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Accolades

Due to our unrelenting focus on quality, we have received numerous accolades for our wines—but because our production is so small, we don’t often present our wines to professional critics.

  • Syrah
  • Syrafina
  • Nobile
  • Reserve
  • Rosé
  • 3Divas

San Francisco Chronicle Competition
2013 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
January 2016

America's largest wine competition bestowed our 2013 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah with it's top award, Best in Class, for $37-$41 Syrahs.  More than 7,100 wines were entered.

Wine Enthusiast
2013 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
December 2015

"A young, 100% varietal and estate-farmed wine, this is a soft, thick and dusty gathering of chocolate and blackberry jam, filled in with wild game and leather. Robust and still tightly wound, it needs to open in the glass to unveil further complexities of texture and black pepper. —V.B."

Wine Enthusiast
2011 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
December 2015

A rustic, French countryside kind of a wine, this is deliciously reflective of a cooler vintage and the nuances the variety can display in the right hands. Meat and a shaker’s worth of pepper make for a savory, sauvage taste experience that’s soft in texture and exotic, with a powerful bite of tannin on the finish. Editors’
Choice

Wine Enthusiast
2010 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
May 2014

"Perfect ripeness has given this 100% Syrah the most savory blackberry, cherry, mocha, and red licorice flavors, with hints of grilled bacon and black pepper. Its tannins are smooth and complex, while a burst of juicy acidity helps the wine finish clean. Pair this versatile wine with everything from lamb and steak to salmon and cheese. —S.H."

San Francisco Chronicle
2008 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
January 2012

The 2008 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah was given the top award, Best in Class, for $30-$40 Syrahs in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 5,500 wines were entered.
 

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2007 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
August 2010

“The 2007 Paolo’s Vineyard Syrah exhibits a complex, evolved nose of charcoal, damp earth, smoky barbecue, and dark currants. Medium-bodied and surprisingly elegant, it is clearly made in a mid-weight, European style meant to be drunk over the next 3-4 years."

San Francisco Chronicle
2007 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
January 2010

The 2007 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah performed exceptionally well by winning a Gold Medal in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 4,900 wines were entered.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2006 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
August 2009

“A very serious wine, made in a European style, this Syrah possesses a dark ruby/purple color and a sweet nose of lead pencil shavings intermixed with blackberry and cassis as well as damp, foresty aromas. Hints of new saddle leather, meat juices, and bouquet garni add to the complexity of this wine, which is full but at the same time charming and decidedly elegant. Drink it over the next 5-7 years."

Connoisseur's Guide
2006 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
November 2009

“Keen balance and a sense of superbly crafted sophistication set this effort apart from the crowd, yet its almost claret-like manner comes with no shortage of Syrah character. Firm and full-bodied with a bit less flesh and muscle than many of its mates, it shows layers of berry-like fruit, pencil-box spice and black pepper, and its finish is marked by relatively modest tannins. It would have benefited by being just a touch deeper in fruit, but we are very much taken with its complexity and its fine structure. It will age well." 

International Wine Review
2005 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
June 2008

“This small boutique winery owned and operated by Vince and Lise Ciolino produces well-crafted Syrah. Their 2005 vintage Syrah displays a lovely opaque ruby color and offers scents of fresh dark red fruit with notes of ashes, cedar and cocoa dusting. On the palate it displays ripe concentrated spicy red and black fruit flavors with a soft and elegant attack, round tannins and a velvety soft finish."
 

Sonoma County Harvest Fair
2004 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
October 2007

At the premiere showcase of Sonoma County wines, Montemaggiore's Paolo's Vineyard Syrah received a double gold medal—for the second year in a row! 

International Wine Review
2003 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
September 2006

“Purple garnet in color, this textbook California Syrah is fashioned with a combination of pure lush blackberry fruit with smoky, meaty, and bacon fat highlights and copious high quality oak that persist through to the finish. The wine also reveals fine balance, ripe tannins, and good grip on the finish." 

