2018 Year End Listings

Jan 02, 2019

Congratulations to the following Wine Warehouse products that made each year end listing from these world-class publications: Wine Enthusiast, James Suckling, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Tre Bicchieri and Whisky Advocate.

WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 100 BEST BUYS

Each year, we assiduously select the wines that make up our Top 100 Best Buys list, a ranking of the most attainable, buzzworthy, well-priced and simply delicious pours available. More than 1,400 bottles were eligible this year (our most yet!), and, as usual, we’ve included something for everyone by exploring the full scope of the vinous world. With 16 countries and more than 35 different grape varieties represented, this list has all the wines you want.

Vintage(60)
mt hermon-red

#5

“A nose of cassis and vanilla sets the scene for flavors of black cherry, blackberry, butterscotch, juniper and violet. It’s easy on entry, offering smooth tannins that slowly reveal themselves, culminating in a floral and cranberry finish.” 92pts, BEST BUY

Valdiguie

#16

“This bottling of an obscure grape originally from France shows crushed violets and tart boysenberry on the nose. Best served with a slight chill, it packs black plum skin, potpourri and marjoram flavors onto the palate.” 90pts, BEST BUY

3Badge-Plungerhead-2015PS_3Z2A1071a_hi_nv_v2

#21

“It tastes smoky and spicy, weaving herbaceous, savory nuances with meaty ones while a rich and relatively gentle texture coats the palate and holds onto the charred, beefy flavors on the finish.” 91pts, BEST BUY

Lecole no 41

#29

“The aromas here offer notes of freshly sliced pear, cantaloupe, banana, melon rind and papaya. The bone-dry palate brings an abundant tropical-fruit flavor and a strong sense of acidity.” 91pts, BEST BUY

marietta ovr

#44

“It’s great to return to an excellent honest-tasting fruit-driven wine that has very good balance, an appetizing texture thanks to fine-grained tannins and light spicy elements to complement the pure cherry and berry core.” 90pts, BEST BUY

Salt of the Earth bottle shot

#49

“This wine is intensely sweet and concentrated, overflowing with late-harvest aromas like pear syrup and honeysuckle and full of dried apricot and honey on the palate.” 89pts, BEST BUY

BS-Crustaces-14

#51

“Fresh, vivid notes of juicy, ripe pear make for an inviting nose. The palate has the same easy, fruit-driven freshness: plenty of pear edged by lemon freshness. . This is light, dry, easy and moreish.” 89pts, BEST BUY

WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 100 CELLAR SELECTION

Each year, of the roughly 23,000 wines reviewed, only a portion (close to 4%) are designated Cellar Selections—wines that, while currently delicious, would benefit from being forgotten for some time in a cool, dark place in your home. This elite grouping is further whittled down to the Top 100 Cellar Selections list, a veritable cheat sheet for the most cellar-worthy wines on the market.

graham's
Graham's 2016 The Stone Terraces Vintage

#5

“A superbly intense wine of great concentration, this has a generous structure and abundant ripe-fruit tones. Its tannins are fully intact, promising an immensely long aging period.” 100pts, CELLAR SELECTION

PRP_Calvarino_v15_750

#6

Calvarino sets a new benchmark…It’s concentrated yet elegant and thoroughly delicious.” 96pts, CELLAR SELECTION

Costanti-Brunello-Riserva-bottle shot

#13

“It’s savory and loaded with finesse, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, licorice, orange zest and pipe tobacco alongside firm yet polished tannins and fresh acidity.” 100pts, CELLAR SELECTION

Château Pétrus 2015 Pomerol bottle shot

#23

“This is like drinking liquid black currants and blackberries. The wine has great intensity and richness from the superbly generous Merlot.” 100pts, CELLAR SELECTION

SignatureCabernet

#41

“Rich aromas of stewed black plum, blackberry pie, vanilla, clove and prune cake show on the nose. The mouthfeel is rich overall, but with firm tannins in the background…” 96pts, CELLAR SELECTION

chateauneuf-du-pape-domaine-du-vieux-lazaret-2015

#87

“Vibrant whiffs of orange blossom and lemon peel are offset by savory bramble and earth notes in this dry, full-bodied white blend. Its juicy lemon and tangerine flavors are edged by salty, saline complexities that are just starting to develop.” 93pts, CELLAR SELECTION

WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 100 OF 2018

This year, Wine Enthusiast’s tasting panel reviewed more than 24,000 wines from around the globe, exploring a multitude of regions, styles and price points. Each year, we cull through this behemoth batch of wines to pull out the most exciting finds. In the last two issues, we celebrated those that offer the most bang for your buck (Top 100 Best Buys) as well as the wines that you need to invest in today for enjoyment tomorrow (Top 100 Cellar Selections).

So now, here’s the best of the best: The Enthusiast 100.

The Enthusiast 100 is the apex of our yearly round-ups, offering an impressive collection that represents some of the top wines reviewed this year.

Trefethen Historic Winery was fully restored in 2017
cabernet tall bottle 003

#29

“…This is an impressive wine well worthy of the producer’s 50th anniversary. Currant, boysenberry and light handfuls of spice are wrapped in soft, polished tannins that offer an elegant length.” 95pts, EDITORS’ CHOICE

2015_High_Elevation_Petite_Sirah

#56

“Smooth but dense, this wine is unusually supple for the variety. It shows a great combination of ripe, rich fruit flavors of black fig, black pepper, wood smoke and blackberry…” 92pts, EDITORS’ CHOICE

Allegrini

#78

“Aromas of ripe black-skinned fruit and exotic spice are front and center on this delicious red. On the fresh palate, tightly knit, polished tannins carry mouthwatering black cherry, blackberry compote, mocha and cinnamon.” 91pts

Heitz 2015 Grignolino bot shot

#87

“Wrapped in a rose petal aroma, this is lightly textured on the palate and offers a light touch of tangy cranberry and red-currant flavors. This is a lovely wine for the dinner table or as an aperitif.” 91pts, EDITORS’ CHOICE

BS-TOKARA-SauBlanc-17

#91

“Bright, crisp and clean, this has a classic Sauvignon Blanc character of vibrant citrus aromas and flavors that are framed by notes of grass and melon rind…” 90pts

JAMES SUCKLING TOP 100 WINES OF 2018

This year’s top 100 is based on the best wines we tasted with a minimum production of about 300 cases. We had some other top scoring wines such as rarified trockenbeerenauslese and tiny single-vineyard production wines, but we decided not to include them in the list since very few people in the world will ever drink them! The score was the most important factor in our ranking for the Top 100 list, but we also arranged the wines in their respective ratings level according to price whereby a wine with the same score with a lower price would be positioned higher in the list. We also only allowed one wine per winery in the list.

chateau belair monange
CHÂTEAU BÉLAIR-MONANGE ST.-EMILION 2015

#2

“Blue fruits, minerals, lavender and licorice aromas are wonderful. Full body and ultra- refined tannins with an integration and refinement that make the wines seamless and beautiful. The powerful tannins hide from you at first, but what structure in the end. It goes on for minutes.” 100pts

Graham's 2016 Vintage Product Sheet

#27

“Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end.” 99pts

BS-Ulysses-14

#29

“Aromas of sweet berries, fresh herbs, currant bush and licorice. Terracotta. Full body, layered and soft, velvety and focused tannins. Breathtaking texture. The focus ad polished is phenomenal.” 99pts

Château_Trotanoy-Pomerol

#38

“Breathtaking aromas of perfectly ripe fruit with blackberries, black olives, licorice, cedar and sweet tobacco. Full body, incredible depth and power, yet this is always in reserve and check.” 100pts

Château Pétrus 2015 Pomerol bottle shot

#53

“Full-bodied, layered and multi-dimensional. Chocolate underlines the character above. The perfect tannin texture, length and balance make you think you’re dreaming. All about harmony and beauty.” 100pts

Escarpment-Kupe_BS

#58

“Exceptionally complex, spicy and ripe, this delivers profoundly concentrated and pure black cherries with plenty of sweet spice and an ethereal, undergrowth edge.” 98pts

