THE YEAR’S TOP WINES



While StateWays is distributed to the control states and covers control state issues, Adams Beverage Group (which publishes StateWays) has a companion magazine, Beverage Dynamics, which is distributed to beverage alcohol retail locations nationwide. Every issue of Beverage Dynamics includes a “Retailer Wine Selections” article that features 60 to 70 wines recommended by a nationwide panel of retail wine experts (included here). The following wine reviews are selected from the past year’s Retail Wine Selections.


FAVORITE HOLIDAY AND
FOOD-FRIENDLY WINES (97) Domdechant Werner Hochheim Domdechany Riesling 2003 (Germany). “Erstes Gewachs” is the “grand cru” of Germany; the Werner estate has been family-owned since 1780; boldly aromatic with floral and tropical fruit notes, it totally coats the palate with fruit and creaminess; stunning; pair with grilled Northwest king salmon. ($45)

(96) Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 2001 (California). Smooth and elegant yet possessing enough soft tannins to make it approachable now and possible to cellar for 10 more years, as well; clean cherry flavors and a note of vanilla and toasty oak rounded out by cedar wood and tobacco; superb with rack of lamb, venison or rib-eye steaks. ($58)

(96) La Selvaccia Brunello 1999 (Italy). A dazzling display of truffles, mocha, anise, black currants and tar all swirled together in this exceptional Tuscan masterpiece; product of its incredible vintage and masterful winemaking, it’s drinkable now and for the next decade. ($40)

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(95) Poggio Le Coste Barolo 2000 (Italy). Exquisitely crafted and exceptionally complex, this beauty begs for a porterhouse or leg of lamb; wild berry flavors combine with sweet spices, lavender and rose petal to culminate in a full-sensory explosion on the palate; delicious now and sure to improve with a few years of bottle age. ($40)

(95) Domaine El Bordj Coteaux de Mascara A.O.G. 2000 (Algeria). What a delicious, food-friendly wine at an incredible price! A.O.G. (Appellation d’Origine Garantie) is the equivalent of France’s A.O.C.; predominantly grenache and carignan; cinsault, syrah, mourvedre, cabernet sauvignon, alicante bouschet and local varieties are present; great with roasted leg of lamb and couscous. ($9)

(95) Ottella Lugana D.O.C. 2004 (Italy). Lugana is in Lombardy at the southern end of Lake Garda; made from trebbiano di Lugana; fragrant with floral and fresh pear notes; creamy on the palate with hints of melon and pineapple, crisp and dry on the finish; elegant; serve with crab vermicelli. ($18)

(95) Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 1995 (France). A youthful wine, full bodied with citrus, honey and a pretty spicy component; rich and powerful yet perfectly balanced with an impeccable lengthy finish. ($75)

(95) Bollinger Brut La Grand Anee 1997 (France). Great depth and complexity on the palate; notes of vanilla, ginger, nuts and yeast; a beautiful long finish; a stunning wine. ($115)

(95) Flowers Andreen-Gale Cuvee Chardonnay 2001 (California). An elegant and alive chardonnay that boasts pear, apple and fig; subtle oak, perfectly balanced; pair with lobster. ($50)

(95) Murphy-Goode Snake Eyes Ellis Ranch Zinfandel 2002 (California). This is a big powerful zin with firm tannins, black berry, pepper and spice; long, long powerful finish; for those who have prime rib or a roast. ($39)

(94) Bussola, “TB,” Amarone della Valpolicella, Classico, DOC, 2000 (Veneto, Italy). Made from dried grapes, this super rich and lush red is just the ticket for rich holiday meals as well as bleu cheese. ($90)

(94) Krug “Grande Cuvee” Brut Champagne M.V. (France). The mother of all champagnes; the multi-vintage is a blend of vintage wines married together perfectly; dry, full bodied with biscuit notes and impeccable finesse. ($125)

(94) Jordan Russian River Chardonnay 2003 (California). This 2003 takes the typical apple and pear flavors of Jordan’s vineyards and adds a tropical and buttery feel in the back end; bold and profound in its fruit and vanilla, allowing it to be matched with salmon steaks, sushi grade tuna, roast leg of lamb, turkey and pork loins. ($23)

(94) Henry’s Drive Reserve Padthaway Shiraz 2003 (Australia). An intense and complex, gorgeous wine with rich black fruit, berries and spice; perfect with lamb. ($60)

(94) Niebaum-Coppola Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (California). Opaque-ruby red color, aromas of black cherries and violets, flavors of sweet black cherry, dark chocolate and rum raisin; great with prime NY strip sirloin & roasted prime rib. ($45)

(93) Domaine Drouhin Laurene Pinot Noir 2001 (Oregon). A great depth of red and black fruit flavors, with lots of vibrancy and balance; a wine with a great spirit, which jumps out of the glass and coats the palate with sweet fruit and the softness of silk. ($55)

