Gran Vu Blend

2013 Argentina Mendoza
92 Points

The 2013 Gran VU Blend is 62% Malbec and 38% Cabernet Sauvignon (higher in Cabernet than the previous years) from their vineyards in the Valle de Uco (VU). The Malbec fermented in brand new 225-liter French oak barriques with dry yeasts, while the Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in 7,000-liter oak vats with dry yeasts. Malolactic was in barrique, where the wine completed 24 months of aging. It feels like a wine from a different era: it has dominant aromas of toast and is very oaky, smoky and spicy, with ripe fruit and especially a very tannic palate, with a powdery texture. It's a bit harsh even after a good couple of years in bottle. It does have some freshness from the conditions of the vintage. An oaky red for fans of the style. 6,514 bottles produced. It was bottled in August 2015.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Salentein, Bodegas Gran Vu Blend bottle Platinum

Reserve Malbec

2016 Argentina Mendoza
90 Points

Cropped from a cool, wet and low-yielding year for the variety, the 2016 Reserva Malbec was produced with grapes from their vineyards in Valle de Uco. It fermented in stainless steel vats and matured in French oak barrels for 12 months. It's riper and more concentrated than the Cabernet Sauvignon, but it's still atypical and has moderate alcohol and good acidity. It has soft, fine-grained tannins with a pleasant texture and a dry finish. They produced no less than 1,440,000 bottles of this cuvée. Very impressive quality for the volume.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Salentein, Bodegas Reserve Malbec bottle

Special Reserve

2015 Israel Upper Galilee
90 Points

The 2015 Special Reserve red is a blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 17% Petite Sirah, 13% Carignan and 10% Marselan, aged for 17 months in 60% new French oak. This wasn't the greatest vintage in Israel, but Recanati picked early, avoiding problems that arose, said winemaker Gil Shatsberg. They created a rather refined Special Reserve. It's not the biggest and richest this year, but it has a sophisticated feel to it. This has that old-school mid-palate finesse, silky texture and impeccable balance. The finish is long and complex, filled with hints of beef, herbs and cherries, all mingled together. It ends dry and serious. This is an understated food wine this year. Some will like it even more for that graceful demeanor.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Recanati Special Reserve bottle Platinum

Wild Carignan Reserve

2016 Israel Judea Hills
91 Points

The 2016 Wild Carignan Reserve was aged for ten months in 50% new French oak and comes in at 14% alcohol. In a theoretical sense—not every year—this is my personal favorite of Recanati's lineup, for the combination of style and quality. This seems like a pretty fine year for it. As surprisingly lush as the Marselan was this issue, this adds a layer of depth and goes one step further. The texture runs from silk to velvet and makes this very sensual at the outset. There is plenty of flavor, some raspberries supported by acidity, all finishing very dry. The fine structure supports the fruit beautifully. You can drink this right now, but give it a year or so in the cellar to pull in the wood better if you can.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Platinum

Special Reserve

2016 Israel Upper Galilee
89 Points

The 2016 Special Reserve white is a blend of 60% Roussanne and 40% Marsanne, aged for six months in 30% new French oak. There's a tinge of oak on the back end, but it integrates fairly quickly and well this year, although it always affects the texture. Gentle, round and harmonious, it has reasonable but only average persistence on the finish. It coats the mouth rather nicely with that caressing texture, but it does at times seem a bit too sedate, granting that these grapes aren't exactly Arinto or Sauvignon Blanc in profile. This might do well with a little more time in the bottle to acquire a bit of complexity. This may be the year where I prefer the Marawi. That may actually make Recanati happy, in a way.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Recanati Special Reserve bottle

Reserve Petite Sirah

2016 Israel Upper Galilee
89 Points

The 2016 Petite Sirah Reserve was aged for eight months in 40% new oak (mostly French, with a dollop of American). It comes in at 14% alcohol. This is always fun and a bottling that represents great value in Recanati's lineup. This is a good vintage for it. Opening soft and a bit creamy, this is nicely focused and shows the ability to absorb the wood to an appropriate extent. It tightens a bit on the finish and shows good structure too, although the tannins are very ripe. This is a bit understated, but it drinks beautifully. This year makes me think it has a little developmental potential too. Drink one now—it's perfectly accessible—but put a couple away for a few years and see what happens.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Recanati Reserve Petite Sirah bottle