DANA ESTATES

#90

“Extremely complex aromas of iodine, dark fruit, oyster shell, forest floor and blackberries follow through to a full body. Great intensity and integrity.” 99pts

Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche-16

#96

“Grilled hazelnuts, grilled peaches, grapefruit and lemon citrus, as well as a layer of spiced nougat-like aromas. There’s a very long, concentrated and dense palate that starts out cloaked in flavors of rich peaches and glossy fruits.” 99pts

JAMES SUCKLING TOP 100 ITALIAN WINES OF 2018

I tried to put together a Top 100 list that represents my unbridled enthusiasm and love for the wines of Italy after 35 years visiting and tasting wines in the country. Tuscany and Piedmont still dominate the super-premium wine scene for me, but the rest of Italy is on a roll, particularly Southern Italy. And whites in general are more and more exciting from Friuli to Sicily. The wines below are ranked primarily by rating but then other reasons such as WoW factor and a statement about a type or area (Italian whites or Campania) were also important for the order.

My team and I, including my son Jack, tasted more than 5,400 Italian wines in a single calendar year, and we loved just about every minute of it.

jermann
FULIGNI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA 2012

#20

“There’s a very complex and fresh nose with elegant red cherries, spices and light herbal nuances… The palate has beautiful focus and depth with effortless rich dark and red cherries cast amid perfectly proportioned silksmooth tannins.” 98pts

Jermann Tunina

#77

“This is really beautiful with so much mango, pineapple and lemon character. Hints of honeysuckle, too. Full body, intense dried fruit and vibrant acidity. Great Italian white blend.” 96pts

FÈLSINA TOSCANA FONTALLORO 2015

#79

“This shows serious density and balance with a blackberry, licorice and blueberry character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Sleek and racy.” 96pts

FRANZ HAAS PINOT NERO ALTO ADIGE SCHWEIZER 2015

#96

“Let yourself sink into this seductive world of velvet! So fragrant, fine and elegant. This is an Alto Adige Pino Noir masterpiece that plays in the same league as Grand Cru red Burgundy.” 95pts

Pieropan La Rocca

#97

“I love the smoky and toasted-almond nose of this concentrated Soave. There’s a great interplay of ripeness and discreet tannins and a very long, fresh and mineral finish. From organically grown grapes.” 95pts

GULFI SICILIA NEROMÀCCARJ 2013

#99

“The complex, plum-cake and spice nose leads into a rich and sophisticated red, in which the tannins and fruit are already perfectly integrated. Long, complex, herbal and spicy finish. From organically grown grapes.” 95pts

JAMES SUCKLING TOP 100 SPANISH WINES OF 2018

These are revolutionary red wines for Spain with enormous mountain freshness. They prove Spain is determined to amaze the world with its new wines!

Losada-Vinos-de-Finca-wines
Losada

#27

“Sexy, stylish and complex Bierzo with a wealth of dark graphite and stony aromas, pepper, baking spices and dark berries. Succulent palate with a deep and juicy core of pitch-perfect, ripe and spicy black cherries and blackberries.” 96pts

WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 VALUES OF 2018

Wine is rooted in tradition, yet many factors can force wine regions to evolve. Changing climate conditions, shifting tastes and rising land prices all challenge producers to refine their grape sources and winemaking practices. Those who best identify the right grapes for their terroir are ideally positioned to deliver exciting yet affordable wines year after year. Some thrive in established areas where grapegrowing has existed for centuries. Others are more recent upstarts on the global wine scene. Yet all have committed themselves to production methods that yield the highest quality in the most cost-effective way. This is how great values are born.

The diverse group of wines in this year’s annual roundup of 100 top values shows just how widespread this commitment is. All of them are rated 88 points or higher, priced at $20 or less and made in large enough quantities to be widely available. Another 24 wines in this year’s Top 100 of 2018 also represent exceptional value, offering further proof that producers across the globe have made it their goal to deliver high-quality wine at budget-friendly prices.

