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Proprietary Blend Wines

Proprietary Blend Wines

Proprietary Blend Wines

There’s a level of mystery and intrigue when it comes to drinking a wine for which you're not fully informed about, and if that sounds like a thrilling idea to you, then you’re probably already interested in proprietary blends. While the concept doesn’t have a legal definition, it is used to describe blends whose components aren’t disclosed by the producer. In many cases, the wine tends to be a Bordeaux-inspired blend, but this isn’t always the case.
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1963 quinta do noval nacional Port

(Quinta do Noval Nacional) I had never tasted the legendary 1963 Nacional previously, and this stunningly pure and still almost youthful wine was every bit as profound as its reputation suggests. The glorious nose erupts from the glass in a sappy mélange of red plums, cherries, heather, coffee, cigar smoke, clover honey, a brilliant base of soil, orange zest and incipient notes of celery seed and other savory delights. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still rock solid at the core, with glorious transparency, melting tannins, laser-like focus and brilliant soil drive on the very, very long and tangy finish. Like several other of the very best 1963 Ports, the ’63 Nacional is still a fairly young wine and will continue to dazzle for another fifty or sixty years. It was an absolute privilege to taste this legendary wine! (Drink between 2012-2075)John Gilman | 100 JGAmazingly, the importer still has tiny stocks of such legendary ports as the 1970, 1963, and 1962 Nacionals. In most vintages the production of Quinta do Noval Nacional is no more than 250-275 cases. The 1970,1963,1962 and 1994 are candidates to achieve perfect scores. The 1963 Nacional’s opaque purple color is remarkable, looking more like a 1992 than a 33-year old port. The wine possessed a fabulously smoky, cassis, black-cherry, peppery nose. After thirty minutes in the glass, fruitcake notes and more evolved aromas emerged. This port is so concentrated it defies belief, with extraordinary balance, and, like its two siblings, well-integrated alcohol and tannin. The impression is one of a silky, succulent, voluptuously-textured mouthful of exceptionally extracted port. This is a legend in the making. In 30-40 years it may well be considered, along with the 1931, as one of the greatest ports ever produced. Those lucky few with a bottle or two should plan to hold onto them for another decade before pulling the cork. It, too, is a hundred-year port.Robert Parker | 99 RPToffee, incense, dried cherry, bergamot and green tea notes provide the aromas here, with mulled plum and licorice flavors forming the core. A light singed balsam wood accent lines the finish, which is viscous and sweet-edged but stays decidedly dry in feel overall. Harmonious and incredibly long.—Non-blind Quinta do Noval vertical (May 2018). Drink now through 2030. 251 cases made.Wine Spectator | 99 WSGood full, deep red. Knockout nose offers red and black cherry, strawberry, spices and mint. Unbelievably young for a wine that’s nearly a half-century old, offering incredible power and thrust to its red berry, spice and mineral flavors. Fills the mouth with perfume. Combines extraordinary mid-palate lift with a silky texture and buns of steel, conveying an impression of buzzing energy. The endless finish features great concentration and urgency, and utterly noble tannins. Can a 49-year-old port still be on an up curve? I hope to find out. This wine should go on for another 30 years without difficulty.Vinous Media | 98+ VM

As low as $7,195.00
1970 fonseca Port

Some people may enjoy this wine’s rather fat, rich and powerful fruit now, but I still find it too young for drinking. Deeply colored, with smoky mint, tar and fruit aromas, full-bodied, with concentrated fruit flavors and plenty of tannins.Wine Spectator | 96 WSTasted at the Vintners Company’s 650th anniversary celebration at Vintners Hall, the Fonseca 1970 was the finest bottle I have encountered. The bouquet opens beautifully with heady scents of clove, ginger, small red cherries, bergamot and allspice, displaying exquisite definition and harmony. The palate follows suit with lovely balance and poise in the mouth, notes of kirsch, shaved ginger and walnut building to an opulent, viscous finish that lacquers the mouth. Yet this bottle shows more control than the bottle tasted four years ago. The 1970 Fonseca is in a very nice place at the moment. You should join it. Tasted May 2013.Robert Parker Neal Martin | 95 RP-NM

