The buzz 2012



Arianses Vineyard

Columbia Valley, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, March 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Red Wine, Wahluke Slope, Arianses Vineyard ($30) From a vineyard just south of Mattawa, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 12% Petit Verdot shows a deep ruby color and aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum, black roses, anise, sweet tobacco and rubbed sage. The flavors are deep and direct, with admixtures of licorice, cocoa powder, coffee grounds and Wahluke scorched earth. The back picks up macerated berries, dried cherries and plum preserves, followed by a ripe tannin finish. 18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

89 points

Vinous, November 2015
Red-ruby. Plum, mocha and tobacco on the slightly roasted nose, along with note of black olive. Then pliant in the mouth, showing a restrained sweetness to its redcurrant and plum flavors. Ultimately more savory than sweet, and slightly earthy in a positive way. No shortage of acidity here. Drink 2016-2021 — Stephen Tanzer

 

Cabernet Franc

Columbia Valley, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, February 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley ($25) This 100% Cab Franc is sourced from the Dineen (75%) and Ciel du Cheval (25%) vineyards. It shows a deep ruby color and aromas of raspberry, cherry and plum with scents of wild roses, mulberry, tobacco, sage and smoldering incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with thick, chewy, chocolaty flavors that are imbued with licorice, roasted coffee beans and alluvial earth and minerals. The back picks up macerated fruits, mocha, and toffee, and dustings of coriander and cardamom on the ripe tannin finish. 18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

87 Points

Vinous, November 2015
Bright ruby-red. Distinctly wild aromas of blueberry, blackberry, leather and game, along with a slight herbaceousness. Juicy, slightly high-toned flavors of blackberry, leather and spices. Finishes with dusty tannins and decent length. A little too sauvage for me. Drink 2015-2019. —Stephen Tanzer

 

Cabernet Sauvignon - Dineen Vineyard

Yakima Valley, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, March 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, Dineen Vineyard ($35) From a vineyard located north of Zillah, this 100% varietal wine offers a deep ruby color and aromas of blackberry, cherry, plum, dried roses, tobacco, cedar and incense. The medium full-bodied flavors are true to variety and direct, with notes of chocolate, roasted coffee beans and gravelly earth. The back reveals sensations of roasted berries and nuts, mocha, and dried cherries and plums, followed by a savory (nutmeg, cardamom, sage) chewy sweet-dry tannin finish. 18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

88+? Points

Vinous, November 2015
Bright red-ruby. Cassis, licorice and sexy oak tones on the nose, with a slightly herbal, stemmy quality adding lift. Sweet and supple if a bit lean in the middle, offering nuanced flavors of cassis, red berries, violet and garrigue framed by vibrant acidity. Finishes with slightly gritty building tannins. This wine could have used a bit of Merlot to fatten the mid-palate and fill out the finish. Drink 2019-2026. — Stephen Tanzer

89 Points

Wine Advocate Review
The 2012 Dineen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a cooler site on the western end of the Yakima Valley and is 100% Cabernet that spent 22 months in 25% new French oak. It’s a perfumed, medium-bodied, fresh and focused 2012 that has outstanding complexity in its floral, violets, spice and purple fruit-driven bouquet. It’s beautiful today, yet should cruise for at least a decade. 
Drink: 2016-2026 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)

 

Cabernet Sauvignon - Heart of the Hill Vineyard

Red Mountain, 2012

19/20 points

Review of Washington Wines, February 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Heart of the Hill Vineyard ($40) This Cabernet displays a semi opaque ruby color and an intense nose of blackberry, cherry, plum, crushed roses, sweet tobacco, sandalwood, rubbed sage and incense. The medium full-bodied flavors show the traits of Red Mountain Cabernet - licorice, baker's chocolate, roasted coffee beans and scorched earth and minerals. On the back, the wine turns chewy textured, with sensations of macerated berries and roasted nuts, mocha, toffee, integrated oak (50% new French), followed by a lingering, fleshy, dark fruited ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

90+? points

Vinous, November 2015
(15.3% alcohol): Healthy dark red. High-pitched aromas of black raspberry, violet, tobacco and sexy dark-chocolatey oak. Suave and sweet on the palate, with blueberry, violet and dark chocolate flavor spreading out horizontally to coat the palate and aftertaste. Serious building tannins call for some patience. Classic Red Mountain Cabernet. Drink 2018-2026. — Stephen Tanzer

 

Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Red Mountain, 2012

19/20 points

Review of Washington Wines, March 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Red Wine, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) Composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc, this wine shows a deep ruby color and an intense nose of wild blackberry, old tree cherry, and black plum, with scents of black roses, juniper berry, cigar box, rubbed sage and sweet incense. On the palate, the medium full-bodied flavors are mouth encompassing, intermixed with licorice, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans and Red Mountain scorched earth. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of macerated berries, roasted walnuts, mocha, toffee, semi dried cherries, and deft integrated oak (66% new French), followed by a satiny ripe, yet firm, sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

