The 2004 California-Australia Shootout

Overview(ranked by score)

Clautiere Vineyard 2002 Mon Beau Rouge, Paso Robles, California, $27.00

356 cases produced

Rich black fruit, vanilla, sweet oak, coffee, and aromas of milk chocolate emanate from this in intriguing red wine blend. Thick and juicy in the mouth with pomegranate, black cherry, black plum and tangy cherry flavors with a lovely soft mouth feel. This Syrah, Cournoise, Grenache, and Mouvedre blend is ready to enjoy with or without food.

heartheartheartheart (93)


Geyser Peak Winery 2003 Block Collection River Road Ranch Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, California, $19.00

1500 cases produced

This wine is brilliant and star bright, pale yellow The nose is grassy and floral. The palate is complex with vanilla cream, elegant pineapple, and grapefruit giving way to bigger brighter fruit notes and citrus green apple. The full mouthfeel coats the palate and finishes clean and tangy. Yummy!

heartheartheartheart (93)


Pfendler Vineyards 2001 Copeland Creek Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California, $29.99

333 cases produced

Cranberry and cassis with a tarry undertone greet you evolving into bright cherry, raspberry and strawberry flavors on entry through mid-palate when plum, cassis, and baking spice are added and all extend to the long finish with rounded tannins and a semi-silky mouthfeel. The oak is nicely balanced allowing the fruit to really stand out.

heartheartheartheart (93)


St Supéry Vineyards 2000 Élu, Napa Valley, California, $50.00

2367 cases produced

Deep garnet in color, bordeaux in style, this superb Mertiage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot got the attention of our panel. Dill, red plum, currant, coffee, and toasty oak on the nose evolve into deep dense, rich flavors of wild berry, cassis, chocolate, herb, red and black plum and currant in the mouth with a long and elegant finish. Fresh yet very masculine and nicely balanced.

heartheartheartheart (93)


Yangarra Estate Vineyard 2002 Old Vine Grenache, McLaren Vale, Australia, $20.00

600 cases produced

Deep purple and opaque in appearance with cherry, blueberry, chocolate and raspberry in the nose evolve into bright raspberry, lush cherry, blackberry, and plum flavors in the mouth. A big bold wine with nicely integrated tannins that should age nicely.

heartheartheartheart (93)


Madfish 2003 Chardonnay, Western Australia, $14.99

75,248 cases produced

An elegant nose with pronounced aromas of gentle fruit, honeysuckle, pears and spice. Lovely flavors of Bartlett pear, apple, mandarin orange with bright acidity and an enduring palate.

heartheartheartheart (92.5)


Anapamu Cellars 2001 Pinot Noir, Monterey County, California, $16.00

21,400 cases produced

Deep garnet in color with a complex nose of sandalwood, spice, toasted nuts, cigar ash, dried fruit, black cherry, bright, walnut, and tea accents. The flavors are deep and complex with tart red berry, strawberry jam blueberry, and cassis accented by toastiness. A full-bodied Pinot Noir with nice acidity.

heartheartheartheart (92)


Catacula Lake Winery 2001 Zinfandel, Chiles Valley, Napa Valley, California, $18.00

1817 cases produced

This is a BIG Zin!  Ripe blackberry…intensely jammy with white pepper and all spice. The wine has a rustic feel that is sweet and supple with a brilliant mouthfeel.

heartheartheartheart (92)


Flora Springs 2001 Trilogy, Napa Valley, California, $60.00

10,000 cases produced

Deep garnet in color with aromas of mocha and dark sour cherries, big rich bodied with generous helpings of bright fruit flavors...blueberry and cinnamon spice. This wine has great balance with an extraordinary middle and long generous finish - off the charts!

heartheartheartheart (92)


Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, NV Sparkling, Sonoma County, California , $18.00

Lovely color – gold with a slight pink tone and fine bubbles. Bright, raspberry, cherry, floral and flowery notes on the nose. Produced in the French style of bubbles with a wonderful structure…grips the palate then dances.

heartheartheartheart (92)


Guenoc 2000 Petite Sirah, North Coast, California, $18.50

13,245 cases produced

Black-purple in color, dense and opaque. Pomegranate, blackberry, and sweet oak aromas. A big and rich wine with good texture and good balance providing a pleasant rustic experience. This wine has longevity and as one of our panelists noted, may outlive many of us!

