This blog will look quickly again at the wonderful wines coming out of France with the primary focus of the blog on my current wine buying list. This should provide a very broad view of the market today as our pallet is broad and moves with the vintages.
France is undergoing a wonderful stretch of vintages starting with 2014. The reds are tremendous but many require time to evolve. The Boudreaux’s will be approachable after 2023 or 25. Others like Chateau du Pape will be approachable much earlier. The unclassified bottlings many of us buy at under $25, yes inflation has set in, still will take time to evolve. If you desire early consumption decanter the wine while some is opening up in your glass.
As for the French whites we are enjoying them. Rhone whites can be very nice with fish and chicken. Since the budget does not allow for Montrachets we gamble a little and enjoy what evolves.
Over the last few months I have been compiling a list of desirable wines for early consumption. Growing conditions in many parts of the world have been favorable creating some wonderful options. The reds for early consumption may be a little more fruit forward. These will tend to be wines with less tannins but still not a bad idea to let it six for several months to evolve. I know it does not last that long. Sorry, it is all about inventory management. In our opinion aging the wines a little improves the quality of life. It just tastes better.
Bodega Norton Malbec Luján de Cuyo D.O.C rated 92 points @ $15
This refined and powerful red features concentrated red plum, raspberry and boysenberry flavors. Offers lilting spiciness midpalate, with a finish that features licorice and dried ginger accents. Drink now through 2021. 20,000 cases made.
Hess Family Latin America Malbec Salta Amalaya rated 90 points @ $16
A fleshy red, with concentrated blackberry and dried blueberry flavors supported by fresh acidity. Mineral and dark chocolate notes linger with hints of white pepper on the finish. Drink now through 2020. 50,000 cases made.
Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza rated 87 @ $13
This offers a supple mix of dried red fruit, humus and sanguine flavors. The finish has spiced cherry notes. Drink now. 65,000 cases imported.
Jean Bousquet Malbec Tupungato Valley rated 87 @ $13
Plenty of crisp cherry and crushed red plum flavors are supported by medium-grained tannins. Graphite notes show on the finish. Drink now. 40,000 cases made.
Viña Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Reserva rated 91 @ $15
Dark plum and dried red berry flavors dominate this muscular red, with plenty of minty and savory accents. Medium-grained tannins support chocolate and cream details on the finish. Drink now through 2021. 25,000 cases made
CANOE RIDGe Merlot Horse Heaven Hills The Expedition 2015 Score: 90 Release Price $16
Sleek and supple, with black cherry and dark chocolate aromas and layered plum and orange zest flavors that linger toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2020. 12,000 cases made.
CHÂTEAU PUYGUERAUD Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 2015 Score: 90 Release Price $16
Lively, with a light brambly hint throughout, while damson plum, raspberry and bitter cherry notes dart to and fro. The sleek finish has juniper and savory hints for added energy. Drink now through 2021. 12,500 cases made.
SANTA CRISTINA Toscana 2015 Score: 89 Release Price $13
A light, juicy red, boasting black cherry, blackberry and herb flavors. More fruity than complex, with moderate grip. Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now. 7,200 cases imported.
CHÂTEAU ST.-DIDIER Malbec Cahors Prieuré de Cénac 2015 Score: 89 Release Price $16
Fresh and concentrated, with blueberry, black cherry and licorice flavors, underpinned by violet and herb accents. This expressive version has juicy acidity and light tannins that ease into a crisp, floral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2020. 100,000 cases made.
KINGS RIDGE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2015 Score: 89 Release Price $18
Focused on a medium-weight frame, this offers cherry, licorice and wet earth flavors that glide over powdery tannins and into a long and expressive finish. Drink now through 2020. 21,000 cases made.
JOSH CELLARS Pinot Noir Central Coast 2014 Score: 88 Release Price $18
Pure, rich and vibrant, with a zesty mix of wild berry, raspberry, licorice, savory herb and cassis notes. Fills out the palate, leading to a long, persistent finish that keeps echoing the core flavors. Drink now through 2021. 78,076 cases made.
PETER LEHMANN Shiraz Barossa The Barossan 2015 Score: 92 Release Price $20
Dense, with sink-your-teeth-into-them tannins and fleshy notes of spiced plum and wild blackberry. Tobacco, espresso and nutmeg details add aromatic interest, but the focus and purity of the fruit flavors is most powerful on the long finish. Drink now through 2029. 40,000 cases made.
