QUINTA DE VESUVIO PORTO

Vintage Port 2009

  • Score: 98
  • Release Price: $65
  • Country: Portugal
  • Region: Portugal
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2012
  • Designation: Collectibles

Powerfully rich and refined, with plenty of grip behind the lip-smacking flavors of kirsch, dark plum, chocolate and boysenberry. Shows excellent balance as well, with a silky texture and a long, spicy finish that’s accented with hints of licorice and cedar. Best from 2014 through 2034. 500 cases made. –KM

 

CONTINUUM NAPA BLEND 2008

  • Score: 96
  • Release Price: $150
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 80

A remarkable effort, offering riveting, expressive aromas of mocha, currant, mineral, herb, black licorice, tar and pebble, this is intense, structured, balanced, nuanced and firm, finishing with a gutsy richness and sophistication. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Best from 2013 through 2023. 2,200 cases made. –JL

 

CHAPPELLET

Pritchard Hill Red Blend 2005

  • Score: 96
  • Release Price: $125
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2008
  • Top 100: 2008, Rank: 24
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Big, ripe and complex, but light on its feet. An elegant, spicy mix of rich currant, anise, toasty oak, espresso and subtle herbal scents, all of which fold together nicely, ending with a long, persistent finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Best from 2010 through 2016. 1,426 cases made. –JL

 

CHAPPELLET

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard 2006

  • Score: 96
  • Release Price: $135
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2009

Firm and concentrated, with taut, vibrant mineral, blackberry, wild berry and black cherry fruit that gives this a rich core of flavors. Deep and concentrated, ending with a long, persistent finish. Best from 2011 through 2017. 1,550 cases made. –JL

 

PETER MICHAEL

Les Pavots Knights Valley 2008

  • Score: 98
  • Release Price: $175
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 50
  • Designation: Collectibles

Presents a dazzling array of flavors, along with focus, style and authenticity. Dark, dense and spicy, with dark berry, mineral, cedar, sage, roasted caraway and tobacco flavors, this is full-blown yet graceful and detailed, with a tremendous finish that reverberates with the joys of ripe, stylish Cabernet. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2024. 3,500 cases made. –JL

 

EVENING LAND

Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills Seven Springs Vineyard La Source 2009

  • Score: 97
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: Oregon
  • Region: Oregon
  • Issue: Dec 15, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 51
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Vibrant and poised, balancing its intense flavor profile of pear, quince and lemon blossom with layers of minerality on an electric structure that sparks with beautifully modulated acidity. A stunning white that has tremendous depth and presence. Drink now through 2020. 487 cases made. –HS

TENUTA SETTE PONTI

Toscana Oreno 2006

  • Score: 96
  • Release Price: $110
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2008
  • Top 100: 2008, Rank: 15

Shows loads of black licorice, blackberry and toasty oak. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a long, long finish. Has wonderful concentration and balance. Structured. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese. Best after 2013. 3,250 cases made. –JS

 

PETROLO

Toscana Galatrona 2006

  • Score: 96
  • Release Price: $125
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2008

Big and fleshy, with loads of blackberry, dark chocolate, olive and vanilla character. Full and chewy, with beautiful ripe fruit and quality tannins. This is juicy. Layered, dense and beautiful. A Merlot for the cellar. Best after 2012. 1,250 cases made. –JS

 

SHAFER

Relentless Napa Valley 2008

  • Score: 96
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012

The aromatics are full and distinct, with loads of dark berry and charcoal, then this unfolds touches of black cherry, raspberry and red and black licorice on the palate, sailing along and firming nicely on the finish. Shows all the muscle, density, richness and range of flavor found in many Shafer reds, yet takes it to another level in this vintage. The best Relentless yet. Syrah and Petite Sirah. Best from 2013 through 2023. 3,300 cases made. –JL

 

PENFOLDS

Shiraz South Australia St. Henri 2005

  • Score: 95
  • Release Price: $65
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2009
  • Top 100: 2009, Rank: 24

Aromatic, complex and silky, slipping in its gorgeous blackberry, currant and plum fruit against a seething background of toast, spice, mineral and loamy earth. The texture is seamless, and the flavors just take off, sailing through the long, expressive finish. Best from 2011 through 2020. 1,000 cases imported. –HS

 

CHÂTEAU CLERC MILON

Pauillac 2005

  • Score: 95
  • Release Price: $57
  • Country: France
  • Region: Bordeaux
  • Issue: Mar 31, 2008
  • Top 100: 2008, Rank: 11
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Offers fabulous aromas of currant, tar, lead pencil and mineral. Full-bodied, with supersoft tannins that caress the palate. Beautiful and impressive. A fabulous wine. The best Clerc in a very long time. Best after 2014. 10,000 cases made. –JS

