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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DAOU Vineyards: The Pursuit of Excellence

Daniel Daou

Daniel Daou and family have created one of California’s leading wineries for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends.  The story is by now well known—born in Lebanon, raised in France, educated at UC San Diego, founded a highly successful tech company, and then followed his dream of making world class wine.  A couple of years ago, Daniel showed us his vineyards and winery located in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles, and we’ve tasted his exceptional wines multiple times over the years.  This year we couldn’t travel, but Daniel sent us his wines, and we had a lengthy discussion over Zoom covering some technical issues such as yeasts, dealing with heat spikes, and determining ripeness of grapes. Our tasting notes can be found below. Continue reading

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Galicia’s Little Known Red Wines

 

Galicia is located in northwest Spain, just north of Portugal and east of the Atlantic Ocean.  It includes five wine appellations (Denominacion de Origen, or D.O.):  Rias Baixas, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras, and Monterrei. Red wines are made in all five, especially in the latter three, which are located furthest inland.  In this article we review several very good, interesting and little known red wines from Galicia.  For more on the wines of northwest Spain see our recently published reports on The Wines of Bierzo and Rias Baixas: Albariño and More. Continue reading

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Treixadura from Ribeiro in Galicia

Treixadura is a delicate white grape grown mostly in the Ribeiro region of Galicia and in northern Portugal where it’s called Trajadura and is often a component of Vinho Verde.  It’s often used in blends where it contributes fresh aromas and flavors of citrus and orchard fruit as well as body and alcohol.  With 2500 hectares of vines and 115 wineries, Ribeiro is located just east of Rias Baixas [see map of Ribeiro below] in close proximity (just 45 km) to the Atlantic, so as with Rias Baixas, white varietals like Treixadura dominate wine production.  In this article we evaluate some of the Ribeiro wines we’ve tasted made with this variety.  For more on the wines of Northwest Spain, please see our recently published report on The Wines of Rias Baixas and the forthcoming report on The Wines of Bierzo.  Also, see our earlier article on Casal de Armán; the reviews of their Treixadura wines are repeated here. Continue reading

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High Value Wines from the Southern Cone

Argentina and Chile arguably produce the world’s best value wines priced at $10-$20.  Argentina has, of course, become famous for its Malbec, and Chile for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.  [Chile has more plantings of Cabernet than the US and almost as much as France.] But many other varieties are grown in these two countries as well.  Below, we review several current releases from the Southern Cone. To read about the super-premium wines of these two countries, see our reports on Chile’s Premium Wine Revolution and The Diverse Wines of Argentina. Continue reading

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Dutton Goldfield Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Excellent 2018 Vintage

Northern California’s 2018 vintage was typical of vintages two decades ago. Summer temperatures were moderate, and harvest was 2-3 weeks later than recent years with long, slow maturation.  As a result, the 2018 vintage wines are phenolically ripe and superbly balanced, and it was a real pleasure to taste the Dutton Goldfield new releases from the 2018 vintage. Continue reading

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