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Vintage Name Variety Publication Reviewer Score More...
White

2008 Amayna (Viña Garces Silva) Sauvignon Blanc

Leyda Valley more

Sommelier Journal

, Natalie Guinovart, DWS, CWE
December 2009
Since its first vintage just five years ago, Amayna has already become one of Chile’s top wineries. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc combines immense concentration with crisp acidity, thanks to Leyda Valley’s unique climate. Packed with tangy lemon, greengage-plum, and chive flavors, this wine is an extraordinary match with fresh seafood doused with citrus and herbs. The Burgundy-shaped bottle further distinguishes this mouthwatering, well-priced Sauvignon Blanc from all the rest.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White

2008 Antoine Arena Vin de Pays de l'Île de Beauté Blanc

Bianco Gentile more

Sommelier Journal

, S. Peter Smith
December 2009
From the steep, rock-strewn hillside of Aréna’s Patrimonio vineyard, this unique wine is ironically classified as a vin de table because Corsica’s indigenous Bianco Gentile grape is not recognized by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine. A Chardonnay-like nose with tight minerality precedes a palate of stones, white pepper, lemon, and apple, balanced by a buttery fatness that cries out for foie gras. The 5 grams per liter of residual sugar soften the attack and add a luxurious dimension to this unoaked wine, but the rocky base of the grapes’ terroir underscores all. Unique and fascinating.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White

2003 Benanti Etna Bianco Superiore Pietramarina

Etna DOC Carricante more

Sommelier Journal

, Fred Dexheimer, MS
December 2009
This was the one wine from 2009 that I will never forget, and definitely one of the most unusual and tasty white wines I have ever tried. In 1991, after a three-year study of some of Etna’s lost and forgotten grape varieties, Giuseppe Benanti thought it was time to offer up his research in the bottle. His family’s rediscovery helped save many of these ancient grapes from extinction and brought renewed interest from local and international producers. Pietramarina is made from Carricante grapes grown at the foot of the Etna volcano. The 2003 version offers aromas of pear, white flowers, and fennel; the palate is medium-bodied, with flavors of intense lemon peel, hazelnut, yellow apple, and volcanic minerality. Pietramarina ages in tank for at least one year, followed by five months of aging in bottle.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2007 Le Clos du Caillou Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve le Clos du Caillou

Red Rhone Blend more

Sommelier Journal

, Robert Bath, MS
December 2009
In a vintage hailed by many, this is one of the wines to seek out. Lovely blackberry notes accent the ripe plum and dark-cherry aromas, mixed with some interesting mineral notes that give way to a full-bodied, richly textured palate. Concentration, balance, and structure make this wine wonderful now and certainly capable of long aging.
Hot Picks
Red

2006 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Benchland Select

Napa Valley more

Sommelier Journal

, Tylor Field III
December 2009
I tried this recently at a wine dinner, and my first reaction was that I had been poured a glass of chocolate fondue. The wine was not overly extracted, but filled with jammy sweet fruit, vanilla, and heavy chocolate notes. It was also not overly tannic, which surprised me. Although I would classify it as “huge,” it was smooth enough to complement the filet it was served with, also pairing well with a course of four cheeses ranging from a stinky blue to a light goat cheese. This was a “wow” wine for me, and truly American in style.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2006 Château de La Chaize Brouilly

Gamay more

Sommelier Journal

, Jim Meehan
December 2009
Château de la Chaize, built in 1676 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and André Le Nôtre, who also designed the palace of Versailles, is located in Brouilly, the largest of the 10 crus of Beaujolais. The 2006 is blood-red in the center, fading to brick toward the watery rim. This wine exhibits aromas of stewed red and blue fruits—raspberry and blueberry—along with hints of spearmint. A stemmy quality is detectable on the light-to-medium-bodied palate, where fruit, acidity, and earth are deftly balanced with modest tannin. An outstanding value that I would pair with hard cheese, nuts, or antipasti.
Hot Picks
White

2007 A. Christmann Konigsbacher Idig Riesling Großes Gewächs

Pfalz more

Sommelier Journal

, Jesse Becker, MS, CWE
December 2009
The Gross Gewach of Idig is located just below the village of Königsbach in the heart of the Pfalz region. Idig is a near-Alleinbesitz (monopole) of proprietor Steffen Christmann, who lovingly farms his majority share of the vineyard using Biodynamic techniques. Mineral aromas from the soil’s loamy mix of loess, chalk, and sandstone scream from the glass, followed by flavors of apple pastry, kaffir lime leaf, ginger, and lemongrass. The 2007’s laser-like acidity is beautifully balanced by a rich texture, even though the wine is bone-dry.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2007 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Red Rhone Blend more

Sommelier Journal

, David Gordon
December 2009
Clos des Papes is a traditional estate that has been producing wine in the region for more than 200 years. Although proprietor Paul Avril died this year, his son Vincent carries on his legacy. Refusing to create a special cuvée, as many of their competitors in the region have done, the Avrils produce a delicious Grenache-based wine aged in large wood foudres. The 2007, from a forward, ripe, and rich vintage, is full-bodied, with kirsch, licorice, and blackberry flavors; a lush, supple texture; and a long, balanced finish.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White

