Wine Geographic Top 100 Wines of 2015

Our Wine Geo sommeliers and wine specialists select the “Top 100 Wines of 2015” from ten outstanding wine regions.

[icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”Pacific North West” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”King Estate Signature Pinot Noir 2013 (Willamette Valley, OR)”]2013KEWPintoNoir-edit

Black cherry and blackberry notes with hints of chocolate and tobacco make this the quintessential Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – GM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”2012 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, USA”]Quilceda-Cab-label-2012-275

Absolutely my favorite producer in Washington and one of my top 3 in the United States.  I’ve been drinking this wine for over 20-years and it has never disappointed!  Dark fruits with lovely minerality and spice.  Drink in 2020+ IF you can wait that long! RL[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Sokol Blosser – Pinot Gris 2014″]Sokol Blosser - Pinot Gris 2014Displaying just the kind of complexity that Oregon Pinot Gris can offer, it unfolds layers of aromatics from floral and citrus to earthy minerality. A soft roundness on the palate is upheld by the vibrant acidity and finishes with delectable notes of ripe melon.   ­– JA[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 (Willamette Valley, OR) – $70″]

Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 (Willamette Valley, OR) - $70Today, tomorrow, and always. It’s one of my very favorite Pinots from one of my very favorite regions and it never fails to make me smile. AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”2012 Cadence Winery Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard Red, Columbia Valley”]2012 Cadence Winery Bel CantoRed Mountain is my “go-to” for AVA’s producing spectacular reds in Washington.  And, Cadence never disappoints!  The Bel Canto Cara Mia 2012 is mostly Cabernet Franc, offering intense black cherries, minerality and firm structure. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Col Solare 2011 (Columbia Valley, WA) – $75″]Col Solare 2011 (Columbia Valley, WA) - $75

Two industry beasts (Marchesi Antinori and Château Ste. Michelle) combine their awe-inspiring powers to create a lusciously complex Bordeaux blend that’s 100% worth the price tag. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Bergström – Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 (Yamhill-Carlton) “]Bergström - Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 2

Nearing perfection, this single vineyard Pinot unveils a vast spectrum of flavor profiles from red cherry to black raspberry, white mushroom to stony minerality, and a plethora of baking spices in between.  Fresh, velvety, and full of character, this exceptionally balanced wine is great with food or on its own. ­–JA[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Penner-Ash Wine Cellars 2013 Pas de Nom”]

There are so many fabulous Pinot Noirs being produced in Oregon so choosing just one is difficult but I find myself consistently having one of Lynn Penner-Ash’s wines on my table.  This 2013 Pas de Nom starts off earthy and ends with a hint of smoke and lovely black cherry fruit. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Twelve – Estate Pinot Noir 2012 (Yamhill-Carlton) “]

Where muscle and elegance meet, it expresses bold hints of red cherry, plum, white pepper and a slight touch of gamey meat.  With incredibly refined tannins and a highly focused structure, it finishes off the palate with lingering notes of smoke and spice.  ­-JA

Buy Here [/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Château Ste. Michelle Riesling 2013 (Columbia Valley, WA) – $6″]

I rediscovered this “entry level” wine this year when I literally ran into a case in the grocery store and I’m so glad I did. I eat it with Thai food, Netflix, and the knowledge that I bought it with a $10 bill and still have $4 for an extra spring roll. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”Argentina” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Bodegas Salentein – Reserve Malbec 2013 (Uco Valley) “]salentein_res_malbec_mv_750

A brilliant demonstration of what real Malbec is made of.  Its opaque color is harmonious with the intense notes of redcurrant, blueberry, cinnamon and espresso bean.  A beautifully natural acidity enhances the big ripe tannins as flavors of black fig and subtle oak finish the palate. ­ –JA[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Caro Bordeaux Blend 2012 – $60″]2012 Bodegas Caro Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon MendozaWhen you combine the best of France (Domaines Barons de Rothschild) and Argentina (Nicolas Catena) this Caro is what you get. It’s like nothing else you’ll try, and that’s a good thing. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Quara 2014 Estate Bottled Torrontés (Cafayate)”]Quara_Estate_torrontes

