December 2017 - Stellar Cellar Selection

This month's Wine feature is Stellar Cellar Selection Wines
Stellar Cellar Selection Reviews
222285
Nordby Vineyards
2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Black ruby color. Aromas of new car, patent leather, moth balls, and boysenberry handpie with a satiny, crisp, dry full body and a smooth, interesting, long dried cherries, suede, and freshly grated spices finish with chewy tannins and heavy oak. A leatherier wine there may not have been; we’re excited to see this develop!
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222512
Athenaeum
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Deep purple color. Spicy aromas and flavors of pickling spices, dried cassis, black licorice, and wild berry taffy with a velvety, vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a tingling, distinctive, medium-long grilled plum, wet leather, and foraged mushrooms finish with firm, grippy tannins and heavy oak. A concentrated wine that will be a dream with steak or blue cheeses; give the oak some time to mellow.
94 points $39.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222242
Taylor Made
2016 Malbec
Deep purple color. Fruity aromas of juicy sweet blackberry, cranberry bread pudding, eucalyptus, and cocoa powder with a velvety, crisp, fruity medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-length fresh beets, pomegranate glaze, roasted carrot, and toasty oak finish with silky tannins and moderate oak. A lush malbec with layers of rich flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222246
Taylors
2015 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon
Black violet color. Spicy aromas of menthol-mint, dried blueberries, ginseng, and lemongrass with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a peppery, complex, long mixed peppercorns and fine leather finish with firm tannins and moderate oak. An exotic, spicy cab that will develop into an excellent, distinctive cellar selection.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222442
Wine Spots
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Black violet color. Jammy aromas of blueberry oatmeal bar, chocolate covered cherries, and peony with a round, crisp, fruity full body and a warming, nuanced, long leather, mulberry, salted caramel, and earth finish with earthy, well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. A delicious, intriguing cabernet with shining fruit and earthy accents.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222443
Wine Spots
2014 Merlot
Ruby color. Oaky, elegant aromas of polished fine furniture, ripe forest berries, curaçao oranges, and white peppercorns with a velvety, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and an effortless, involved, medium-long cranberry relish, walnut, and blackberry finish with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. A rich and dry, sophisticated Merlot full of exquisite oak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222385
Ledson
2014 Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Opaque black ruby color. Elegant aromas of humidor, dried fruits, bacon jam, and leather book cover with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a sleek, complex, medium-long chocolate genache, paprika, mincemeat pie, and cranberry finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A rich and serious Sonoma Cabernet with great aging potential.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222521
Scattered Peaks
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Black garnet color. Aromas of raspberry jam, fresh roses, vanilla bean cream, and blueberry gelato with a tannic, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a subtle, medium-long leather, cedar box, and tobacco finish with cottony, firm tannins and heavy oak. A tight Cab for cellaring; this will become beautiful.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222251
Taylors
2015 St Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon
Black violet color. Aromas of ripe red cassis, cherry preserve, pickling spices, and earth with a round, fruity medium body and a polished, involved, medium-long fine furniture, mixed fruit leather, and rosemary finish with well-integrated, grippy tannins and moderate oak. A lovely juicy Clare Valley Cabernet with bright acidity that will stand the test of time.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222358
Makana Cellars
2013 Cabernet Franc
Black ruby color. Herbal aromas and flavors of bay leaf and sage with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a graceful, interesting, medium-long spiced blackberry jam, dark chocolate, and dried cherry finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A multilayered cab franc with great herbal notes that never venture into "too-green" territory; a must-try.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222243
Taylors
2015 Reserve Parcel Cabernet Sauvignon
Black garnet color. Spicy aromas and flavors of jalapeño, balsamic reduction, dark chocolate, and dried berries with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a sleek, intriguing, medium-long spiced blackberry jam and coriander seed finish with well-integrated, silky tannins and moderate oak. A zesty Cab packed with savory spices; Latin steaks will pair perfectly.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222519
The Weasel and the Cork
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Nearly opaque black violet color. Attractive aromas and flavors of spiced blackberries, tamarind chutney, sautéed mushrooms, and smoky tobacco with a chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, layered, medium-long black pepper and leather finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A steak-worthy wine that hits all the right notes.
91 points $29.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222511
Athenaeum
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Black ruby color. Fruity aromas of dried cherries, patent leather, and crushed blackberries and raspberries with a chewy, fruity medium body and a warming, captivating, medium-long suede finish with firm tannins and moderate oak. A fruity Cab that will transform with time.
91 points $54.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222387
Ledson
2014 Ti Amo Cabernet Sauvignon
Opaque black violet color. Fruity, herbal aromas and flavors of ripe dark berry melange, patent leather, rosemary, and India ink with a chewy, vibrant, dry full body and a warming, charming, long coconut cream pie finish with harsh tannins and heavy oak. An inky, intensely structured cabernet to lay down and enjoy in a few years.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222250
Taylors
2015 St Andrews Shiraz
Dark black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of marzipan, blackberry, stable floor, and black cherry cola with a velvety, crisp, fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, compelling, medium-length vanilla, black pepper, allspice leaves, and cherry wood finish with earthy, medium tannins and moderate oak. A charming vanilla-kissed shiraz.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222510
Arius
2014 Pinot Noir
Dusty ruby garnet color. Aromas of cranberry sauce, forest fruits, buttered toast, and vanilla with a round, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an effortless, delightful, medium-length dried herbs, cinnamon-spice cake, apple compote, and shaved coconut finish with well-integrated, medium tannins and moderate oak. An elegant, fresh pinot noir with aging potential.
