July 6, 2019

YVES CUILLERON Viognier Les Vignes d’a Cote 2018

A delightful Viognier from Northern Rhone Valley stalwart Yves Cuilleron. Citrus blossom and honeysuckle aromas complement white peach, ripe lemon and tangerine. In the mouth the wine is fruity, dry, modestly perfumed and medium/light bodied with a smidge of oily texture on the finish. Fermented and aged in 2/3rd neutral-ish barrels…aged on its lees 7 months for texture. This is one of the best Northern Rhone Viogniers you’re gonna find for $25-$30/bottle. Yves Cuilleron’s “Les Vignes d’à Côté” wines (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne, Gamay and Syrah) are excellent, typical Northern Rhone Valley wines that offer exceptional value. Translating to “The Vines […]
June 28, 2019
Boudinaud Blanc Rousseline 18

BOUDINAUD Blanc La Rousseline 18

40% Viognier, 40% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne from Boudinaud’s Estate vineyard. All steel tank fermented and aged. Big on the fresh citrus: lime juice & zest, orange slices, grapefruit, honeysuckle, Key lime, fresh pineapple. Medium-light bodied and a refreshing thread of acidity. At under $15/bottle this is definitely case purchase worthy. Imported and sold by Wine House San Francisco in the Dogpatch neighborhood of The City. Pay them a visit!
June 25, 2019
Leeuwin Riesling

LEEUWIN ESTATE Riesling 2017

Delicate, floral, high acid, dry Riesling from the cool-climate Margaret River wine region in southwest Australia. Get lime zest, chopped cilantro, Meyer lemons, fresh kiwi, Granny Smith apples, white peaches and lemon blossoms. The acidity tingles the mouth. Super-intense due to the ripeness of the grapes (resulting in 12% alcohol) and high-energy acidity. Very dry, very pretty, the Leeuwin Estate Riesling is a great match with fried foods and green salads with goat cheese. This is a DDWA “Hall of Fame” Value. See all my Hall of Fame and Awesome Value wines on my Best of the Best Value list.
March 21, 2019
Mardon Quincy

MARDON Quincy “Tres Vieilles Vignes” 2017

Look to Quincy for delicious, mineral-driven, Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. And in Quincy, buy Domaine Mardon. Quincy is 50 miles west of Sancerre along the Cher River. 50-80 year old vines, growing in river sand and gravel, make high-toned, zippy, pure Sauvignon Blanc. Quick attack of green apple skins, grapefruit, lemon/lime and river rocks. Ripe, crisp citrus and stone fruits quickly emerge on the palate. Mouth-watering acidity, perfect balance of fruit, soil and acid. Killer white here for $20.
March 15, 2019
Cailbourdin Pouilly Fume Les Cris

Domaine Alain Cailbourdin Pouilly Fume “Les Cris” 2017

Knowing this wine from multiple prior vintages, I pay the 2017 the best compliments I can give, which are classic and typical. You don’t want too much in an outstanding Loire Valley Sauv Blanc. Rather, you want brightness, intensity and the flavor of the rocky soils from which it comes. And here it is: citrus zest (especially lemon), spring flowers and rocky pebbles. Smells great, tastes great, finishes long and vibrant. I love wines like this to no end.
January 9, 2019
Trimbach Riesling Alsace

TRIMBACH Riesling Vin d’Alsace 2015

Very impressive how much character, typicity and deliciousness is in this “entry level” Trimbach Riesling, considering the amount made and the reasonable price. Fermented dry, ample stuffing (or mouth-feel), burst of citrus and orchard fruits on the palate and an unmistakable Riesling personality (rocks, petrol, lemon zest, quince, lemongrass, etc). This is a wine I think the entire spectrum of wine drinkers (wine geeks to “just drink to think”) will wrap their arms around. If you live in Northern California and have a Raley’s Supermarket nearby, see if they carry this wine. It’s in my local Raley’s and I buy […]
January 8, 2019
Luc Baudet Rive Droite 16

