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Wine Spectator & Wine & Spirits Scores

WINE SPECTATOR – OCTOBER 2017

Peter Lehmann The Barossan 2015 Shiraz – 92 POINTS
Dense, with sink-your-teeth-into-them tannins and fleshy notes of spiced plum and wild blackberry. Tobacco espresso and nutmeg details add aromatic interest, but the focus and purity of the fruit flavors is the most powerful on the long finish. Drink now through 2029. – MW

Joseph Carr 2015 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon – 88 POINTS
A stylish and well-constructed effort, offering a core of crushed rock and dusty dark berry flavors framed by firm tannins and acidity, ending with pencil lead notes. Drink now through 2023. –JL

Girard 2014 Artistry – 87 POINTS
High-toned aromatics offer floral and dark berry scents, with touches of bay leaf, mint and dried berry. Ends chewy and tannic. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Merlot. Drink now through 2027. –JL

WINE & SPIRITS – OCTOBER 2017

The Crossings 2015 Pinot Noir – 90 POINTS, Best Buy
Smoky at first, tough and tannic, this wine shows its oak, but not at the cost of its fruit.  Instead, the oak provides a savory grip to hold and lift the concentrated fruit, keeping it in line.  Pour the wine with grilled quail.

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Wine Spectator & Wine Enthusiast Scores

WINE SPECTATOR – SEPTEMBER 30, 2017

Girard 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – 90 POINTS
Smooth-textured and easy to enjoy, with supple green and black olive, currant and spice notes. Offers a kiss of light oak and a finish that replays the fruit themes. Drink now through 2027. –JL

Clos de los Siete 2013 Red Blend – 90 POINTS
This offers good cut to the savory flavors of dried beef, berry and red currant, showing zesty minerality. Sun-dried tomato accents emerge on the finish. Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2019. –KM

Josh Cellars 2015 Chardonnay – 87 POINTS (web only)
A fruity and balanced white, with a mix of ripe apple and dried peach flavors, accented by buttery notes. Spicy finish. Drink now. 200,000 cases made. –KM

Villa Pozzi 2016 Nero d’Avola – 87 POINTS
A beam of ripe and juicy wild strawberry flavors leads the way in this medium-bodied red, framed by light, creamy tannins and hints of spice box, mocha and smoke. Easy-drinking and fresh. Drink now through 2019. –AN

WINE ENTHUSIAST – AUGUST 2017

Ramon Bilbao 2011 Reserva – 89 POINTS
The first take on this Rioja Reserva is of charred wood, then that’s backed up by piercing aromas of cherry and plum. This feels hard and abrasive, but powerful. Flavors of roasted plum, tomato and herbs finish with grating tannins and a lemony oak flavor. – MS

Josh Cellars 2015 Chardonnay – 88 POINTS
Bright lemon cream flavors follow buttery aromas in this bold, expressive wine. It’s showy yet maintains good acidity, its fresh apple notes balancing the butter, vanilla and cream sweetness. – JG

Chateau Bonnet 2016 Rosé – 88 POINTS
This is an attractive, ripe wine from the André Lurton group. It is smoothly rich, with balanced perfumed fruits and acidity. Full bodied and creamy, it is ready to drink. – RV

Kunde Family Winery 2015 Reserve Chardonnay – 88 POINTS
This wine’s tart, high-pitched acidity greets the palate with a youthful splash of lemon and lime before revealing its true concentration of rich toasted oak and baked apple flavor. Fulsome on the palate, it ends on a taste of the tropics. – VB

Joseph Carr 2015 Chardonnay – 87 POINTS
With its strong green olive aroma, this wine evolves into richly concentrated palate of anise, pineapple and pear, the fruit layered with vanilla. Light-bodied and supported by oak, it finishes bright. – VB

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Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits Bolsters Whiskey Stable With Bib & Tucker And Masterson’s Brands

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits has acquired the upscale Bib & Tucker Bourbon and Masterson’s Rye whiskey brands from 3 Badge Beverage Corp., owned by the Sebastiani family. The deal extends Deutsch’s presence in the fast-growing North American whiskey category, where it already owns the Redemption whiskey label. The price was undisclosed.

“Higher price segments are the most dynamic across the whiskey category and we’re bullish on the opportunity to grow these two great brands,” said Deutsch Family CEO Peter Deutsch. He added that the company intends to “create a diverse range of whiskey brands with different mash bills, places of origin and price points. There will be other additions in the future.”

Masterson’s is the first Canadian label to join the Deutsch Family portfolio. The pot-distilled, 10-year-old core rye is packaged in individually numbered bottles and retails at $70. Masterson’s was extended this spring with a trio of limited-production barrel-aged ryes. All three garnered scores of 90 points or above from Whisky Advocate. Bib & Tucker, a small-batch, six-year-old Bourbon sourced from Tennessee, retails at about $55 a bottle.

Last year, the two brands combined for less than 10,000 cases annually, according to Impact Databank. But Deutsch says Masterson’s has enough aged stock to “quickly expand the brand to national distribution,” and adds that Bib & Tucker will gradually ramp up supply over the next few years.

Meanwhile, Deutsch continues to build the Redemption whiskey brand, which includes MGP-distilled Bourbon, High-Rye Bourbon, Rye and a high-end Barrel Proof range. In 2016, Redemption (around $30) was at 33,000 cases, according to Impact Databank. For its fiscal year ending next March, Deutsch projects the brand to reach about 70,000 cases.

Exclusive: Shanken News Daily

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Eppa Sangria on Today Show

Leslie Sbrocco presents a round-up of hot summer wines with the hosts of the “Today” show.

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Wine Spectator & James Suckling Scores

Wine Spectator – July 31, 2017

The Calling 2015 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay  – 91 POINTS (web only)
Ultrarich and extracted, offering a firm core of pear, apple, melon and spice flavors. A truly impressive effort, with depth and dimension. Drink now through 2022. –JL

The Calling 2014 Sullivan Vineyard Chardonnay – 90 POINTS
Exhibits a rich mix of spicy oak, butterscotch, fig, honeydew and pear notes, ending with a long, deep finish that echoes the core flavors. Drink now through 2020. –JL

Girard 2015 Chardonnay – 88 POINTS
Offers a distinctive mix of peach, grapefruit, citrus and melon flavors that are lively and persistent, if a touch raw and edgy on the aftertaste. Drink now through 2020. –JL
Joseph Carr 2015 Chardonnay – 87 POINTS
Sleek and refined, yet trim and nearly tinny. A tight expression of drink-me-now Chardonnay that ends with citrus blossom and tart tropical fruit notes. Drink now. –JL

Kunde Family Winery 2015 Reserve Chardonnay (Sonoma Valley) – 87 POINTS (web only)
Light cedary oak underscores a crisp, juicy mix of citrus-laced green apple notes. Drink now through 2020.–JL

Kunde Family Winery 2015 Chardonnay (Sonoma Valley) – 87 POINTS
Rich, with rustic fig, apricot and honeydew flavors, laced with anise and licorice subtleties. Drink now through 2020.–JL

James Suckling – June 2017

Girard 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 POINTS
Attractive Napa cabernet with all the opulent fruit and subtle chocolate character you can appreciate in a wine from here, yet it shows freshness and polished tannins to boot. Delicious now but better in 2019.

Girard 2014 Artistry  – 90 POINTS
Blackcurrant and blueberry aromas follow through to a medium to full body, juicy fruit, soft tannins and a fruity finish. Bordeaux blend with a good dose of Malbec. Drink now.

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