From Cafayate, my favorite region in Argentina for Torrontes, this wine is nicely balanced fruit-to-acid with lychee, melon, pineapple and other tropical flavors. -RL[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Bodega Colome Torrontés 2014 – $15″]Bodega Colome 2014 TorrontesTorrontés are very food-friendly wines and at this price you’d do well to have several bottles on hand before summer rolls around again. Lots of grapefruit and lime zest and white flowers, and a hint of stone and salt. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Bodega Noemia de Patagonia – A Lisa 2013 (Rio Negro) “]Bodega Noemia de Patagonia – A Lisa 2013

A Malbec coming from the southern coolness of Patagonia, this shows off its dense complexities by way of blackcurrant, cocoa beans and dried lavender.  Its balanced structure is unbeatable with firm, yet smooth, tannins and juicy acidity as it finishes off with notes of ripe blackberry and nutmeg.   ­-JA

http://Buy HereSusana Balbo Signature Malbec 2012 - $25

Classic Malbec through and through. If you haven’t had Malbec before start here; if you’re a Malbec lover, you’ll appreciate it even more. –  AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Bodega Luigi Bosca Malbec Lujan de Cuyo single Vineyard 2013″]Old vine malbec at it’s best, rich and spicy with incredible balance. – GM[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Alta Vista 2012 Single Vineyard Alizarine Malbec (Luján de Cuyo)”]

A big but pretty wine full of blackberries and dark fruits – LOVE this Malbec! -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”El Porvenir de Cafayate 2014 Amauta Tannat”]

Who knew?  A good Tannat from Cafayate that is actually drinkable now, however, like most Tannats, this one can be laid-down as well for a few years.  Nice dried fruit and mint flavors. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Casarena Lauren’s Vineyard Malbec 2011″]

Mocha, tobacco, and smoke are the first things you get with this wine, balanced with an almost sweet raspberry and blueberry pie served on a wood tray experience.  – GM[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”France” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Aurelien Verdet Chambolle Musigny Les Condemennes 2011 (Burgundy)”]

Aurelien Verdet Chambolle Musigny Les Condemennes 2011 (Burgundy)Delicate, the way it should be, but a little rich, indicative of the young 2011 Burgundy vintage. The earth is over the top but blends nicely with the dark berry and light acidity.  – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Chateau de Villeneuve – Saumur Blanc 2012 (Loire Valley) “]Chateau de Villeneuve - Saumur Blanc 2012 (Loire Valley) 2013

This organically produced Chenin Blanc gorgeously illustrates the region’s distinct terrior.  With an amazing purity, it shows nuances of lemon peel, green apple, honeysuckle, thyme and flinty minerality.  Medium bodied with very crisp acidity and a toasty finish.  It’s refreshing, dynamic and worth every sip.  ­-JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”2012 Chateau Figeac”]Chateau Figeac

Chateau Figac is my right bank Bordeaux go-to wine (in case you are interested, Chateau Haut Brion is my left bank go-to).  Although Merlot based, this wine is always full-bodied with great earthiness and fruit as well as finesse. -RL

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Alfred Gratien Brut Classique NV (Champagne, France) – $70″]Alfred Gratien Brut Classique NV (Champagne, France)

My go-to Champagne for celebratory occasions. The bubbles are super fine and silky and they seem to grip your tongue far longer than other bubblies. Traditionally yeasty flavors are present but in balance with the fruit and minerality. No biscuit bomb here! – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Delas St. Joseph St. Epine 2012 (Rhone)”]2012 Cadence Winery Bel Canto Cara Mia VineyardAlmost the perfect Northern Rhone Syrah blend. Fruity and leathery with lots of wood, earth and just a touch of roasted pork. –  GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Joseph Drouhin Vosne-Romanee 2013 (Burgundy, France) – $89″]

Joseph Drouhin 2013 Vosne-Romanee-smIf I had to pick one region where all my wine had to come from for the rest of my life, it would be Burgundy, but picking a favorite producer from Burgundy is much more difficult. As in impossible. Today, though, I’m coveting this silky, infinitely elegant Pinot that is so full of flavor and complexity I can hardly stand it. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Albert Boxler – Pinot Gris Réserve 2012 (Alsace) “]Very few others can contend this level of Pinot Gris magnificence.  Tangy perfumes of orange marmalade, Bartlett pear and jasmine unwind over a backdrop of chalky minerality.  Undeniably charming with its voluptuous body and lively acidity along with flavors of citrus peel, white pepper and baking spices on the finish.  ­–JA[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Fabien Jouves – “Tu Vin Plus Aux” VDF 2014 (South West) “]

