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|Region:||Ribera del Duero|
|Bottle Size:||750 ml|
Intense ruby color of high layer with garnet edge, clean and shiny. Intense nose that, from the beginning, transmits complexity, penetrating, with aromas of black fruits, blueberries and currants, undergrowth, roasted memories, toffee, coffee powder, liquorice, cloves, vanilla and lebanese cedar. Mouth with freshness and balance, with tannins ripe and creamy, which highlight its elegance, with a step harmonious and intense. Long and pleasant aftertaste, with a great variety of balsamic and spicy memories.
The old-vine component of the El Otero parcel, running to around seven hectares, supplies the fruit for this ageworthy Tinto Fino. After a frost-induced break in 2017, it's back with interest in 2018. Aged in new French oak, but not dominated by the wood, it's a finely judged red from Julio Sáenz with notes of blackberry and tangerine, filigree tannins and a long, textured finish. 2023-33
-Tim Atkin 96 Points
In the 1990s, La Rioja Alta decided to try their luck in the Ribera del Duero, where terroir and microclimate meet to invite the utmost expression of the Tempranillo grape. They sought the best possible site following the advice of the Denomination’s best growers and different academic experts. Also, La Rioja Alta studied and analysed the soil, grapes and weather of many different subzones. Anguix (Burgos) was finally selected as the ideal location and in 1991 they planted the vineyard on land that was purchased the previous year. They chose to name this new venture Bodegas Aster after a Spanish flower that blooms at harvest.
The grapes from the first seven harvests were sold. In 2000, having verified the quality of the vineyard and the grapes, a winery was built representing a perfect combination of cutting-edge wine-making technology and timeless elegance in design. That year saw the creation of the first Áster offering.
When the founding fathers of the Napa Valley carved out new sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in the 1980s, Soda Canyon Ranch was not yet on anyone’s map. The vineyard is neighbored to the northwest and west by the winegrowing districts of Stags Leap District and Oak Knoll District, respectively, which were among the early pioneers of California Cabernet Sauvignon to attain global fame. To the northeast and southeast—and further off the beaten path—were Atlas Peak and Coombsville, thought to be the next frontiers for the emerging wine-producing region.
With richness and depth of flavor, the 2018 Timeless Napa Valley is the embodiment of patience and attention to detail. Decades of experience at Soda Canyon Ranch allow winemaker Nate Weis and team to highlight the individual merits of each block. Combining the strongest lots from each resulted in a refined and harmonious bottling.
In 2018, the diurnal shift at Soda Canyon Ranch produced a darker, lusher fruit profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. Simultaneously, the overnight recovery periods resulted in expressive and refined Merlot, giving the wine a pleasant profile of bright, red fruit. With an extended harvest window, the signature, plush density and structure of Petit Verdot is also prevalent in the final blend. Cabernet Franc thrived in 2018 with its predilection for the cooler soils and the climate of blocks 5, 6, 16, 20 and 21—areas we call the Transition Zone and Hardpan Alley. The variety’s floral and tobacco-like aromatics are accentuated, and its more aggressive nature for back-end tannins tamed.
Once blended, the 2018 vintage rested in French oak barrels for 16 months, developing flavors of vanilla and baking spice. Velvety tannins dance across the palate of bright and lingering cassis. With a smooth finish, this is a comforting wine of elegance and depth—a sophisticated expression of the sedate summer.
This is a little old-school and shows lots of dark berry, chocolate and dried fruit. It’s full, dense and layered with fleshly sensibility. Velvety texture.
-James Suckling 93 Points
Finca del Castillo Tempranillo La Mancha is made from 30 year old vine Tempranillo (100%).
This pretty little red has a flavor reminiscent of good Cotes du Rhone. Medium bodied, flavorful; hints of raspberry and strawberry. Shows best with picnic fare and grilled meats. Perfect summer red.
Deep cherry red in color with a garnet rim. On the nose, it is intense and elegant, with a base of ripe fruits that blends with the subtle tertiary aromas of sweet spices and cocoa. On the palate, it is balanced, full-bodied but with sweet and pleasant tannins, with a long and very persistent aftertaste.
Guillemot-Michel Vire Clesse is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Beautifully expressive, with yellow fruits, orange blossom, smoke & flint. Thick and saline on entry, then seriously deep in the mid-palate, with suggestions of exotic fruits perfectly countered by strong minerality. This wine strikes a perfect balance between sweet and salty elements, and it shows vibrant acidity. It boasts a thickness that few other northern Mâconnais can match.
Enjoy with fish (such as sole meuniere), seafood, roasted chicken, goat cheese.
"The 2018 Viré-Clessé Quintaine is showing beautifully, wafting from the glass with a lovely bouquet of honeyed citrus fruit, fresh pastry and orange blossom. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and supple, it's elegantly textural and refined, with a fragrant core of fruit and a long, penetrating finish. Even though it will reward a bit of bottle age, it's slightly finer-boned than the more concentrated, muscular 2017, so I would opt to drink this immensely charming wine before its older sibling. – William Kelley"
- The Wine Advocate (Issue 249, June 30th 2020), 93 pts
Johann Michel Cornas Cuvee Mere Michel is made from 100 percent Syrah.
