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BY THE EDITORS OF WINE ENTHUSIAST MAGAZINE
W I N E
ach year, the editors of Wine Enthusiast compile the list of their favorite wines of the year. While most featured have received high scores from our critics, many go far beyond the numbers assigned to them, either for their extraordinary quality-to-price value, their immediate drinkability, or their uniqueness. All are diverse and offer a window into the terroir from which they were made. And perhaps most importantly, all are available in the U.S. market. We also strive to consider newsworthiness or excitement factor, and whether a wine represents notable trends in the wine market. This year’s Number One wine is a prime example: Pinot Noir being the buzz wine of the past few years, Cambria combines high quality with a reasonable price and is made in sufficient quantities as to be generally available. Within the limits of what we tasted over the past year, we’ve tried to include wines that not only represent many different regions and grape varieties, but also vary in style. You’ll find wines from all the major wine-producing countries across the full spectrum of grape varieties in sparkling and still, table, dessert and fortified wines. One of the things we value most in the wine world is diversity, and this is one way of applauding it.
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$80. $41. $90. with notes of chalk and limestone in the finish. or at least more delicious now. Ultimately. In 2005 Poet’s Leap 2007 Riesling (Columbia Valley. apricots and almonds ride beautifully into the soft finish. This is the best 4 to Harlan Estate in structure. Imported by Kobrand. Just lovely. In the mouth. blueberry pie and Asian spice flavors. and in some ways. made even richer by smoky oak. it’s a refined.1 3 the Loire in Montlouis. all from the same vineyard. peach and hints of sweet grapefruit. based across 93 Michele Chiarlo 2006 Reyna (Barbaresco). from the first sniff to the last sip. Complex. 5 8 94 100 Charles Smith 2006 Royal City Syrah (Columbia Valley). a superior wine. everything comes together in a commendable knit. with hedonistic black fruit aromas and all the accents of leather. powerful and detailed. Imported by Louis Dressner Selections. $40. and gets even better as it breathes in the glass. licorice and cinnamon spice. Thick and rich. and just shows that price sometimes has no relationship to quality. Pinot Noir at this price on the market. $45. Imported by Henriot Inc. There’s depth and great promise of fruit here. pear. cedar. Rich scents of purple fruit. It will drink beautifully for five-plus years. There is extreme freshness here. cedar. beautifully balanced. 94 Henriot NV Souverain Brut (Champagne). moist earth and so on proclaim a wine with genuine gravitas. A beautifully fine mousse CLICK ON LABELS FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCER W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . this is a stunning achievement in a challenging vintage. $21. named Heart. This year’s Matriarch is very similar 93 2 Choice. Editors’ Choice. absolutely dry and silky. cola. It’s picture-perfect cool climate. It has some weight. Loaded with honeysuckle. Charles Smith introduced three high-end Syrahs. flavors of green apples. This bottling tastes young and would be worth aging six months. herbal accents. tannic grip or acidity. the style dry but rich. the wine delivers on all levels. Skull and Old Bones. by combining them into a single wine—Royal City Syrah. lead pencil. ginger. 93 Cambria 2006 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley). and it doesn’t sacrifice anything. melon. In 2006 Smith has made a wine better than each of these. Mandarin orange. Easily. indicates the class of this finely molded wine. Chidaine. Le Bouchet is an off-dry wine that balances a core of minerality and acidity against intense richness. Drink now through 2013. 6 93 François Chidaine 2006 Le Bouchet (Vouvray). with hints of fresh apricots. Editors’ Choice. cinnamon and dusty mineral. has only recently begun making wine from Vouvray as well. pomegranates. Imported by Banfi Vintners. tobacco and olive that come with a great Chilean Cabernet. Editors’ Choice. Flavors of sweet plums. which is wrapped within folds of vanilla. 7 Concha y Toro 2006 Terrunyo Old Pirque Vineyard Block: Las Terrazas Cabernet Sauvignon (Pirque). Buoyant and precise. What makes the structure so gorgeous are the firm tannins. Editors’ 98 BOND 2005 The Matriarch (Napa Valley). with complex flavors of cherries. Hard to imagine a better one for drinking over the next decade. The mouthfeel is plush and velvety and the wine ends with tart but succulent tannins. Here’s a wine that holds its own in a ranking of top Nebbiolos. $20. be it berry fruit. There is nothing missing. this juicy wine perfectly captures the intensity of Washington Riesling and the complexity of German wines. exquisite red wine. smoked meat. Shows the most beautiful black currant. $21.
