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Reviews for 2016

July 2016 - US Rhone Varietal

July 2016 - US Rhone Varietal
This month's Wine feature is US Rhone Varietal Wines

US Rhone Varietal Reviews

Michael Gill Cellars 2014 "Black Tie" Syrah
96 points
$65
Opaque dark black garnet color. Bright, fruity, smoky toasty savory aromas and flavors of chocolate covered espresso beans and bacon berry doughnut with a lively, fruity full body and a peppery, layered, medium-long finish with nuances of creme brulee, spicy berry compote, and buttery praline with silky, soft tannins and moderate oak flavor. A rich, seamless, and satisfying fruit-driven syrah with lots of stuffing.
San Antonio 2011 Heritage Other Red
93 points
$27
Nearly opaque black garnet color. Bright, earthy, savory aromas of prunes, olives, leather, and light tar and clay with an even, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a tingling, nuanced, medium-long blackberry-mulberry tart, cherry pit, cocoa dusted nuts, and earth finish with well-integrated, fine tannins and moderate oak flavor. A very Old World, northern Italian-like red blend that will sing like Caruso at the table.
Cline 2013 Big Break Vineyard Grenache
93 points
$35.99
Dark violet color. Lively, spicy, herbal aromas and flavors of berry chutney, eucalyptus leaf, chocolate mint, and mincemeat and rose hips with an even, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish manifesting suggestions of cherry cola, alpine lozenge, and cedar with earthy, grippy, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A remarkable spicy and vivacious grenache that shows a real sense of place.
93 points $35.99
Michael Gill Cellars 2015 Black Tie Viognier
93 points
$38
Bright medium yellow straw color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of peach cobbler a la mode, coconut macaroon, and banana blossoms with a silky, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish that presents elements of dried apricot, spiced pear, nuts, and reduced lime with chewy, dusty tannins. A nice tangy, table-friendly viognier.
Parmelee-Hill 2012 Estate Grown "Block B" Syrah
93 points
$38
Bright dark opaque violet color. Bright, roasted aromas and flavors of chocolate nuts and espresso beans and dried cherries with a soft, lively, fruity medium-full body and a warming, medium-long finish evoking shades of blueberry tart, hint of caramelized bacon, pepper, and cedar cigar box with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A nicely tuned syrah with refreshing acidity and subtle oak.
Mira Winery 2012 Napa Valley Syrah
93 points
$45
Indigo color. Delicate, fruity, creamy aromas and flavors of berry creme brulee, chocolate toffee, and mocha with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length finish with impressions of nutskins, marinated berries and beets, and earth with earthy tannins and light oak flavor. A well balanced syrah with ripe fruit and creamy oak.
Sunstone 2014 "Rapsodie" Red Blend Santa Ynez Valley
93 points
$45
Bright medium ruby color. Bright, curious, baked aromas and flavors of baked berries and tomatoes, roasted peppercorns, and cedar and clay with a soft, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish evoking suggestions of sour cherries, lime curd, dark roasted nuts, and pencil shavings with chewy, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A crisp, robust red blend with a chewy, snappy finish.
San Simeon 2011 Estate Reserve Syrah
92 points
$22
Opaque dark ruby black color. Delicate, fruity, toasty earthy aromas and flavors of spicy vanilla nougat, toasted meringue, dried berries and lemon, and pickle with a glycerous, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish with notes of black raspberry pie and vanilla custard with well-integrated, fine tannins and moderate oak flavor. A nice spicy, snappy syrah with juicy acidity.
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2013 "Cool Terroir" Red Wine Blend Niagara Escarpment
92 points
$22.95
Nearly opaque indigo color. Bright, peppery aromas and flavors of cracked peppercorns, roasted peppers and tomatoes, and honeyed spiced cherries with an even, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, amusing, medium-long finish manifesting elements of sweet beets, blackberry pie, earth, and cedar mulch with well-integrated, chewy, dusty tannins and light oak flavor. A bright and distinct red blend with lots of spicy and savory nuances.