Restaurant Wine
2003 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
May / June 2006

“Fleshy, full bodied, and quite toasty in style; this is a moderately rich Syrah, tasting of blackberry, toasted oak, pepper, and cedar, with a lightly tannic finish. 5%CS. 750 cases [Anticipated peak drinkability 2007-2009]" 

Sonoma County Harvest Fair
2003 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
October 2006

At the premiere showcase of Sonoma County wines, Montemaggiore's 2003 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah received a double gold medal and was named Best of Class! For those unfamiliar with wine competition jargon, "Best of Class" translates into Best Syrah, whereas "Double Gold" means that all judges believed that this wine deserved a gold medal. In essence, Montemaggiore's Syrah was named best in Sonoma County!

San Francisco Chronicle
2003 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
January 2006

The 2003 Syrah performed exceptionally well by winning a Gold Medal in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 3,300 wines were entered from throughout the United States. 

San Francisco Chronicle
2002 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
San Francisco Chronicle

“Lavender, blackberry, black licorice, toast and eucalyptus aromas; juicy blackberry, dark chocolate, baking spice and anise flavors; silky and exotic; some heat on finish; needs time.”
 

Orange County Register
2002 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
August 2005

“…adds up to rich, deep and plush wine. The nose hints of cedar and sage. The wine tastes of black cherry, blackberry and black tea with hints of black licorice and cassis. It clocks in at 14.9 percent alcohol, but as with all well-made wines, the robust body and full fruit make the alcohol disappear on the palate.” 

Restaurant Wine
2002 Paolo's Vineyard Syrah
May / June 2005

“Excellent Syrah in a fleshy, full bodied, medium rich style. It tastes of ripe berries, toast, and pepper. Long aftertaste. 11%CS. 850 cases [Anticipated Peak Drinkability 2006-2007]" 

San Francisco Chronicle Competition
2013 Syrafina
January 2016

America's largest wine competition bestowed the 2013 Montemaggiore Syrafina with a Double Gold medal for all Syrahs over $41.  A Double Gold medal means that all judges believe the wine deserves a gold medal.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2013 Syrafina
March 2016

“With elegant, medium to full-bodied texture, excellent purity and depth reminiscent of a fine St.-Joseph from France’s Northern Rhône, the 2013 Syrah Syrafina is a blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier – the magic formula for Côte Rôtie in the Rhône. This wine has a dense ruby/purple color, a beautiful exotic nose of lychee, violets, crème de cassis and black raspberries. Rich, and well-endowed with moderate tannin, the wine is still youthful and unevolved, but shows plenty of promise and upside. Give it another 1-2 years of bottle age and drink it over the following decade.”

“I think both [the 2013 Syrafina and 2013 Reserve] will merit slightly higher scores after another 2-4 years of bottle age. They are impressively crafted and pure but still closed, structured and locked-in.”

Wine Enthusiast
2013 Syrafina
December 2015

"An estate-grown wine, this combines 95% Syrah with 5% Viognier, co-fermented into a floral mix of violet and lavender that’s captivating on the nose. Ripe red fruit surrounds a generous tannic structure that suggests aging, though the wine now remains soft on the palate. Drink now through 2021. Cellar Selection." —V.B.

Note that Wine Enthusiast magazine marks a highly rated wine as a Cellar Selection if it exhibits the potential to evolve and improve for many years.

Wine Enthusiast
2010 Syrafina
May 2012

“You can really taste the 3% of Viognier in this estate-grown Syrah. It's like a squeeze of lime juice, giving the blackberry, blueberry and mocha flavors a zingy, mouthwatering tang. The alcohol's a little high, but you'll hardly notice it with rich beef and lamb dishes.” —S.H.

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
2010 Syrafina
January 2014

The 2010 Syrafina performed exceptionally well by winning a Gold Medal in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 5,800 wines were entered.

