TOP 100 18 Final 02

THE TOP 100 WINES


As we bid farewell to 2018 our editorial team has gathered to reflect back on the most impressive and memorable wines we have tasted over the course of the past year.

This year we had the chance to taste thousands of sensational wines from around the globe, and our team has narrowed down the selection to 100 very special wines. This year's Top 100 list is a diverse list of wines, which have been selected based on quality, price and current market availability.

We thank you again for following us throughout the year and we hope you have the opportunity to seek out some of these outstanding wines and be just as impressed as we were.

RankWine NameRankCountryRegionAppellationRatingScorePriceValueTasting Note
1 TOR Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer To Kalon 2016 #1 United States California Napa Valley 99 99 $225 $225 The 2016 Beckstoffer To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon is an absolutely monumental showing from Tor in this outstanding vintage. Tor has fermented all his 337 Clone Cabernet from his rows located in the back of To Kalon into this wine, and used a mix of Darnajou and Taransaud barrels for aging. The result is one of Tor’s finest examples of Cabernet Sauvignon from this esteemed vineyard. It immediately bursts open with expressive aromatics of beautiful ripe blackberries and dark red currents, which are accompanied by pencil shavings, sweet Asian spices and spring florals with underlying hints of loam and cocoa bean all coming together. On the palate this is even more impressive, as this full-bodied, voluptuous and impeccably polished Cabernet displays remarkable overall depth and concentration. Enveloping layers of perfectly ripe dark fruits combine together with nuanced flavors of graphite, spices, cocoa and even some hints of espresso bean all coming into play as this continues to constantly evolve in the glass. The 2016 is already showing exceedingly well and is nothing short of utterly captivating in its youth, however it should also go on to have a brilliant future for many years to come. This is an absolute gem from Tor and winemaker Jeff Ames.
2 CHÂTEAU PICHON LALANDE Pauillac 2015 #2 France Bordeaux Pauillac 98 98 $185 $185 The 2015 Pichon Lalande is an absolutely majestic wine, and one of the finest wines from the vintage. Composed of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot this stunning Pauillac reveals a gorgeous aromatic profile of ripe dark fruits, exotic spices, tobacco, graphite, spring florals and cured meats all coming together and soaring from the glass. On the palate this shows remarkable depth and concentration, yet possesses incredible elegance and poise. It continues to impress with its gorgeous rich, velvety texture and excellent complexity which continues through the long, graceful finish. Overall, this is simply fantastic wine from the renowned Château, which is built for the ages.
3 COMANDO G Garnacha, Tumba del Rey Moro 2015 #3 Spain Castilla y Leon Tierra de Castilla y León 96 96 $100 $100 Just outside Mardid, in the Sierra del Gredos lies the Tumba del Rey Moro Vineyard. Until a few years ago, this site was almost impossible to access, until Fernando García and Dani Landi spent several months removing brush and overgrowth in order to be able to farm the 60-70 year old vines planted to the granite and quartz soils. This 100% Garnacha is simply gorgeous, with a incredible silky, polished texture, and the elegance and refinement that easily rivals some of the finest wines on the planet. Its characteristics of wild berries, floral, spices, earth and herbs are pure and focused. It continues to thoroughly impress with its wonderful precision and balance through the long finish. While this is certainly impressive now, in due time, this could be something very special.
4 EVENING LAND VINEYARDS Chardonnay 'Summum' 2016 #4 United States Oregon Willamette Valley 96 96 $100 $100 The 2016 'Summum' Chardonnay is an utterly fascinating wine from Evening Land. This Chardonnay was sourced from 14 rows of unique vines in the heart of the Seven Springs Vineyard, which consist of underlying volcanic basalt rock. The 'Summum' fruit was gently pressed into 100% new Stockinger puncheons, undergoing spontaneous and indigenous fermentation and raised in the same puncheons for 12 months before being racked to tank. After 6 months in tank, it underwent a light bentonite fining before bottling. The result is simply outstanding, as this Chardonnay immediately draws you in with stunning aromatics of lemon curd, Asian pear, lime zest, flinty minerals, crushed stones, vanilla blossoms and an unmistakable nuttiness that takes it to another level. On the palate this is equally impressive, as it possesses a medium-plus body with a wonderful textural richness, which is beautifully cut with lovely underlying acidity that balances it all out. Displaying striking purity and focus, this continues to thoroughly impress as it comes an end with a gorgeous finish marked by citrus and stoney minerals. The 2016 summum is completely captivating and readers would be hard pressed to find a more compelling example of Chardonnay being made in the United States.
5 TAYLOR FLADGATE Vintage Port 2016 #5 Portugal Douro Porto 98 98 $120 $120 The 2016 Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port is a drop-dead stunning wine, which immediately grabs your attention with its spectacular dark, inky color. It continues to thoroughly entice with its profoundly intense aromatics of raspberry and blackberry reduction which is nuanced by fresh violets and bramble fruits along with hints of balsam and fresh minerals all soaring from the glass. On the palate this shows remarkable overall complexity, concentration and power, along with a gorgeous plush, velvety texture, all while displaying a wonderful sense of precision and poise. While this should certainly go on to have an exceedingly bright future, its striking purity makes it remarkably fascinating and nearly impossible to resist in its youth.
6 ROYAL TOKAJI Tokaji Aszú, Szt. Tamás, 6 Puttonyos 2013 #6 Hungary Tokaj Tokaj 98 98 $150 $150 Szt. Tamás is a First-Growth Vineyard in the Mád commune. This south facing vineyard consists of vines ranging from 20 to 44 years-old that are planted to the rich, red tinged clay, mineral rich soils. 2013 was a sensational vintage for developing Aszú berries in Szt. Tamás, the Furmint had perfect botrytis and was macerated in fermenting must for two days. After pressing and fermentation the wine was transferred into 300 liter second or third fill Hungarian oak casks for almost two years cask maturation in Royal Tokaji's deep underground cellars. The result is a simply magical wine which instantly begins to seduce with its mesmerizing aromas of apricot and tangerine zest along with honey, green tea, florals and a lovely spicy, dried herb character adding even further complexity. On the palate this is rich and beautifully textured with outstanding viscosity, balance and the perfect touch of acidity to keep it fresh and inviting. Gorgeous and expressive, this utterly captivating Tokaji continues to impress with is elegance and remarkably complex character all the way through the long, supple finish. While this is already nothing short of brilliant it will also certainly go on to have an incredible future for decades to come.
7 POGGIO DI SOTTO Brunello di Montalcino 2013 #7 Italy Tuscany Brunello di Montalicno 96 96 $170 $170 The 2013 Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino is another sensational wine from this historic estate, situated on the south-east side of Montalcino, which is one of the finest areas for growing Sangiovese. The vineyards consists of steep slopes, with rocky soils, composed of gravel and clay and varries from 200 meters to 400 meters above sea level. The wine spends 48 months in 30 hl Slavonian oak casks and 8 months in bottle prior to release. The final result is an exquisitely made, classic style of Brunello that begins with simply gorgeous aromas of raspberries and red plums woven together with exotic spices, fresh florals and a wonderful mineral character, which beautifully reflects its terroir. It continues to impress on the palate with remarkable overall structure and finesse, showing wonderful elegance and precision through the long, pretty finish. Overall, the 2013 exudes sheer class and shows tremendous promise for a long, graceful evolution ahead.
8 DIAMOND CREEK Cabernet Sauvignon, Gravelly Meadow 2015 #8 United States California Napa Valley 97 97 $225 $225 The 2015 Gravelly Meadow is a drop-dead gorgeous wine and looks to be the most impressive and complete wine from Diamond Creek in this vintage. Gravelly Meadow is a small 5-acre Vineyard, and the second coolest, next to the tiny 3/4-acre Lake Vineyard. Gravelly Meadow sits on a pre-historic river bed, with stony, gravelly soils that drain rapidly and force the vines to struggle for moisture, resulting in low yields. This instantly impresses with its seductive aromatics of ripe black raspberries, crème de cassis and nuances of ripe black plums, which come together with fresh spring florals, graphite, wet gravel and traces of savory wild herbs. On the palate this is full-bodied, layered and polished, with a gorgeous opulent texture. It continues to thoroughly impress with its remarkable overall balance, depth and concentration as it leads up to the long voluptuous finish. Displaying a wonderful combination of elegance, class and power, this has the hallmarks to become another classic wine from Diamond Creek.
9 HORS CATEGORIE Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2015 #9 United States Washington Walla Walla Valley 98 98 $240 $240 Christophe Baron first discovered this site in 2004, as the Syrah was planted on extremely steep slopes (60% grade at some places) near where the north fork of the Walla Walla River meets with the Walla Walla River. The 2015 Hors Catégorie Syrah is an absolutely stunning effort that shows a wonderful stony character along with smoked meats, raw meat, blood orange zest and red cherry candy on the nose. On the palate the silky mouthfeel and percision is simply incredible. The range of flavors continues to entice the senses with red cherry preserves, blood orange, white truffle oil, black pepper and green olive tapenade. The mouth-watering acidity and wonderful lifted character makes this nearly impossible to resist in its youth. This is another untterly captivating effort by Christophe Baron in this vintage.