92 points $22.95
Brassfield Estate 2013 Volcano Ridge Vineyard Petite Sirah
92 points
$40
Bright dark opaque violet color. Bright, fruity, jammy woody aromas and flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted nuts with a creamy, tangy, dryish medium-full body and a warming, amusing, carefree finish that shows notes of plum tart, earth, and caramelized bacon with well-integrated, chewy, dusty tannins and heavy oak flavor. A rich, seamless petite sirah with subtle nuances of flavor.
Ledson 2012 Estate Old Vine Petite Sirah
92 points
$46
Opaque black violet color. Bright, herbal aromas and flavors of spicy pickle, marinated olives, chocolate nuts, and blueberry muffin with a velvety, lively, dryish medium-full body and a smooth, complex, medium-length finish with nuances of marinated beets, dried apricot, and coconut cream with silky, fine tannins and moderate oak flavor. A satiny, savory petite sirah with an elegant, age worthy style.
Ledson 2013 "Mes Trois Amours" Sonoma Valley
92 points
$48
Nearly opaque dark deep purple color. Delicate, funky, fruity floral aromas and flavors of dried berries, citrus powder, vanilla nut brittle, and pressed flowers with a soft, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, layered, medium-length finish conveying notes of cedar, pomegranate, and earth with chewy, firm, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A seriously structured red blend that could use some time.
Tom Eddy 2013  Petite Sirah
92 points
$60
Opaque deep purple color. Delicate, creamy, toasty aromas and flavors of creme brulee, berry tart, and chocolate toffee with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long finish manifesting notes of spiced currants, nuts, latte, and cedar bark with fine, chewy, firm, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A very concentrated and chewy petite sirah that will be even better in a few years.
Cline 2015  Viognier
91 points
$11.99
Best Buy
Golden yellow color. Bright, fruity aromas of honeyed peaches, fruit salad, and roasted banana with a silky, tangy, fruity medium body and an even, breezy honeyed yellow apple and pear and nectarine finish with fine, chewy, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. A fruity, juicy viognier that is easy drinking.
91 points $11.99 Best Buy
Cline 2014 Ancient Vines Carignane
91 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Opaque bright garnet black color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of salty roasted chestnuts, dark berry pie crust, and hints of olive and canadian bacon with an even, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish conveying notes of black cherry compote, blood orange custard, spiced nuts, and minerals with chewy tannins and light oak flavor. A ripe, chewy red Rhone varietal wine with nice table appeal.
91 points $17.99 Best Buy
Cline 2014 Ancient Vines Mourvedre
90 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Dusty garnet black color. Bright, fruity, savory aromas and flavors of mulberries and blueberries, peach tart, and mocha toffee with a soft, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, distinctive, medium-long finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and light oak flavor. A balanced and appetizing red with a silky texture.
90 points $17.99 Best Buy
Trattore 2015 Rose Grenache
90 points
$24
Bright steely pink color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of pickled strawberries, orange marmalade, and peach chutney with a soft, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a warming, appealing, breezy finish with nuances of vanilla cream, hint of mint, and nutskin with crunchy, fine, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. A racy, flavor-packed rose.
Felten Cellars 2014  Viognier
89 points
$21
Bright golden straw color. Delicate, interesting aromas and flavors of peach kolaches, almond cookie, granola, and hint of flowers with a soft, lively, fruity medium-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish with suggestions of apricot jam on raisin toast, spiced nuts, and oak with fine, fruit tannins. A delicate, nicely textured viognier sipper.
Westport 2014 "Surfer" Syrah
89 points
$28
Bright dark opaque deep purple color. Lively, attractive, earthy roasted aromas and flavors of coffee gelato, chocolate nuts and espresso beans, berry tart crust, and butterfingers bards with a soft, tangy, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish that exhibits notes of mossy earth and spiced cherries with papery tannins and moderate oak flavor. A earthy table wine with a nice mocha note.
