Vittorio Fiore, one of the greatest living winemakers working in Chianti. Greve is one of the great Crus of Chianti Classico....

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Rosenblum Cellars 2010 “Harris Kratka” Zinfandel

Posted by on 5:48 pm in American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

No matter it’s pedigree, Zinfandel is big, dumb and fun.  I don’t mean that in a pejorative way. There should  always be a place for fun. This is the wine for unsophicated meals. I couldn’t imagine a better wine for the smokiness of Texas pulled pork or the tang of Carolina-style brisket. Conversely, it’s the perfect wine for sophisticated parties.  It’s the wine for smart people having a good time: the type of party where Sartre quotes and dirty limericks are equally likely to emerge. The Harris Kratka vineyard...

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Evening Land 2011 Pouilly Fuisse

Posted by on 3:58 pm in French Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Way back when I was in my early twenties,  Pouilly-Fuissé was all the rage. The restaurant I was working at had  three on their wine list.  One of the greatest points of being a chef at such a young age was that I got to experience a lot of great wines early on.   Drinking good wine didn’t mean I knew anything about wine, but  I did know that Pouilly-Fuissé was the finest Chardonnay I had ever experienced by that point.   And like all guys in their 20’s, I spouted off my knowledge with the same level of aplomb as the  Phillie...

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Contino 2007 Gran Reserva Rioja

Posted by on 1:49 pm in Spanish Wine Reviews | 0 comments

A number of years ago,  I was  fortunate enough to have a one-on-one tasting with Maria Larrea, the CVNE winemaker. A wonderfully gracious woman, she took me through her entire portfolio of extraordinary wines.  My favorite CVNE wine has been the Contino every since the 1996 vintage, the very first Gran Reserva. I even featured it on my long-gone Philly.com show Philly Uncorked.  I gushed and slobbered over the wine like a half-crazed bassethound. It wasn’t until after I returned from Spain that I realized my massive faux paux. Of all...

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Saintsbury 2009 “Brown Ranch” Pinot Noir

Posted by on 2:55 pm in American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Most descriptions of Saintsbury Winery will include the word “pioneer” somewhere within the first paragraph. Go one and google it: you will get over 3.5 million pages describing how the winery is a pioneer in California. Saintsbury does have a place in our wine history books (if such a book existed)  for planting Pinot Noir in Carneros.  They helped launch the Carneros as a sub-region in Napa Valley when  Richard Ward and David Graves launched the winery in 1981. This bottle has been their flagship wine for the past decade....

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Montecillo 2008 Rioja Reserva

Posted by on 12:30 pm in Spanish Wine Reviews | 0 comments

If I could figure out a way to turn the Wine School into a religious institution (think of it: best communion ever!), Rioja would be one of our holy lands. It’s a place where the modern and classical worlds of wine collide and fold into each other like some sort of temporal abnormality. In other words, heaven on earth. Longtime readers will know that I seek out Rioja for them to enjoy. Montecillo is a rather large winery, and their wines are typically in the middle of the pack, quality-wise.  Not a ringing endorsement, but their Reserva...

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Salviano 2012 Orvieto Classico

Posted by on 11:53 am in Italian Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Orvieto used to be huge. I still am surprised when younger sommeliers and students don’t recognize the name.  In the 80’s, it was  one of those bottles that white zin lovers could relate to: innocuous, cheap and vaguely sweet. On second thought, maybe it’s good they don’t know about it’s sorted past. Well, it’s history  goes way further back  than that. The wines come from the borderland of Umbria and Lazio in Italy, and they date back to pre-Roman times. The Etruscans would harvest the grapes into amphora...

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Domaine Forca Real 2011 “Mas de la Garrigue” Côtes du Roussillon-Villages

Posted by on 4:21 pm in French Wine Reviews | 0 comments

For a  hot moment in the late 90’s, France’s  Mediterranean vineyards were trendy, in particular the Languedoc-Roussillon. The good folks at Wine Spectator and Wine  Advocate couldn’t rate the wines high enough, new wineries were popping up every day, and prices were going through the roof.  For a wine region that was principally known for jug wines previously, this was a remarkable turn around. The hype has cooled down since then. The big-ticket luxury wines have all but disappeared from the shelves in America. Despite a...

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Château de Belcier 2011 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux

Posted by on 10:39 pm in French Wine Reviews | 0 comments

I discovered the wine company  Gironde et Gascogne   at a trade tasting a few years back.  This is a boutique operation with  two chateaux on their roster, both in Bordeaux:  Château Ramage La Batisse in the Haut Medoc and Château de Belcier  in Castillion. I was impressed wit  Ramage La Batisse, which is a very nice Cru Bourgeois. I strongly considered purchasing it for Bacchus Selections, but I couldn’t get the vintage I really wanted. However, it was the Château de Belcier that tickled my fancy, though.  Sadly, it wasn’t being...

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