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Reviews for 2019

July 2019 - US Rhone Varietals

July 2019 - US Rhone Varietals
This month's Wine feature is US Rhone Varietals Wines

US Rhone Varietals Reviews

San Simeon 2015 Estate Reserve Petite Sirah
95 points
$28
Black garnet color. Aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, blistered berries, hazelnut, sticky date pudding, toffee, and gardenia with a chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, complex, long finish with notes of smoke with grippy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A dense petite Syrah that offers a full spectrum of flavors in a balanced, concentrated package.
Basalt Cellars 2015 GSM Red Blend Columbia Valley
94 points
$36
Dusty black violet color. Aromas and flavors of ripe berry melange and pie crusts with a velvety, fruity medium-full body and a smooth, complex, long finish with touches of chocolate genache, cured meats, salted caramel, and violet with moderate oak flavor. A delightful red that’s bursting at the seams with ripe fruit and meaty Syrah; will be well-loved.
Crux Winery 2015  Grenache
94 points
$45
Brown brick red color. Aromas of red licorice, dark chocolate, toasted pine nuts, and bacon with a slightly chewy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a polished, complex, long bread crumbs, hazelnut creme, fresh herbs, and anise finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. Sweet aromas perfectly compliment a dry and lip-smackingly juicy palate; a serious Grenache that will be welcomed by all at the table.
Crux Winery 2015 GSM Red Blend Russian River Valley
94 points
$45
Dusty ruby color. Aromas of red velvet cake, ripe plum, and cherry sorbet with a round, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length ripe berries, sage, spiced apple, black tea, licorice, and black pepper finish with moderate oak flavor. A charming Rhone Varietal Blend with excellent food affinity; lengthy.
Crux Winery 2014  Petite Sirah
93 points
$45
Black violet color. Aromas and flavors of wild raspberry, blackberry, roasted figs and dates, candied violet petals, and dark chocolate with a round, vibrant, fruity full body and a complex, long finish with accents of rose petal and coconut with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak flavor. A delicious and well-integrated Petite Syrah that is drinking very well now and will stand the test of time.
Crux Winery 2015  Syrah
92 points
$40
Black violet color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate covered berries, toasted nuts, kalamata olive, floral honey, eucalyptus, and cafe latte with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity full body and a smooth, interesting, long finish with moderate oak flavor. An enormous Syrah with big impact; ripe, toasty, rich and lengthy.
Ledson 2015 Estate Old Vine Syrah
92 points
$46
Dark black violet color. Aromas and flavors of grilled blackberry, vanilla pound cake, cassis jam, and bacon with a round, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a smooth, compelling, medium-long finish that shows notes of cola with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A tasty Syrah with great acidity; always big but never heavy.
Le Vigne 2016 Ame de la Vigne Red Blend Paso Robles
92 points
$47
Ruby black color. Aromas of baked blackberry, black cassis, licorice, vanilla, and graham cracker crust with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and an effortless, subtle, long roasted dates, caramel, toasted hazelnut, marinated strawberry, curry, and thyme finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A dense and chewy Rhone blend full of nuance in every nook and cranny.
Michael Gill Cellars 2017 Black Tie Estate Bottled Alicante Bouchet
92 points
$52
Deep purple color. Herbal aromas and flavors of ripe mulberry, tobacco, grape leaves, resin, and alpine herbs with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, delightful, medium-long finish with impressions of blueberry preserves, coriander, black pepper, and vanilla. A charmingly herbal and rustic Alicante Bouschet that will bewitch the open-minded and unconventional set.
Lobo 2016 Howl Wulff Vineyards Custom Red Blend Napa Valley
92 points
$65
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of baked fruit tart, sweet pea blossom, silky vanilla cream, and aloe with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, intricate, medium-long finish that exhibits accents of cafe au lait with moderate oak flavor. A beautifully restrained Napa red that offers elegant refinement in a glass.
Michael Gill Cellars 2016 Black Tie Estate Bottled Syrah
92 points
$68
Black garnet color. Aromas of roasted figs, strawberry jam, bacon-wrapped dates, balsamic glaze, and sarsaparilla with a slightly chewy, vibrant, fruity full body and a stimulating, medium-long aniseed finish with moderate oak flavor. An outgoing hot-climate Syrah that pleases the palate with jammy fruit and earthy charm.
Basalt Cellars 2016  Syrah
91 points
$36
Black violet color. Aromas of black tea, ripe blackberry, and game with a velvety, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a seamless, interesting, medium-length blueberry pie, chocolate silk, quince, and roasted nuts finish with moderate oak flavor. A skillfully constructed Syrah with terrific integration and piles of fruity and savory appeal.
