Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese

2014 Italy Sicily
92 Points

The 2014 Sicilia Nerello Mascalese Eruzione 1614 is a drier and more mineral-driven expression compared to its peers. The bouquet delivers an immediate and wide array of volcanic characteristics with ash and crushed-sulfur stone. The mouthfeel is linear and tight with fine tannins that are silky and long in terms of mouthfeel. The wine is excellent, but I am surprised by the subdued presence of primary fruit in a vintage like 2014 that is recognized for its exuberant blackberry and black currant aromas. I am assigning a slightly shorter drinking window as a result.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese bottle Platinum

Eruzione 1614 Carricante

2015 Italy Sicily
91 Points

The 2015 Sicilia Carricante Eruzione 1614 is an enormously refined and elegant white to enjoy now or to put back in the cellar for another five years to further its evolution. This is a fine and temperate expression that bestows its volcanic characteristics in a prideful and upfront manner. The wine is full of mineral nuances that resemble brimstone, ash and crushed limestone. Yet, this Carricante-based wine (with a small part Riesling) is generous in terms of its fruit and citrus definition. Preserved lemon and candied orange peel appeal on the finish.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante bottle Platinum

Etna Rosso DOC

2015 Italy Sicily
88 Points

Planeta is expanding its offering of Etna wines and this base red is part of that effort. The 2015 Etna Rosso is a subtle and easygoing wine that offers a quick and informal alternative to the large majority of Nerello Mascalese-based wines that tend to be much more austere and reticent in character. This wine reads like an open book. It flaunts its primary fruit, its fresh acidity and its firm but not astringent mouthfeel. Drink this Etna Rosso with barbecued meats.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Etna Rosso DOC bottle

Etna Bianco DOC

2015 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Planeta's 2015 Etna Bianco is a terrific wine that shows surprising fullness and volume (for the Carricante grape which is usually more streamlined in approach). This wine, however, boasts extra stuffing or fiber that adds to the wine's volume and, ultimately, to its persistence. The bouquet delivers an attractive assembly of white peach, citrus, honey and crushed-granite aromas. The wine is inherently simple in spirit, but it awards a thoroughly refreshing drinking experience nonetheless.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Etna Bianco DOC bottle Platinum

Eruzione 1614 Carricante

2016 Italy Sicily
92 Points

The 2016 Sicilia Carricante Eruzione 1614 is comprised of 90% Carricante and 10% Riesling. This wine offers many exciting assets that distinguish it from its competition. First, that supporting presence of Riesling adds some of those benzine and resin-like aromas to the overall complexity of the bouquet. It is subtle, but the Riesling impact is well integrated within the broader texture of the wine. Second, the bouquet shows fruity tones of exotic fruit and perfumed honeydew melon, but it also offers drying mineral tones of brimstone and crushed seashell. This wine should continue to evolve over the next ten years.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante bottle Platinum

Doppiozeta

2014 Italy Sicily
88 Points

Dark red-ruby. Clean aromas and flavors of dark fruit, spices and herbs. A hint of chocolate emerges on the medium-long, slightly tart finish. A well made wine but tastes like it could have been made with any grape variety anywhere in the world that has a hot climate. Made with 100% Nero d'Avola grapes. 

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Doppiozeta bottle Platinum

Zisola Effe Emme

2014 Italy Sicily
91 Points

Dark red-ruby. Floral and spicy notes complicate blueberry aromas on the nose. Then bright dense and juicy with lively, peppery acidity nicely framing the dark cherry and berry flavors on the palate. Finishes with hints of blueberry nectar and herbs. Made with 100% Petit Verdot, this is just about as good as the variety gets in Italy; well done. The wine is not shy in its alcohol-derived power (15% alcohol) but it camouflages well thanks to a combination of sweetness, size and ripeness, not to mention very good overall balance.