 

KOBALT

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2007

  • Score: 95
  • Release Price: $90
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2010
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Tightly wound, firm and complex, offering a mix of cedar, loamy earth, dried currant and blackberry flavors, with touches of black licorice, mineral and sage. Full-bodied, ending with ripe, chewy tannins that reverberate on the finish. Best from 2012 through 2022. 680 cases made. –JL

 

DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE

Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2007

  •  Score: 95
  • Release Price: $70
  • Current Auction Price: $64
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Dec 15, 2009
  • Top 100: 2009, Rank: 3
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Packed, in a brawny, muscular style atypical for this lush vintage, with a gravelly undertow to the currant paste, braised fig and dark licorice notes. Picks up even more steam on the finish, with grilled mesquite, mineral and garrigue notes and a long, hot stone-filled finish. Best from 2010 through 2030. 17,000 cases made. –JM

 

LEWIS

Alec’s Blend Napa Valley 2008

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2011

Tightly wound, with dried currant, blackberry, sage and mineral notes. Full-bodied and concentrated, this is slow to expand but as it does the flavors fan out, offering touches of cedar, spice, nutmeg and mocha. Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2012 through 2021. 1,000 cases made. –JL

 

LEWIS

Alec’s Blend Napa Valley 2009

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012

An amazing wine made in a rich, generous style, with loads of ripe berry flavors, including wild berry, blueberry, raspberry and plum. Full-bodied, it’s fleshy and easy-drinking already, yet has the depth and concentration for cellaring. Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2022. 1,000 cases made. –JL

TWO HANDS

Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella’s Garden 2006

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2008

Firm in texture, this is balanced with a vibrant core of red cherry, raspberry and spice flavors that persist on the chewy finish, expanding to show hints of dark chocolate and sweet spices. Best from 2010 through 2016. 5,400 cases imported. –HS

 

ROBERT FOLEY

Claret Napa Valley 2006

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $110
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2009

Smooth, rich and complex, this is full-bodied, with firm, focused currant, sage and dusty berry fruit that runs deep with concentration, unfolding to reveal blackberry, mineral and light cedary oak flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2010 through 2016. 1,700 cases made. –JL

 

 

LADERA

Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2006

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $70
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Mar 31, 2010
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

A tour de force Cabernet. Dense, plush, rich and concentrated, with wall-to-wall flavors, offering layers of black cherry, black currant, black licorice, mineral and graphite. Full-bodied and tightly wound with firm tannins, yet finishes with a mix of juicy berry and mineral flavors. Drink now through 2020. 3,000 cases made. –JL

 

PRIDE

Merlot Sonoma-Napa Counties 2007

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $56
  • Country: California
  • Region: Other California
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2010
  • Top 100: 2010, Rank: 34

Lush and rich, yet impeccably structured, with bold red currant and toasty mocha aromas and layered flavors of ripe plum, loamy earth and spice, finishing with big but ripe tannins. Drink now through 2015. 4,503 cases made. –TF

 

BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE

Shiraz Barossa Valley E&E Black Pepper 2003

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $85
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2007

Bright, round and juicy. A gorgeous mouthful of cherry, blackberry and floral flavors, lingering on the finish with a touch of dark espresso to add interest. The tannins are polished, and the wine has a keen sense of balance, grace and harmony. Drink now through 2015. 2,000 cases imported. –HS

 

CASA LAPOSTOLLE

Clos Apalta Colchagua Valley 2003

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $65
  • Country: Chile
  • Region: Rapel
  • Issue: May 31, 2006
  • Top 100: 2006, Rank: 44

Loads of ripe fruit, with plum, blackberry and boysenberry flavors pumping through, backed by suave, mocha-infused toast, mineral and spice notes. Long, fleshy finish has some serious grip. Carmenère and Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2007 through 2012. 5,400 cases made. –JM

 

MOLLYDOOKER

Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love 2006

  • Score: 95
  • Release Price: $80
  • Current Auction Price: $81
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2007
  • Top 100: 2007, Rank: 8
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

A stunning wine of immense depth and integrity. Seamless from start to finish, this starts off strong and keeps building through the long, powerful finish. The flavors center on blueberry, plum, meaty cherry, cedar and cream, with a hint of mint, and the tannins are so finely polished they gleam. Drink now through 2020. 4,738 cases made. –HS

GRAMERCY

Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2009

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $45
  • Country: Washington
  • Region: Washington
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Supple, slinky and opulent, with black olive, oatmeal and mace overtones to the tightly knit blackberry and plum fruit, getting spicier as the finish persists. Drink now through 2019. 605 cases made. –HS

 

DOMAINE CHARVIN

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $66
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012