San Simeon 2011 Estate Reserve Petite Sirah
88 points
$22
Nearly opaque black ruby color. Fruity aromas and flavors of dried berries, chocolate mousse, roasted nuts and sesame seeds, and dill pickle and cedar with a soft, crisp, dryish medium body and a warming, complex, medium-length finish with shades of cherry gastrique, goji berries, nuts, and glued wood with earthy, firm, grippy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A dry, nice, mature tasting red for the table.
Eruption 2013 Propietary Red Wine High Valley
88 points
$24
Opaque black violet color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of berry compote, spiced roasted pistachios, and creme brulee with a soft, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, medium-length finish that presents notes of earth and cedar with crunchy, dusty tannins and moderate oak flavor. A nicely composed red blend.
Page Mill 2014 "GPS" Livermore Valley
88 points
$32
Opaque violet color. Bright, fruity, floral aromas and flavors of roasted peppers, berries, and herbs and waxy honeycomb with an crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, refreshing, medium-length finish with overtones of earth and roasted root vegetables with firm, dusty tannins and moderate oak flavor. A firm, concentrated wine with interesting herbal notes.
Trattore 2013  Grenache
88 points
$35
Bright medium garnet color. Bright, fruity, toasty oaky aromas and flavors of baked berries in clay pot and spiced chocolate bar with a soft, bright, dryish medium-full body and a warming, breezy finish with accents of honey roasted nuts and cedar with dusty tannins and moderate oak flavor. A chewy, table-friendly offering.
Sunstone 2013  Grenache
88 points
$38
Dusty medium dark ruby color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of spiced cherries, chocolate strawberries, and toffee with a glycerous, lively, dryish medium body and a warming, appealing, crisp finish displaying nuances of berry tart, vanilla custard, and cedar with woody, grippy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A soft, sip-forward red.
City Winery 2011 Alder Springs Vineyard Kosher Syrah
88 points
$49
Nearly opaque dark dusty garnet color. Bright, fruity, toasty meaty peppery aromas of ripe blackberries, huckleberries, black olives, and white peppercorns with a chewy, lively, dry full body and a peppery, complex, fast finish with firm, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A solid syrah with a nice combination of fruit and savory overtones.
Lorenzi Estate 2012 The Rainbow Gap Vineyard Grenache
87 points
$45
Bright light garnet color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of honeyed raisin toast, berry preserves, honeycomb, and port with a soft, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, elegant, medium-long finish with notes of plum pudding, vanilla yogurt, pepper, and pencil shavings with crunchy tannins and light oak flavor. A warming jammy, zinfandel like grenache.
Brassfield Estate 2012 Monte Sereno Vineyard Syrah
87 points
$50
Clear deep purple color. Mild, curious aromas and flavors of berry yogurt, toasted fruit cake, and sour cream frosting with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, breezy finish with notes of nut brittle and dusty earth with soft tannins and no oak flavor. A pleasant, chewy red.
Topsail 2014  Syrah
86 points
$15
Best Buy
Bright dark opaque color. Bright, attractive, fruity aromas and flavors of apricot tart, cherry pie, and toffee with a soft, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, interesting, carefree finish displaying notes of butter roasted nuts with fine, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A smooth, easy-drinking red with nice fruit.
86 points $15 Best Buy
Matchbook 2012  Syrah
86 points
$16
Clear garnet black color. Mild, toasty, fruity herbal aromas and flavors of dried berries, chocolate baklava, and green pepper and herbs with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, amusing, carefree finish with notes of fried green tomato, pomegranate, and creme brulee with dusty, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A firm, oaky syrah sipper.
Falkner 2015  Viognier
86 points
$27.95
Straw green color. Earthy aromas of dried stone fruit, citrus yogurt, banana chips, and lilacs with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, relaxed lemon spritzed melon, nectarine, and yellow apple finish with fine, crunchy, fruit tannins. A nice warming viognier sipper.
86 points $27.95
Ledson 2012 Estate Vineyard Syrah
86 points
$46
Bright dark opaque black violet color. Bright, fruity, funky savory aromas and flavors of butter roasted nuts, berry pie crust, cocoa, and clay with a soft, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, elegant, medium-length finish displaying touches of craisin, tangerine, vanilla nuts, and earth with chewy, dusty tannins and moderate oak flavor. An appetizing, chewy syrah with a nice oak accent.