97
RP-HG
As low as $325.00
1977 fonseca Port

Vintage Port doesn’t seem like the right wine in the middle of the summer but I had an Amarone producer for dinner the other night in Tuscany and he had never drunk a wine from his birth year. He was lucky enough to have been born in 1977 - a great Port year! I found a bottle of 1977 Fonseca in my cellar - probably my last. It was absolutely gorgeous. I gave this fortified wine a perfect score in its youth and I think it has finally evolved into its perfection as a mature vintage Port. Here is the tasting note. 1977 Fonseca Vintage Port: This is in total balance now with such harmony. What amazing aromas of berry and flowers. Full and sweet, the tannins are complete dissolved. The fruit is perfect. This goes on for minutes. Drink now. But it will go forever.James Suckling | 100 JSWhat a Vintage Port. Dark ruby center, with a dark garnet edge. Aromas of flowers, blackberry and licorice. Subtle and complex. Wow. What a palate. Full, concentrated and rich, yet balanced and beautiful. Solid and sleepy. Still not giving all it has to give. This is just coming around. Gorgeous and classy. Love it. ’77/’85/’97 blind Port retrospective. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 100 WS(Fonseca) I have always found the ’77 Fonseca to be one of the stars of the vintage, and this most recent bottle was beginning to really hit on all cylinders. The bouquet delivers a beautifully complex and concentrated mélange of sweet cassis, plum, blackberry, mint, tobacco, chocolate, minerals, and cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and almost voluptuous, with a fine core of fruit, beautiful structure and focus, ripe tannins, and great grip on the long and modestly tannic finish. This wine is a beautiful and relatively forward example of the vintage, and consequently it is offering up superb drinking already. My gut instinct suggests that there is more complexity to come with further bottle age, but it is pretty hard not to want to drink this beauty at this stage of development. A quintessential vintage of Fonseca. (Drink between 2007-2050).John Gilman | 95 JGFonseca is one of the great port lodges, producing the most exotic and most complex port. If Fonseca lacks the sheer weight and power of a Taylor, Dow or Warre, or the opulent sweetness and intensity of a Graham, it excels in its magnificently complex, intense bouquet of plummy, cedary, spicy fruit and long, broad, expansive flavors. With its lush, seductive character, one might call it the Pomerol of Vintage ports. When it is young, it often loses out in blind tastings to the heavier, weightier, more tannic wines, but I always find myself upgrading my opinion of Fonseca after it has had 7-10 years of age. The 1977 has developed magnificently in the bottle, and while it clearly needs another decade to reach its summit, it is the best Fonseca since the 1970 and 1963.Robert Parker | 93 RP

100
WS
As low as $265.00
1985 fonseca Port

The 1985 Fonseca is still youthful in appearance with hardly any ageing on the rim. The nose offers kirsch, sloes and Christmas cake. With time, there are subtle notes of dried fig and dates beginning to emerge and add to the complexity. The palate is medium-bodied and beautifully balanced on the supple, rounded entry. It is not quite as complex as the aromatics, with dates and dried fig, the finish mellow and refined. It is very elegant for a Fonseca, weighty but supremely well focused. This is a fabulous Fonseca that is ready to drink now, but will age for another 30 or 40 years. Drink now-2030+.Robert Parker Neal Martin | 93 RP-NMVery dark and youthful ruby-purple. Very intense aromas of blackberry and black licorice. Full-bodied and lightly sweet, with chewy tannins and a rich licorice, blackberry undertone. Still tight. Drinkable now, but it needs a few more years. ’77/’85/’97 blind Port retrospective. Best after 2010.Wine Spectator | 93 WSThe best wine from a difficult decade for Port. Still youthful on the nose; gently perfumed floral character. Sweet, fleshy palate with gentle, berry fruit backed by peppery tannic grip. Dry finish. (Drink between 2014-2025)Decanter | 91 DEC