A natural style blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc, its rustic nose has pronounced aromas of dark berries, crushed violets and dried spices.  Its deep color is a precursor to the firm yet refined tannins that are held together with vibrant acidity and notes of rose, saffron and sage.  ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Trimbach Riesling 2012″]

Even though this is the “basic” Riesling from Trimbach, it is still fabulous with beautiful aromatics of peach and flowers uplifted by lovely acidity. If you want to spend more money, get Trimbach’s Clos Sainte Hune – the basic Riesling on steroids. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Bollinger Champagne”]It’s my house bubbly.  There are many  wonderful Champagnes to choose from including the much more expensive “Tête de Cuvée” (think Dom Pérignon) but this is and will always be my favorite Champagne.  Its flavors are perfect – nothing else to say, except 007 completely agrees with me. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”South Africa” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014″]De Morgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014

Love this wine!  It has all that a great Chenin Blanc should offer with stone fruits — peach and apricot, a bit of nuttiness and great acidity. -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2009 (Western Cape) “]Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2009 (Western Cape)

Possibly the best non-Champagne sparkling wine you’ll ever come across. Made from 100% Chardonnay grown in the limestone soils of the Breed River Valley, its utter sophistication is displayed in concentrated notes of lemon curd, ripe apple, lilac and toasted brioche. Dynamic with an utterly refined precision.  ­-JA

http://Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Rustenberg John X Merriman Red 2010 (Stellenbosch) – $38″]

Rustenberg John X Merriman Red 2010 (Stellenbosch) - $38A beautiful version of Bordeaux with a few layers of refinement shaved off. The fruit is a little brighter, the hint of herbs a touch wilder, the chocolate more bitter and rich. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Graham Beck Brut Rosé – $16″]

Graham Beck Brut Rosé - $16Punchy and party-ready with bright red fruit that tastes juicy without being fleshy. Slippery bubbles burst with abandon and the touch of minerality and bright acidity are both palate pleasing. Totally brunch worthy. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Southern Right – Pinotage 2014 (Walker Bay)”]Southern Right – Pinotage 2014 (Walker Bay)

This will make you rethink your opinion of Pinotage.   A fine example of this underdog varietal, it carries a meticulous refinement that expresses aromas of blueberry, black plum, violet and bay laurel.  Plush tannins define the wine’s soft structure and finishes with hints of blackberry, minerality and hint of salinity from the nearby sea.   ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”De Toren Fusion V 2012″]De Toren Fusion V 2012A left bank style Cabernet blend. A very rich wine, with dark fruit, balanced tannin, and long hints of anise seed, cocoa, and deep earth. – GM

http://Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Thelema Winery – Mountain Red 2011 (Stellenbosch)”]Thelema-2011-Mountain-RedFar from being a wallflower, this red blend is intense with pronounced notes of black plum, blackcurrant, red rose and black pepper.  Big, yet incredibly approachable with supple tannins, bright acidity and tons of spice and berry fruit with a subtle touch of smokiness on the finish.  ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Rust En Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2011″]Intense notes of anise seed balanced with plum fruit and blackberry. – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Trimbach Riesling 2012″]

Even though this is the “basic” Riesling from Trimbach, it is still fabulous with beautiful aromatics of peach and flowers uplifted by lovely acidity. If you want to spend more money, get Trimbach’s Clos Sainte Hune – the basic Riesling on steroids. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Essay Chenin Blanc 2014 – $10″]

A good introduction to South African Chenin Blanc. Tropical fruit and a raw nuttiness are rounded out by a touch of honey and the scent of white flowers courtesy of a splash of Viognier. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”New Zealand” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Jules Taylor – Gruner Veltliner 2013 (Marlborough) “]Jules Taylor - Gruner Veltliner 2013 (Marlborough)

Possibly the finest New World production of this Austrian varietal, it offers pretty perfumes grapefruit, green apple, white peach and a hint of celery.  With its delicate weight and crisp acidity, refreshing is a total understatement for this soft, fruity, and somewhat spicy white.   ­–JA

http://Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”2013 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir (Marlborough)”]

