Anthill Farms Winery: Outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah from Northern California

Anthill Farms  is an exciting winemaking project launched in 2004 by a trio of partners: Webster Marquez, David Low and Anthony Filiberti.  The partners, who all previously worked at Williams Selyem, are deeply committed to crafting high quality, cool climate single vineyard Pinot Nor, Syrah and Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in Northern California. Anthill’s goals are to make wines that taste good and reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyard and the vintage.  Anthill has grown from producing 200 cases in 2004 to  around 2,000 cases today, and the quality of the wines is outstanding  as revealed in our tasting notes below. Continue reading

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De Krans: Outstanding Port-Style Wines from Calitzdorp

Sweet wines in South Africa have a long and storied history beginning in the 17th century with the planting of the first vitis vinifera in the Western Cape. Huegenot immigrants, religious refugees from France, played a critical role in establishing a sophisticated wine industry.  Among those French Huegenots was the Nel family, which today owns De Krans Wines, which is located in Calitzdorp, the production center of Port style wines made from traditional Portuguese grape varieties. In this article we review the current releases of De Krans. To see more i-winereview reports and articles on South African wine, click here.  Continue reading

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Posted in Countries and Regions, Dessert Wine, Fortified, Portuguese, South Africa, Uncategorized, Wine Type | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Wines of Donum Estate in Los Carneros

Artificial Rock No. 126 by Zhan Wang

Donum Estate is one of the finest producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Los Carneros.   Founded in 2001 by Anne Moeller-Racke, a pioneer in the development of Los Carneros as a wine growing region, Donum Estate is currently owned by Danish investors who have expanded the estate’s vineyard holdings and made noteworthy improvements to the operation, including magnificent landscaping, artwork and sculptures by prominent artists. We last tasted the Donum wines while preparing our report on The Wines of Los Carneros; it’s a real pleasure to taste these fine wines once again. Our reviews follow.  Continue reading

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Dutton Goldfield Cool Climate Pinot Noir from the California Coast

Redwood Ridge Vineyard Near Annapolis

Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield have collaborated in making some of coastal California’s finest Pinot Noirs since 1998. The source of most of their fruit is the Dutton Ranch, owned by the Dutton Family and comprised of 1150 acres of vines spread over 80 non-contiguous parcels, mostly in Green Valley in the southwest corner of the Russian River Valley. Steve is responsible for the farming, and Dan, a UC Davis grad, makes the wine. For Pinot Noir drinkers, it’s a match made in heaven. In this article we review new releases from late 2019. Continue reading

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Mullineux Wines of the Swartland: It’s All About the Soils

Chris & Andrea Mullineux

Andrea and Chris Mullineux met in the vineyards of France where UC Davis grad Andrea and Stellenbosch grad Chris were doing post-graduation internships. They married, moved to the Swartland, and in 2007 established their highly successful winery. They consistently receive top national and international awards for their wines and winemaking.  We’ve followed their growing success for several years with repeated tastings of their wines. This year we returned to their 107 hectare wine farm, Roundstone, which they purchased in 2014, to taste the current releases and to discuss with Chris how the diverse soils of the Swartland influence the grapes they use to make their outstanding wines.  Our reviews follow. Continue reading

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The Best Rosé Champagnes from our 2020 Champagne Report

Rosé Champagne is not just for Valentine’s Day.  It’s a great food wine—try it with pan-seared duck breast!  And, of course, it’s delightful to drink on its own. We tasted many rosés among the 250 Champagnes in our recently released report Champagne: Diversity and Change. In this article, we list the highest rated ones (92 points and above) along with tasting notes. We found 17 superb rosé Champagnes priced under $100 a bottle and another 5 luxury cuvées priced above $150.  These rosés come from all the different growing regions of Champagne and are produced by both the large Champagne Houses and by Independent Growers.

Several of the rosé Champagnes we tasted are particularly good values, meaning they provide very high quality relative to price. Of special note are those from Barnaut (NV Authentique Rosé Brut), Roland Champion (NV Brut Rosé), Dosnon (Henri Dosnon Brut Rosé), Drappier (Rosé de Saignée Brut), Gonet-Medeville (NV Rosé Extra Brut), Charles Orban (NV Brut Rosé) and Bernard Remy (NV Brut Rosé). If price is of no object, we were especially impressed by the Krug (NV Rosé 22ème Edition) and Veuve Clicquot (2008 La Grand Dame Brut Rosé). Continue reading

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Avondale: A Natural Leader in South Africa’s Paarl Wine Region

Avondale Tasting Room & Winery

Avondale is one of the few South African wineries that uses Biodynamic and organic farming practices.  It is also a pioneer in natural winemaking methods including the use of clay vessels for fermentation. Avondale’s wines are authentic and very good. See our reviews below.

This Paarl wine estate was purchased by John and Ginny Grieve in 1997. They produced their first vintage under the Avondale label in 1999. In 2003 they opened a state of the art gravity flow cellar.  Their son Johnathan Grieve, manager and the estate’s viticulturist, has converted Avondale to certified organic and practicing Biodynamic farming practices and, along with Corné Marais, winemaker since 2008, has been a pioneer in natural winemaking methods. To see a list of our reports and other articles on South African wine, click here. Continue reading

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Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Countries and Regions, Red Wine, South Africa, Sparkling Wine, Uncategorized, White Wine, Wine Type | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Damien Martin’s Wines from the Mâconnais

Robert Martin founded this domaine in 1982 in the village of Davaye. His son Damien joined in 2010, allowing them to expand their holdings to 20 ha of vines in the heart of the Mâconnais. They have Chardonnay vineyards in Verzé and St. Véran in addition to those in the commune of Davaye. Damien now manages the viticulture and winemaking at the domaine.  His wines show that Mâcon offers wines of character as well as excellent value.

US Importer: Handpicked Selections Continue reading

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Maryland’s Boordy Vineyards: New Releases

Boordy Vineyards was founded in 1945 by Philip Wagner, one of America’s most influential post WWII winemakers. About a decade ago, Boordy’s current owner, UC Davis graduate Rob Deford began a major replanting of old vineyards, planting new vineyards in Maryland’s Piedmont, and building a modern state of the art winery.  As a result, the winery has become one of the most visible examples of the rapid rise in quality of East Coast wines. In this article we review some of Boordy’s new releases. For more on Boordy, see the lengthy article we published last year. And for more on Maryland wine more generally, please read our in depth report The Wines of Maryland

Recent Releases Continue reading

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St. Helena: Heart of the Napa Valley

Located towards the north of the valley at one of its narrowest points [see map below], St. Helena is not the geographic center of the Napa Valley. But it is the historical heart of the valley, where Charles Krug and Jacob and Frederik Beringer established their wineries in the mid-19th century. Today, St. Helena continues to be home to many of Napa’s most famous and historic wineries.  In this article we review a tiny sampling of the large number of world class wines being produced in the St. Helena appellation. Continue reading

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