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1) Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Rouge 2013: $23.99 Usually $28 With pure, bright Pinot fruit, the silkiness in the mouth makes this wine seem downright sexy. Some of our red Burgundies just got a bit jealous. It will be an excellent companion for red meats, game and cheese. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks preserves all its flavors. It is aged one year in oak barrels. Its lightness and red fruit flavors are remarkable.
2) Domaine Lucien Boillot & Fils Bourgogne Rouge 2014: $35.99 Here’s another rare blend of a different kind: Pinot fruit from around the village of Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits, and some from around Volnay in the Côte de Beaune. The lush fruit and structure from Gevrey and the floral, soft touch of Volnay combine as a wonderful homage to Boillot ancestors and Burgundy at large. –Chris Santini
3) Eric Chevalier Chardonnay 2014, Val de Loire: $17.79 If you have never had a wine from Eric Chevalier, now is your chance before he is discovered and prices explode! Eric took over his fathers domaine and is now producing some of the most exciting wines in the Loire. A “hands-off” approach in the winery combined with austere chalk soils create an un-oaked chardonnay with unrivaled minerality and verve!
4) Loimer Langenlois Riesling, 2015, Kamptal: $22.99 Wine Enthusiast 91 pts. The nose reveals nothing but the slightest creaminess. The palate adds lovely greenish notes of lime and mandarin that pervade every last corner of the mouth with their insistent lively freshness. A lovely brisk little number that is sure to wow lovers of clean Riesling.
5) Chateau de Fontenille Entre deux Mers Bordeaux Blanc 2016: $12.79Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Gris. A regular Decanter award winner, Stéphane Defraine`s Entre-Deux-Mers leads the way in showing how good this wine can be when made with loving care and attention to detail. A highly unusual blend of 40:20:20:20 of the above grapes, this is most definitely not your usual supermarket Entre Deux Mers . The Sauvignon Blanc provides the nerve and acidity, the Semillon the body with Muscadelle giving the lovely aromatic flavors and Sauvignon Gris adding elegance. This cepage is very unusual as most Bordeaux winemakers have given up trying to grow Muscadelle and rarely use Sauvignon Gris. A lovely light gold color, fresh and fruity with light acidity. The citrus and peach flavors come storming through to give a wine perfect with fish but also very drinkable on its own. Amazing value and a wine for all seasons. Drink now — 2020
6) Nicole Chanrion Domaine de la Voute des Crozes Cote de Brouilly 2016: $23.79 Chanrion’s gorgeous cuvée is from a blend of five large old foudres housed in her earthen cellar…It shows a brilliant dark garnet hue and sports an aroma of fresh strawberries with a touch of cinnamon. On the palate it is rich, spicy, perfumed, and fine, loaded with red and black berry fruit, and it doesn’t disappoint on the long elegant finish.
7) Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge 2016: $58.99 The gold standard and original Bandol Rouge that established the appellation as a world class wine growing region. A typical blend of 75% Mourvedre, 14% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, and 2 % Carignan from vines with an average age of 40 years old, this is a deeply flavored and textured bottle of wine with luscious red fruit flavors and lovely earthy minerality. With Lucien’s hard work and dedication to prove Mourvedre to be the great grape it is known to be today, Domaine Tempier went on to become one of France’s, if not the world’s, great wine estates revered especially for its iconic Rose and this elegant, age-worthy red.
These next 2 are first come, first serve:
8) Sea Smoke Ten Pinot Noir 2016, Santa Rita Hills: $100 A brooding and intense wine. The aromas begin with notes of dried flowers and blueberries, then a myriad of spices, cacao and a hint of lavender. Firm, mature tannins—evidence of Ten’s ageeability—are followed by a long, velvety finish. Ten Clones, from which the wine takes its name.
9) Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir 2016: $79.99 Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The ever-changing nose of the 2016 Southing exhibits boysenberry, dried cherry, savory spices and fresh plum. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard’s characteristic cool climate acidity.
10) Trinchero Haystack Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Atlas Peak: $58 (Suggested retail: $70) WE 90 pts. Cellar Selection. Black and thick, a study in smoky oak and tar, this intense vineyard-designated Cabernet will behave better over time. Brawny tannins surround substantial layers of blackberry and coffee, the feel on the palate weighty and voluptuous. Cellar through 2026.
