G.D. Vajra Bricco Delle Viole Barolo is made from 100 percent Nebbiolo.
The Barolo Bricco delle Viole shows the signature verticality of its vineyard. The wine is beautifully layered and - while restrained as it’s always the case in the youth of Bricco delle Viole - it also shows a complexity of layers with purple flowers, sweet spices and mineral tones. The palate is noble, with a refined acid spine and profound tannins that promise a long aging potential.
Among the historical vineyards of Barolo, Bricco delle Viole is the highest and the closest to the Alps. It rises from 400 to 480 meters above sea level, on the Western ridge of the village. Its name, “Hill of Violets”, originates from the flowers that blossom early here due to the perfect south exposure. Up above the fogs, Bricco delle Viole enjoys the earliest sunrise and the last sunset every day. Thanks to its vines dating back to 1949 and -now- 1931, a dramatic diuturnal temperature range and this pure light, Bricco delle Viole generates a sophisticated and profound Barolo DOCG of bright aromatics, chiseled tannins and subtle minerality. 2018 is a vintage that shows many nuances of Bricco delle Viole: beyond the signature verticality of this site, the wine offers high tones laced with mineral nuances and plenty of energy and youth.
A juicy Barolo, with vibrant acidity and a fluid profile that exudes cherry, raspberry, mown hay, mineral and eucalyptus aromas and flavors. Tight yet long, with excellent potential.
#26 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2023
The last wine poured at my tasting at the winery is the G.D. Vajra 2019 Barolo Bricco delle Viole. With its high vantage point in the hills west of Barolo, Bricco delle Viole is a world apart in terms of soils (with Sant'Agata marl and fossils) and even harvest times. Slow and careful ripening like the kind that characterizes fruit in 2019 renders a very delicate and ethereal expression with floral tones, wild mint and licorice. This organic wine is solid in build and structure. Indeed, Isidoro Vaira remarks that Nebbiolo tannins have changed since the 1970s and 1980s.
-Wine Advocate 97+ Points
Jeweled in appearance, the 2019 Barolo Bricco Delle Viole may be the best wine I have tried yet from Vajra. Its gorgeous and alluring perfume of fresh roses is followed by a Burgundian, elegant red with incredible length and no harsh edges, fine and present tannins, and beautiful, graceful concentration. It is drinking well now, and I will be trying to get my hands on as much of this as possible. Drink 2025-2045.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Xavier Vignon Lirac Rouge is made from 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.
Ripe fruit, ranging from raspberries and cherries to hints of stone fruit. Yet, it's not over the top or simply fruity. This full-bodied wine adds hints of leather, garrigue and licorice along the way, evolving from creamy to velvety on the palate and through the lasting finish.
Pairs with lamb Tagine with dry fruits - Duck breast fillet with green pepper sauce - BBQ Prime rib of beef.
"An 80-20 blend of Grenache and Syrah, Vignon's 2019 Lirac is drawn from multiple parcels with galets roulés over clay soils. Roughly one-third went into oak, while the rest stayed in tank. It may be the most complex of the various Vignon "Signature" offerings, marrying hints of garrigue and licorice with mixed berries and hints of oak. It's medium to full-bodied, silky and forward, with the same lip-smacking drinkability factor that marks all of Vignon's wines on the finish. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (September 2020) 92 pts
Argot Simpatico Ranch Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Powerful aromas of key-lime, white flowers, orange blossoms and a fierce, flinty, sauvage note define a wildly complex nose. Once in the mouth, gracefully pronounced textures coat the palate delivering an exotic interpretation of cool-climate Chardonnay character — lime peel, orange blossom, ginger and clove —lingerings deep into a vibrant finish.
Planted 1978. Shallow volcanic soils on the gently-sloped, south-facing foothills of Bennett Peak on Bennett Valley’s floor. One of California’s coolest Chardonnay vineyards. In the final year of 3-year draught cycle, Simpatico Ranch saw its earliest ever harvest and smallest crop, exposing a reserve of exoticism and minerality previously untapped. A watershed vintage for both the vineyard, and appellation. Night harvested by hand on 9/16, whole-cluster pressed direct to barrel; no settling to ensure maximum lees contact. Barrel fermented on heavy lees. Malolactic fermentation. 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Finished 2 months in steel tank, low Sulphur during barrel elevage.
