July 2016 - US Rhone Varietal

This month's Wine feature is US Rhone Varietal Wines
US Rhone Varietal Reviews
215777
Michael Gill Cellars
2014 "Black Tie" Syrah
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 creme brulee, spicy berry compote, and buttery praline finish with silky, soft tannins and moderate oak. A rich, seamless, and satisfying fruit-driven syrah with lots of stuffing.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215811
San Antonio
2011 Heritage Other Red
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. A very Old World, northern Italian-like red blend that will sing like Caruso at the table.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215793
Cline
2013 Big Break Vineyard Grenache
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 cherry cola, alpine lozenge, and cedar finish with earthy, grippy, woody tannins and moderate oak. A remarkable spicy and vivacious grenache that shows a real sense of place.
93 points $35.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215776
Michael Gill Cellars
2015 Black Tie Viognier
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 dried apricot, spiced pear, nuts, and reduced lime finish with chewy, dusty tannins. A nice tangy, table-friendly viognier.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215696
Parmelee-Hill
2012 Estate Grown "Block B" Syrah
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 blueberry tart, hint of caramelized bacon, pepper, and cedar cigar box finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A nicely tuned syrah with refreshing acidity and subtle oak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215762
Mira Winery
2012 Napa Valley Syrah
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 nutskins, marinated berries and beets, and earth finish with earthy tannins and light oak. A well balanced syrah with ripe fruit and creamy oak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215650
Sunstone
2014 "Rapsodie" Red Blend Santa Ynez Valley
Bright medium ruby color. Curious, baked aromas and flavors of stewed 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 sour cherries, lime curd, dark roasted nuts, and pencil shavings finish with chewy, woody tannins and moderate oak. A crisp, robust red blend with a chewy, snappy finish.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215809
San Simeon
2011 Estate Reserve Syrah
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 black raspberry pie and vanilla custard finish with well-integrated, fine tannins and moderate oak. A nice spicy, snappy syrah with juicy acidity.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215830
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards
2013 "Cool Terroir" Red Wine Blend Niagara Escarpment
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 sweet beets, blackberry pie, earth, and cedar mulch finish with well-integrated, chewy, dusty tannins and light oak. A bright and distinct red blend with lots of spicy and savory nuances.
92 points $22.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215703
Brassfield Estate
2013 Volcano Ridge Vineyard Petite Sirah
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, breezy plum tart, earth, and caramelized bacon finish with well-integrated, chewy, dusty tannins and heavy oak. A rich, seamless petite sirah with subtle nuances of flavor.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215865
Ledson
2012 Estate Old Vine Petite Sirah
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 marinated beets, dried apricot, and coconut cream finish with silky, fine tannins and moderate oak. A satiny, savory petite sirah with an elegant, age worthy style.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215863
Ledson
2013 "Mes Trois Amours" Sonoma Valley
Nearly opaque dark deep 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 cedar, pomegranate, and earth finish with chewy, firm, woody tannins and moderate oak. A seriously structured red blend that could use some time.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215667
Tom Eddy
2013 Petite Sirah
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 spiced currants, nuts, latte, and cedar bark finish with fine, chewy, firm, woody tannins and moderate oak. A very concentrated and chewy petite sirah that will be even better in a few years.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215792
Cline
2015 Viognier
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. A fruity, juicy viognier that is easy drinking.
91 points $11.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215791
Cline
2014 Ancient Vines Carignane
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 black cherry compote, blood orange custard, spiced nuts, and minerals finish with chewy tannins and light oak. A ripe, chewy red Rhone varietal wine with nice table appeal.
91 points $17.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215790
Cline
2014 Ancient Vines Mourvedre
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. A balanced and appetizing red with a silky texture.