89+? Points

Vinous, November 2015
(aged in 57% new French oak): Bright ruby-red. Aromas of black cherry, licorice, bitter chocolate, menthol and violet. Primary, chewy dark berry flavors are lifted by a note of lavender. Displays good sweetness but also a slightly rustic texture that should be ameliorated by a few years of cellaring. Densely packed but not heavy, finishing with big tannins and very good persistence. Drink 2018-2026 — Stephen Tanzer

91 Points

Wine Advocate Review
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Franc, the 2012 Ciel du Cheval offers lots of plum and currant fruits, leafy herbs, mint and some cedary spice characteristics in a perfumed, fragrant, medium to full-bodied style. It has bright acidity, yet stays balanced and thoroughly drinkable. Drink: 2016-2026 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)


Malbec - Heart of the Hill Vineyard

Red Mountain, 2012

19/20 points

Review of Washington Wines, February 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Malbec, Red Mountain, Heart of the Hill Vineyard ($30) This is a top notch Malbec. Semi opaque crimson colored, it emits enticing aromas of wild blackberries, mountain blueberries, black currants, crushed black roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco, violets, cracked pepper and incense. On the palate, the black and blue fruits flavors are bold and mouth encompassing, replete with black licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Red Mountain scorched earth. The back picks up pressed berries, roasted walnuts, creme de cassis, and burnt charcoal on the way to a lingering, spice-dusted sweet-dry tannin finish. 19/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

88+? Points

Vinous, November 2015
(14.8% alcohol): Bright medium ruby. Inviting aromas of black cherry, cocoa powder and violet complemented by a hint of spicy oak. Juicy, spicy and energetic, with black fruit and bitter chocolate flavors firmed by an edge of acidity and tannins. Still a bit youthfully clenched but conveys very good varietal character. Give this a couple years in the cellar to soften, then serve it with a fatty steak. Drink 2017-2024. — Stephen Tanzer

91 Points


Wine Advocate Review
Another impressive wine from this estate is the 2012 Malbec Heart of the Hill Vineyard, which saw the standard 22 months in French oak, 50% being new. A big, ripe, textured and full-bodied beauty, it offers lots of black cherry, dried earth, iron and mineral characteristics as well as terrific purity, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a great finish. Drink it over the coming 5-7 years. Drink: 2016-2023 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)


Merlot - Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Red Mountain, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, March 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Merlot, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($35) This 100% Merlot offers a deep ruby color and an intriguing nose of wild blackberries, Bing cherries, and black currants, with scents of black roses, mulberry and a hint of mint. On the palate, the dark fruit flavors are deep and penetrating, marked by notes of black licorice, bittersweet chocolate, French roast and calcareous Red Mountain earth. On the back, the wine reveals a dark berried texture, with touches of dried cherries and toasty oak (50% new French) on the sweet-dry tannin finish. 18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

90 Points

Vinous, November 2015
Dark red-ruby. Pungent aromas of blackberry, blueberry, menthol, peppery herbs and spices, plus a whiff of dark chocolate. Lush and fairly full in the mouth but with ripe acidity giving shape and a light touch to the black fruit, licorice, wild sage and spice flavors. Finishes dry and savory, with a firm dusting of tannins and very good length. A serious Merlot from a great year. Drink 2016-2022. — Stephen Tanzer

 

Miscela

Columbia Valley, 2012

18+/20 points

Review of Washington Wines, March 2016
2013 Nota Bene Cellars "Miscela" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) As the name suggests, this is a blend of miscellaneous varieties - 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot and 3% Malbec. It shows a brilliant ruby color and attractive aromas of raspberry, cherry and plum, with scents of rosebuds, mulberry, sweet tobacco, cedar, rosemary and sage. The medium bodied flavors are supple, yet deep, with notes of red licorice, medium roast coffee and alluvial minerals. The back picks up pressed berries, roasted nuts and toffee on the way to a ripe moderate tannin finish. 18+/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

88+? Points

Vinous, November 2015
(15% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. Kirsch, blueberry and licorice on the nose. Sweet, spicy, very primary dark berry and kirsch flavors verge on porty, but floral and herbal nuances lift the middle palate. The wine's serious building tannins turn a bit dry. I'd give this very dark wine a year or two in the cellar before pulling the cork. Drink 2018-2024 — Stephen Tanzer


88 Points


Wine Advocate Review
Nota Bene Cellars 2013 Miscela (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot and the rest Malbec) has lots of lead pencil and cedar characteristics to go with ample black raspberry and red currant fruit, medium-bodied richness and a juicy, fresh style on the palate. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years. 
Drink: 2016-2021 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)

 


Mourvedre - Heart of the Hill Vineyard

Red Mountain, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, February 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Mourvedre, Red Mountain, Heart of the Hill Vineyard ($30) Deep crimson-ruby colored, this wine possesses a rich, spicy nose of blackberry, blueberry and black currants, with scents of rosebuds, bayberry, garrigue, and smoldering incense. The palate comprises thick, generous black and blue fruits that are intermixed with red licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Red Mountain scorched earth. On the back, the wine thickens, with sensations of macerated berries, roasted nut meats, mocha and creme de cassis, followed by a ripe, savory (clove, cardamom, sage) moderate tannin finish that is lifted by bright acidity (6.1 g/L). 18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

