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

New Wine Releases May 2012

New wine releases from around the world





Livermore Valley

Concannon Vineyard
2008 Conservancy Petite Sirah; $18
13/20Displaying blackberry, plum and chocolate flavors with a hint of molasses, this bright red wine would pair well with barbecue chicken or roast lamb.


2010 Monterey County Pinot Noir; $14
13/20This medium-bodied red wine offers cherry, raspberry and blackberry flavors followed by coffee and vanilla on the finish.

Hess Select
2010 Chardonnay; $9
13/20A medium-bodied wine, this Chardonnay displays an aromatic bouquet of pear and citrus aromas and more tropical fruit flavors in the mouth.

Paso Robles

Four Brix Winery
2009 Rhondezvous; $35
14.5/20A blend of traditional Rhone varietals, this full-bodied red wine boasts rich flavors of black cherry and raspberry with a hint of vanilla.

J. Lohr Estates
2009 South Ridge Syrah; $15
13.5/20Featuring aromas of blueberry, black tea and brown sugar complemented by flavors of blackberry and dark chocolate, this complex wine can be enjoyed now or uncorked in five years time.

Viña Robles
2008 Suendero; $49
14/20A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, this spicy Meritage offers dark fruit flavors and a rich mouthfeel, but would benefit from further aging.

Santa Barbara County

Pali Wine Co.
2010 "Huntington" Pinot Noir; $21
13/20Displaying aromas of cherry, red currant and cinnamon on the nose, this rich red wine reveals raspberry and plum in the mouth.

Vino V
2009 Confundida; $26
14/20Made from Albariño grapes, this dry white wine features a floral bouquet and tangy, citrus flavors with soft mineral notes.



2010 Vermentino; $16
13/20The wine made from this white Italian varietal is somewhat sweet and slightly efferverscent, offering fresh melon, lime and pear flavors.


Alexander Valley

Stuhlmuller Vineyards
2010 Alexander Valley Estate Chardonnay; $24
14/20This full-bodied white wine features citrus aromas and apple, pear and pineapple flavors.

Wine Guerrilla
2009 Harris-Kratka Vineyard Zinfandel; $30
14/20Composed of 85 per cent Zinfandel, 10 per cent Carignane and 5 per cent Petite Sirah, this spicy red wine reveals rich jammy flavors and a thick mouthfeel.


Gloria Ferrer
2004 Royal Cuvée; $32
14/20A blend of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay grown, this sparkling white wine reveals apple and pear flavors with a hint of butterscotch.

2009 Carneros Chardonnay; $18
14.5/20This versatile and food-friendly wine boasts a medley of citrus, stone fruits and apple on the nose and palate as well as a touch of oak.

Napa Valley

2011 Rosato; $16
13/20Composed of 69 per cent Sangiovese, 25 per cent Merlot and 6 per cent Sagrantino, this bright pink rosé features floral and citrus aromas and sweet raspberry and nectarine flavors.

2010 Pinot Grigio; $12
13/20Blended with a small amount of Albariño, this aromatic Pinot Grigio is full-bodied and offers mineral notes alongside stone fruit flavors.

Russian River Valley

Herzog Wine Cellars
2009 Special Reserve Chardonnay; $36
14/20This full-bodied white wine displays apple, lime and banana flavors with a touch of oak.

Iron Horse
2006 Brut Rosé; $50
14.5/20Composed of 81 per cent Pinot Noir and 19 per cent Chardonnay, this dry sparkling rosé offers lovely strawberry and lemon flavors.

Thomas George Estates
2009 Sauvignon Blanc Windsor Oaks Vineyard; $25
13.5/20Clean and crisp, this pale white wine offers tangy citrus and guava flavors.

Sonoma County

2009 Siena; $25
13.5/20Composed of 76 per cent Sangiovese, 16 per cent Malbec and 8 per cent Syrah, this Chianti-inspired red blend is medium-bodied and complex.

Sonoma Valley

Amapola Creek
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $70
15/20This complex, full-bodied red wine is loaded with texture from a combination of bright acidity and fine grain tannins.