The selection that follows spans every corner of the wine world. Recent great vintages in France and Italy mean a number of choices from the Rhône Valley and Tuscany, while California regions such as Santa Barbara, Monterey, Lodi and Clarksburg field excellent wines at a fraction of the cost of those from Napa. There are values everywhere you look—it’s time to get out there and explore.

martin codax
Martin Codax

LIGHT WHITES

“This lively white delivers juicy flavors of peach and lime, with fresh acidity and an appealing briny note. A juicy and refreshing version.” 88pts

Can Feixes

LIGHT WHITES

“Peach and quince flavors are backed by saline minerality in this fresh, lively and expressive white. Parellada, Macabeo and others.” 89pts

2017-rose-zin

ROSÉ

“This plush rosé offers cherry and spice flavors, with lots of tangy zip.” 89pts

Quady North Rose 2017

ROSÉ

“A sunny day in a glass, with floral strawberry and peach aromas and lively, lingering flavors. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.” 89pts

Renato Ratti

ELEGANT REDS

“Starts out with earthy aromas, then eases into black cherry, plum, earth and spice flavors, with ample fruit on the finish.” 91pts

Allegrini Valpolicella

ELEGANT REDS

“A stylish red, showing expressive flavors of crushed cherry, raspberry, wild herb and spicy mineral.” 89pts

Morgan

ELEGANT REDS

“This snappy red offers raspberry, licorice and smoked pepper flavors that finish on a livelynote. Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo.” 89pts

Frei Bros

BIG REDS

“A fruit-forward red, offering dark plum and boysenberry flavors flanked by forest floor notes, with rich spicy accents on the juicy finish.” 89pts

WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 WINES OF 2018

Each year, Wine Spectator editors survey the wines reviewed over the previous 12 months and select our Top 100, based on quality, value, availability and excitement. This annual list honors successful wineries, regions and vintages around the world.

Vintage(90)
Yarden-Cabernet-Sauvignon-

#87

“A sinewy, full-bodied red, with balsamic acidity gliding through the black olive, currant and eucalyptus flavors. Spice, mineral and leather details gain traction into the long finish.” 91pts

Ghost Pines Blend

#95

“Complex and spicy, offering wild plum, blackberry, spice and tea flavors that show subtle herb shadings, ending with dusty, loamy tannins and good length.” 90pts

Roserock Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay

#97

“Polished and refined, with expressive apple, ripe cantaloupe and spice flavors that take on richness on the long finish.” 91pts

WINE & SPIRITS TOP 100 WINES OF 2018

heitz winery
HEITZ SAUVIGNON BLANC new

BEST SAUVIGNON BLANCS

“The freshness of the site comes through in citrus scents of grapefruit and tangerine, the full-bodied ripeness of Napa Valley fruit presented here in a clean white, its acidity integrated into a green-apple snap and spiciness that races through the finish.” 93pts

Bruno NPU-2002 copy

BEST CHAMPAGNES

“Its pale gold color is deepening with age, as are its delicate rose spice, scents of honeysuckle and creamy flavors of pear, all intertwined, each note playing off the energy of the others so the wine reverberates with complexity.” 96pts

Graham's 2015 The Stone Terraces Vintage

BEST PORTOS

“This second release of Stone Terraces combines the energy of its powerful tannins with the voluptuous richness Malvedos can give in the best years. It has the green esteva note of great young Porto—a scent close to Thai basil—and has a purity to the structure that makes it feel grand.” 96pts

Heitz 2015 Grignolino bot shot

BEST ROSÉS

“The wine is markedly aromatic, with scents of hibiscus and plums, but the flavors are tart and savory, bringing to mind ruby-red grapefruit and cured meats. Farmed organically, it produces a wine that’s more an edgy red than a rosé, built to chill for charcuterie.” 93pts

Gulfi nerobufaleffj

BEST SICILY RED

“Nerobufaleffj comes from 35-year-old vines grown in a mix of black clay, red sand and white limestone…its flavors of black plum and braised mushroom accented with notes of brushy herbs and bright salinity…” 95pts

WINE & SPIRITS TOP 100 WINERIES

Congratulations to Wine & Spirits’ 2018 Top 100 Wineries!