This is very well-built, with a range of apple wood and toasted spice notes framing the core of crushed plum, blackberry and cassis. Dusty structure give a long and grippy feel through the finish, while a tarry edge emerges on the back end. More oomph than usual for this estate, but it’s all inlaid with fresh acidity and minerality for balance. Best from 2014 through 2025. 500 cases imported. –JM

LORING

Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard 2010

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $48
  • Country: California
  • Region: Bay Area/Central Coast
  • Issue: May 31, 2012
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

Combines dense, fresh earth, snappy wild berry, underbrush and mineral notes, fanning out and gaining depth and richness. Ends with a touch of black licorice and spice. Drink now through 2020. 325 cases made. –JL

ST.-COSME

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2006

  • Score: 94
  • Release Price: $53
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Dec 15, 2009

A dense, chewy style, with a mix of red and black plum, fig and blackberry fruit laced with dark cocoa, beef and black licorice notes. The long, muscular finish has a tarry edge. Very powerful for the vintage. Best from 2010 through 2025. 750 cases made. –JM

 

ROCCA

Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville Grigsby Vineyard 2008

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $75
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Nov 15, 2011

Strikes a fine balance between firm, ripe currant and dark berry fruit, with tight, cedary tannins and subtle floral, raspberry, vanilla and black licorice notes on the finish. Should only get better. Drink now through 2023. 583 cases made. –JL

SWITCHBACK RIDGE

Merlot Napa Valley Peterson Family Vineyard 2007

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $56
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2010

Luscious, sleek and complex, with floral red currant and Asian spice aromas that lead to layered, concentrated flavors of black cherry, white pepper and sweet cinnamon oak. Drink now through 2016. 1,128 cases made. –TF

 

ROBERT YOUNG

Chardonnay Alexander Valley 2007

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $40
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2010

Rich and opulent, with layers of fig, melon and honeysuckle flavors that are full-bodied, silky-textured, long and persistent, unveiling the vineyard’s purity of flavor. Drink now through 2010. 2,103 cases made. –JL

ERNA SCHEIN

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Spare Me 2006

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $45
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Apr 30, 2009

Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce aromas stretch the flavors and give this a measure of complexity, joining dried currant, wild berry and savory herb flavors. Dense and concentrated, this is very young and tight now. Best from 2010 through 2017. 380 cases made. –JL

 

CARTER

Hossfeld Coliseum Napa Valley 2007

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $75
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Jun 30, 2010

This offers an impressive combination of grace and power, with aromas of cherry, bittersweet chocolate and tobacco leaf that lead to complex, well-structured flavors of red currant and lead pencil, finishing with big but ripe and loamy tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Best from 2011 through 2016. 193 cases made. –TF

 

BERINGER

Chardonnay Napa Valley Private Reserve 2009

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $37
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 40

A very classy wine that combines rich, layered, complex fruit with a sense of delicacy and finesse. Full-bodied, but not heavy, offering detailed fig, melon, apple and spice. What’s most impressive is the texture and length, with the flavors continuing to develop. Drink now through 2015. 12,500 cases made. –JL

 

MCPRICE MYERS

Syrah Arroyo Grande Valley Les Galets 2009

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $38
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2012

Dense and potent, brimming with a rich mix of dark berry, mocha, espresso, cedar, rhubarb, bacon fat and graphite. Full-blown, luscious and expansive on the finish. Drink now through 2020. 272 cases made. –JL

 

TABLAS CREEK

Côtes de Tablas Paso Robles 2009

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $30
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 37

Charmingly fruity, supple and fun to drink, exhibiting ripe plum, black cherry and wild berry fruit that’s smooth and layered, with a long, fruity finish. Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2017. 1,050 cases made. –JL

 

WATERS

Syrah Walla Walla Valley Pepper Bridge 2007

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $40
  • Country: Washington
  • Region: Washington
  • Issue: Web Only – 2010

Ripe and round, fleshy but not weighty, brimming with sassafras-accented cherry and guava flavors that linger on the pure, refined finish. The tannins are a bit crisp. Needs some cellaring. Best from 2012 through 2017. 298 cases made. –HS

 

BREGGO

Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Donnelly Creek Vineyard 2009

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $55
  • Country: California
  • Region: Mendocino/Lake
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2011

Aromas of blueberry and blackberry are ripe and rich, touching on jam. Full-bodied, deep and complex, with spice, dried herb, sage, underbrush and loamy earth character, ending with a tight, complex mix of savory flavors. Drink now through 2020. 370 cases made. –JL

 

DOMAINE HUËT

Vouvray Sec Le Mont 2010

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $33
  • Country: France
  • Region: Loire
  • Issue: Dec 31, 2011

Dry and racy, with a very chiseled feel to the powdered ginger, fig and pear flavors, with a bracing edge on the finish. Still rather tightly drawn now, this should unfurl nicely with some cellaring. Best from 2013 through 2018. 500 cases imported. –JM