10 SADIE FAMILY WINES 'Palladius' 2015 #10 South Africa Coastal Region Swartland 96 96 $115 $115 The 2015 Palladius is a world-class wine from one of South Africa's most talented and exciting winemakers Eban Sadie. This ia an exotic and harmonious blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Viognier, Verdelho, Roussanne, Marsanne, Semillon Gris, Semillon Blanc, Palomino and Colombard, was sourced from both granite and sandstone soils. The grapes are pressed in a traditional basket press and the juice runs off directly to clay amphoras, concrete eggs & old oak foudres prior to natural fermentation for up to 20 months followed by two years aging. Each varietal adds its own distinct characteristics to this complex blend as it is an extremely aromatic wine with nuances of orchard fruits, poached pear, tangerine peel, honeysuckle, jasmine, crushed stones, Meyer lemon and flinty minerality all taking shape. It is equally as complex on the palate, as it showcases a beautiful texture along with remarkable overall depth, concentration and balance leading up to the long, percise and mouthwatering finish. This is a seamless wine which is already absolutely brilliant today and clearly has a bright future ahead. One of the most compelling and simply intriguing whites I have tasted in a while. Just a fascinating wine from Eban Sadie, who has assembled a total masterpiece.
11 SPOTTSWOODE Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 'Estate' 2015 #11 United States California Napa Valley 98 98 $225 $225 The 2015 Estate Cabernet from Spottswoode is one of the most captivating wines from the entire vintage. Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, this immediately begins to impress with its seductive aromatics of ripe blackberries and currants which are woven together with fresh spring florals, exotic spices, graphite, tobacco along with subtle hints of mint leaf all developing beautifully in the glass. Displaying an absolutely incredible balance of power and elegance, this impresses with its gorgeous opulence and remarkable finesse, as well as outstanding depth and precision. It continues to thoroughly impress as layers of ripe dark fruits combine with spices and graphite that expand beutifully through the seamless finish that shows incredible length. The Novak’s along with winemaker Aron Weinkauf have crafted one of the finest wines from the region, and while already utterly fascinating, this is ultimately a wine built for the cellar and should go on to evolve gracefully for many years to come.
12 SALVIONI Brunello di Montalcino 2013 #12 Italy Tuscany Brunello di Montalicno 96 96 $180 $180 The 2013 Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino is drop dead gorgeous, and one of the most compelling wines from the vintage. This opens to simply stunning aromas of cherries and sweet red fruits followed by spices, fresh florals, minerals and hints of mint leaf all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this refined Brunello dazzles with striking purity and focus. The overall balance and structure is outstanding as it continues to impress with excellent depth and precision through the beautiful finish. Salvioni’s wine are amongst the finest and most age-worthy wines from Montalcino. While the 2013 only offers a glimpse at its full potential at this early stage, it should go on to evolve beautifully for many years to come. This is a sensational Brunello, built for the ages.
13 DOMAINE DE LA CÔTE Pinot Noir, Siren's Call 2016 #13 United States California Santa Rita Hills 97 97 $120 $120 The 2016 Siren's Call Pinot Noir is without question one of the finest wines from this vintage. Siren's Call is all about elegance and refinement, as this beautiful Pinot Noir begins with striking aromatics of wild raspberries, pomegranate, rose petal, light spices, forest floor and hints of ash all coming together beautifully in the glass. On the palate this is just as captivating, as it exudes sheer class with its medium-bodied, silky texture and remarkable overall balance, clarity and precision through the beautifully finessed finish. One of the finest examples of Pinot Noir you will find in California. This is a total beauty that will without question continue to evolve for many years and ultimately become even more compelling over time.
14 TENUTA SAN GUIDO 'Sassicaia' 2015 #14 Italy Tuscany Toscana IGT 98 98 $200 $200 The 2015 Sassicaia is utterly fascinating, and may be the finest vintage I have tasted in the past decade. It begins to open with simply striking aromatics of ripe red and dark fruits, which come together with spices, tobacco, floral and graphite all taking shape. On the palate this shows remarkable overall purity, focus and balance with a gorgeous velvety texture and beautifully polished tannins making it extreamly captivating, even at this youthful age. It displays remarkable precision and concentration, with fantastic underlying acidity providing wonderful lift, as well as a lovely sense of freshness leading up to the long, polished finish. This is already absolutely stunning, and it also possesses the characeristics, as well as the track record to age gracefully for years to come. This has the potential to become one of the all-time great vintages for this iconic wine.
15 ANDRÉ CLOUET Champagne, Brut Grand Cru 'Cuvée 1911' #15 France Champagne Montagne de Reims, Bouzy 95 95 $100 $100 The 'Cuvée 1911' is an absolutely thrilling bottle of Champagne from winemaker Jean-François Clouet. Composed of 100% Pinot Noir, which sourced from Clouet’s ten best lieux-dits in the Grand Cru villages of Bouzy and Ambonnay. This Cuvée is a blend of vintages, primarialy consisting of 2008, with ’07, ’09, ’10 finishing the blend. It spent more than 6 years aging on its lees before its disgorgement in November, 2017. The wine itself is simply remarkable, as it is beautifully intense on the nose, with aromatics of Pazazz apple, toast, florals and kumquat all instantly drawing you in. Even more captivating is its combination of weight, tension and gorgeous textural compisition. Wonderful flavors of orchard fruits and citrus continue to impress as they come together with a beautiful salinity character which persists through the pretty finish. An absolutely striking Champagne, which will continue to evolve gracefully for many years.
16 MONTEVERTINE 'Le Pergole Torte' 2014 #16 Italy Tuscany Toscana IGT 96 96 $120 $120 The 2014 Le Pergole Torte is a utterly fascinating wine from an exceedingly challenging vintage. While many across the region struggled with the growing conditions, this iconic estate in Radda-in-Chianti absolutely excelled with this simply beautiful Sangiovese. It immediately begins to impress with its striking aromatics of fresh red berries, herbs, wet stones and fresh florals which all take shape in the glass. It displays a lovely texture, with remarkable finesse and gorgeous underlying acidity keeping fresh and inviting. It continues to impress with its refined character along with outstanding overall balance and precision which persists through the long graceful finish. While the 2104 already shows signs of brilliance, it should certainly go on to have a fabulous evolution ahead. It’s nearly impossible to believe this came from a vintage that offered so many challenges.
17 DUNN VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain 2014 #17 United States California Napa Valley 97 97 $140 $140 The 2014 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Dunn Vineyards is absolutely sensational in this vintage. This stunning Cabernet bursts opens with profound aromatics of ripe dark cherries and black currants along with graphite, fresh florals and hints of earth all taking shape. On the palate this demonstrates outstanding overall balance and structure, with gorgeous a textural richness and impressive depth leading up to the finish. Polished and classy, this is a simply beautifully made Mountain Cabernet from the Dunn’s, which will go on to age gracefully for many years to come.
18 VIÑA ALMAVIVA 'Almaviva' 2015 #18 Chile Maipo Valley Puente Alto 97 97 $125 $125 The 2015 Almaviva is a total beauty, which impresses on all levels. Year after year this Bordeaux inspired red from Puente Alto in the Maipo Valley is one of Chile's finest wines and it certainly does not disappoint in this vintage. Composed of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carmenere, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot which spent 18 Months in new French oak. The resulting wine begins with striking aromas of ripe blackberries, dark cherries, tobacco, spices, fresh violets, expresso bean and a lovely herb character all come together in the glass. This leads to a gorgeous full-bodied and remarkably structured wine, backed by gorgeous polished tannins which are seamlessly integrated. Balanced, concentrated and tremendously complex, this is a complete success from this estate which should have a wonderful future ahead.
19 SANTA MARIA LA NAVE Etna Rosso 'Calmarossa' 2015 #19 Italy Sicily Etna 97 97 $70 $70 The 2015 ‘Calmarossa’ is an utterly fascinating wine. Composed of 85% of Nerello Mascalese and 15% of Nerello Cappuccio, sourced from pre-phylloxera vines situated on the south-eastern slope of Mount Etna, 800 meters above the sea level, overlooking the Ionian Sea. The vineyard is grown with ancient bush-trained vines, which are planted on extreme slopes, at some points beyond 40%. The soils are composed of black sand and volcanic ashes that are rich in mineral content. The wine itself is completely captivating, as it begins with striking aromatics of ripe raspberries and macerated cherries which are woven together with fresh florals, exotic spices, wet lava stones and hints of orange zest all developing in the glass. On the palate this is all about balance and finesse, as it possesses a gorgeous silky texture with remarkable poise and elegance. It continues to impress with its outstanding precision and beautifully concentrated fruit, which persists through the gorgeous seamless finish. Sophisticated and classy, this is one of the finest wines being made on Mt. Etna. Production is limited, so readers should jump if given the opportunity to taste this truly brilliant Rosso from Santa Maria La Nave.
20 FRANK CORNELISSEN Rosso 'Magma' 2016 #20 Italy Sicily Etna 97 97 $250 $250 The 2016 'Magma' Rosso is the "Grand Vin" from Cornelissen and was sourced from the Contrada Barbabecchi, which was planted in 1910 and situated at 910 meters above sea level. The Barbabecchi Vineyard is positioned at a North-North East exposure, and consists of ungrafted 100+ year old vines of Nerello Mascalese. The resultant wine is simply magnificent, as it slowly unwinds and begins to release a wonderful range of aromatics, including dried dark cherries and ripe red plums, which are woven together with exotic spices, eucalyptus, dried florals, dusty leather, blood orange and a subtle hint of cedar all taking shape beautifully in the glass. This impeccably structured wine continues to impress on the palate with its remarkable overall depth and precise concentration through the incredibly long finish. While already showing so much, this has a tremendous amount of potential to age beautifully for many years to come. Overall, this is another brilliant effort from Frank Cornelissen, and is amongst one of the most fascinating wines you will find in all of Italy.
21 CHÂTEAU HAUT-BAILLY Pessac-Léognan 2015 #21 France Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan 97 97 $110 $110 The 2015 is one of the most compelling wines from the vintage. The blend consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot. It opens to seductive aromatics of ripe blackberries, dark cherries and blueberries which come together with spring florals, tobacco and wonderful mineral nuances, all soaring from the glass. This possesses a medium-plus body with incredible balance and poise. It remans beautifully concentrated, with remarkable overall depth and focus, as it shows a wonderful combination of freshness and minerality leading up the ultra-long, opulent finish. A simply fascinating wine from Haut-Bailly which will absolutely thrive in the cellar for decades.