Cuvee Mère Michel was first introduced in 2016 and is not produced every year. This wine is a tribute to Johann Michel' wife, Emmanuelle, and a nod to the French song, La Mere Michel. This wines comes from Selection Massale (replanting new vineyards with cuttings from exceptional old vines from the same property) cuttings of Serine off the 1947 Yves Cuilleron vineyard at Chavanay. The vineyards are located in the lieu-dit "Les Cotes" at an altitude of 230 meters and benefiting from a southern sun exposure.
"Only made in top vintages, the 2018 Cornas Mère Michel is a tribute to Johann's wife and a play on the French song "La Mere Michelle." Brought up in a new demi-muid, it's a richer, broader wine compared to the Cuvée Jana yet still has incredible Cornas style in its red, black, and blue fruits as well as notes of toasted spice, roasted meat, chocolate, and wild herbs. Rich, full-bodied, and opulent, it has a touch more upfront appeal and should be drinkable in just 4-5 years yet also evolve for two decades." -
Jeb Dunnuck (Northern Rhône: The 2018s and 2019s, November 19th 2020), 98 pts
The Kasteelberg range of wines, celebrates the discovery of Riebeek and the Kasteelberg mountains in 1661. Kasteelberg stands sentinel over the fertile valley below. From the slopes of the mountains, hand-selected grapes are expertly crafted with care to produce rare and expressive wines. The Kasteelberg range truly is the pinnacle of our Winemaker's art.
Often referred to as Shiraz Country, the Riebeek Valley is renowned for exceptional Shiraz wines.
The Kasteelberg Shiraz is a lively rich wine, full bodied with a subdued smokiness on the nose and a pallet of ripe fruit and interesting spice.
Well-balanced and smooth, the aftertaste lingers with the exciting flavors of Christmas pudding.
Serve at room temperature. The perfect companion to barbequed lamb, fillet medallions and game. Lovely with Springbok stuffed with bacon, garlic and rosemary and a great match to a cheese and preserve platter.
"I'd expect to prefer the 2017 Shiraz to the 2018 bottling, but it's actually the reverse. Maybe Alecia Boshoff has just got more experience with the fruit from this Kasteelberg site. Sweet and spicy, with enticing incense and violet aromas, fine tannins, succulent red berry fruit and deftly integrated one-third new oak. 2021-26"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Report), 92 pts
Long Shadows Feather Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Washington State Cabernet.
Acclaimed Napa Valley vintner Randy Dunn has a reputation for producing world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. He brings more than four decades of winemaking experience to the Columbia Valley to produce Feather, his only wine made outside of California.
Tasting Notes: Deep crimson colored with pure and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon character. Generous aromas and flavors of dark fruits, violets, coffee and toasted herbs combine with a textured mid-palate to deliver a big, yet focused, wine with polished tannins and persistent finish.
Winemaking: Grapes were hand-harvested at the peak of ripeness, then lightly crushed and fermented in small stainless steel tanks. Once fermentation was underway, the cap was pumped over aggressively to extract color and structure. As fermentation neared completion, pump overs were handled more gently to further extract color and flavors without imparting harsh tannins. The finished wine was aged 22 months in 90% new Vicard French oak barrels (Randy's cooper of choice at Dunn Vineyards as well).
TA: 0.58 grams / 100ml
"The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Feather is a special project wine between Gilles Nicault and Randy Dunn of Dunn Vineyards. Aged for 22 months in all French oak barrels (90% new), it shows beautiful toasty oak alongside dark chocolate, Turkish coffee, crème de violette and tobacco leaf that all meld in the glass. The palate is dense and concentrated, delivering tons of black fruits that collide with minerals, menthol, scorched earth and salty undertones, and displaying beautiful length. This outstanding wine is really young right now and will benefit from another year or two in the bottle. - Owen Bargreen"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (March 2022), 95 pts
"The classic 2018 Feather (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) comes from the Weinbau and Wallula Vineyards and spent 22 months in 90% new French oak. It has a wonderfully pure nose of crème de cassis, new saddle leather, dried flowers, and tobacco that carries to a medium to full-bodied, seamless Cabernet with a wonderful sense of purity, balance, and elegance, all while bringing plenty of fruit and structure. I actually like it today, yet it has enough tannins to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and should be long lived."
- Jeb Dunnuck (May 2021), 95 pts
Bastgen Berncastel-Cueser Weisenstein Riesling Spatlese Trocken is made from 100 percent Riesling.
Bright, clean, fresh and zesty. Grapefruit like flavors. Fruity aromas and a nice minerality, typical of the Riesling grape grown on blue slate soil. Round, rich and a very long finish. The grapes for this wine are vigorously selected. Botrytis is not tolerated. At harvest the grapes are fully ripened, have a golden color, and a soft tartness. After a long spontaneous fermentation in a traditional 1000L barrel, the wine just reaches the dry stage. This gives the wine a creamy structure that interplays with ripe yellow and exotic fruit aromas.
They meticulously tend 4.5 ha (11.11 acres) of which 80% is Riesling. The soil is made of slate. Their vineyards are located in Kesten and Brauneberg, on a steep terrace, and planted to 50-year old vines. Fortunately for Bastgen, they own part of the famous Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr. The vines produce very small, ripe berries that are very tasty.