Cuatro Rayas “Nocturna” Rueda
Classic verdejo from northwest Spain. Aromas of tulip and guava are enticing, but it’s the crunchy acid and orange-fennel flavors that make this a winner. If you’re thinking of having some oystersyou should be cracking open a few of these, too.
Glenelly “Glass Collection” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch
This producer has always been a dark horse. Owned by Bordeaux winemaker May-Élaine de Lencquesaing, Glenelly has been vinting old-world style wines in South Africa for a decade now. This Cabernet is far too young, but buy a case and wait until 2021. The graphite-meets-hedonism structure promises greatness to come.
Jason Stephens Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Clara Valley
One of the few wineries still producing in Silicon Valley. Significant varietal character makes this a best buy for Cabernet. Cedar and plum on the nose are followed by briar and fresh cherries. Medium to full-bodied with a nice grip of tannin. 30 months in oak (25% new) give this a spice-box finish that lovers of the Napa-style will recognize.
Carlos Serres Rioja Gran Reserva
I’ve come to realize there is no better food wine than Reserva Rioja. And there is no better value in the world of wine, either. Serres is a classic bottling with high-toned cranberry and burnt sage folded into an elegant structure. Notes of kirsch and mineral round out this beautiful wine.
La Braccesca “Sabazio” Rosso di Montepulciano
While the town of Montalcino gets more attention, neighboring Montepulciano offers up similar graces in the form of the Sangiovese grape. Lavender and leather aromas give way to wild strawberries and roses on the palate. A hint of burnt cedar on the finish with a complex layer of spice.
WSoP Rating: 91 Points