(93) 2 Up Shiraz 2004 (Australia). From the Kangarilla Road winery comes this delightful, less expensive shiraz named for a popular game of chance played in pubs throughout Australia; the wine is dense, dark and delicious. ($15)

(92) Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc
2002 (Sonoma, Monterey, Santa
Barbara).
Crisp and even, smooth grapefruit;
perfect for holiday appetizers and fish;
smells good, tastes good, drinks easy. ($18)
StateWays

(93) Rombauer Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (California). Rich, ripe and juicy flavors of berry, currant, plum, and blackberry; hints of pepper, and spice; super-smooth; serve with roasted duck or beef. ($44)

(93) David Bruce Sonoma Pinot Noir 2003 (California). Fantastic effort from David Bruce; elegant, fruit-forward, friendly, just plain yummy to drink by itself or with roast chicken, grilled veggies or with simple salmon and tuna. ($28)

(93) Fabula Rosso Monteregio 2003 (Italy). Aromas of cherry, black olives and forest; pronounced flavors of dark cherry and black olive abound in a crisp, medium-bodied package that shows abundant but beautifully integrated tannins; grilled lamb with rosemary and black olives are a seamless match. ($15)

(92) Niebaum-Coppola Blancaneaux 2003 (California). Beautiful aromas of orange blossom, pineapple, honeysuckle, peach and light oak presage flavors of apricot, citrus and lemon rind; this bone-dry, minerally, restrained blend of marsanne, rousanne and viognier has gracious balance, bright acidity and a layered finish that lasts for many minutes; would be delicious with a roast turkey with oyster stuffing. ($36)

(92) Chaleur Estate Blanc 2002 (Washington State). This complex, hearty blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc drinks like a red; it kicks off with scents of butterscotch, corn and cilantro, and then develops full-bodied tastes of citrus and tart tropical fruits before its long, crisp, lemon-rind finish; try it with turkey breast and mashed potatoes. ($34)

(92) Earthworks Shiraz 2003 (Australia). This shiraz is spicy and enormous on the palate, bursting with black raspberry and red cherry fruit that is nicely complemented by toasty oak and hints of peppery spice; nice long finish. ($17)

(92) Taylor Fladgate 20 yr. Tawny Port (Oporto, Portugal). Rich elegant flavors of dried apricots, honey, nuts, spices and vanilla. ($30)

(92) Clos St. Michel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2003 (France). Grenache blanc, clairette, rousanne and bourbolenc produced in small quantities at low temperature fermentation produce an extraordinary treat for holiday meals; strong, fruity and well balanced, combining the aromas of toasted bread, bees wax and white fruits; this wine goes best with fish in rich sauces and white meats. ($25)

(92) Rufus Stone Shiraz ‘McLaren Vale’ 2002 (Australia). Opulent, full bodied and viscous; a soaring bouquet of blackberry liqueur and layers of jammy black fruit flavors, accented by black pepper, chocolate and spice notes; fabulous now, and has the stuff to age 3-5 years. ($25)

(92) Rufus Stone Shiraz ‘McLaren Vale’ 2002 (Australia). Opulent, full bodied and viscous; a soaring bouquet of blackberry liqueur and layers of jammy black fruit flavors, accented by black pepper, chocolate and spice notes; fabulous now, and has the stuff to age 3-5 years. ($25)

(92) Muirwood Pinot Noir 2003 (California). Easy, lush and filled with spicy red and black fruits; lightly toasted plum and cherry flavors are surprisingly complex and long on the finish; great with grilled salmon on a cedar plank, or poultry of any variety. ($13)

(92) Boutari Moschofilero Dry White Wine 2004 (Greece). Refreshing dry white with enticing citrus, floral and melon aromas; very crisp and well balanced. ($14)

(92) Montes Alpha Syrah 2002 (Chile). Spicy and intense with a long, delightful finish. ($16)

(92) Chassagne-Montrachet Domaine Lamy-Pillot 2000 (France). Golden hue with a floral nose; a touch of vanilla and oak complete it; velvety, rich and wonderful balance; the finish has a hint of mineral with citrus overtones. ($40)

(92) Murphy-Goode Snake Eyes Ellis Ranch Zinfandel 2002 (California). This is a huge zin with gobs of fruit, pepper and spice; will need a couple of hours airing out; long finish; have with a thick Tuscan steak or T-bone. ($39)

(92) Domaine des Baumard “Trie Special” Savennieres 2001 (Loire, France). Made from 100% chenin blanc, this wine could stylistically be mistaken for white Burgundy; round and succulent fruit with a soft opulent finish; pair with scallops. ($25)

(92) 2002 Dashe Dry Creek Zinfandel 2002 (California). Features ripe raspberries and baking spice flavors tailored for finger-licking good barbeque. ($23)

(92) Culley Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (New Zealand). Big, rounded, well-balanced, refreshing gooseberry; great with salad and green vegetable courses; good with lighter fish meals done with a lemon sauce or caper/tomato component. ($12)

(92) Bourassa Odyssey Zinfandel 2003 (California). Big and attractive with floral notes; spicy pepper, red cherry and raspberry fruit aroma with notes of pepper and mint with an added layer of vanilla; barbequed beef ribs slow roasted over an open flame, or gourmet hamburgers and pizza, of course. ($32)

(89) St. Supery Napa Cabernet
Sauvignon 2001 (California).

