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Reviews for 2018

February 2018 - US Rhone Varietal

February 2018 - US Rhone Varietal
This month's Wine feature is US Rhone Varietal Wines

US Rhone Varietal Reviews

Monte De Oro 2014 Estate Syrah
94 points
$36
Nearly opaque black ruby color. Savory aromas and flavors of buttery nut brittle, chocolate dried cherries, sandalwood, and pomegranate molasses with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, complex, very long finish with shades of sassafras, berry chutney, and sultanas with chewy, earthy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A powerful, port-like syrah with big, bold flavors and a long warming finish.
Awards: 2017 Top 3 Best Syrah
Page Mill Winery 2015 GPS Red Blend Livermore Valley
93 points
Black violet color. Interesting aromas of tar, black raspberry, black coffee, vanilla, and sandalwood with an lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a polished, complex, medium-long black pepper, sundried tomato, oregano, and basil finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. An inky and mysterious Rhone varietal blend that has a place at the curious wine drinker’s table.
Fazeli Cellars 2014  Shiraz
93 points
$48
Nearly opaque garnet black color. Fruity, savory aromas and flavors of blackberry tart, pickled root vegetables, and chocolate toffee with a satiny, bright, medium-to-full body and a warming, subtle, long finish evoking nuances of creme brulee, mocha buttercream, and delicate spices with fine, well-integrated tannins and light oak flavor. A brooding super savory shiraz with great layers of fruit and earthy flavors.
San Simeon 2012 Estate Reserve Syrah
92 points
$22
Pale ruby black color. Aromas and flavors of boysenberry jam, toasted coconut, chocolate genache, and cherry liqueur with an bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a layered, medium-long finish with notes of blackberry tart, eucalyptus, cedar, and pomegranate fruit leather with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A truly exceptional Syrah with body & style to stand up to any dish you’d normally reach for Cab on.
Activist 2016 Private Reserve Syrah
92 points
$28.99
Dusty deep purple color. Aromas of baked berry cobbler, cola, and cherry candies with a slightly chewy, lively, dryish medium-full body and a peppery, compelling, medium-length black pepper, charred grilled meats, italian cheeses, and salted nut skins finish with leafy tannins. A big and bold Syrah with a substantial steak-complimenting concentration and spice.
92 points $28.99
Crux Winery 2014 GSM Russian River Valley
92 points
$42
Dusty dark violet color. Fruity aromas and flavors of raspberry liqueur, fruit stripes gum, berry candies, menthol, and anise with a velvety, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, intricate, medium-long finish displaying accents of sweet cherry-scented tobacco, chocolate sorbet, slate, and black pepper with well-integrated, medium tannins and light oak flavor. An ultra-vibrant fruit bomb with excellent balance and integration of flavors.
Alder Springs 2013 Kinesis Single Vineyard Mendocino
92 points
$45
Deep purple color. Floral aromas of ripe wild strawberry, rhubarb compote, and spray roses with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a sleek, interesting, medium-length cocoa powder, pastry, and alpine herbs finish with well-integrated tannins. A cheerful Rhone blend with great integration and style.
Sunstone 2016 Rapsodie Red Blend Santa Ynez Valley
92 points
$55
Dusty violet color. Elegant aromas of ripe cherries, polished leather furniture, smoked black tea, and cedar with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an even, interesting, medium-length blueberry-pomegranate sorbet and peppercorns finish with well-integrated, medium tannins and light oak flavor. A sophisticated take on GSM to delight your guests.
Fazeli Cellars 2012 Phel Phel Temecula Valley
91 points
$35
Dusty garnet color. Fruity, minerally aromas of dried cranberry, crisped berry crumble, and graphite with a satiny, vibrant, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, intriguing, medium-length almond tart, chocolate drizzled figs, and gingersnaps finish with chewy tannins and light oak flavor. A lovely departure for Pinot Noir drinkers that may make an excellent cellar candidate.
Corner 103 2014  Petite Sirah
91 points
$50
Opaque black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate sesame candy, butter roasted nuts, and berry fruit leather with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, long finish with notes of creme brulee, ground nuts, honeyed apples, and cedar with chewy, dusty, firm tannins and heavy oak flavor. An inky, impressively fruity, chewy and tannic petite sirah that will improve with time.
Rock Wall 2012 Le Mur de Roche Petite Sirah
91 points
$60
Black violet color. Complex aromas of marinated dates, toasted raisin bread, fine leather, and smoky charred oak with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity full body and a warming, complex, medium-long vanilla bean, fresh dill, grilled berries, and juicy bacon finish with firm tannins and heavy oak flavor. A super satisfying petite syrah to win over your guests with.