Reserve Marselan

2016 Israel Upper Galilee
91 Points

The 2016 Marselan Reserve was aged for 11 months in 40% new French oak and comes in at 14% alcohol. This shows fine depth for the grape this year, while retaining most of its typical elegance and freshness. Velvety in texture and lush in mouthfeel, it eventually becomes more interesting when the acidity and structure fight back. There's fine grip on the finish. The fruit pops up too, with those tasty, fresh red-fruit nuances. Could this be Recanati's best-yet Marselan? I'm thinking "yes." It's worth leaning up just now. It does have to show some improvement in the cellar to justify my enthusiasm.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Recanati Reserve Marselan Bottle Platinum

Reserve Marawi

2016 Israel Judea Hills
90 Points

The 2016 Marawi was aged for six months in 90% used French oak and comes in at 12% alcohol. There was no malolactic fermentation. This shows fine concentration, a lush, velvety mouthfeel and a hint of mushrooms on opening. All good, but I just wanted a little more verve. Retasting it a couple of times more over the next hour showed some. Not that this will ever be a crispy white, but the grip on the finish became more appealing. It acquired a little distinction. This may well be the best yet for the Marawi, but as in the past, let's be a little conservative and see if it can hold and develop. To justify my enthusiasm, it needs to do so. For the moment, let's lean up. It may yet improve.

Wine Advocate June 29, 2018
Reserve Marawi Platinum

Dos Maderas Rum PX

NV/MV Spain Jerez
93 Points

The finishing in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks has given this luscious rum a beautiful mahogany hue. The sweet wine's influence is further felt on the nose which has tones of baked molasses, spiced raisin, and citrus candy and the dense, sweet-toned palate.

Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017
Dos Maderas 5+5 PX

Dos Maderas Rum 5+3

NV/MV Spain Jerez
95 Points

The sherry cask has added layers of heather and honey to this rum making it somewhat reminiscent of Speyside Scotch. The palate shows a mouthful of butterscotch candy and a streak of salted caramel that fades pleasantly to a lightly spicy finish.

Finalist Award
Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017
Dos Maderas 5+3

Joven

NV/MV Mexico Oaxaca
95 Points

A whiff of campfire and roasted agave on the nose gives way to charred sweet bell pepper, fresh herbs, and hints of chocolate on the palate. The smoke here is not at all overpowering.

Finalist Award
Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017
Los Amantes Mezcal Joven bottle

Calvados X.O.

NV/MV France Normandy
93 Points

Sweet Aromas of fresh pink lady apples jump from the glass. Dry on the palate, the flavor explodes with aromatic red apple, first fresh, then baked, with elements of nutmeg and mace. The essence of apples stays in the mouth after each sip.

Finalist Award
Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017
Boulard Calvados Calvados X.O. bottle

Vodka

NV/MV Sweden
91 Points

Incredibly soft nose of white pepper, cooked citrus, fresh grass, rosemary stems, and almond skins give way to a much more intense palate of crushed black pepper, dried hay, orange peel, lime pith, and sesame seeds.

Great Value Award
Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2018
Ravo Vodka Bottle

Bianco

NV/MV Italy Piedmont
95 Points

Pale green silver color. Rich aroma of green apple, kiwi and bay leaf. Taste profile is off-dry, citrusy, ripe and nuanced.

Great Value, Chairman's Trophy Award
Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2018
Cinzano Vermouth Bianco bottle

Chardonnay

2017 Italy Sicily
87 Points

Alluring scents of ripe orange zest, white stone fruit and spring flower lead the nose. The medium-bodied straightforward palate offers ripe Bartlett pear and juicy citrus alongside fresh acidity.

