Wine Reviews: Worldwide Roundup

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-21-2016

We receive a lot of samples from all over the world, but sometimes there aren’t enough to fit into a single tasting or under the same umbrella. In the past, I’ve called these catch-all reports “Odds & Ends” but these wines aren’t odd, and they’re not at the end of any list I would compose.

So, without further explanation, here are a slew of reviews of wines from all over world, made in all different styles.

These were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Sparkling Wines

Review: N.V. Ferrari Rosé – Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Trentino, Trento
SRP: $36
Pale copper color. Smells of floral perfume, white cherries, strawberries, salted biscuits and freshly sliced rhubarb. Bright, almost bracing, acidity, this is a tart and crunchy sparkler with flavors of grapefruit and lemon. I get some salt, minerals and biscuit notes that add some complexity. Chill the shellfish, pop this wine, and enjoy. Aged two years on the lees, disgorged 2015. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Lieb Family Cellars Blanc de Blancs – New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $30
Pale lemon color. Smells of biscuits and chalk on top of lime, pears and nectarines, and I get some breezy, oceanic and floral notes. Bright acidity on the palate with smooth texture and very fine, tingly bubbles. Oranges, limes and green pears, the crisp fruit is matched with biscuits, honey and sea salt. This is a lot of fun, not the deepest or most complex sparkling wine, but it’s put together well. I crave Long Island seafood. 100% Pinot Blanc matured for four years before release. (87 points IJB)

White Wines

Review: 2015 Rutini Torrontés Trumpeter–  Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $11
Light gold color. So peachy and floral on the nose, like tropical salad, perfume and honey. Juicy, creamy texture on the palate with moderate acidity. A rich floral sense, like tropical yellow flowers topped with honey and white tea and. pineapple, mango and lime. Vibrant but rich wine, tasty, clean, well-made. For $11? Yeah, if you want to explore Torrontés, spend very little money, and you love tropical fruit salad — go purchase this wine right now. (86 points IJB)

Review: 2014 Lieb Family Cellars Pinot Blanc Reserve – New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $22
Pale lemon color. Bright and refreshing aromas of lemons and limes, sliced green apple, peach nectar, some floral perfume and sugar cane. Crisp, clean and zesty on the palate, this is a light-bodied and nervy wine but it’s packed with flavor: limes, green apple, summer peach, accented with sea salt, crushed chalk, sugar cane and white flowers. Pretty, elegant, lip-smacking, begs for oysters and summer. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2014 Willamette Valley Vineyards Chardonnay Estate Vineyard – Oregon, Willamette Valley
Vibrant gold color. Smells of lemon curd, tangerine, drizzled with limes, and some bright white and yellow floral elements. Fresh and vibrant on the palate with moderate creaminess and a sense of refreshing acidity throughout. Lemon curd, orange peel, some juicy pears, the fruit is dusted with chalk and flowers. The oak-influenced flavors of nutshell, nougat and cinnamon are understated and nuanced, allowing the purity of the underlying fruit to shine through. Complex yet so easy to drink. This spends 10 months in 30% new French oak. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2014 Stinson Vineyards Chardonnay – Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $24
Light gold color. Clean and fresh aromas of yellow and green apples, white peaches and apricot along with some yellow flowers, nougat and hazelnut. Medium-bodied, a fresh and zesty appeal on the palate from the acidity. The white peach, apricot and glazed yellow apple fruit is ripe but vibrant, and backed up by flavors of honeycomb, yellow flowers, and a balanced blend of nougat and hazelnut. A middle-of-the-spectrum kind of Chardonnay, with plenty of ripeness and richer elements but a fresh and crunchy core. Fermented and aged in French oak (15% new), which seems to be just the right amount. (88 points IJB)


Review: 2014 Galil Mountain Winery Rose Kosher – Israel, Galilee
SRP: $12
Bright watermelon colored. Smells of strawberry jam, fresh watermelon and juicy red apples, and a note that reminds me of lemon zinger tea. Medium-bodied with a slightly chewy texture, but moderate acidity keeps it fresh. Flavors of red berry fruit and jams mix with a floral tea and honey element, a dash of pepper in there, too. A bit of a fatter pink wine in style, but well done and very tasty. A blend of Sangiovese, Pinot Noir and Grenache. It’s a 2014, so it’s a full year later, but this is holding up well. Drink now. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2015 Lieb Family Cellars Bridge Lane – New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $18
Very pale copper color. A bit under-ripe on the nose perhaps, it smells like nettle, the white tops of wild cherries, rose hips. Crisp and clean on the palate, this lighter-bodied wine shows a very slight creaminess to the texture. Wild strawberries mix with tart red apple peel, and I get some secondary notes of cut grass, nettle and white pepper. Simple, dry, crisp, fun stuff. Mostly Cabernet Franc with 22% Merlot, 10% Pinot Blanc and 5% Pinot Noir. (85 points IJB)