There are 225 cases of the 2019 Chardonnay Simpatico Ranch, which is from a cooler, higher elevation site in Sonoma. Lots of peach, tangerine, honeyed minerality, and toasted hazelnuts all emerge from the glass, and while I don't think it matches the 2018, it's a brilliant Chardonnay offering medium to full-bodied richness, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. It's beautifully balanced and is going to keep for at least 5-7 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (September 2021), 94 pts
Avennia Arnaut Syrah is made of 100% Syrah
For our taste, no one grows finer Syrah in the state than Dick Boushey. We named this wine after the Provencal Troubadour Arnaut Daniel, who invented the Sestina poem form, thus creating a connection between our two flagship efforts.
"Deep, dark Syrah notes on the nose, with dark blackberry, blueberry reduction, grilled meat, crushed olive, black licorice, camphor, pen ink, and cracked black pepper. The palate is super concentrated and dense, tightly focused, and deeply complex. Savory blueberry, pan drippings, a hint of orange essence, and hand-rubbed sage come through on the extremely long and nuanced finish. A compelling wine that will age for a couple decades at least." - Chris Peterson, Winemaker
We make this wine with minimal manipulation, using native yeasts and bottling unfined and unfiltered, to allow the "place" to shine through.
AVA: Yakima Valley
Blend: 100% Boushey Vineyard Syrah
Winemaking: 15% whole cluster, native yeast, 15% new French oak, aged 16 months, bottled unfined & unfiltered.
Tasting Notes The 2019 Syrah Amaut is the tenth edition of this wine, which utilizes 100% Boushey vineyard fruit from the Yakima Valley. The nose is deep and concentrated, presenting iodine alongside ripe blackberry cordial, tar, white pepper and black licorice tones. Rich and layered in the mouth, with a beautiful texture, this shows outstanding length and a glorious core of dark fruits with bacon fat and chocolate undertones. -- Owen Bargreen
-Vinous 95 Points
The 2019 Syrah Arnaut is the tenth edition of this wine, which utilizes 100% Boushey vineyard fruit from the Yakima Valley. The nose is deep and concentrated, presenting iodine alongside ripe blackberry cordial, tar, white pepper and black licorice tones. Rich and layered in the mouth, with a beautiful texture, this shows outstanding length and a glorious core of dark fruits with bacon fat and chocolate undertones.
Vinous 95 Points
Charles Smith K Vintners Powerline Estate Syrah is made from 100 percent Syrah.
Friendly, approachable and vivacious, yet also dark and mysterious. Black cherry, allspice, black ash, and orange blossom. Thyme and flint with ark fruit, cedar, kelp, black pepper, juniper, crushed rock, and tons of complex floral notes. Fear not, embrace it.
While just bottled a week before this tasting, the 2019 Syrah Powerline Vineyard certainly wasn't showing any worse for it, offering a stunning bouquet of ripe red and black fruits as well as white pepper, sandalwood, tobacco, and new leather. Pure, medium to full-bodied, and vibrant, with supple, polished tannins, this brilliant Syrah is going to keep for 10-12 years, if not longer.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Checkerboard Kings Row Red is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot.
2019 Checkerboard Kings Row is produced from grapes grown in the Aurora Vineyard which is located in a small valley midway up Diamond Mountain on a large knoll at an elevation of 1,200 feet. The knoll projects off the mountainside, giving the vineyard full southern exposure, open light from the east and west, and protection from Napa Valley’s summer fog. Six acres are planted in the knoll’s rich, volcanic soils that are riddled with basalt cobble and loamy clay. The remaining six acres are planted in a deep gravely mix of white volcanic ash and chips of decomposed Rhyolite that were washed down from the steep, rocky crags of Diamond Mountain above. 2019 Checkerboard Kings Row is a complex wine showcasing the Bordeaux varietals grown in the Aurora Vineyard. The nose is a swirl of dark red fruits, baking spice, and sandalwood. On the palate, the fruit dominates and offers hints of dried crushed herbs, black pepper, and freshly pressed espresso. There’s a juicy core which is persistent from the approach through to the finish.
Lyrarakis White is made from 75% Muscat of Spina and 25% Vidiano.
Description: An aromatic white wine with an exciting, crispy mouthfeel, vinificated by combining indigenous and international grape varieties, which have perfectly acclimatized on our island.