Temecula Valley

Tesoro Winery
Tribordo; $42 (375 ml)
13.5/20This Port-style wine made from Syrah grapes is rather sweet, but not syrupy, displaying rich raspberry and chocolate flavors and a hint of coffee.

Wilson Creek
Peach Bellini; $16
13.5/20Made from the winery's delicious Almond Champagne and natural peach flavors, the resulting dessert wine is sweet, but not cloying, with a crisp, expansive mouthfeel.


2011 Christmas at Biltmore; $11
13/20A blend of Gewürztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Chenin Blanc and Riesling, this aromatic white wine is sweet and fruity, featuring flavors of apricot, strawberry and lime.

Cupcake Vineyards
2011 Angel Food; $13
13/20This white blend is sweet and doughy, like its namesake sponge cake, offering baked apple and vanilla flavors.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Francis Coppola Diamond Collection 2009 Claret; $20
13.5/20A blend of traditional Bordeaux varietals, this full-bodied red wine reveals rich cherry, plum and chocolate flavors and firm tannins in the mouth.

Ghost Pines
2009 Red Blend; $20
14.5/20Composed of 32 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 29 per cent Petite Sirah, 21 per cent Zinfandel, 10 per cent Merlot, 6 per cent Syrah and 2 per cent other varietals, this unusual blend displays rich dark berry flavors with a hint of licorice and spice.

Layer Cake
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon; $15
13/20Made from grapes grown in Paso Robles and the Alexander Valley, this dry red wine offers dark fruit flavors with more earthy notes and a thick mouthfeel.



Chateau Frank
2005 Brut; $25
13.5/20A blend of traditional Champagne varietals, this dry sparkling wine is crisp and clean, displaying fresh fruit flavors with yeasty and mineral notes.



Oak Knoll
2008 Pinot Noir; $15
13/20A light red wine, this Pinot Noir displays red berry flavors and medium tannins.

Oak Knoll
2008 Riesling; $10
13/20Made in a semi-sweet style at 3 per cent residual sugar, it is lively and acidic, offering a nice balance between sweet and tart.

R Stuart & Co.
2009 Big Fire Pinot Noir; $19
14.5/20This medium-bodied red wine features fragrant floral aromas on the nose and plum, pomegranate and milk chocolate flavors in the mouth.



Messina Hof
2007 Papa Paulo Port Private Reserve; $22
13.5/20A Port-style wine made from Lenoir grapes, it boasts rich cherry and chocolate flavors and a creamy mouthfeel.



Cross Keys Vineyards
2008 Tavern; $38 (500 ml)
13/20Made entirely from Touriga Nacional grapes, this Port-style wine is rich and sweet, offering black cherry and prune aromas and flavors.


Chocolate Shop
Chocolate Red Wine; $11
13.5/20A blend of red Bordeaux varietals with natural dark chocolate, the resulting wine is an interesting amalgam of red berry and chocolate flavors that is both rich and sweet.




Glen Carlou
2010 Chardonnay; $17
13.5/20Greenish in color, this full-bodied white wine displays citrus and oak on the nose and in the mouth along with harsh mineral notes.




Laurenz V.
2010 Singing Grüner Veltliner; $15
14/20Featuring a fruity bouquet on the nose, this light white wine reveals stone fruit flavors and a crisp acidity in the mouth.



Château Marjosse
2010 Blanc, Entre-Deux-Mers; $11
14/20A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle, this dry white wine offers tropical fruit on the nose and palate.



2009 Estate Riesling; $22
13.5/20This dry sparkling wine offers soft, doughy notes on the nose and apple, tangerine and floral flavors on the palate.


Becker Estate
2008 Pinot Noir; $15
13.5/20Known as Spätburgunder to Germans, this spicy Pinot Noir features bright strawberry and cherry flavors with earthy notes.

Reichsrat von Buhl
2008 Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling Spätlese; $37
14.5/20This semi-sweet white wine displays pungent floral aromas on the nose and lush peach flavors in the mouth.


