Gary Hewitt
Banville & Jones Wine Co.
Purchasing, Wine Educator, Certified Sommelier
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A deep, rich New World Syrah still in a primary stage with pronounced dark fruit character and framed by quality vanilla/spice of French oak. Potential of decades of cellaring. Winemaker John Duval made Penfold's Grange for decades before moving on to new projects, such as Pangea. Certainly drinkable now, but with long-term cellar potential. The Aussie connection is palpable. (2013 (still a baby) tasted 13 May 2019)
Chile » Colchagua Valley, 2011, Shiraz, with a community rating of 93/100
8 days ago
Benchmark Carmenere. Deep black fruit and cassis, with distinct tobacco/green pepper herbal notes, soft medium intense tannins, and a determined finish. Distinct if not profound, wanting a good beef steak with a peppercorn sauce. The epitome of consistency. Excellent. (2017 tasted 13 May 2019)
Chile » Colchagua Valley, Carménère, with a community rating of 94/100
8 days ago
This wine is about tasting history. Pais is the Spanish-Conquistador grape of S America--it's been there since the 1500s! J Bouchon takes the fruit of venerable old vines to gently create a fresh, gulp-able, refreshing, light red wine with savoury and smokey undertones. Serve slightly chilled to accentuate the fresh fruit. Excellent--leading edge Chilean wine. (2017 tasted 13 May 2019)
Chile » Central Valley » Maule Valley, Pais, with a community rating of 91/100
8 days ago
Clos des Fous, a foursome of "unique minds", willed this wine into existence from virgin land and a penchant for finding great terroir. Cool-climate, south-Chile Chardonnay with flavours born of sensitive Burgundy-inspired wine-making. Tree & stone-fruit character, malo & lees richness, and light oak meld into a complex, food-friendly wine. Locura 2 goes from strength to strength. A steal. (2016 tasted 13 May 2019)
Chile » Southern Chile » Itata Valley, Chardonnay
8 days ago
Fans of intense Sauv Blanc pay attention! Pronounced aromas of fresh pea pods, guava and nettles lead to an driving palate with refreshing acidity and a long finish. Drink now for its vitality, it's not for aging. (2018 tasted 13 May 2019)
Chile » San Antonio Valley » Leyda Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, with a community rating of 90/100
8 days ago
Stunning. Semillon may be more famously associated with Hunter Valley, but this outstanding version from Barossa shows this Aussie specialty also aging wonderfully. Pronounced aromas and flavours of honey, lemon oil, bees wax and cashew lead to a prolonged finish. If you have some of this beauty in your cellar, be happy to open it now, but there is no need to rush. 2008 tasted 8 May 2019.
Australia » South Australia » Barossa » Barossa Valley, 2008, with a community rating of 94/100
Impressive natural wine with yeasty-lees notes vying with complex fruit, dried citrus and dried flower aromas and flavours. Strong textural character with round mid palate and light astringency leading to a long yeasty finish. I followed this bottle for more than a week and it doesn't care how long it's open! An unusual blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer, all of which are there for finding but the wine-making plays an equal role. 2017 tasted 8 May 2019.
Canada » Ontario » Niagara Peninsula, with a community rating of 92/100
Crunchy young Bordeaux red with bright black cherry and a savory edge. Firm tannins that want food and the juicy finish suggests great red meat pairings. Drinking well now, but has 2-4 year potential to round out. Serious Bordeaux at the price! 2015 tasted 6 May 2019.
France » Bordeaux
Lean, refreshing white from a top producer of Aligote, Burgundy's 'other' white grape. Distinct green apple, lemon and mouthwatering acidity make this racy, fresh wine a foil for shell fish (mussels, clams, scallops) or even for high acid foods including pickles, sauerkraut, or vinaigrette dressings. Its intensity suggests a mellowing over 5-8 years may repay cellaring. Very good . 2017 tasted 6 May 2019.
France » Burgundy, Aligoté
"Dirty wine-making" that sings freshness but leads down the path to barnyard and wet mouse. Bright and alive right through the juicy finish. Complex and intense with bright flavours of cherry, raspberry (Pinot Noir) and plum with black pepper and underlying meatiness (Syrah). Funky in the best way. Take a walk on the Dark Side. You've been warned, but this is excellent. (2014 tasted 29 April 2019)
New Zealand » Marlborough
Outstanding age-worthy SB from the pioneers of SB in Marlborough. More austere than the typical pungent Marlborough SB with distinct flint, nettles, guava, lime leaf, lemon and green apple. Racy acidity leads to a long juicy finish. Screams for steamed green mussels. Drink now, but unlike more pungent NZ SBs this is a keeper and will likely age over 6-8 years. (2017 tasted 29 April 2019)
New Zealand » Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc, with a community rating of 90/100
Oh-so-easy to drink! Red cherry and raspberry with potpourri, sandalwood incense and Turkish Delight. Pale colour, light soft tannins and a long easy finish. Great example of low-extract wine-making that retains varietal character and vitality. Serve slightly chilled. Tell lovers of big extracted alcoholic reds to drink something else. Lovely, but for drinking now and over the near future (2017 tasted 26 April 2019)
South Africa » Swartland, Cinsaut / Cinsault
Youthful, spicy GV with great balance. Classic varietal character of lemon/apple/pear plus white pepper and citrus pith with great mid-palate roundness and a persistent finish. Delicious as a young wine but with 5-7 years cellar potential to gain weight and complexity. Excellent--put at least one in the cellar to try in 3-4 years. (2017 tasted 26 April 2019)
Austria, Grüner Veltliner
Lovely! Delicate and refined. Florist shop aromas plus white/pink grapefruit, lemon, peach and apple. Light and lively on the palate with a juicy, fresh finish--ideal with sushi and pickled ginger--yum! Am Stein continues to make simply enjoyable wines. (2017 tasted 24 April 2019)
Germany, Scheurebe
Firing on all cylinders, this mouth-filling Chardonnay has ripe melon and pineapple fruit, creamy texture, and vanilla-ginger-nutmeg notes from oak. If you have been looking for a mythical big buttery Cali Chard, give this a little bottle age and it may be the wine for you (maybe it is already!). Another impressive effort from Catena who continues to be an Argentine force. (2016 tasted 24 April 2019)
Argentina » Mendoza Province, Chardonnay
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