Wine Reviews

All Things Corked & Forked

 

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 wine & spirits shops in Pennsylvania. Our main reviewer is Keith Wallace, the executive director and founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia.  Want to locate a specific wine? Use our PLCB Wine Finder.

Castello di Gabbiano 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva

The  Gabbiano Castle has been a focal point in Tuscany since the 12th century. Being between the rival towns of Sienna and Florence, it was more often about war, not wine. Here's a section from a 19th-century account of medieval warcraft: Fulminato da dieci cannoni,...

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Hope after Tragedy: The Origin of the Wine School

In this week's episode of Philly Who? I sat down for a deeply personal interview with Kevin Chemidlin, the podcast's host. This is unlike any other interview I've done in the past 20 years of running the wine school. It goes deep into my past, including the tragedies...

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October 2018 Newsletter

Suggested Classes A few upcoming classes at the school that you should consider attending. First Growths of the East Coast Thursday, November 15th at 7:30 pm There are hundreds of wineries scattered from Virginia to Maine. Over the last few years, a quiet revolution...

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Wine Review Search

You can search our database of wine reviews for free. From Bordeaux to Virginia: there are over twenty thousand wine reviews dating back over twenty years. If you want access to the newest reviews, please register for our newsletter, the Wine Report. It’s a great free resource to find the top-rated wines currently available. 

Our focus is on wines available in Pennsylvania. We feature wines in the Chairman’s Selection program and other discounted wines available in the PLCB Wine & Spirits Stores. You can also check out our reviews of Philly’s Top Wine Shops

 

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Wine reviews and news from Keith Wallace and the Wine School of Philadelphia. 

Wine Reviews and Features from the Wine School

Brotte 2015 “Esprit Barville” Cotes du Rhone Blanc

If you happen to be in the village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, you'll probably end up at the Musée du Vin. It's attached to Maison Brotte, one of the oldest wineries in France's Southern Rhone.  While your there, you'll notice a selection of black twisted bottles of wine....

Hillersden 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough

  Located in Upper Wairau Valley, a remote corner in one of the most remote wine regions in the world, Hillersden is an interesting winery that is as much about Kiwi ingenuity as it is of wine. The wine is an exceptional Sauvignon Blanc.  Nose of guava and pineapple...

July 2018 Newsletter

  Hope you are having a good summer. It's been really great here at the school, and we have a lot of interesting classes coming up. The Great Ciders of the World  class is going to be really interesting. The Mixology class is going to be really amazing. We did a...

Moniker 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendocino County

This is the last vintage of this wine, so I'd recommend picking up a few bottles.  A rock-solid cabernet that has the big oak and extraction one would expect for a luxury wine, but it snuck into the PLCB Wine & Spirits stores for half of that. There's a reason for...

May 2018 Newsletter

  I hope you are doing well.  I am a bit late with the newsletter this month. Sorry!  We've been a little busy renovating the school.  I hope you can forgive me. I've enclosed my top wine suggestions, and I've posted a few really cool classes. I think you'll like...

A Wrinkle in Wine: The Former Chairman Returns. Sort of.

    File under: down the rabbit hole we go. Jonathan Newman, the former Chairman of the PLCB is selling wine to Tim Holden, the current PLCB Chairman for the Chairman's Selections Program that Mr. Newman created when he was Chairman. Huh? It's been over a decade since...

The Chook 2015 Shiraz Viognier, McLaren Vale

Like much of Australian lingo, Chook has a forboding silliness to it.  WTF is a Chook? Is it an insult? A term of affection? I went looking for clues. In Shakespeare's England, it was a term of endearment, first recorded in Love's Labor Lost. A wine of endearment is...

Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Fume Blanc, Oakville

This is a landmark bottle of Napa wines. One of those historic wines that fly under the radar these days. Let's let the old guard take up the description of this wine: 1968 Mondavi's Fume Blanc is made entirely from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety, the same that is...

Simi 2014 Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

A barrel fermented, barrel aged, full buttery bomb MLF of a Chardonnay. Largely sourced from the  Goldfields Vineyard in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, this bottle offers exactly what you'd expect from a luxury-level Cali wine. This is one of the last vintages made...

Hecht & Bannier 2016 Rosé, Côtes de Provence

  Hecht & Bannier are a négociant winery based in the southern French town of Aix-en-Provence. Since 2002, they've released a number of very good red wines. However, it's their rosé program that is getting noticed and for very good reasons.  They produce three...

Tenuta di Burchino 2010 Il Burchino Toscana

  Tenuta di Burchino is located in northern Tuscany, in the hills outside Pisa.  I've has some great wines from this producer, in particular, their Genius Loic IGT from their "Le Corti" vineyard. They've also produced some good Chianti Superiore as well. The Il...

Reserve Mont Redon 2016 Cotes du Rhone Rosé

Mont Redon is one of those Chateauneuf du Pape wineries that totally messes with my life. They bottle wines like Zeus throws lightning bolts. bolts. A place that throws out muscle-bound luxury wines like Dwayne Johnson with a Harvard degree in Veni, Vidi, Verberavi....

Vine Cliff Winery 2014 Chardonnay Los Carneros

In most classes at the wine school, I behave myself. I don't let my deep love of Cali Chardonnay get in the way of a great wine class. Back when I was making wine in the late 90's, it wasn't outlandish a passion. Chardonnay doesn't show itself in the vineyard. If you...

Bodegas Montecillo 2009 Rioja Gran Reserva

  On occasion, I sit next to a normavin at a conference.  After a few minutes of awkward conversation they invariably ask me one question: "What is your favorite wine?" I don't have an answer to that question. I just mumble something about footwear and wander off.  I...

Cafaggio 2013 Chianti Classico

  When I was the national wine buyer for Bacchus Wines, one of my first additions to the portfolio was Villa Cafaggio. They've been producing excellent Chianti Classico since the 1960's.  For a while there, you couldn't take a wine 101 class without me pouring you...

Chateau Los Boldos 2015 Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This is such an exceptional value that I want to jamb a $10 bill into the empty bottle and mail it back to the winery in Cachapoal Valley, Chile. We did a bit of a psychology experiment with this bottle. When sommeliers knew the price of this wine  ($10) before...

Poggio Stella 2011 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva

  Labels like this confuse most wine consumers. Let's break it down. Vino Nobile = another term for the grape Sangiovese. The same grape that's in Chianti Montepulciano = a town in southern Tuscany near another famous wine town, Montalcino. Riserva = In Italy, this...

Food and Wine Books 2018

The Complete Sous Vide Cookbook Back in the Iron Age, I worked my way up into an executive chef position. I'm not talking prehistory (that would be a feat) but when all food was cooked using the raw power of hot iron grills under massive exhaust hoods. I...

Concha y Toro 2015 “Marques de Casa Concha” Carmenere

  This brand is one of the oldest and most consistently high-quality coming out of Chile. The label debuted in 1976, and its name set the bar very high. Marques de Casa Concha was the title conferred upon the Concha y Toro family by King Felipe V of Spain. Those first...

Wine School Newsletter for March 2018

MARCH NEWSLETTER ANNOUNCING OUR NEW SOMMELIER CERTIFICATIONS You can now earn a specialized sommelier certification in a single month. This Spring, the National Wine School is unveiling a bold new qualification for the wine trade: the Single Semester Sommelier Program...

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