"Napa Valley and Carneros had an especially cool 2010, which delayed the start of the growing season. A brief, late-season heat spike pushed ripening the other way, resulting in some areas having both ripe and not-quite-ripe fruit. Wineries that were able to thin out the affected grapes often produced well-made wines; on the other hand, some winery offerings showed a touch of green fruit." - San Francisco Chronicle Starmont used this growing season to make a stellar Chardonnay.
To be champagne, a wine must do more than sparkle. It must come from the Champagne region in Northeast France. The majority of the blend of Piper-Heidsieck is composed of Pinot Noir. Hand selected parcels of Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay also play important roles in making this a well-balanced cuvee. Selected reserve wines from preceding years are incorporated into the blend to ensure consistency of style year after year. The blend is aged for minimum 24 months.
The Piper-Heidieck NV Brut is elegant. It definitely has some bread or yeasty notes on the aromas. A rich and full base notes with flavors of black cherry puree, apple tarte, kumquat and ginger.
- Wine Spectator, Top 100 wines for 2012, 93 PTS
This is a Fourth Growth Bordeaux producer, a ranking that offers distinction, derived from the Napoleanic era. Emperor Napoleon instituted a classification for Bordeaux region wines in 1855. A fourth growth producer is not the only thing to give weight behind this wine; the famed 2009 vintage has produced some amazing wines from the St. Julien region. The esteemed critic, Robert Parker, gave this vintage a 96 pt. rating. This is the highest rating ever received by the St. Julien region.
"Haut couture becomes a wine! This dense purple wine has the telltale notes of flowers and pencil shavings, and its broad aromatics are intense and totally captivating. Powerful, rich, and full, but less tannic than the 2005 and more opulent, this is a dazzling Branaire to drink between 2017-2035."
The Wine Spectator 93 points
On the famed Left Bank, the Margaux region of Bordeaux is considered to make some of the most polished and fragrant reds in Bordeux. Wines in this region can fetch up to $1,000 per bottle. Chateau Deyrem Valentin is a steal for the 2009 vintage. The famed critic Robert Parker gave the 2009 growing season a rating of 97E, the second highest in the last 20 years. Deyrem-Valentin, an estate in the north of the commune run by Jean Sorge with his two daughters, isn't well known. This estate has an annual production of 6,000 cases, while it is nestled between two grand cru classes. 50% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, plus 1% each of Petit Verdot and Carmenère, again into barrels renewed every three years.
Deep and opaque. Scents of brambly fruit with a lead pencil note. Ripe, rounded and supple. Cooked plum core, textured but not heavy at all, with again a hint of graphite. Perfumed finish.
- Wine Spectator, 89pts