Wine Enthusiast
2009 Syrafina
April 2012

“Amazing how the addition of just 3% of Viognier lifts the winery’s Syrah and makes this wine so fine. The white variety’s citrusy acidity and lime flavor uplifts and brightens Syrah’s blackberry and blueberry fruit, giving the wine a zesty punch. Drink now for it’s freshness.” —S.H.

Wine Enthusiast 2007 Nobile
April 2012

“There aren’t many California Cab-Syrah blends this satisfying. Perhaps the main reason, aside from good viticulture and winemaking, is the source, Dry Creek Valley, where the grapes got sweet and ripe in blackberry, currant, bacon and spice flavors, yet maintained enough acidity for balance. The tannins are a bit tough and brambly, but this is a delicious wine to drink now with richly sauced beef dishes. ”—S.H.

San Francisco International Wine Competition 2003 Superiore
June 2007

The 2003 Cabernet-Syrah blend performed exceptionally well by winning a Gold Medal in the largest International wine competition in America, with more than 1,000 wineries submitting wines from 21 countries.

Wine Enthusiast 2002 Superiore
October 2005

“This Cabernet-Syrah blend is obviously very ripe, packed with black cherry and chocolate flavors, with interesting herb and pepper notes. There's a nice edge of tannins and acids. Sophisticated and intricate, it will pair well with lamb or beef.”

California Wine Web 2002 Superiore
March 2006

“A blend of Syrah and Cabernet from hillside vineyards adds dimension to this big, firm-textured, fully tannic debut wine from a new Dry Creek winery. Aromas are closed, but berry, cherry, chocolate and smoke flavors come out with time. ”

San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2002 Superiore
January 2006

The 2002 Superiore, our first vintage, won a Silver Medal in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 3,300 wines were entered from throughout the United States.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 2007 Reserve
August 2010

“The 2007 Syrah Reserve justifies its Reserve status with more concentration, power, density, and nuance as well as a deeper, more opaque ruby/purple color than its sibling [2007 Paolo's Vineyards Syrah]. It should drink well for a decade. These are both attractive efforts from Montemaggiore.”

Wine Enthusiast 2007 Reserve
May 2010

“An interesting Syrah and quite a good one despite some youthful vigor. The tannins are aggressive and accentuate the acidity, making the wine feel tough in the mouth. But it’s extraordinarily rich. Floods the palate with intensely ripe blackberries and blueberries, with cool-climate notes of black pepper. Give it a good decant before serving.”

San Francisco International Wine Competition 2004 Reserve
June 2007

The 2004 Hilltop Reserve Syrah performed exceptionally well by winning a Double Gold Medal in the largest international wine competition held in America, in which more than 1,000 wineries submitted wines from 21 countries.

San Francisco Chronicle 2004 Reserve
January 2007

The 2004 Hilltop Reserve Syrah won a Gold Medal in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 3,800 wines were entered by 1,572 wineries from 20 states.

Wine Enthusiast
2014 3Divas
February 2016

“Estate-grown Viognier makes up the majority of this blend, followed by 25% Roussanne and 22% Marsanne. Delicate, the aromas lean floral and tart, a combination of peaches and honey that build into an oaky, powerful finish.”—V.B.

Wine Enthusiast
2012 3Divas
May 2014

“This blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne is dry and crisp in acidity and shows ripe, complex flavors of peaches, limes and oranges. But the California fruit is balanced by minerality and dried herbs. Drink it now, but not too cold.”—S.H.

Wine Enthusaist
2011 3Divas
March 2013

EDITORS' CHOICE: ”A Russian River interpretation of a Rhône blend, this is made from Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne. It is dry and marked by zesty acidity and just a hint of oak. The pineapple, lime, pear, peach and white pepper flavors are rich. This is a genuinely food-friendly wine.“ —S.H.

San Francisco Chronicle
2010 3Divas
January 2012

The 2010 3Divas performed very well by winning a Gold Medal in the largest American wine competition, in which more than 5,500 wines were entered.