Tasting Notes: Bright and lively pale yellow color. Mature aromas of grapefruit and stone fruit enhanced by a persistent presence of rose petals. Elegant and fine balanced with pleasant acidity and plushy finish.
Alcohol: 12% ABV
Acidity: 6.39 g/L
RS: 1.02 g/L
Region: Alagni area - central Crete
Soil: Clay - loam
Pruning Technique: Cordon trained, spur pruned
Altitude: 480m above sea level
Irrigation: Not irrigated
Varieties: 75% Muscat of Spina and 25% Vidiano
Winemaking: Hand-harvested in the last week of August (exact harvest time defined by berry sensory assessment, to obtain the optimum taste and aromatic balance). Grapes are vinificated separately. After de-stemming, the almost uncrushed berries remain in the press under reductive conditions for about 8 to 10 hours. Blending was performed using tasting results, choosing the ones with the best characteristics of texture and freshness. Matured on fine lees for 3 months.
Food pairing: Sea food, Thai or spicy cuisine and a large variety of salads.
The Lyrarakis Estate is a family winery which has been producing high quality wines since 1966 with a strong focus on rare local varieties and producing single variety wines.
The family is credited with the revival of two ancient Cretan varieties, Dafni and Plyto while a third “vineyard treasure”, the indigenous Melissaki, is recently added to the credits.
Surrounded by the idyllic setting of the vineyards and the Lassithi mountains we offer you the opportunity to enjoy nature and discover local varieties and wines distinguished by the uniqueness of their origin and heritage.
The founders of the Lyrarakis Estate decided 40 years ago to get actively involved with winemaking in their native land. The company now known as GEA (Alagni Agricultural Enterprises) was founded in 1966. The family has always used its privately owned vineyards. At that time, the dominant varieties included Vilana, Kotsifali and Mantilaria. After careful selection of the Vilana strain, the first organised planting of this particular variety was completed and served to supply the farmers of the region. But the family’s grape-growing did not stop there. In the late 1980s, there was an attempt to save two rare native varieties, Dafni and Plyto, from the Phylloxera blight. Efforts were ultimately successful as indicated by the wines of the same name first made available by the Lyrarakis company in the early 1990s.
The village of Alagni, from which the Lyrarakis family originated, is located in the heart of Heraklion Prefecture, in the most mountainous area of Crete’s Peza region with the extensive wine-producing tradition (stone-carved wine presses from the Venetian era are scattered throughout the region).
Today, the family vineyard is 15 hectares (37 acres) and produces seven single-variety wines from native grape varieties: The selection of products is rounded off with combined vinification of native and foreign varieties, the best-known of which include Kotsifali-Syrah and Cabernet-Merlot.
Figgins Estate Red Wine 2017 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot & Merlot
Dark to the rim, with signature aromatic notes of ripe red and blue fruits, tanned leather, black olive, and lilac. The nose simply brings a smile. On the palate, if I had to describe the wine in one word it would be precision. The way the sweet fruit and dramatic length are braced by lively acidity and tannins aligns so perfectly that the wine is, quite simply, delicious.
This is a plush, pretty red with plum, chocolate and cedar character. It’s full-bodied, yet tight and balanced. Highly strung and nervous, yet reserved. Give this time. A blend of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot and merlot.
-James Suckling 97 Points
Dark and deep with a hue of deep bright ruby red. Intense and complex bouquet of red cherry and blackberry intermixed with notes of minerals (graphite, wet river rocks), licorice, fresh blond tobacco and a hint of fresh blackcurrant. Full bodied, the palate is reminiscent of the nose, with a richly tannic yet round frame and with an outstanding finesse. The tannins from both bench and foothill locations create a harmonious ensemble, leading to a long, seamless and elegant finish. Built to age for decades, this collectible wine will open up after a few years of cellaring and is particularly representative of this special side of St. Helena. Morlet Estate features the interaction of the loamy, well drained and rocky volcanic soil, the typical sunny mountain climate and the low-interventionistic Morlet winemaking approach.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Morlet Estate comes from a vineyard just outside of Saint Helena and it’s always a more structured, masculine wine compared to the Passionnement release. Opulent notes of black fruits, chocolate, smoked earth, and some obvious minerality all emerge from this full-bodied, structured, big-boned Cabernet Sauvignon that’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 2-3 decades.
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points