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NV Valdespino Sherry Palo Cortado Viejo C.P., Spain, Jerez, Wine Review

Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$36.00USD

This was a controversial wine.  Everyone tasting it agreed the nose was amazing, but the crowd was split on the palate.  For me, this was fantastic.  The average age of the vines used is 25 years although it carries no certification.  It is refreshed regularly with some of top Soleras from both Fino and Amontillado of Valdespino.  It is the color of iced tea.  The nose is oxidized showing a nice nuttiness.  There is also caramel, salt, and just a slight orange peel quality.  Very complex.  On the palate, this is dry as a bone.  Nutty with caramel, slight vanilla, a bit of smoke and slight w

NV Barbadillo Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Amontillado Medium Dry, Spain, Jerez, Wine Review

Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$12.00USD

This is interesting as it is off dry or demi-sec or what they call Medium Dry.  The wine was aged for three years before loosing the "Flor" due to not being refreshed.  Light copper in color.  There is some volatile acidity on the nose which brings up a lot of nice qualities but also some alcohol.  The wine is nutty with milk chocolate notes and also a bit of "woody" apple cider.  On the palate, this is smooth and the alcohol does not show.  It is sweet though not overtly.  The finish is bitter-sweet.  This drinks well on its own but might be difficult to place with food.  Probably best for

NV Williams & Humbert Collection Don Zoilo Manzanilla Sherry, Spain, Jerez, Wine Review

Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$29.00USD

This is similar to a Fino, that is grown under a Flor, but a bit inland from Jerez.  Slightly pink/gold in color, clear and bright.  The nose is slightly nutty with a nice salinity.  There is also a slight apple cider note.  On the palate, this is very smooth.  Slight red apples with a bit of warmth and bitterness.  It does not have a lot of acidity.  The finish is a bit bitter.  The wine is slightly oxidized but not bad.  It begs for salty food.  Drink over the next year or two.  

2018 Bodegas Viña Nora Albariño Rías Baixas Nora, Spain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$17.00USD

Light silver/gold in color.  The nose has lots of minerality, crushed shells and some lemon.  Also a bit steely.  On the palate, this is crisp and lean.  Steely with lots of minerality/chalk.  Just a hint of viscosity on the midpalate.  Clean finish.  This would work well with seafood or other lighter foods.  Nice for summer sipping,  Ranges in price from $13 to $18.  Drink now.  

2018 Jaffurs Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

With Daniel Green now firmly in charge of the winery, it was good to see that the quality of these wines is just as good as ever.  The basic Jaffurs Syrah has long been an excellent value in warmer climate Syrah.  This one is no exception.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper and roasted meats with slight violets.  On the palate, this is full bodied with a lush but lively texture.  Juicy black raspberry fruit.  Depth.  Medium tannins.  Nice finish.  This will continue to get better for five to seven more years and be good for another ten after that.  It will work

2012 Jaffurs Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A-

Wow, did this bottle exceed expectations (and they were pretty high).  It really grabs one's attention.  Though still on the young side, it is drinking great.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is big with black raspberries, roasted meats, slight clove, plums and just a bit of graphite.  Full bodied.  Rich texture.  Deep and complex.  Juicy acidity.  Lots of black raspberry fruit with underlying roasted meats and herbs.  Long finish.  This seems like it is closing in on peak.  Not sure if it gets better but should easily do another ten years at this level.  Whether to open or ho

2017 Sandlands Chenin Blanc Lodi, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Sandlands makes my favorite US Chanin Blanc.  That might not be an impressive statement, but there are some great ones and this one competes with any anywhere.  Light golden in color.  The nose is very nice (if not served too cold) with almonds, orange peel, minerals and slight lemon.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, there is a nice depth.  The almonds and orange peel carry thru with a slight waxy note.  Good energy.  Nice balance.  Long finish.  This seems like it should improve a bit with age and should drink well for seven to ten years (and quite possibly more).  It will work well with li

2016 Château d'Epiré Savennières Le Hu Boyau, France, Loire, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

I love Chenin Blanc and some of my favorites come from the Loire Valley in France.  This is an excellent wine.  It was $35 on release.  Golden in color.  The nose is mostly about minerality although there is a touch or orange peel.  Very clean.  On the palate, this has a light sweetness to it.  Lots of minerality with good acidity.  It has a lot of complexity even at this young age.  Quite concentrated.  Consumed over three nights, it was best on night three.  This should easily last a couple more decades.  It will go well with lighter foods or foul and also consider Thai or similar cuisine

NV Korbel Brut California Champagne, USA, Wine Review

Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$12.00USD

This is one of those wines that is allowed to call itself Champagne as it is grandfathered in for the use of the name.  Of course, champagne is a region in France but this is from California.  This is one of the most popular sparkling wines sold in the US.  Ceartainly marketing and price have a lot to do with that, but it is a solid wine and, especially if being used for Mimosas or other mixed drinks, it is a reasonable alternative.  Light golden in color.  The nose is steely with lemon/lime notes.  A nice head of medium sized bubbles.  On the palate, this drinks easy.  Clean, just a hint o

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