Lauren Buzzeo

Tasting Director/Senior Editor

Reviews wines from South Africa and Languedoc-Rousillon. Reviews beers.

Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo joined Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2006 as a tasting coordinator. Thanks to her father, she developed an interest in and love of wine at an early age, and her respect and adoration for all things vinous has remained strong ever since. Today, Lauren is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the tasting and review program, and currently reviews the wines of Languedoc-Roussillon and South Africa, as well as beers. Since coming to Wine Enthusiast, she has made it one of her personal missions to promote the acceptance of cross-drinking, encouraging everyone to embrace finely crafted libations across all beverage categories. Lauren is also an avid homebrewer and a member of the AHA (American Homebrewers Association).

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95
points

Alaskan Brewing Co. 2014 Smoked Porter

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $9

ABC’s vintage-dated smoked porter is always a superb selection, year after year, and one that’s incredibly deserving of a spot in your beer cellar. The 2014 release is currently young and aggressive, with forward scents of smoked malt and campfire that are grounded in notes of fig, prune, tobacco leaf and chocolate. The mouthfeel is big and bold, yet smooth and…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
93
points

Glenelly 2011 Lady May Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)

  • Cellar Selection
  • Online Exclusive
  1. $50

This is a bold and powerful yet layered and nuanced wine, with hints of green peppercorn, tobacco leaf, cigar box and leather that add depth and interest to the cassis and brambly blackberry core. The gripping palate offers structured, mouthcoating tannins that are framed by ample acidity and ripe black berry tones. Notes of spicy black licorice and espresso unfold…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
92
points

Jardin 2012 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Stellenbosch)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $24

Despite being barrel fermented, this attractive white manages to maintain a vivid vibrancy and freshness, with notes of fresh red apple, firm peach, pineapple core, green mango and clementine that are all infused with delicate hints of toasted oak and baking spice. Ample acidity lifts the medium-weight palate and rich melon, apple and toasted brioche flavors…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
92
points

De Wetshof 2011 Bateleur Estate Chardonnay (Robertson)

  1. $55

De Wetshof excels at producing beautifully balanced and expressive Chardonnay from Robertson, and the Balateur Estate is a premium example. Lush, ripe fruit aromas of honeydew, yellow apple and peach are laced with notes of toasted brioche, sweet spice and orange cream. The palate is round and full, but ample acidity keeps the flavors fresh and mouthwatering…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
92
points

Alaskan Brewing Co. Pilot Series Double Black IPA

  1. $9

This is a big, bold black IPA that isn’t shy on aromas or flavors. Jet black in color, assertive notes of roasted malt, coffee, toasted bread and chocolate abound, with additional hop accents of pine resin, orange rind and grapefruit zest adding verve and lift to the otherwise rich, dense profile and medium-weight mouthfeel. The finish is long and laced with…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
92
points

Uinta Dubhe Imperial Black IPA

  1. $9

Immediately dark and intense looking, this opens with assertive aromas of resiny hop oil and toasted hemp seed that are framed by notes of lush roasted malt, peanut skin, bittersweet chocolate and dried dark fruits. The malty core takes center stage on the plush palate, with a creamy texture that’s lifted on the finish by bitter twangs of pressed hop flower and…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
91
points

Radford Dale 2012 Freedom Pinot Noir (Elgin)

  1. $42

This wine is densely packed in ripe red-fruit aromas and flavors, but still expressive in earthy notes of cocoa nib, anise and black tea. Medium tannins and plush berry flavors flesh out the mouthfeel, with a crushed satin texture. The evolving finish seamlessly transitions between ripe, fleshy fruit flavors to cherry skin and finally lightly charred oak and woody…

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
91
points

Ernie Els 2011 Proprietor’s Cabernet Sauvignon (Stellenbosch)

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $45

This opens with rich, roasty aromas of blackberry, plum and cassis, with hints of black tea and Violet mints. The medium-weight palate is balanced yet solidly structured, with ample tannins and a cherry skin, pepper and black-tea astringency that lingers on the finish. Drink now–2018.

 — L.B.  (3/1/2015)
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