REX HILL

Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2009

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $33
  • Country: Oregon
  • Region: Oregon
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 38

Focused, satiny and elegant, with a powerful thrust behind the pure currant and boysenberry flavors, shaded with touches of talcum and cream as the finish expands. Drink now through 2019. 6,162 cases made. –HS

 

NUMANTHIA-TERMES

Toro Numanthia 2006

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Spain
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2009

Firm tannins frame black cherry, mineral, licorice and herbal notes in this chewy red. Well-proportioned, with lively acidity and a lovely floral finish. Tannic now, but the fruit should emerge with age. Best from 2011 through 2017. 20,000 cases imported. –TM

 

CALERA

Pinot Noir Central Coast Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Vintage 2010

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $24
  • Country: California
  • Region: Other California
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2012
  • Designation: Smart Buys

A classy art-of-the-blend cuvée that’s very ripe but still complex, relying on rich dark berry, plum, crushed rock and cedar. So young and vibrant at this stage, yet also so deep and tight, that it’s both tempting to drink now but looks like a great cellar choice as well. Drink now through 2021. 7,688 cases made. –JL

DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS

Bierzo Pétalos 2009

  • Score: 93
  • Release Price: $24
  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Spain
  • Issue: Nov 15, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 26
  • Designation: Smart Buys

This polished red shows density and harmony, delivering complex, well-integrated flavors of mineral, wild berry, fresh herbs and smoke. Not showy, but has character. Drink now through 2018. 25,000 cases made. –TM

 

TURLEY

Zinfandel Paso Robles Dusi Vineyard 2010

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $42
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Jun 30, 2012

Dark and concentrated, with cherry pie and toasty vanilla aromas that lead to balanced, complex flavors of blackberry, mocha and peppered licorice. Drink now through 2018. 500 cases made. –TF

 

DOMAINE HUËT

Vouvray Sec Le Haut-Lieu 2010

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $28
  • Country: France
  • Region: Loire
  • Issue: Dec 31, 2011
  • Designation: Smart Buys

Superracy, floral and pure, with enticing ginger, quince and mineral flavors that ripple through the filigreed finish. Lovely orange blossom and honeysuckle notes fill in the background. Dry, but still generous, with impressive length. Best from 2013 through 2018. 1,000 cases imported. –JM

 

TURLEY

Zinfandel Contra Costa County Duarte 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $32
  • Country: California
  • Region: Bay Area/Central Coast
  • Issue: Jun 30, 2012

Dense and appealingly rustic, with floral raspberry and cinnamon aromas and complex flavors of cherry, roasted sage and freshly cracked pepper. The tannins are big but ripe. Best from 2014 through 2019. 475 cases made. –TF

 

ERNA SCHEIN

Blender Boy California 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $50
  • Country: California
  • Region: Other California
  • Issue: Dec 31, 2011

A complex mix of grapes, flavors and textures, this is ripe and full-bodied, exhibiting new shoe leather, currant and licorice flavors that show hints of espresso and tobacco, ending with a long, full, layered finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2023. 366 cases made. –JL

 

SHAFER

Merlot Napa Valley 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $48
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2012

Supple, elegant and beautifully focused, with aromas of red currant and toasty vanilla that lead to ripe but sleek and layered flavors of black cherry, cinnamon and black tea. Tannins sneak in on the finish. Drink now through 2017. 7,900 cases made. –TF

 

MONTEPELOSO

Toscana Eneo 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $45
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2011

Deep with blackberry and black currant flavors, this red is intense and concentrated, yet bright acidity lends elegance. The wood is integrated, and this is balanced overall, with grip and fine length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Marselan and Alicante Bouschet. Best from 2012 through 2020. 2,000 cases imported. –BS

 

NEYERS

Chardonnay Carneros El Novillero Vineyard 2010

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $42
  • Country: California
  • Region: Carneros
  • Issue: Apr 30, 2012

Intense and full-bodied, delivering lots of spice, floral and green apple and honey notes. A shade richer than the Carneros bottling, yet also a bit grainier. Drink now through 2018. 372 cases made. –JL

 

MCPRICE MYERS

Beautiful Earth Paso Robles 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $36
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2011

Intense and refined, showing supple, spicy wild berry, black cherry and black pepper flavors, with touches of red and black licorice, mineral and floral notes. Full-bodied, ending with a push of ripe berry fruit. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2017. 650 cases made. –JL

 

ACHÁVAL-FERRER

Malbec Mendoza 2011

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $25
  • Country: Argentina
  • Region: Mendoza
  • Issue: Aug 31, 2012
  • Designation: Smart Buys