Luc Baudet Cotes du Rhone Blanc Rive Droite 16

Lip-smacking good Southern Rhone Valley blend of 90% Grenache Blanc and 10% Marsanne. No oak, fresh crisp green fleshed melon and heirloom apple fruits, touch of citrus blossom, green tea and white pepper. No oak, light-bodied, bright acidity. Absolutely perfect for what it’s supposed to be. And is. This is my current house white wine. This is a wine imported by Napa-based importer Jack Edwards. It’s not easy to find retail, so be my guest to contact me if you’re interested in buying some. I’ll connect you to the importer to figure it out. (I bought the wine direct from […]
December 11, 2018
Guy Robin Chablis

GUY ROBIN Chablis “Montee de Tonnerre” 2016

I love the savory, earth-driven overtones that roll alongside the preserved lemon, apple butter and lemon custard smells and flavors. Satin texture, depth of fruit and  delicious, distinctive flavors of button mushrooms and gravel here. Not super-crisp, rather a Chablis with a strong core of acidity, earth and fruit. I think it’s just about perfect. And near perfection is hard to get for $43! More Information This is one of the hundreds of quality, well-priced wines (French & Italian) imported by North Berkeley Imports. “Our imports boast classic old-world character while always remembering the importance of fruit,” states Eddie Gilbert, Director […]
October 24, 2018
Roche Paradis Condrieu

ROCHE PARADIS Condrieu Veauvigniere 2016

A particularly fresh, perfumed, intense style of Condrieu that focuses more on the fresh flowers and rocky character than the fruits. Smell and taste lemongrass, lemon verbena, ripe grapefruit, apple blossoms, river rocks, fresh apricots…and everything lifted up by its invigorating acidity. Structured finish, giving an impression of fine tannins. More Information Domaine de la Roche Paradis is owned and made by Yann Menager who for over 15 years has been Yves Cuilleron’s vineyard manager. He continues to work for Cuilleron as he builds his label. He has purchased vineyards in Condrieu, Saint Joseph and Cote Rotie, farms them himself […]
October 24, 2018
Clos des Centenaires Roussanne

CLOS des CENTENAIRES Roussanne 2016

100% Roussanne from the southernmost part of Costieres de Nimes and The Rhone Valley. Oily, rich, honeyed, luxurious style which comes from the warm Mediterranean climate and the winemaking, including fermenting and aging the wines in neutral barrels. Smell and taste roast peaches, orange zest, honeycomb, white pepper and tarragon. Acid is there, between medium and medium high, and thank goodness. It makes the wine elevate. And we like elevation. The Clos des Centenaires Roussanne is an awesome value for under $30/bottle.
October 24, 2018
Pierre Gaillard Condrieu

PIERRE GAILLARD Condrieu 2016

Oranges, honeysuckle, honeydew and lemon blossoms express themselves in the 2016 Pierre Gaillard Condrieu. From terraced, south-facing vines planted in decomposed granite. The result, especially in a vintage like 2016, is perfume, intensity and delicacy. This is my favorite style of Viognier in the world and I deny anyone to not like this! Add to the citrus, melon and floral qualities some peach pit, kiwi, white pepper and lemongrass. Tangy acidity, mineral-y finish. This is the real deal in Condrieu. To see all the Rhone Valley wines I’ve reviewed, GO HERE.
October 19, 2018
Vincent Cluzel Condrieu

VINCENT CLUZEL Condrieu 2016

This is the real deal in Condrieu. Nose of melon, peach, apricot, citrus blossom and honey. Taste keeps that all going with a little lemon tea and fresh green olive in there too. Intriguing, rocky, lemon bitters, sea breeze finish. Freshness and acidity cut through Viognier’s effusive character. I love this wine. Could drink it happily the rest of my life. Check out the other Vincent Cluzel wines I’ve reviewed HERE.  Check out all the Rhone Valley wines I’ve reviewed HERE.
October 19, 2018
Frantz Chagnoleau Pouilly Fuisse