22 SAINT PRÉFERT Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Collection Charles Giraud' 2015 #22 France Rhone Valley Châteauneuf-du-Pape 98 98 $130 $130 The 2015 'Collection Charles Giraud' is an simply fascinating wine from Isabel Ferrando. Composed of 60% grenache and 40% Mourvèdre this instantly begins to impress with its remarkably complex aromatic profile of ripe black raspberries and dark plum which are laced with exotic spices, lavender, thyme, cured meats, cocoa, black olives and wet stones all taking shape beautifully. Pure, ripe and expressive this simply stunning red displays outstanding depth and concentration with wonderful poise. It remains beautifully balanced and structured with a dense core of sweetly ripe red berries and plums which expand with wonderful finesse onto the long graceful finish. Overall, this is a flat-out outstanding wine which will have long future ahead. There are few words to describe this other that simply brilliant.
23 PATRIA Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Ranch 'Avoyelles' 2016 #23 United States California Napa Valley 98 98 $150 $150 The Oakville Ranch 'Avoyelles' Cabernet Sauvignon is yet another simply magnificent wine from Patria in this vintage. Past vintages of ‘Avoyelles’ have been predominately Cabernet Franc, however the 2016 consists of a higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (58%) with the remainder Cabernet Franc (39%) and a dash of Petit Verdot. The wine itself is a total beauty, as it begins with seductive aromas of ripe blackberries, dark currants and blueberries woven together with tobacco, violets, graphite, dusty earth, sage and exotic spices which are nearly impossible to resist. This is full-bodied with a gorgeous supple texture, laced with beautifully ripe dark fruits, sweet spices and graphite nuances that all build on the palate. It continues to impress with its remarkable concentration and sophistication, as it comes to an end with a long, supple finish. While this is simply delicious now it should also have an incredible evolution ahead. Tony Biagi has done an outstanding job in this vintage, and the 'Avoyelles' is amongst the most compelling wines from the entire valley.
24 CHÂTEAU PICHON BARON Pauillac 2015 #24 France Bordeaux Pauillac 98 98 $150 $150 One of the most impressive wines from the vintage, the 2015 Pichon Baron is an absolutely stunning showing. This gorgeous Pauillac is composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot and slowly begins to open to seductive aromas of blackberries and dark cherries woven together with graphite, tobacco, spring florals and exotic spices all beautifully taking shape. On the palate this is remarkably structured with firm, yet well integrated tannins, along with outstanding depth and concentration This continues to impress with its remarkable precision and length through the finish. While already showing plenty of appeal, this will ultimately has to potential to age gracefully and become an all-time classic Pichon Baron.
25 MOËT & CHANDON Champagne 'Dom Pérignon' 2009 #25 France Champagne Champagne 95 95 $175 $175 The 2009 Dom Pérignon is a simply fabulous effort from a challenging vintage in Champagne. The musty and earthy aromatics grab you straight away followed by wild mushrooms, brioche, poached pear and toasted hazelnut aromatics that impress. Incredibly balanced and with remarkable finesse, this showcases flavors of lemon zest, baked apple and marzipan with biscuit. Today this is just a touch youthful, needing some additinonal time to develop. Nonetheless this it is a simply gorgeous Champagne with marvelous cellaring potential. Try to hold off on this stunner for at least two years. Disgorged in June 2016.
26 CASANOVA DI NERI Brunello di Montalcino 'Tenuta Nuova' 2013 #26 Italy Tuscany Brunello di Montalicno 96 96 $110 $110 The 2013 Tenuta Nuova is another simply incredible showing from Casanova di Neri. As this slowly begins to unwind it releases seductive aromatics of ripe dark cherries and fresh raspberries which are accompanied by spring florals, spices and hints of fresh porcini adding complexity. On the palate this is full-bodied and beautifully polished showing remarkable restraint, as well as a gorgeous velvety texture and seamless quality. It continues to impress with its excellent overall depth, balance and focus. The finish is refined with spectacular length leaving behind vivid red fruits lingering on. This is a classic, age-worthy Brunello, and yet again one of the most compelling wines from the region.
27 VIETTI Barolo, Ravera 2014 #27 Italy Piedmont Barolo 97 97 $180 $180 Sourced from the 3-hectare vineyard Ravera vineyard in Novello, this looks to be the most compelling wine from Luca Currado in this vintage. Ravera lies on a south-west exposure and consists of vines averaging 25-years, with the oldest vines planted over 80-years ago to the clay-limestone soils. The wine itself is simply sensational, as it begins with striking aromas of fresh strawberries and cherries which are joined by wet stones, mint, florals and hints of spice and iron, all developing beautifully in the glass. On the palate this is just as captivating, as it possesses remarkable elegance and precision, along with fine tannins, which provide remarkable structure. It continues to show wonderful focus and concentration through the beautiful long finish. While Ravera certainly already shows signs of its brilliance, it is still displaying some youthful austerity. That being said this a magnificent Barolo, which possesses incredible aging potential, and readers should plan on allowing it plenty of time to fully develop.
28 EGON MÜLLER Riesling Spätlese Scharzhofberger 2016 #28 Germany Mosel Wiltingen 96 96 $150 $150 The 2016 Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese is a drop dead gorgeous showing in this vintage. Sourced from soils composed of slate and gravel this Riesling shows a wonderful combination of ripe fruit, acidity and minerality. It beings with striking aromatics of white peachs, citrus, honey blossoms, green tea, orange zest and wet stones all developing beautifully in the glass. On the palate this continues to impress as it possesses a stunning texture with lovely weight, as the beautiful underlying acidity provides wonderful balance and freshness. Showing remarkable overall precision and poise, this is utterly brilliant Riesling is nearly impossible to resist now, however it will certainly thrive in the cellar for decades.
29 RIDGE VINEYARDS 'Monte Bello' 2015 #29 United States California Santa Cruz Mtns. 98 98 $250 $250 The 2015 Monte Bello is another brilliant wine from the team at Ridge Vineyards, as this wine comes from a wonderful growing season, which certainly reflects in the quality. Composed of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc this instantly begins to impress with its seductive aromatics of ripe blackberries and cassis woven together with spices, graphite and roasted coffee which all take shape in the glass. On the palate this possesses a gorgeous rich velvety texture with beautifully integrated tannins. It continues to impress with its incredible complex flavors and beautifully concentrated fruit, which is balanced by lovely underlying acidity that makes it nearly impossible to resist, even at this youthful age. The 2015 Monte Bello has it all, and while this is already utterly fascinating, it will only prove to become even more compelling over time.
30 TENUTA DELLE TERRE NERE Etna Rosso 'Prephylloxera' 2016 #30 Italy Sicily Etna 96 96 $90 $90 Sourced from two parcels, in the midst of a larger vineyard of Calderara Sottana that have survived phylloxera, La Vigna di Don Peppino is the estates grand cru. These vines are over 130 years old and stand on their original rootstock. The wine is composed of 98% Nerello mascalese, 2% Nerello Cappuccio and slowly opens to an array of pretty aromatics including red berries and dark cherries woven together with spices, fresh florals and herbs. On the palate this is simply gorgeous, balanced, silky and remarkably well structured. It continues to impress with its outstanding overall focus and concentration of flavor as it enters the long, precise finish. Overall, this 2016 La Vigna di Don Peppino is a tremendous, age-worthy wine from Marco de Grazia which should only become more compelling as it evolves.
31 LARKMEAD Napa Valley Red 'LMV Salon' 2015 #31 United States California Napa Valley 96 96 $200 $200 The 2015 'LMV Salon' is an absolutely fabulous blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Cabernet Franc. It opens to seductive aromas of blackberries, red currants, roasted coffee, tobacco, dried herbs and loam all soaring from the glass. Impeccably structured and balanced this continues to impress with its outstanding precision, lovely underlying acidity and incredible minerality. Beautifully focused and classy, this is a total gem, which should continue to evolve for many years to come.
32 CAYUSE VINEYARDS Grenache 'God Only Knows' 2015 #32 United States Washington Walla Walla 97 97 $85 $85 Truly one of the most fascinating wines made in Washington, the 2015 'God Only Knows' Red Wine from Cayuse Vineyards is another stunning release from this storied estate. It instantly begins to captivate the senses as the nose displays an impressive aromatic range, showing an exotic combination of potpourri, white rose, white truffle and umami. On the palate this is incredibly silky, with a gorgeous seamless mouthfeel, underlined by vibrant, mouth-watering acidity. This continues to impress as it reveals a wonderful flavor profile of guava purée, wild blackberry, blood orange, wet stone and umami which all combine with red and dark fruits that show remarkable purity. Overall, this is a total beauty, which is already showing a tremendous amount of appeal.
33 CHÂTEAU DUCRU-BEAUCAILLOU Saint-Julien 2015 #33 France Bordeaux Saint-Julien 97 97 $200 $200 The 2015 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot. It begins with absolutely stunning aromatics dark cherries and crème de cassis along with graphite, spring florals, minerals and tobacco which soar from the glass. On the palate this is every bit as striking, as it displays outstanding overall depth an concentration, with a beautiful velvety texture and tremendous length on the finish. Overll, this is an absolutely beautifully made wine, which will certainly have a long, graceful evolution ahead.
34 CORISON Cabernet Sauvignon, Kronos Vineyard 2015 #34 United States California Napa Valley 96 96 $175 $175 Cathy Corison has crafted a simply magnificent set of wines in 2015, and the most impressive is the Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Sourced from an 8-acre parcel, located on the valley floor in St. Helena, which is comprised of old Saint-George rootstocks that were planted back in 1971. This brilliant wine begins with seductive aromas of ripe blackberries and currants woven together with fresh spring florals, graphite and crushed stones all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this classy wine has it all, balanced, structured and complex, with remarkable precision and focus. It's beautifully concentrated with gorgeous underlying acidity keeping it fresh and inviting leading up to the the long, polished finish. All being said, this is an utterly fascinating and impeccably made wine, which without question should age gracefully for decades.