HEITZ CELLAR

Famed for his eucalyptus-scented cabernet from Martha’s Vineyard, Joe Heitz created a range of Napa Valley classics that remain benchmarks today.

blandys 2

The Blandy family is working to bring a historic, fortified, volcanic wine into the modern day.

EntrancetoGulfi

With old albarello-trained vines, organic farming methods and a devotion to Sicily’s flagship red variety, Gulfi shows Nero d’Avola’s ability to produce nuanced wines.

bruno paillard

Bruno Paillard and his daughter, Alice, craft long-aged cuvées from impressive reserve stocks.

Conterno-Fantino-Sori-Ginestra

Two childhood friends teamed up to make single-cru Barolo’s from Monforte d’Alba that marry tradition and innovation.

TRE BICCHIERI 2019 WINNERS

It’s finally happened: the countdown is over and with it come the previews of the “Tre Bicchieri” events that for more than a month have accompanied the release of the 2019 Guide of Italian Wines.

campania

PIETRACUPA GRECO DI TUFO 2017

piedmont

CA’ROME BAROLO RAPET 2014

tuscany

ALLEGRINI POGGIO AL TESORO SONDRAIA 2015

MONTENIDOLI VERNACCIA CARATO DI SAN GIMIGNANO 2013

veneto

ALLEGRINI AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2014

BORTOLOMIOL GRANDE CUVEE DEL FONDATORE MOTUS VITAE 2016

RUGGERI GIUSTINO B. PROSECCO EXTRA DRY DOCG 2017

sardinia italy

SANTADI TERRE BRUNE IGT 2014

friuli italy

JERMANN CAPO MARTINO 2016*

*Winery Only Exclusive

umbria

TENUTA BELLAFONTE MONTEFALCO SAGRANTINO 2014

lombardy

COSTARIPA CHIARETTO MOLMENTI 2015*

FERGHETTINA FRANCIACORTA PAS DOSE RISERVA 33 2011*

*Winery Only Exclusive

sicily

PIETRADOLCE CONTRADA RAMPANTE ETNA ROSSO 2016

TORNATORE TRIMARCHISA ETNA ROSSO 2016

LE CASEMATTE FARO 2016

WHISKY ADVOCATE TOP 20 WHISKIES OF 2018

Each year, Whisky Advocate Buying Guide reviewers collectively sample hundreds of whiskies. These include rare and extremely limited releases, as well as new and emerging labels that will find their way to shelves across the nation. To determine our Top 20, we begin by looking only at whiskies that rated “outstanding” (90 points or higher on Whisky Advocate’s 100-point scale). However, the Top 20 is not simply a collection of our highest-rated whiskies, because many of those are so limited they would be impossible for most readers to locate or purchase. Therefore, in addition to quality (based on score), our selection also prioritizes value (based on price) and availability.

AR95
High-West-Double-Rye

#14

“Apple blossom, yuzu, chamomile tea, walnut shells, pine boughs, and green-apple candy on the nose shift into an oily palate that starts off soft and then picks up speed and spice.” 91pts

West-Cork

#19

“…Chocolate brownie, campfire smoke, and sweet cocoa aromas that yield to a pleasantly oily, rounded whiskey with citrus, Jolly Rancher hard candy, chocolate cake, spices, and coffee notes, with a finish of festive spices.” 90pts

WINE & SPIRITS TOP SPIRITS OF 2018

fortaleza
fortaleza-blanco-still-strength-1

The Fortaleza family has been making Tequila for four generations, following traditional methods of production. Using agave crushed with stone tahonas, they produce their Still Strength Blanco in copper pot stills, then bottle it without watering it down to a lower proof.

Bogarts Bitters - Copy

Their research turned up an original bottle of Bogart’s from 1900, which they reproduced, mimicking the “lady leg” bottle shape as well as the label. Their new version of Bogart’s adds depth and spice to drinks with its notes of chocolate, cola and spice; just a dash or two will round out an Old-Fashioned.

WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 25 BEERS OF 2018

This year marks our 10th anniversary of compiling this Top 25 Beers list, a ranking of the most impressive, interesting and enticing beers we had the pleasure to review throughout 2018. This list is not the top 25 beers of all time, but instead represents the most exciting selections tasted over the past 12 months.

