William Cole “Albamar” Chardonnay, Chile
A touch of cinnamon, ginger, and allspice on the palate, along with some exotic fruits. Remains fresh and bright and crisp, like an Asian pear. Not a typical chardonnay, but delicious.
Yering Station “Little Yering” Pinot Noir, Australia
While I never suggest purchasing a cheap Pinot, this is is the exception that proves the rule. Fresh and light and fruit-forward yet retain its varietal character through and through. A good introduction to the grape for those folks, and better than most Pinots at twice the price.
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Seigneur de Fontimple Vacqueyras
Licorice and charcoal propel this Rhone red into a web of iron and espresso. A big pillow of dark fruit flecked with earthy notes turns the entire experience from brooding to delicious.
Atalon Merlot, Napa Valley
A Merlot for lovers of big sexy Napa Cabs. Chalky herb and cedar notes show off pedigree while rich milk chocolate and black cherry flavors roll over the deep and rich.
Damilano Nebbiolo d’Alba
Dried cherries, roses, licorice, and tar, all of which are supported by firm tannins. The Nebbiolo is already rather forward in its aromas and flavors, which suggests it is best enjoyed sooner rather than later. This bottle has many of the characteristics of a mid-tier Barbaresco without the steep price tag. Make sure to open an hour or two before enjoying to get the full impact of this wine.
Eric et Joel Durand “Empreintes” Cornas
This is the finest Cornas one can buy for under $60. Full-bodied and deeply flavored, this wine flows from dark fruit to creme de cassis to burnt clay to bitter chocolate to roasted game, and back again. A complex wine that offers the rare feat of propelling and unveiling a myriad of flavors over one’s palate, and doing so in a way that almost feels adulterous.
Jacques Cacheux “Les Suchots” Vosne Romanee
A spectacular premier cru vineyard bottling from one of the most vaunted wine regions in the world, Vosne Romanee. While the price tag is far from inexpensive, for this level of Vosne Romanee it’s remarkable. While it is drinking well right now, this is one of those rare bottlings that will only get better over the next decade.
Arrowood “Reserve Speciale” Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma
Never does a Cabernet this beautiful and well-aged come into the marketplace. Anyone with a penchant for the ultimate Cali Cab experience would gladly pay two, three, or four times the asking price. Drinking this wine is like sticking your face into a flower bed in heaven. You wake up ten minutes later covered in dirt and blackberries and laughing like a lunatic. The experience is too powerful for words.