wine advocate,

  • 2010 Marcassin Pinot Noir - 98 PTS - WA

    wa98"Not surprisingly, the finest wine of this trio is the 2010 Pinot Noir Marcassin Estate. Deep plum/ruby/purple-colored to the edge, it offers notes of boysenberries, mulberries and a hint of raspberries. The site's minerality is well-positioned in the full-bodied flavors which continue the blue fruit invasion, so to speak, but with more forest floor and composty notes, and a complex, northern Cote de Nuits Vosne-Romanee or Morey-St.-Denis personality expressed in the gorgeous fruit. The sweetness of the tannin, the finish of 40+ seconds, and the great intensity this wine exhibits make it another compelling Pinot Noir from these two reclusive geniuses. Drink it over the next decade or more. - Robert Parker"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 210, Dec. 30th 2013), 98 pts

    Go To Marcassin Pinot Noir

  • 2010 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 99 PTS - WA 2013

    Wine Advicate 99 PTS"Flirting with perfection, the 2010 Chardonnay Marcassin Estate exhibits a serious liqueur of stones along with a greenish hue to its straw color, fabulous density, richness and full-bodied power, but zesty acids and notes of quince, white currants, subtle peach, brioche and apricot marmalade are all present in this multi-dimensional, complex, stunning Chardonnay that will be released in 2014. It should easily last for 10-15 years. - RP"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 210, Dec. 30th 2013), 99 pts

    Go To Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

  • 2010 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 99 PTS - WA 2015

    Wine Advicate 99 PTS"With a slightly smokier edge to the honeysuckle, poached pear, pineapple and caramelized citrus notes, the 2010 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard hits the palate with a full-bodied, thunderous affect of fruit, glycerin and acidity. The wine reveals some smoke in the aromatics, but little, if any, in the flavor profile. Full-bodied, lovely, and again, close to perfection (as so often these wines are), this is a beauty to drink over the next decade or more. - RP"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 220, August 2015), 99 pts

    Go To Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

  • 2011 Amaren Rioja Barrel Fermented Blanco - 91 PTS - WA

    wa91"The 2011 Barrel Fermented White is fermented and aged for eight months in oak barrels and has a clean and precise nose with notes of pear, chamomile, pollen and fennel. The medium to full-bodied palate shows ripe flavors but plenty of acidity, in a wine that is both big and delicate. It should age well. Drink 2014-2017. - Luis Gutierrez"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #210, December 2013), 91 pts

    Go To Amaren Rioja Barrel Fermented Blanco

  • 2011 Marcassin Pinot Noir - 92 PTS - WA

    wa92"The 2011 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard has sweet berry fruit, roasted herbs, incense, a touch of background wood spice and foresty notes all present in this medium-bodied, slightly lighter style of Pinot Noir from Marcassin. This was a challenging vintage, but the wines turned out outstanding, and very Burgundian. The alcohol is 13.9%, which is one of their lowest sugar levels. The wine presents a very attractive, moderately intense perfume, good acidity and excellent precision. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. - Robert Parker"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 220, August 2015), 92 pts

    Go To Marcassin Pinot Noir

  • 2011 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 97 PTS - WA

    wa97"The 2011 is a great Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard from a much-maligned and sometimes excessively criticized vintage. 2011 has its low points, but there are many producers who got it right, and survived the challenging growing and harvest conditions. This wine has phenomenal intensity, with plenty of crushed rock, pineapple, honeysuckle, orange and tangerine blossom in an elegant, medium to full-bodied style, with terrific intensity, good acidity and freshness. This is more evolved than either the 2009 or 2010, and probably will be a candidate for 7-8 years of aging, rather than 10 or more.


    There is no doubt that Marcassin is the most difficult appointment for people to schedule, to sit down and taste wine with owners Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. The legacy they have created in California wine is immense. They are in their early seventies, and have decided to completely dedicate themselves to their own vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. I saw them recently, and tasted through these current and upcoming releases of both the Estate Chardonnay and Estate Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay, of course, comes from very low-yielding old Wente clones of Chardonnay planted on the slopes of the Sonoma coastline hillsides. This clone is believed to have been brought over from Burgundy’s grand cru vineyard, Corton-Charlemagne, decades ago.- RP"

    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #220, August 2015), 97 pts

    Go To Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

  • 2012 Marcassin Pinot Noir - 95+ PTS - WA

    wa95"In 2012, a very large crop that was quite ripe produced a supple, sexy, fruit-forward style of Pinot Noir. The dense purple 2012 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard offers up broad, savory mushroom, forest floor, blackcurrant and Asian plum sauce notes and has full body, sweet tannin and good acidity. Drink this sumptuous beauty over the next decade or more. - Robert Parker"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 220, August 2015), 95+ pts