Fox Brook 2014  Shiraz
85 points
$6.99
Dark garnet violet color. Delicate, toasty aromas and flavors of butter roasted nuts, coffee, and purple pez with a soft, lively, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, delightful, relaxed finish evoking notes of cherry jam of raisin toast, chocolate toffee, and vanilla gelato with silky tannins and no oak flavor. A juicy, crowd-pleasing shiraz with gobs of fruit.
85 points $6.99
Michael Gill Cellars 2015  Counoise
85 points
$40
Bright ruby garnet color. Bright, fresh, fruity aromas and flavors of raspberry, huckleberry jam, honeyed fig, and macadamia nougat with a soft, lively, dryish medium-full body and a tingling, compelling, medium-length finish displaying shades of dried cherry and slate with earthy, cottony tannins and no oak flavor. A juicy, refreshing lighter-styled red with bright flavors and acidity.
Lorenzi Estate 2012 Estate Grown Syrah
85 points
$65
Clear garnet black color. Delicate, curious, fruity aromas and flavors of black raspberry pie, warm creme anglaise, toffee, and goji berries with a lean, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, snappy finish that shows accents of spiced nuts, raisin chutney, and cedar with soft tannins and light oak flavor. A big, creamy red with lots of rich dried fruit flavors.
Lorenzi Estate 2012 "The Obsessive" Temecula Valley
85 points
$65
Nearly opaque dark dusty ruby color. Bright, toasty, tropical aromas and flavors of honeyed raisins, chocolate coconut flakes, roasted nuts, and putty with a vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a warming, refreshing, relaxed finish revealing notes of beef stock, dried cherries, peppered nuts, and tree bark with dusty, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A brooding, meaty red with lots of oak tones.
Crane Lake 2014  Shiraz
84 points
$6.99
Bright dark nearly opaque violet color. Bright, fruity, nutty aromas and flavors of berry pie and cocoa nut brittle with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, intriguing, cheery finish that presents impressions of raspberry jam on nut toast, lemon sherbet, and apple sauce with chewy, dusty tannins and no oak flavor. A nice, fruity quaffer.
84 points $6.99
Sunstone 2015  Viognier
84 points
$28
Pale golden straw color. Bright, funky, fruity toasty savory aromas and flavors of baked peaches and pickled melon rind with a soft, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, amusing, buoyant finish revealing notes of quince and leafy earth with chewy, dusty, cottony tannins. A pleasant dry viognier sipper.
Parmelee-Hill 2013 "Darcy" Rhone White Sonoma Valley
84 points
$30
Bright medium straw green color. Bright, toasty aromas and flavors of baked nectarine and pineapple, roasted coconut, nougat, and hint of rubber with a glycerous, vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a warming, refreshing, brisk finish that presents shades of creme brulee, roasted nuts, toasted oak, and pepper with crunchy tannins and light oak flavor. A warming, oak-forward white Rhone blend.
Falkner 2013 Rock Creek Vineyard Syrah
84 points
$38.95
Clear violet color. Delicate, roasted aromas and flavors of roasted nuts, barnyard, waxy chocolate, and dried wild berries with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, breezy finish manifesting touches of baked cherries, mocha, and mossy earth with dusty, firm tannins and light oak flavor. A firm, dusty red with a rustic backbone.
84 points $38.95
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2012  Syrah
80 points
$29.95
Nearly opaque dark garnet color. Lively, odd, off-putting aromas and flavors of stewed berries, toasted herbs and peppercorns, pickle, and raid with a tannic, racy, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, brief finish with notes of cranberry skin and soil with coarse, barky tannins and heavy oak flavor.
80 points $29.95
Solaro Estate 2014 Reserve Roussanne
80 points
$33
Golden straw color. Delicate, fruity, smoky aromas of overripe peach, pressed flowers, praline, and prickly pear with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, brisk green apple, pickled mushroom, dusty oak, and green tomato finish with moderate oak flavor. A food wine.
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