heartheartheartheart (92)


Lindemans 2003 Bin 50 Shiraz, South East Australia, $8.00

Redolent with blackberry and lavender spice. On the palate this wine is jammy with blueberry, blackberry, lavender, fresh juicy cherry, raspberry, with notes of spice and dark chocolate with a silky mouthfeel. This Shiraz is rich and appealing.

heartheartheartheart (92)


Little Vineyards 2002 Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley, California, $25.00

190 cases

A sweet nose of smoke, cedar, spice, blackberry, wild mushrooms, and leathers with bright fruit including apple, berries and cherries, mixed berry jam, dusty raspberry, some earth and anise. A wine with great structure and balance.

heartheartheartheart (92)


Michael Martella 2002 Grenache, Fiddletown, California, $35.00

50 cases produced

An elegant wine withcherry, red licorice, currant, pomegranate, savory spice, hibiscus, and blackberry aromas replicating on the palate. Full of taste and a finish that keeps on going!

heartheartheartheart (92)


Reynolds 2002 Reserve Chardonnay, Orange, New South Wales, Australia

6,600 cases produced

Ka-boom! A big, expressive nose with ripe fruit, fresh strawberry and white peach. This wine is surprisingly complex…integrated fruit flavors with wood, perfect for an evening out on the patio.

heartheartheartheart (92)


Rosemount Estate Diamond 2002 Shiraz, Australia, $12.00

Bright berries, cherry and fine tea leaf greet you, concentrated flavors of cassis, black pepper, blackberry jam, a touch of dill blend nicely with integrated oak. Nice finish!

heartheartheartheart (92)


St Supery Vineyards & Winery 2000 Limited Edition Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California , $70.00

610 cases produced

Lush aromas of cedar box, tobacco, mahogany bookshelf, bright cherry, and berry lead to a plush textured wine with rich cassis flavors with a touch of cola. A wine of depth and concentrated flavors. Pretty damn tasty!

heartheartheartheart (92)


Brassfield Estate 2002 Syrah, Clear Lake, California , $21.99

1,294 cases produced

Roasted coffee and sweet deep black fruit on the nose…the palate is bold with fruit depth throughout including plum, blackberry and marion berry. This wine is full- bodied with a tannin structure that is focused, intense and concentrated. This wine will have an enduring life.

heartheartheartheart (91)      


De Bortoli 2002 Noble One Semillon, Australia, $25.99

5000 cases produced

A decadent dessert wine with honeysuckle, jasmine, chamomile, clover, peaches, and crème caramel aromas. Thick and rich in the mouth with flavors of nectarine, mandarin orange, lime peel, tart mango, and ginger spice. A joy to drink!

heartheartheartheart (91)


Frei Brothers Reserve 2002 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, California, $20.00

70,000 cases produced

A rich Chardonnay. Apple, pear, with butter, vanilla, and spice aromas nicely integrated with oak. An elegant style with savory apple flavors and butterscotch and a creamy sensation, on mid- palate with nice amount of acid.

heartheartheartheart (91)


Gloria Ferrer 2001 Blanc de Blancs, Carneros, California , $22.00

Lovely pale yellow with small-medium bubbles. Toasty and yeasty aromas with very crisp fruit forward aromas that expand into a great creaminess in the mouth with a nice lingering spritz on lemony finish.

heartheartheartheart (91)


Parducci 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County, California , $7.99

10, 000 cases produced

Pineapple, floral, citrus, a slight grassiness, and mineral/earthy aromas replicate on the palate with additions of honey and pear flavors. Bright acid and a good long finish make this wine a winner!

heartheartheartheart (91)


Rodney Strong Vineyard 1999 Symmetry, Alexander Valley, California, $55.00

6, 082 cases produced

This is a wine that you will want to uncork early to give it time to open. Deep garnet in color with lots of oak, dark cherries, berries, tobacco and black tea aromas. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with chewy tannins. Great structure and balance, a rather elegant wine when given the chance to evolve in the glass.

heartheartheartheart (91)


Shingleback Winery 2002 Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia, $20.00

3,700 cases produced

Dark in color with young bright aromatics… wood, caramel, cherry ripeness - big and bright with blueberry, wild berries, and spice on the palate. An elegant and complex wine.