Like the beers themselves, the list is all about balance. Ratings and pricing play key roles, but also of note is the representation of various brands, styles, countries, production sizes and availability. After all, with such a wide world of delicious beers to try, why limit yourself? But for now, raise a glass to the best in beer class.

Terreux_1
TheWanderer_bottle

#5

“A strong vinous character unfolds on the nose, with notes of tart grape, cherry, raspberry and citrus that are partnered with wood-tones of cocoa nib and sweet spice. It’s medium in body, though that weight is countered by bright acidity, moderate carbonation and more of those tart berry and plum fruit flavors.” 94pts

unibroue-25e-blonde-de-l-enfer-ale-beer-quebec-canada-10926820

#13

“Brewed to celebrate Unibroue’s 25th anniversary, this “Blonde from Hell” (as the translation suggests) is a bold, bombastic brew that isn’t shy on personality, presence or flavor, though it’s remarkably—and dangerously—smooth and well balanced.” 92pts

WINE ENTHUSIAST TOP 100 SPIRITS OF 2018

As is the case every year, this list is culled from all the products reviewed in our Spirit Buying Guide over the past 12 months. And, as always, compiling it has been quite a treat, with selections ranging from rare single-vintage Armagnacs to Bourbons meant to represent the pinnacle of the distiller’s craft.

Together, these are the pleasures of the spirits world. We’ll always have familiar standbys to comfort us, like classic Scotch whiskies, pristine vodkas and cozy brandies that gently warm and cheer with every sip. But at the same time, new, innovative bottlings add pep to our step. They push the industry forward and spark new cocktail ideas, too.

chateau de laubade
laubade-944363

ARMAGNAC

“…melds rich vanilla, maple and brown sugar with a drying blast of fiery spice, notably allspice, ginger and cayenne heat, plus lemon peel. Adding water releases some of the tannic grip and adds a creaminess that reads as lemon custard or vanilla cream pie.” 95pts

High West Yippee

RYE WHISKEY

“…opening with red fruit aromas and a silky palate that offers -cinnamon, oak, vanilla and crème brûlée, with a hint of juicy red fruit emerging on the mouthwatering fade. A splash of water integrates fruit, sweetness and spice.” 94pts

G4_reposado_site

TEQUILA

“The zesty jalapeño aroma and sweet tomato undercurrent suggests what is to come. The savory palate delivers fresh mint, basil, jalapeño and green pepper, finishing with a hint of black pepper smoothed by vanilla-mint sweetness. Sip or mix.” 94pts

brandy-solera-liqueur-suau-orange-1260641-s338

LIQUEURS

“Look for a tawny hue and bold orange peel scent. This liqueur opens with orange flesh sweetness but isn’t cloying, thanks to a spicy hit of ginger and cayenne. It offers a bit more alcohol heat and spice compared to most orange liqueurs, but still pleasing overall.” 91pts

Compass Box Deliahs

BLENDED SCOTCH

“The light, smooth palate unfolds toasty oak, vanilla, fresh pear, hints of gingery spice and a faint whiff of smoke—amazingly, every sip is different, right into the elongated finish. Limited edition, 8,520 bottles available worldwide.” 97pts

WINE & SPIRITS YEAR’S BEST CHAMPAGNES

Lanson
GREEN LABEL_ORGANIC

“This first release is rich and direct, presenting its clean red-cherry flavors with a perfumed, floral lemon note to the acidity. A touch of smoky lees adds toastiness to the finish—a classical aperitif Champagne with an organic pedigree.” 91pts

champagne-blanc-de-blancs-grand-cru-extra-brut-bruno-paillard

“It earns its power from grand cru vine-yards in the Côte des Blancs, and it includes reserve wines going back to 1985….its flavors hinting at kumquat and loquat, fruity chanterelles and crunchy apples, lasting long after each sip. The wine manages its intensity with grace, so it’s delicious now and well worth aging.” 95pts