35 KAPCSÁNDY FAMILY WINERY 'Estate Cuvée' 2015 #35 United States California Napa Valley 95 95 $150 $150 The 2015 'Estate Cuvée' is a barrel selection composed of composed of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot, which was aged in 100% new French oak for 20 months. This remarkable wine instantly begins to impress as it begins with striking aromatics of crème de cassis, currants, roasted coffee, and suggestions of black tea all taking shape. On the palate this is remarkably structured and shows a wonderful combination of freshness and intensity, with notable weight and textural richness. Beautifully balanced, this possesses a gorgeous seamless quality making nearly impossible to resist now, however it also has all the characteristics to age gracegully for many years.
36 QUILCEDA CREEK Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2015 #36 United States Washington Columbia Valley 98 98 $150 $150 The 2015 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a total beauty and the most compelling red wine that I have tasted from this vintage in Washington. The fruit was sourced from the Champoux (roughly 70% of the fruit), Palengat, Wallula and Lake Wallula Vineyards. While this designates Columbia Valley AVA on the bottle, it is primarily a Horse Heaven Hills wine. This instantly impresses as it begings with inviting aromas of crème de cassis, pencil lead and black tea with a touch of red cherry compote on the nose, which continue bring you back to the glass. On the palate this is silky smooth, and marvelously coats the mouth with layers of ripe dark fruits. Lightly tannic, the wine slowly unveils blueberry compote, blackberry cobbler, mocha, and crème de cassis flavors that continue to build. There is a seamless quality to this wine really shines through and impresses with every lingering sip. The minerality, weight and overall presentation of the wine is simply astounding, as is the long, lingering finish, which is marked by beautiful ripe black fruits and lovely minerality. This is a truly monumental effort in a vintage that proved to be challenging due to severe heat spikes throughout the summer growing season.
37 TENUTA DI TRINORO 'Tenuta di Trinoro' 2015 #37 Italy Tuscany Toscana IGT 97 97 $185 $185 The Estates flagship wine 'Tenuta di Trinoro' Rosso is yet another fabulous showing in this excellent vintage. Growing conditions were ideal across Tuscany in 2015, as the warm season allowed for slow and steady ripening, with cooler conditions late in the season allowing for optimum harvest time. The final blend consists of 50% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, which spent 8 months in new French oak barriques and 11 months in cement vats. This instantly impresses as the ripe characteristics of the vintage are certainly evident. The wine itself displays a dark, inky color followed seductive aromas of ripe dark cherries, blackberries, spices, fresh violets, graphite and hints of tobacco that all come together and soar from the glass. On the palate this full-bodied Rosso possesses a gorgeous opulent texture with beautifully polished tannins making for a wonderful mouthfeel. It displays remarkable depth and concentration, with the structure to hold everything in place as layers of ripe fruit continue to build up to the long, supple finish. Overall this is a majestic wine from Andrea Franchetti, and while it offers immediate appeal, there is little doubt this will go on to have a wonderful evolution ahead.
38 KATA Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard 2015 #38 United States California Napa Valley 97 97 $200 $200 Sourced from the Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard, this is an utterly compelling blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petite Sirah from the talented duo of David Beckstoffer and Benoit Touquette. The 2015 Kata begins with alluring aromatics of ripe black currants and blueberries which are beautifully woven together with exotic spices, chocolate shavings, violets, sage and mineral accents that all come together and soar from the glass. On the palate this is every bit as stunning, full-bodied, intense and concentrated, yet displaying remarkable poise. It continues to impress with its wonderful purity and depth, as layers if ripe dark fruits, exotic spices and violets all continue to build and resonate through the long, opulent finish. A simply majestic wine, which is thoroughly impressive and flat-out delicious right now, yet should also have an extremely bright future ahead.
39 TYLER Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard 'Old Vine' 2016 #39 United States California Santa Maria Valley 96 96 $65 $65 This Old Vine Pinot Noir comes from own-rooted vines planted by Miller family in 1973, in a diverse set of soils within Bien Nacido Vineyard. The wine itself is a total knockout, as it begins with gorgeous aromas of cherries, red berries, loam, toasted herb, soy, Ethiopian coffee, tree bark and dried flowers. This continues to impress as it displays wonderful purity and balance, as well as excellent focus and precision through the finish. Terroir driven and made in a beautiful classic style, this is one of the finest example of Pinot Noir from the vintage. A simply remarkable wine from Justin Willett, which is completly stunning now, and certainly looks as if will have an even brighter future ahead.
40 MAYACAMAS Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2014 #40 United States California Napa Valley 96 96 $125 $125 The 2014 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon is an simply stunning wine in this vintage. It begins with gorgeous aromatics of blackberries and dark cherries which are woven together with graphite, spring florals, spices and herbs, which all leap from the glass. On the palate this is beautifully structured and balanced, with remarkable purity or fruit. Well-defined with incredibele precision and remarkable length, this Cabernet has it all. While this is already absolutely outstanding, Mayacamas has a tremendous track record for producing age-worthy wines, and this should be no exception, as it possesses all the signs for an incredibly brilliant future ahead.
41 CHÂTEAU TROPLONG-MONDOT Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2015 #41 France Bordeaux Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 97 97 $130 $130 The 2015 Troplong Mondot is a total beauty and one of the most compelling wines from Saint-Émilion in this vintage. Composed of predominately Merlot with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it displays an impressive dark, inky color with seductive aromatics of ripe dark cherries and blackberries woven together with graphite, violets, tobacco and lovely traces of spicy nuances all filling the glass. This is full, round and voluptuous, yet remarkably well balanced and structured with plush layers of ripe fruits expanding beautifully across the palate, as it all comes together seamlessly on the long, opulent finish. While the ripe characteristics make this accessible in its youth, don't underestimate its aging potential, as there is a long future ahead for this stunning Saint-Émilion.
42 ASHES & DIAMONDS Cabernet Sauvignon, Rancho Pequeño Vineyard 2015 #42 United States California Napa Valley 96 96 $125 $125 This absolutely brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon from Ashes and Diamonds is sourced from the Rancho Pequeño Vineyard, Bart and Daphne Araujo’s Oakville property on the east side of the valley floor. The biodynamically farmed vineyard is consists of deep soils, composed of alluvial loam washed down from the eastern Vaca Mountains, and maintains a high water table resulting in little to no need for irrigation. The vines benefit from the afternoon sunshine, and are relieved by the cool marine influence at dusk and dawn. This all results in a beautiful, classic expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which is all about purity and sheer class. It begins with striking aromatics of cherries and blackberries woven together with graphite, fresh spring florals, crushed stones and traces of dried herbs all taking shape. On the palate this is flat-out gorgeous, possessing a medium-bodied, silky and refined texture with a remarkably elegant structure. It thoroughly impresses as it effortlessly glides across the palate with incredible balance and finesse leading up to the graceful finish. Winemaker Dan Petroski has crafted a simply sensational Cabernet Sauvignon, made in a ultra-traditional style, which is already drinking beautifully, yet has all the signs for a wonderful evolution ahead.
43 HERTELENDY Signature Mountain Blend, Napa Valley 2015 #43 United States California Napa Valley 96 96 $125 $125 The 2015 Hertelendy Signature Mountain Blend is made in a Right Bank style, composed of 81% Merlot from the Rockwell Ridge estate vineyard vine and the remaining 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec from vineyards in Pritchard Hill, Atlas Peak, and the Silverado Bench. This fantastic wine begins with a seductive aromatics of dark cherries and blueberries, woven together with violets, sweet spices, tobacco, dark chocolate shavings, loam and minerals all emerging from the glass. This continues to impress on the palate with is full body, outstanding depth and gorgeous seamless, opulent texture. It possesses wonderful depth and concentration, with flavors of ripe dark fruits, spices, graphite and mocha which layer the palate and expand through the long, supple finish. Overall this is an utterly delicious wine, which is already showing extremely well, yet has the potential to thrive in the cellar for 20+ years. Another gem from Ralph Hertelendy and Philip Corallo-Titus. 283 Cases Produced.
44 CHAPELLE ST. THEODORIC Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Le Grand Pin' 2015 #44 France Rhone Valley Châteauneuf-du-Pape 97 97 $70 $70 The 2015 'Le Grand Pin' is all about elegance and finesse. This old vine Grenache was sourced from sandy soils in a parcel at the top of Pignan, which is literally adjoining the vines of Château Rayas. The wine itself is simply beautiful, releasing striking aromatics of raspberries, red plum, floral, lavender, spices, licorice and crushed stones which fill the glass. On the palate this just as captivating, as it displays a gorgeous, fine texture, with fantastic focus and clarity. It continues to impress as it remains beautifully balanced through the refined, silky finish. This is a totally fascinating Châteauneuf-du-Pape, however at this stage it is only shows a glimpse of its full potential, as it will demand significant time in the cellar before it hits its stride.
45 DOMAINE SERENE Chardonnay 'Recolte Grand Cru' 2015 #45 United States Oregon Willamette Valley 96 96 $125 $125 The 2015 'Recolte Grand Cru' Chardonnay is an drop-dead gorgeous wine from Domaine Serene. It begins with aromatics which are simply intoxicating, with Meyer lemon oil, pink grapefruit blossom, butterscotch and beeswax all coming together beautifully. Intense, layered and absolutely stunning, this wine demonstrates an amazing combination of acidity, tension and weight, as this wine shows serious range as well as a gorgeous seamless quality which is truly amazing. A wonderful wine to approach now or watch evolve in the cellar.