crème brûlée. This wine’s concentrated 95 Maurodos 2005 San Román (Toro). 12 14 95 Kaesler 2006 Old Vine Shiraz (Barossa Valley). sweet smoky bacon. date nut cookie. mocha and meaty blackberry. The wine itself is totally dry and silky and firm in acidity. the cinnamon and brown sugar. a lightness to go with the concentration of the dried fruits and orange zest flavors. How they MacPhail. Au Bon Climat 2006 Santa Barbara Kracher 2005 Zwischen den Steen Historic Vineyards Collection Bien Nummer 8 Trockenbeerenauslese Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay (Santa Maria Welschriesling (Burgenland). spice and Editors’ Choice. vanilla and dried spices. yet soft in fine tannins. cocoa nibs and espresso granules all abound on the nose. The most complex of all the Betz blends. intensity and guile. 96 Let us drink!—who would not? Since through life’s varied round. Imported by Grapes of Spain. butter-sautéed banana. Chardonnay doesn’t get much better 98 96 16 of the acidity. Pinot Noir (Green Valley). $103. It’s opaque as midnight without a moon. Brilliant acidity makes it all clean and alive. grip and concentration. The intensity Valley). CLICK ON LABEL FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCER than this. with is balanced by perfect acidity. The essence of TBA. In the goblet alone no deception is found. Best from 2010–2016. Ltd. $67. $58. whose own MacPhail Pinot Noirs are so good. passion fruit and butterscotch flavors. 93 Laurent Miquel 2005 Saga Pegot Syrah (Faugères). The palate is both magnetic and sly. is what is astonishing about this wine. in this vintage it includes 84% Cabernet Sauvignon—far and away the dominant flavor. backed by dark juicy black raspberries. Editors’ Choice. peach pie. the winegrower is James Chardonnay (Chalone). It’s eruptive in cherries. and the nose is a delectable blend of vanilla. black licorice note adds extra length to the finely textured finish. showing exemplary back of the palate my heart to its core. 11 13 brooding. $50. LORD BYRON W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . TheI fill the goblet again! For I never fruits unfold in a rich panoply of reds and blues. muscular. Gorgeous. seductive and brilliant. Finishes a mile long. smoked meat and black fruit on the palate. piercing through the sweetness. A pronounced peppery. earthy flavors that add notes of soil. $60. but this newest vintage is up to the task. 15 manage to make dessert pastry flavors taste dry is a mystery. earth and spice complexity. black forest cake. Imported by Vin Divino. young and tight. Moody. Yet all that opulence fruit is concentrated. You might call it noble. $39. a truly great Pinot Noir that’s impeccable now.9 dark fruit shows in the color—a vibrant dark garnet—and in the aromas of blueberry. We would not have expected anything to match the stellar 2004 San Román. Totally gorgeous. hickory. Imported by Frederick Wildman & Sons. vanilla-covered orange and spicy mocha latté flavors. polished and Felt the glow which now gladdens complex. spice. magnifying the intense cola. This wine does not mess around. mineral. Editors’ Choice. with cream. creamy density on the palate. but augments things with controlled chocolate and spice. manifesting only as wonderfully full. The 16% alcohol is well concealed. Bursts with grilled pineapple-infused Betz Family 2006 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley). complex and Editors’ Choice. It gives the wine an ethereal quality. This 95 Testarossa 2007 Brosseau Vineyard cool Green Valley. raspberry granola and oaky sandalwood. it pumps black fruit galore. tea. toasty. $28. this is a superb wine and an exceptional value. Drink now–2020. Imported by Epicurean Wines. Whatever the answer is. pure and evocative. this utterly delicious wine erupts with pineapple tart. 10 distinctive Pinot Noir’s source is a tiny vineyard in 97 Sequana 2007 Sundawg Ridge Vineyard Editors’ Choice. before the tannins are rich and chewy. dusted with This is taut. Purple violets. $35. —GEORGE GORDON. yet has no trace of residual sugar. Full and firmly structured in the mouth with notes of pepper.
this small-production Pinot features tiers of tart red cherries. floral lightness with a potent intricacy to produce a wine of vast intellectual interest.manages to bring out both richness and a Potent and promising on the nose. Proprietary Red Wine (Napa Valley). Imported by Robert Kacher Imports. Wait 2–3 years. $50. When he dines alone in chambers. 96 Mount Eden 2005 Estate Bottled Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains). 95 René Muré 2004 Clos St Landelin Vorbourg Grand Cru Pinot Gris (Alsace).C.. mint. 24 93 Montirius 2006 Le Clos (Vacqueyras). acidity and smoky oak is near perfect. deep black fruit. An impressive wine that 94 Carmelo Rodero 2004 Reserva Tempranillo (Ribera del Duero). The Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend (with Touriga Nacional and Petit Verdot) sees to that. W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . cherry. Dry and somewhat tannic. Johann Schmelz has produced a voluptuous wine. $35. heralded by the remote reverberation of thundering doors. lavender. silky texture. The essence of raspberries here is Editors’ Choice. Imported by Vinos and Gourmet Inc. and the balance of rich. the fruit still behind. The wine is a blend of Bordeaux varieties and Syrah. full of ripe fruits and a velvet texture. clove and gin. and wrapped into a rich. balanced whole. wonderful shower of fresh flavors. Rita Hills). Of course. cate. $40. thickness. with a firm. enjoying a bottle of old port. and crisp in tangy acidity. that blushes in the glass to find itself so famous. glazed oak. Charles Dickens 97 Lynmar 2007 Hawk Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley). providing a decadent palate experience. peach pie. A massive Chardonnay. Imported by Prescott Wines. Feels fat and glyceriney in the mouth. a tension of acidity and tannins. A tremendous achievement. gorgeous. anise and pepper. The best Rodero wine we’ve rated to date. the acidity is there.and fills the whole room with the fragrance of southern grapes. So the ripe pineapple and pear fruits combine with an edge of spice. 94 Tegernseerhof 2008 Steinertal Riesling (Wachau). Editors’ Choice. possibly beyond. 18 97 Melville 2007 Carrie’s Pinot Noir (Sta. two score and ten years old. edged with the honeyed sweetness of smoky. buttered cinnamon toast. $52. coffee and deftly applied oak. changing and evolving over time. Then they are lifted to a great height by the acidity. $30. giving the wine a crisp edge. $38. . currants. Imported by Blue Danube Wine Co. Yet it’s perfectly dry. gerbread follow through to a dense palate with intriguing notes of white chocolate and honey. and the wine of the vintage. encircled by an earthy atmosphere and carrying a bottle from which he pours a radiant nectar. Though a hard-grained man. which is one of his many secrets. Floods the mouth with decadent black currant. this is still young. but it is the rich structure and flavors of apricots. Imported by Blue Danube Wine Co. Dense and full-bodied. 