Monte De Oro 2012 Vista del Monte Vineyard Reserve Syrah
91 points
$80
Nearly opaque garnet black color. Earthy, savory aromas and flavors of roasted peppers, craisins, pepper, and cocoa buttercream with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a peppery, complex, very long finish that shows notes of raisin chutney, spiced nuts, and cedar with chewy, woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A massive, raisiny syrah with weighty flavors and a mouth-warming finish.
Oak Farm Vineyards 2016  Grenache
90 points
$28
Medium light ruby color. Interesting aromas of ripe strawberries, worcestershire sauce, and charred grilled meats with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a sleek, interesting, medium-length cherry soda, baking spices, parchment, and vanilla bean finish with well-integrated tannins and light oak flavor. An intriguing grenache worthy of thoughtful meals.
Monte De Oro 2014 Cuvée de Oro Estate Grown Red Blend Temecula Valley
90 points
$34
Garnet color. Aromas of dried cherry, pencil shavings, and strawberry shortcake with a satiny, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy fudgesicle and rum-soaked strawberries finish with well-integrated, medium tannins and a suggestion of oak flavor. A fresh and fruity red with great versatility.
Cline 2016 Late Harvest Dessert Wine Mourvedre
90 points
$36
Black violet color. Herbal aromas of blackberry, menthol, and dark chocolate with a slightly chewy, vibrant, moderately sweet medium-full body and a peppery, involved, medium-long salted caramel, milk chocolate, marcona almonds, black pepper, and peanut brittle finish with well-integrated, medium tannins. A distinctive, rich and herbal late harvest wine that will impress your guests.
Crux Winery 2014  Syrah
90 points
$38
Black garnet color. Aromas of smoked peppercorns, blackberry tart, and menthol with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a graceful, delightful, medium-long tar and rose finish with well-integrated, medium tannins and moderate oak flavor. A balanced and nuanced wine with great concentration.
Rock Wall 2014 Papas Syrah
90 points
$40
Ruby black color. Savory aromas and flavors of pickled cherries, tomato paste, milk chocolate, and ghee with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, captivating, medium-long finish with accents of dried berries and prunes, toffee, caramelized root vegetables, and pepper with fine, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A big brawny wine for fans of the rich warming syrah style.
Crux Winery 2013  Petite Sirah
90 points
$42
Black violet color. Oaky aromas of fresh figs, prunes, lemon oil, and cedar with a slightly chewy, crisp, fruity medium-full body and a peppery, nuanced, medium-long pico de gallo, black pepper, sweet melons, and berry jams finish with well-integrated, firm tannins and moderate oak flavor. A rich Petite Sirah that should age quite gracefully.
Alder Springs 2013 Single Vineyard Syrah
90 points
$45
Nearly opaque violet color. Aromas and flavors of perfect ripe blueberries, white peppercorn, charcoal briquettes, and banana soufflé with a shy, dryish medium body and a fast finish revealing notes of toasted scone with well-integrated, chewy tannins and light oak flavor. A stylish Syrah that hits all the right notes but has a stride all its own.
Ledson 2014 Estate Vineyard Syrah
90 points
$46
Opaque deep purple color. Fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of berry pie, chocolate mint, and pistachio gelato with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, refreshing, medium-long finish displaying nuances of creme anglaise, toffee, nutskin, and pepper with chewy, dusty tannins and light oak flavor. A nicely structured syrah with pleasing flavors and a warm finish.
Rock Wall 2016 Kristens Viognier
89 points
$20
White gold color. Aromas and flavors of ripe pears, aloe, cream puffs with pineapple, and lily with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a medium-length finish with shades of tart pear and apricot crumble with silky, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. An elegant and graceful Viognier with bright acidity.
Stina’s Cellars 2011  Syrah
89 points
$20
Dusty garnet color. Earthy, mature aromas and flavors of leather, stewed berries, and earth with a supple, bright, dryish medium body and a smooth, refreshing, medium-long finish with notes of roasted nuts and marinated root vegetables with soft tannins and light oak flavor. A fine mature syrah that will pair nicely with braised meats and stews.
Cline 2014 Big Break Vineyard Grenache
89 points
$29.99
Dusty violet color. Interesting, exotic aromas of spiced tea, incense, sandalwood, and menthol with a round, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, involved, medium-length dried cherries, plump olives, and cumin finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A unique and exotic grenache packed with interesting spice flavors.