Wine Enthusiast August 2018
Best Buy

"Amour de Dieu" Condrieu

2016 France Rhone Valley
92 Points

Pale gold. Highly expressive aromas of fresh nectarine, orange and white flowers are energized by a strong mineral accent. Silky, penetrating orchard and pit fruit and floral flavors show outstanding energy and focus, and a zesty orange pith note adds lift and bite. Closes with lively mineral cut, a touch of honeysuckle and suave, lingering sweetness.

Vinous May 2018
Jean-Luc Colombo "Amour de Dieu" Condrieu bottle Platinum

"Amour de Dieu" Condrieu

2015 France Rhone Valley
92 Points

Limpid yellow. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes violet, ripe nectarine and pear, and a suggestion of candied orange zest adds vibrant lift. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering gently sweet poached pear and peach nectar flavors underscored by a vein of dusty minerality. The floral note comes back strong on the smooth, very persistent finish, which shows excellent delineation.

Vinous May 2018
Jean-Luc Colombo "Amour de Dieu" Condrieu bottle Platinum

Saint-Peray "La Belle de Mai"

2016 France Rhone Valley
91 Points

Pale gold. Bright and focused on the nose, displaying mineral-inflected citrus and orchard fruit scents and a suave floral nuance. Dry and penetrating on the palate, offering juicy Meyer lemon and pear flavors and a touch of succulent herbs. The floral note comes back on the long, incisive finish, which leaves behind a hint of dusty minerals.

Vinous May 2018
Jean-Luc Colombo Saint-Peray "La Belle de Mai" bottle Platinum

Frappato DOC Vittoria

2016 Italy Sicily
93 Points

Bright red. Fresh clean and very perfumed violet, licorice and blueberry aromas and flavors, complicated by a hint of strawberry jam. A lovely wine showcasing great acid-fruit-tannin balance and lots of juicy, sweet fruit flavors and texture. Very well done, and only 13% alcohol.

Vinous September 2017
Planeta Frappato DOC Vittoria bottle Platinum

Merlot

2013 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Full dark ruby. Deep aromas of black fruits, cocoa, cured tobacco, botanical herbs and cedar are ripe but have plenty of verve. Round and luscious but also elegant and lively, with a minty quality to the black fruit and flinty flavors. Finishes long with big, youthful, chewy tannins. This Sicilian Merlot clearly benefited from the slightly cooler year and despite its hefty 14% alcohol, comes across as graceful and lithe.

Vinous September 2017
Planeta Merlot bottle Platinum

Cometa

2016 Italy Sicily
92 Points

Dark bright yellow. Aromas and flavors of stone and pomaceous orchard fruit complicated by hints of grapefruit and lime. Less tropical than some past Cometa bottlings, this stands out for its freshness and lemony minerality enlivened by bright floral notes on the long zingy finish. A lovely wine, and so well balanced you’ll never guess it had 14% alcohol.

Vinous September 2017
Planeta Cometa bottle Platinum

Perlé

2010 Italy Trentino
91 Points

A dense and pretty white with apple pie and lemon character. Full and layered. Very fruity yet holds back with bright acidity and attractive complexity. A hint of bitterness.

JamesSuckling.com October 2017
Ferrari Perlé bottle Platinum

Perlé Rosé

2009 Italy Trentino
90 Points

Creamy and crisp, this slowly reveals delicate scents of small red berry and Alpine herb. The bright polished palate offers strawberry, apple, nectarine and a hint of bread crust alongside fresh acidity and an elegant mousse. A mineral note backs up the finish.

Wine Enthusiast December 2016
Ferrari Perlé Rosé bottle Platinum

Rosé

NV/MV Italy Trentino
93 Points

Aromas of strawberry and cream with hints of balsamic. Full body, layered and flavorful. Plenty of fruit and character. Tight and dense. Pretty finish with hints of white pepper and dried fruits. Disgorged in 2017. Drink now.

JamesSuckling.com October 2017
Ferrari Rose Platinum