46 UCCELLIERA Brunello di Montalcino 'Riserva' 2012 #46 Italy Tuscany Brunello di Montalicno 98 98 $150 $150 The 2012 Brunello Riserva from Uccelliera is a total beauty, and as compelling as any wine I have ever tasted from Andrea Cortonesi. This instantly opens to simply striking aromatics of dark cherries and red plums along with white truffle, florals, exotic spices, leather and hints of cured meat all soaring from the glass. On the palate this is medium to full-bodied and beautifully polished with a gorgeous seamless, velvety mouthfeel. It is impeccably balanced, with wonderful finesse and precision through the long, graceful finish. This Brunello is nothing short of sensational, and although already drinking extremely well, it should continue to provide pleasure for many years to come.
47 JOSEPH PHELPS 'Insignia' 2015 #47 United States California Napa Valley 97 97 $250 $250 The 2015 Insignia is a simply stunning wine in this vintage, made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec. This majestic wine instantly opens to seductive aromatics of ripe black currants and dark cherries, woven together with spices, graphite, herbs and a beautiful touch of well integrated oak, all coming together to make this nearly impossible to resist. On this palate this full-bodied red continues to thoroughly impress with its remarkable structure, concentration and poise. The beautifully polished tannins make for a luxurious mouthfeel as this works its way into the long, supple finish. This is an absolutely remarkable wine which will thrive in the cellar and has the makeup to ultimately become an all-time classic Insignia.
48 DAL FORNO ROMANO Valpolicella Superiore, Monte Lodoletta 2012 #48 Italy Veneto Valpolicella Superiore 95 95 $150 $150 The 2012 Valpolicella Superiore 'Vigneto Monte Lodoletta' is a fantastic showing from Dal Forno. This dark and brooding wine begins with seductive aromas of ripe blackberries and dark cherries, which are laced with spices, cigar box, flowers, tar and smoky nuances all taking shape in the glass. This is full-bodied and beautifully polished, with outstanding overall balance of ripe fruit and acidity. It continues to impress with incredible depth and concentration through the long, opulent finish. Another sensational Valpolicella from the Dal Forno Family, and while this is outstanding right now, it will also have a long evolution ahead.
49 CHÂTEAU D'YQUEM White Wine 'Ygrec' 2015 #49 France Bordeaux Bordeaux AOC 97 97 $175 $175 The 2015 'Y' from Chateau D’YQuem is a head turning, simply brilliant blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Sauvignon Blanc is harvested rather early in the growing season to retain its freshness, while the Semillon is given more time to mature and allow botrytis to take effect. The wine itself displays a lovely golden hue, and begins with an exotic bouquet consisting of star jasmine, honeydew melon, starfruit and lemongrass aromatics which all take shape. On the palate this possesses remarkable tension and viscosity, which is truly one of a kind as the mouthfeel takes on a sultry, unctuous character as lemon cream, kumquat, cantaloupe and roasted pineapple flavors all come together beautifully. It continues to impress with its gorgeous seamless quality and balance while showcasing the ripeness and intensity of the vintage. While this is already showing trememdous appeal it should go on to age exceedingly well over the course of the next two plus decades. This is a absolute gem from the legendary Château.
50 BIG TABLE FARM Pinot Noir 'Earth' 2016 #50 United States Oregon Willamette Valley 95 95 $105 $105 The 2016 'Earth' Pinot Noir is a barrel selection that the utterly talented winemaker Brian Marcy deems to be the best. Translucent in color, this starts off with beautiful aromatics of smoked brisket, white pepper, forest floor and cigar box with a smattering of dark fruits. There is a wonderful elegance and restraint to this silky bottling. Blood orange zest, red cherry candy, peat moss and cigar ash flavors mark this exceptional wine. Rich and inviting, this one of a kind Pinot displays a remarkable sense of place and purity. Just over 100 cases made of this stunning wine. Overall, this Pinot Noir is one of the most compelling that I have tasted from the Willamette Valley in the past year.
51 LUCIANO SANDRONE Barolo 'Le Vigne' 2014 #51 Italy Piedmont Barolo 96 96 $150 $150 The 2014 'Le Vigne' is a magnificent showing in this challenging vintage. This gorgeous Barolo is sourced from multiple vineyards, which include Ceretta, Vignane, Merli, Conterni, and Villero. The wine itself begins with absolutely striking aromas of dark cherries and red plums woven together with violets, spices, wet stones and hints of fresh mint all taking shape. On the palate this is medium-bodied with fine, silky tannins and beautiful concentration. It displays wonderful purity, along with a lovely combination of balance and finesse through the elegant finish. 'Le Vigne' is nothing short of a total success in this vintage, and should continue to drink well for many years to come.
52 CHÂTEAU LÉOVILLE POYFERRÉ Saint-Julien 2015 #52 France Bordeaux Saint-Julien 96 96 $100 $100 The 2015 Château Léoville Poyferré is a drop-dead gorgeous wine in this vintage. It begins with seductive aromatics of ripe blackberries and cassis which are woven together with exotic spices, graphite, and hints of espresso bean all taking shape. On the palate this is full-bodied and opulent with beautifully polished tannins and layers of ripe dark fruits. Structured, balanced and long, this is a total knockout which is outstanding now, but also built for the ages.
53 LARUE Chardonnay, Charles Heintz Vineyard 2016 #53 United States California Sonoma Coast 95 95 $60 $60 The 2016 Chardonnay from the historic Charles Heintz Vineyard is truly spectacular. This Chardonnay comes from vines that were planted back in 1982 and as you can imagine, access to this fruit is hard to obtain. As the wine slowly opens it delivers beautiful aromas of white peach, vanilla blossoms, lemon custard, tropical fruits, key lime and a touch of honeysuckle. It has a gorgeous texture, which is remarkably balanced, as it combines wondeful pure fruit and bright acidity leading up to the delicious finish. Absolutely stunning today and has the structure to last over a decade in the cellar. Only 50 cases made.
54 CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Blanc 2016 #54 France Rhone Valley Châteauneuf-du-Pape 96 96 $95 $95 The 2016 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc is a stunning wine from this famed estate. Needing more than an hour decant to fully develop, this starts off with beeswax, brandy soaked pear, nutmeg, and ripe banana that impress, as the intoxicating bouquet continues to bring you back to the glass. On the palate, the unctuous mouthfeel entices the senses. Silky smooth gliding through the palate, flavors reminiscent of baked pear, marzipan, banana bread and honeydew melon move through, leading to an exceeding long and satisfying finish. The salinity and light stony character of the wine further pushes this into the upper echelon of this prestigious region in the Rhone Valley. Enjoyable now, this wine will cellar well for decades.
55 CHÂTEAU PAVIE-MACQUIN Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 #55 France Bordeaux Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 96 96 $100 $100 Nicolas Thienpont is at the top of his game and has created another absolute gem in 2015. This blend of 84% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon begins with seductive aromatics of blackberries and dark cherries which are laced with spices and floral nuances all coming together beautifully. On the palate this is full, rich and opulent, with remarkable balance and poise. It continues to impress with layers of dark fruits, which are cut with lovely minerality leading up to the long finish. A stunning wine which will require a bit of bottle age, yet shows incredible promise for an extremely bright future.
56 TIMO MAYER Syrah, Yarra Valley 2016 #56 Australia Victoria Yarra Valley 94 94 $85 $85 The 2016 Syrah from is a simply brilliant showing from Timo Mayer. Opening with a gorgeous combination of ripe dark berries and earthy characteristics woven together with fresh violets, pepper and black olive notes, this instantly grabs your attention. Showing remarkable balance and finesse this is simply stunning on the palate, as ripe fruit and lovely acidity burst from its core. Everything comes together beautifully on the gorgeous finish which leaves you wanting more. A total gem from the Yarra Valley and readers who enjoy Syrah from the Northern Rhône should absolutely adore this wine.
57 PASSOPISCIARO Etna Rosso, Contrada Porcaria (P) 2016 #57 Italy Sicily Etna 95 95 $65 $65 This stunning Nerello Mascalese is sourced from Contrada Porcaria, which is situated at 2,100 feet above sea level, with soils consisting of frail lava sheets. The wine itself is simply striking, as it begins with inviting aromas of dark cherries, black raspberries and pomegranate, woven together with dried florals, spices, dried mediterranean herbs and wet stones which all take shape in the glass. On the palate this is elegant with a gorgeous texture, backed by fine tannins. It is beautifully balanced with outstanding concentration and remarkable finesse leading up the finish. Classy and refined, this is an absolutely brilliant wine from Andrea Franchetti which is already stunning in its youth, yet should certainly go on to have a marvelous future ahead.
58 HUDELOT-NOELLAT Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru ‘Aux Murgers’ 2016 #58 France Burgundy Nuits St. Georges 94 94 $100 $100 The 2016 'Aux Murgers' Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru is wonderful showing from Alain Hudelot-Noellat which seemed to defy all odds in this vintage. This begins with gorgeous aromatics of red berries, spices, florals and crushed stones all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this is beautifully balanced with notable inner-depth and a beautifully fresh, mineral-laced core. It continues to impress with its outstanding concentration and focus through the long, pretty finish. Overall, the 2016 'Aux Murgers' shows wonderful promise and looks to be a total success in this vintage.
59 VINE HILL RANCH Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2015 #59 United States California Napa Valley 97 97 $200 $200 The 2015 Vine Hill Ranch is totally stunning, and one of the most impressive young wines of the vintage. It begins with striking aromatics of ripe blackberries and dark currants are woven together with spices, graphite, tobacco, sage and spring florals that all come together and soar from the glass. On the palate this is full-bodied, concentrated and beautifully textured, with remarkable overall structure and balance. Delicious flavors of ripe dark fruits, spices and mocha continue expand from its core and continue to envelop the palate through the long, supple finish. The 2015 VHR is a complete sucess in this vintage, and while already delicious, it should also continue to age gracefully for many years to come.