89 points $29.99
Corner 103 2016  Carignane
89 points
$40
Nearly opaque violet color. Aromas and flavors of blackberry preserves, violets, graphite, and nutmeg with an crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an interesting, medium-length finish revealing accents of vanilla, black pepper, and licorice with fruit, chewy, well-integrated tannins and light oak flavor. A lush and fruit forward domestic Carignane; show it off at your next dinner party.
Ledson 2014 Estate Vineyard Petite Sirah
89 points
$46
Opaque black violet color. Roasted, fruity aromas and flavors of roasted nuts and coffee, spiced berries and fall fruits, chocolate fudge mint, and brown butter with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, appealing, medium-long finish that exhibits suggestions of caramel frosted cake, nut skins and shells, and mulch with dusty, barky tannins and moderate oak flavor. A rich, earthy, petite sirah with lots of roasted flavors.
Page Mill Winery 2015 Tazetta Vineyard Syrah
88 points
Black violet color. Peppery aromas of fresh huckleberry jam, buttery pie crust, fine furniture, and menthol with a round, crisp, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, refreshing, medium-length finish with silky tannins and moderate oak flavor. A lush syrah with a hint of sweetness that makes for a very versatile and attractive wine.
Cline 2015  Syrah
88 points
$10.99
Best Buy
Deep purple color. Earthy, fruity, roasted aromas and flavors of baked berries, roasted coffee, and chocolate nuts with a supple, bright, dryish medium body and an even, interesting, medium-length finish that shows accents of cherry and blackberry preserves and dark caramel with fine, crunchy tannins and light oak flavor. A nice chewy, tangy syrah well suited for a fine meal.
88 points $10.99 Best Buy
Cline 2016  Roussanne-Marsanne
88 points
$12.99
Best Buy
Light golden yellow color. Aromas and flavors of dried lime and lemon rind with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a snappy finish manifesting elements of pear seeds and overripe pineapple with soft, fruit tannins. A plush and zippy white with great versatility.
88 points $12.99 Best Buy
Fazeli Cellars 2012 Mehregan Temecula Valley
88 points
$35
Dusty light garnet color. Aromas of sliced cherry, worn leather, and black tea with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an effortless, medium-length raspberry vinaigrette and tar finish with chewy tannins and a suggestion of oak flavor. A robust grenache for turkey.
Corner 103 2014  Grenache
88 points
$40
Dusty garnet color. Spicy aromas of chocolate taffy, fruitcake, gingerbread, and fresh cigarettes with a slightly chewy, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, breezy cinnamon cherry fruit leather and resin finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A fuller bodied grenache for robust pairings.
Ledson 2014 Mes Trois Amours Sonoma Valley
88 points
$48
Dusty violet color. Elegant aromas and flavors of black pepper, savory spices, black cherry, and boysenberry with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a polished, appealing, medium-length finish with well-integrated, medium tannins and light oak flavor.
Lucky Dogg 2016 Bradys Blend Syrah
87 points
Garnet color. Meaty aromas of fresh cut grass, borscht, maple bacon donuts, lacquered veneer, and chocolate covered berries with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, breezy finish with moderate oak flavor. A distinctive and food-friendly syrah.
Cline 2016  Viognier
87 points
$10.99
Best Buy
Golden straw color. Fruity aromas of ripe pears and dried pineapple and starfruit with a satiny, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a medium-length green peppercorns finish with soft tannins. A juicy and fruit-forward Viognier with plenty of pep.
87 points $10.99 Best Buy
Rock Wall 2016 Uncle Rogets Rosé Yolo County
87 points
$18
Pale salmon orange color. Fruity aromas and flavors of pomegranate, fruit punch, mango candies, and kiwi with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a breezy finish revealing accents of pink peppercorns and watermelon with soft, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. A craveable, juicy rose for invoking summertime.
Valley Road Vineyards 2015  Viognier
87 points
$26.95
Light gold color. Fruity aromas of fruit cocktail and tinned apricot with a satiny, bright, dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, quick nutmeg finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A breezy quaffer for anytime sipping or weeknight meals.
87 points $26.95
Tarara 2016  Viognier
87 points
$30
Yellow straw color. Interesting aromas and flavors of iced tea, vanilla, and jasmine with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy finish with shades of dried apricot and clean linen with silky tannins and a suggestion of oak flavor. A distinctive Viognier that will be fun to pair with.
