Ratings & Reviews
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BEST CABERNET BLEND
This is one of the best vintages of Caro, the joint venture between the Catena family of Mendoza and Lafite from Bordeaux. Half of the wine is cabernet sauvignon from Altamira, in the heights of Uco Valley, providing a firm structure, the other half is malbec from old vines in Las Campuertas, adding all the notes of violets and sour cherries that one can find in the best Luján de Cuyo malbec. The red fruit and floral notes outline the contours of a wine that seems athletic and tight rather than fat. Cellar this for five years or more; it will continue to gain in complexity. -P.T. June 2016
Extremely beautiful aromas of dried flower, currant, fresh leather and some tar. Full body with silky tannins that give a beautiful texture that leads to ripe currant, orange peel and incense. Complex and complete. 50% malbec from Argrelo and 50% cabernet sauvignon from Valle de Uco. So beautiful now but will age gracefully. -J.S May 2016
An elegant red, showing good balance, with fine-grained tannins and well-knit acidity providing structure. A smoky underpinning is layered with flavors of ripe, candied black cherry and damson plum, while fragrant grilled herb and black licorice notes echo on the finish. Merlot. –AN
The lifted and intense gooseberry characters here are very appealing. Certainly very concentrated and perfumed on the finish. This is a very serious classic example wonderful balance and finesse. All told, a generous punchy style, textbook Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with superb acidity and length. Bravo! - B.C. DWWA 2016
Pale yellow. Aromas of apple, tangerine and minerals, plus nuances of lemon verbena and gin. Juicy and penetrating, with strong acidity framing the intense lemon, mineral and minty herb flavors. Finishes crisp and persistent. This is much more concentrated and closed than the 2014 entry-level Riesling. Pierre and Jean Trimbach told me that the 2014 Réserve is not likely to be sold before the beginning of 2017, as they are still selling the 2012 vintage.- I.D.
A firm, bone-dry version, with a subtle mix of crunchy white peach, acacia blossom, Meyer lemon zest and petrol. This is tightly knit now, but the balance and focus suggest it should open with short-term cellaring. Best from 2019 through 2024. 300 cases imported.
A benchmark for Alsace Riesling, Cuvée Frédéric Emile is released only as it approaches maturity, and this 2009 is just getting there now. With kerosene aromas and tight, intensely zesty and mineral flavors, it shows the Trimbach approach—that Riesling needs to be bone dry. It's impressive now, but will be even better from 2016.-R.V.
A lifted, ethereal note of bitter almond suggests the beginnings of evolution. The palate, on the other hand, still seems closed but displays a streamlined concentrated core of flawless dryness and precise bundled freshness. This is taut, precise and sure to develop. The finish is lasting, refreshing and clean.- A.K.
The 2000 Pinot Gris Selection de Grains Nobles Hors Choix explodes from the glass with apricots, white peaches, and boisterous notes of botrytis. Medium to full-bodied, intense, and broad, this is a lush and layered wine. Copious quantities of yellow fruits are intermingled with smoke, spices, and botrytis in this huge, yet highly focused and persistent wine. -P.R.
Picked out ultra-selectively from all of their Pinot Gris vineyards, the Trimbach 2005 Pinot Gris Selection de Grains Nobles displays high-toned, botrytis-engendered aromas of honey, brown spices, peach preserves, and white truffle. Remarkably creamy and honeyed, with spice and truffle-infused peach preserves and tangerine liqueur, yet preserving (as have all of these best 2005s) a luscious core of fresh fruit, rich and viscous, let light on its feet and crystal clear. Butterscotch and toasted hazelnut, join the richly diverse choir here for a long, serene finish. Pierre Trimbach says the quality of material and course of fermentation here were so picture-perfect that he added only a very small dosage of sulfur to finish the wine. While there would be no need to defer the pleasure of this wine’s company – provided the winery agreed to release it! – it will no doubt improve for at least two decades.-D.S.
This focused SGN is tightly knit, blending threads of flavor and structure into a wine that's elegant overall. Weaves streamlined, racy acidity with layers of dried papaya, macerated peach, briny mineral and fresh alpine forest, with hints of lemon curd and wood smoke. Though rich and lightly honeyed, this leaves a fresh, mouthwatering impression, with lots of zesty spice and mineral character on the very long finish.- A.N.
Clean and fresh yet dense and rich but less heavy than the Auxerrois wines of many producers, offering honeyed and spicy flavors of white and yellow stone fruit (this is about 80 percent Auxerrois). The warm, dry 2015 vintage shows through, and in fact Jean Trimbach told me that “this reminds me of the 2009, another warm year, but this has more density.”- I.D.