2013 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir

Yep, really GREAT Pinot Noir from New Zealand.  Black cherries, spice and everything nice – certainly ready to drink now but can age as well. -RL

[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2012″]

Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay 2012The name of the vineyard alone should make you want to try this wine!  Lovely lemon curd and pear notes and although lean, ending with a nice creaminess. -RL

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Cashburn Pinot Noir 2013 (Central Otago, NZ) – $30″]Cashburn Pinot Noir 2013 (Central Otago, NZ) - $30

The interplay between the bright, juicy raspberry and subtle smokiness is super fun, and the soft elegant finish is almost comforting. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Felton Road – Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014 (Central Otago)”]

Felton Road – Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014From the far south is this dreamy Pinot Noir that will have you swooning with its tantalizing scents of plum, black raspberries, blood orange, licorice and toasted sugar.  It has the perfect amount of ripeness matched by vivacious acidity, feathery tannins and a lengthy finish of fresh cocoa beans and cinnamon.   ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Marlborough, NZ) – $22″]

Like New Zealand Sauv Blanc went on a world tour and came back home just a little bit changed. Characteristic NZ citrus, white flowers, and acid with tropical fruit, Asian herbs, and slight oaky tease to round things out.- AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014″]I fell in love with this winery’s Sauvignon Blanc style the first time I tasted it 20+ years ago at the London Wine Trade Fair.  At that time, we couldn’t yet get it in the US.  Aromatics of passion fruit and grapefruit perfect with goat cheese – it will always be a staple at my house.  However, I do rotate between this wine and Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, another great example of New Zealand Sauv Blanc. -RL[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Craggy Range – Te Muna Rd Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (Martinborough) “]This single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc has fruit for days with juicy nuances of ruby red grapefruit, nectarine and pear.  Brought back to focus with hints of wild grass, fennel, jasmine and stony minerality.  Crisp and refreshing with a bit of backbone and loads of character.  ­-JA

 [/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Astrolabe Province Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Marlborough, NZ) – $23″]Racy minerality, zippy lime, and herbal lemongrass are mellowed (just a little) by juicy peach and green tea. It’s not shy, but then neither am I. Almost angular and downright bouncy. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”Chile” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Errazuriz 2013 Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Aconcagua Valley)”]

Errazuriz 2013 Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Aconcagua Valley)

The proof that Chile can make world class Cabernet Sauvignon at a fabulous price point!  This full bodied, red and black fruit, slightly herbaceous with a hint of chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon won’t break your bank – in fact, you can probably get a case for less than some of its Napa Valley counterpoints. -RL

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Concha y Toro Terrunyo Peumo Vineyard Block 27 Carmenere 2012 (Chile) – $40″]

Concha y Toro Terrunyo Peumo Vineyard Block 27 Carmenere 2012Carmenere is the lost 6th grape of red Bordeaux and this is pretty much the last place you’re going to find it. The expansive mouthfeel and impressive structure hint at power but I also love the violet that peeks through. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Lapostolle Cuvee Alexander Apalta Vineyard Syrah 2010 (Apalta, Chile) – $23″]

Lapostolle Cuvee Alexander Apalta Vineyard Syrah 2010 (Apalta, Chile)I will now forever associate this with MS Serafin Alvarado and the Society of Wine Educators conference in New Orleans this year. Learning more about Apalta’s unique terroir helped me rediscover a surprising, rich, and spicy wine. Eat with grilled lamb. Please. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Caliterra 2013 Tributo Single Vineyard Carmenère (Colchagua Valley) – $12″]

Caliterra 2013 Tributo Single Vineyard Carmenère (Colchagua Valley)Carmenère is quickly becoming Chile’s own wine (the varietal is actually an old Bordeaux grape) and the Caliterra Tributo Single Vineyard is an excellent example of how well Chile is doing with this varietal.  Black fruits on both the palate and the nose, there is also some anise with a black pepper finish.  Not as herbaceous as some Carmenères, it’s an easy to drink and very pretty wine. -RL

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Conca y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Pirque Terrunyo Block Las Terrazas 2012″]Conca y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Pirque Terrunyo Block Las Terrazas 2012

Luscious dark berry and fruit mixed with chocolate, smoke and oak and cedar tannins