Aromas of cassis, mashed black cherry
and hints of purple sage; focused
blackberry flavors in a smooth,
yet powerful texture with a solid
puff of tannin; reverberating
blackberry on the finish. ($28)


StateWays

(92) Sonoma Coast Vineyard “Sonoma Coast” Chardonnay 2002 (California). Beautifully balanced with a finish that lingers on the palate; dry and elegant; match with lobster and light chicken dishes. ($44)

(92) Tyrus Evan Claret Walla Walla 2003 (Washington). Dark garnet/purple, with a full, lush bouquet of bright red fruit aromas (cherry and raspberry) beautifully framed by oak; some sweet licorice and cassis notes peek out as well; medium-bodied and dry on the palate, it shows off a good punch of fruit flavor, with raspberry, Bing cherry and oak spice, all accented by almost citrusy acidity; good tannin and a long finish; pairs with hearty meat dishes. ($30)

(92) B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (California). A rich and intense cabernet with the perfect balance of acidity and tannin; open an hour before serving and pair up with your favorite cut of beef or bison. ($20)

(91) Crichton Hall Truchard Vineyard Pinot Noir 2001 (California). Tobacco shop, tar, leather, smoke, charcoal, cedar and barnyard mark the aroma of this red on the lookout for a holiday platter of fatty goose or spiral-cut ham; its black cherry and pomegranate flavors follow through to a mossy mid-palate of restrained fruit and end on notes of clove, truffle, cranberry and nutmeg. ($28)

(91) Rodney Strong Alden Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (California). From an awesome vintage, this fairly intense red has hints of cassis and cocoa in the nose with mouth-filling flavors that display both elegance and finesse and a finish that lingers on long after you have swallowed; bold enough to stand up to steak, yet elegant enough to marry well with a grilled swordfish steak. ($20)

(91) ZD Chardonnay 2003 (California). Pineapple, pear, and sweet vanilla in the nose; palate is rich, ripe, and intense; pineapple, pear, and guava pair great with the sweet toasty oak on the palate; beautiful long, fruity finish. ($24)

(91) Penfolds Bin 28 Shiraz 2001 (Australia). A beautiful representation of shiraz; lots of big fruit, acidity and controlled tannins make it a must-have; any meal would be honored to have this wine as its pairing. ($20)

(91) Chateau Potelle Mendocino Sauvignon Blanc (California). An elegant, sophisticated style that’s been barrel-fermented for added complexity; bouquet of lemon tree leads to flavors of honeydew, fresh apple and citrus; plenty of body with lots of fruit and no grass; a lively refreshing finish; complements many different cuisines. ($17)

(90) Seghesio Old Vines Zinfandel 2002 (California). Pure and powerful, but with the great structure and balance often found in truly old vines zin; this will pair with both sweeter and spicy dishes; better get two bottles, as the first won’t last long. ($30)

(90) A to Z Pinot Noir 2003 (Oregon). Lovely ruby color and a rush of ripe, red fruit and an enticing bouquet — raspberries, violets, a touch of oak and cassis — lead to big, lush fruit flavors; balanced by soft tannins and acidity that characterize Oregon pinot noirs; prefect match for turkey or baked ham. ($20)

(90) Painter Bridge Chardonnay 2003 (California). Tropical and ripe fruit-forward chardonnay for buffets and crowds; very easy to drink; good choice for wine beginners. ($7)

(90) Yasa Old Vine Grenache 2003 (Spain). Full, round aromas of raspberry and cassis give way to rich flavors of bing cherry and ripe plum; big red fruits and enough spice to go around make this very versatile, especially when lightly chilled. ($8)

(89) Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2003 (Spain). This gem is deep ruby red in color, dense with solid tannins and loads of black fruit and cassis; a superb treat when paired with lamb, stews, pork roast or veal-on-the-bone. ($13)

(89) Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Maria 2003 (California). Dark, herbal black cherry character with tannin; smoky, earthy and peppery with a palpable fruit sweetness and succulent texture. ($24)

(88) Neyers Vineyards Pato Vineyard Zinfandel 2003 (California). A seductively demure bouquet of cherry, spice, violet, raspberry, earth, pepper and ginger moves onto strong flavors of caramel-coated cherries, anise, pepper and black fruits; a lengthy, sweet finish; good with roast turkey leg. ($30)

(88) Gloria Ferrer Estate Grown Carneros Pinot Noir 2003 (California). Medium-bodied with a berry aroma and berry flavors that lean to cherry and raspberry with a touch of earth. ($20)

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