Very pure, with a beam of raspberry coulis, blackberry and cherry pulp notes that pump out layers of spice, flint and wildflowers. Juicy yet structured, with a mineral edge to the long, savory finish. Drink now through 2015. 13,000 cases imported. –NW

 

SEGHESIO

Zinfandel Alexander Valley Home Ranch 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $36
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Nov 30, 2010

Distinctive and deeply structured, delivering boysenberry, summer savory and earthy mineral aromas, this bursts with flavors of blueberry, plum and licorice. Rich and supple, with tannins that build slowly on the finish. Drink now through 2016. 1,850 cases made. –TF

 

WIND GAP

Syrah Sonoma Coast Griffins Lair 2007

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $48
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2010

Complex flavors of blackberry, wild berry, cedar, spice and chicory are full-bodied and focused, with a minerally edge turning to tar and ending with chewy, gripping tannins that turn cedary as well. Drink now through 2016. 300 cases made. –JL

BARREL 27

Syrah Santa Barbara County Head Honcho 2007

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $28
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Dec 31, 2010
  • Designation: Smart Buys

Well-structured, combining ripe, spicy, floral blackberry and cherry character with dashes of red and black licorice. Full-bodied and balanced, this peppery red ends on a delicate, elegant note. Drink now through 2018. 1,200 cases made. –JL

BARREL 27

Syrah Santa Barbara County Head Honcho 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $28
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Mar 31, 2012
  • Designation: Highly Recommended

For all its peppery, spicy dried berry allure, allied to a tight structure, this becomes tamer and slightly more refined on the palate. Fans of dense, chewy reds will find this fascinating. Best from 2013 through 2023. 530 cases made. –JL

ROBERT FOLEY

Petite Sirah Napa Valley Muscle Man 2006

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2009

Intense coffee, spice and cola notes are thickly full-bodied, with ripe, pure raspberry and black fruit flavors and firm, chewy tannins. Shows wonderful complexity and focus. The flavors sing on the finish. Drink now through 2014. 700 cases made. –MW

 

TENUTA SETTE PONTI

Toscana Crognolo 2006

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $36
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2008

Offers very, very pretty aromas of crushed berry and green coffee bean. Full-bodied, with super well-integrated tannins and a polished, caressing mouthfeel. Why wait? Sangiovese and Merlot. Drink now through 2012. 8,170 cases made. –JS

 

LA BADIOLA

Maremma Toscana Acquagiusta 2007

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $NA
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Web Only – 2010

What a decadent and wild wine. I love the nose of crushed berries, grilled meat and spices. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, caressing aftertaste. Intense and exotic. 35 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 35 percent Merlot and 30 percent Syrah. From the owners of Petra. Best after 2012. 2,915 cases made. –JS

PETROLO

Toscana Torrione 2006

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $45
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2008

Very pretty aromas of flowers and berries, with hints of currant. Full-bodied, yet refined and elegant, with silky tannins and a long, caressing finish. A polished wine. Already delicious, but will be better with a little bottle age. Best after 2010. 3,750 cases made. –JS

 

DREW

Pinot Noir Anderson Valley Fog-Eater 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $42
  • Country: California
  • Region: Mendocino/Lake
  • Issue: Nov 30, 2011

Tight and well-structured, with complex aromas of ripe plum, wild berry and strawberry. Full-bodied and firming nicely on the finish, where the tannins provide a chewy, tannic foundation, yet the fruit flows through. Drink now through 2020. 370 cases made. –JL

 

STOLLER

Pinot Noir Dundee Hills SV Estate 2007

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $40
  • Country: Oregon
  • Region: Oregon
  • Issue: Dec 31, 2010

Supple and inviting, this is generous with its dark berry, coffee and black pepper flavors, riding easily over polished tannins on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2017. 1,950 cases made. –HS

 

SIDURI

Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Garys’ Vineyard 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $50
  • Country: California
  • Region: Bay Area/Central Coast
  • Issue: Apr 30, 2010

Offers herbal notes, with touches of smoke and toasty oak, but also a rich mix of firm, intense, concentrated berry flavors that are slow to unfold, yet as they do, this wins you over with its focus, purity of fruit and persistence. Drink now through 2015. 323 cases made. –JL

 

ARGIANO

Toscana Non Confunditur 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $25
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 46

An appealing graphite aroma adds depth to the black currant, violet and cedar aromas and flavors in this svelte red, which is smooth, with finely woven tannins. The bright acidity drives the spicy finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese. Best from 2013 through 2021. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 9,166 cases made. –BS

 

POGGIO AL TESORO

Toscana Mediterra 2006

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $30
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2008

Displays aromas of chocolate and berry, with hints of cedar. Full, soft and round, with plenty of juicy fruit. Long and beautiful, with a lovely finish. Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best after 2010. 3,300 cases made. –JS

