92 California Shenandoah Vineyards 1998, Amador County, Vintage Port
Beautifully balanced port, full and rich, blackberry and cassis flavors, only slightly sweet. The alcohol and tannins are fully integrated. First rate
90 Francis Coppola Bianco 1999, California, Red Wine
Billed as an affordable, everyday wine, Coppolas Rosso gives his more "serious" wines a run for their money. A blend of Zin, Syrah, Cab, and Sangiovese, it has a peppery nose, with mulberry and plum fruit that follow through to the palate with a spicy background, a firm structure, moderate tannin and long spicy finish. The only thing separating this wine from more expensive wines is the hype.
90 Mosby 1997, Santa Barbara County Vigna della Casa Vecchia, Botte #1 Reserve, Rippasi Doppio, Sangiovese
I have never had a Sangiovese with this much spice. There is huge raspberry fruit, and spice that reminds me of mulled wine nutmeg and allspice. Full-bodied and intensely flavorful, this is a wine that would stand up to full-flavored cheeses like Gorgonzola.
88 Beringer 1997, Knights Valley, Alluvium , Red Wine
A Bordeaux-style wine made-up of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, Alluvium is an extremely rich, highly extracted wine. Deep fruit, with moderate tannin, blackberry-plum fruit, and well-integrated oak spice. Big and mouthfilling.
88 Beringer 2000, California, Nouveau Red Table Wine
Wow! This is the best nouveau style wine Ive had in years. Using the carbonic maceration technique produces a super fruity yet dry wine, like grapes and bubble gum with a silky smooth texture.
87 Dry Creek Vineyard 1998, Sonoma County, Meritage Red Wine
Medium body and tannin. Dry, tight and concentrated, dry blackberry fruit with toasty notes, firm structure and a good finish.
86 Cecchi 1997, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Dry and balanced, dried cranberry-cherry fruit, moderate tannin and a slightly astringent finish. Good now and destined to improve over the next decade.
88 Clos du Bois 1996 Alexander Valley Selection, Sonoma County, Shiraz
A medium-bodied wine packed with dried prune and jammy boysenberry fruit, medium body, moderate tannin, and a spicy finish.
85 Fleur du Cap 1998, South Africa, Merlot
Black cherry nose, medium body, dry, soft tannin, slightly bitter on the finish. A good mouthful of wine, though in need of a few more years of aging.
85 Pian delle Vigne 1995, Brunello di Montalcino
Piero Antinori, famous for his Super Tuscans and Chiantis, has released his first Brunello di Montalcino from southern Tuscany. It takes some aeration to pry open the nose, which then offers some cherry fruit and a hint of oak, while on the palate the first impression is of sweet ripe cherry-plum fruit and a whisp of dark chocolate which is enveloped in fuzzy, soft, somewhat bitter tannins on the mid-palate and through the short finish. This is a well-balanced Brunello from a middling vintage, requiring another 4 to 6 years to reach its peak.
89 Curtis 1998, Santa Barbara County, Syrah Rose
Wines are like people; some are young and fresh, supple and graceful; others are mature and complex, or coarse and heading toward senility. This is a graceful young wine with fresh focused raspberry and strawberry fruit, medium body and beautiful structure. A pure pleasure to behold, and to drink as an aperitif. Its not complex, but its a gorgeous young thing. 89 N/A
87 Duas Quintas 1994, Douro Portugal, Reserva Vinho Tinto
The 94 Reserva has fruit reminiscent of prunes, firm tannin and a spicy finish. Classically structured, it is a wine that is enjoyable now and has potential for further aging.
86 Duas Quintas 1996, Douro Portugal, Vinho Tinto
A blend of two Portuguese varieties, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, this is a red wine with soft tannins and plum-like flavors. Not particularly complex, it is nonetheless a very enjoyable quaff, and a good match for tomato sauces, pork and beef.
84 R.H. Phillips 1997, Dunnigan Hills, Toasted Head, Malbec
Used as a blending grape in Bordeaux, and Argentinas most successful varietal, Malbec is rarely bottled as a varietal in California. This one is quite good, dry and fruity, with firm structure and moderate tannin. The fruit is reminiscent of sour cherries.