89 points

Vinous, November 2015
(15.8% alcohol): Bright medium ruby. Aromatic nose offers blackberry, currant, dusty herbs and spices. Plush and sweet in the middle, showing slightly aggressive alcohol, but the red fruit flavors are nicely framed by harmonious acidity. The serious tannins are broad and even on the slightly warm finish. Drink 2016-2020 — Stephen Tanzer

88 Points

Wine Advocate Review
The 2012 Mourvèdre Heart of the Hill is a charmer, with lots of spice, dried pepper and darker fruits in a medium to full-bodied, rounded style. It has that savory Mourvèdre character, as well as ripe tannin, and will drink nicely for 7-8 years. Drink: 2016-2024 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)

 

Syrah

Columbia Valley, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, February 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley ($25) This is an excellent value in a blend of 77% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, and 8% Grenache. It shows a deep purplish ruby color and attractive aromas of blackberry, blueberry, cassis, black roses, mulberry, brambles, and spiced incense. The medium full-bodied flavors are rich and generous, yet focused, with intermixtures of licorice, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans and earth. The chewy textured back picks up macerated berries and roasted nuts, followed by a savory moderate tannin and acid finish.18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

90 Points

Vinous, November 2015
(14.4% alcohol): Bright ruby. Aromas of crushed blackberry, blueberry, licorice and mint, with complementary oak tones. Juicy and suave on the palate, with enticing, pliant flavors of sweet dark berries, cocoa powder and garrigue leavened by harmonious acidity. Supple and stylish in the middle and ripe and persistent on the back end. Drink 2017-2022. — Stephen Tanzer


89 Points


Wine Advocate Review
A big, rich, forward Syrah that’s loaded with dark fruits, peppered meats, earth, and mineral aromas and flavors, the 2012 Syrah from the Columbia Valley is medium to full-bodied, mouth-filling and textured - all while staying balanced and thoroughly drinkable. Enjoy it over the coming 4-6 years. 
Drink: 2016-2022 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)


Syrah - Ciel du Cheval Vineyard

Red Mountain, 2012

19+/20 points

Review of Washington Wines, March 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) This is an impressive Syrah (Tablas Creek clone) from this premier vineyard. Opaque purple colored, it emits intense aromas of wild blackberries, blueberries and black currants, with scents of crushed black roses, mulberry, sweet tobacco, lavender, violets and smoldering incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with deep, full-bore black and blue fruits that are underpinned by notes of black licorice, dark chocolate, French roast, and Red Mountain scorched earth. The saturation continues on the back with roast berries and nuts, creme de cassis, charcoal, and touches of leather and grilled meats, followed by a lingering, savory (Nutmeg, clove, cardamom) ripe sweetish tannin finish. The superb aromatics and terroir give this a plus. 19+/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

90+? Points

Vinous, November 2015
(from a Tablas Creek clone): Bright medium red. A touch of smoky reduction to the expressive aromas of black raspberry, licorice, leather, game and mocha oak. Not at all a sweet style of Syrah but suave and seamless, with a captivating flavor of boysenberry. The serious building tannins are a bit youthfully clenched today and will require a couple years of patience. Drink 2018-2026. — Stephen Tanzer


92 Points

Wine Advocate Review
A wine that excels on its purity and complexity, the 2012 Syrah Ciel du Cheval is loaded with notions of crème de cassis, violets, sweet oak and spring flowers. It’s not a huge wine, and it stays relatively focused and elegant on the palate. This medium-bodied, pure, graceful Syrah will keep through 2024. 
Drink: 2016-2024 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)

 

Una Notte

Columbia Valley, 2012

18.5/20 points.

Review of Washington Wines, February 2016
2012 Nota Bene Cellars "Una Notte" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($30) Composed of 73% Grenache, 17% Syrah, and 10% Morvedre, this GSM offers a deep medium ruby color and enticing aromas of raspberry, pomegranate, cassis, crushed roses, garrigue (lavender and herbs), and spiced incense. The medium bodied flavors are pleasingly supple, yet forthright, with notes of red licorice, cocoa powder, black tea and minerals and earth. The back picks up pressed fruits, creme de cassis, and pomegranate seeds on the way to a chewy moderate tannin and acid finish. 18.5/20 points. — Rand Sealey

 

91 Points

Vinous, November 2015
(15.3% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. Sexy Old World aromas and flavors of cherry liqueur, smoke and dried herbs. Sweet, seamless, plump and plush but not at all heavy thanks to nicely integrated acidity. Finishes broad, firm and long, with ripe, building tannins and a youthfully medicinal quality. Drink 2016-2021. — Stephen Tanzer

87 Points


Wine Advocate Review
An attractive blend of mostly Grenache, with 17% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, the 2012 Una Notte reveals classy notes of light red fruits (strawberries, cherries) to go with a medium-bodied, rounded, charming style on the palate that’s ideal for drinking over the coming 4-5 years, Drink: 2016-2021 - Jeb Dunnuck (March, 2016)