96
DEC
As low as $105.00
1989 beaucastel chateauneuf du pape Chateauneuf du Pape

This is a floral and elegantly complex edition of this wine with dried meat and leather, iron and graphite, tobacco and dry spices. More elegant palate than the 1990, it has a very fine stream of red fruit and spiced cherries and a central, linear focus. The flavors hold so very long, deeply concentrated and focused. The fruit livens up at the finish and opens very impressively. Drink now.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an awesome wine with the usual Beaucastel meat, earth and game notes backed up by ripe, clean dark fruit aromas. The palate is stunning and shows considerable structure and a precise, almost angular character. Much more structured and precise in the mouth than the 1990, this has a long, beautiful finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 1989 is inkier/purple in color than the 1990, with an extraordinarily sweet, rich personality offering up notes of smoke, melted licorice, black cherries, Asian spices, and cassis. Full-bodied and concentrated, it is one of the most powerful as well as highly extracted Beaucastels I have ever tasted. It requires another 3-4 years to reach its plateau of maturity, where it should remain for at least two decades. (Many purchasers have reported bottle leakage (due to a cork problem) with this vintage. I purchased two cases of this wine, but none of my bottles reveal any sign of leakage. A good friend of mine, Dr. Jay Miller, owner of Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore, has consistently had a problem with “corked” bottles of the 1989, but no leakage.)Robert Parker | 97 RPPerhaps the greatest Beaucastel ever produced. Has the class and structure of a great vintage of Mouton-Rothschild. Deep, inky in color, with intense herb, plum, game and spice aromas, this full-bodied wine has an explosion of fruit and an iron backbone. Try the beginning of next century.--Châteauneuf-du-Pape retrospective. Best from 1995 through 2005. 25,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WS(Châteauneuf du Pape- Château Beaucastel) I have always been a fan of the 1989 Château Beaucastel, which I rank just behind the superb 1981 at this fine estate. The most recent bottle I tasted of this wine was still just a touch youthful, but offered up fine complexity on both the nose and palate and shows excellent promise. The bouquet is a blend of roasted fruitcake, cherries, new leather, venison, incipient notes of sous bois, woodsmoke and hot stones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with a bit of tannin still to resolve, fine focus and grip and a very long, classy and slightly chewy finish. I would be tempted to give this wine a few more years to really resolve, as it will be a superb wine and it would be most enjoyable to drink it at the same plateau that the 1981 has been enjoying for a good decade already. (Drink between 2015-2050).John Gilman | 93+ JG

97
RP
As low as $329.00
1990 le vieux donjon chateauneuf du pape Rhone Red

A big, ripe and full-bodied effort that’s fully mature, the 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape offers fabulous character and depth, and is about as classic as they comes. Showing an amber/mature color, it has loads of garrigue, spice meats, red currants, licorice and pepper as well as a rich, layered and seamless profile on the palate. It’s a thrilling wine, but it’s not going to get any better, so drink up.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RP

98
RP-HG
As low as $275.00
1992 christian drouin calvados les millesimes Eau-de-Vie
95
USC
As low as $229.00
1992 dominus California Red

The 1992 Dominus, of which there are 7,000 cases made from a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot, and the remainder Petit Verdot, is an opulent, opaquely concentrated wine with great ripeness of fruit, and a huge nose of earth, black-cherries, mocha, and herbs. Full-bodied, with a layered, multidimensional personality, adequate acidity, and a super finish, this should prove to be another fabulous Dominus for drinking over the next 20-25 years. It is more forward than the 1991 or 1990.Robert Parker | 97 RPThe 1992 Dominus is gorgeous, bursting from the glass in a blaze of mentholated black cherries, loamy soil and forest floor, and following through on the palate with a compelling marriage of bright fruit and a supple, expansive texture. The cooler vintage has made for a great deal of aromatic complexity and capacity to refresh, without losing any Napa generosity. Delicious wine. Drinking Window 2016 - 2025Decanter | 93 DECVery deep red-ruby. Very complex aromas of raspberry, licorice, road tar, lead pencil and mint; a faint vegetal nuance adds to its complexity. Fat, supple, sweet and mouthfilling, but can’t match the ’94 for sheer substance, nuance or depth. Finishes powerful and very ripe, with dusty, substantial tannins and a hint of alcohol. This will age more on its tannins than on its rather soft acidity.Vinous Media | 92 VM

