New Releases from California’s Blue Rock Vineyard 2015-2016

These three new releases from Blue Rock Vineyard include their Baby Blue White, a delicious Bordeaux blend, a  barrel fermented Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast, and  Baby Blue, a delicious and easy drinking red blend, one of Blue Rock’ s flagship wines.  The wines were crafted by Kent Humphry, Blue Rock’s new winemaker who joined the team a little over a year ago. Continue reading

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The Farm Winery: 2014 New Releases from Paso Robles

The Farm Winery is one of a growing number of  new boutique wineries  in the Paso Robles AVA  that are producing limited quantities of outstanding handcrafted wines.  The winery is owned and operated by old friends and Stanford Business School alumni Jim Madsen and renowned Argentine winemaker Santiago Achaval, whom we met on one of our Argentina wine trips. The Farm Winery launched operations in 2009. After a long search, Jim and Santiago ended up negotiating long term-leases of several vineyards located in the westside hills of Paso Robles. These vineyards have mainly calcareous soils at an average  altitude of between 1700 and 1900 feet and are exposed to cool ocean winds, resulting in wide diurnal  temperature variations that contribute to high quality fruit. Yields are kept very low at 1.5-2.0 tons/acre, among the lowest in Paso Robles, and are reflected in the wines’  concentration of flavors. Continue reading

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Barolo and Barbaresco: Recent Tastings from Top Producers

The Langhe offers ideal growing conditions for Nebbiolo, and the producers we review here are among the finest at crafting both Barolo and Barbaresco.  Not only do they source from the finest vineyards in the region, they apply great talent and skill in their winemaking.  Most noteworthy is the manner in which they craft wines that display the unique characteristics of the vineyards from which they are sourced.  Their wines combine power and elegance and offer the ideal qualities for pairing with fine Italian cuisine. Continue reading

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Introduction to the Wines of Brazil

We recently had the opportunity to taste several Brazilian wines provided to us by Wines of Brazil. Brazilian wines are not as well known as those of Chile and Argentina, but it has been gradually gaining international recognition, especially for its sparkling wines. Most wine production is concentrated in the higher elevations of Southern Brazil, especially in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. All of the wines reviewed here come from the Serra Gaúcha growing region of Rio Grande do Sul (see map below). Continue reading

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New Releases from Francis Coppola, Bee’s Box and Virginia Dare

We have been reviewing Francis Coppola’s wines for several years now and are pleased to report steady improvements in the quality of winemaking under Corey Beck.  The improvements have been the result of better sourcing of grapes from Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley,  and through out California.  Winemaking reveals restraint in both extraction and the use of oak, leading to wines of excellent balance and refinement. Continue reading

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Collio’s Russiz Superiore: New Releases

Russiz Superiore is one of Collio’s most storied, family estates, and its wines are some of the most esteemed of Italy. We visited the estate and met with owner and winemaker Roberto Felluga while preparing our just-published Report #63 The Wines of Friuli: Collio’s Special Whites. In this article, we review the portfolio of Russiz Superiore wines. Continue reading

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Domaine Naturaliste of Australia’s Margaret River: New Releases

It’s been several years since we tasted wines in Australia’s Margaret River region, so when we learned that winemaker Bruce Dukes was visiting Washington DC we jumped at the chance to sit down with him to taste his wines. Bruce is a UC Davis graduate with decades of winemaking experience, including several years at Francis Ford Coppola’s Niebaum-Coppola winery in California and the Pierro Winery in Australia. As our tasting notes below show, he is a talented winemaker who crafts very flavorful and balanced wines. Continue reading

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Beaujolais Climat Wines from Moulin-à-Vent: New Releases

Moulin-à-Vent is the most famous wine growing region of Beaujolais. Last month we traveled to Beaujolais to participate in a tasting of the current releases, including wines made from specific geographic areas called climats in addition to Moulin-à-Vent blends. These climat-specific wines are the focus of this review article. Earlier vintages of many of these wines were also covered in our Report #58 Beaujolais in Transition. Continue reading

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Bulgariana: Attractive Premium Wines from Bulgaria

Although Bulgaria has been making wine for thousands of years,  the wines of Bulgaria are not widely known in the US—but they should be.  The post-Soviet era has given rise to a growing number of excellent wineries which are producing attractive premium wines. While many of these wines are not yet imported, several are reaching our shores and they are noteworthy for their quality and attractive prices. Continue reading

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Prosecco, Prosecco Superiore, & Cartizze: Incredible Values from the Best Producers

Sales of Prosecco are exploding in the US, UK, Italy, and everywhere else where consumers seek sparkling wine at an affordable price. In this article, we review the best of the current releases.  Those who can afford to drink Champagne may turn their noses up at Prosecco, but its rising sales confirm its wide appeal to consumers. There is a lot of ordinary Prosecco in the marketplace, but Prosecco is also moving up scale with terroir and single vineyard bottlings and more brut, as opposed to dry and extra dry, offerings. Continue reading

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