December 2018 95 Points Wine & Spirits

“When Jean-Claude Rouzaud searched out a site for Roederer’s California sparkling wine estate, he settled on a cool spot for chardonnay and pinot noir—where vines could deliver flavor depth in their grapes before sugars rose to levels unsuited for sparkling wine. This 2011 is a vindication of that decision, a fragrant, elegant sparkling wine from a cool season, with flavor depth that sets it apart. Notes of fresh apple, honeysuckle and jasmine layer over an herbal austerity that tightens up the wine’s fruit, ending savory. That length of flavor is amplified by a small addition of reserve wines (four percent), aged five years in oak. Arnaud Weyrich blended it in a style formed and determined by its site, resulting in an honest, clean sparkler destined to become a classic.”

December 2018 90 Points, Year's Best Barolo & Barbaresco Wine & Spirits

“Pio Cesare's classic Barolo includes fruit from family-owned vineyards in four Barolo communes. Notes of sweet spice and chocolate jump out initially, and firm oak tannins dominate, eventually receding to reveal plummy red fruit flavors and notes of cherry cola.”

December 2018 91 Points, Year's Best Champagne Wine & Spirits

“This wine's rich yellow fruit brings to mind Thai ginger and the complex flavors of huitlacoche. The wine is tight and austere, its flavors slowly magnified out of the tense, tiny reduction. Give this a year or two in the cellar and those flavors will expand.”

December 2018 94 Points, Year's Best Champagne Wine & Spirits

“This has springtime scents of meadow flowers and chanterelles, the wine's sunny freshness infusing its richer tones of toasted brioche and creme fraiche. It's a classic, mineral-driven blanc de blancs, with a length of flavor that feels compressed and youthfully charged.”

December 2018 94 Points, Year's Best Champagne Wine & Spirits

“Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon upped Roederer's game with a new, dedicated rosé winery in 2007, allowing more precise control over the maceration of pinot noir from Cumieres, and the fermentation of Cote des Blancs chardonnays in oak vats. His 2012, a concentrated vintage with yields diminished by frost and hail, is a bold and savory pinot noir, with a range of flavor detail -- fresh cherry, elderflower, tomatillo, strawberry, red currant leaf -- showing different facets of the wine. As powerful and tight as the flavors may be, they come across as airy and elegant. It's a vintage to cellar.”

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