    Go To Marcassin Pinot Noir

  • 2012 Marcassin Pinot Noir - 97 PTS - WA

    wa97"The 2012 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard, which comes primarily from the Calera clone (although I suspect there are a few mystery clones in their plantings), always seems to remind me of a grand cru from Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits, particularly Morey-St.-Denis. Dense ruby/plum, its sweet nose of strawberries, black cherry liqueur, fresh porcini mushrooms and forest floor is followed by a dark, full-bodied, rich and concentrated wine that is supple, dramatic, and even flamboyant. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. - Robert M. Parker, Jr."
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 223, March 2016), 97 pts

  • 2012 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 100 PTS - WA

    wa100"The 2012 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard, which will probably be released in a few months, displays great minerality, notes of honeysuckle, orange marmalade, poached pear, and white flowers as well as a touch of quince. A wine of great intensity, yet incredibly ethereal elegance, this light greenish gold-colored wine is full-bodied, stunningly rich, and altogether remarkable. When you consider that they use 100% new French oak and 100% heavy toast for both their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, it is remarkable how little oak appears in these wines. This wine should age well for 10-15 years, as most of the Marcassin Estate Chardonnays have done to date.


    What an extraordinary tasting this was at the Marcassin winery just north of Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Just when you think the duo of Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer can’t make greater wines, they bowl over the taster with an array of exquisite quality that really must be tasted to be believed. Marcassin was probably California’s greatest Chardonnay after the famous Chalone winery fell from the pinnacle and onto hard times in the 1980s (and it has yet to rebound). Moreover, Marcassin set the bar for great Pinot Noir as well. And while both their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have many competitors these days (from the likes of Harford Court, Mark Aubert, Kistler, Kongsgaard, DuMol, Thomas Brown, Peter Michael, Martinelli and Luc Morlet, to name a few), John Wetlaufer and Helen Turley remain the reigning geniuses of these two varietals in California. Certainly, their meticulous attention to detail in both the vineyard and in the winemaking and élevage account for the quality, but they were among the pioneers who saw the unlimited potential from the Sonoma Coast, now a relatively crowded neighborhood. This was a remarkable tasting that simply blew me away, and I have been following their wines since the first Marcassins were made in the early 1990s. By the way, any doubts about aging potential should be crushed immediately, as even in the most challenging vintages in California, Marcassin Chardonnays and Pinots have aged as well as, if not better than just about any grand cru white Burgundy. For example, 1995 and 1996 Chardonnays, particularly those from the Lorenzo Vineyard, are incredibly youthful and dynamic, and the Marcassin Estate Pinot Noir, even from vintages such as 1998, is simply amazing.- RP"

    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #223, March 2016), 100 pts

    Go To Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

  • 2013 Marcassin Pinot Noir - 94+ PTS - WA

    wa94"The 2013 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard doesn’t have quite the drama, depth of flavor or profound depth of the 2012. This dark plum/ruby-colored wine offers displays crisp acids as well as notes of Chinese black tea and orange rind, and builds incrementally in the mouth to a medium to full-bodied finish. By Marcassin standards, it’s just a brilliant wine rather than a compellingly great one. - Robert M. Parker, Jr."
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 223, March 2016), 94+ pts

  • 2013 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 100 PTS - WA

    wa100"The 2013 Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard may be even better. Notes of caramelized citrus, hazelnut, apple blossom, lemon oil and orange marmalade are all present in this wine of dazzling aromatic and flavor dimension. It is full-bodied, again shows some wet pebbles (which I equate with minerality), vibrant acidity, and no real evidence of any oak. Much like the 2012, the finish goes on for 45+ seconds. This is another killer Chardonnay from Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. - Robert M. Parker, Jr. "
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #223, March 2016), 100 pts

  • 2014 Marcassin Pinot Noir - 97 PTS - WA

    wa97"The 2014 Chardonnay from the Marcassin Vineyard could be described as a letdown after two perfect wines, but of course, it’s not. It shares the great intensity of its predecessors, doesn’t seem to have quite the complexity and profound depth of either the 2012 or 2013, but since it’s younger, that may appear with more time in the bottle. Certainly the tangerine oil, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle and lemon blossom are all present in this wine of impressive fruit purity, equilibrium and length. Like the 2013 and 2012, it has at least 10-15 years of aging potential. - Robert M. Parker, Jr."
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 223, March 4th 2016), 94+ pts