95
RP
As low as $3,839.00
1992 fonseca Port

Fonseca has scored in both the 1991 and 1992 vintages. The 1992 is a majestic young port that should ultimately rival, perhaps even surpass this house’s most recent great efforts (1985, 1977, 1970, 1963). This colossal vintage port reveals a nearly opaque black/purple color, and an explosive nose of jammy black fruits, licorice, chocolate, and spices. Extremely full-bodied and unctuously-textured, this multi-layered, enormously-endowed port reveals a finish that lasts for over a minute. It is a magnificent port that will age well for 30-40 years. Importer: Kobrand, Inc., New York, NY; tel. (212) 490-9300.Robert Parker | 97 RPIntensely fruity on the nose, with lots of blackberry and violet. Full-bodied and lightly sweet, with slightly astringent tannins and a medium finish. Silky. Still very tight. Needs time. ’91/’92 Port retrospective. Best after 2010. 8,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

98
RP-HG
As low as $129.00
1993 le pupille saffredi Super Tuscan/IGT

The 1993 is a beguiling, graceful Saffredi laced with plums, prunes, wild herbs, spices and licorice. It possesses gorgeous inner perfume and freshness that frame the fruit through to the elegant, impeccable finish. The French oak confers a level of textural richness and sweetness, but is beautifully balanced in this vintage. At the same time, the 1993 could have been a truly great wine with a more restrained approach to cooperage.Antonio Galloni | 92 AGThe blend is very similar to the previous year: Cabernet Sauvignon dominating at 75% and just marginally more Merlot and Alicante. Climatically, it was an uneventful year and the wine is bigger and more concentrated than its predecessor - and higher in alcohol at 13.5% - but it’s a little less balanced and complete. There’s some spicy, meaty evolution on the nose and smoky black fruit intensity, but there’s both a slight woodiness and a slight woodenness on the palate. Drinking Window 2020 - 2023.Decanter | 91 DEC

As low as $145.00
1994 fonterutoli siepi Italy Red
As low as $115.00
1994 taylor fladgate vintage port Port

This is, to date, the greatest Vintage Port ever from here. It overwhelmed me years ago when I tasted it from barrel, but only now is it crossing gradually into its drinking window. The intensity is still mind-boggling here, with sweet-and-sour notes as well as mounds of clay. There are violets lurking somewhere too. A full-bodied, medium sweet and sublime Vintage Port, showing forest fruits and freshly picked blackberries on the palate in the form of a creamy, focused and tannic texture.James Suckling | 100 JSIn a word, superb. It’s full-bodied, moderately sweet and incredibly tannic, but there’s amazing finesse and refinement to the texture, not to mention fabulous, concentrated aromas of raspberries, violets and other flowers. Perhaps the greatest Taylor ever, it’s better than either the ’92 or the ’70, though it’s very like the ’70 in structure. Best after 2010. 10,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 100 WSThis is very much in the mold of the 1992—maybe slightly less rich but just by a whisker. It’s dense without being heavy, with a beautifully spice-filled and long finish. Flavors of chocolate, mint and plum pudding linger elegantly for a few seconds longer than the ’92. Hold.Wine Enthusiast | 99 WEWhen tasting young vintage ports, Taylor is always the most backward. Yet potentially, it has the capability to be the most majestic. This classically made, opaque purple-colored wine is crammed with black fruits (blueberries and cassis). It reveals high tannin and a reserved style, but it is enormously constituted with massive body, a formidable mid-palate, and exceptional length. It is a young, rich, powerful Taylor that will require 10-15 years of aging. Compared to the more flashy, forward style of the 1992, the 1994 has more in common with such vintages as 1977 and 1970. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2045.Robert Parker | 97 RPStill sullen on the nose, the underlying ripeness has more to give. The palate is fine, with linear fruit – not as rich or voluptuous as some, with good definition leading to a firm finish. Not big, but powerful with lovely purity on the finish. Needs time to show at its best. Drinking Window 2029 - 2050.Decanter | 95 DEC(Taylor Fladgate) The 1994 vintage of Taylor is a huge and powerful wine, but it does not possess quite the same vivid freshness of my very favorite vintages in the last several decades. Perhaps this is just a stage that the wine is in today, but amongst the fine troika of vintage Taylors from the 1990s, I have to give a slight nod to the remarkably refined and hauntingly brilliant 1992 Taylor over the larger-scaled 1994. The very powerful bouquet on the ’94 offers up a mix of intense cassis, plum, chocolate, licorice, tar, and a huge base of earth. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and quite closed on the attack, with a huge, rock solid core of fruit, firm, well-covered tannins, great soil inflection, and an impressive brightness on the finish that is not evident on the nose today. If this is simply a dumb stage for the wine, then my score will prove to be conservative. (Drink between 2025-2075)John Gilman | 94 JG