11) Digression Rose 2017, Provence: $27.99 This is a new range of very smartly packaged and mostly keen-priced wines from Napa’s own flamboyant, gregarious and incredibly astute Burgundian-born proprietor, Jean-Charles Boisset. Linked to a recently purchased St. Helena estate and boldly renovated manor house, these wines are something more of an experience than straightforward grog…The bottles are stylish and the wines are superbly crafted at each price level, focusing on unique and very clever blends that are, somewhat in contrast to the packaging, wonderfully understated, savory and mineral in style. Perhaps against your better judgement, you’re going to fall in love with these wines. – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, 233, The Wine Advocate
12) Colli Tortonesi Terre di Libarna Timorasso “Caespes” 2015: $25.99 Intense mineral scent with hints of citrus and spice, with a savory, full-bodied, structured and persistent taste, with a good acidity. Timorasso is native to the Colli Tortonesi region of southeast Piedmont. Here it is produced as a varietal wine and must constitute at least 85 percent of the labeled wine, the balance being made up of Moscato Biancoand Favorita (Vermentino). The variety has thick skins that protect the grape against both disease and weather. It is definitely the white wine of Italy of the moment! And really with lots of wine geeks!
13) Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva White 1996: $130 Vinous 93 pts. Bright yellow-gold. Dried pear, peach pit, vanilla, marzipan and toasted brioche on the deeply perfumed, expansive nose. Chewy, densely packed and focused, offering bitter pear skin, hazelnut and anise flavors and a refreshingly bitter hint of lemon pith. Stretches out slowly with air and finishes spicy, smoky and very long, with repeating anise and pear notes and dry, minerally cut. This complex wine benefits a lot from aeration. 90% Viura, 10% Malvasia.
14) Textbook Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa: $29.79 Exhibits flavors of plums, and blueberries. It shows an excellent acid structure and finishes with a soft elegant mouthfeel. We believe it is a “textbook” example of this noble variety grown in this outstanding appellation and that it can be enjoyed for several years to come. The core of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon comes from three sites situated within the Stag’s Leap, Oak Knoll and Oakville AVA’s. The Stag’s Leap site delivered deep color, structure and depth. The Oak Knoll Cabernet site exemplifies its provenance with incredible balance. It is not “over-the-top.” Our Oakville District site, next door to Screaming Eagle, again strutted its stuff, delivering deep color, high-quality grape tannin and aromatics.
15) Brotte Esprit Barville Cotes du Rhone 2016: $16 Medium intensity with aromas of small stone fruits and delicately spicy hints of pepper, thyme and garrigue (bush land). Palate – Smooth, warming and elegant. Its aromas recall wild red fruits, dark cherries, forest floor and licorice. The tannins are soft yet precise. 2016 is an exceptional year with powerful, bright reds.
16) Buena Vista Chardonnay 2014, Carneros: $19 Opens with aromas of peach jam, pear, orange chutney and shiso leaf. With medium body and a solid core, flavors of lemon and toasty vanilla with a hint of orange peel coats the palate and leave a long, rich finish.
17) Melka Metisse Jumping Goat Vineyard 2014, Napa Valley: $142 (Suggested retail: $165) This wine has our most loyal following and it is no surprise as to why. Similar to the Graves region in Bordeaux, the wine is perfumey, with a velvety texture so signature of the Jumping Goat. Aromatics of dark fruit, graphite, tar and creosote are complimented in a wine that exhibits opulence and softness harmoniously. The finish on this fabulous 2014 is bigger than previous years and we suggest decanting a good three hours prior to serving. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot.
18) Weingut Schwarzbock Gelber Muskateller 2015: $19 Typical muscular atoms; clear after fresh grapes; becomes ever finer and more diverse; very juicy; reductive style with further development potential.
19) Cooper & Thief Cellarmasters Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa: $45.99Aged for six months in rye whiskey barrels, it’s a rich wine with warm, dark fruit aromas, a lush mouthfeel, and supple tannins touched by hints of toasted rye spice. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot.
And the next 2 are a pleasure to get in each year:
Felsina is a benchmark producer of not only Tuscany and Italy but the entire world of wine, and it is regarded by many as the finest producer of Chianti. The vineyards of Castelnuovo Berardenga and the Felsina estate produce an exotic, wild style of Sangiovese that it is incredibly unique. It also produces some of the most long-lived wines of the region, with the Rancia bottling peaking 20-30 years from vintage.
20) Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia 2012: $57.99 A library selection! Vinous 94+ pts. A ripe, powerful wine, the 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia offers a level of finesse that balances some of the more overt intensity of the year. Dark cherry, plum, spice, tobacco, menthol and licorice add shades of nuance as this beautifully delineated Rancia opens up in the glass. Because of its mid-weight structure, I expect the 2012 will give up its charms relatively early by Rancia standards, which means around age 15-20. The 2012 is not an obvious or explosive Rancia, rather is a wine built on compelling overall harmony.
21) Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia 2015: $54.99 94-97 points Vinous “The 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is one of the most finessed young Rancias I have ever tasted. Silky, aromatically precise and nuanced to the core, the 2015 is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. This is an impressive showing. (AG)” (1/2018)
1) Krupp Brothers The Doctor Red Wine Stagecoach Vineyard 2014, Napa Valley: $99.79 WE 94 pts. Cellar Selection. Dr. Jan Krupp’s signature wine, this boldly blends 36% Tempranillo with red Bordeaux varieties, all mountain-grown on rocky soils. Brown sugar, red cherry, clove and meat flavors contribute to its density, packed into an integrated frame and finishing on a rich chocolate note. Enjoy 2024–2034.
2) Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay, VA: $29.99 Claude Thibaut and Manuel Janisson bring to this sparkling wine generations of tradition from the Champagne Region of France. They have captured the flavors and essence of the Virginia Terroir. The Cuvee, made of 100% Chardonnay from the Monticello Appellation, has vibrant aromas of pear and ripe apples; the taste is perfectly balanced, crisp and refreshing.
3) Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay 2016, Sonoma County: $19.79#78 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2018 WS 91 pts. Pale lemon yellow, with aromas of ripe lemon, yellow apple, pineapple, and toasted oak. Balanced and layered on the entry with ripe lemon, green apple and grilled ripe pineapple with attractive smoky oak and vanilla barrel notes. The crisp mid-palate shows savory chamomile flower and a pleasant mineral texture with sustained fruit that continues through the clean, textured finish.
4) Niner Red Blend 2015, Paso Robles: $18 This exceptionally dark-hued wine captures your attention right out of the bottle and exudes meaty aromatics full of dark fruits & pepper. A finely grained & textured palate is studded with dark chocolate, berry pie & white pepper notes outlined by tannins. 35% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Grenache, 8% Mouvedre, 7% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot, 2% Barbera.
5) FEL Pinot Noir 2016, Anderson Valley: $33 Cheapest price online: $38 Richly aromatic, the nose on this wine is loaded with notes of black cherry, boysenberry, and pomegranate. Subtle hints of dark chocolate, orange peel, and sage add depth and complexity. The palate is lively with fresh acidity which carries delicious flavors of strawberry, plum, toast, and caraway. Fine-grained tannins provide a silky structure to the wine and a lengthy finish of succulent fruit flavor. This outstanding example of cool-climate Pinot Noir will easily drink well for a decade or more.
6) Anciano Tempranillo Gran Reserva 2007, Valdepenas: $12.99 Grapes harvested from 30 year old vines are used to produce this elegant and smooth red. Pouring a brilliant garnet colour, expect subtle aromas of sandalwood, vanilla and raspberry; the palate is dry and medium/full in body with flavors of red berry and cedar spice balanced by medium acidity and fine tannins.
7) Krupp Brothers Veraison Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley: $103.99 Opening with a mélange of blackberries, anise and cassis, this Cabernet Sauvignon is plush and textured, dominated by succulent ripe black cherry, boysenberry, roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Well-balanced, rounded tannins lead to a luxuriously long finish. The 2013 vintage had plentiful winter rain followed by a warm spring, resulting in early bud break. A warm and occasionally hot summer continued to speed vine growth. A mildly warm fall and patience allowed for optimal hang time to achieve the complex flavors, ripeness, and power of a great vintage. Pair with herb roasted prime rib and porcini mushroom tarts. Drink through 2035. 93 pts. Robert Parker
8) Krupp Brothers Chardonnay 2015, Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley: $66 Aromas of orange blossom, Meyer lemon and Crispin apple lift from the glass. Apricot and honeydew melon intermingle with lemon curd and tart green apple for a fresh and lively mouthfeel that leads to a delicate creaminess laced with minerality. Pair with sole Meunière or butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter sauce. Drink now through 2030.
9) Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Syrah 2015, Buin, Chile: $22 WE 91 pts. Earthy aromas of crushed rocks and sea shells are backed by scents of garrigue and herbal black plum. This wine feels both lush and racy. Spicy, peppery plum flavors run long on a finish that shows a toasty accent. Drink through 2021.
10) Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir 2016: $36 Beginning with the nose, one encounters bright raspberry and cooked cherry notes along with hints of sassafras and freshly turned earth. Ten months of barrel age lends a sweetness that balances the supple tannin from this exceptional vintage producing an intense, full-bodied Pinot Noir. Of particular note in this vintage is the juicy and sweet fruited entry upon the palate, backed up by delicate spice notes that lead to a lengthy, warming finish. The hallmark of Domaine Carneros Pinot Noir is the texture, and this wine delivers with a supple and silky mouth-feel.
11) K Vintners Motor City Kitty Syrah 2015: $35.79 Jeb Dunnuck 94 pt.s The 2015 Syrah Motor City Kitty Old Field Boushey Vineyard comes all from this site (planted by Brennon and Dick Boushey in 2007) in 2015 and will come from this site going forward. The site is 8 acres consisting of Phelps, 383, 174 clones that are all co-fermented in concrete uprights. It offers crazy notes of smoke tobacco, charcoal, ripe black cherries, currants, and pepper. With medium to full-bodied richness, a lively, pure, pretty style on the palate, and fine tannin, it should put on weight with 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for a decade.
And from a recent Burgundy tasting (plus a couple special extras), yummy!:
12) Weinlaubenhof Alois Kratcher Illmitz Pinot Gris 2016: $25.99 The freshness of this Pinot Gris receives from its elegant texture, the subtle acidity and the aromas of citrus and apple. Very mineral and invigorating! Yellow-green is just the right color for the juicy taste in which honeydew melons and meadow herbs spread.
13) M Chapoutier Schieferkipf Riesling Baden 2016: $26.99 Michel Chapoutier is passionate about terroir and grape varieties. The Rhine Basin has always had a special place in his heart because of the particularity of certain varieties and their mineral subtlety. This vineyard came about by an association of friends and their consensus in exigent working techniques, even on very harsh slopes. The vines take their nutritional value from a terroir of blue schist with a touch of sandstone, bringing originality to the wine. Across the Schieferkopf, Michel Chapoutier proposes you a translation of theses terroirs, reflecting the appellations, his signature. Both fruity and floral. Citrus-like, Mirabelle-plum and orange blossom notes.
14) Domaine Vocoret et Fils Montee de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 2014: $51.99 91 points Vinous “Pale, bright yellow. Sexy, wild aromas of lemon, crushed rock, musky grapefruit; at once savory and sweaty in a positive way. Broad and bone-dry, showing lovely density and stony mineral lift to the flavors of lemon pith, jasmine and ginger. A distinct saline quality carries through on the uncompromisingly dry finish. Two thousand fourteen is clearly an outstanding vintage for this very consistent producer.” (ST)
15) Domaine Chavy Jean Louis Puligny-Montrachet Cote de Beaune 2016: $84.99 A blend of 10 different parcels across the appellation of Puligny-Montrachet, this gives a complete picture of the village. With charming white flowers and citrus notes on the nose and a refreshing, crisp palate, this offers all the fine-boned elegance one expects, culminating in a toasty, saline finish. Clean and precise, this is best enjoyed at the table, ideally with seafood risotto.
16) Aurelien Verdet Le Prieure Bourgogne Hautes Cote de Nuits Rouge 2016: $47.99 Wine Spectator “A beam of cherry, herbs and spice marks this juicy red. Tips slightly toward the tart side, offering frank fruit and moderate length. Drink now through 2022. 300 cases imported. (BS, Web-2017)”
17) Chateau Marsannay “Marsannay” Rouge Cote de Nuits 2016: $56.99 A bright red cherry color, this wine exhibits aromas of fresh red fruits and a hint of smoke. It’s full-bodied, with flavors of cherry and cranberry balanced by a touch of spice.
18) Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin Cote de Nuits 2015: $85.99 Gevrey-Chambertin is a wine with a beautiful, bright ruby color. Intensely fruity on the nose, the aromas are reminiscent of black cherry, wild blackberry and liquorice. The woody character is subtle and marries delicately with the other aromas. As the wine evolves, there are more complex notes, such as mild spice, nutmeg and leather. Later still, mushroom and damp earth nuances make their appearance. Although present on the palate, tannin is never astringent but blends itself harmoniously with the natural freshness and “gras” (velvety texture) of the wine. The same aromas encountered earlier on the nose are found again in the aftertaste.