21 extraordinarily lush. dry. close. and should develop bottle complexity for at least six years.17 19 23 $61. Tulkinghorn sits at one of the open windows. caramel and vanilla flavors. —Bleak House.P. as he has dined to-day. but features greater elegance and finesse. the fruit skin texture and a final burst of floral intensity.. cola. with tremendous grilled pineapple. Editors’ Choice. Serve with a mousse of foie gras. Imported by Admiral Imports. red apples and spice that blend together in a harmonious. Just 22 $48. even more expressive than in the 2005. Stagecoach and Caldwell. Beautiful now. The balance is exquisite. Stunning aromas of orange. drink now or hold through 2015. comes gravely back. Despite its 4 years’ aging. dramatic Pinot Noir. 93 Companhia das Quintas 2005 Quinta de Pancas Grande Escolha (Estremadura). elegant structure. structure and trimmings like clove. he descends with a candle to the echoing regions below the deserted mansion. Combines a deli- 20 $25. Editors’ Choice. with rich. Editors’ Choice. baking spice and exotic spices. butterscotch. with driving berry fruit flavors. it shows flashy flavors of black and red berries. Imported by Vintage ’59 Imports. and silent. chocolate. Screwcap. It should age effortlessly for at least six years. producing the tightly textured tannins. $70. As it airs out it only gets better. cola.Mr. beef jerky and smoky oak flavors that stun for their addictive deliciousness. The high level of sweetness is effectively countered by bright acidity. enhanced with the most perfect application of smoky oak. rosehip tea. Editors’ Choice. he can enjoy old wine with the best. and has his bit of fish and his steak or chicken brought in from the coffee-house. An 25 95 Buoncristiani 2005 O. ripe tannins. He has a priceless bin of port in some artful cellar under the Fields. and outstanding as a whole. 26 94 Schmelz 2007 Pichl Point Grüner Veltliner Smaragd (Wachau). Long and pure on the finish. from esteemed vineyards including Hyde. accented by hints of crushed herbs (garrigue). Drink now–2015. anise. but acidity contributes to the firm. earthy minerality. and. The wine sits foursquare on structure. It’s not as rich or concentrated as the 2005. pomegranates and dusty spices.
dark chocolate and rich River Valley). At the magic word Champagne. Pinot-esque suppleness. airy mouthfeel. 94 Lustau NV Almacenista Palo Cortado de Jerez. Easy to like a lot now for its Asian spices last forever on the finish. raspberries. but the fruit is gener. this 2006. in the Merry Edwards style. Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir (Russian crushed black pepper. Editors’ Noir (Russian River Valley). its éclat. anise. Muscular but in perfect shape. Also shows a silky. dull and torpid with good feeling. But it’s way too young now. its sparkle and its perfume. Awesome intensity is followed by firm structure: Drink after 2015. silky smooth and endowed with beautiful herb and mineral notes along with light oak. $55. spice and pepper. A Marc de Grazia selection. making this an easy wine to enjoy now or an excellent candidate to hold for 3–5 years. tea leaves. tamari and a with austerity. possibly longer. classic Zinfandel. beef jerky. which length. and the final taste is of beautiful. Yet the tannin-acid structure is superb. 94 Sottimano 2005 Fausoni (Barbaresco). terrifically rich flavors of cherries. — Charles Baudelaire W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . Currants. with its amber hue. pepper and Bonny Doon 2006 Le Pousseur Syrah smoky cedar flavors that finish with amazing (Central Coast). roasted nuts. The nose is pure toffee. $50. A beautiful style of elevated 96 94 as any vintner when it comes to vine maintenance and winemaking. 31 time in the bottle. but with should age through 2012. with layers of apricot and peach. is loaded with intense plum. This is a delicate yet complex wine of true character and depth with a beautiful bouquet of rich dark fruit. which is powerfully ripe and extracted. Imported by Michael Skurnik Wines. Unique and compelling. Editors’ Choice. It’s drinkable right now and should hold steady and/or improve over the next five years. licorice. balanced with crisp acids. with a finish as smooth as glass. cola. the guests. a cool part of the southeastern valley heavily influenced by fog. $90. the elegance of Coutet that shows so well in this delicious wine. heart-stopping lift. This wine is alluring. 95 The vineyard is in Fulton. $63. This bottling. f e w d r o p s o f b a l s a m i c .Editors’ Choice. The balance is fantastic.27 Sherry that’s worth every cent if fine Sherry is to your liking. Editors’ Choice. look no futher. apricot and mellow quince. anise. $42. in the wink of an eye (or the pop of a cork) the whole banquet has changed its physiognomy. and the vines are about 100 years old. an obvious ager. This is great. arouses the senses and produces a cheerfullness which flashes through the company like a spark of electricity. raspberry tart. Made Choice. its acidity and tannins dominant. Stash this beauty. mocha and smoky sandalwood flavors that take over and dazzle the palate. and Rhône. sweet cherry and chocolate are the most obvious aromas. Imported by Luxe Vintages. and is profoundly rich in Dutton Estate 2007 Dutton Ranch Zinny flavor. yet always balanced. 93 36 baresco that presents a veritable wall of flavors that surrounds you on all sides: Vanilla. Best 2011–2013. $38. bone dry and compelling in the intricacy of flavors. the grave and the philosophic are surprised to find themselves amiable. The blackberries. Fausoni is a rich and opulent Bar- 29 30 33 96 Hartford 2007 Highwire Vineyard Zinfandel (Russian River Valley). It should be in a museum. $57. It is the poise. certainly still dryly tannic. mushu plum sauce. it’s full-bodied. l i b e r a l l y d u s t e d the palate opens beyond its youthfulness after a with black pepper. black cherries. while the key flavor is dried orange and the nuances hinted at by the aromas all reappear. and should develop over the next six years. but Indian spice and black currants also make an appearance. 28 32 If you need convincing of the true potential of the La Clape region of Languedoc. various American importers. Despite high alcohol. awake at once. the phlegmatic. pomegranates. few moments. leather and menthol. ethereal and charming beverage sets in motion the spirits of all. Alvaro Palacios is as meticulous 35 94 Mas du Soleilla 2007 Clot de l’Amandier La Clape (Coteaux du Languedoc). is Randall Grahm’s hommage to the Northern and the wine is totally dry. smooth and lush. fine tannins and non-stop length on the finish. 34 95 Champagne. Beautiful now. lifted with spice and an over-arching sweet acidity that gives the wine a wonderful. It becomes dark and powerful. $56. and Château Beau-Séjour Bécot 2006 raspberries have elements of roasted meats and Saint-Emilion. Although it begins wild mushrooms sautéed in butter. It is ripe. sassafras. Merry Edwards 2006 Klopp Ranch Pinot Imported by Rare Wine Company. ous. ripe fruits. Dazzles with enormous cherry pie filling. 95 Alvaro Palacios 2006 Finca Dofi (Priorat). cherry. $20. it has a silky. This lively. The mouth. and the result is extremely impressive vintage after vintage. His Finca Dofi blends Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon with some Syrah and sometimes Merlot. Made with a splash of Grenache. and in fact demands Château Coutet 2006 Barsac. $64. hits the mark as never before. has varied over the vintages.