100
WS
As low as $169.00
1995 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Such a powerful mouthful of wine that after swallowing, it’s almost hard to talk. Explosively aromatic, with jam, tar, licorice and exotic spices, it leads with concentrated fruit, then follows with a sledgehammer of polished tannins that somehow dissolve on the finish, where the fruit reemerges like a rainbow. With a slab of well-aged, chargrilled beef--paradise. Drink now through 2005. 450 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSSaturated ruby. More perfumed, more floral, fruit-driven aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, black raspberry, mocha and clove; vibrant and youthful. Huge, sensual and deep on the palate, with great creamy depth of flavor. Still a bit youthfully tight but has the structure and concentration to develop over the next decade or two. Great persistence on the finish; huge, dusty, noble tannins coat the entire palate.Vinous Media | 95+ VMA clone of the 1994, the 1995 L’Ermita does not reveal quite the power and density of its older sibling, but that is a tough call ... especially at this age. The color is an opaque purple, and the wine displays more pain grille, grilled jus de viande, blackberry, and floral notes in its aromatics, which seem slightly more evolved than the 1994’s. In the mouth, the 1995 is deep, powerful, and rich, with low acidity, better sweetness and integration of tannin (only when compared to the massive 1994), layers of extract and flavor, and a 40-second finish. It is a remarkable wine with formidable style, intensity, and flavor. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2020.Robert Parker | 94 RP

As low as $505.00
1995 chateau tirecul la graviere cuvee madame Loire (Other)

As good (better??) than the 2001, the 1995 Monbazillac Cuvee Madame is straight up extraordinary juice that certainly one of the finest dessert wines I’ve ever tasted. A blend of 60% Muscadelle, 40% Sémillon that spent just under three years in new French oak, it offers a heavenly bouquet of orange marmalade, caramelized peach, brioche and honeycomb, a huge, full-bodied, unctuous profile, no weight and a finish that just won’t quiet. If you love sweet wines, I promise, it doesn’t get better. It’s drinking sensationally today, yet I suspect it will have a 50-year lifespan.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDI have applauded recent efforts of this estate, which goes to unprecedented lengths as well as labor to produce the most amazing sweet wines I have ever tasted. Their two new vintages include a perfect 1995 Cuvee Madame and a totally profound regular cuvee of 1995 Monbazillac. I recently had the 1993 Cuvee Madame next to an exceptional bottle of 1989 Chateau d’Yquem. Everyone at the table went ballistic over the 1993 Cuvee Madame. They loved the Yquem, but thought Tirecul la Graviere’s 1993 Cuvee Madame to be the superior wine. Perhaps the tasting should be repeated in 20-30 years to determine if the results would be similar. That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that the 1995 Cuvee Madame is as profound a sweet wine as I have ever tasted. Made from 80-year old vines, harvested grape by grape, and with yields of 12 hectoliters per hectare (under one ton of fruit per acre), this wine boasts a glorious nose of apricot jam, tangerine essence, and subtle spicy oak. With its profound richness, blazingly vivid definition, huge body, viscous thickness (with no heaviness), and finish that lasts for nearly a minute, this nectar constitutes one of the most extraordinary sweet wines I have ever tasted. As is the case with so many of the world’s greatest wines, the production is insignificant. Only 50 six-bottle cases are being imported to the United States.Robert Parker | 100 RP

