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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 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.
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. 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 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
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 dried apricot, spiced pear, nuts, and reduced lime finish 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 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.
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 nutskins, marinated berries and beets, and earth finish with earthy tannins and light oak. 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. 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.
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 black raspberry pie and vanilla custard finish with well-integrated, fine tannins and moderate oak. 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 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
Brassfield Estate 2013 Volcano Ridge Vineyard Petite Sirah
92 points
$40
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.
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 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.
Ledson 2013 "Mes Trois Amours" Sonoma Valley
92 points
$48
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.
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 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.
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. 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 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
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. 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 vanilla cream, hint of mint, and nutskin finish with crunchy, fine, fruit tannins and no oak. 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 apricot jam on raisin toast, spiced nuts, and oak finish 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 mossy earth and spiced cherries finish with papery tannins and moderate oak. 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 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.
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 earth and cedar finish with crunchy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. 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 earth and roasted root vegetables finish with firm, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A firm, concentrated wine with interesting herbal notes.
Trattore 2013  Grenache
88 points
$35
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.
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, breezy berry tart, vanilla custard, and cedar finish with woody, grippy tannins and moderate oak. 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, brisk finish with firm, woody tannins and moderate oak.
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 plum pudding, vanilla yogurt, pepper, and pencil shavings finish with crunchy tannins and light oak. 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, easy nut brittle and dusty earth finish with soft tannins and no oak. 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, 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
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, easy fried green tomato, pomegranate, and creme brulee finish with dusty, woody tannins and moderate oak. 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, breezy 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 craisin, tangerine, vanilla nuts, and earth finish with chewy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. 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, 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
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 dried cherry and slate finish with earthy, cottony tannins and no oak. 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, 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.
Lorenzi Estate 2012 "The Obsessive" Temecula Valley
85 points
$65
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.
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, 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
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, breezy quince and leafy earth finish 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 creme brulee, roasted nuts, toasted oak, and pepper finish with crunchy tannins and light oak. 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, 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
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, terse cranberry skin and soil finish with coarse, barky tannins and heavy oak.
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. A food wine.
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