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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Current Releases of the Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent

Last month we traveled to Beaujolais to taste the new releases from the Moulin-à-Vent Grand Cru. While there we visited the Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent, which is named after the iconic windmill that sits adjacent to its vineyard. We tasted their current releases with Jean-Jacques’ son Edouard and winemaker Brice Laffond.

The Chateau du Moulin-à-Vent dates back to 1732 in its previous incarnation as Chateau des Thorins. Jean-Jacques Parinet purchased the estate in 2009 and has made significant investments in the vineyards and the winery.   Continue reading

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New Releases from José Maria da Fonseca of Portugal

While best known for its Periquita and Lancer’s rose, two enormously successful wines, the Jose Maria da Fonseca  winery produces a large and diversified portfolio of high quality Portuguese table wines.   Domingos Soares Franco is one of Portugal’s most accomplished winemakers,   On his recent visit to Washington DC with importer Palm Bay International, Domingos gave us the  opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with his wonderful wines.  Continue reading

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Gary Farrell: More New Releases 2015 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir From Russian River Valley

Here are more new releases from the Gary Farrell Winery from the 2015 vintage, another great year for the winery and Russian River Valley. As we noted in our earlier reviews, the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir crops were small to moderate in size, but the quality is superb. The Chardonnay Russian River Selection harmoniously blends outstanding fruit from several of Russian River Valley’s top vineyards. The Bacigalupi and Rochioli Vineyards are among the finest we’ve tasted of these two single vineyard wines. The Pinot Noirs are equally outstanding revealing purity of fruit and depth of flavor. The bottlings from the Bien Nacido and Toboni vineyards are especially noteworthy. Continue reading

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Szigeti: Sparkling Wine from Austria

Sektellerei Szigeti is one of Austria’s most important producers of sparkling wine, or sekt, all made using the méthode champenoise, often with extended time on the lees. We recently met up with Peter Szigeti to taste the current releases and to learn about recent developments in Austria’s sparkling wine industry, including the new quality classification that takes effect this year. Our reviews of their current releases are given below. For more on Austrian wine, see Report #25 The Wines of AustriaContinue reading

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Friuli Isonzo: The Wines of Lis Neris

When 4th generation wine grower Alvaro Pecorari assumed management of the family’s San Lorenzo Isontino estate in 1982, he put the focus on quality. Today Lis Neris is widely regarded as one of Friuli’s outstanding wineries and one of the very best in the Friuli Isonzo appellation. The Isonzo Valley, where the commune of San Lorenzo Isontino is located, was formed by glacial melt water and the Isonzo River, which produced its alluvial calcareous gravel and clay soils. The top cuvées are fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and French oak. Most of the wines tasted here came from the very good 2013 and outstanding 2015 vintages. www.lisneris.it

US Importers: Siema Wines and  Regal Wine Imports

This is one of several articles and reports on the wines of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. An in-depth report on the wines of Collio will be published shortly. The following articles are now available on our blog at www.iwinereview.com/blog:

Food and Collio Wine in Friuli

Friuli Wines from Collio: Borgo del Tiglio

Edi Keber’s Collio Bianco from Friuli: 2013-2015

Vie di Romans’ Exciting Friuli White Wines: 2014-15 Continue reading

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Testarossa Pinot Noirs From the 2015 Vintage

This is the second part of our review of Testarossa’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir  releases from the 2015 vintage.  The first part focused on the estate’s excellent Chardonnays; this one focuses exclusively on Pinot Noir and one Meritage.   The Pinot Noirs are mainly sourced from the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA;  others are from the Sta. Rita Hills, Arroyo Grande,  and the Russian River.  Bill Brosseau makes the wines and works closely with Testarossa’s growers.  As with Chardonnay,  Testarossa makes single vineyard Pinot Noirs, single appellation wines blended across vineyards, and California reserve wines that are blended across the state’s best vineyards.

The 2015 Pinot Noirs are first-rate and ready to drink.  We highly recommend them to our readers who appreciate high quality and refined Central Coast California Pinot Noir bottlings. Continue reading

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