100
RP
As low as $285.00
1996 brumont boucasse vieilles vignes madiran Languedoc Red
As low as $59.95
1997 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Irresistible fruit meets immovable structure. It’srare that such a juicy, ripe fruit-bomb, lush withblackberry and blueberry flavors, is also soconcentrated and well structured, but this richred effortlessly marries power and grace. Abenchmark for the appellation. Drink now through 2010. 300 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSBright ruby. Highly nuanced aromas of blackcurrant, pungent minerals and spicy, toasty oak. Large-scaled yet light on its feet. Terrific fruit carries through to a very long, ripely tannic aftertaste. Kept fresh and lively by a flavor of licorice and very good acidity. A great showing for a vintage with a modest reputation for red wine in Spain. Palacios used more heavily toasted barrels following the rainy harvest of ’97, but eschews charred oak in richer years like ’98.Vinous Media | 92 VM

96
WS
As low as $1,445.00
1997 castellare i sodi di san niccolo Italy Red

The 1997 I Sodi di San Niccolo is wonderfully elegant, pure and silky. It remains very young, but is so polished that opening a bottle today is far from a crime. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint, spices and new leather flow across the palate in this gracious, totally elegant wine. The 1997 boasts huge dry extract and a show-stopping personality to match. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.Proprietor Paolo Panerai is adamant about it. Sangioveto is the correct name and spelling of Tuscany’s main indigenous red variety. Panerai is one of Italy’s most successful entrepreneurs. His publishing empire is vast and encompasses a number of journals running the gamut from Milano Finanza, an Italian version of Barron’s, to Class and other glossy lifestyle magazines. Since the late 1970s, Panerai has owned Castellare, one of the jewels of Chianti Classico. Castellare isn’t as well known as the trendiest estates in Tuscany, but the wines rarely fail to impress. The last few years have seen a marked increase in quality throughout the range, especially among the entry-level bottlings. Quality has never been an issue with the flagship I Sodi di San Niccolo, one of the true icons of Chianti Classico that remains under the radar. Fortunately for consumers, prices have yet to catch up with quality. Sodi is 85% Sangioveto and 15% Malvasia Nera from a vineyard in the heart of the estate, where the bunches are typically loose and naturally low in vigor. Today Sodi is fermented in stainless steel, then racked into concrete for the malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged 24 months in French oak barrels, roughly 50% new. Consulting oenologist Maurizio Castelli made the first vintages. Current winemaker Alessandro Cellai arrived in 1997. Readers who want to learn more about Castellare and I Sodi di San Niccolo may want to take a look at my recent video interview with Cellai.Castellare I Sodi di San Niccolo Key Points:1. 85% Sangioveto/15% Malvasia Nera aged in French oak barrels2. Made from a low-vigor vineyard in the heart of the property in Castellina3. Impeccable track record of consistency and excellence4. Aging potential: 20-30 years.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe 1997 I Sodi di San Niccolo is wonderfully elegant, pure and silky. It remains very young, but is so polished that opening a bottle today is far from a crime. Dark red cherries, flowers, mint, spices and new leather flow across the palate in this gracious, totally elegant wine. The 1997 boasts huge dry extract and a show stopping personality to match.Antonio Galloni | 97 AGDark ruby red. Lots of blackberry and fresh cherry, with hints of chocolate and meat. Full-bodied, with tangy fruit, fresh tannins and a long finish. Balanced and rich. All there. Still very youthful. Sangiovese and Malvasia.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Best from 2008 through 2018. 2,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 93 WSNo written review provided | 92 W&S

As low as $165.00
1997 castello rampolla sammarco Super Tuscans/IGT

What a bottle. Off the charts! Full and velvety with spice and berry character and dark chocolate. Bright citrus acidity underneath. Intense. Wild fruit.James Suckling | 97 JSRich aromas of blackberry and raspberry jam, with hints of licorice. Full-bodied, with soft, round tannins and a clean, fresh finish. Balanced and refined. Perfect now, but will improve.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Drink now through 2014. 3,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSThe 1997 Sammarco is starting to show the early signs of oxidation in its bouquet, which suggests it is best enjoyed sooner rather than later. There is plenty of depth, but probably also limited potential from here on out. Like the 1998, the 1997 is giving all it has right now, and will continue to hold based on its huge core of fruit, but I wouldn’t push my luck too far.Antonio Galloni | 93 AG

