Coca i Fitó: Refreshing Wines from Catalonia and Ribeira Sacra

Established in 2004, Coca i Fitó is an innovative winery which is crafting a wide variety of delicious (and beautifully labeled) wines sourced from Montsant and other appellations such as Priorat, Empordá  and Ribeira Sacra. Our first memorable encounter with the wines of Coca i Fitó was several years ago,  when  we were invited to dinner at the three-Michelin star El Celler de Can Roca in Girona by Miguel Coca i Fitó, one of the brothers of the eponymous Coca i Fitó vineyard in Montsant  to taste through their portfolio.  It was a magnificent dinner with each dish paired beautifully with the wines by sommelier Josep Roca. In the following review, we take a new look at the wines of Coca i Fitó. Continue reading

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Paso Robles’ Adelaida Vineyards: History (and Delicious Wine) in a Glass

Adelaida’s Viking Vineyard

Owned and operated by the Van Steenwyk family since 1994, Adelaida Vineyards is located in the Santa Lucia Mountains just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  The winery and vineyard are in the Adelaida district of the Paso Robles AVA where they enjoy high elevations (1800′) and shallow chalky mountain soils that give low yields and concentrated fruit.  This area also sees dramatic 40-50° swings in daily temperatures, but despite its proximity to the Pacific it doesn’t enjoy a coastal climate. The wines show excellent freshness and acidity due to the limestone soils.  The 145 acre vineyard includes the almost 60 year old original 35-acre Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard of Hoffman Mountain Ranch.  Winemaker Jeremy Weintraub is crafting some superb wines. We last tasted with Jeremy while preparing our Report #62 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon & Other Bordeaux VarietiesContinue reading

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Raventós i Blanc: Stunning New Releases

The house of Josep Raventós i Blanc was established in 1986 in Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia by Josep-Maria Raventós, a break away member of the Codorníu family, with the objective of making Cavas of exceptional quality. Today, Josep’s grandson Pepe (shown here with his father Manuel) continues the pursuit on the estate’s 120 ha of low-yielding vines planted in sedimentary calcareous soils. The Raventós vineyards are sustainably farmed and yields are kept low by aggressive green harvests. Winemaking at Raventós is as meticulous as the viticulture. Raventos is an extraordinary Cava producer and we enjoy tasting their cavas annually.   These three new releases are top-of-the line. Continue reading

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Contratto of Alta Langa: An Impressive Showing of Metodo Clasico

Italy makes some of the world’s great sparkling wines.  We’re used to tasting the superb ones coming out of Franciacorta as well as Trento. Now, Piedmont’s Contratto joins this elite group.  Contratto was founded in 1867 by Giuseppe Contratto, making it the oldest Champagne-style (i.e., metodo classico) producer (originally, mostly from Moscato grapes) in Italy.  The winery was purchased by Giorgio Rivetti in 2011 with the aim of raising the quality and reputation of the brand.  Mauro Ferrero, who has worked at Contratto since 1978, continues but with the support of Andrea Rivetti, Giorgio’ son, and the financial and marketing resources of La Spinetta.  The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit for Contratto is now sourced from high altitude vineyards (up to 850m elevation) in Alta Langa.  And improvements continue to be made. Most recently, in 2015 Contratto planted its new, high altitude (720m elevation) vineyard in Bossolasco (Alta Lange).  Annual production of Contratto sparkling wine is now about 12 thousand cases. Continue reading

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Stylish Rosé: Colors, Shapes, and Celebrities

Perhaps no wine is as stylish as rosé.  The color of the wine, the shape of the bottle, the design of the label and even the name of the wine influence the consumer’s purchase.  While this is true for all wines, it’s more true for rosé with its alluring colors, exotic bottle shapes, and celebrity endorsements. Like most things rosé, the stylish trends began in Provence.  We examine these trends in more detail in our soon to be released 2021 Rosé Wine Report. Continue reading

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Flowers Winery: New Releases from the Exquisite Terroir of the West Sonoma Coast

Walt and Joan Flowers are among the pioneers of the West Sonoma Coast.  In 1990 when they planted their first vineyard, most winemakers regarded their location near the Pacific as too cold for growing grapes. Time has shown the Flowers were prescient, and our reviews below confirm our impressions of earlier vintages.  We visited winemaker Chantal Forthun at the winery in the Fort Ross Seaview appellation while preparing our 2019 report on The West Sonoma Coast, and we recently had a Zoom chat with her about the new releases. Continue reading

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Priorat’s Vi de la Villa Wine Designation and the Black Slate Village Wines

Our wine reports and tasting articles show our enthusiasm for the wines of Priorat. ( see IWR Report  #28 The Wines of Priorat)    In this article we discuss the wines of the different growing regions of Priorat and taste the Black Slate village wines imported and produced by Eric Solomon in collaboration with Priorat’s outstanding winemakers. (See the upcoming report on Garnacha in the IWR’s May-June  issue).  Continue reading

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The Wines of Israel’s Netofa Winery and Vitkin Winery

The International Wine Review has had a long association with Israeli wines.   Our first in-depth review of Israeli wines appeared in our report The Wines of Israel published a few years ago. Since then we have done periodic reviews of some of Israel’s finest wineries and reported on tastings we conducted at the annual Kosher Wine Festival held in New York.  In this article, we are pleased to present reviews of the wines of two excellent Israel wineries that are crafting first-class wine:  Netofa Winery and Vitkin.  Netofa is new to us, but we have had the opportunity to taste Vitkin’s wines with the winemaker,   Paz, in the start up days of the winery. Continue reading

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The Sordo Barolos from Eight Different Crus

The Azienda Agricola Giovanni Sordo is a family run vineyard with a century long history in Barolo. With 8 vineyards covering 53 hectares in 5 different municipalities, no other winery in Barolo has access to as many crus as does Sordo. The winery recently sent us their portfolio of wines, including the entry level Barolo Clasico blend and an Arneis white from Roero, for tasting. Our reviews follow. Continue reading

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Latest Releases from The Farm Winery in Paso Robles

 

The Farm Winery is one of a growing number of boutique wineries in the Paso Robles AVA that are producing limited quantities of outstanding, hand-crafted wines.  The winery is owned and operated by old friends and Stanford Business School alumni Jim Madsen and renowned Argentine winemaker Santiago Achaval. The Farm Winery launched operations in 2009.   After a long search, Jim and Santiago ended up negotiating  long term-leases of several vineyards located in the westside hills of Paso Robles   These vineyards have mainly calcareous soils at an average altitude of between 1700 and 1900 feet and are exposed to cool ocean winds, resulting in wide diurnal temperature variations that contribute to high quality fruit.  The vines are severely thinned and the use of green harvesting has kept yields very low, at around 1.5-2.0  tons per acre.  These yields are among the lowest in Paso Robles and are reflected in the wines’ concentration of flavors. Continue reading

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