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Zisola Effe Emme bottle Platinum

Vermentino

2015 Italy Tuscany
89 Points

The 2015 Vermentino is an attractive, crisp white to drink now and over the next year or so. Citrus peel and sweet floral notes give the wine its bright, aromatic personality.

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Vermentino bottle Platinum

Zisola Sicilia IGT

2015 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Bright red. Perfumed aromas of quinine, sweet spices and herbs complicate red cherry notes. Fresh and juicy with youthful, chewy tannins and a peppery bite on the long finish. Ages 10 months in small oak barrels. A nice wine.

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Zisola Sicilia IGT bottle Platinum

Azisa

2015 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Vivid straw-yellow. Expressive aromas of lemon juice, yellow peach and spearmint, complicated by balsamic nuances. At once sweet and focused, with no shortage of energy to the dense stone fruit, balsamic and minty flavors. Finishes big and bold, delivering outstanding juiciness and length. Lovely wine of sneaky complexity. A blend of Grillo and Cataratto.

Vinous September 2017
Zisola Azisa Bottle Platinum

Azisa

2016 Italy Sicily
91 Points

Bright pale straw. Lovely aromas and flavors of yellow melon, green fig, sage and rosemary with hints of riper orchard fruit and butter. Juicy acidity provides lift and precision on the long salty finish. A lovely wine, but borders on being almost too Sauvignon Blanc-like; anyways, it’s delicious. A blend of Grillo and Catarratto (wrongly, the label doesn’t specify which Catarratto, and it should, as there exist different biotypes that give different wines). 

Vinous September 2017
Zisola Azisa Bottle Platinum

Perlé

2009 Italy Trentino
93 Points

A very pretty and complex sparkling wine with hints of cream, bread dough and cooked apples and lemons. Full body, lovely mouthfeel and a flavorful finish. Vinous style. Drink now.

JamesSuckling.com September 14, 2017
Ferrari Perlé bottle Platinum

Tenuta Belguardo Maremma Toscana IGT

2011 Italy Tuscany
92 Points

The 2011 Tenuta Belguardo is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. This is a lovely wine from Coastal Tuscany that is rich, supple and soft in terms of texture. The bouquet is redolent of dark fruit with jammy overtones and blackberry preserves. Spice, cinnamon and grilled herb fill in the rear. This wine would make a great companion to spicy sausage with green peppers and onions.

Wine Advocate January 31, 2017
Tenuta Belguardo Maremma Toscana IGT Platinum

Special Reserve

2013 Israel Upper Galilee
90 Points

Juicy and rich, with lots of red plum and raspberry flavors that feature fresh acidity. Licorice notes show midpalate, presenting a finish that has accents of milk chocolate and paprika. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Marselan and Carignan. 

Wine Spectator September 30, 2016
Recanati Special Reserve bottle Platinum

Peter Yealands PGR

2016 New Zealand Marlborough
89 Points

A fragrant floral highlight mingles with pear and citrus flavors in this intense white, ending with a juicy finish that shows a lingering honeysuckle accent. Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Drink now. 

Wine Spectator October 31, 2017
Peter Yealands PGR Bottle

Cartagho

2014 Italy Sicily
89 Points

Blackberry, violet and leather aromas rise from the glass in this firm Nero d’Avola. Mature black cherry, mocha, licorice and tobacco flavors are framed by fine-grained tannins on the palate. Enjoy through 2021.

Wine Enthusiast October 2017
MandraRossa Cartagho bottle

Cornas "Les Ruchets"

2015 France Rhone Valley
95 Points

Dark and fleshy, with gorgeous blueberry reduction, warm fig and mulled blackberry flavors pumping through, inlaid with fresh bay leaf, lavender and charcoal notes. The long finish lets the fruit play out, with an added ganache detail. 

Wine Spectator October 31, 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas "Les Ruchets" bottle Platinum

Cornas "La Louvée"

2015 France Rhone Valley
95 Points

Fleshy in feel, with a ganache edge around the core of warmed plum sauce, fig paste and blackberry reduction flavors. Loam and charcoal notes line the finish, while the fruit plays out wonderfully. Shows a touch more fruit than grip, but the fruit is really beautiful. 