60 REALM CELLARS 'Falstaff' 2016 #60 United States California Napa Valley 96 96 $200 $200 Falstaff is predominately Cabernet Franc with a percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon which varies in each vintage. In 2016 the Falstaff is composed of 63% Cabernet Franc and 37% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Franc is sourced form from Weitz, Fortuna and Beckstoffer To Kalon, while the Cabernet Sauvignon is from Beckstoffer To Kalon. The wine itself is simply stunning as it begins with profound aromas of ripe black currants and blueberry compote woven together with spring florals, exotic spices and graphite along with loamy nuances all bursting from the glass. On the palate this full-bodied and layered, possessing incredible depth and concentration, with flavors of dark and blue fruits combining with exotic spices and a gorgeous mineral character. Voluptuous and multidimensional, this awe-inspiring wine continues to thoroughly impress through the long, mouth coating finish. This is a total knockout from Juan Mercardo and winemaker Benoit Toquette, which is utterly captivating today, yet should go on to provide years of drinking pleasure.
61 CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE Pessac-Léognan 2015 #61 France Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan 96 96 $125 $125 The 2015 Château Smith Haut Lafitte is a total knockout in this vintage, and is already extreamly compelling in its youth. Composed of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot this opens to stunning aromatics of ripe blackberries and sweet dark currants woven together with violets, graphite and hints of minerals all soaring from the glass. On the palate this is full, rich and dense, displaying remarkable concentration and tannin structure, as layers of dark fruits expand onto the long, lingering finish. A absolute beauty form the Cathiard family which should thrive for decades in the cellar.
62 REYNVAAN Syrah 'Stonessence' 2015 #62 United States Washington Walla Walla 97 97 $95 $95 The 2015 Reynvaan 'Stonessence' Syrah is absolutely stunning and takes its place as one of the great wines of Washington. This profound wine begins with incredibly perfumed aromatics of red cherries, rose petal, blood orange and smoked meat nuances, which all come together beautifully in the glass. The palate is plush and seductive as the meaty and savory character of the wine really shines through. Mouth-watering acidity fills your mouth as the wine unveils flavors of red fruits, smoke, Hoisin sauce, Mandarin orange zest, Umami and white truffles all underlined by gorgeous minerality. It shows remarkable balance and the minute long finish is simply exceptional. This is one of the finest wines I can recall from Matt Reynvaan. The 13.6% alcohol was the lowest percentage of any Reynvaan Syrah made in 2015.
63 ANAKOTA Cabernet Sauvignon, Helena Dakota Vineyard 2014 #63 United States California Sonoma, Knights Valley 95 95 $120 $120 The 2014 Helena Dakota Cabernet Sauvignon is a completely fascinating wine from Pierre Seillan. The Cabernet fruit was sourced from the 12.4-acre Helena Dakota vineyard, which runs southeast to northwest and possesses slopes of up to 15 degrees. The vineyard benefits from the westerly winds, which pass over a large, cold pond and blow uphill in a direction parallel to the rows of vines, and slow down the ripening of the grapes. The result is a gorgeous wine which displays a dark, opaque color and begins with profound aromatics of ripe blackberries and black currants laced with roasted coffee, spices, loam and well-integrated lightly scorched oak all bursting from the glass. On the palate this is full-bodied with a gorgeous opulent texture as well as remarkable concentration and depth. Everything is kept well balanced from start to finish and the beautiful touch of underlying acidity provides jest enough lift to guide this through the long, supple finish. Overall, this is a flat-out delicious Cabernet, and while it is just about impossible to resist today, the future for this fantastic Cabernet looks even more promising.
64 DOMAINE DU PÉGAÜ Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Cuvée Réservée' 2015 #64 France Rhone Valley Châteauneuf-du-Pape 96 96 $75 $75 The 2015 'Cuvée Réservée' is an absolutely gorgeous showing and one of the most compelling wines from the vintage. It begins with beautiful aromatics of ripe cherries and raspberries which are woven together with exotic spices, smoke meat, floral and a touch of garrigue all taking shape. The medium-plus bodied is backed by a remarkable round, velvety texture, along with a lovely seamless quality as it expands beautifully across the palate. It continues to impress with its excellent overall balance and depth as it leads up to the incredibly long finish which leaves a lasting impression. While already extremely appealing, this sensational Châteauneuf-du-Pape shows the potential to evolve gracefully for well beyond a decade.
65 NO GIRLS Syrah, La Paciencia Vineyard 2015 #65 United States Washington Walla Walla Valley 96 96 $90 $90 The 2015 No Girls La Paciencia Vineyard Syrah is a stunning effort from this challenging vintage, which was plagued by serious heat spikes throughout the course of the year. Elizabeth Bourcier has been making this outstanding bottling since 2011, and the 2015 vintage marks another remarkeble release. It begins with a wonderful complex aromatic profile, which is beyond seductive and consists of green olive tapenade, bacon fat, umami and roasted marcona almonds. The palate shows wonderful elegance, with a silky mouthfeel marked by gorgeous red fruits accompanied by salted meats, as well as a savory seaweed character. The salinity, freshness and mouth-watering acidity is simply outstanding, making it extreamly compelling as a young wine. This is a total knockout, and should have an evolution of a decade, maybe even longer.
66 LIQUID FARM Chardonnay 'Golden Slope' 2016 #66 United States California Santa Rita Hills 94 94 $52 $52 In the 2016 Vintage, winemaker James Sparks blended the Golden Slope using fruit from Clos Pepe (23%), Ritas Crown (23%), Bentrock (19%), La Rinconada (13%), Kessler-Haak (13%) and Zotovich (9%). The result is a simply fascinating Chardonnay that is ripe and extreamly delicious. It opens with gorgoeus aromas of fresh sliced apples, tangerine, fresh herbs, honey, and flower blossoms all developing beautifully in the glass. It demonstrates wonderful balance, with gorgoeus fresh, pure fruit, all underlined by vibrant acidity on the finish. This is showing simply incredible upon release, and should continue to drink marvelously with some additional bottle age.
67 AU BON CLIMAT Pinot Noir 'Isabelle' 2014 #67 United States California Central Coast 94 94 $50 $50 'Isabelle' is wine that Jim Clendenen created for his daughter, which started with the first vintage back in 1995. It is composed from a blend of Pinot Noir sourced form premier vineyards across California, ranging from the central to the northern part of the state. The objective is to choose the best wines from each barrel to make this sensational blend. The wine itself offers an extreamly appealing nose, with seductive aromatics of strawberry, dark berry, eucalyptus, mesquite, savory herbs, leather and dried violets. The palate is soft and round, backed by vibrant acidity that continues into the long finish. While this is drinking beautifully now, this cuvée has a track record for evolving extremely well, and I expect there to be no exception with this fabulous release.
68 DOMAINE DE LA JANASSE Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Vieilles Vignes' 2015 #68 France Rhone Valley Châteauneuf-du-Pape 96 96 $100 $100 The 2015 'Vieilles Vignes' Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine de la Janasse slowly begins to release sultry aromatics of ripe boysenberry, blackberry cobbler and blueberries woven together with fresh violets, exotic spices, pepper, orange zest, lavender and hints of grilled herbs all taking shape. The medium-full body is dense and concentrated with remarkable overall balance and precision. Beautifully layered and complex, this beauty up picks up momentum as it heads into the long, lavish finish. While this is nothing short of seductive now, it shows signs for an even brighter future ahead.
69 DOMAINE DE BEAURENARD Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Blanc 'Boisrenard' 2016 #69 France Rhone Valley Châteauneuf-du-Pape 95 95 $75 $75 Sourced from a from a selection of old vines, 60-100 years old, and comprised mostly of Clairette and Roussanne, the 2015 'Boisrenard' blanc is simply gorgeous. It begins with pretty aromas of citrus blossoms, apples, white peaches and minerals which all take shape as this slowly begins to open. Beautifully textured and elegant, while displaying remarkable overall balance and precision through the beautiful finish. While this is already quite impressive in its youth, the best is yet to come for this sensational age-worthy blanc from Domaine de Beaurenard.
70 BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA 'Nicolás Catena Zapata' 2014 #70 Argentina Mendoza Mendoza 95 95 $120 $120 The 2014 Nicolás Catena Zapata is a simply stunning wine from Catena. It is composed of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Malbec, which was sourced from the high elevation vineyards of La Pirámide, Adrianna and Nicasia and spent 24 months in French oak barrels and an additional 24 months in bottle before release. The wine itself begins with inviting aromatics of blackberries, dark cherries and currents woven together with spring florals, dark chocolate shavings, graphite, herbs and hints of crushed stones all taking shape. On the palate this is full-bodied and firmly structured with remarkable overall balance. Concentrated flavors of dark cherries and blackberries continue to layer the palate as it expands beautifully on to the long, persistent finish. This is always an absolutely stunning wine from this iconic Mendoza estate and there is certainly no exception in this vintage, as this should go on to have a brilliant future ahead.
71 QUINTA DO CRASTO Douro, Touriga Nacional 2015 #71 Portugal Douro Douro 95 95 $78 $78 The 2015 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional is an absolutely gorgeous showing. This beautifully demonstrates the fresh, ripe characteristics of this vintage, as it displays a, opaque, inky color, this instantly begins to impress as it bursts open with beautiful fresh aromatics of ripe blackberries and cherries, which are woven together with intense violets, spices, wet stones and hints of tobacco which all reflect on the palate. This full-fodied red continues to impress with well -ntegrated tannins, outstanding structure and gorgeous supple texture. Showing remarkable concentration and balance through the long finish, this is a simply remaekable wine which should age gracefullly, yet is nearly impossible to resist now.