The concentration of cassis and black cherry fruit is astonishing. 40 44 93 Fess Parker 2007 Viognier (Santa Barbara County). it brims 38 93 94 comes across as lush and decadent. but Les Origines delivers the goods. refined tannins.37 Viognier. 41 Sterling 2006 SVR Reserve (Napa Grans-Fassian 2007 Trittenheimer Valley). marmalade and lemon leads into fresh. that takes the variety’s exotic. $40. enriched with sweet. elegant nature. A lingering finish spun with spice adds to Riesling Auslese (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer). Fabulous now. Offers everything you want in a fine coastal Pinot: crisp acidity. This thrilling auslese starts off with intrigufoie gras. Yet it’s perfectly ripe. due to the generous fruit flavors and the way (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer). melon. A very fine 93 Château Haut-Bergey 2007 PessacLéognan. $50. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon. pomegranates and sweet red plums. Crushed stones impart a sense of minerality on the nose. Editors’ Choice. Elegant and interesting. a testimony to the success of the vintage. Drink now–2030. Origines (Châteauneuf. then moves easily into flavors of pear. This striking spätlese the oak shows them off. the official alcohol is nearly 1% lower at no loss of ripeness. cherries. one of the best of the vintage. vanilla. smoky oak. Long and pristinely pure on the finish. honeysuckle. Dry and smooth. wood flavors and a creamy core with a white pear texture. Should age. $50. the complex. silky mouthfeel. Interestingly. 39 $38. with a long. matched with ripe tannins that hint at black olive. USA. $42. yet crytalline and pure. Drink now–2020. The flavors include red cherries and Royal Tokaji 2005 Red Label Aszú 5 currants. too. Pair with cheeses. yet without losing any focus. while the roundness comes from notes of honey. Imported by Wilson Daniels Ltd. CLICK ON LABEL FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCER Noir. bright fruit and acid undertones melded with luscious honey. it’s hard to know where to begin. ing spicy. $41/500 ml. cherry. with blackberry. 95 Fielding Hills 2007 RiverBend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Wahluke Slope). with a long. In the blend are small portions of 8% Syrah. A stunning Pinot 42 93 45 93 43 94 46 95 W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 .du-Pape). $24. complexity and ageability. 3% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. $42. musky aromas. a dry. and a worthy followup to Drew’s 2006 bottling. it also has some weight. date. despite the fairly small amount in the blend. sometimes over-the-top richness and controls it with crisp coastal acidity and a deft touch of minerals. Drink now for freshness. It’s dry and full-bodied and bold. It somehow comes across Domaine Grand Veneur 2006 Les as plump. blueberry. orange peel and Dr. it displays utterly dry flavors of Meyer lemon. herbaceous and crisp wine. is so good. This Pinot Kysela Père et Fils. Great now and through 2013. to bring out the inherent richness of the wine. red and black currant. Loosen 2007 Erdener Treppchen quince. Imported by luxury cuvée at this price is becoming a rarity in Loosen Bros. pineapple and even red berries on the palate. cola. with decantApotheke Riesling Spätlese Goldkapsel ing. cocoa. with some finely-ground tannins. anise and sandalwood and smoky flavors that go on and on. lime. with Merlot and Petit Verdot. palate and finish. velvety finish that Roar 2007 Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noir lingers elegantly. and should glide easily through the next six years. To top its crispness. Subtle cinnamon and nutmeg shadings frame densely packed black cherry flavors. Now–2014. This is a spicy take on Cabernet. lush nose of honey. Châteauneuf. fig. showing luminous flavors of raspberries. red licorice and Asian Puttonyos (Tokaji). Drink now–2030. spices. Beautiful now. apple blossom and orange marmalade. It could benefit from aging. Despite the somewhat heavier oak influence. Imported by (Santa Lucia Highlands). in the way a Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Editors’ Choice. sassafras. Imported by Valckenberg International. It’s creamy in texture. A fruit-driven finish. 95 Drew 2007 Fog-Eater Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley). $74. A deep. at least three years. with some of the pepper and smoked meat character of Syrah coming through. A truly grassy aroma leads to a fresh. it is the fruit that stands front and center. spice and flint flavors. $38. Inc.
Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. 95 under-the-radar label that makes very good to excellent Malbec from old vines in Luján del Cuyo. repurchased. Perfumed. yeasty complexity. Editors’ Choice. The feel in the mouth is soft. it’s really good now. Good through 2015. 92 Lagarde 2007 Henry Lagarde Guarda (Mendoza). the earthiness. A monster with a smile. one of the best ripe fruit enveloping this structure with a velvet sheen. and it’s clean. 51 55 92 Tolosa’s Edna Ranch Chardonnay is rich and crisp. Mendoza. It’s a magical site. $31. blackberry. Lynch-Bages is able vineyard has an interesting history that dates back to 1974. Look out. an excellent rendition of western Paso Robles hillside Cabernet. & F. dark chocolate. There are tantalizing flavors of limes. which gives it a fabulous creamy. and above all the massive. ripe. $22. generous. Imported by Vias Imports. spice and chocolate and is decadent to the very last drop. with a note of raw. $45. Formerly the Goldschmidt vineyard. $75. Editors’ 92 Le Salette 2006 I Progni (Valpolicella Château Thivin 2007 Cuvée Zaccharie Classico Superiore Ripasso). Crushed rock. minerals and smoke. with proper cellaring. (Luján de Cuyo). Piattelli is an Hermitage. Modern in style but not overdone. $45. and should hold and develop in the bottle through 2014. —ERNEST HEMINGWAY 95 for the price. which says a lot. Excelencia is a great wine 92 Abacela 2005 South Face Block Reserve Piattelli 2007 Grand Reserve Malbec Syrah (Southern Oregon). Although Editors’ Choice. the more it gives you. Editors’ Choice. sexy berry fruit and baking spices on the nose. Lurton 2005 El Albar Excelencia (Toro). black plum skins and sweet juicy black cherries. coffee and caramel… it never stops. Year after year. this is a balanced wine that brings its sity and concentration. This is by far the best El Albar that the Lurtons have made. Choice. it was replanted. it is sure to have some good aging. 56 52 to produce sumptuous wines. of peaches and cream. and then sweet berry. $42. Editors’ Choice. Add oak barrels. this Cab is quite tannic. that seems to expand through a generous midpalate and keep on keeping on as long as you are paying attention. one of the greatest Oregon Pinot vineyards. Absolutely wonderful now. Editors’ Choice. the herbs and spice. Editors’ Choice. complex and highly satisfying for $20. orange zest. the longer it breathes. It’s powerful as a Toro wine should be. drink now and over the next 5–8 years. This (Côte de Brouilly). It delivers rich aromas tannins firmly together with black fig. Made from equal amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. By itself. and the wine is entirely dry. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult. Henry is a blend of Malbec. spicy. cassis and toast. laced with sweet spices. spice and warmth on the palate. $20. This wine is big and focused. Only 563 cases were produced of this splendid wine. Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The core is dry. at least. Drink now J u s t i n 2 0 0 6 R e s e r v e C a b e r n e t through 2012. typically rich. bloody meat. This is solid. with intense blackberry. Asian spice. blackberry. $20. This is developing into one of the successes of the vintage. it features citrus peel. smoke. lead pencil. Good through 2012. plush and round. Imported by Winesellers Ltd. and renamed. earthy. 96 Iron Horse 2002 Brut LD (Green Valley). but not tannic or harsh. 48 93 To l o s a 2 0 0 6 E s t a t e E d n a R a n c h Chardonnay (Edna Valley). erful and structured. 57 In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. is a drop-dead gorgeous wine with amazing intenof cherry. 50 54 93 J. Iron Horse sparkling wines ever. while the pure palate features cola. this has the grip. vanilla fudge and buttered toast. always exhibiting exciting flavors of limes. cedar and plums. And the finish is midnight dark. Merlot. The layers of this wine just keep unfolding. Sauvignon (Paso Robles). Imported by New World Wines. roasted hazelnuts. Very high quality. black plum. Editors’ Choice. complex fruit to compete. The nose is clean and deep. and complex layers appear. Shows impeccable balance in a New World style that oozes black and red currants.47 that offers a lot of character beyond just bold fruit and body. kiwis and pineapples. pow- 49 96 Adelsheim 2007 Winderlea Vineyard Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills). lush. Deliriously good. This 94 Château Lynch-Bages 2006 (Pauillac). All that. Outstanding red wine 53 W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary. And the prices are more than fair. but the delicious fruit finally dominates. licorice. the blackberry $85. The wine has the majestic plumpness of grand cru Burgundy. That said. Imported by Vinocopia Imports. $20. $85. it was aged on the lees for more than 4 years. with potent cherry fruit. What a superb achievement. chocolate and espresso qualities throughout.