Review: 2015 Willamette Valley Vineyards Rosé – Oregon, Willamette Valley
SRP: $24
Gorgeous strawberry candy colored. Very pretty and lively on the nose, with juicy strawberries, white cherries, orange blossoms, baby’s breath, rose petals – so fresh, fruity and floral. Crisp and vibrant on the palate, this is a medium-bodied wine with fresh acidity. I get strawberry, crunchy raspberries and red apple peel flavors, Lots of fresh roses, nettles, chalk and spiced tea. Very pretty and elegant but full of flavor. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2015 Stinson Vineyards Mourvedre Rosé – Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $20
Bright pink/salmon color. On the nose, I get dandelions, nettle and clover on top of white cherries, raspberries and red apple peel. On the palate, this is a punchy and tart pink with a bright and crunchy personality. White cherries, ruby red grapefruit and red apple peel fruit is accented by white pepper, nettle, rose petals and lemongrass. Crisp, salty finish. So versatile and food-friendly, this is yet another iteration of a really solid Virginia rosé. (87 points IJB)


Review: 2013 Trivento Malbec Golden Reserve – Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo
SRP: $20
Deep purple color. Smells of dark plums, blackberries, the fruit is rich but tart with coffee and vanilla. Full-bodied, solid tannic grip, medium acidity, combining for a chewy texture. Dark and saucy fruit (rich blackberry, blueberry jam, plum skins), and I also get notes of dark roast coffee, scorched earth, iron and graphite. Jammy but well-structured, I’d actually like to see what a few years in the cellar does to this wine. All Malbec aged 12 months in French oak and a year in bottle before release. (87 points IJB)

achavalferrerReview: 2013 Achával-Ferrer Malbec Finca Altamira – Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, La Consulta
SRP: $140
Vibrant purple color. Gorgeous aromatics of black cherry, plum cake, roasted figs, mocha, violets, scorched earth, cinnamon, graphite and minerals. Full-bodied but the texture and balance is amazing – fine but firm tannins, refreshing acidity, it all combines for a mouth-filling but seamless wine. Flavors of black cherry, boysenberry, roasted figs and plum sauce, the fruit is pure and vibrant and complex. Loads of non-fruit complexities: cedar, violets, roses, potting soil, tobacco, eucalyptus, tobacco, sweet herbs and pencil shavings. Long, vibrant, complex finish. Wow, this is beautiful now, especially with a long decant, but will do wonders over the next 5-10 years. This Achaval Ferrer Finca Altamira is my pick for the greatest Malbec from Argentina. One of three single-vineyard bottlings from this phenomenal producer, this comes from 80 year old ungrafted Malbec vines grown at about 3,500 feet. Aged 15 months in new French oak. (95 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Yangarra Estate Grenache Old Vine – Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale
SRP: $32
Gorgeous summer cherry color. Smells of bright red and black cherries, strawberry jam, crunchy plums, all of it topped in a significant amount of pepper, anise and bacon fat. A full-bodied (14.5% alcohol) but juicy wine with fleshy medium tannins and surprisingly fresh acidity, this actually stays alive and fresh. Lots of cherry, strawberry and some blackberry fruit, which is ripe but also tart and crunchy. I love the clove, pepper and meaty notes here, with just a bit of coffee, cola and cedar. A very well-balanced, fresh and food-friendly Grenache for those who like some vibrancy in their Australian Grenache. From a biodynamically farmed vineyard first planted in 1946. Aged 9 months in older French oak. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Marqués de Casa Concha – Chile, Maipo Valley
SRP: $26
Bold purple color. Nice mix of tart blackberries and jammy currants, along with wet soil, tobacco and bell pepper elements. Full-bodied, structured but smooth tannins, and medium acidity, it all combines for a silky but mouth-filling texture. Blackberry and black currant, ripe but a bit crunchy as well, which I like. Notes of earth, charcoal and pipe tobacco, it’s toasty but not too much. Finishes smooth yet rich. For years this has been a solid value, and Concha y Toro is continuing that history. Includes some Cab Franc, Merlot and Syrah. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2014 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages Latour
SRP: $30
Deep violet color. A lot going on aromatically: smoke, earth, savory herbs, leaves, mossy rocks, mushrooms – sort of like you were camping in the mountains, got up from the fire, took a walk, fell down an embankment and got a bit of everything in your nose on the way down. But in a good way. Also, some rich blackberries, currants and plums. A bold presence on the palate with structured tannins, medium acidity, a velvety but refined mouthfeel. Flavors of juicy plums, currants and blackberries, the fruit is totally packed with all sorts of cool stuff: mushroom, pepper, coffee grounds, sweet clove, black olive. There’s a deep, underlying sense of rocky, stony minerality that pervades the wine and lingers onto the finish. A young wine, but after a half hour it really starts to pop, although three to five years in the cellar will allow this to unravel into something even prettier. Now I want venison steak. Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. Bila-Haut wines are all solid bargains, but this top-of-the-line bottling is a very good wine for the price. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2014 Lieb Family Cellars Cabernet Franc Reserve – New York, Long Island, North Fork
SRP: $30
Juicy ruby color. I love these aromas: vibrant currants, cherries, lots of ripe fruit but it smells nuanced and tart, and notes of pepper, spiced coffee and cigar smoke. Impressive tannic structure on the palate, but they’re manageable, bright acid keeps it fresh and juicy. Tart red currants, cherries, a slightly darker fruit element. Lovely earthy/herbal/spicy complexity. Although this is a lighter-bodied wine (12.8% alcohol), it will have a lot to unpack as it ages. I’d love to taste again in four years or so. A wine to pour for that Loire Valley-loving friend who has spoken in ignorance about Long Island Cabernet Franc being sub-par. It’ll shut them up real nice. Includes 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, aged 10 months in Hungarian oak. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2014 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard – Oregon, Willamette Valley
Light ruby color. Gorgeous aromas of sour cherries, juicy strawberries, bright raspberries, along with some clove and rose petals. Medium-bodied with tannins like fine dust, the acidity is crunchy and tart, and it all lines up so well with the juicy raspberry, strawberry and wild cherry fruit. I get notes of loam, fallen leaves, rose hip tea and some clove. Lovely, fresh, bright and quite long. Drinking wonderfully right out of the bottle but I’d love to see what complexities evolve over the next three years. (91 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Stinson Vineyards Meritage – Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $32
Deep ruby color. Fresh red currant, ripe but tart cherries, I also get scents of some tobacco, black pepper, fresh roses, sweet red pepper — lovely aromas. Fresh acidity frames this wine from start to finish. The tannins provide some structure but they’re quite smooth and very approachable. The fruit is so bright and vibrant (cherries, currant, some strawberry), lots of roses, rhubarb, pepper, tobacco and soy notes. Complex but fresh and downright fun to drink. 33% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot, 17% Cabernet Franc aged 18 months in 30% new French Oak. (89 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Long Shadows Wineries Merlot Pedestal – Washington, Columbia Valley
SRP: $60
Juicy purple color. Smells dark and concentrated, with plums, violets and dark chocolate shavings. Big and full on the palate with structured but chewy tannins, some moderate acidity helps tame the huge structure. The plum sauce, currant paste and black cherry fruit is jammy but velvety, and topped with some violets and earthy flavors. This wine is jam packed with vanilla, charred oak and toasted nuts. It’s heavy for my palate, but it’s still a very nice wine, perhaps one that could use a few years in the cellar. High-alcohol, oak-lovers, check out this wine, which was made with the consultation of Michel Rolland. Includes 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc, aged almost two years in mostly new oak. (88 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Long Shadows Wineries Pirouette – Washington, Columbia Valley
SRP: $60
Dark purple color. Smells of deep plums and rich blackberries topped in smoke, violets, cedar and loamy soil. Velvety but chewy on the palate, structured tannins for sure but there’s a beam of pure acidity that holds the wine together nicely. Dense flavors of blackberry, blueberry, such smooth fruit, which is coated in tar, loam, pencil shavings and sweet pipe tobacco. This is a cellar-worthy wine, but a very pretty one. A blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. (90 points IJB)

