Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

New Wine Releases January 2012

New wine releases from around the world





Arroyo Grande Valley

2008 Brut de Noirs; $28
13.5/20This sparkling wine made entirely from Pinot Noir offers crisp fruit flavors and a smooth finish.

Paso Robles

Austin Hope
Troublemaker Blend 3; $18
13.5/20Composed of 55 per cent Syrah, 20 per cent Grenache, 20 per cent Mourvèdre and 5 per cent Petite Sirah, this multi-vintage red blend offers blackberry and cherry flavors with peppery notes.

Halter Ranch Vineyard
2010 Côtes de Paso Blanc; $24
13.5/20This blend of white Rhône varietals offers a floral and fruity bouquet and peach, lemon and lime flavors on the palate.

Santa Lucia Highlands

MacMurray Ranch
2009 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir; $35
13.5/20This well-balanced red wine offers cherry and blackberry flavors with earthy notes.

Santa Maria Valley

Belle Glos
2009 Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir; $44
14.5/20Offering a burst of flavor when it hits the mouth, it is a wine for those who like their Pinot Noir "big."

Santa Rita Hills

Liquid Farm
2010 White Hill Chardonnay; $34
14.5/20This food-friendly white wine offers bold fruit flavors balanced by a pleasant minerality.

Sea Smoke
2009 Chardonnay; $52
15/20Offering an aromatic bouquet of flowers, melon and nuts, this elegant white wine boasts smooth tannins and a pleasant acidity.

Santa Ynez Valley

Holus Bolus
2010 Blanc, Roussanne; $19
14/20The first white wine produced under the Holus Bolus label, this Roussanne offers honey and pear aromas and a creamy mouthfeel.



Cantara Cellars
2009 The Bride; $29
12/20A blend of Barbera, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Sangiovese, this full-bodied red wine offers raspberry and red currant flavors and a touch of smoke on the finish.

Michael David Winery
Earthquake 2009 Petite Sirah; $26
13.5/20At 15.5 per cent alcohol by volume, this is a big, bold wine boasting intense fruit flavors with a touch of chocolate and spice.


Alexander Valley

Field Stone
2007 Staten Family Reserve Petite Sirah; $35
13.5/20Offering boysenberry and violet aromas on the nose, this expressive red wine reveals rich flavors of black cherry, blueberry and plum in the mouth.

Stuhlmuller Vineyards
2009 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; $38
14/20This robust red wine offers an aromatic bouquet of black cherry, blackberry and licorice and reveals soft tannins on the palate.

Anderson Valley

Roederer Estate
Brut Rosé; $27
15/20Composed of 60 per cent Pinot Noir and 40 per cent Chardonnay, this multi-vintage sparkling rosé is smooth and well-balanced.

Dry Creek Valley

2010 Viognier-Sauvignon Blanc; $32
14/20This 50/50 blend offers both the intense floral bouquet of Viognier and the acidic bite of Sauvignon Blanc.


Balance by Heath Dolan
2009 Red Field Blend; $24
14/20Composed of 40 per cent Syrah, 40 per cent Zinfandel and 20 per cent Primitivo, this biodynamic wine features ripe fruit flavors are balanced by earthy notes and fine tannins.

Napa Valley

Charles Krug
2008 Family Reserve Generations; $50
15/20A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this well-balanced wine shows racy red cherry and blackberry acidity.

Chateau Montelena
2008 Montelena Estate Zinfandel; $30
14.5/20This food-friendly red wine offers red currant and blackberry flavors with notes of vanilla.

Duckhorn Vineyards
2009 Decoy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; $25
14/20Composed of 82 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 18 per cent Merlot, this rich red wine offers lush red fruit flavors with a touch of spice.

2009 CJ Cabernet Sauvignon; $52
15/20This full-bodied red wine offers aromas of dark cherry, blackberry and tobacco on the nose and soft tannins in the mouth.

Robert Biale Vineyards
2008 Thomann Station Petite Sirah; $51
14/20At 15.1 per cent alcohol by volume, this red wine packs a punch, offering rich aromas of blueberry, blackberry, anise and toast.

Shafer Vineyards
2008 Relentless; $60
15/20Composed of 75 per cent Syrah and 25 per cent Petite Sirah, this potent red wine boasts concentrated flavors of plum, blackberry and spice.

Russian River Valley

Gary Farrell
2008 Pinot Noir, Russian River Selection; $42
14.5/20This well-balanced red wine offers black cherry and plum aromas with a touch of spice.

MacMurray Ranch
2009 Winemaker's Block Selection Pinot Noir; $60
14.5/20Featuring red fruit aromas on the nose, this robust and complex wine reveals cherry and blackcurrant flavors and a touch of chocolate in the mouth.

Thomas George Estates
2009 Pinot Blanc Saralee's Vineyard; $27
13.5/20Lightweight and elegant with hints of white flowers, tart apple and Asian pear on the nose, this white wine would make a refreshing aperitif for a winter's evening.

Thomas George Estates
2009 Russian River Valley Chardonnay; $34
14/20This complex white wine features white peach, meringue and almond on the nose and citrus flavors in the mouth.

Sonoma Coast

B. Kosuge Wines
2008 Pinot Noir; $25
15/20This medium-bodied red wine offers complex fruit flavors and great value for the money.

La Follette
2009 Pinot Noir Sangiacomo Vineyard; $39
15/20Offering raspberry and cocoa aromas on the nose, this cool climate Pinot Noir reveals red fruit flavors and firm tannins in the mouth.

Sonoma Valley

Amapola Creek
2008 Zinfandel, Monte Rosso Vineyard; $40
14.5/20Made from grapes grown on 115-year-old vines, this red wine boasts complex and concentrated flavors.