The 2006 upholds that distinguished tradition. Editors’ Choice. Give it plenty of breathing time. Editors’ Choice. Long and lush on the finish. It seldom becomes even a mere habit. delectable and of very high quality. and then comes a tidal wave of blackberry. Drink now. 94 W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . cinnamon and caramel woven among the darker. In 2006. long flavors of currants. black as midnight. It’s medium. 91 Eradus 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Awatere Valley). probably would be great with ceviche. with ample but soft tannins that glide easily over the palate. SIMON 68 Albert Bichot 2006 Domaine LongDepaquit Moutonne Grand Cru (Chablis). Editors’ Choice. The concentrated fruit and long. slightly oily texture and great length. a flinty character on top of the ripe white and yellow fruits. $52. $85. In the mouth. Editors’ Choice. Fifty 66 wines. with Petite Sirah’s classic earthiness and depth. $45. Grown in the flatlands and benches of Alexander Valley. yet a lifted. $50. $90. More rich and hedonistic than varietal or terroir-driven. It’s full-bodied and creamy in texture. while the flavors of raspberry. Now through 2010. This is Ribera del Duero wine at the optimal intersection of power. layers of smoke and bitter chocolate.. and the 2007 continues that roll. The joy that is in Wine is the joy of sunshine.Wine is not a drug. 95 Madrigal 2005 Barberis Family Vineyard Petite Sirah (Napa Valley). 93 Two Hands 2006 Bad Impersonator Single Vineyard Shiraz (Barossa Valley). Feels ultra-distinguished and elegant despite the richness. and a bit hard but dense and concentrated. blackberry and plum are deep. it will develop bottle complexities over the next decade. but never loses an impeccable sense of balance and control. It is an instinct. It has concentration. complex finish suggest that it can be consumed now and over the next 10 years. By now you’re saying “wow. beautiful wine this is. 95 Talley 2006 Rosemary’s Vineyard Chardonnay (Arroyo Grande Valley). with an appealing. Drink now through 2012. $20. jammy aromas with a cookie quality kick it off. but layered with intense minerality. floral scent is also there. violet petals and sweet black fruits. flavor and human care and concern. 64 streak. stewed plums. and through 2014. Has the balanced complexity of a great Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. showing intense blackberry. with its firm tannins and flavor intensity. $85. Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports. Best now. sweet old leather. even without decanting. Very beautiful now for sheer charm. this is a dandy. This monopole within the Chablis grand cru vineyards produces top Chablis. It is never a craving. This intensely flavored Barossa Shiraz features notes of sweaty leather. —ANDRÉ L. crême de cassis.58 62 65 coconut. 92 Amisfield 2007 Pinot Noir (Central Otago). tight. black olive and coffee beans. It’s dry and balanced. 93 Pittacum 2006 Aurea Mencía (Bierzo). This is herbal and bell- peppery but not to an extreme. crême de cassis.V. Thrills the mouth with decadently rich black currants. It will age well. lemondrop and lime pie flavors. smoky notes. pepper. Imported by Fine Estates From Spain. with a slightly herbal element that adds welcome complexity. This full- 59 Pride Mountain 2006 Vintner Select Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Drink now and over the next four years. It’s a huge wine. this looks to be at its best now and for the next several years. Imported by A French Paradox. 96 Leonetti Cellar 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla). Amisfield has been on a hot 67 95 Hanna 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley). pastry and mocha flavors. this Cab tastes more like a high mountain wine. anise and cedar flavors. Imported by Fine Estates From Spain. 61 $50. Opens with touches of 96 63 bucks for Petite Sirah? You bet.” and then comes a warm. What a fine. plum.. Imported by A. Mexican chocolate mole sauce. mineral. cherry. throttle Bordeaux blend is big. dry and tannic. This quintessential wine should age for at least a decade. Shows every graceful aspect of a modern Napa Cab. balanced by citrus and pineapple fruit. $52. with a mineral undertone that grounds the flamboyant pineapple custard. Imported by R O Imports. Imported by Terlato Wines International. cinnamon and smoky oak. the wine is powerful. anise. Here are blue and black fruits.to full-bodied. Thick. The mouthfeel is textured and smooth. $70. subtle. blackcurrant. 93 Emilio Moro 2005 Malleolus (Ribera del Duero). milk chocolate. a depth of flavor that is impressive. dry herbs. with threads of cedar. chocolaty finish. with its black cherry fruit framed by a hint of vanilla. a man’s time-honoured joy. It’s quite fine. Talley’s Rosemary’s typically is one of the greatest. most dependable Chardonnays in California. The aromas show wonderfully high-toned cherry fruit. In the finish it feels chewy and substantial. The best Cabernet from Hanna in memory. Editors’ Choice. Editors’ Choice. cocoa and violet flavors that are tinged with soft. with amazingly deep. Among richly structured Bierzo 60 $50. Brands. the wine is full-bodied and richly textured. from the perfectly ripened fruit to the unbelievably fine tannins and application of oak.
while the palate hits comfortably with bold black cherry. Despite the sugary richness. Spicy and detailed. The berry flavors. followed by rich. should still be able to track down some of this sweet. 93 Bodega Catena Zapata 2005 Catena Alta Malbec (Mendoza). $25. fine leather. bold flavors of the best Washington Sémillon. herbs and pepper flavors.back with a vengeance. concentration. make it elegant. with jammy fruit. Drinkable now but ageable through 2014. Perpetual is Torres’ top wine from the Priorat. The blend is 40% Merlot. fine tannic structure and handsome shadings. just oozing in tiers of black and red cherry compote. Inc. it goes into the deep. and a hugely enjoyable one from the point of view of power and authority combined with balance.000 cases imported into the U. Ashby & Co. Excellent structure and depth. this gorgeous blend of Friulano. Imported by Winebow. And there’s no trace of heat. The nose is a wonderful gnon/4% Muscadelle (Columbia Valley). The palate is creamy and lush. it is ripe as can be but not raisiny. Long and honest on the finish. $53. a matchless expression of berries. long finish. apricot and delicately toasted almond. 93 Livio Felluga 2007 Terre Alte (Colli Orientali del Friuli). 75 The phase in the growing of grapes when the berries turn from a hard green and begin to gain their final color is called veraison. vanilla and butterscotch. highlighted with crisp acids. $25. with power and balance. anise. more exotic notes than ever before. Editors’ 73 $55. Drink now through 2012. chocolate. but with good acidic balance. but it excels in 2006. With new Cabernet that instantly takes its place in the (Colchagua Valley). the wine ends clean and refreshing. It’s a hulk of a wine. $30. The word first appeared in French in 1826 and in English in 1889. Feels lush. yet the huge structure of the tannins. $24. mix of almond candy. $65. Imported by Misa Imports. herb and tobacco flavors. 