Waving Tree NV Rivergazer Red Blend Columbia Valley
91 points
$40
Dark brick red color. Aromas and flavors of mulberry, terra cotta, espresso, and roots and herbs with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, engaging, medium-length finish conveying accents of sun dried tomato, black licorice, ground black pepper, and milk chocolate with moderate oak flavor. A mature, spicy Rhône blend that doesn’t skimp on fruit.
Maryhill 2016 Kiona Vineyards Petite Sirah
91 points
$42
Black violet color. Aromas of pencil shavings, plump figs and dates, and jerk spices with a chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long blueberry pie finish with firm tannins and heavy oak flavor. Big oak and sturdy tannins give this wine the oomph it will need to reach its fullest potential in the cellar.
Michael Gill Cellars 2018 Estate Bottled Counoise
91 points
$48
Bright ruby color. Aromas and flavors of cranberry, rose hips, fresh oregano, cumin, and bay with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long finish imparting notes of watermelon with rind and paprika with no oak flavor. A fresh, juicy, joyful wine with a great sense of authenticity; a terrific summer pick.
Maryhill 2017  Viognier
90 points
$19
Straw color. Aromas of honeysuckle, lychee, peach yogurt, white tea, and apricot with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a sleek, appealing, medium-length dried pear, sunflower, and buttered toast finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A pure, floral Viognier that will serve as an elegant summer dinner pairing.
Le Vigne 2016  Petite Sirah
90 points
$26
Black ruby color. Fruity aromas of blackberry jam and raspberry tart with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a tingling, engaging, medium-length dark chocolate, blackened pie crust, and graphite finish with heavy oak flavor. A nice balance of fruit and oak will appeal to lovers of big wine; drink now with rich beef or venison.
Akash Winery 2016  Petite Sirah
90 points
$52
Indigo color. Aromas and flavors of black licorice, pressed flowers, ripe cantaloupe, honey, and raisin with a lightly tannic, prickly, dry full body and a peppery, appealing, medium-length finish with notes of champagne vinaigrette, sun dried tomato, and coconut. A flamboyant and wildly aromatic Petite Syrah.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietors Reserve Elephant Mountain Vineyards Syrah
89 points
$38
Garnet color. Aromas of ripe plum, peppercorns, and tobacco leaf with a round, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a warming, delightful, medium-long ripe berries, chocolate muffin, lemon zest, and clove finish with well-integrated, grippy tannins and light oak flavor. A big and bold Syrah; unabashedly fruity and delicious.
Maryhill 2016 McKinley Springs Vineyard Cinsault
89 points
$42
Ruby garnet color. Toasty aromas and flavors of berry preserves, baklava, milk chocolate, and hazelnut with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long finish with nuances of fresh dill, roasted coffee, and toffee. A lovingly oaked cinsault with a really nice range of roasty flavors; interesting and easy to love.
Maryhill 2016 Proprietors Reserve Grenache
89 points
$42
Ruby color. Fruity aromas of raspberry jam, chocolate cake, eucalyptus, and orange marmalade with a satiny, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, medium-length white chocolate genache finish. A fresh, fruity grenache with wide appeal.
Wildwood Oak Winery 2016 Abba Mokelumne River Syrah
89 points
$45
Violet color. Aromas of cooked fruit, fruitcake, marzipan, and matcha with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a warming, stimulating, medium-length wet stone and black olive finish with moderate oak flavor. A port-like Syrah that will be divine with blue cheeses and roast pork with fruits.
Canihan Family 2015 Exuberance Syrah
89 points
$55
Nearly opaque black violet color. Aromas and flavors of lingonberry preserves, honey-drizzled bacon, and vanilla with a satiny, crisp, fruity full body and a stimulating, medium-to-long finish revealing accents of raspberry preserves, dark chocolate, carob cookie, and burnt ends. A big inky Syrah for grilled meats.
Cline 2018  Viognier
88 points
$10.99
Best Buy
Straw color. Aromas of ripe pear, white peach, ripe cantaloupe with granola, jasmine, and coconut cream with a lively, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length toasted pound cake, custard, and crushed pineapple finish with moderate oak flavor. A fresh and fruity Viognier; fuller-bodied but lovely for the warmer months.
88 points $10.99 Best Buy
Grande River Vineyards 2016 Estate Bottled Syrah
88 points
$17.99
Ruby black color. Aromas and flavors of herbal tea, cranberry sauce, ripe strawberry, struck match, and pine with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, medium-length finish evoking elements of pie crusts, mixed peppercorns, and oregano with light oak flavor. A captivating regional wine with great structure and food-friendly style.
