Category Archives: WRO Reviews

Maison Auvigue, Saint-Véran (Burgundy, France) “Chênes” 2022

($35):  Saint-Véran, which lies adjacent to Pouilly-Fuissé in the Mâconnais, lies between single village Mâcon wines, like Mâcon-Azé, and Pouilly-Fuissé in the appellation hierarchy.  That is not to say you can’t find a Mâcon-Azé that is more stylish and enjoyable than a Saint-Véran, nor does it mean that every Pouilly-Fuissé is superior to every Saint-Véran. Read more

Domaine Merlin, Saint-Véran (Burgundy, France) Le Grand Bussière 2022

($33):  Despite the location of the vineyard, Le Grand Bussière, in the village of Fuissé, the appellation is Saint-Véran because Fuissé (the village) spans two appellations, Pouilly-Fuissé and Saint-Véran.  (Who ever said that Burgundy was simple to understand?)  This edgy Saint-Véran, with its cutting stone-y quality, shows why that appellation ranks above Mâcon in prestige. Read more

Domaine Merlin, Pouilly-Fuissé Premier Cru (Burgundy, France) Les Chevrières 2022

($72):  The French wine authorities have finally identified and codified Premier Cru vineyards for Pouilly-Fuissé so that moniker along with the vineyard name is now appearing on the label, just as in the rest of Burgundy.  Unsurprisingly, the elevation of some vineyards to Premier Cru classification has brought with it an elevation of price. Read more

Maison Louis Latour, Viré-Clessé (Burgundy, France) 2022

($38, Louis Latour, USA):  Appellations within the Mâconnais, like Viré-Clessé, are the place to go to find affordable, or at least more affordable, white Burgundy.  Viré and Clessé, two adjacent villages whose wines previously were labeled as Mâcon-Viré and Mâcon-Clessé, convinced French wine regulators that their wines were distinctive enough to merit their own appellations. Read more

Le Rocher des Violettes, Mountlouis-sur-Loire (Loire Valley, France) “Touche-Mitaine” 2021

($28):  Mountlouis-sur-Loire lies across the Loire River from Vouvray and uses the same Chenin Blanc grape for its captivatingly delicious wines.  Similar in style to Vouvray, they vary from dry, like this one, to sweet.  A waiter at GrandCoeur, an exceptional new-wave bistro in the Marais section of Paris, recommended this one to me. Read more

Capezzana, Toscana Rosso (Tuscany, Italy) “Ugo Contini Bonacossi” 2019

($60):  The Contini Bonacossi family owns Capezzana, Carmignano’s best producer.  Ugo Contini Bonacossi, who transformed the property from the typical sharecropping agricultural endeavor of the era, into the current modern wine and olive oil producing estate, adored a particular small Sangiovese vineyard that he thought consistently produced exceptional grapes. Read more

Girolamo Russo, Etna Rosso (Sicily, Italy) “‘a Rina” 2020

($34):  This looks like a Rosé in the glass, but fortunately it displays enormous character and complexity, so you know it’s not a rosé.  Girolamo Russo, one of Etna’s top producers, makes a range of terrific wines from that mountain.  This one, ‘a Rina, is a blend, and could be considered his “basic” — though there’s nothing basic about it — wine. Read more

Villa Cerna, Chianti Classico (Tuscany, Italy) “Primocolle” 2020

($19, Volio Imports):  Villa Cerna is the home, and one of the estates, of the Cecchi family, one of the top producers in Tuscany.  Primocolle — literally, first hill — comes from vineyards at lower elevations on the estate.  The bright and juicy 2020 Primocolle is a lovely, classically proportioned Chianti Classico filled with good depth and an impeccable combination of fruity and savory notes. Read more

Ventisquero, Colchagua Valley (Chile) Carménère Apalta Vineyard “Obliqua” 2017

($71, Austral Wines):  Made entirely from Carménère, arguably Chile’s signature grape, grown in the famed Apalta sub-region, this juicy bottling displays a wonderful combination of red and dark fruit with spice and other non-fruit, savory notes.  Like the Vertice, the tannins are present, yet supple and not intrusive, so this hearty red is ready for mid-winter fare. Read more

Haritatos Vineyard, Slopes of Aenos PGI (Greece) Mavrodaphne “Mademoiselle Haritato” 2021

($34, Diamond Wine Importers):  Jancis Robinson in her encyclopedic Wine Grapes (Harper Collins 2012) reports that Mvarodafni is likely the Greece’s most well-known grape because of the sweet, fortified wines made from it. Well, this is my first introduction to it, and Haritatos Vineyard stunning one is definitely not sweet, nor fortified. Read more

Alpha Estate, Amyndeon PDO (Macedonia, Greece) Xinomavro Hedgehog Vineyard 2020

($27, Diamond Wine Importers):  Fortunately, most people don’t translate the grape’s name, Xinomavro, (literally, sour back) before buying the wine.  It is considered by many to be Greece’s most important and best red grape for red wine.  Frequently described as powerful with significant tannins, the mid-weight and poised one from Alpha Estate, an organic producer, does not fit that profile. Read more

Pommery & Greno, Champagne (France) Brut Rosé “Royal” NV

($64, Vranken Pommery America):  Pommery’s luxurious Rosé reinforces the notion that Champagne stands head and shoulder above other sparkling Rosés.  The delicate salmon-pink color pleases they eye, but the real pleasure comes from the first whiff and sip.  It delivers an impeccable balance of subtle, but persistent, wild strawberry-like nuances and creamy citrus ones.Read more

Villa Bucci, Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC (Marche, Italy) Verdicchio “Bucci” 2022

($24, Empson USA):  The Bucci family, farmers in the region from the 18th century, started bottling their wines only in 1983.  They’ve rapidly shown themselves to be of the DOC’s top producers.  Reasons why the wines are formidable is the age of the vines — mostly 40 to 50 years — and their parsimonious yields, which run about half of the quantity allowed by DOC regulations. Read more

Villa Sandi, Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG (Veneto, Italy) La Rivetta 2021

($50):  Cartizze is a small (roughly 260-acre) steeply sloped area of vineyards that represent the pinnacle of the Prosecco quality pyramid.  And Sandi’s from their La Rivetta plot within Cartizze fits that perfectly.  Oddly, though, Prosecco is nowhere to be found on the label, which is a common practice among Prosecco producers who bottle a Cartizze. Read more

Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis (Burgundy, France) “Vieilles Vignes de Sainte Claire” 2022

($28):  Chablis remains one bright spot in Burgundy for consumers because its wines remain underpriced, and a great value compared to those from the Côte d’Or.  What they may lack it opulence compared to New World Chardonnay or the Chardonnay-based wines from the Côte d’Or, they make up for with a riveting minerality and focus. Read more