94 Buty 2007 70% Sémillon/26% Sauvi.69 72 76 Viu Manent 2006 Single Vineyard La Mönchhof 2007 Mosel Slate Riesling Capilla Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Spätlese (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer). and should age effortlessly for a decade or more. $25. finesse and length. mocha. Drinkable now and probably better over the next two or three years. dense and complex. consumers increasingly crowded Napa pantheon. rich and rewarding. baked pastry. the wine is midnight madness. One of Chile’s best red blends is Editors’ Choice. a beautifully crafted Pinot that will change your mind about Paso Robles. Editors’ Choice. cured meat. Is this the best Cabernet 3. meaning it’s dark as night and richly draped with blackberry. Here’s an important 92 92 70 Choice. Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon delivers intensity. power and life. It’s extraordinarily rich in black currants. The nose is dark and alluring. This bottling is always W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . pepper and cedar flavors that are wrapped into perfectly ripened tannins. cinnamon. layered with sweet prune and licorice all bundled up in a comfortgrass and lemon meringue. while the palate is mouthfilling and loaded with cassis. with terrific midpalate concentration and exceptional length and viscosity. 71 78 94 Zina Hyde Cunningham 2005 Petite Sirah (Lake County).. even some hints of banana. 77 95 Andrew Will 2006 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Wine (Red Mountain). dotted with chocolate. Should age gracefully for many years. Citrus and custard notes mark the nose. Editors’ 96 David Arthur 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Shows lusher. $57. Inky dark and an outstanding example of high-end Malbec. Good now thru 2013. One of Italy’s Choice. Imported by Millissime. 19% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot. thanks to a burst of lime on the finish. currants.S. able blanket. It just detonates on the palate with the deepest flavors of currants and black pepper. 94 Adelaida 2006 HMR Estate Pinot Noir (Paso Robles). that Viu Manent has ever bottled? We think it very well might be. strike a pure note and ring true over a long. chocolate and spice make it a leagueleader. This is a 74 tremendous wine. black plum and overall lushness. And the flavors of black fruits. tropical elements. fragrance and elegance. Very ripe. coffee. best white wines. plush and smooth in the mouth. Imported by Dreyfus. Imported by Cellars International. and it’s a winner in 2006. Imported by Moët Hennessy USA. Great concentration. This is the finest Alta we’ve tried. $70. 93 Torres 2006 Perpetual (Priorat). and extreme dryness. anise and pepper flavors. luscious spätlese. with thrust. 93 Altaïr 2005 Altaïr (Cachapoal Valley). The wine is luminous and brilliant with aromas of peach. and derives from the Latin variare. Finishes thoroughly dry. —HISTORY OF WINE WORDS BY CHARLES HODGSON 79 quite good. $95. Shows wonderful dry extract. 37% Cab Franc. cassis. it has polish. Focused and fragrant. This is darn near perfect. Editors’ Choice.
Imported by Maisons Marques & Domaines USA. Chocolate fudge. The wine’s aromas are focused on Indian spice. plum and graham crackers complete the package. $32. It’s on the full-bodied side of the spectrum. Editors’ member of the Niven (Baileyana) family of wines. Quite well-oaked. green apples. $33. mouth-tingling finish.” is top-notch. richly tannic and wellstructured. Imported by Vintus LLC. which is 92 Gary Farrell 2007 Russian River Trenza 2007 Tinto (San Luis Obispo Laurel Glen 2006 Vale La Pena Malbec Selection Chardonnay (Russian River County). There’s darkness. $70. and a (Mendoza). ripe pear. a and honeyed. black pepper and other dusty spices. $33. Editors’ oak and fruit. strongly flavored. chervil. Michelle & Dr. which erupts with tropical fruit. Massive in grilled pineapples. 88 91 Brancott 2008 B Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough). 89 94 The 10th vintage of Eroica may be the best ever. Unusual. A brilliant and provocative wine from winemaker Christian Roguenant. Imported by Laurel Glen Vineyard. 91 Te l m o R o d r í g u e z 2 0 0 5 L a n z a g a (Rioja). vanilla. California winemaker Valley). full-fruit Malbec that’s complex. 50% of which is new barrique). A blend of Tempranillo. $24. $40. It tastes bright and fresh but has the natural complexity to promise great things to come. CLICK ON LABEL FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCER O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T . leather and a bed of black fruit. brightened with mouthwatering acidity. Editors’ Choice. Edward Wines Ltd. 92 Oliverhill 2007 Clarendon Shiraz (McLaren Vale). toasted nut and plush blackberry. citrus and stone. very big and powerful in both This will clearly improve with more bottle age. 81 85 94 94 Patrick Campbell has been making wine in Argentina for years. Drink now through 2011. $34. thoroughly delicious and polished despite its size. but mostly it closes long and natural. Imported by T. unsweetened cocoa. Editors’ Choice. The palate has a tight but nice feel to it. manly and best of all not overoaked. Choice. Beringer aims for the fences with this massive Chard. Choice. Editors’ Choice. the finish lingers with ground coffee and baking chocolate highlights. Nicely balanced 92 Gianfranco Alessandria 2006 Vittoria (Barbera d’Alba). this is a low pH. but it’s already impressive and drinking well. it’s utterly dry. soft tannins on the finish. Try with sole Basquaise. The well-textured mouthfeel runs the gamut from celery. Aromas of coffee. Brilliantly crisp and lushly creamy wonderful first release from this new brand. herbs. blackberry and chocolate flavors. $30. but delicate Barbera d’Alba. with fine tannic structure propping up plum. 82 94 Stevens 2006 BlackTongue Syrah (Yakima Valley). this is well built and satisfying. lush and exciting. but only mildly vegetal on the palate—well within the bounds of acceptable varietal character. Vittoria is one beautifully crafted. A textured. oak-driven wine that needs at least four or five more years of cellar aging before it reaches true harmony and balance. and mineral-driven. cassis. char. featuring green tomatoes and bell pepper. 93 Beringer 2007 Sbragia Limited Release black. A joy to drink. black currant and fruitcake aromas. just a beautiful Chardonnay that offers decadence and sheer deliciousness. vanilla. The wine is dense and round (it’s aged in oak. while the palate is dark. Imported by Pernod Ricard. 87 90 83 93 Pio Cesare 2004 Barolo. Drink now–2020. $34. Mourvedre and Grenache. Loosen 2008 fruits. it remains Chardonnay (Napa Valley). Imported by Southern Starz. Some expected mocha and coffee work the finish. distinctive. with earthy flavors of cherries. high acid wine with plenty of length and depth. blueberries. Inc. spicy. baked pastry crust. powdered mocha. soy and forest floor. and Vale La Pena.80 84 the house style for Lanzaga. earth. $26. mineral and cinnamon spice flavors. ripe nectarines and butterscotch. buttered toast. featuring mixed berries. with a long. of the best Barbera d’Alba wines you will ever toast and spice carried by a firm structure and some rich. Very Eroica Riesling (Columbia Valley). moody wine with a spectacular mix of black Chateau Ste. Long and textural. which more or less means “worth the headache. Though technically offdry. 86 Editors’ Choice. but it’s sheer decadence. the 2008 B is intensely herbal on the nose. It’s supremely fresh. taste. Here’s a McLaren Vale Shiraz. The nose exudes mossy plum. One of Brancott’s best Sauvignons in recent memory. An immense. $32. For modern Rioja. blackberry and exotic spice waft gently off the nose of the luscious. and other fresh herb into melon. Not for the faint-hearted.