90 points $17.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215816
Trattore
2015 Rose Grenache
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 vanilla cream, hint of mint, and nutskin finish with crunchy, fine, fruit tannins and no oak. A racy, flavor-packed rose.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215832
Felten Cellars
2014 Viognier
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 apricot jam on raisin toast, spiced nuts, and oak finish with fine, fruit tannins. A delicate, nicely textured viognier sipper.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215710
Westport
2014 "Surfer" Syrah
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 mossy earth and spiced cherries finish with papery tannins and moderate oak. A earthy table wine with a nice mocha note.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215810
San Simeon
2011 Estate Reserve Petite Sirah
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 cherry gastrique, goji berries, nuts, and glued wood finish with earthy, firm, grippy tannins and moderate oak. A dry, nice, mature tasting red for the table.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215909
Eruption
2013 Propietary Red Wine High Valley
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 earth and cedar finish with crunchy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A nicely composed red blend.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215902
Page Mill
2014 "GPS" Livermore Valley
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 earth and roasted root vegetables finish with firm, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A firm, concentrated wine with interesting herbal notes.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215817
Trattore
2013 Grenache
Bright medium garnet color. 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, easy honey roasted nuts and cedar finish with dusty tannins and moderate oak. A chewy, table-friendly offering.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215649
Sunstone
2013 Grenache
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, breezy berry tart, vanilla custard, and cedar finish with woody, grippy tannins and moderate oak. A soft, sip-forward red.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215741
City Winery
2011 Alder Springs Vineyard Kosher Syrah
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, brisk finish with firm, woody tannins and moderate oak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215783
Lorenzi Estate
2012 The Rainbow Gap Vineyard Grenache
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 plum pudding, vanilla yogurt, pepper, and pencil shavings finish with crunchy tannins and light oak. A warming jammy, zinfandel like grenache.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215704
Brassfield Estate
2012 Monte Sereno Vineyard Syrah
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, easy nut brittle and dusty earth finish with soft tannins and no oak. A pleasant, chewy red.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215843
Topsail
2014 Syrah
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, relaxed butter roasted nuts finish with fine, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A smooth, easy-drinking red with nice fruit.
86 points $15 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215630
Matchbook
2012 Syrah
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, easy fried green tomato, pomegranate, and creme brulee finish with dusty, woody tannins and moderate oak. A firm, oaky syrah sipper.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215890
Falkner
2015 Viognier
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, breezy lemon spritzed melon, nectarine, and yellow apple finish with fine, crunchy, fruit tannins. A nice warming viognier sipper.
86 points $27.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215864
Ledson
2012 Estate Vineyard Syrah
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 craisin, tangerine, vanilla nuts, and earth finish with chewy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. An appetizing, chewy syrah with a nice oak accent.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215892
Fox Brook
2014 Shiraz
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, breezy cherry jam of raisin toast, chocolate toffee, and vanilla gelato finish with silky tannins and no oak. A juicy, crowd-pleasing shiraz with gobs of fruit.
85 points $6.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215778
Michael Gill Cellars
2015 Counoise
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 dried cherry and slate finish with earthy, cottony tannins and no oak. A juicy, refreshing lighter-styled red with bright flavors and acidity.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215782
Lorenzi Estate
2012 Estate Grown Syrah
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, easy spiced nuts, raisin chutney, and cedar finish with soft tannins and light oak. A big, creamy red with lots of rich dried fruit flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215784
Lorenzi Estate
2012 "The Obsessive" Temecula Valley
Nearly opaque dark dusty 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, cheery beef stock, dried cherries, peppered nuts, and tree bark finish with dusty, woody tannins and moderate oak. A brooding, meaty red with lots of oak tones.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215891
Crane Lake
2014 Shiraz
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, buoyant raspberry jam on nut toast, lemon sherbet, and apple sauce finish with chewy, dusty tannins and no oak. A nice, fruity quaffer.
84 points $6.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215648
Sunstone
2015 Viognier
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, breezy quince and leafy earth finish with chewy, dusty, cottony tannins. A pleasant dry viognier sipper.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215699
Parmelee-Hill
2013 "Darcy" Rhone White Sonoma Valley
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 creme brulee, roasted nuts, toasted oak, and pepper finish with crunchy tannins and light oak. A warming, oak-forward white Rhone blend.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215889
Falkner
2013 Rock Creek Vineyard Syrah
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, carefree baked cherries, mocha, and mossy earth finish with dusty, firm tannins and light oak. A firm, dusty red with a rustic backbone.
84 points $38.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215831
Arrowhead Spring Vineyards
2012 Syrah
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, terse cranberry skin and soil finish with coarse, barky tannins and heavy oak.
80 points $29.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215713
Solaro Estate
2014 Reserve Roussanne
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. A food wine.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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