Redbreast Sweet Red Wine; $13
13.5/20Composed of 65 per cent Portugieser, 20 per cent Dornfelder and 15 per cent Regent, this fruity red wine is low in alcohol content and is best served chilled.



Chateau Dereszla
2006 Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos; $40 (500 ml)
15/20Its layers of flavors include fresh and dried apricot, white peach and a hint of bitter grapefruit up front with a bit of spice and zippy citrus and stone fruit acidity toward the back of the palate.


Alto Adige

Kellerei-Cantina Andrian
Movado 2008 Gewürztraminer Alto Adige DOC; $44
13.5/20At 15 per cent alcohol by volume, this Gewürztraminer is rather strong and atypical, boasting floral aromas and tropical fruit flavors.


2007 Costasera Amarone Classico DOC; $60
15/20This potent, full-bodied red wine made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes displays rich dried cherry flavors and spicy notes on the finish.

Prosecco di Valdobbiadene; $16
13.5/20Crisp and dry, this sparkling white wine made from organic grapes offers fruity aromas and flavors of apple and pear.


2010 Runcaris Soave Classico DOC; $14
13.5/20Made entirely from Garganega grapes, this dry white wine offers an unusual bouquet of lemon, sage and nettle.



2010 White Wine; $15
13/20A blend of Antão Vaz, Arinto and Roupeiro grapes, this dry white wine displays fragrant peach and grapefruit aromas on the nose and a crisp acidity on the palate.



Las Rocas
2009 Garnacha Viñas Viejas; $20
13/20At 15.2 per cent alcohol by volume, this Garnacha is potent but balanced with rich cherry flavors and a hint of oak on the Port-like finish.


Mas Fi Cava
Brut NV; $12
13/20A traditional blend of Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada grapes, this dry sparkling wine displays citrus and floral aromas on the nose and stone fruit flavors in the mouth.


2008 Mazuelo; $48
14/20Known in France as Carignan Noir, this robust red wine features ripe black fruit flavors with more earthy notes and smooth, rounded tannins.




Santa Julia
2011 Malbec Orgánica; $11
13.5/20This full-bodied red wine offers concentrated aromas of fig, prune and blackberry jam on the nose and medium tannins in the mouth.

2007 Zeta; $45
14.5/20Composed of 69 per cent Malbec, 18 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 14 per cent Tempranillo, this robust red wine dark fruit flavors with a hint of spicy pepper and tobacco.

San Rafael

Valentin Bianchi
2011 Elsa Chardonnay; $9
13/20This full-bodied Chardonnay, blended with 10 per cent Semillon, features bright citrus and tropical fruit flavors and a crisp acidity.


2010 Red Wine; $17
13/20Composed of 75 per cent Malbec, 10 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Syrah and 5 per cent Tannat, this full-bodied red wine displays cherry, raspberry and blackberry aromas with a hint of milk chocolate.

2010 Estate Malbec; $30
13.5/20Made from biodynamically-farmed grapes, this dry red wine would benefit from further aging.

Uco Valley

2010 Malbec; $22
14/20Blended with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah, this spicy Malbec features damson plum and blackberry flavors, earthy notes and firm tannins.


Limarí Valley

Viña Tabalí
2009 Reserva Pinot Noir; $15
13/20A full-bodied red wine, it offers bright red fruit flavors with a hint of vanilla and medium tannins.

Lolol Valley

Hacienda Araucano
2011 Sauvignon Blanc; $11
13.5/20This aromatic white wine features lemon, lime and grapefruit on the nose and a racy acidity in the mouth.




Cloudy Bay
2009 Pinot Noir; $35
14.5/20Medium-bodied and well-balanced, it offers luscious cherry and raspberry flavors and silky smooth tannins.


Muddy Water
2009 Hare's Breath Pinot Noir; $32
13.5/20Reasonably big bodied for a Pinot Noir, it would work well with roasted game birds like pheasant or squab.

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