PIERRE USSEGLIO & FILS

Châteauneuf-du-Pape White 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $45
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2010

A bright, lively style, with tangy pear, green and yellow apple and Cavaillon melon notes laced with orange blossom and honeysuckle. This has a stylish, floral finish. Drink now. 250 cases made. –JM

 

YANN CHAVE

Crozes-Hermitage Le Rouvre 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $33
  • Country: France
  • Region: Northern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011

There’s a dense core of plum, cassis and macerated raspberry in this red, but the edges are silky, giving an inviting feel, while definition-adding iron and violet notes cut in on the finish. Offers fruit and minerality, welded together. Drink now through 2015. 75 cases imported. –JM

 

DOMAINE FONT SARADE

Vacqueyras Les Hauts de La Ponche 2009

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $25
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Aug 31, 2011

Dark and velvety, offering warm ganache, black tea and dark licorice notes to lead the way, followed by lush fig sauce, blackberry and black currant fruit. Seamless finish. Drink now through 2014. 200 cases imported. –JM

VIÑA COBOS

Malbec Mendoza Bramare Marchiori Vineyard 2008

  • Score: 92
  • Release Price: $80
  • Country: Argentina
  • Region: Mendoza
  • Issue: Apr 30, 2011

Dark, ripe and toasty, with layers of creamy boysenberry, plum skin and cassis giving way to hints of mesquite and grilled herbs, as latent acidity and a minerally spine support the long, focused finish. Drink now through 2013. 871 cases made. –JM

 

BUIL & GINÉ

Priorat Joan Giné 2006

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $36
  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Spain
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2010

Blackberry and cassis flavors are deepened by coffee and savory notes in this alluring red, which has a supple texture, yet the tannins are solid enough for aging. The finish is juicy and long. Grenache, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2016. 2,100 cases made. –TM

 

TURLEY

Zinfandel Howell Mountain Rattlesnake Ridge 2010

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $40
  • Country: California
  • Region: Napa
  • Issue: Jun 30, 2012

Dense and powerful, with aromas of black cherry and Asian spice that lead to concentrated flavors of black currant, mineral and fresh sage. Tannins tighten the finish. Best from 2014 through 2018. 400 cases made. –TF

 

IL BORRO

Toscana 2007

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $60
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2009

Displays currant and meat on the nose, with some smokiness and fruit-cake notes. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a juicy fruit finish. Balanced and refined, with good acidity. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Best after 2011. 4,750 cases made. –JS

 

ALAIN JAUME

Gigondas Terrasses de Montmirail 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $27
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2011

Ripe and mouthfilling, this displays fig, boysenberry and linzer torte character, with enticing notes of black tea, anise and spice. The long, racy finish has grip, but it’s sleek and driven by fresh acidity. Drink now through 2013. 1,000 cases made. –JM

 

CAVE DE TAIN

Crozes-Hermitage Les Hauts du Fief 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $28
  • Country: France
  • Region: Northern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2011

A ripe red, with dark, alluring roasted fig, espresso and mulled blackberry fruit that manages to stay fresh and racy through the finish, where licorice snap and roasted apple wood notes add length and definition. Drink now through 2014. 6,000 cases made.–JM

 

TURLEY

Zinfandel Paso Robles Dusi Vineyard 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $42
  • Country: California
  • Region: South Coast
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2011

Powerful and appealingly rustic, offering briary black raspberry aromas and rich, structured flavors of baked cherry that mix with tart plum, anise, smoky sage and underbrush notes. Ripe tannins grab hold at the end. Best from 2013 through 2017. –TF

 

TURLEY

Zinfandel California Old Vines 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $25
  • Country: California
  • Region: Other California
  • Issue: Aug 31, 2011

Jammy and elegant, yet at the core there’s a dense and complex structure. Aromas of smoky black raspberry lead to rich, ripe plum, toasty licorice and cinnamon flavors that finish with supple tannins. Drink now through 2017. –TF

 

BERINGER

Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $27
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Apr 30, 2012

A lot of Cabernet at this price, combining ripe, plump flavors of plum, black cherry and blackberry in a rich, smooth, polished style. Full-bodied and firming nicely on the finish, where the tannins have a minerally edge. Drink now through 2021. 79,500 cases made. –JL

 

JACOB’S CREEK

Shiraz Barossa Valley Centenary Hill 2006

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $35
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012

Dark and dense, with a smoky, woody edge to the black cherry, licorice and bay leaf flavors, persisting against polished tannins on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2018. 2,500 cases imported. –HS

 

BODEGA NORTON

Privada Mendoza 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $23
  • Country: Argentina
  • Region: Mendoza
  • Issue: Aug 31, 2012
  • Designation: Smart Buys