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Vino Maipo Vitral Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Chile) – $12″]Vino Maipo Vitral Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Chile) - $12It’s a nice wine from a traditional producer in possible the last country you’d expect to find it. The price tag and the bright gooseberry, floral, and citrus notes made me happy; drinking it with chilled shrimp on a hot day made me even happier. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Vina Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Gran Reserva 2012″]One of the best wines in the world for the price. Strong chalk and minerality are mixed with vanilla, spice and obvious red berries. -GM

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[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=” VIÑA VIK “]A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah in descending order – fruity but with a lean quality making it a perfect food pairing wine.  Best part is that you can stay at the adjacent hotel while visiting the winery. -RL

More Info[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Arboleda Chardonnay Aconcagua Costa 2014 “]The peach, apple, and butter are powerful but finish with nuttiness and tropical fruit acidity to achieve great balance and drinkability. – GM

More Info[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”California” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Keller Estate La Cruz Vineyard Chardonnay 2013 (Sonoma County, CA) – $40″]

Keller Estate La Cruz Vineyard Chardonnay 2013California Chardonnay and I don’t always get along, but this bottle restores my faith in what good – no, great – New World Chard can be. Full-bodied and balanced with baked apple, vanilla, and a whole lot of charm. – AM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Fort Ross Vineyard – Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir 2012 (Fort Ross-Seaview) – $69″]Fort Ross Vineyard – Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir 2012

The ultimate coastal Pinot, it exudes stunning perfumes of black plum, blackberry, crushed rose petal and fresh earthiness.  Tannins as soft as talcum powder and brisk acidity to boot, this deliciously well-rounded wine leaves on a high note with cocoa beans on the finish. ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2013″]Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel 2013Who doesn’t love a little Italian history with their wine? Just yummy, big and toasted, but approachable with deep fruit and allspice notes. – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Justin 2012 ISOSCELES “]

Justin 2012 IsoscelesProbably the most famous wine from the most famous winery in the region but there is a reason for its fame.  It is consistently good and the 2012 doesn’t disappoint.  The wine is concentrated with a nose and palate that reveal pretty black cherry and black berry fruits with slight earthiness and a beautiful finish. -RL

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) – $40″]

Mount Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Napa Valley, CA) - $40I love the cool, pine-y almost mentholated quality of mountain wines and this is a great example. The tannins are so thick they’re almost chewy, but the balance is still there as is some juicy red fruit, mocha, and figgy jam.- AM

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Buy By The Case – ONLY 5 Cases Made!!! 2012[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Saldo Zinfandel 2013 (California) – $29″]

Saldo Zinfandel 2013 California- $29You can keep The Prisoner – if I want a wine from Dave Phinney and Co. this (or the Papillon, if I feel like doubling my budget) is it. It’s a big, bold fruit bomb with berries of every color, but underneath the jam-a-palooza you can find roasty toasty notes and that pepper that screams “I’m a Zin!” – and the echo goes on for quite awhile, too. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2010″]A big blueberry, cherry, and blackberry Napa Cabernet, with hints of caramel, tobacco smoke, and anise seed. This wine will live for a while. – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=” Qupé – Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard Syrah 2011 (Edna Valley) – $35″]A great reminder of just how fantastic California Syrah can be, this wine displays ripe berries, violet, saffron, black pepper and gamey meat.  This gentle giant has powdery tannins and impeccable acidity that conclude the masterpiece with dried lavender, tarragon and hints of smoke on the finish. ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Montagna 2012 ‘LA PRESA ONE SOUTH’ Cabernet Sauvignon “]A big Napa Cabernet with a big Napa price! La Presa One South has a beautiful mouth-feel – more refined than ripe, cassis and dark fruits, mocha and a hint of vanilla. -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”PlumpJack Syrah 2013 “]So young and powerful, but fabulous. This wine will only get better with age. Tons of black pepper, smoke and raspberry but with surprising structure and balance – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”Spain” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Vega Sicilia Unico 2009 – $139″]

Vega Sicilia Unico 2009If money is no object, this is the Spanish wine to try.  Big but elegant, a mainly Tempranillo blend (some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec…) it’s juicy and refined AND can be cellared for quite some time. -RL

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Ameztoi – Getariako Txakolina 2014 (Basque Country) – $22″]

Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina 2014A dazzling performance from the local Basque varietal Hondarrabi Zuri, it is nearly impossible to not love this wine.  Its regal characteristics and razor-sharp focus make for a divine experience of green apples, lime zest, white flowers and a nuance of saline.  With its light fizziness, this is one of the most refreshing wines on the planet.  ­-JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Bodegas Raul Perez Sketch Albariño 2013 (Rias Baixas, Spain) – $80″]Bodegas Raul Perez Sketch Albariño 2013 (Rias Baixas, Spain) - $80

This wine is ridiculous. Like, so good I can’t handle it. It’s new-school Albariño from a very hands-on winemaker. Somehow it tastes a little like the sea the bottles are aged in (true story). – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Bodegas Muriel Reserva 2008″]b. Bodegas Muriel Reserva 2008Inexpensive and classic, ripe fruit and spicy herbs and flowers. Could be the best Rioja for the money. – GM
Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Aalto 2013 (Ribera del Duero, Spain) – $50″]

Aalto 2013 (Ribera del Duero, Spain) - $50Showcases the best of earthy, dark fruit Ribero del Duero wines with an elegance and prolonged finish usually only seen for triple the price.- AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial 2011″]

Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial 2011An interesting Tempranillo, Cabernet and Syrah blend, with lots of earth and balanced tannins, but not as much oak as wines from Rioja. – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”2011 Clos Manyetes “]René Barbier is one of my favorite winemakers in Spain.  He manages to bring old vineyards to life which is what he has done with this 80-year-old Carignan vineyard. Lots of red fruit and spice.  Worth seeking out!   -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Uriondo Txakoli Bizkaiko 2009 (Basque Region, Spain) – $19″]

A unique wine that is naturally fizzy due to the carbon it’s bottled with. It tickles your nose and your palate with a vibrant, lively acidity and sweet-and-salty quality that reminds me of a windy day sea-side. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Bodegas Dios Baco – Elite Oloroso Sherry (Jerez) – $22 “]The bee’s knees of Oloroso Sherry, this exemplifies the ultimate combination of power and delicacy.   Intense aromas of dried citrus peel, prune, black fig and walnuts leap from the glass while its suave texture unfolds layers of sweet spices and lively acidity to keep your palate returning for more.  ­-JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Cune – Imperial Reserva 2009 (Rioja) – $36″]Ripe fruit, refined tannins and sheer complexity – this wine has it all.  On the nose it presents scents of red cherry, blackberry, dried rose and tobacco leaf.  Its bright acidity plays well with its curvaceous structure and flavors of cola spice, vanilla and subtle hints of smoke.  An impeccable value considering how undeniably age-worthy this red is. ­- JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”Italy” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2010″]Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2010The perfect example of the excellence of the 2010 vintage in Tuscany, dry, acidic, and balanced tannins with hints of chocolate and red berries.- GM

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[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Casanova di Neri Brunello Tenuta Nuovo (Tuscany, Italy) – $80″]

Casanova di Neri Brunello Tenuta Nuovo (Tuscany, Italy) - $80So layered, so unexpected, so delightfully jam-packed with flavor and nuance. It’ll tease every millimeter of your now superbly happy mouth and have you sucking in your cheeks for more. This is 100 points of pure magic. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Cavallotto – Barolo Bricco Bosch 2011 (Piedmont) – $57 “]Cavallotto – Barolo Bricco Bosch 2011 (Piedmont) - $57

Yet another epic bottling of Barolo from the great Cavallotto family. It defines everything that Nebbiolo should be with prominent notes of black cherry, blackberry, dried rose, licorice and a subtleness of tar.  Brilliant acidity and thick velvety tannins conclude the grand performance with notes of allspice and crushed tobacco.   ­-JA
Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”2010 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva”]2010 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva

Red cherry, tobacco, menthol ad spice wrapped up in silky yet firm tannins. Extremely well-balanced. -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Badia a Coltibuono – Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 (Tuscany) – $37″]

Badia a Coltibuono - Chianti Classico Riserva 2010 (Tuscany) - $37Reviving my immense love for Chianti Classico, this majestic Tuscan wine articulates a concentrated flavor profile of red cherry, blackberry, violet, nutmeg and tobacco leaf.  Bold and full of life, its powerful acidity is softened up with silky tannins and a long elegant finish of oak spice.   ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Barolo Cerequio 2010 Michele Chiarlo “]You will have to look a little harder for this wine but it can be found – minty, earthy and spicy with black currants and pretty big tannins rounding out the finish. -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2010 (Veneto, Italy) – $64″]The lovely Amarone raisinated quality is showcased beautifully here along with tons of spice and a thread of sticky/sour balsamic. Could be clunky, but well-integrated tannins and a bright and extended finish surprise and endear.