72 MASSICAN Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard 2017 #72 United States California Napa Valley 94 94 $45 $45 Sourced from 25-year-old vines in the famous Hyde Vineyard in Carneros, this Chardonnay is an absolutely fabulous showing. As this begins to open it releases brilliant aromatics of sliced apple, honey, crushed limestone, stone fruits, fresh herb and white floral blossom. On the palate this possesses a beautiful rich texture, balanced by a gorgeous touch of acidity that lingers beautifully on the finish. This is flat out delicious now and will also continue to gain complexity over the next decade. This is a total beauty from Dan Petroski, which should not be missed.
73 PHILIP TOGNI Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 #73 United States California Napa Valley 95 95 $150 $150 The 2015 Philip Togni Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is absolutely fascinating. It begins with an array of alluring aromatics, weaving together a lovely mix of dark and red berries combined with spring florals, graphite and a savory edge that are nearly impossible to resist. On the palate, this possesses an elegant, yet beautifully structured and restraint mouthfeel, combined with excellent overall balance and precision. This is remarkably well made and displays the characteristics Togni's wines are historically known for. Overall, this is utterly compelling wine which will thrive in the cellar and evolve gracefully for decades.
74 MELKA Proprietary Red, La Mekerra Vineyard 'Mekerra' 2015 #74 United States California Sonoma County, Knight's Valley 96 96 $150 $150 This fantastic Knight’s Valley red from Philip Melka is composed of 53% Cabernet Franc and 47% Merlot, which was aged for 22 months in French oak (60% new) prior to bottling. The wine starts off with seductive aromas of ripe dark fruits, chocolate, spice box, mocha and tar which all develop beautifully in the glass. The mouthfeel and texture is absolutely phenomenal, as layers of mocha, anise, crème de cassis and blueberry compote flavors all come together marvelously. The texture and viscosity is sumptuous, as this continues to thoroughly impress through the long finish. This should age tremendously well for years to come, however it is simply stunning now.
75 RED CAR Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard 2015 #75 United States California Russian River Valley 95 95 $58 $58 The Red Car Chardonnay from the famous Ritchie Vineyard is a spectacular wine in 2015. The old Wente clones are amongst the oldest and most prized in Sonoma and this is the fourth year Red Car has produced this wine from Ritchie Vineyard. It opens with gorgeous aromas of key lime custard, honey, ripe apple, white peach, fresh herbs, toasted almond and white flowers which all develop in the glass. On the palate this is rich, creamy and full-bodied, backed by tart acidity and pure fruit flavors as it displays excellent focus and precision through the log finish. This is a total knockout that checks all the boxes. Amazing today and should even become more compelling with bottle age.
76 Il POGGIONE Brunello di Montalcino, Riserva 'Vigna Pagnelli' 2012 #76 Italy Tuscany Brunello di Montalicno 96 96 $120 $120 The 2012 'Vigna Pagnelli' Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a total beauty from Il Poggione. This sensational Brunello begins with striking aromas of dark cherries, plums, spices with hints of smoke and mint all taking shape. On the palate this is beautifully textured and precise with remarkable overall structure, balance and depth through the finish. A simply stunning wine which beautifully showcases the overall quality and ripeness form this amazing vintage in Montalcino. This will age gracefully for many years to come.
77 BODEGA CONTADOR Rioja 'La Cueva del Contador' 2014 #77 Spain Rioja Rioja 96 96 $150 $150 The 2014 'La Cueva del Contador' is an utterly compelling Rioja. Immediately, you are drawn to the inky color, which is followed by highly perfumed aromatics with amazing range. Nuances of black tea, Asian spices, blackberry cobbler and milk chocolate all marvelously come together in the glass. The palate is seductive and deep, offering a generous, silky mouthfeel, which is layered with lavors of wild blackberry jam, mocha, anise, orange zest and hints of dried sage that thoroughly impress. This is a complete wine made by the talented Benjamin Romeo, which looks to have an exceedingly long life ahead.
78 R. LOPEZ DE HEREDIA Rioja Reserva 'Viña Tondonia' 2006 #78 Spain Rioja Rioja 94 94 $45 $45 The 2006 Viña Tondonia is a stunning effort from what was a challenging vintage in Rioja. The wine is a highly compelling blend of Tempranillo (75%), Garnacho (15%), Graciano and Mazuelo (10%), which was sourced from their estate vineyards and aged for six years prior to bottling. Needing some time to express itself, the wine offers an aromatic profile of cranberry, orange, red cherry candy and toasty oak aromatics. The palate is plush, as the wine glides through adding to the enjoyment. Red currants, blood orange zest, cigar ash and red cherry preserve flavors all beautifully weave their way through the palate. Showing wonderful ageing potential, this should cellar well for another fifteen plus years, however it is also drinking marvelously now.
79 JOH. JOS. PRÜM Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2016 #79 Germany Mosel Mosel 93 93 $45 $45 The 2016 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese is a sensational showing. This beautifully ripe and utterly delicious Riesling beings with striking aromas of white peach, lime zest, apricots, green tea and wet stones all taking shape. On the palate this displays an outstanding overall combination of ripe fruit and acidity, with a gorgeous textural richness that makes it nearly impossible to resist. It continues to impress as it demonstrates remarkable balance and precision through he succulent finish. While the Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese is already simply sublime, it looks to be destined for an even brighter future in years to come.
80 LINGUA FRANCA Chardonnay 'Bunker Hill' 2016 #80 United States Oregon Willamette Valley 94 94 $50 $50 First planted in 1995, the Bunker Hill Vineyard is located in the Salem Hills and benefits from the cooling winds of the Pacific Ocean through the Van Duzer corridor. The resultant wine starts off with aromas of vanilla, crème brûlée, peat moss, and ripe pineapple. The minerality and intensity to this wine is highly satisfying, as is the richness and brightness shines through. Poached pear, marzipan, crème brûlée and apricot flavors come to mind, as the wine showcases an exotic edge.
81 DELMAS Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 #81 United States Washington Walla Walla Valley 96 96 $85 $85 The 2016 Delmas Syrah is a head-turning wine that takes its seat at the high table in Washington Syrah. Sourced from the highly acclaimed SJR Vineyard, the Syrah is connected with 7.25% Viognier in the co-ferment and saw limited new oak prior to bottling. This instantly impressess as it exudes heady aromas of red currant jelly, cigar ash, blood orange rind, barn floor, crushed wet gravel and Asian spices which all come together beautifully and continue to bring you back to the glass for more. On the palate this silky, smooth and seductive red is well balanced and laced with flavors of cranberries, pomegranate, Mandarin orange, red cherry candy, peat moss and Umami. This has incredible range, precision, purity and focus from start to finish. Overall, this is a completely compelling wine from winemaker, Billo Naravane, which will cellar beautifully for a decade or more.
82 FERREIRA Vintage Port 2016 #82 Portugal Douro Porto 96 96 $95 $95 Composed of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz, the 2016 Ferreira Vintage Port is a total knockout. Displaying an opaque glass-staining inky color, this stunning Port instantly begins to impress with profound aromatics of blackberry reduction, blueberry compote and mission figs along with florals and raisins underlined by a touch of sweet spcies and a wet stone character rounding out the seductive nuances. This is rich, dense and deeply layered, with a gorgeous voluptuous texture and core of remarkably concentrated ultra-ripe black fruits and violets which envelop the palate. While this shows incredible power and intensity, there is also a wonderful sense of balance and poise. Overall this is a total hedonistic delight, and although utterly delicious now, it will also have a long brilliant future ahead for many years to come.
83 BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS DEL CONTINO Rioja, Gran Reserva 'Contino' 2010 #83 Spain Rioja Rioja 94 94 $50 $50 A superb Rioja, beaming with alluring aromatics of cherries, raspberries and plum, woven together with spices, leather and earthy nuances all taking shape. Beautifully structured with a medium-plus to full body backed by a gorgeous velvety texture and wonderful concentration through the long finish. The blend of Tempranillo, 15% Graciano, 12% Garnacha and a touch of Viura was aged in used French (60%) and American oak barrels for three years, followed by another three years in bottle. While this is impressive today, this fantastic Rioja will surely age gracefully, providing many years of pleasure to come.
84 RASA VINEYARDS Grenache 'Primus Inter Pares' 2016 #84 United States Washington Walla Walla Valley 95 95 $65 $65 Sourced from the famed Monette’s Vineyard in the Walla Walla Rocks AVA, this knockout Grenache was fermented in neutral puncheons prior to bottling. Smoked meats, blood orange rind, cigar ash and red rose petals mark the nose. This is beautifully feminine with red cherry, cranberries, guava puree and blood orange zest on the palate. This impossible to resist Grenache shows incredible range and complexity as the combination of weight, tension and range of this wine is almost unparalleled in Washington Grenache. Sexy, feminine and a delight to drink, this is a truly outstanding, one of a kind, wine from the utterly talented, Billo Naravane.
85 IL POLLENZA 'Il Pollenza' 2015 #85 Italy Tuscany Toscana IGT 96 96 $110 $110 The 2015 'Il Pollenza' is a magnificent showing, composed of predominately Cabernet Sauvignon, along with a dash of Merlot and Petit Verdot. It begins with captivating aromatics of dark cherries, plums and cassis woven together with tobacco, spices, leather, spring florals, forest herbs, tar and hints of crushed stones that all develop in the glass. This possesses a well defined, full body, which is beautifully structured with fine velvety tannins and remarkable overall precision and balance. It shows wonderful concentration and depth, with lovely streaks of minerality and vibrant acidity keeping it fresh and inviting through the long, silky finish. Sophisticated and classy, this is a total beauty from winemaker Carlo Ferrini. While already showing signs of greatness, this is ultimately an age worthy wine which will certainly have a incredibly long future ahead. That being said, I expect this will take a few more years before it hits its stride, and readers should highly consider tucking this away, or allowing extended air contact at the very least.