88 points $17.99
Biltmore Estate 2018 Limited Release Roussanne
88 points
$19
Yellow straw color. Aromas of apricot pie, sweet cream, and sweet zucchini bread with a satiny, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, crisp lemon tea and whipped cream finish with soft, silky tannins and moderate oak flavor. A plush and welcoming Roussanne that glides across the palate.
Maryhill 2017 Proprietors Reserve McKinley Springs Vineyard Roussanne
88 points
$22
Yellow straw color. Aromas of wafer creme cookies, graham cracker crust, and creme brulee with a silky, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, medium-length nuts in caramel, butter-poached pears, and dried mango finish with moderate oak flavor. A silky-smooth and toasty roussanne.
Biltmore Estate 2017 Limited Release Petite Sirah
88 points
$24
Black ruby color. Spicy aromas and flavors of ripe tomato, ginger, and cranberry sauce with a satiny, vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a peppery, captivating, medium-length finish manifesting impressions of black tea and lingonberry. An atypically juicy Petite Sirah that will play very well at the table.
Maryhill 2016 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah
88 points
$38
Black garnet color. Aromas of chocolate silk pie, ghee, and parchment with a coarse, medium-to-full body and a medium-to-long charred oak, baking chocolate, and no. 2 pencil finish. A cellarable Syrah with tight tannins; drink 2024 and on.
Maryhill 2016 McKinley Springs Vineyard Syrah
88 points
$38
Dusty garnet color. Aromas of cacao nibs, apple-cinnamon oatmeal, dried berries, turmeric, and aniseed with a slightly chewy, crisp, fruity full body and a polished, captivating, long milk chocolate, tea with cream and sugar, pound cake, and nutmeg finish with chewy tannins and heavy oak flavor. A creamy, oak-driven Syrah for rich and decadent meals.
Maryhill 2016 McKinley Springs Vineyard Mourvedre
88 points
$38
Dusty ruby color. Aromas of raspberry, red plum, pencil shavings, blood orange, and charcoal with a satiny, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, brisk plum tart, cinnamon, and thyme finish. Pinot Noir lovers will find a palate-pleasing alternative in this Horse Heaven Hills Mourvedre.
Maryhill 2016 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Mourvedre
88 points
$42
Dusty ruby color. Aromas of forest fruit and black tea with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, cheery pine nuts, paprika, pear, and plum tart finish. A nicely restrained yet fruity Mourvedre in an old world style.
Falkner 2016  Syrah
88 points
$44.95
Dusty garnet color. Aromas of cherry pastry, banana pie, saffron, cured meats, and heirloom tomato with a slightly chewy, vibrant, dryish medium-full body and a delightful, medium-long terra cotta, carob, and raspberry leaf finish with earthy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A distinctive Syrah with a food-friendly style; pair away.
88 points $44.95
Biltmore Estate 2017  Syrah
87 points
$19
Dusty deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of blueberry muffin, lavender, and granola with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, brisk finish that presents elements of berries on vanilla custard with light oak flavor. A fruit-forward Syrah; approachable and juicy.
Frey 2015 Biodynamic Syrah
87 points
$20
Dusty dark violet color. Aromas of blueberry, charcoal, spray roses, and peppercorns with a lightly tannic, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a graceful, captivating, medium-length pastry crust and fruit leather finish. A bold Syrah with a nice sense of balance.
Lawer Estates 2017 Betsys Vineyard Viognier
87 points
$28
Yellow straw color. Aromas of bosc pear, dried apricot, turkish delight, and magnolia with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light body and a breezy ripe pineapple and white tea finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A light and airy Viognier for summer pairings.
Château Élan 2017 Fingerprint Collection Grenache
87 points
$60
Brick red color. Rustic aromas of marinated beets and dried fruits in milk chocolate with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a silky, interesting, medium-length pomegranate, licorice, and cocoa powder finish. A somewhat Port-like Grenache with great fruity character and pop of juicy acidity; pair with blue cheeses.
Frey 2016 Organic Syrah
86 points
$15
Best Buy
Dusty violet color. Aromas of black plum, blackberry cobbler, figs, and game with a chewy, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and an effortless, medium-length black pepper, cinnamon, and chocolate finish with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A chewy Syrah for the table.
86 points $15 Best Buy
Biltmore Estate 2018 Limited Release Marsanne
86 points
$19
Straw color. Aromas of white peach, melon, caramel tart, geranium, and toasted coconut with a round, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, charming, medium-long hazelnut creme, sage, and pear nectar finish with light oak flavor. A creamy, toasty Marsanne with an elegant attitude.