FRANTZ CHAGNOLEAU Pouilly-Fuisse “Madrigal” 2016

Single vineyard, rocky, higher altitude vineyard in the Vergisson commune of Pouilly-Fuisse. Very much on the racy and “fit” side of Chardonnay with its rocky/mineral-y and crisp citrus rind & blossom character. That said, I’m very critical of the “thin is in” style, finding most to be too much bones and not enough flesh. The Frantz Chagnoleau Pouilly Fuisse Madrigal 2016 gets my recommendation because there’s lots of goodness going on in this structured White Burgundy. Reductive start (smoke, roast nut skins, meat stock, dried sweat) quickly disappears, moving to preserved lemons, caramel, crunchy pears and crushed river rocks. It’s […]
September 1, 2018
Selbach Oster Riesling

SELBACH OSTER Riesling Feinherb 2016

Smell and taste cilantro, lemon oil, fresh peaches, ripe Macintosh (crisp green) apples and lemon spray on the Selbach Oster Riesling Feinherb. The sweetness (around 15 Grams/Liter) is perceptible but subtle as there is plenty of acidity to counter-balance. The residual sugar, in fact, contributes more oily texture than sweetness. An absolute delight to drink, and I think a fine cross-over wine for those who say, “I don’t like sweet wines.” And hard to beat for value in the low $20s. Feinherb: “The best way to describe them is probably the same as halbtrocken, with sometimes a higher level of sweetness—but […]
September 1, 2018
Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling

SCHLOSS GOBELSURG Riesling Zobing 2016

An outstanding introduction, aka entry-level, wine from Schloss Gobelsburg winery. From vineyards in the village of Zobing, in the heart of the Kremstal wine region. This has a pure, crisp, citrus and green apple skin, petrol-laced aroma that is classic for dry Riesling. Lean and muscular throughout yet not lacking for flavor nor intensity. A slightly oily texture and a mouthful-of-pebbles earthiness continue it’s very (dry) Riesling theme. If you like high acid wines with less fruity character, this wine is for you. Terry Theise on the Schloss Gobelsburg Riesling Zobing 2016: “There’s a spring-onion sweetness; intricate and sapid green […]
August 22, 2018
Venditti Sannio Bianco

MASSERIA VENDITTI Sannio Bianco 2015

This esoteric white wine is from Campania, southern Italy (the shin-Mediterranean side). It is 70% Grieco di Castelvenere, 30% Cerreto. Cold soak for 3 days, then pressed off for a 2-3 week fermentation. Really cool wine…lemon zest, candied orange peel, fresh green olives, grapefruit, coriander, white pepper. It has medium/high acidity and an oily texture. For $19 it’s rare to get something so good and interesting.
August 20, 2018
Ronchi Manzano Ribolla Gialla

RONCHI DI MANZANO Ribolla Gialla 2017

A delicious skin-ferment white wine, this spent 4 months on the skins, half the time fermenting. While it fits into the “orange wine” category by its ferment, the Ronchi di Manzano Ribolla Gialla is not orange. It’s a light lemony-yellow color with an ever-so-slight haze. Let’s get to the important stuff-smell and taste. Smoked whole Meyer lemons, crushed seashells, green apple peels, fresh pineapple, sea air. Yes, it’s fun AND tasty. The finish doesn’t let go: bold acidity, salty, creaminess…it’s tart and creamy at the same time. I feel the need to give a food pairing with this wine, so […]
August 20, 2018
Raimbault Sancerre

RAIMBAULT Sancerre Apud Sariacum 2017

Always a classic, mineral-driven, zippy wine, the Philippe Raimbault Sancerre 2017 is relatively fleshy and fruit-driven. In this vintage, the fresh green applesauce, juicy pears and lemon custard take on the chalky/seashell flavors, expected of Sancerre, in a fight for dominance. It’s up to the taster as to who wins. It’s close, and relative. If this were a California SB, it would be called “very Sancerre-like.”
August 14, 2018
Barbadillo Sherry Solear