The Pere Verge family, more than just being owners of Monteviejo, Château Le Gay and Château La Violette, are a family devoted to making exceptional wines of terroir, power and elegance. Following the hemispheric seasons, winemaker Marcelo Pelleritti and his team are producing world class wines both in Mendoza and Bordeaux.
The land comprises 130 hectares at between 1000 and 1200 meters above sea-level in Vista Flores, Tunuyan, 120km south of Mendoza city. The land’s slopes face the North and East giving them better sun exposure in the Southern Hemisphere. Ideal for high altitude grape growing.
Monteviejo counts on a gravitational system with a double selection table for bunches and grapes. The objective is to transport the raw material without using pumps, taking care not to damage it in any part of the process.
From the harvest to the bottling—passing down through barrels for ageing—the wine moves along the natural gradient. It is only the weight of the grapes that is used to move them from above to below.
Like most Monteviejo Malbecs, this is full and extracted, with an opaque purple tint. Ripe aromas of blackberry, prune and spice cake are generous. The palate is surprisingly alive in acidity and grabby in feel. Dark toasty black-fruit flavors are plenty oaky, while coffee, mocha and chocolate flavors share space on the tannic finish. - M.S.
It is a remarkable, restrained wine, with subtle and elegant aromas of tobacco, cedar wood and blackberry, with some fresh red fruit notes. The polished palate is sleek and elegant; the wood is perfectly integrated in the wine, which has both balance and power, and a refined acidity that lifts it up. It has more complexity than the straight Malbec and some edgy tannins. A wine that speaks Spanish with a French accent. - L.G.
A rich, powerful Amarone, with a seamless knit and fine balance imparting grace. Flavors of baked currant and cherry glide over the dense tannins and tarry minerality, riding the silky palate alongside dried mint and eucalyptus, spice box and fig cake notes. Drink now through 2034. -A.N. January 2016
A big-time sleeper of the vintage, this inky purple wine has a beautiful nose of creme de cassis, incense and acacia flowers. Some subtle barbecue smoke is also present in this full-bodied wine, which is the best of all the Jean Guyon estates in 2009. For the statisticians out there, it is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot. Drink it over the next decade.- R.P.
Another offering from proprietor Jean Guyon, the 2009 Haut-Condissas possesses terrific concentration, perfect balance, and lots of black currant and blueberry fruit intermixed with forest floor, incense, and cedarwood. Viscous, rich, full-bodied flavors with abundant glycerin as well as fine elegance and purity reflect a top-notch effort. This impressive sleeper of the vintage can be enjoyed over the next 10-15 years. (Tasted once.) - R.P.
A tangy, red-fruited merlot (70 percent of the blend), this shows its cabernet elements in herbal tannins, lending the wine a tight Bordelais structure even as the red plum flavors feel gentle and willowy within it. Just ripe enough to still feel restrained, it’s ready for a salad of duck confit.
Tasted at the Cru Bourgeois tasting in London. The Greysac 2011 has a very pleasant bouquet with scents of boysenberry jam, raspberry, cedar and tobacco that is cohesive and more intense than its Medoc counterparts. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, well-integrated oak and a focused, linear, very precise finish. This is one of the best Cru Bourgeois you can buy. - N.M
This Malbec-led blend contains 20% Syrah, but it's the Malbec that drives it. Crisp, toasty aromas of graphite, lemony oak and blackberry are tight and not at all lazy. A massive palate is choppy, with rugged tannins. Baked black-fruit flavors of cassis, mocha, tobacco and chocolate end long and loamy, with unbroken concentration. Drink through 2025.-M.S.
Shows great energy, with brambly tannins and warm tar notes driving the core of steeped plum, blackberry and boysenberry fruit along. Thefi nish is lined with details of ganache and dark licorice. Approachable now, but features ample stuffing. - J.M. November 2015
This is the top wine of Los Vascos with currant, wet earth, and dried mushroom. Medium to full body, very fine and silky tannins and a pretty, chewy finish. It shows austerity with finesse and seriousness. Beautiful now...A blend of 90% cabernet sauvignon, 5% syrah and 5% cabernet franc. Decant now to drink. - J.S. May 2016
A lovely, yeasty savor clings to more characteristic pear notes on the nose of this wine. The palate repeats this interplay, with flashes of watercress-like green herb and fresh pear skin flavors. It's refreshing, savory and dry, with a light and spritzy body.-A.K.
