January 2012 Newsletter

Blue Reviews EXTRA!

By: Anthony Dias Blue
I taste more than 6,000 wines per year. While only a small number of these can be reviewed in the print edition of THE TASTING PANEL, look for these Blue Reviews EXTRA! wines each month here on our website. Producers and importers may use the scores and tasting notes in their sales materials, or link to this page from their websites. —Anthony Dias Blue


90 Curtis Winery 2010 Heritage Blanc, Firestone Vineyard, Santa Barbara County ($20)
Bright, clean and juicy with creamy texture and smooth texture; ripe pear and melon with long, lush flavors and a classic finish; 60% Viognier, 40% Roussanne.

90 Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Viognier, The Estates, Clifton Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington ($20)

Slightly spritzy and showing aromatics, minerals, vanilla and smooth peach; charming and floral with a long finish.

90 Peju 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley ($22)

Bright and juicy with tangy citrus and pineapple; fresh, balanced and generous with vibrant flavors and a long, lively finish.

90 Curtis Winery 2010 Estate Viognier, Santa Ynez Valley ($25)
Silky and minerally with lovely aromatics and peach fruit; creamy texture and lovely acid structure; elegant and balanced with a long finish.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2009 Estate Sauvignon Blanc DCV3, Dry Creek Valley ($25)

Tangy and fresh with minerals, spice and lovely citrus fruit; racy and bright with complexity and finesse.

92 Tablas Creek 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, Paso Robles ($40)
Dense and lush with creamy texture and notes of honeysuckle, spice and white peach; minerally, elegant and showing apple notes and lively finesse; charming and masterful. 62% Roussanne, 26% Grenache Blanc, 12% Picpoul Blanc.

90 Solomon Hills 2009 Chardonnay, Solomon Hills Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley ($43)
Fresh, silky and ripe with a core of juicy acidity; rich, minerally and smooth with notes of spice and vanilla; long and balanced.

91 Chalk Hill 2008 Botrytised Semillon, Russian River Valley ($45)
Rich and creamy with honey, apricot and butterscotch; lush, dense and seamless; concentrated and lovely. 


Château de Beaucastel 2009 Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel, France ($25)

Smooth and silky with juicy black raspberry, cassis and notes of pepper, earth and lavender; generous, long and charming; Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault, Sryah.

91 Eponymous 2009 Syrah, Napa Valley ($34)
Smooth and juicy with tangy acidity and bright black raspberry and cherry fruit; fresh, balanced and long; a complete package.

90 Clayhouse Wines 2009 Tannat, Red Cedar Vineyard, Paso Robles ($35)
Juicy and bright with tangy black raspberry and plum; racy, tart and nervy; long and fresh; balanced and charming; this variety may have a future in California.

90 Donati Family Vineyard 2008 Ezio, Paicines ($35)
Donati is the only brand located in Central California's Paicines AVA. Bright, clean and edgy with crisp flavors of plum, raspberry and spice; nervy and balanced with good depth and racy flavors; juicy and long. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec. 

90 Hess Collection 2008 19 Block Cuvée, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley ($36)
Smooth and dense with cherry, blackberry and vanilla; lush, deep and complex with subtle herbs and spice; long and balanced; 69% CS, 13% Malbec, 8% Merlot, 8% Syrah, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot.

91 Longoria Wines 2009 Pinot Noir, Fe Ciega Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills ($48)

Ripe, dense and concentrated with deep black cherry and plum; rich and spicy with smooth texture and a long, earthy finish. 

91 Blackbird Vineyards 2009 Arise, Napa Valley ($50)
Ripe, dense and showing plum, cassis and blueberry with notes of cocoa and spice; smooth, sweet toasted oak and lovely, lush texture; generous and balanced with depth and good length; 53% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Fattoria La Valentina 2006 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Bellovedere, Italy ($50)

Immense and luscious with great structure and lovely plum and cassis fruit; seamless, generous, aromatic and intense; lovely now but give it a year or two to reach its potential.