bruno paillard nature zero dosage

“This is a fascinating wine, the most vinous of Paillard’s current releases, offering quiet scents of fresh pear, dried caramel and honeycomb without any hint of sweetness. While Champagne without dosage can sometimes be aggressive in its textures or flavors, this one is delicate.” 94pts

bruno_paillard_rose_premiere_cuvee

“There is a small amount of chardonnay in the blend, which may add to the wine’s substantial Burgundy- like richness, but the emphasis is on red fruits—sour cherry and ripe strawberry notes, fading into roses and rosehips, then a ghosting of fraises des bois in the end.” 94pts

bruno_paillard_brut_premiere_cuvee - Copy

“…Paillard and his daughter, Alice, to create a wine with quiet persistence— a sophisticated style with limestone clarity to its honeyed peach flavors and floral bee-pollen scents. Juicy, round and clean, it’s the most approachable of Paillard’s Champagnes.” 92pts, BEST BUY

WINE & SPIRITS YEAR’S BEST U.S. CABERNETS & BLENDS

ladera
Heitz Cellars

“This is their first single-vineyard cabernet from the site, aged for a year in oak tanks, then 18 months in French oak barrels, where it mellowed any aggressive mountain tannins into a sleek, harmonious mountain-grown red. The fruit is luscious, centered on red plum, round and spicy.” 93pts

2014_Reserve_For_Website360x600

“Their 2014 has black spice and floral notes, the warm-cool of a west-facing hillside at altitude. Its mountain-grown depth of fruit digs down into earthy tannins, the wine substantial but remarkably accessible for a young Howell Mountain Cabernet.” 93pts

our-wines-the-phd-bottle

“This wine has the dark chocolate density and smoky earthiness of cabernet grown in volcanic soils. That earthiness surrounds lasting red-plum flavors, almost liqueur- like in their richness. This is a powerful and gracious mountain wine with a long life ahead.” 93pts

HEITZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON MARTHA'S VINEYARD2

“This is a powerful vintage of Martha’s Vineyard, a huge wine following a graceful line, so it’s neither overwhelming nor oversaturated. It has the structural elasticity of 2013 in its tannins, a salty umami note that highlights the dark currant and green fig flavors.” 92pts

our-wines-the-scholar-bottle

“The Scholar is the fruitiest, its dark cherry and cassis flavors dripping with juiciness. It’s an unusual Howell Mountain red, mountain grown in the service of overt deliciousness, immediately rich and accessible.” 92pts

EBERLE WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON VINEYARD SELECTION 2015_noyear

“Impressive for its clean, fragrant, cherry-scented fruit, this is a rich cabernet with some mint in its tannins, along with notes of freshly turned earth. It’s sup-ple and solidly built —and a great buy at $24. This is the first vintage made by Chris Eberle, no relation to Gary Eberle…” 91pts

Bottle_DragonsTooth

“Focused on malbec (47 percent), this blend includes Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, all from the Trefethen ranch in Oak Knoll. Its fruit is cool and generous, with some tobacco notes melding into darker graphite and chocolate richness in the tannins. It’s a big, dense wine that carries itself with grace.” 91pts

TRUE MYTH CABERNET SAUVIGNON PASO ROBLES 2016_noyear

“It’s dark and smoky, with some restrained green-pepper notes lending a cool feeling. The toasty oak doesn’t get in the way of the flavors; instead, it adds tannic richness without impeding the direction and elegance of the wine.” 91pts

BellaUnion_CabSau_2014

“It starts off hiding behind a wall of oak, with black-walnut scents and mineral inflected tannins. That oak integrates with air, adding richness to the tannins and bringing out a tapenade scent. Substantial, bold and smoky, this is a cabernet for aged beef.” 90pts

Hypothesis 2014 Hero Btl nobkg

“A variation on RRD’s 2014 Reserve, this one includes 85 percent Howell Mountain Cabernet, softened by Coombsville merlot. It shares the plummy sweetness of The Scholar and The Ph.D., along with some of the violet highlights. The difference is in the tannins, which are beefy…” 90pts

our-wines-the-valedictorian-bottle

“The 2015 feels somewhat cooler than past vintages, still savory in its cedar and cigar-wrapper scents, and spice notes of cardamom and capsicum; but there’s a leafy quality to the plum flavors that lends itself to the texture as well, creating a more elegant feel to the tannins. Ready to drink now, it will age beautifully…” 92pts