Bright medium yellow. Knockout pure aromas of grapefruit, lemon oil, orange blossom, cinnamon and lichee are complicated by enticing notes of lemony, smoky botrytis. Wonderfully dense and vibrant in the mouth, offering strong flavors of ripe grapefruit, canned peach, marzipan and white flowers. Highly complex, chewy wine with a very pure, long finish featuring orange marmalade and lemon oil nuances. Made from a single parcel of roughly 50-year-old vines on the Mulforst, a site characterized by fairly rich, heavy Keuper marl soil.- I.D.
The intensely citrus-colored 2014 Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives opens with an intense, clear and concentrated nose of rose petals, spices and lemon confit. Concentrated, very piquant and stimulating, this is a sweet, dense and concentrated, but piquant, Gewurz with a gorgeous tannin grip. Picked at 18.6% potential alcohol and bottled with roughly 13% alcohol, plus 72 grams of residual sugar, the 2015 is only in 375 ml bottles.-S.R.
The 2007 Gewurztraminer Selection de Grains Nobles Hors Choix represents a cuvee designation that the Trimbachs also utilized in 1989 and 2000 for wine of near Esszencia-like richness. Essence of rose petal along with mirabelle preserves, mint candy, and brown spices on the nose are joined on a thickly-rich palate by honey, chocolate, and white raisin. Yet for all of its richness and gaudy, candied set of flavors, this preserves a juicy sense of leavening and refreshment in a finish of extraordinary persistence, its sweetness not in the least cloying. This should be a 50 year wine.-D.S.
Bright gold. Deep, perfumed aromas of tropical fruits and cinnamon. Dense, suave and deep, with obvious sweetness to the floral and tropical fruit flavors but lovely overall balance. Finishes smooth and long, with lingering floral nuances. Unlike Trimbach's rieslings and pinot gris, where there wasn't a radical difference between the various levels of wine in the 2011 line-up, this gewurztraminer is noticeably better and more interesting than this producer's other two versions.
The 2011 Gewurztraminer Cuvée des Seigneurs Ribeaupierre is deep and smoky on the nose, rich, concentrated, ripe and exciting, with lots of citrus flavors. Full-bodied, rich, intense and tension-filled on the palate, this is a complex and mineral Gewurz that is a fresh, precise, salty, fresh and lovely tannic wine with a long and complex finish. A great Gewurz, indeed.-S.R.
The aromas are rather shy on the nose—there is just a mere floral whiff. The palate is dry and lets us see subtle varietal aromas: golden peach, a touch of honeysuckle spice, a hint of jasmine, aromatic orange zest. This is a restrained, streamlined and elegant varietal expression. -A.K.
The 2016 Festivo Torrontés is produced with grapes from parral vineyards in the Valle de Famatina in the province of La Rioja, and fermented there, because otherwise you cannot mention the origin on the label. It fermented in stainless steel tanks and was bottled unoaked. It has a perfumed nose with notes of white flowers with a spicy twist à la Gewurztraminer. The palate is light with pungent flavors and a soft texture, with moderate acidity, even though it didn't go through malolactic fermentation. 52,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in August 2016.-L.G.
The unoaked 2016 Festivo Malbec is produced with grapes from Vista Flores in the Valle de Uco, fermented in stainless steel. It has a fruit-driven nose, very clean, perfumed with some spicy notes and good, perfectly ripe fruit. The palate is very approachable, balanced and fresh. It feels like a more expensive wine, meaning the price is superb. 186,500 bottles produced.-L.G.