89 points $25.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222516
Dusk to Dawn
2016 Pinot Noir
Dusty ruby color. Aromas of raspberry muffin, leather, and whole peppercorns with a satiny, crisp, fruity medium body and a warming, cheery toasty oak and mole finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak. A fruit-forward, party-friendly pinot noir.
89 points $29.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222388
Zina Hyde Cunningham
2014 Winslow's Ridge Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Opaque black violet color. Aromas of blackberry tart and vanilla gelato with a chewy, vibrant, dry full body and an even, elegant, medium-long tar, ink, leather, and whiskey barrel finish with chewy tannins and heavy oak. Dark matter colludes in this brooding cellar-worthy Sonoma Cab.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222359
Makana Cellars
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
Opaque black violet color. Aromas of spicy peppers, cassis, boysenberry, and black pepper with a slightly chewy, lively, dry-yet-fruity full body and a peppery, refreshing, long black currant, semi sweet chocolate, and tobacco leaf finish with chewy tannins and heavy oak. A friendly, full-bodied red.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222386
Ledson
2013 Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Black garnet color. Inviting, elegant aromas and flavors of ivory, fine leather, tobacco, and dried cassis with a tannic, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a charming, medium-long cinnamon and sage finish with gritty tannins and heavy oak. A dense, cellar-worthy wine.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222249
Taylors
2016 Reserve Parcel Shiraz
Dark black violet color. Aromas of blueberry gelato, chocolate coated berries, allspice, and peppercorns with a slightly chewy, lively, fruity medium body and a tingling, engaging, easy greens in vinaigrette, pickled plum, and hickory finish with medium, well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. A tasty and versatile Shiraz.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222444
Wine Spots
2014 Cuvée 38 Red Wine Napa Valley
Nearly opaque garnet black color. Aromas of mixed peppercorns and red berries, bay leaf, chocolate covered berries, and tobacco with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, captivating, medium-length rhubarb conserve and rum raisin finish with silky tannins. A lip-smacking red for grilled meats or salami.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222445
Wine Spots
2016 Pinot Noir
Opaque violet color. Fruity aromas of purple fruit, streusel, bramble, and vanilla steamer with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium body and a medium-length berry jam and toasted crumpet finish with well-integrated, dusty tannins and light oak. A full-bodied, unabashedly fruity pinot noir.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222422
Wilson Creek
2014 Matriarch Vineyard Family Reserve Malbec
Dark dusty ruby color. Fruity aromas of peach melba, vanilla wafer, and eucalyptus with a slightly chewy, crisp, fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length juicy blackberries, cobbler crumble, cinnamon, and caraway finish with crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A big, juicy malbec chock full of fruit and spice.
88 points $58.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222440
Kirkland Signature
2012 Brunello di Montalcino
Medium brick red color. Mature aromas of cherry preserve, fresh fennel, leather, marinated mushrooms, and dried flowers with a lightly tannic, crisp, dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, compelling, medium-length dried raspberry and tobacco finish with dusty, firm tannins and moderate oak. A table-worthy Brunello with divine cherry aromas.
87 points $24.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222520
The Weasel and the Cork
2016 Red Blend Alexander Valley
Opaque black violet color. Fruity aromas of fresh blackberry jam with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a polished, medium-long dark chocolate, sanguine, burnt sugar, and leather patina finish with dusty, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A juicy, jammy Bordeaux varietal blend with deep concentration.
87 points $29.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222518
Trailhead
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Dusty black ruby color. Jammy aromas of dried berries, sugared plums, fresh pies, and jalapeño seeds with a satiny, crisp, fruity medium body and a polished, cheery cherry pie filling finish with cottony, fruit tannins. A mild Napa Cab for beginners.
87 points $35.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222514
Athenaeum
2015 Merlot
Dusty garnet color. Aromas of fajita veggies, dried cranberries and blueberries, smoked coriander seed, and dry earth with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a sleek, relaxed dried orange peel and toasted Russian black bread finish with crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A chewy and savory merlot for the table.
87 points $39.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222517
Dusk to Dawn
2016 Chardonnay
Clear light gold color. Aromas of matchstick, toasted marshmallow, diced apple, phyllo dough, citrus pith, and lemon curd with a velvety, crisp, fruity medium body and a snappy lemon meringue pie and lime curd finish with soft, fruit tannins. A smoky chardonnay with subtle fruit.
85 points $24.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222515
Calista
2016 The Coast Range Pinot Noir
Ruby garnet color. Aromas of cherry hard candy, spiced nuts, and graphite with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, medium-length underripe plum, wet stone, pomegranate, and chalk finish with no oak. A mineral-forward, versatile pinot noir.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222248
Taylors
2016 Jaraman Chardonnay
Clear straw green color. Fruity, herbal aromas of apple pie, gooseberry pie, dank herb, and elotes with a soft, crisp, fruity medium body and a sleek, appealing, medium-length green apple and tarragon finish with silky tannins. A nice Chardonnay crossover for Sauvignon Blanc lovers; creamy, herbal, and full.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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