86 PODERE POGGIO SCALETTE 'Il Carbonaione' 2015 #86 Italy Tuscany Alta Valle della Greve 95 95 $60 $60 The 2015 'Il Carbonaione' is a simply sensational showing in this vintage. This Sangiovese di Lamole was sourced from the The Carbonaione vineyard, and spent 14 months in 90% French and 10% American, prior to 6 months bottle age. It begins with wonderful aromatics of cherries and blackberries, which are accompanied by spices, tobacco, florals and hints of leather all taking shape. This medium to full-bodied red is beautifully structured, with a sleek texture and remarkable finesse. It continues to impress as it displays excellent concentration and a lovely balance of fruit and acidity through the vibrant finish. While this is already offering plenty of early appeal, it also possesses the characteristics to thrive in the cellar.
87 RUDI PICHLER Riesling Smaragd Ried Hochrain 2016 #87 Austria Wachau Wachau 93 93 $65 $65 Sourced from old vines set on Gneiss, Granite and Loess, the Ried Hochrain Riesling shows striking minerality in the glass. The highly perfumed bouquet is reminiscent of apricot, ripe peach and wet stones. A touch of sweetness touches the mid-palate, showing impressive weight and unveiling flavors of ripe necarine, Gravenstein apple and kumquat with wet stone accents. A gorgeous age-worthy Riesling which should continue to drink well for years to come.
88 ENFIELD WINE CO. Cabernet Sauvignon, Waterhorse Ridge Vineyard 2015 #88 United States California Sonoma County 95 95 $70 $70 The 2015 Enfield Cabernet Sauvignon from the Waterhorse Ridge Vineyard in Fort Ross - Seaview is absolutely stunning. This gorgeous Cabernet is made in a traditional style, and instantly begins to impress with its striking aromas of ripe blackberries and dark cherries which are integrated with smoldering tobacco, green bell pepper, forest floor, dried spices and lovely hints of graphite nuances all coming together beautifully in the glass. On the palate this has a medium-plus body, with a sleek, velvety texture, backed by chalky tannins, bright acidity and incredible depth of flavor. It continues to impress with its outstanding, balance and focus leading up to the long, supple finish. This shows wonderful class and sophistication, and while already extremely attractive, it also should continue to evolve gracefully in the cellar.
89 LAURENT PERRIER Champagne Brut 'Grand Siècle' NV #89 France Champagne Champagne 96 96 $150 $150 The latest release of the Grand Siècle from Laurent Perrier is a truly spectacular Champagne. Disgorged in October 2017 the wine is a blend of the top wines made from 2002, 2004 and 2006. The bouquet is simply intoxicating with amazing range, from honeydew lemon to citrus rind, brioche and Japanese pear. On the palate, this shows an excellent combination of viscosity and tension. Apricot, Challah bread, marzipan and kumquat zest flavors all marvelously combine togehter. While this is a marvelous Champagne that is built to age, it is simply impossible to resist right now.
90 DOMAINE TEMPIER Bandol Rosé 2017 #90 France Provance Bandol 92 92 $45 $45 The 2017 Domain Tempier Rosé is a lovely showing, which begins with exotic aromas of white peaches, strawberries, grapefruit, tangerine, dried herbs, and hints of floral blossoms. Beautifylly balanced and textured, with gorgeous concentrated flavors of ripe melon, citrus and crushed stones, backed by a wonderful vibrant core leading up to the silky finish. Overall, the 2017 a fantastic Rosé with wonderful complexity and sophistication. While excellent now, this Rosé also has the potential to evolve remarkably well over the next few years.
91 DOMAINE HUET Vouvray, Le Mont, Demi-Sec 2017 #91 France Loire Valley Vouvray 93 93 $40 $40 Located in the Première Côte, Le Mont is one of the regions most esteemed vineyards. The vineyards reputation of yielding age-worthy, mineral driven wines, is certainly evident with the 2017 Le Mont Demi-Sec. This sensational Vouvray is laced with stony minerality on the nose, which is combined with wonderful nuances of quince, lime zest, honeysuckle and jasmine all taking shape. On the palate this is beautifully balanced, with a gorgeous texture that is underlined by wonderful streaks of minerality which carries on through the finish. While this is already simply delightful in its youth, it should also go on to age remarkably well.
92 PENFOLDS Red Wine 'RWT' 2016 #92 Australia South Australia Barossa Valley 96 96 $150 $150 The 2016 'RWT' is an absolutely sensational showing from Penfolds in this vintage. Aged in French oak puncheons for 12 months prior to bottling, this begins with oaky and chocolate nuances which provide a beautiful complement to the deep dark and blue fruit aromatics. The texture of this full-bodied red is sinfully good, as it glides beautifully across the palate leaving behind profound flavors of black tea, blueberry compote, blackberry cobbler, cigar ash and boysenberry cordial which utterly delight the senses. While this is nothing short of delicious now, it is ultimately an age-worthy wine that will demand some time in bottle before it fully hits its stride.
93 AYOUB Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2016 #93 United States Oregon Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills 94 94 $45 $45 The 2016 Ayoub Chardonnay is a standout wine from this exciting vintage that throughly impresses. This immediately starts off with inviting aromatics of lemon oil, baked apple and suggestions of apricot jelly. The palate is lithe and luscious, revealing lemon merriange, banana and roasted pineapple flavors. Exotic and layered, this yet another utterly fascinating Chardonnay from winemaker Mo Ayoub that should not be missed.
94 A. RAFANELLI Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2015 #94 United States California Dry Creek Valley 93 93 $50 $50 The 2015 Dry Creek Zinfandel from A. Rafanelli is a simply fabulous showing which displays wonderful class and sophistication. It begins with inviting aromas of dark berries, cherries, spices, pepper and an underlying floral note which all develop beautifully in the glass. On the palate this is beautifully structured with big velvety tannins that provide plenty of structure through the finish. While the 2015 is showing some early appeal, it is ultimately a wine which will need plenty of additional bottle age to soften and show its best stuff. Nonetheless, a fascinating bottle of Zinfandel that will provide years of drinking pleasure ahead.
95 ANTHONIJ RUPERT Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 #95 South Africa Coastal Region Franschhoek Valley 94 94 $80 $80 A stunning wine from Anthonij Rupert the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was sourced from Darling & Franschhoek the and was aged for 18 to 24 months in 90% new French oak, bottled unfiltered and bottle-aged for a further 24 months. It begins with intoxicating aromatics of dark cherries and black currants woven together with spice, herbs, tobacco and spring florals. On the palate this is beautifully textured and polished, with remarkable depth and concentration. It continues to impress with its fantastic overall complexity and range. This is outstanding now, but also will have a wonderful future ahead.
96 RHYS VINEYARDS Pinot Noir, Alpine Vineyard 2014 #96 United States California Santa Cruz Mountains 94 94 $100 $100 Sourced from the steeply sloped Alpine Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this Pinot Noir begins with gorgeous aromas of smoke, forest floor, mulberry and cherry cola. The silky texture and elegance is simply outstanding, as is the wonderful astringency and tension. Red currant jelly, red cherry cordial, cola and peat moss flavors captivate the senses. This is a truly outstanding Pinot Noir that will age gracefully for the next two plus decades.
97 DOMAINE VACHERON Sancerre 'Les Romains' 2016 #97 France Loire Valley Sancerre 95 95 $60 $60 The 2016 'Les Romains' is simply gorgeous, as it begins with striking aromatics of wildflowers, honey, lychee and cantaloupe that immediately draw you in. The texture and minerality is simply stunning, as flavors of with tree fruit and citrus oil leave a mark. The oily, unctuous character this possesses is found in very few Sauvignon Blancs. An absolutely brilliant wine from one of the leading producers in the region.
98 A.A. BADENHORST Red Blend 2015 #98 South Africa Coastal Region Swartland 93 93 $45 $45 The 2015 Red blend is a fantastic wine from Adi Badenhorst which is composed of a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Cinsault and Tinta Barocca. This instantly impresses as it opens to inviting aromatics of blackberries, raspberries, smoke, pepper, spices, violets and crushed stones all taking shape. This possesses a medium-bodied with a lovely silky texture, as well as wonderful overall balance and focus. Everything all comes together beautifully on the precise mineral-laced finish. While this is excellent now, it should only become more compelling as it evolves over the next decade.
99 CADUCEUS CELLARS 'Sancha' 2013 #99 United States Arizona Cochise County 94 94 $50 $50 The 2013 'Sancha' is an absolutely exceptional wine made from 100% Tempranillo, which was sourced from the Al Buhl Memorial Vineyard in Cochise County. The vineyard is located at 4300 feet elevation and some of the vines are as much as 29 years old. This begins with seductive aromatics of ripe blackberries and dark currents woven together with exotic spices, tobacco, dark cacao, wild flowers and hints of fresh mint all taking shape. On the palate this is full-bodied and nicely structured with remarkable depth and concentration. The tannins are beautifully polished and silky smooth, with a wonderful opulent texture through the long finish. While this is absolutely delicious today, it also displays wonderful ageing potential and should continue to develop even further over the course of the next decade.
100 WILLI SCHAEFER Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2017 #100 Germany Mosel Graach 92 92 $35 $35 The 2017 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett is wonderful effort from Willi Schaefer. This begins with a light, gold-tinged appearance, followed by vibrant aromas of white peach, lime, green tea and slate all taking shape in the glass. On the palate this is bright and focused with gorgeous acidity leading up to the pretty finish. This is a total beauty in its youth, yet should continue to evolve beautifully over the next decade.
 
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