This dark red really opens up in the glass, with dense notes of blueberry paste, kirsch and spicy plum. There’s grip, but it’s all fruit, spice and light mocha notes on the finish. Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2014. 6,000 cases imported. –NW

QUIVIRA

Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $20
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012

Deep and well-structured, with smoky wild berry aromas and layered black cherry, cracked pepper and loamy earth flavors that are wrapped in ripe but firm tannins. Best from 2013 through 2017. 5,363 cases made. –TF

 

ELK COVE

Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $27
  • Country: Oregon
  • Region: Oregon
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012
  • Designation: Smart Buys

This fresh red is inviting and invigorating for its juicy black currant, plum and white pepper flavors, playing with zest against polished tannins and lively acidity. Drink now through 2019. 14,000 cases made. –HS

 

DONNA OLIMPIA 1898

Toscana Tageto 2006

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $20
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Tuscany
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2008
  • Designation: Smart Buys

Fresh, aromatic and very pretty, with currant, raspberry and lavender. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a clean, fruity finish. Balanced and rich. A new super Tuscan winery to watch. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best after 2013. 3,000 cases made. –JS

 

BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA

Malbec Mendoza 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $24
  • Country: Argentina
  • Region: Mendoza
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2011
  • Top 100: 2011, Rank: 58
  • Designation: Smart Buys

A rich red, with ripe flavors of linzer torte, plum pudding and fig paste flavors by layers of mesquite, olive paste and grilled herbs. Grippy tannins add weight to the long, vibrant finish. Drink now through 2013. 75,000 cases imported. –JM

 

GÉRARD & PIERRE MORIN

Sancerre Chêne Marchand 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $28
  • Country: France
  • Region: Loire
  • Issue: Nov 30, 2011

Very fresh, with nicely delineated lemon zest, white peach, honeysuckle and gooseberry notes all woven together on the filigreed finish. Drink now through 2012. 100 cases imported. –JM

YANN CHAVE

Crozes-Hermitage 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $27
  • Country: France
  • Region: Northern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011

Dark and still quite tight, with serious structure framing the dark currant, plum compote and fig paste notes. The long finish is muscular but refined, with lingering iron and violet notes. Best from 2012 through 2015. 150 cases imported. –JM

 

DOMAINE ST.-DAMIEN

Gigondas Les Souteyrades 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $33
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011

This is rounded and fresh, but shows good persistence, as damson plum, red currant and blackberry fruit glides along, laced with hints of sandalwood, black tea and roasted tobacco. A loamy edge adds some heft to the finish. Drink now through 2016. 250 cases imported. –JM

DELAS

Crozes-Hermitage Les Launes 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $21
  • Country: France
  • Region: Northern Rhône
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2011

Stylish, with lots of mocha, spice and black tea aromas backed by velvety-textured blackberry and raspberry fruit. The long, suave finish stretches out nicely, with the fruit and spice hanging on. Drink now through 2014. 500 cases imported. –JM

 

DOMAINE GRAND NICOLET

Rasteau Vieilles Vignes 2009

  • Score: 91
  • Release Price: $21
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011

Rich and polished, with weighty blackberry and black currant paste flavors that stay fresh and driven, thanks to lots of graphite and roasted apple wood notes. Offers a long, dark, winey finish. Drink now through 2014. 300 cases imported. –JM

SEGHESIO

Zinfandel Sonoma County Sonoma 2010

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $24
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sonoma
  • Issue: Jun 15, 2012

This racy wine is jammed with pepper and licorice, plus notes of black raspberry, roasted sage and smoke. Still youthful and unpolished, but promises much. Best from 2014 through 2017. 79,000 cases made. –TF

 

FOUR VINES

Zinfandel Amador County Maverick 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $15
  • Country: California
  • Region: Sierra Foothills
  • Issue: Feb 29, 2012
  • Designation: Smart Buys

Ripe and jammy, with an appealingly rustic edge, offering aromas of blackberry cobbler and cracked white pepper that lead to soft, supple black cherry and licorice flavors. Drink now through 2016. 5,175 cases made. –TF

 

WATERS

Interlude Columbia Valley 2008

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $30
  • Country: Washington
  • Region: Washington
  • Issue: Nov 30, 2010

Crisp tannins wrap around cinnamon-accented dark berry and toast flavors in this supple, generous, savory red, which finishes with a hint of roasted beet. Shows depth and dimension, but not weight. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2015. 859 cases made. –HS

 

BARREL 27

Bull by the Horns Central Coast 2007

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $32
  • Country: California
  • Region: Other California
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2011

A muscular build, bold, ripe and concentrated, with a dense core of rich blackberry and wild berry flavors and touches of raspberry. Full-bodied, ending with a loamy earth and cedary oak aftertaste. Syrah, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo. Best from 2012 through 2020. 400 cases made. –JL