BARBADILLO Manzanilla Sherry “Solear”

A staple of Spanish wine bars, Barbadillo Solear is all Palomino aged under flor for around six years. This is particularly aromatic, showing crushed seashells, day-old bread crust, chamomile, lemon cookies and blanched almonds. The taste is intense. Includes preserved lemon, dried peach slices, crushed almonds and chamomile (Manzanilla is Spanish for chamomile). More Information Barbadillo is a big operation with many arms (different wines and labels, including private label wines) but you don’t see too often in the U.S., especially in California. While it’s very popular in Spain, Japan, the U.K and Belgium particularly, the U.S. is not “hip” […]
July 25, 2018
Buisson Charles Meursault

BUISSON CHARLES Meursault 2015

Impressive how so much aroma and flavor is packed into the 750 ML bottle. Starts smoky and bright with roasted whole lemons, citrus blossoms, sliced white peaches and fresh from the oven biscuits. Taste lemon sorbet, caramel, buttered wheat toast, roast hazelnuts (naturally!) and apple butter. This is super-intense. If the same wine was a Premier or Grand Cru, and labeled as such, you would not doubt its provenance and think it a glorious bargain. Instead, it’s “just” a village Meursault.
June 24, 2018
Mas Grand Plagniol Costieres de Nimes

MAS GRAND PLAGNIOL Blanc 2016

Southern French white blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier. It’s fresh, aromatic, fruity, fleshy. Get fresh melons, peaches, pears, light floral and tropical. No oak. Medium acidity. Stood up to my squash ravioli in tomato sauce. This is my house white wine, and a Hall of Fame Value! If you’re looking for delicious, great value wines with a little “taste of sunshine,” look to Costieres de Nimes.  Located on the Rhone River, south of Southern Rhone Valley. Speaking sort-of subjectively, this is my favorite sub $15 white wine I’ve ever had.  More Information Notes from the importer: “Tired of always […]
June 24, 2018
Pievalta Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi

PIEVALTA Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi 2016

This is a delicious, light, crisp white wine from the Le Marche region in central Italy, Adriatic Coast on its east side. It’s a go-to fish wine of the area, and for Italian white drinkers everywhere. Smell and taste lemon zest, orange blossoms, tangy green apple skins & flesh, kiwi and nectarine. Bright for sure, but not to the level of cooler-climate wines like Loire and Mosel. This wine’s fleshiness makes for a nicely versatile wine to pair with most chicken, pork and fish dishes. For $17/bottle I will happily drink this anytime!
June 22, 2018
Gebeshuber White Klassik

GEBESHUBER White “Klassik” 2017

This is made from two native white varieties of Thermenregion: Zierfandler and Rotgipfler (50-50). See Austria wine map below and you’ll notice Thermenregion starts immediately Southwest of Vienna. It’s quite warm here for winegrowing – more like Bordeaux than Germany, which is rather surprising at first. This is a delicious, aromatic white wine with lots of exotic floral, lemony, viscous pleasures. Get lemon bitters, candied grapefruit, ginger, dried apples, wildflowers. On the oily/fleshy side, which is interesting. Usually “aromatic whites” like this are more light-bodied. I compage it to a stronger Viognier.  
June 7, 2018
Easy Access Wine

Easy Access Wine #1

Survey feedback from Chuck S (thanks, Chuck): “I would appreciate a few ratings on wines that might be considered to be somewhat mass market wines. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to go to a Safeway and find a really good wine that Dan has recommended.” Great idea! And in response, here’s my inaugural easy-access selection: MAISON BARBOUOLOT Marsanne-Viognier 2017 $4.99 at Trader Joe’s, Napa CA. Posted June 7, 2018 I bought a bottle of this Southern French aromatic white last week. My wife, neighbors and I all loved it. It has the honeysuckle/jasmine aroma, pear/apple/tropicall fruit and ginger-spice flavor, palate […]