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    Top 25 Wines of 2018!

    Top 25 2018It’s time to look back at the year just past, and highlight the best of the best from our wine experiences.? We tend to do this a bit differently than the other Top Wines of the Year lists you’re used to.

    For one, we only do 25 wines in our list.? This is for several reasons, but primarily because we don’t sample and review thousands of wines every year, and we don’t have a crack team of wine editors and staff writers to help go through an exhaustive process.? We usually sample about 500 – 700 wines every year, and there are only two of us!? Thus, this is based solely on our opinions.? We rank using many factors.? These include price, quality, resulting value and, of course, the WOW factor that a special wine provides.? It’s usually easy to list the top 10 or so, and especially the top 2-3, as these made an impression that is lasting and stayed with us. This year was no exception.

    The second major difference is that we do our list at the actual end of the year.? We don’t preview

    Our #1 Wine of 2018

    Our #1 Wine of 2018

    the Top 10 in November, or release the list in early December.? Since they release the final list that early, I wonder when they made the final cuts? For us, 2018 started Jan 1 and ended Dec 31.? That’s what the calendar tells us.

    You’ll find red wines, and white wines.? Maybe there will be something bubbly.? There will be wines from all over the world, generally, and some which hopefully will surprise you.? What you won’t see is anything over $100 retail. That is our cutoff point.? Most wines will be far less.

    So here they are, our Top 25 for 2018.? If you click on the wine, you’ll go to our original review of it, which will contain a more detailed description.

    1. 2013 The Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon – a wine by South African wine icon Ken Forrester, but not a South African wine.? This is a collaboration with Sonoma’s Jesse Katz.? It was our top wine from the September Newport Mansion Wine & Food Festival.? Rich yet focused.? Complex and long.? Just a baby but oh so good.? $100, and worth everyIMG_1618 penny.? Only eight barrels were made.
    2. 2015 Hickinbotham ‘Brooks Road’ Shiraz – from a storied vineyard, in the McLaren Vale of South Australia, which has supplied grapes to great wines of the past made by Penfolds and Hardy’s.? Now it provides the material for great wines under the Hickinbotham label.? This was a fruit laser beam.? We also reviewed two Cabs and a Merlot from Hickinbotham, and you’ll see one of them later on. $75
    3. 2015 Clif Family Petit Sirah – from one of our favorite winemakers, Laura Barrett.? This is rich, layered and had a beautiful IMG_1497caramel note.? Another focused, yet concentrated and powerful wine.? As with the great reds, you sense the power but appreciate the subtleties. $45 from the winery.
    IMG_26254. 2014 Qupe Rousanne – yes Virginia, we do drink white wine.? This is a great one.? A somewhat unusual, 100% Rousanne from California, the wine is a complex basket of bright, clean but significant aromas and flavors. We loved it. $40
    5. 2012 Trinchero BRV Cabernet Sauvignon – another great Cab from the Newport festival, this is big and so rich.? Luxurious is a word that fits perfectly here. Trinchero hadIMG_1974 a run of great wines that day on their table. This was the best.? $80
    6. 2017 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc / Viognier – a blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier, this is full of peach and pear that IMG_1965just presents beautifully.? Beautiful price too at $12. Big time value wine here.
    IMG_19307. 2016 Dr. Loosen Erdemer Treppehen Riesling – from the Mosel region, and the perfect balance between a touch of sweetness and bright acid, which only a Riesling can do this well.? (O.K. – maybe a Chenin Blanc could too, and a couple of others.? In fact-? just forget I said anything).? This is quality.? $40
    8. 2014 Bertani Valpenta Amarone – aged in small barriques, and very focused with a lighter touch than your typical Amarone. Still full bodied and balanced.? $42
    9. 2015 Saint Bris Sauvignon Blanc – from vineyards in Burgundy,? 20 miles outside Chablis, but not Chardonnay.? Right there this is different, and it is delicious, bright and clean, but brings some serious elements along for the ride.? $15 and a case buy candidate.
    10. 2016 Barnard Griffin Columbia Valley Syrah – from Washington State, this wine is full bodied, has dark fruit and a long finish.? It is a great value as well at $16, and about as good a red wine as you’ll find at that price point.
    11. 2018 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages Nouveau – released with the other, young Beaujolais Nouveau, this wine drinksIMG_2138 more like a Cru Beaujolais.? It is rather stunning actually, and one of the biggest surprise wines of the year.? I just wasn’t expecting this much depth and substance from a Beaujolais Nouveau.? At $14 it is a steal.? 2018 looks to be a vintage to remember in Beaujolais.
    12. 2016 Ken Forrester ‘The FMC’ – always an excellent Chenin Blanc, in some years this goes to ridiculous heights of greatness.? This was also at Newport, and several people dragged their friends to the table to try this while we were going through the wines.? We know why.? Amazing wine.? $65.
    13. 2014 El Enemigo Cabernet Franc – Cab Franc is so underrated as a stand alone varietal.? When done right it is just wonderful.? This wine is from the Catena Family of Argentina, and it is done right.? Full body, focused fruit and lots of complex nuances.? $28
    14. 2014 Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard Malbec – also from Catena, but in another league, this is a single vineyard, high