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Etna Rosso ‘A Rina 2012 Russo – $23″]A very fun wine from Sicily, full of raspberry and bramble with easy tannins.  Very affordable. -RL

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2013 (Piedmont, Italy) – $28″]Bruno Giacosa is a Piedmont powerhouse. Traditional and proud of local varietals, Giacosa is largely responsible (along with Vietti) for reviving Arneis. I love the flowers, pear, and pepper – the latter helps this hold up to wood-grilled head-on prawns and lentils brilliantly. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][/icon_timeline][icon_timeline timeline_style=”jstime” timeline_line_style=”solid” time_sep_color=”#ffffff” tl_animation=”tl-animation-slide-up”][icon_timeline_sep time_sep_title=”Portugal” font_size=”35″ time_sep_color=”#ffffff”][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Aveleda Vinho Verde 2014 – $12″]Aveleda Vinho Verde 2014Refreshing, vibrant, and slightly effervescent with peppery citrus. The better than perfect sunny afternoon wine. – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Quinta do Crasto – Superior Red 2013 (Douro Valley) – $30″]

Quinta do Crasto 2013 DouroA blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and the rare red-fleshed grape Sousão, the nose is beautifully aromatic with rose, violet and black fig. Revealing its muscular structure that is finely tuned by velvet tannins and bright acidity, this palate expresses its complexity with notes of blackberry and fennel.  One of the finest red blends in the Douro.   ­–JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Chapoutier Pinteivera Touriga Nacional 2011 (Portugal) – $55″]

Chapoutier Pinteivera Touriga Nacional 2011Famed Rhone house M. Chapoutier is vacationing in Portufal and the result is a sweet and mineral-laced inky wine with cat tongue-like tannins and a fleshy finish. It’s somehow Christmassy and perfect for sipping in front of the fire. Stockings optional.

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_feat time_title=”Leacock’s Rainwater Madeira – $14″]

Leacock's Rainwater Madeira - $14

Like cognac and scotch had a really delicious and satisfying baby.- AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_feat][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico 2011″]

Castello d'Albola Chianti Classico 2011Very spicy and earthy with subtle citrus and red berry flavors. This is one of the best wines on the list to have with food and friends. – GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Quintas de Melgaco QM Alvarinho 2014 $26″]Quintas de Melgaco QM Alvarinho 2014

Filled with stone fruit and green apple tartness and acidity, this wine is incredibly refreshing and has a nice long finish. GM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Van Zellers and Co. Lemos and van Zeller Douro Van Zellers Red 2012″]Van Zellers and Co. Lemos and van Zeller Douro Van Zellers Red 2012Lots of everything in this wine. Big, rich, heavy, and dark, with powerful yet well balanced tannins. – GM[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Quinta da Raza – Branca 2014 (Vinho Verde) – $10″]A blend of the area’s finest varietals – Arinto, Azal and Trajadura – this undeniably crisp white offers citrus notes of grapefruit and orange blossom, followed by white peach and chamomile.  Its zippy acidity is balanced out by a bit of baby fat from the vineyard’s clay soils.   One of the best $10 wines you’ll see this year.  ­-JA

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Blandy’s NV 5 Year Sercial “]The Rare Wine Co. NV Historic Series New York Malmsey Special Reserve Madeira Blend

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny Port – $46″]

Fig Newtons and spiced crème brulee with enough acidity to keep it from getting flabby. Perfect for sipping or pouring over an unsuspecting scoop of vanilla ice cream. – AM

Buy Here[/icon_timeline_item][icon_timeline_item time_title=”Quinta de Gomariz – Loureiro 2014 (Vinho Verde) – $12″]A simply stunning example of this local white varietal, it well-illustrates its herbal character with perfumes of lemon verbena, sweet pea and spearmint.  The impression of big structure is granted by the granitic soil while the zesty acidity leads into flavors of passion fruit, guava, acacia and hints of minerality on the finish. ­–JA

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