Rather ripe, with alluring warmed raspberry coulis, plum sauce and blackberry paste avors, threaded with a licorice snap note and backed by warm ganache and Turkish coffee accents. Not shy in style, but has the freshness to stay balanced. - J.M. July 2015
Tart red currant, rhubarb and strawberry come together in a very refreshing, rounded and appetizing fashion. The frothy, foaming mousse is exuberant and highlights these strawberry shortcake flavors brilliantly, while a totally dry palate makes sure that this stays classy. This is very satisfying, fun and fruit-driven, with a serious core and a bright, lemony finish. - A.K. December 2015
The top white of the estate, and coming from the Clos de Beauvenir lieu-dit, which lies just to the south of the estate, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Clos de Beauvenir is the best vintage of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Comprised of 58% Roussanne, 32% Clairette, 8% Grenache Blanc and a splash of Bourboulenc, fermented and aged almost all in barrel (one-third new), it sports drop-dead gorgeous aromas of melon, buttered citrus, white owers, almond paste and hints of honey to go with a full-bodied, incredibly fresh and focused profile on the palate. While this cuvee always delivers uncommon richness, it’s the purity and focus here that sets it above other vintages. Again, it will age (although typically, I think of the traditional cuvee as being more age-worthy), yet I’d still pair it up with a classy meal over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2018. - J.D. October 2013
This shows incredible freshness and power, with dried pineapples, mangoes and papayas. Full body, medium-sweet with electrifying acidity. Vibrates your palate. - J.S. 2/14
The 2006 Lafleur, which I had not tasted from bottle prior to this visit, merits 95 points. One of the vintate’s most brilliant wines, this blend of 61% Merlot and 39% Cabernet Franc is neither as dense nor complete as the 2008, but it is structured, closed, and austere (as are many 2006s at present). It reveals a plum/purple color along with a beautifully sweet nose of black and red fruits intermixed with incense as well as a steely/iron-like smell. More open on the palate than the 2008, with more obvious spice and earthy undertones, this powerful Lafleur should be drinkable in 5-7 years, and will last for three decades. -R.P. April 2015
The wine shoes the power typical of a Lafite but within the context of the fruity 2011 vintage. The immensely dense tannic structure gives the wine a solid feel that is lifted by so much ripe black currant and berry fruits. At the back, the wine has a more brooding, dark character that suggests great aging potential. Drink this wine from 2019. -R.V. May 2014
Lots of mineral, black chocolate and crushed raspberry character. Full-bodied, yet tight and reserved with pretty mineral, chalk, and light salty character that turns to spices and blackberries. Better in 2019 but already gorgeous. Always like this. -J.S. February 2015
Duhart-Milon continues to get better and more sophisticated. This 2011 vintage shows that trend well with its elegant spice, black currant fruits and firm tannins. The fruitiness is well focused, with typical Cabernet acidity bringing out the fresher side of the wine. Drink from 2017.
-R.V. May, 2014
Firm and closed this is a dark and tannic wine,although black currant flavors are also very present. It feels austere with a mineral texture and concentrated final acidity. Drink Lafite’s second wine from 2017. -R.V. May 2014
Bright yellow-gold. Fine Chardonnay maturing well. Excellent harmony & vinosity.
Persuasive mousse and very attractive aromatics of summer flowers, honeydew melon and Mirabelle plum. The palate has definition, concentration and amazing, intense fruit character. It somehow draws from the red fruit end of the spectrum despite its white grape provenance. Impressive, if a little oaky. A touch ashy with old lemon peel on the nose. But the palate of vellum and assertive citric fruit has a lovely light weight and subtlety to it. It speaks on its feet, imploring attention, and grows on me.
Selected from vines that are more than 50 years old, this wine ages in Burgundy barrels, where it has picked up some oak tannins to fill out its structure. Powerful and compressed into a dark, peppery mouthful of umami flavor, with the meatiness of beef, it’s built to cellar. Then serve with a steak smothered in mushrooms-W.S.
Bright violet. Intense, mineral-laced red berry liqueur and cherry scents are complicated by hints of peppery spices, licorice and violet. Vibrant and focused on the palate, offering juicy black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that gain sweetness and depth on the back half. Shows very good focus and lift on a long, sappy finish that features subtle tannins and resonating spiciness.-J.R.
Vivid red. Spicy and energetic on the nose, displaying aromas of fresh red berries and peppery spices. Juicy and sharply focused, offering refreshingly bitter red currant and pomegranate flavors and a sweeter raspberry nuance on the back half. Clean, racy and precise, with firm closing cut and dusty tannins adding grip to the persistent finish. This wine is a textbook example of this vintage. – J.R.
If you could squeeze juice from one of the galets that pave the 225 acres of vines surrounding La Nerthe, it might taste like this: dense and salty, with hints of the grasses and wild owers that pop up here and there. It’s not about fruit, though the sunny characters of the acidity brings lemon to mind; it is, however, pretty and firm, a wine that could age, or take on monkfish in brown butter right now. - T.T. February 2016
Bright pink. Spice-accented red berries, orange pith and candied rose on the fragrant nose; a mineral nuance adds vivacity and lift. Sharply focused and appealingly sweet, offering juicy raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of blood orange. Fleshes out with air and finishes smooth and broad, with the mineral and floral notes repeating strongly. This ample pink wine is better suited to service at the table than as an aperitif.” – J.R.
Resin, fragrant blue flower, baked plum and cake spice are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this densely concentrated wine. The syrupy palate offers blackberry jam, mature raspberry, pipe tobacco, mint and cinnamon while velvety tannins provide the enveloping framework. It closes on a chocolate note. -K.O. Best of Year 12/31/16