heartheartheartheart (91)


Gallo of Sonoma 1999 Frei Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, California, $30.00

3,033 cases produced

Bright, cherry, plum, cassis, tobacco and wild mushrooms from the outset. Cherry entry through mid-palate, soft and well balanced with lots of tannin on the long finish.

heartheartheartheart (90.5)


Baileyana 2002 Firepeak Vineyard Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, California, $23.00

4,270 cases produced

Complex aromas of cherry, rhubarb, cola, forest floor, spice, and vanilla evolve into a full-bodied wine with lots of oak and spice on the long finish.

heartheartheartheart (90)


De Bortoli 2003 Willowglen, South East Australia, $7.99

100,000 cases produced

A warm, ethereal wine, dark violet in color with light cherry and nutmeg on the nose. The flavors are rich with cherries, blueberry, cocoa and sweet oak. Nice mouthfeel with a great finish!

heartheartheartheart (90)


Eberle Winery 2003 Mill Road Viognier, Paso Robles, California, $18.00

1,500 cases produced

A very aromatic wine with white peach, fresh apricot, mango, honeysuckle, and jasmine. Medium weight in mouth with apricot, honey, caramelized stone fruit, and pineapple flavors with savory spice elements thrown in for good measure. Banana notes on the nice finish.

heartheartheartheart (90)


Flora Springs Winery 2002 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California,


Pear, apple, cedar, and apricot notes over vanilla cream on the nose, replicates on the palate and through the finish with slight butter and toasted nut accents joining in mid-palate. A balanced wine…big and full.

heartheartheartheart (90)              


Gallo of Sonoma 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California, $13.00

70,000 cases produced

Opulent aromas of violet, lavender, integrated wood, cassis, and blueberry. The fruit is vibrant and this wine has great concentration and depth, nice acidity and back bone.

heartheartheartheart (90)               


Gloria Ferrer 2001 Pinot Noir, Carneros, California, $26.00

An enticing nose of graham crackers, banana, spice, cherry, strawberry, and strawberry jam becomes mixed berry on the palate with mellow oak accents. Beautifully textured. Cherry accented by tar on the medium-length finish.

heartheartheartheart (90)


Greg Norman Estates Australian Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, South Australia, $16.00

5,000 cases imported

Yellow gold and day bright with clear fine bubbles and enticing aromas of spice, vanilla almonds, peach, green apple, melon, and baked bread. A complex sparkler…fresh, racy and crisp with a good length on the finish.

heartheartheartheart (90)


Madfish 2002 Shiraz, Western Australia, $14.99

31,526 cases produced

A more elegant style of Shiraz with lovely fennel, mint, and floral aromas leading the way and carrying through onto to the palate where they are joined by chocolate and cherry. All carry through the long finish.

heartheartheart (90)   


Pellegrini Family Vineyards 2001 Olivet Lane Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California , $24.00

4,000 cases

The nose is a bit recessive at first but opens shyly and reveals cherry and cola with notes of anise and menthol. Baking spice with mixed red and black berry in the mouth some some Fig Newton accents mid-palate. A charming wine with depth and personality.

heartheartheartheart (90)


Reynolds 2001 Reserve Merlot, Orange, New South Wales, Australia

4,000 cases produced

Aromas of milk chocolate, plum, licorice, sandalwood, spicy, earthy tones, caramel, raspberry, pomegranate, and savory spice are followed by a sassy entry of blackberry, cassis and acid to carry through to medium length finish with integrated tannins. A more masculine style of Merlot with a good amount of depth and viscosity.

heartheartheartheart (90)


Toad Hollow Vineyards 2003 Francine’s Selection Chardonnay, Mendocino County, California , $13.99

60,000 cases produced

A seductive nose of raw honey, peach and papaya with Bartlett pear flavors and lemon tanginess. Bright acid on the finish.

heartheartheartheart (90)


Yellowtail 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon, South East Australia, $6.99

30,000 cases produced

Ruby in color and initially closed aromatically, the wine opens to violets, black berries, and blueberries. The flavors are fresh and slightly jammy…concentrated cassis and bright berry ripeness with back notes of dark chocolate and vanilla. Deep and complex with substantial tannins.

heartheartheartheart (90)

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