95
WS
As low as $150.00
1997 dal forno romano nettare Italy White
As low as $89.95
1997 ornellaia Super Tuscan/IGT

Fruit and complexity as well as freshness and richness. Beautiful nose with extraordinary aromas of prunes, licorice, and dried flowers with rosemary undertones. Full-bodied and velvety textured. So beautiful to drink now, but obviously has a long future ahead.James Suckling | 97 JSDark ruby red. Shows intense blackberry, currant, fresh herb and mineral character on the nose. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, caressing finish. Still young and powerful.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Best after 2009. 11,415 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSProbably the finest (and most sumptuous) Ornellaia yet produced, the 1997 has it all. A dense purple color offers up smoky espresso and jammy black cherry aromas wrapped in new oak. Full-bodied, opulent, thick, and juicy, this low acid, seamless classic can be drunk now and over the next 15+ years.Robert Parker | 94 RP The estate’s 1997 Ornellaia (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc) combines the large-framed opulence of the 1999 with the slightly more herbal notes found in the 1998. It is a big, plump wine packed with layers of fruit and well-integrated oak, showing outstanding length and the telltale note of sweetness on the finish that defines this vintage. Despite its approachable nature today, the 1997 appears to have enough structure to drink well for another decade. Both the 1997 Ornellaia and Masseto enjoyed a very strong showing in this tasting. Antonio Galloni | 93 AG

95
RP
As low as $1,240.00
1997 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port

A deep black inky core with deep ruby rim. The nose dose not have the definition or the ripeness of the -92 yet it is cut from the same cloth. Scents of pure blackberry, blueberry, liquorice, raisin with a touch of dried blood and a sense of being earthier than the previous two declarations. The palate is medium-bodied rather than full-, but has lovely balance and a bewitching sensuality. I love the sense of earthiness to this port and it is adorned with a cohesive, very refined finish. Superb.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RP-NM This is rather flashy for Taylor, with plenty of upfront appeal to its floral, spicy aromas and gobs of fruit. It’s very lush and soft on the palate, almost overloaded with blackberries and plums, then firms up and begins to show that Taylor reserve on the dusty finish. Hold.Wine Enthusiast | 96 WESaturated deep ruby. Great minerally aromas of black plum, black cherry, roasted meat and deep spices. Very sweet and very dense, with youthfully backward black fruit, mineral and bitter chocolate flavors. Finishes with wonderfully ripe, sweet tannins and superb persistence and grip. Has the verve most ’97s lack. This may ultimately challenge the great ’94.Vinous Media | 95+ VMJuicy and energetic, with lots of warm raisin, toffee and toasted peanut notes, mixed with mulled fig, singed juniper and baked plum flavors. Has a warm Christmas pudding feel through the finish, with nicely inlaid brambly grip.--1997 Vintage Port retrospective (January 2017). Best from 2020 through 2035. 10,000 cases made. Wine Spectator | 94 WS(Taylor Fladgate) The 1997 Taylor is a good bottle that is either in a rather cranky, adolescent phase, or is not quite in the same league as the fine 2000 vintage. The bouquet offers up a mélange of black cherries, cassis, weedy, Napa Cabernet-like notes, chocolate syrup, tar and tobacco. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and broad, but without the customary density and laser-like focus of the great Taylors, with good length, ripe tannins and good balance on the finish. Certainly a good drink by any standards, the 1997 Taylor only falls short by the very, very high standards of this house. (Drink between 2020-2100)John Gilman | 92 JG

96
RP
As low as $270.00
1997 tommaso bussola amarone vigneto alto Italy (Other)

The prodigious 1997 Amarone Vigneto Alto TB is reminiscent of Henri Bonneau’s 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins. The lofty 16% alcohol is barely noticeable. Yields were a minuscule 20 hectoliters per hectare. Sadly, there are only 300 cases of this extraordinary Amarone. It boasts notes of smoke, truffle oil, blackberries, plums, and earthy, concentrated black currant jam. Layered, thick, full-bodied, and dry, with extraordinary purity as well as definition, it is an amazing achievement. While not for everybody, this is a singular, impeccably balanced wine. Anticipated maturity: now-2020.Robert Parker | 96 RP