Wine Spectator October 31, 2017
Cornas "La Louvée" Platinum

Cornas "Vallon de l'Aigle"

2015 France Rhone Valley
96 Points

This is intense, with layers of dark plum, fig and blackberry confiture flavors rolling through, carried by smoldering charcoal and bay leaf notes. Grippy throughout, but the integration is there, while ganache, licorice root and sweet tapenade details fill in on the finish. Impressive. 

Wine Spectator October 31, 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo Cornas "Vallon de l'Aigle" bottle Platinum

Côtes du Rhône Rouge "Les Abeilles"

2015 France Rhone Valley
88 Points

Being based in the Northern Rhône, Colombo's Côtes-du-Rhône always incorporates a decent proportion of Syrah, 30% in this vintage. There's 10% Mourvèdre, with the other 60% being Grenache. It's medium to full in body, with supple tannins and superripe plum and chocolate flavors that pick up hints of raisin. Drink now.

Wine Enthusiast September 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Abeilles Red Bottle Best Buy

Gattinara "Tre Vigne" D.O.C.G.

2011 Italy Piedmont
92 Points

Aromas of raspberry compote, vanilla, clove and a balsamic note slowly emerge on this structured red. The firm yet elegant palate shows dark cherry, cranberry, licorice, chopped herb and mineral. Fresh acidity and polished fine-grained tannins lend balance and finesse. Drink 2018–2027.

Editors' Choice Award
Wine Enthusiast September 2017
Travaglini Gattinara "Tre Vigne" D.O.C.G. bottle Platinum

Serralunga d'Alba Barolo DOCG

2013 Italy Piedmont
93 Points

Woodland berry, crushed mint and pressed rose aromas lift out of the glass. Firmly structured but also boasting finesse, the focused palate presents red cherry, raspberry, clove and a hint of chopped herb framed in taut, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. 

Wine Enthusiast September 2017
Fontanafredda Serralunga d'Alba Barolo DOCG bottle Platinum

Yasmin Red Mevushal

2016 Israel Jezreel Valley
89 Points

Dark violet-red in color, this wine offers a bouquet of blackberry, cassis and smoked meat. It opens softly on the palate with blueberry, cherry and white chocolate flavors, buttressed by firm but not overpowering tannins and a touch of smoke. The slightly drying finish features a soft burst of cranberry. Kosher.

Wine Enthusiast October 2017
Recanati Yasmin Red Mevushal bottle Best Buy

Yasmin White Mevushal

2016 Israel Jezreel Valley
88 Points

This wine’s floral and baking spice aromas pave the way for refreshing pineapple, kiwi and freesia flavors. It’s smooth in the mouth, with citrus and floral notes that mingle on the pleasant finish. 

Wine Enthusiast August 21, 2017
Recanati Yasmin White Mevushal bottle Best Buy

Saint-Peray "La Belle de Mai"

2015 France Rhone Valley
90 Points

Pale yellow-gold. Mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas, along with hints of beeswax, quinine and dusty minerals. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering bitter lemon peel and pear skin flavors that flesh out and become sweeter with air. The mineral note drives a long, focused finish that leaves a suggestion of fennel behind.

Vinous July 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo Saint-Peray "La Belle de Mai" bottle Platinum

"Amour de Dieu" Condrieu

2014 France Rhone Valley
91 Points

Green-tinged yellow. Fresh orange, white peach and honey scents are sharpened by a smoky mineral note that builds with air. Fleshy and seamless in texture, offering sappy orchard and pit fruit flavors and a bracing jolt of citrus zest that adds back-end cut. Shows very good energy and strong thrust on the long, mineral-laced finish, which leaves behind an exotic honeyed note.

Vinous July 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo "Amour de Dieu" Condrieu bottle Platinum