Elvio Cogno 2011 Barbera d'Alba 'Bricco dei Merli'

The perfect way to find great value in a wine is often - ironically - at the point where the average wine drinker is thinking that it starts to be overpriced.  Enter, Barbera d'Alba.  These delicious wines are missed in the Piedmont stampede as customers spend big money on Barolo and Barbaresco.  Premium examples, like those from Elvio Cogno can seem slightly pricey, until you taste them.

Elvio Cogno 2011 Barbera d'Alba "Bricco dei Merli"

$30 Retail

Rated 93/100 Points.  A

A serious wine with fruit, power, and acid in generous measure.

Color is dark.  Aromas are intense black raspberry jam.  In the mouth, the acid rushes forward and then fades into copious meat and hickory smoke.  Excellent.


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F.T.C. Disclosure:  I work for Cutting Edge Selections, a distributor that represents Elvio Cogno in Ohio and Kentucky. 

This review - like all reviews on this site - is entirely my own honest opinion and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Cutting Edge Selections.

Billecart-Salmon 2000 Brut Champagne 'Cuvee Nicholas Francois'

There are very few wines as glorious as mature vintage Champagne.  The vivacity of the bubbles starts to give way to a round sophistication.  The flavors take on density and muscular structure.  The finish seems to glide away on waves of lingering flavor.  Allow me to introduce you to some beautiful vintage Champagne.

Billecart-Salmon 2000 Brut Champagne 'Cuvee Nicholas Francois.'

$125 Retail

Rated 98/100 Points.  A+

A glorious regal Champagne!

The color reflects shimmering shades of gold.  The nose is baking bread with a glistening oil component and white peach preserves.  Tastes of fresh baguettes in Paris, apricot skins, and gobs of crystalline acidity.  Finish swoops and shimmies for a very long time.  This is world class.


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F.T.C. Disclosure:  I work for Cutting Edge Selections, a distributor that represents Billecart-Salmon in Ohio and Kentucky. 

This review - like all reviews on this site - is entirely my own honest opinion and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Cutting Edge Selections.

Left Coast Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir "Cali's Cuvee"

Oregon is still a land that lets her wines speak of the vintage.  Perhaps it is the dominance of Pinot Noir.  Perhaps it is the preponderance of organic and biodynamic vineyards.  Whatever the reason, these wines are influenced in significant ways with the vagaries of the year's weather.  And the Left Coast Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir "Cali's Cuvee" is no exception.

Left Coast Cellars 2014 Pinot Noir "Cali's Cuvee."

$24 Retail

Rated 88/100 Points.  B

A pleasant Pinot Noir showing the warmth of the vintage instead of Oregon's grace.

It's a Pain Perdue nose with gingerbread and rich red raspberry and blackberry jelly. There's plenty of acid, but you've also got spice and melted red fruit on the palate. Deliciously leaning into the warm 2014 vintage.


"Growing conditions were mostly dry and warmer than normal throughout the spring providing a great environment for flowering and fruit set. The result was large clusters that ripened evenly over the course of the warm, dry summer. The 2014 vintage broke the previous record for heat accumulation during the growing season, set in 2006. This record was broken not by the daytime highs but rather the overnight lows being higher than normal for most of the year." - 2014 Oregon Harvest Report. 

There is incredible detail about this vintage here.


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F.T.C. Disclosure:  This wine was provided as a sample by the winery in return for an honest review.  I am personal friends with one of the owners of the winery.  I work for Cutting Edge Selections and represent many competitive Oregon wineries in Ohio and Kentucky.

Despite all of that, this is an honest review of the wine!