    The Great Nicasia Vineyards Malbec

    The Great Nicasia Vineyards Malbec

    altitude Malbec with an initial lean profile that opens up amazingly into a complex red.? Leather, caramel, violets.? $100
    15. 2015 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec – from Mendoza, Argentina, and only $22, this drinks like a $40 bottle of wine, easily.? We were taken aback by the relative quality, and thus the value, of this wine.
    2016 Pinot Noir16. 2016 Gooseneck Vineyards Pinot Noir – Gooseneck Vineyards works with small producers around the world to create quality wines at reasonable prices. They also tend to instill some unique quality, or different aspect, into a traditional varietal.? This is from Oregon fruit and an amazing Pinot for under $20.
    17. 2018 Domaine Bila-Haut L’esquerda – from the Languedoc – Roussillon region in southern France, this wine is resplendent with dark fruit and a complex profile.? $28
    William Hill Cab 201518. 2015 William Hill Estate Northcoast Cabernet Sauvignon – this is a value pick all the way.? What you get is really delicious Cabernet for $12.? That is something to celebrate.
    19. 2015 Concha y Toro Don Melchor – this is an iconic red blend from Chilean house Concha y Toro.? This particular vintage is Don Melchor 2015stunning, and if you have $100 to throw at a bottle of wine, this is another good choice.
    20. 2015 Kanonkop Estate Pinotage – from one of our favorite South African producers, this wine shows what Pinotage can be.? It can be pretty special.? $45
    21. 2015 Dafnios Liatiko – a medium bodied red from Greece, this wine has.a streak of iron through it that just works.? Only $15 and different.
    22. 2017 Tre Monti Vigna Rocca Albano Secco – from the Emilio Romagna province of Italy, this white is golden colored with aromas of apricot and orange peel.? Structured with surprising body.? $16
    23. 2017 Coppo Moncalvina Moscato d’Asti – pretty delightful, wonderfully light and ethereal, this is a perfect Moscato.? $15.IMG_2096 Could drink this everyday.
    IMG_120224. 2016 Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett – another killer Riesling, dry with balanced acidity, clean fruit and a wonderfully long finish.? $22
    25. 2012 Uccelliera Rapace – a red, Super-Tuscan blend from Uccelliera, known for world class Brunello, this is a rich red with an edge.? Made from 70% Sangiovese, with the rest Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.? $30

    There you have it, 25 wines worth your consideration, across a wide spectrum of styles and price.? You can’t go wrong with any of them.

    There were certainly more wines which we thought should be part of your wine journey as well, and we list a few of them below, in no particular order.

    2014 L’Ecole #41 Columbia Valley Syrah – $24IMG_1499
    2016 Concha y Toro Serie Riberas Gran Reserva Chardonnay – $17
    2016 Clif Family Dry Gewurtztraminer?– $30? (different and delicious)
    2015 Hickinbotham ‘Trueman’ Cabernet Sauvignon?– $75? (another world class wine)
    2017 Trivento White Orchid – $11
    2016 Alexander Valley Vineyards Merlot – $17IMG_1622
    2016 Domaine Bousqet GAIA White Blend?– $17

    So much wine, so little time.? Best to get cracking!

    We can’t wait to see what 2019 has to offer.

    A votre santé!

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