Michael Schachner

Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from Argentina, Chile and Spain.

Michael Schachner is a New York-based journalist specializing in wine, food and travel. His articles appear regularly in Wine Enthusiast, for which he is a contributing editor and a member of the magazine’s tasting panel. In addition, he is a wine consultant and professional speaker. His areas of wine expertise include Spain and South America.

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98
points

Vega Sicilia 2004 Unico Tempranillo Blend (Ribera del Duero)

  • Editors' Choice
  • Online Exclusive
  1. $480

Lightly baked and hinting at raisin and fine herbs, the bouquet on this benchmark Spanish red enfolds aromas of tobacco, moss and ripe tomato. In the mouth, it’s elegant and silky but also full and expansive. Flavors of baked berry fruits, baking spices, herbs and cocoa finish with a light coating of toast. This is an amazingly complete, exemplary wine that’s just…

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
95
points

San Vicente 2010 Tempranillo Blend (Rioja)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $58

Cedary aromas of fresh-cut wood blend perfectly into core scents of plum, wild berry and mellow herb. This modern-style Rioja offers a refined, full-bodied palate. Oak-rich flavors of cherry and berry hint at the exotic, with resin and pepper notes preceding a spicy, woody, rugged finish. The wine needs a few more years; drink 2016–2028.

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Muga 2010 Selección Especial Tempranillo Blend (Rioja)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $43

Tight as a drum on the nose, this rambunctious Rioja is throbbing with blackberry, plum and floral aromas. Intense and staunch on the palate, with plum, raspberry, cherry, herb and chocolate flavors, this runs long on the finish, with power and acidity to spare. Hold until 2017, then drink through 2035.

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Viñedos de Paganos 2010 El Puntido Tempranillo (Rioja)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $58

This is ripe and pure on the nose, with aromas of raisin, cherry and earth. The palate is full but not heavy, while flavors of cherry and blackberry run deep in front of a second wave of pepper and spice. Only on the finish does overt oak show up, so give this a few years and drink from 2016 through 2022.

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Alvear 2011 de Añada Pedro Ximénez (Montilla-Moriles)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $23

This PX from the Montilla-Moriles D.O. is always outstanding. This vintage opens with aromas of burnt apricot, orange rind, caramel and simmering brown sugar. It’s sticky almost the point of being cloying, while intense, layered flavors of toffee, coffee and brown sugar go on for miles. Only 300 cases of this great-value wine were made, so act fast and buy a few…

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Bodegas Riojanas 1998 Monte Real Gran Reserva Tempranillo Blend (Rioja)

  • Editors' Choice
  • Online Exclusive
  1. $65

Floral cherry, raspberry and aged wood aromas are elegant and mature. This Rioja is in regal condition, with smooth tannins and integrated acidity. Dried cherry, red plum, herbs and vanilla create a classic Rioja flavor profile. A supple, long finish puts this in perfect drinking shape, which doesn’t mean it can’t last another through 2025 or so.

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
93
points

Mascota 2011 Unánime Gran Vino Tinto Red (Mendoza)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $25

Deep and lush up front, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cab Franc offers highly appealing aromas of blackberry and toast. Dense, layered and hefty on the palate, this extracted but well-balanced blend piles on blueberry, black plum, cassis and toast flavors. On the finish, darker notes of espresso and bitter chocolate take over. Drink now through 2018.

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
93
points

Trapiche 2011 Terroir Series Coletto Single Vineyard El Peral Malbec (Mendoza)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $50

Blackberry and cassis aromas are so subtle, balanced and clean that they barely register while luring you in. An elastic, wide palate has firm, slightly abrasive tannins that should mellow with more time in the bottle, while blackberry, chocolate and spice flavors finish long and smooth, with a hint of raisin. Drink from 2016 through 2021.

 — M.S.  (5/1/2015)
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