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Staff Favorites - Olivia Ragni
2013 Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF) "Nr.7" Sauvignon Blanc Sondagskloof
Review Date: 7-14-2014
I adore this winery, they farm biodynamic, ensuring their estate is lined with indigenous flowers, plants and animals adding to their unique terroir. With high elevation for a cooler climate and a unique topsoil called "fynbos," which gives their wines a distinct vegetal, black olive quality, this Sauv Blanc is killer. It’s more reminiscent of cool weather Sauv Blanc, with crisp acidity, zesty citrus fruits like orange and lime but with a unique green nose with hints of jalapeno, black olive and lemon rind. An excellent, well-done wine, a must-have for 2013.
2013 Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF) "Nr.3 Bergblokke" Sauvignon Blanc Sondagskloof
Review Date: 7-13-2014
The #3 Sauvignon Blanc is their version of a more tropical style Sauv Blanc. It’s quite aromatic with white flower, kiwi and grapefruit and tropical flavors on the palate like passion fruit, honeydew and lemon zest. A very bright, flavor intensive Sauv Blanc with lovely acidity, perfect for those hot summer days.
2013 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 7-11-2014
I have to admit I was expecting something a little fruitier and rounder after tasting the 2012 vintage, but the 2013 is excellent. It’s really well balanced, adding a little earth, spice and tannins. There’s an excellent leafy, brambly quality to this wine that I love, integrated into the cranberry, black cherry and raspberry fruits. A great Pinot and a great vintage from TWR.
2006 Château des Tours Vacqueyras
Review Date: 7-9-2014
With a lovely light red, almost brick color, you can see this wine has seriously developed. The nose reflects its light appearance with bright fruits like fresh cherry, candied orange peel and cranberry. The palate provides flavors of candied fruits with nice acidity for balance, fresh tobacco, cedar and a dry, almost amaro, finish. Open this bottle with pâté or gamey meats.
2013 A.A. Badenhorst "Secateurs" Chenin Blanc Swartland
Review Date: 7-5-2014
Year after year, The Badenhorst Family consistently makes quality value wines, the 2013 vintage might be the most impressive yet. A bit reminiscent of Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, this Chenin expresses aromas of honey, nuts, aloe and lemon grass. Flavors of stone fruits dominate the palate, with apple, pear, and nectarine while great minerality and acidity form a great structured, well balanced and extremely quaffable wine.
2012 Oakridge Local Vineyard Series "Guerin Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley
Review Date: 7-3-2014
Easily one of the best Australian Chards I’ve had in a while. Done in more of an old world style, the Guerin develops a slightly flinty, almondy nose with hints of fresh lemon peel. The palate explodes with high acidity, a bit of a petrol quality and citrus fruits such as lemon, clementine, and orange peel. This certainly exceeds expectations.
2011 Domaine du Pégaü "Cuvée Réservée" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 7-3-2014
This Châteauneuf is a baby, yet has developed some sophisticated characteristics in its short life. On the nose you get whiffs of freshly seared mushrooms, green vegetables, and tomato. Across the palate, flavors of dark plums, anise and chocolate, while sweet tomato, green pepper, tobacco and other tertiary flavors have begun to develop. Buy one to drink now and at least one to cellar; tracking this wine's progress will be a delicious and rewarding task.
2012 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-3-2014
Cherry, spice and everything nice! Silky, chocolaty tannins, fruits reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry, plum, and fresh figs. A crowd pleaser for any hearty, robust meal!
2012 Spellbound California Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 6-19-2014
This very approachable Cabernet shows characteristics of raspberry compote with hints of violet and blueberry. These bold fruit flavors and plush tannins make this Cab a great burger wine. Yeah, a portobello and Swiss burger sounds just right.
2007 Cantina Sociale Copertino Riserva
Review Date: 6-15-2014
Since my first sip of very expensive Copertino years ago, I have been searching for another solid Copertino that I can afford. My search ended a few weeks ago when I drank the Cantina Sociale Copertino. It’s incredible, I can’t believe the value of this wine. Made using the funky grape Negroamaro, this wine is full of earthy-meaty goodness, leather, spice box, plum and figs. Complex, earthy, and robust very reminiscent of my first delicious glass of Copertino.
2013 Domaine Begude Sauvignon Blanc Vin de Pays d'Oc
Review Date: 6-8-2014
While from the south of France, this Sauvignon Blanc is definitely closer to Sancerre in style. Lovely aromas of fresh cut grass, wet stone, melon and peach. A juicy palate of fresh lemon, orange, and nectarine and faint notes of lavender accompany a zippy, dry finish. This wine screams for shellfish!
2013 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 6-6-2014
I love this wine!! It’s refreshing and crisp with sharp acidity and flavors of lemon curd and lime zest accompanied by an almost ocean-like salinity. The Puelles Blanco fits seamlessly with fish dishes or fatty cheeses like a triple crème.
2012 Michel Guignier Morgon Cote du Py "Bio Vitis"
Review Date: 6-2-2014
Full of pronounced notes of black and green teas, crunchy cranberry, cinnamon and an array of exotic spices, this Beaujolais has the right balance of fruit, spice and structure. Delicious on its own or try it with a washed rind cheese like the famed Burgundian Epoisses.
2010 Luca "Laborde Double Select" Syrah Mendoza
Review Date: 5-27-2014
This Argentine Syrah is extremely sexy. A slightly smoky nose, beautiful deep ruby color with flavors of black cherry juice, eucalyptus, ripe figs and blackberry. It’s plush and full bodied with silky tannins that should accompany spicy cuisine, like Indian or Thai food, nicely.
2009 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Cowley" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 5-21-2014
In the past, I’ve had difficulty embracing Pinot Noir, but New Zealand Pinots have been blowing my mind; great structure, earth, and fruit while still being true to the varietal. The “Cowley” is no exception. Distinct rhubarb and ferrous characteristics, fresh red fruits, mid-palate acidity followed by good structure and tannins, this is a Pinot I can get on board with! New Zealand might just turn me into a Pinot lover.