cloves Sauvignon (Alexander Valley). fresh acidity. terize this wine. It shows Alexander Valley’s softness and slight herbaceousness.91 95 has a first effort from a new winery made such a strong impression as this Côtes-du-Rhône-ish effort from Rôtie Cellars. yet muscular—let’s say by integrated layers of tobacco. 93 Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Syrah (4%) in the mas of leather. masculine—style of Merlot.com W I N E E N T H U S I A S T | B E S T O F Y E A R 2 0 0 9 . cola. Imported by Palm Bay International. It achieves elegance. it. Martini 2006 Monte Rosso Planeta 2006 Burdese (Sicilia). WARNER ALLEN 94 92 Felsina 2005 Rancia Riserva (Chianti Classico). sandalwood and black pepper flavors that are densely tiered and dramatically structured. toffee and toasted hazelnuts right up front. Imported by pencil. Burdese is a modern. There is a little smooth.winemag. Imported by Aidil Wines & Liquor Inc. $40. $35. This is a good price. smooth. full-bodied and mouth-filling. mocha and oak flavors. bacon. 92 93 92 this is an impressive. $35. $40. this is full-bodied and lushly textured. Remarkably concentrated. $39. chocolate. tobacco and cedar. layering in candied apricots and a rich array of ripe tropical fruits. May you have many children And may they grow mature in taste And healthy in color And as sought after as the contents of this glass. Rich. yet it’s quite approachable. showing all the sity. cloves. fruit is concentrated with deep blue and black lingering finish. along with decadently rich red currant. silky. savory and (Columbia Valley). This is certainly the finest Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay ever made. This is a silky. Rarely 92 Kilikanoon 2005 Covenant Shiraz (Clare Valley). Imported by Old Bridge Cellars. cured leather and dried currant berries. $35. That makes it dry. But it doesn’t stop there. $40. Best now and over the next six years. Finishes long and velvety. Editors’ Choice. Imported by Wine Warehouse Imports. This bottling has been a star for Simi since its inception. fleshy middle and seamless entry into finishing tannins that are polished and ripe. leather. Classic Monte Rosso Zin. pork or lamb. $34. blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc with bright fruit flavors. 96 99 92 Louis M. layered and beautifully integrated throughout. followed 94 Bilton 2004 Sir Percy Classic Blend Wo o d w a rd C a n y o n 2 0 0 6 M e r l o t (Stellenbosch). The tannins come from high toast as well as the concentrated blackberry juice fruits. It’s classy stuff. and the ’05 is among their best ever. Like all of winemaker Kevin Mitchell’s Shirazes. Spice. harmony and delivers pristine and persistent flavors that would marry red meat. Editors’ Choice. a wine that needs to soften. with just enough stewed fruit to provide cushioning. Port is essentially the wine of philosophical contemplation. big. Elegant and structured. Riserva Rancia opens with elegant hues of garnet and dark ruby and offers sophisticated notes of old spice. with a big. Drink now–2012. But it has all the intensity that are the hallmarks of top Douro wines. Bordeaux-inspired spice you could want. Meaning that the and spice. The point of difference here is the fruit character. blackberry and dark Vineyard Gnarly Vine Zinfandel (Sonoma Dao Sul 2005 Quinta das Tecedeiras Valley). hinting at vanilla. with a full. especially compared to what’s going on in Napa Valley. which leans toward black olives and espresso. 94 Rôtie Cellars 2007 Red Wine (Southern Blend) (Horse Heaven Hills). fruit come across with determination and intenReserva (Douro). natural succulence and warm spice flavors on the close. solid. VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT buyingguide. —H.Southern Starz. new wood-dominated wine. A beautiful example of how to berry and cassis flavors. Inc. Floods the palate with concentrated blackberry and black currant. $50. Beautiful polish and concentration charac. $34. so try it again in a year. Classic and elegant now. this Bordeaux blend offers complex aro- 97 100 92 94 Simi 2005 Landslide Vineyard Cabernet blend also. cinnamon. A softly appealing entry leads gracefully into a remarkably complex wine that puts the lush barrel flavors of butterscotch. —IRISH PROVERB FOR MORE WINE RATINGS. the wine lasts a full two minutes or more in the mouth. it should develop bottle complexities for the next six years. augmented with lead marry Old and New World styles. Ripe and spicy. Editors’ Choice. 98 94 Chehalem 2006 Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay (Dundee Hills).