  • 2014 Marcassin Sonoma Coast Chardonnay - 96 PTS - WA

    wa100"The 2014 Chardonnay from the Marcassin Vineyard could be described as a letdown after two perfect wines, but of course, it’s not. It shares the great intensity of its predecessors, doesn’t seem to have quite the complexity and profound depth of either the 2012 or 2013, but since it’s younger, that may appear with more time in the bottle. Certainly the tangerine oil, caramelized citrus, honeysuckle and lemon blossom are all present in this wine of impressive fruit purity, equilibrium and length. Like the 2013 and 2012, it has at least 10-15 years of aging potential. - Robert M. Parker, Jr."
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #223, March 4th 2016), 96 pts

  • Amaren review according to Luis Gutierrez

    "wa300Amaren is the sister winery of Luis Canas, born in 1995 as a brand, and in 2009 as a separate winery, where a more modern/premium line of wines from the Canas family is produced. They own 52 hectares of vineyards averaging 50 years of age, and total production is 180,000 bottles per year.- Luis Gutierrez"
    - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #210, December 2013)

  • Week of 4/20/15 - Shotfire Shiraz

    sf shzThis week we are featuring an old favorite, a wine that has been pleasing wine critics and wine lovers alike for vintage after vintage - Thorn-Clarke Winery's Shotfire Shiraz. Fran Kysela shares the story of how he got started with this Barossa Shiraz:

    It was October 2001 and I was searching for & sourcing for Australian wines, as it was clear that Australia was going to become the "next big thing." After tasting about 100 assorted wines, I decided I liked the style of Barossa, Shiraz best - chocolate, cherries, mint and eucalyptus - so I started focusing on Barossa growers (years later, Barossa Shiraz would develop its reputation as the Icon Shiraz for Australia).
    Late on a Thursday afternoon, the carrier delivered a beat-up box of 12 bottles from Australia, 10 of which were leaking. The box was from a guy named Steve Machin, who had just left Hardys and was beginning work with the Clarke family on setting up a new possible brand. The samples were sticky and messy, but I popped the corks anyway.....and I was glad that I did. The wine inside tasted like Christmas - mint, eucalyptus, camphor, & evergreen aromas. Great acidity, color, flavor and length of finish - very tasty. These samples were so good & so exciting, especially compared to what I had tasted prior, that I immediately called the number on the card. I didn't realize that it was a Perth number (Western Australia) and it was actually 3:00 in the morning. It turned out I was calling the residence of David and Cheryl Clarke, where a sleepy Cheryl answered the phone. I told her, you don't know who I am, but we are going to be doing business together very soon, and lots of it! After a few months of talking and faxing (yes faxing) and sorting out the details, I began importing their wines.
    That super-star wine from the busted box of samples is the wine we know today as Shotfire Shiraz. It was originally called Stone Jar, but fortunately we came up with a better name. 14 years later, I'm still glad to be importing Shotfire Shiraz & other Thorn-Clarke selections....and I'm still glad that Cheryl Clarke woke up for that phone call.

    Folks throughout the US are glad that Fran Kysela made that 3AM phone call! Every vintage of Shotfire Shiraz scores at least 90 points, with some vintages scoring as high as 94 points with Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. It's made Wine Spectator's Top 100 list on more than one occasion, and it's in Kysela's Top 20 every year.

    The 2012 Shotfire Shiraz is described as "bright purple. Sexy cassis, blackberry and vanilla aromas are complemented by hints of peppery spices, licorice and mocha. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering intense dark berry flavors, a touch of spicecake and very good depth. The licorice and cassis notes repeat on the energetic, youthfully tannic finish." (Tanzer, 91pts)

    Contact your Kysela Pere et Fils, LTD. sales representative, state distributor, or local retailer to order Shotfire Shiraz!
  • Week of 4/27/15 - Shotfire Shiraz

    sf shzThis week we are featuring an old favorite, a wine that has been pleasing wine critics and wine lovers alike for vintage after vintage - Thorn-Clarke Winery's Shotfire Shiraz. Fran Kysela shares the story of how he got started with this Barossa Shiraz:

    It was October 2001 and I was searching for & sourcing for Australian wines, as it was clear that Australia was going to become the "next big thing." After tasting about 100 assorted wines, I decided I liked the style of Barossa, Shiraz best - chocolate, cherries, mint and eucalyptus - so I started focusing on Barossa growers (years later, Barossa Shiraz would develop its reputation as the Icon Shiraz for Australia).
    Late on a Thursday afternoon, the carrier delivered a beat-up box of 12 bottles from Australia, 10 of which were leaking. The box was from a guy named Steve Machin, who had just left Hardys and was beginning work with the Clarke family on setting up a new possible brand. The samples were sticky and messy, but I popped the corks anyway.....and I was glad that I did. The wine inside tasted like Christmas - mint, eucalyptus, camphor, & evergreen aromas. Great acidity, color, flavor and length of finish - very tasty. These samples were so good & so exciting, especially compared to what I had tasted prior, that I immediately called the number on the card. I didn't realize that it was a Perth number (Western Australia) and it was actually 3:00 in the morning. It turned out I was calling the residence of David and Cheryl Clarke, where a sleepy Cheryl answered the phone. I told her, you don't know who I am, but we are going to be doing business together very soon, and lots of it! After a few months of talking and faxing (yes faxing) and sorting out the details, I began importing their wines.
    That super-star wine from the busted box of samples is the wine we know today as Shotfire Shiraz. It was originally called Stone Jar, but fortunately we came up with a better name. 14 years later, I'm still glad to be importing Shotfire Shiraz & other Thorn-Clarke selections....and I'm still glad that Cheryl Clarke woke up for that phone call.

    Folks throughout the US are glad that Fran Kysela made that 3AM phone call! Every vintage of Shotfire Shiraz scores at least 90 points, with some vintages scoring as high as 94 points with Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. It's made Wine Spectator's Top 100 list on more than one occasion, and it's in Kysela's Top 20 every year.

    The 2012 Shotfire Shiraz is described as "bright purple. Sexy cassis, blackberry and vanilla aromas are complemented by hints of peppery spices, licorice and mocha. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering intense dark berry flavors, a touch of spicecake and very good depth. The licorice and cassis notes repeat on the energetic, youthfully tannic finish." (Tanzer, 91pts)

    Contact your Kysela Pere et Fils, LTD. sales representative, state distributor, or local retailer to order Shotfire Shiraz!
  • Week of 9/14/15 - Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

    maipe cabsauv rsv btl2We've been seeing some exciting new arrivals here at Kysela over the past few months, but let's face it - the classics are hard to beat! One of our favorite wines from one of our favorite wineries is Chakana Winery's Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

    For starters, Maipe was the Lord of the Winds for the ancient Andean Indians. He is still called upon to clear the skies after heavy rain, or to temper the summer heat. Especially the heat wave over Kysela's warehouse this past week.

    Maipe Reserve is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 70% of the wine is aged 12 months in French oak barrels to fully reveal the character of the Andean terroir, and the remaining 30% is aged in concrete vats. Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate praised this value, saying "...this lush wine is a terrific value in Cabernet Sauvignon... It's deep ruby color is accompanied by uncomplicated notes of blackcurrants, licorice and a touch of vanilla. Medium-bodied, straightforward, delicious and surprisingly concentrated for a wine in this price range, it should drink well for 3-6 years. It is not easy to find Cabernet Sauvignon for under $25 a bottle at this quality level, but this 2013 delivers"

    So while you're summoning Maipe, Lord of the Winds, to cool things down...enjoy a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve!

    Contact your Kysela Pere et Fils, LTD. sales representative, state distributor, or local retailer to order Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon!
  • Week of 9/7/15 - Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

    maipe cabsauv rsv btl2We've been seeing some exciting new arrivals here at Kysela over the past few months, but let's face it - the classics are hard to beat! One of our favorite wines from one of our favorite wineries is Chakana Winery's Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

    For starters, Maipe was the Lord of the Winds for the ancient Andean Indians. He is still called upon to clear the skies after heavy rain, or to temper the summer heat. Especially the heat wave over Kysela's warehouse this past week.

    Maipe Reserve is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 70% of the wine is aged 12 months in French oak barrels to fully reveal the character of the Andean terroir, and the remaining 30% is aged in concrete vats. Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate praised this value, saying "...this lush wine is a terrific value in Cabernet Sauvignon... It's deep ruby color is accompanied by uncomplicated notes of blackcurrants, licorice and a touch of vanilla. Medium-bodied, straightforward, delicious and surprisingly concentrated for a wine in this price range, it should drink well for 3-6 years. It is not easy to find Cabernet Sauvignon for under $25 a bottle at this quality level, but this 2013 delivers"

    So while you're summoning Maipe, Lord of the Winds, to cool things down...enjoy a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve!

    Contact your Kysela Pere et Fils, LTD. sales representative, state distributor, or local retailer to order Maipe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon!
  • Wine Advocate Tastings 2014

    Fran Kysela participated in two tastings with The Wine Advocate during the week of July 7th. He tasted value selections with Robert Parker Jr. on July 10th, and Rhone selections with Jeb Dunnuck on July 11th. Nearly 200 wines were tasted in two days!parker tasting 2014

    dunnuck tasting 2014