Bogle 2016  Petite Sirah
85 points
$12
Black violet color. Aromas and flavors of berry jam, strawberry-rhubarb pie, tobacco, and chocolate chips with a supple, crisp, dryish full body and a delightful, medium-length finish that shows impressions of red and black licorice with well-integrated tannins and moderate oak flavor. A spicy, mouthfilling red that’s never heavy.
Maryhill 2016  Syrah
85 points
$27
Dark deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of cocoa powder, chambord, and vanilla bean with a vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a peppery, delightful, medium-long finish that presents notes of sandalwood with chewy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A rich and toothsome Syrah.
Frey 2016 Organic Viognier
84 points
$15
Light gold color. Aromas of peach kombucha, green beans, cooked papaya, and marzipan with a slightly chewy, bright, dry medium body and a tingling, swift agave nectar, roasted corn, and pineapple shrub finish with leafy tannins and moderate oak flavor. A fruity, funky Viognier that will be best with southwestern fare.
Frey 2016 Organic Petite Sirah
84 points
$15
Deep purple color. Aromas and flavors of green apple, chocolate-carob, and baked fruit with a chewy, crisp, dryish full body and a hot, medium-long finish conveying accents of fruit pith and cedar bark with barky tannins. A chewy somewhat angular Petite Sirah for the boldest dishes.
Ledson 2015 Estate Old Vine Petite Sirah
84 points
$46
Inky black violet color. Aromas of nail polish remover, chocolate cookie, and carnation with a satiny, prickly, dry-yet-fruity full body and a peppery, perplexing, fast plum pie finish. Body and balance are pronounced in this Sonoma Valley fruit and spice driven Petite Sirah.
WineSmith 2017 Bates Ranch Brut Zero Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Grenache
84 points
$60
Golden amber color. Aromas of baked peach and honey butter toast with a slightly chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry light-to-medium body and a medium-length underripe plum, pastry crust, sea salt, and lime zest finish with firm tannins and light oak flavor. A somewhat esoteric, mineral-driven sparkler that could be dreamy with the right dish.
Cline 2018 Estate Grown Viognier
83 points
$12.99
Emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of cooked squash, moss, and epoxy with a supple, bright, dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk finish with impressions of golden apple, cracker jacks, and banana chips with a suggestion of oak flavor. A smooth white quaffer for easy-sipping.
83 points $12.99
Cline 2018 Estate Grown White Blend Sonoma Coast
83 points
$14.99
Yellow straw color. Aromas and flavors of dried apple, toasted oat cereal, iodine, and mint creme candies with a soft, bright, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, brisk finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A solid smooth-sipping Rhone blend that offers plenty of orchard fruit flavors.
83 points $14.99
Grande River Vineyards 2016 Estate Bottled Viognier
83 points
$17.99
Silvery emerald straw color. Aromas and flavors of green apple, geranium, and spring veggies with a round, bright, dryish medium body and a smooth, breezy finish with notes of spanokopita and buttered nuts with moderate oak flavor. A crisp and table-friendly white.
83 points $17.99
Crux Winery 2016  Viognier
83 points
$30
Golden yellow color. Grainy aromas and flavors of orange sherbet, butter, anejo tequila, caramel yogurt, toffee-peanuts, sunflower oil, and corn bread with a lightly tannic, vibrant, dryish medium body and a warming, brisk finish with notes of peanut brittle with heavy oak flavor. A heavily oaked, nutty Viognier for substantial pairings.
Bel Vino NV Panache Reserve Red Blend California
82 points
$39.95
Burnt sienna color. Aromas of pastry crust and dried fruit and granola with a satiny, soft, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, rapid raspberry jam and black pepper finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. An effortless quaffer for weeknight pairings.
82 points $39.95
Frey 2016 Biodynamic Petite Sirah
81 points
$20
Dusty garnet color. Aromas of ripe blackberry, strawberry leaf, hint of violet, pastry crust, and banana leaf with a slightly chewy, crisp, dry full body and a medium-long tobacco and roasted coffee finish with moderate oak flavor. A dense and earthy wine.
WineSmith 2018 Bates Ranch Rosé Grenache
81 points
$30
Pale pink coral color. Aromas of fruit cake, marzipan, kiwi, pickled ginger, and baked peach with a lean, crisp, dry light body and a polished, brisk lemon spritz finish with no oak flavor. A tart rose to serve with a good chill.
Maryhill 2016 Elephant Mountain Vineyards Indira Red Blend Rattlesnake Hills
81 points
$44
Light ruby color. Aromas of struck match and berry sorbet with a lean, soft, dryish light body and a smooth, swift strawberry, rhubarb compote, and tea finish with leafy tannins and no oak flavor. A funky earthy wine for those who don’t like fruity profiles.
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