Amador County

Andis Wines
2009 Petite Sirah; $34
13.5/20This medium-bodied red wine features flavors of tart pomegranate and cherry, blackberry and a hint of cocoa and spice.


Zinfandel Lot 3; $18
13.5/20This fruit-forward red wine offers strawberry and cherry flavors, smooth tannins and a touch of spice on the finish.

Domaine Chandon
Brut Classic; $22
14/20Blended from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, this sparkling white wine offers apple and pear aromas with notes of almond and caramel.

2009 Merlot; $10
13.5/20Offering fresh fruit flavors and soft tannins on the palate, this well-balanced red wine would pair well with a variety of grilled dishes.

2009 Petite Sirah; $8
13/20Medium-bodied and fruit-forward, this Petite Sirah offers blackberry and strawberry flavors and soft tannins.



Brys Estate
2010 Pinot Noir; $30
13.5/20Offering black cherry and spice aromas on the nose, this young Pinot Noir would benefit from further aging.



Rosé NV; $13
13/20This dry sparkling rosé boasts a fragrant fruity and floral bouquet on the nose and red berry flavors in the mouth.


Biltmore Reserve
2010 Viognier; $18
13.5/20This aromatic white wine offers kiwi, strawberry and honeysuckle on the nose with hints of lime in the mouth.



Stoller Vineyards
2007 SV Estate Pinot Noir; $40
14.5/20Bright and well balanced, it offers tart red fruit acidity and cherry, red currant and pomegranate fruit flavors.

Stoller Vineyards
2008 SV Estate Pinot Noir; $40
14/20Offering a fragrant bouquet of violets, dark fruits, earth and spice, this medium-bodied red wine boasts a complex and multi-layered palate.


Arcachon Cellars
2008 Pinot Gris; $12
12.5/20This crisp white wine offers melon, pear and apple flavors balanced by a lively acidity.

Christopher Bridge Cellars
2008 Estate Pinot Noir; $22
13.5/20This biodynamic red wine features red berry and pomegranate flavors, firm tannins and a rounded acidity.

King Estate
2010 Vin Glacé — Riesling; $15 (375 ml)
13.5/20Made from grapes frozen on the vine, this sweet dessert wine offers peach, orange and honeysuckle flavors.



Buty Winery
Beast 2010 Sphinx Riesling; $25
13/20A dry white wine, this 2010 vintage boasts botrytis-infected fruit, offering peach, gooseberry and green apple flavors balanced by a lively acidity.



Inner Mongolia

Chateau Hansen
2009 Côtes du Fleuve Jaune du Désert de Gobi; N/A
13.5/20A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt (unique to China), Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this organic red wine is light and refreshing.




2009 Grüner Veltliner; $15
14/20This aromatic white wine offers tangy citrus flavors balanced by soft mineral notes.



Château La Rame
2005 Sainte-Croix-du-Mont; $35 (375 ml)
14/20This blend of white Bordeaux varietals offers the sweetness that comes from botrytis-infected grapes as well as lemon and honey flavors.


Deux Montille
2006 Saint-Aubin Sur Gamay; $33
13.5/20Made from Chardonnay grapes, this white Burgundy features citrus and mineral flavors and a bright acidity.


Joseph Drouhin
2009 Chablis Premier Cru Montmains; $38
14.5/20This elegant Chardonnay offers crisp fruit flavors and would pair well with seafood or white fish.


Armand de Brignac
Brut Gold; $300
15.5/20This lavishly-packaged Champagne is both complex and full-bodied, revealing lush apple and melon flavors with a touch of brioche.

Pol Roger
2000 Brut Blanc de Blancs; $130
16.5/20Made entirely from Chardonnay grapes, this vintage Champagne boasts a well-rounded palate, including fleshy fruit flavors with notes of vanilla and marshmallow.


Cuvée des Colosses
2008 Vin de France; $15
14/20Composed of 45 per cent Syrah, 40 per cent Carignan and 15 per cent Grenache, this red blend offers ripe fruit flavors and soft tannins.



Hans Wirsching
2007 Silvaner Dry; $16
14.5/20This light white wine offers green apple and gooseberry flavors with a hint of minerality.


Lorenz Vineyards
2010 "Symphony" Riesling; $17
13/20Made with organically-grown grapes, this dry Riesling offers fragrant floral and citrus aromas.



Luce della Vite
Luce 2008; $93
15/20Composed of 55 per cent Merlot and 45 per cent Sangiovese, this robust red wine boasts concentrated berry flavors and firm tannins.



Viña Cubillo
2005 Crianza; $24
13/20Composed of 65 per cent Tempranillo, 25 per cent Garnacho and 5 per cent each of Graciano and Mazuelo varietals, this bold red wine is surprisingly smooth.


Mas Dels Frares
2008 Priorat; $22
13.5/20Composed of 50 per cent Carignan, 30 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 20 per cent Grenache, this full-bodied red wine offers abundant dark fruit flavors.



Uco Valley

Perlita by DiamAndes 2010; $10
13.5/20Composed of 80 per cent Malbec and 20 per cent Syrah, this full-bodied red wine offers ripe fruit flavors and soft tannins for a smooth finish.


Colchagua Valley

2008 The Blend; $19
13.5/20Composed of 44 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 21 per cent Syrah, 19 per cent Carmenère and 15 per cent Merlot, this robust red wine offers ripe berry flavors and firm tannins.

Limarí Valley

Viña Tabalí
2009 Reserva Carmenère; $15
13/20This complex red wine offers aromas of dark fruit, spice and chocolate on the nose and smooth tannins on the palate.




2009 Pinot Noir; $16
14/20Offering aromas of cherry and violet, this fruit-forward red wine reveals chocolate and plum flavors in the mouth.

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