Review: 2013 Buried Cane Heartwood Red – Washington, Columbia Valley
SRP: $25
Light purple color. Boisterously aromatic with juicy strawberries, cherries and some blueberry thrown in for good measure. I pick up rose petals, charcoal, black pepper and some sweet red hot candies. A full but very juicy wine with very smooth tannins and some moderate acid. Sweet strawberries mix with jammy black cherries, and the fruit is doused in smoky, meaty, peppery notes, along with some cola and roasted coffee. A bit of heat, but this is a fun, crowd-pleasing wine that brings a good amount of complexity and length with it. A wide-ranging blend of 37% Syrah, 24% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre, 13% Cinsault, 5% Counoise, and 2% Viognier. (87 points IJB)

Fortified Wines

Review: 2011 Hawk and Horse Vineyards Latigo Lake County – California, North Coast, Lake County
SRP: $45
This dessert wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon is a vibrant purple color. Smells of saucy currants, roasted figs, dark chocolate and violets. Full but smooth, a bit of heat from the 19% alcohol. Flavors of plum cake, currant sauce, topped with dark chocolate, espresso and caramel. Very tasty stuff with a long, warm finish. (87 points IJB)

Review: 2011 Dow Porto Late Bottled Vintage – Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Smells of red and black licorice along with plum sauce, lava cake, sweet caramel. Fully and chewy but smooth with easy-drinking tannins, some freshness from the acidity. I get flavors of plums, blackberry pie, blueberry cobbler, along with vanilla, cola, sweet coffee and roasted nuts. Delicious stuff, quite forward but stays vibrant. (88 points IJB)

<85 points

2014 Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc – New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $16
A classic New Zealand Sauv Blanc aromatic mix of onion grass and white pepper along with guava and grapefruit. Medium-bodied on the palate with crisp and tingly acid. I get lemongrass, green onion and sliced jalapeno on top of the juicy ruby red grapefruit and lemon flavors. Fun, a bit simple and typical, but solid.

2014 Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon – Washington, Columbia Valley
SRP: $16
Smells sweet and jammy, like currant and blackberry jams with some cola, sweet cedar and coffee. Medium-bodied, soft tannins, medium-low acidity. The fruit is jammy, sweet and candied. It tastes good, but it tastes kind of gimmicky. I do get some fun cola, spiced coffee and sweet earth flavors. A bit short on the backend. Includes 16% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot.

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