90 Testarossa Winery 2009 Syrah, Garys' Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands ($54)
Deep and juicy with dark plum, spice and appealing minerality; tangy white pepper and exotic spice; smooth, long and balanced.

93 Graham's 2009 Vintage Port, Malvedos, Portugal ($58)
Rich jammy nose; silky, spiced with lush vanilla and ripe, sweet black cherry and cocoa; creamy, smooth and deep with intensity, tangy acidity and finesse; totally drinkable now but built to age. 

91 Dow 2009 Vintage Port, Quinta Senhora da Ribeira, Portugal ($60)
Spicy nose; silky texture and sweet, ripe plum, cherry and blackberry with tangy acidity and spice; dense, earthy and rich with balance and depth; good now, better in a few years; 40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 20% Vinha Velha.

90 Montes Wines 2007 Kaiken Malbec, Mai, Mendoza, Argentina ($85)
Concentrated and rich with muscular flavors of plum, jam and spice; notes of chocolate and vanilla oak; spicy, and intense; balanced and long.

91 St. Supéry 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dollarhide Vineyard, Napa Valley ($85)
Smooth and silky with ripe blackberry fruit with notes of vanilla, chocolate and espresso; supple, long and complex with style and finesse.

94 Oakville Ranch 2007 Cabernet Franc, Robert's Blend, Napa Valley ($92)
Dark and concentrated with rich plum, blueberry, toasty cassis and smoke; opulent, generous and supple with great depth and a long, intense finish; quite impressive with a long aging potential;10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

93 Beaulieu Vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Georges De Latour Private Reserve, Napa Valley ($115)
A definite Private Reserve; elegant and rich with fine balance and lovely plum, cherry and notes of black tea; lush, supple and balanced with hints of chocolate and licorice on the finish; a classic. 


Domaine du Tariquet 2010 Ugni Blanc - Colombard Classic, VDP des Côtes de Gascogne, France ($9)

Fresh and tangy with crisp green apple and lively citrus; silky and racy with nerve and style; long and bracing; 70% Ugni  Blanc, 30% Colombard.

89 Hugel & Fils 2009 Pinot Blanc Cuvée Les Amours, Alsace ($11)
Bright and juicy with tangy, bracing acidity and lively, fresh fruit; crisp and pure with great balance and length. 

90 Rio Real 2008 Reserva, Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal ($13)
Dark and juicy with concentration and depth; plum, blackberry and spice with notes of chocolate and mocha; rich, supple and intense; long and impressive; 40% Syrah, 35% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz.

88 Steele Wines 2009 Shooting Star Blaufränkisch, Blue Franc, Washington ($14)
Tangy, juicy and fresh with lively plum, spice and lively fruit; clean, balanced and appealing.

88 Santadi 2010 Villa Solais Vermentino di Sardegna, Italy ($14)
Smooth and lush with creamy texture and bright pear fruit; aromatic, clean and fresh with nice depth. 

88 Gauchezco 2011 Torrontès, Salta, Argentina ($14)
Aromatic, juicy and crisp with bright, spicy fruit and tangy acidity; fresh and charming. 

88 Simonsig 2008 Pinotage, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($15)
Silky and bright with tangy cherry and nice spice; fresh, juicy and lively with clean, interesting flavors. 

89 Dry Creek Vineyard 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley ($16)
Juicy and fresh with tangy citrus and nice spice; lively, crisp and vibrant.

89 Matchbook 2007 Tinto Rey, California ($17)
Tangy and fresh with racy cherry and blackberry fruit; spicy, dense and smooth with lively acidity; balanced and clean; 44% Tempranillo, 36% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Graciano, 2% Petite Sirah.

Bodegas Osborne NV seven, Spain ($18 / 3 liter Octavin)

A seven-variety blend (25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Tempranillo, 8% Grenache, 8% Graciano); smooth and juicy with fresh black raspberry and cherry fruit; tangy, bright and fresh with a long, racy finish; balanced and lively:

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