Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for joining me this year on our journey through the wonderful world of wine. I have tasted over a thousand wines this year and have narrowed my favorites down to thirteen. This blog will display the Top Wines I have tried this year. Most I have written up throughout the year, but some, like my #1 pick is in such limited quantity that I typically would not blog about it. These wines are sure fire hits for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners. They would also make for perfect gifts! All are in limited quantity, so don’t miss out on your chance to try my favorite wines of 2013! My ‘Top Pick of the Year’ will be at the bottom of this blog.
Kapcsandy ‘Endre’ Red Blend 2009
Napa Valley, California
Cash Price $74.99
I recently tasted through a vertical of this wine and was completely ‘wowed’ by the complexity of this Bordeaux style blend. Every vintage has beautiful integrity with subtle, intricate differences that showed the stylistic growing seasons of the wines. Endre is a Cabernet, Merlot blend that is built to please, but will become even more gorgeous with cellar aging. This wine exudes brilliance of meticulous wine making by Lou Kapcsandy with the help of Denis Malbec of 1st Growth Chateau Latour fame. Flavors of black currant and black cherry lay in a bed of red flowers that slowly melds into dark mocha and milk chocolate. Divine notes of rustic earth and terrior slither gracefully through dried leather and tobacco with a core of toasted vanilla and spices that place perfectly on the palate for an immensely long time. The acids are booming with amazingly integrated tannins that lick the outer palate and give a focused precision to the wine. This wine is an absolutely stellar wine which shows that California is capable of producing age-worthy Bordeaux style wines. Robert Parker gave this wine 91 points.
Chateau Tour Sieujean Red Blend 2009
Cash Price $31.99
This Cabernet Based red is exquisite! Paulliac is known for producing some of the highest quality Grand Cru Classe wines in all of Bordeaux. This little gem is a steal that is surrounded by some of the best vineyards in all of Bordeaux. The winery doesn’t have the name recognition, so it cannot command the crazy high prices, but continues to show amazing quality for what is in the bottle. The commune of St. Laurent holds some of the best vineyard sites on earth and this winery is staked right in the middle of it all. Sieujean exudes dark fruits of black berry and currant that fill the mouth with ripe, tasty tannins that reach easily into juicy nuances of bramble and black cherry. The mid palate is focused with notes of leather and graphite that give way to pin point precise acids. The finish offers smidgeons of potpourri that dance through powerful flavors of cedar, dusted earth, and tobacco leaf. This Robust blend is a pleasure on the palate and will only get better with age!
Volker Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Napa Valley, California
Cash Price $42.74
The 2008 vintage was a richly concentrated year that gave supple ripeness like that of the famed 2004 vintage. This winery is one of the few in the Chiles Mountain AVA and is considered the gem of the region. The Eisele vineyards is one of the best vineyards in all of Napa Valley and Certified Organic to boot. Volker Eisele is famed for making wines of unmistakable elegance and impeccable balance. This gorgeously rich and balanced wine drinks amazingly from the first pop of the cork! Flavors of Black currant and cassis lay into a bed of tobacco leaves and mocha. The mid palate continues with dark fruits with blackberry that sink into definitive vanilla bean and French oak infusions. The finish is long and balanced with silky texture and voluptuous tannins. Volker is a wine that was obviously well taken care of from start to finish! Wine Enthusiast gave this wine 93 Points.
Andre Clouet Rose N/V
Cash Price $49.99
Clouet’s Grand Cru Rose is made from 100% Pinot Noir and has become the darling of my cellar. Located in the Montagne de Reims, this wine trumps even the likes of Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot because the grapes are from actual Grand Cru vineyards. This brilliant Bouzy bubbles will be the champagne that I pop for my ‘special occasions’. Rich, textured flavors of strawberry and raspberry sink into deliciously tight bubbles. Notes of brioche and hazelnut show wonderfully through hints of red flowers, honey and confection. The finish is refreshing and cleansing while keeping the palate begging for another sup. Clouet drinks like satin on the palate and is amazingly memorable from start to finish!
Saint Cosme Red Blend 2009
Cash Price $32.99
Saint Cosme has been consistently one of my favorite wineries in the world. They produce ridiculously great wine from top to bottom. I have found their Gigondas selection to be a particular gem. Gigondas is considered the ‘poor man’s Chateauneuf Du Pape’. This Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend shows perfection from the beginning. It is aged for twelve months in new and used oak barrels. Robust flavors of baked fig and plum race into brawny tannins and zesty acids. Notes of black pepper and potpourri are enveloped by blackberries and crushed rocks. The finish is long and offers bits of charred oak, tobacco and garrigue. Cosme Gigondas will age gracefully for the next decade. Wine Spectator gave this wine 93 points. I would put it in the 95-96 point range. Only 2 cases available!
Beacon Hill Chardonnay 2009
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Cash Price $32.99
This is the best American Chardonnay that I have tasted this year. This winery uses the Dijon clone version of Chardonnay, which produces some of the most complex versions of the grape in the world. Oregon has nailed it when it comes to Chardonnay. This Beacon of flavor offers fruits of green apple and lime that play into zesty acids that clean the palate through the core of this wine. Notes of apple blossom and pear round into hints of confection and soft cream with roasted hazelnuts. The amount of bursting flavors that encompass the palate on this wine make it truly a gem to behold. Beacon Hill is committed to being a ‘green’ winery and is completely biodynamic. Don’t miss out on the best American Chardonnay that I have tried this year!
Chateau Lanessan Red Blend 2000
Cash Price $31.29
The 2000 Vintage was slated as the best vintage of the 21st century in Bordeaux. The region had a picture perfect growing season which led to amazing quality and abundant harvests. This Haut Medoc wine is drinking perfectly right now. Lanessan is adjacent to the 4th growth of Chateau Beychevelle but at a fraction of the cost. This Cabernet forward wine is drinking gorgeously right now! Flavors of soft roasted plum and black currant fall into silky notes of chocolate mocha and sandalwood. The tannins and acids have softened out perfectly to give this wine a classic Bordeaux feel but with a voluptuous amount of fruits and flavors. Buy this diamond now and impress all of your friends. Very Limited Quantity available.
Gaia ‘Thalassatis’ Assyrtiko 2012
Cash Price $26.89
Assyrtiko is quickly becoming my favorite white grape. It has piercing acidity that is surrounded by the distinct tones of terroir which make my palate giddy with delight. The white wines of Santorini are typically un oaked. The wines exude the soils of volcanic ash from the deep rooted 80 year old vineyards. Flavors of citrus lemon and crisp green apple lead into precise acids that are enveloped by nuances of smoke and limestone. The finish offers hints of plush dew and melon while still showing precise and mouth watering acids. Gaia Assyrtiko is brilliant and a must try! Robert Parker gave this wine 92 Points.
99 West Pinot Noir 2010
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Cash Price $15.79
This Spec’s exclusive is a home run! The Willamette Valley offer wines with the panache of California, but the complexity of Burgundy. The region has longer amount of daylight that allow the grapes to reach full maturity, but still has the cooler temperatures which let the grapes retain the proper acidity to make the perfect Pinot Noir. It is hard to find great Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley for under $20. When I do, I feel compelled to let you all in on the secret! Flavors of eloquent red cherry tickle into raspberry and just a smidgeon of pomegranate. Notes of wild flowers play into hints of black pepper and potpourri with easy acids that sink into a smooth, playful finish. An Awesome Value Pinot!
Michel Cazevieille Red Blend 2009
St. Chinian, France
Cash Price $9.49
James C. Barlow
Certified Specialist of Wine