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Author: Christine Havens

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Iconic? Yes. A great value? You bet. Charles Smith's nod to the Old World, Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is abundant with fruit: blueberry pie, ripe black cherries and plums orbit lighter notes of vanilla and violets 'round the bowl of the glass. On the palate, it's textbook Washington Cabernet, abundantly laden in mouth-filling fruit, lightly trussed in ripe tannins. Go ahead, pour yourself a second glass. 13.5% ABV | Sample Charles Smith Wines 8.9 Points ...

Galicia Mare Tămâioasă Românească 2016

Galicia Mare Tămâioasă Românească 2016

On the day we visited Galicia Mare, the winery still under construction, it was frigidly cold-wind whipped, we huddled around a table just inside the barrel aging room, the doors left open the afternoon sunlight to filter in. It was difficult to taste at these temperatures, this bottle-Tămâioasă Românească or Romanian Muscatel, glinted pale gold and like a long-lost distant cousin, exuded Muscat family personality and charm. Dried chamomile, honey, wet straw, barley flour, pear, musk melon, and diffuse sweetness. Támâioasă Românească has been cultivated in Romania for at least two millennia. sample Vinul him Dinescu 8.9 Points...

Murrieta's Well The Whip White Blend 2015

Murrieta’s Well The Whip 2015

"Murietta's Well is a partnership between Philip Wente and Sergio Traverso, the two revitalized the estate and gravity flow winery in 1990 and released The Spur and The Whip in 2010 to commemorate the winery's 20th anniversary. A blend of 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon, 21% Chardonnay, and 12% Orange Muscat, the 2015 Whip is a veritable fruit salad mélange of dried pineapple, cling peaches, bruised pear, lemon verbena, with a dusting of baking spice. Round and glycerol-laden in the mouth without too much weight, the core is sweet, yet balanced with layers of orchard fruit, toasted coconut, and mandarin orange. 13.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta’s Well 9.0 Points...

Juvé & Camps Reserva Essential Xarello Brut 2014

Juvé & Camps Reserva Essential Xarello Brut 2014

The winemaker at Juvé & Camps attributes this Cava's round, rich mouthfeel to the presence of polysaccharides released during fermentation, as well as during the process of maturation on the lees. Indeed, all of the wines in this lineup display autolytic features to a greater or lesser degree. The 2014 Reserva Essential Xarello Brut also has a compelling herbal profile. Asian pear aromas. In the mouth, dry mint, fennel, and smoke swirl around a deliciously creamy mid-palate. 12.0% ABV | sample Juvé & Camps 9.0 Points...

Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva Brut 2012

Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva Brut 2012

The color of onion skin, Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva Brut 2012 unfurls at a leisurely pace. Smoky, autolytic notes rise above decadently layered aromas of dried fruit, molasses, baked apple, forest honey, and almond skins. As fine, cascading bubbles dart to and fro, springing forth from a core that is softly textured and clean, endowed with stone fruit and citrus. That beguiling smoky note reemerges at the close. 7 g/l RS, 12.0% ABV | Sample Juvé & Camps 9.0 Points...

Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature Reserva de la Familia 2012

Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature Reserva de la Familia 2013

Another Cava from my visit to the region last year—according to the winemaker, 2013 was a cooler, wetter vintage in the region—in the lineup we tasted, this bottle, the Reserva Brut Nature Reserva de la Familia 2013 was appreciably leaner, but also fresher in its comportment. Fennel, white peach, lime, and grapefruit pith dominate the profile, rendered more complex by toast, puff pastry and smoke, amid a torrent of bubbles. 12.0% ABV | Sample Juvé & Camps 9.1 Points...

Juvé & Camps Penedès Gregal d'Espiells 2015

Juvé & Camps Penedès Gregal d’Espiells 2015

The only still wine I tasted on the day we visited Juvé & Camps. It was late spring and this blossomy white—the 2015 Penedès Gregal d'Espiells-is made from organically-grown Muscat Alexandria. It's surprisingly light and fresh with vivid tones of rose tea, chamomile crushed underfoot, mango and yellow peach. In the mouth, it's tarter than expected. Lemongrass, lime zest, and subtle minerality are extraordinarily long, seemingly brittle finish. Sample Juvé & Camps 8.8 Points...

Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva La Capella 2006

Juvé & Camps Cava Gran Reserva La Capella 2006

My visit to Catalonia last spring proved to be an eye-opening experience. There, I would learn that some Cavas, with this monovarietal Xarel·lo, have the potential to age. The Cava Gran Reserva The Capella Brut Nature 2006 matured on its lees for 108 months, gracing it with enormous complexity and depth, as only the passage of time can do. Baked apple, walnut skins, and exotic curry powder round out the nose. A fine, creamy mousse fades into honeyed pastry-a sharp contrast to the pleasantly bitter, seductively earthy tones of celery root, lime zest, white grapefruit, and fleur de sel that emerge on the finish. 12.0% ABV | sample Juvé & Camps 9.3 Points...

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

It begins with a pulse. Blackberries. Like Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K. 622, softly, softly roasted black cherries and blackcurrants emerge, followed by lilting notes of graphite, sandalwood, forest and pain grille. On the palate, rippling layers of opulent dark fruit that glide across a textural landscape of well-integrated, supple tannins. The 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet the very definition of elegance, certainly the benchmark for what Washington State can achieve. 14.9% ABV Quilceda Creek Vintners 9.8 Points ...

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2016

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2016

A winsome blend of 60% White Grenache and 40% Clairette grown in clay lime soils, the 2016 Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc has a subtle nose of pear and dried yellow apple, followed by a lilting top note of jasmine. It's soft on entry, with flavors that match the nose, save for a suggestion of lees and lemon zest that wends its way through to a long, mouthwatering finish. Biodynamically-farmed. 13.5% ABV | Sample Ferraton Pere & Fils 8.9 Points ...