96
RP
As low as $279.00
1998 imparato montevetrano Italy Red

I have been extolling the virtues of this wine, produced in partnership with the owner Silvia Imparato and consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella, for nearly a decade. I love its individualistic style. Each year, regardless of vintage conditions, it offers up compelling amounts of blueberry, blackberry, and black raspberry fruit presented in a distinctive, medium to full-bodied, fruit-driven, complex personality. It also exhibits a touch of minerals, marvelous purity and symmetry, as well as the potential for 10-20 years of evolution.The 1998 is an outstanding success, with elegance allied to power and intensity. Montevetrano’s hallmark blackberry and black raspberry component is present as well as beautiful purity/symmetry, and a long, medium to full-bodied, highly-concentrated finish. Sadly, production is a mere 2,000 bottles from a 4-acre vineyard planted in 1991 with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Aglianico. Like most of the wines made under the supervision of Riccardo Cotarella, it is aged in new French oak, and bottled with neither fining nor filtration. The 1998 should drink well for 10-15 years.Robert Parker | 92 RPThe 1998 is another excellent vintage for drinking today. Although this isn’t the most complex Montevetrano I am struck by how primary the wine is. The 1998 is open in its dark fruit with a soft, accessible personality that is similar to the 2000. Sweet, silky tannins round out the long finish. Readers who prefer layers of tertiary complexity will want to cellar the 1998 for a few more years, but from a textural standpoint, it is a highly rewarding wine today.Antonio Galloni | 92 AGDark ruby in color, with aromas of currants, berries and tar. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, berry, vanilla aftertaste. Needs time to come together. Another gorgeous red from Montevetrano, though not as great as the ’97. Best after 2002. 1,100 cases made.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

94
ST
As low as $130.00
1998 lamborghini campoleone rosso Italy (Other)

The 1998 Campoleone, is a blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Sangiovese. Just under 1,000 cases were produced. It is an impressive, exceptional effort. An opaque purple color is accompanied by knock-out aromas of new saddle leather, roasted espresso, chocolate, blackberries, and grilled steak. This rich, multilayered, full-bodied, moderately tannic wine is deep and serious. Cellar it for 2-3 years and consume it over the following 12-15. This is emerging as one of the finest wines of central-south Italy.Robert Parker | 91 RPFruit explosion on the nose, with berries, cherries, blackberries and violets. Black color. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a clean, fruity aftertaste. Needs more fruit on the finish to get more points. Not as great as the ’97, but still outstanding. Best after 2003. 1,650 cases made.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

91
RP
As low as $89.95
1998 le pupille saffredi Super Tuscans/IGT

A wonderfully silky and seductive red. Intense aromas of ripe plums and cherries, with hints of vanilla. Full-bodied, with soft velvety tannins and a long, fruity finish. Best after 2003. 1,250 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WSNew consultant Riccardo Cotarella’s first vintage saw the blend shift more to Merlot (40%), with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Alicante. The colour is notably deeper than the 1995. A dark-fruit nose with a whiff of vanilla-oak is followed by an assertive, fruity palate with touches of chocolate and coffee. Initially it’s velvety, but the tannins begin to take over and it finishes on a dry, slightly grainy note. Drinking Window 2020 - 2021Decanter | 91 DECA blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Petit Verdot, this opens with aromas of red currant, clove and toast. The structured, elegant palate doles out plum, sage and tobacco alongside fine-grained tannins. Drink 2017–2022Wine Enthusiast | 91 WEThe 1998 impresses for its considerable richness. Like so many Italian wines of this period, the 1998 Saffredi shows a determined attempt to extract as much concentration as possible. There is no arguing the wine has aged exceptionally well, but in hindsight many of the subtler nuances Saffredi is capable of are buried under masses of fruit and excessive French oak.Antonio Galloni | 90 AG

92
WS
As low as $94.95

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