Malbec Salta Amalaya 2016 Score: 90 Release Price $16 Country Argentina
A creamy and lush-tasting red, with vibrant crushed red fruit flavors. The peppery finish has good cut and length, showing plenty of juiciness. Drink now through 2020. 55,000 cases made
Malbec Mendoza Uno 2014 Score: 90 Release Price $18 Argentina
This well-structured red offers rich flavors of dried raspberry and cherry tart accented by beefy notes. The minerally finish is refined and well-spiced. Drink now through 2020. 70,000 cases made.
Turley – Zinfandel California Juvenile 2015 Score: 90 Release Price $20 California
Vibrant and zesty, with peppery black cherry aromas and elegantly complex flavors of berry cobbler and licorice. Drink now through 2023. 12,000 cases made.
FREI BROTHERS Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Reserve 2015 Score: 89 Release Price $20 California
Expressive raspberry jam aromas open to snappy, fruit-forward cherry and spicy cinnamon flavors. Drink now through 2022. 17,000 cases made.
Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua 2015 Score: 88 Release Price $13 Chile
This fleshy red offers dried berry and roasted plum flavors that are firm and well-spiced. Savory and white pepper notes show on the finish. Drink
Matua Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough rated 90 @ $12
Succulent, fleshy peach and nectarine flavors are accented by Key lime, mango and ruby grapefruit notes. Shows nice intensity on the long, expressive finish. Drink now. 589,000 cases made
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Abeilles 2016 rated 88 @ $13
Juicy and solid, with a ball of red licorice and plum paste flavors backed by a light graphite spine. Perfect for the back-deck grill. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Drink now. 30,000 cases made
Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc California rated 89 @ $14
Silky and elegant, with crisp Key lime, Meyer lemon and fresh herbal shadings on a light, refreshing body. Shows plenty of persistence on the finish. Drink now. 74,000 cases made.
Alamos Chardonnay Mendoza 2015 rated 89 @ $13
A rich and zesty white, offering crisp, concentrated flavors of green apple and ripe citrus that are matched to pastry notes. The buttery finish shows dried herbal accents. Drink now through 2020. 40,000 cases
VIÑEDOS EMILIANA Chardonnay Bío Bío Valley Natura Un-Oaked 2016 Price $11
Honeysuckle and snap pea notes enliven the apple, ripe citrus and gooseberry flavors in this white, with creamy details on the crisp and succulent finish. Drink now. 14,000 cases imported.
Gavi Principessa Gavia 2015 Score: 88 Release Price $16
A rich, buttery style, boasting peach, apple and almond flavors. Though balanced on the soft side, this finishes with ample zip. Drink now. 20,500 cases made.
JOSEPH DROUHIN Mâcon-Villages 2015 rated 88 @ $!6
Round and juicy, this evokes apple, peach and lemon aromas and flavors. Elegant and open, with a moderately long finish. Drink now. 10,000 cases imported.
LOUIS JADOT Bourgogne White 2015 rated 88 @ $18
Vanilla and toast flavors highlight the apple and lemon core in this rich white. Balanced and easygoing, with moderate length. Drink now. 65,000 cases made.
LOUIS JADOT Mâcon-Villages 2015 rated 87 @ $15
A rich, ripe style, this white carries peach, melon, apple pie and anise flavors on broad shoulders. On the soft side, but not flabby. Drink now. 75,000 cases imported
The wines on the right are the best wines for the money. Most are under $100 and have more than a few cases.
Please note two wines standout: The 2014 wines from France and the 2012 Italian Brunello coming on the market.
Chateau Du Pape 2014
Domaine de Beaurenard – Chateau du Pape 2015 rated 97 points
Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelieux Clos du Boug 2016 rated 97 points
Domaine St. Prefert – chateau du Pape Auguste Favier 2015 rated 97 points
Altesino Brunello our 40th Harvest – 2012 rated 96
Collemattoni – Brunello 2012 rated 96
Concha y Toro – Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Fon Melchor 2014 rated 96
San Felice Brunello 2012 rated 96
Clos Fourtet St Emillion 2014 rated 95
Chateau Guiraud Sauternes 2014 rated 95
Chateau St Come Gigondas 2015 rated 95
le Vieux Donjon Chateau Du Pape 2015 rated 95
Domaine Du Vieus Telegraphe Chateau Du Pape 2015 rated 95