2008 Bodega Colomé Torrontés

Salta more

Sommelier Journal

, Robert Bath, MS
December 2009
This white varietal may get to be as popular for Argentina as Malbec has become among red wines. DNA testing shows Torrontés to be a cross of Muscat and the Mission grapes of Galicia. Colomé’s version is sourced primarily from its estate in the Calchaquí Valley of the far-northern province of Salta. The wonderful floral aromas are certainly reminiscent of Muscat, but it’s the depth of flavor and lively acidity that make this wine so exciting.
Hot Picks
Red

2006 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Single Vineyard Te Muna Road Vineyard

Martinborough more

Sommelier Journal

, Hristo Zisovski
December 2009
This New Zealand Pinot is bright, alive, and long. The nose is a bit muted, showing notes of white cherry, tart strawberry, light chocolate, dusty mushroom, and coppery earth. The palate is much more giving, with tangy and zesty red-fruit skins, moderately high complexity, and tannins from aging in 35%-new French oak. A great balance of true Pinot Noir.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White - Fortified

1952 Dalva Porto Golden White Colheita

White Blend more

Sommelier Journal

, Roy Hersh
December 2009
From C. da Silva, with a 2008 bottling date. I never tire of this Port, which was showing beautifully after a tasting of breathtaking white and red Burgundies with a serious group of wine lovers in Colorado. Dark amber-orange in color, it has a nose that is worth the price of admission in itself, with genteel aromas of toasty coconut and praline and some influence of overripe pineapple and bright mandarin orange. This is an impressive, half-century-old Port with great intensity on the palate and enough acidity to keep the sweet, nutty, citrusy flavors in check. A sublime and sensuous mouthfeel leads to a complex and lingering finish. An absolutely stunning impression is left on the salivary glands, reminiscent of a stellar bottle of Madeira.
The Tenets of Tawny Port
Red

2007 Azienda Agricola Dei Sancta Catharina Toscana IGT

SuperTuscan Blend more

Sommelier Journal

, Ryan Fletter, CSW
December 2009
Cantine Dei, situated in the heart of Montepulciano, produces the classic Vino Nobiles of the area, but this blend of Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese) with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot is a more modern bridge between Old World and New World: a textbook super-Tuscan. The wine is loaded with layers and texture, representing a stunning harmony of red and black fruits with undertones of coffee, chocolate, and licorice. Only around 500 cases were made.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2007 Descendientes de José Palacios Bierzo Pétalos

Mencía more

Sommelier Journal

, Joyce Goldstein
December 2009
I loved this wine from Álvaro Palacios and his nephew, Ricardo Pérez Palacios. It is 100% Mencía, cultivated in vineyards ranging from 40 to 90 years old. After spending a few weeks in new French barriques, it is aged for six to 10 months in seasoned oak. The wine is purple in color and fragrant with blueberry, black raspberry, violets, minerals, and smoke. Fresh and fruity, it is complex enough to stand up to any number of dishes I have been testing for cooking classes. It was especially tasty with grilled baby lamb chops marinated in bitter honey, cumin, and Sherry and with lamb kebabs marinated in Moorish spices. It would also pair well with grilled flank steak marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper, served with mushrooms sautéed with bacon, or even with grilled tuna with fennel and pepper.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White - Off-dry

2008 Dönnhoff Schloßböckelheimer Kupfergrube Riesling Spätlese

Nahe more

Sommelier Journal

, Chase DuBay
December 2009
This wine blew me away when I tasted it earlier this year. It is the perfect combination of balance, purity of fruit, and mineral depth. Because the 2008 vintage is much leaner than other recent years, the high acidity perfectly balances the residual sugar, allowing an arsenal of mineral and tertiary flavors to bounce off the clean and focused fruit. Truly a spellbinding wine.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White

2007 Dönnhoff Weissburgunder Trocken 'S'

Nahe more

Sommelier Journal

, David A. Singer, CWE
December 2009
Weissburgunder, or Pinot Blanc, has never shown me the “wow” factor until I tasted the S cuvée, Dönnhoff’s top of the line. Thanks to fermentation and aging in large casks, the nose has similar notes to those of Chardonnay: pear, light vanilla, ripe melon, and almond. On the palate, the wine displays ripe yellow apple and peach, with an intense minerality, yet a creamy mouthfeel and a long finish.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
White

2006 Domaine Dujac Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Monts-Luisants

Chardonnay more

Sommelier Journal

, Robert Bath, MS
December 2009
Dujac doesn’t produce a lot of white wine, but perhaps it should make more. The grapes for this bottling come from a small holding (a little more than an acre) in the Côte de Nuits premier cru vineyard of Mont Luisants. There’s a wonderful intensity and yet a grace to this Burgundy, accented by balanced oak, strong minerality, and a lengthy finish. As in any great wine, every sip becomes more fascinating.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2007 Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère/Cabernet Sauvignon

