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    Top 25 Wines of 2019!

    Top 25 2019It’s once again time to look back at the year just past, and highlight the best of the best from our wine experiences.? We do this a bit differently than the other Top Wines of the Year lists you’re used to.

    For one, we only show 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

    Our #1 for 2019 - Canard Throwback Cabernet

    Our #1 for 2019 – Canard Throwback Cabernet

    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 the Top 10 in November, or release the list in early December.? Since others release the final list that early, I wonder when they made the final cuts? For us, a year starts on Jan 1 and ends 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 2019.? There were some surprises, as always, and you’ll even find a Rosé in the Top 5!? That is a pretty monumental thing considering our usual ambivalence toward Rosé.? Once again, that is one of the great things about wine; there is always something new and different.

    If you click on the wine, you’ll go to our original review of it, which will contain a more detailed description.

    1. 2015 Canard Vineyards Throwback Cabernet Sauvignon – a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.? This is big yet IMG_2536focused, powerful but nuanced.? Iron fist in the velvet glove type of juice.? Wonderful wine.? $75
    2. 2012 Dona Maria Grande Reserva – made from 50% Alicante Bouschet, with the rest Syrah, Petit Verdot and Touriga Nacional, this is another rich red, and an incredibly complex one.? You can’t go wrong with this wine.? $45 and a great value at that price point.
    IMG_02253. 2015 Domaine Mouton Givry 1er Cru “Clos Jus” – a red Burgundy you might have a problem finding.? If so go online and check out Elden Selections, who imports it.? This is a beautiful Pinot Noir with luscious cherry flavor and loam, smoke, herbal notes and a hint of tar.? Really very impressive.? $46
    4. 2015 Abadia Retuerta Seleccion Especial – from the Sardon del Duero, adjacent to Ribera del Duero in IMG_0065Spain, comes this beautiful red blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.? Rich but rounded, and very drinkable now.? A steal at $35.
    2018 Rose5. 2018 Clif Family Rosé of Grenache – I know, with a Rosé in the Top 5 you’re thinking we have had too much to drink.? Not so, as this is just soooooo good.? My favorite rosé ever, period.? $26, but if you join their wine club that drops significantly.? It’s worth the $26.
    6. 2010 Shaw Vineyard Keuka Hill Blend – This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, in a 4/3/2 blend, which is how many barrels of each went into it.? There is not a lot, and that is a shame.? Also notice the year, 2010.? Steve Shaw ages his reds a long time, and it produces remarkable results.? Think of a wine with the berry flavors of Cabernet and Merlot, with the addition of the elegant leather and hints ofIMG_0178 tobacco you’d get from a great Rioja.? This is good wine, from the Finger Lakes.? $35, and I am buying a case to take home with me on my next visit.
    7. 2018 Two Hands Angel’s Share Shiraz – 100% Shiraz from McLaren Vale.? Rich, with a nose we described as “blueberry compote…over grilled steak”.? Throw in some spice and chocolate and you have a seriously good wine.? $33
    IMG_27808. 2013 Hermann J. Wiemer HJW Vineyard Riesling – one of their three, single vineyard Rieslings, this wine had delicate apple and peach aromas and flavors.? It is very linear, and just screams quality.? A wine from the Finger Lakes that will stand up to comparison with any Riesling, anywhere.? Their whole range is pretty great.? $39
    9. 2016 Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio Reserve Giatl – a luminescent, light golden color with waves of inot Grigio Reservalemon, peach and lychee fruit.? This has great acid, beautiful balance and is perfectly on point.? A little pricy for Pinot Grigio, but rather amazing.? $38
    10. 2016 Alexander Sandro Dry Red Wine – an incredibly smooth red blend from Galilee, in Israel.? This has no hard edges anywhere, and just drinks beautifully.? $25 and great value.
    11. 2014 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon – it’s great to see one of the pioneering labels in Napa Valley history returned to greatness.? This is great Cabernet, with opulent dark fruits, a focused profile and some caramel to coat the whole thing.? Delicious wine.? $65
    IMG_010912. 2015 Montabellon Tempranillo – This one is from the Ribera del Duero, and one of the most extreme values on this list.? Dark fruits, tobacco, wood tones, rich palate and a long finish all for $20.
    13. 2017 Indaba Mosaic – Clearly the most extreme value on the list, even more than the previous wine, this Indaba Frontred blend from South Africa has a complex and rich nose and palate. It drinks like a wine three times the price, at least.? We found it as low as $7.
    14. 2016 Gerard Bertran Thomas Jefferson Cremant de Limoux Brut – this pushes all the buttons, and is a really high quality sparkler in every way, for only $20.? I loved this wine.
    IMG_264815. 2018 Nik Weis St. Urbans Hof Estate Dry Riesling QbA– bright apple, melon and lemon from an organic wine.? Off dry, great acid and balance.? Everything you want in a top quality, off dry, German Riesling.? $18
    16. 2015 Felipe Steiti – from Mendoza, and Marcelo Pelleriti, comes this red blend.? It is mostly Malbec, with statiSyrah and Cab Franc.? Rich nose here, with the violet flowers of Malbec and some blueberry and earth.? Racy, with brisk tannins.? Big at 15%, but fresh.? Wait 2-3 years and this should be hitting it’s peak.? $25 and a steal.
    palazzo17. 2015 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre – from the Veneto, this red is always good and a go to wine.? In some vintages it just takes that step up to being an excellent wine.? This is a great vintage for it.? $18, and worth more.
    18. Vino dei Fratelli Mochetto – and now for something just plain delicious, this is a blend of Moscato with 10% Brachetto mixed in.? $18 and fun.
    19. 2017 La Bastarda White – from Renzo Masi, this 100% Pinot Grigio is sourced from Sicilian grapes. It is IMG_2235smooth and clean and $9.? Drinks so far above that number.
    IMG_011120. 2013 Bagueri Ribolla Gialla – a Slovenian white, this is very structured and very long.? It has a presence you don’t get from a lot of white wines.? Always excellent, and especially so here.? $30
    21. 2017 Banfi La Pettagola Vermentino – rich fruit here, and another well structured and significant white wine.? This is an excellent value at $16.
    22. 2017 Chappellet Dry Chenin Blanc – I got primarily pear on the nose, although this is not one note and there is a lot more going on. It is supremely well made.? $35
    23. 2013 Biltmore Antler Hill Rockpile Zinfandel ?a rich, fruit driven wine which will compare well with any top shelf, old

    The Amazing Rockpile Zinfandel

    vines Zinfandel.? Made in Sonoma by the Biltmore’s talented winemakers.? $50
    24. 2017 Saint Cosme C?tes du Rh?ne –?a complex, rich red with a fruit driven core.? This is well made, and a perfect choice for a good bottle of red everyone should like.? $15
    25.?2017 Hart Roussanne –?a Rhone varietal, this white from Hart Winery in the Temecula Valley of California is classic, with a crisp, substantial profile.? At 13.7% alcohol it is not shy, but drinks clean and smooth. with an edge.? $21


    IMG_0159IMG_0137chappellet dry chenin 2017

    IMG_26232017 St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone







    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 are so many great wines out there.? This is an endless, but enjoyable, task!

    We can’t wait to see what 2020 has to offer.

    A votre santé!

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