 

LEASINGHAM

Shiraz Clare Valley Classic Clare 2006

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $45
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2009

Smooth and silky, with a nice array of red cherry, red berry, sassafras and white pepper flavors that linger attractively on the polished finish. Drink now through 2016. 1,500 cases made. –HS

MAYSARA

Pinot Noir McMinnville Jamsheed 2008

  •  Score: 90
  • Release Price: $25
  • Country: Oregon
  • Region: Oregon
  • Issue: Feb 28, 2011

A jazzy style, bright and lively, with red cherry, blackberry and a hint of mint in the flavor mix, all of it lingering on the open-textured finish. Drink now through 2016. 4,000 cases made. –HS

DOMAINE SIGALAS

Asirtiko-Athiri Santorini 2010

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $18
  • Country: Greece
  • Region: Greece
  • Issue: Sep 30, 2011
  • Designation: Smart Buys

This offers a creamy aroma, with luscious flavors of ripe apple, pear, gooseberry and spice. Very succulent midpalate, with a long, rich finish of clove and honey cream notes. Drink now through 2015. 5,000 cases made. –KM

 

PETER LEHMANN

Layers Red Barossa 2008

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $16
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2010

This polished, focused red is distinctive for the spice and tobacco accents to the supple core of red berry and cherry flavors, lingering on the generous finish. Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tempranillo and Carignane. Drink now through 2015. 2,500 cases imported. –HS

 

CONCHA Y TORO

Chardonnay Limarí Valley Marqués de Casa Concha 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $18
  • Country: Chile
  • Region: Coquimbo
  • Issue: May 31, 2011
  • Designation: Smart Buys

Superfresh, with vibrant tangerine, yellow apple and heather notes backed by nice cut on the mineral-filled finish. A deliciously unadorned style. Drink now through 2012. 21,000 cases made. –JM

 

SOUTHERN RIGHT

Sauvignon Blanc Walker Bay 2010

  •  Score: 90
  • Release Price: $19
  • Country: South Africa
  • Region: Walker Bay
  • Issue: Nov 30, 2011

Mouthwatering, with lots of lemon zest, chive, gooseberry and flint notes, backed by an extra twinge of fleur de sel. Focused, pure and delicious. Drink now. 2,300 cases imported. –JM

 

NEIL ELLIS

Sauvignon Blanc Groenekloof 2010

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $18
  • Country: South Africa
  • Region: Coastal Region
  • Issue: Nov 30, 2011
  • Designation: Smart Buys

A crackling version is filled with notes of thyme, chive and fleur de sel, ending with an extra gooseberry kick on the finish. Drink now. 1,500 cases imported. –JM

 

SERVIN

Chablis Sélection Massale Vieilles Vignes 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $25
  • Country: France
  • Region: Burgundy
  • Issue: Dec 15, 2011

Clean and racy, offering lemon, apple and stone flavors. This shows substance and length, with a lingering waxy note on the finish. Drink now through 2014. 200 cases imported. –BS

 

COULY-DUTHEIL

Chinon White Les Chanteaux 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $24
  • Country: France
  • Region: Loire
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2010

Round and fresh, with delightful melon, peach and almond notes backed by a lingering salted butter note on the rounded finish. Drink now through 2011. 1,400 cases made. –JM

 

DOMAINE CHARVIN

Côtes du Rhône Le Poutet 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $22
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2011

Stylish, with dark tea, mulled spice and fleshy black cherry fruit aromas and flavors all gliding through the sandalwood-tinged finish. Perfumy and lengthy. Drink now through 2012. 675 cases imported. –JM

 

HEARTLAND

Shiraz South Australia 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $17
  • Country: Australia
  • Region: Australia
  • Issue: Jul 31, 2012

Vibrant, with juicy acidity accenting generous, focused flavors of blackberry, cherry and sweet spice, lingering with intensity on the polished finish. Drink now through 2017. 2,500 cases imported. –HS

 

CHÂTEAU DE LA BONNELIÈRE

Chinon Les Cornuelles 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $20
  • Country: France
  • Region: Loire
  • Issue: Oct 15, 2011

Very solid, revealing a nicely roasted wood note that is buried in the core of plum, currant and cherry pit flavors, then smolders through the tobacco-filled finish. Drink now through 2013. 165 cases imported. –JM

DOMAINE DUSEIGNEUR

Lirac Antarès 2009

  • Score: 90
  • Release Price: $21
  • Country: France
  • Region: Southern Rhône
  • Issue: Oct 31, 2011

Toasty and modern, but integrated, offering lovely spice and anise notes that are integrated into the fleshy plum sauce, braised fig and blackberry paste flavors. A long graphite edge drives the finish. Drink now through 2012. 200 cases imported. –JM