Colchagua Valley Red Blend more

Sommelier Journal

, Patricia Savoie
December 2009
Antonio Bravo is the winemaker for Emiliana, the organic and Biodynamic arm of Concha y Toro. This fresh, lush blend of 80% spicy Carménère and 20% backbone-building Cabernet Sauvignon fills the mouth with black fruit, balanced by tannins and just enough acidity. After fermentation in stainless steel, the wine spends 10 months in both stainless and oak to add complexity. Delivering value far beyond its price, this Carm-Cab is perfect for the by-the-glass menu.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2006 Casa de la Ermita Monastrell Jumilla Monasterio de Santa Ana

more

Sommelier Journal

, Holly Leitner
December 2009
From Casa de la Ermita. 100% Monastrell. Garnet in color, with noteworthy vanilla aromas and well-ripened fruit. The silky, fleshy palate is followed by a long, enveloping finish with hints of balsamic glaze.
Jumilla and the Mighty Monastrell
Red

2007 Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir La Source Seven Springs Vineyard

Eola - Amity Hills more

Sommelier Journal

, Randy Caparoso
December 2009
Oregon Pinot Noir lovers have been enthralled by this vineyard for years, although, since its purchase by Evening Land Vineyards, its grapes no longer go out to artisanal vintners like Penner-Ash, Cristom, and St. Innocent. Rest assured that in the hands of French-born winemaker Isabelle Meunier and über-consultant Dominique Lafon, Seven Springs Pinots (now biodynamically farmed) are better than ever. The proof is already in the bottle: the ’07 La Source is drop-dead gorgeous, beginning with a luscious, fragrant array of rose petal, anise, wild red berries, and blueberry jam. A velvet-smooth entry leads to long, sweet flavors anchored by sturdy tannin, solidifying the fruit past the mouthwatering midpalate in lithe, lively, harmonious balance.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red - Fortified

NV Ferreira Porto Duque de Bragança 20 Year Old Tawny

Port Blend more

Sommelier Journal

, Roy Hersh
December 2009
Is there a better 20 Year Old than this? I was recently challenged by a talented young manager of a wine shop in Oporto to put up my favorite against his in a blind taste-off with our group of guests. His 20 Year Old was also very good, but the group voted unanimously for the Ferreira. This is a stellar tawny, with a maple-syrup hue and yellow rim. A core of dried apricot and orange blossom is accompanied by memory-jogging scents of antique-shop mahogany and bread pudding with raisins. Each sniff brings new fragrances to the Port party. The viscous, sweet nectar and exotic, ever-changing flavors finish as long as a romantic goodnight kiss.
The Tenets of Tawny Port
Red

2005 Finca Omblancas Jumilla Denuño

Petit Verdot more

Sommelier Journal

, Holly Leitner
December 2009
From Finca Omblancas. 100% Monastrell. A complex nose of black fruits and spices carries through on a potent, well-balanced palate, with silky tannins and persistent aromas.
Jumilla and the Mighty Monastrell
Red

2004 Bodega O. Fournier Alfa Crux Blend

Valle de Uco Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo more

Sommelier Journal

, Catherine Fallis, MS, ACWP
December 2009
Alfa Crux is this winery’s premier line, named after one of the stars of the Southern Cross. The wines are made from individually selected barrels, aged in new oak for 18 months and in bottle for an additional 12 months before release. This blend of 50% Tempranillo, 30% Malbec, and 20% Merlot has notes of mocha, cherry, cassis, rose petal, and smoke. It is rich, complex, and understated, with beautiful balance and a long finish. The 2005 is also on the market, but is still very young and closed. O. Fournier is a benchmark producer and, though less recognized in this market than Catena, a must-have for your wine list.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2006 Bodegas Juan Gil Monastrell Jumilla (Silver Label)

more

Sommelier Journal

, Holly Leitner
December 2009
100% Monastrell. This dark-garnet wine offers aromas of red berries and toasted, smoky notes from 12 months of barrel aging. The palate features sweet tannins, ripe fruit, alcohol, and lingering oak.
Jumilla and the Mighty Monastrell
Red

2006 Grace Family Cabernet Sauvignon Blank Vineyard

Rutherford more

Sommelier Journal

, Nadine Brown
December 2009
For more than a quarter-century, this winery has produced some of the classic vins de terroir of California. Bucking the trend toward richer wines, Grace continues to listen to the earth and take beautiful snapshots of vintages. The 2006 Blank, the family’s newest label, is a medium-ruby color, with dark-cherry, cocoa, and soft eucalyptus notes. Coming in at 13.5% alcohol, it’s a superb food wine that allows for a more compatible marriage every time.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
Red

2006 Gregory Graham Syrah Estate Crimson Hill

Red Hills Lake County more

Sommelier Journal

, Deborah Parker Wong, AIWS
December 2009
Graham’s Syrah achieves considerable expression from this region’s distinct red volcanic soils. The wine reflects a true marriage between vine and terroir, showing classic whitepepper and smoked-meat aromas; ripe plum, blueberry, and baking spices on the midpalate; and complex notes of creamy mocha on the finish. This balanced and expressive Syrah serves as an ambassador for the quality and value that can now be found in many Lake County wines.
Sommelier's Choice: Top Releases of 2009
  • Reviews: 77 /
  • Wines: 74

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