FRF12

“The 2015 feels somewhat cooler than past vintages, still savory in its cedar and cigar-wrapper scents, and spice notes of cardamom and capsicum; but there’s a leafy quality to the plum flavors that lends itself to the texture as well, creating a more elegant feel to the tannins. Ready to drink now, it will age beautifully…” 92pts

Dusted Valley CabSauv14

“Big-shouldered, chewy and mouthfilling, this is American cabernet through and through, forward, generous and seductive. It leads with dark-cherry scents and juicy, cherrypie flavors, with chocolatey tannins guiding a suave, seamless finish.” 91pts

L’ECOLE NO. 41 PERIGEE STATE SEVEN HILL VINEYARD 2015

“…Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Indeed, it’s so savory, with notes of cedar, tobacco and anise, that the plum sauce and cassis notes took a day to arrive. It’s a mouthful, the flavors as dark and deep as balsamic syrup, the tobacco like tannins acting as a vise on the tongue; for a ribeye.” 91pts

Lecole Cab Sauv Columbia Valley

“Dark as coal when first poured, this wine has a subtle, earthbound power that takes time in the glass to emerge. With its notes of plum skin and fig, and dark, muscular oak component, it’s a well priced cabernet for ribs.” 91pts, BEST BUY

WINE & SPIRITS YEAR’S BEST BAROLO & BARBARESCO

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CA’ROME BAROLO VIGNA CERRETTA 2014

“Muted at first, this wine opens up after a few minutes in the glass, with floral scents of fresh red cherries and dried peaches. Bright acidity draws out the flavors as notes of sage and fresh tobacco appear, and firm, mineral tannins…” 94pts

Conterno-Fantino-Barolo-Sori-Ginestra-Bottle-Shot

“Fruit for Sorì Ginestra comes from some of Conterno Fantino’s oldest vines, some up to 40 years of age…The wine leads off with scents of green cardamom, mint and anise that follow through into cool herbal flavors.” 94pts

Conterno-Fantino-Barolo-Vigna-Pressenda-Bottle-Shot

“Vigna Pressenda is a lively, buoyant Barolo with bright fruit tones and soaring aromatics. Scents of rosemary and juniper leap out at once, followed by notes of dark spice and florals. Flavors of fleshy plum and ripe berries mingle with sweet tomato notes, chalky tannins heightening the wine’s bright personality.” 94pts

Conterno-Fantino-Barolo-Vigna-del-Gris-Bottle-Shot

“This wine’s flavors of red cherry and strawberry are impressively ripe for the vintage, vibrant with cool acidity that makes those fruit flavors pop. Notes of cayenne pepper and Mexican chocolate add to the wine’s lively personality.” 93pts

Conterno-Fantino-Barolo-Vigna-Ped-Bottle-Shot

“Mosconi is the darkest in tone of Conterno Fantino’s 2014 Barolos, its flavors of black raspberry and plum deepened by notes of licorice and unsweetened cocoa. Hints of graphite add a cool mineral tone, and a whiff of mint brightens the finish.” 93pts

3201_mauro-veglio-1

“Notes of sweet spice and vanilla accent its ripeness, the plum and warmed raspberry flavors feeling generous for the vintage. It’s already showing some evolution, notes of loamy earth balancing cool notes of menthol and pine.” 92pts

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“The 2014 Arborina comes across as dark and brooding, lack-ing some of the verve and finesse displayed in his 2013 bottling. Notes of espresso and sweet spice open into flavors of dried plum and black cherry, with prominent acidity and tannins that need time to integrate.” 90pts

Barolo-Monfalletto-corderodimontezemolo

“Notes of vanilla and sweet spice weave through this wine’s plummy fruit. It’s a blend from several plots in La Morra, aged up to two years in a mix of large and small barrels. Give it a few years in the cellar for the tannins to soften and the oak flavors to integrate.” 90pts, BEST BUY

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