Monte De Oro 2014 Monte de Oro Vineyard Estate Grown Petite Sirah
87 points
$36
Black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of latex, blackberry jam, raisin toast, and honey with a tannic, crisp, dry full body and a hot, medium-long finish with accents of black pepper with harsh tannins and heavy oak flavor. An American oak bomb to cellar.
Rock Wall 2015 Mamas Reserve White Blend California
87 points
$40
Medium golden yellow color. Fruity aromas and flavors of pressed apples, juicy mango, anise candies, papaya, and key lime with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, medium-length finish evoking notes of labnah with no oak flavor. A medium-bodied white for sipping and pairing.
Dusted Valley 2015 Stone Tree Vineyard Petite Sirah
87 points
$42
Black violet color. Aromas of high heat nut oils, dusty dried berries, and maria cookies with a slightly chewy, crisp, dryish medium-to-full body and a smooth, carefree cinnamon coffee cake and blackberry nutrigrain bar finish with woody tannins and moderate oak flavor. A solid, even Petit Sirah.
Kagan Cellars 2015 Grist Vineyard Syrah
87 points
$54
Black garnet color. Peppery aroma of and with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a polished, medium-length berry skins, anise, and black pepper finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A food-friendly syrah that should blossom with cellar time.
Pebble 2016  Viognier
86 points
$17.99
Pale golden straw color. Aromas of fresh green apples and red licorice with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a medium pears and shortbread finish with soft tannins. A mild and fruity Viognier that will be a crowd-pleaser.
86 points $17.99
San Simeon 2016 Stefano Vineyard Estate Reserve Viognier
86 points
$20
Straw green color. Aromas and flavors of vanilla fondant, pear and goat cheese omelet, and dried apple chips with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light body and a breezy finish conveying touches of lemon and tangerine zest with fine, fruit tannins. A bright Viognier for effortless pairings.
Crux Winery 2016 GSM Rosé Russian River Valley
86 points
$24
Light salmon orange color. Fruity aromas and flavors of orange jell-o, fresh cranberry sauce, and red apples with a satiny, racy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, breezy finish with fine, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. A powerful backbone of acidity makes this a solid dinner rose.
Boneyard 2015 Adventure Farm Vineyard Roller Coasters & Water Slides Viognier
86 points
$30
Golden straw color. Aromas of lemon curd, golden apples, tangerine zest, and butter with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a silky, brisk finish. A chardonnay-like Viognier with a buttery palate.
Tarara 2015  Viognier
86 points
$30
Gold color. Aromas and flavors of caramelized tropical fruits, butterscotch, cashew butter, and maria cookies with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a snappy finish that presents accents of lemon curd and citrus pith. A full-bodied, plush Viognier for rich dishes; aerate or decant prior to serving.
Alder Springs 2013 Apex 39 Single Vineyard Mendocino
86 points
$39
Medium golden yellow color. Aromas of peach pit, oregano, green papaya, and honeydew melon with a supple, tangy, dry medium body and a tingling, medium-length lemon tisane finish with soft tannins. A super-bright white blend; aerate well and then sip with salmon.
Valley Road Vineyards 2015 Whitehall Viognier
85 points
$26.95
Light gold color. Aromas of apple chips, dried bouquet, and dried lime with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, brisk finish with silky tannins. An easy-going Viognier.
85 points $26.95
Cline 2015 Small Berry Mourvedre
85 points
$70
Nearly opaque violet color. Aromas of blackberry bramble, fernet, and menthol with a soft, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a nuanced, medium-length dried boysenberry, spearmint, angelica root, and espresso crema finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A hugely herbal Mourvedre that offers endless mystery and intrigue.
Horton Vineyards NV Sparkling Viognier
84 points
$30
Straw color. Fruity aromas of lemon zest, lime, baked apricot, hazelnut studded brioche, and pineapple with a silky, lively, effervescent, dryish light body and a cheery lime popsicle finish with fine tannins and no oak flavor. A citrusy and bright sparkler with great nutty accents.
2Hawk 2016  Grenache
83 points
$32
Dark violet color. Aromas and flavors of gelatin and blueberry cobbler with a slightly chewy, bright, dry medium body and a tingling, brisk finish with crunchy tannins. An anytime quaffer.
Boneyard 2015 Honah Lee Vineyard Magic Dragons Viognier
81 points
$30
Straw color. Aromas and flavors of matchstick, fallen pear, and egg salad with a satiny, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a brisk finish. An everyday quaffer.
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