Sign up for our wine newsletter here.
Grant Burge “Barossa Vine” Chardonnay.
This is a steal. Aromas are of fresh apple and pear, with just a whiff of butter. Soft but delicate on the palate, this opens with a tang of citrus and finishes with a nutty richness.
Rolf Binder “Hovah ” Viognier.
A Viognier of this caliber in this price range is very rare. I strongly suggest picking up a bottle, especially if you have never experienced a viognier. Classic notes of peaches and lemongrass give way to a palate of ripe Asian pear and a hint of clove. Fresh and well-balanced.
RedHeads Studio “Barrel Monkeys” Shiraz.
I wouldn’t say I like to parrot other wine reviewers, but it can’t be helped in this one: this is a blackberry overdrive machine. Toss in some licorice for fuel, and this velvet monkey will fly.
Chapel Hill “The Devil” Port.
You probably noticed by now the Australians love to give their wines nicknames. Sometimes they are sexy, sometimes cute, and on a few occasions, they are plain wicked. This is the equivalent of a 15 year tawny. Rich and lush, this dessert wine offers up layers of dried fruit, hazelnuts, molasses, and espresso.
The French Picks
Montirius “Terre des Aines” Gigondas.
Gigondas tend to drink like rough versions of Chateauneuf du Pape. This one breaks the mold. A delicate structure of tannins underlies a rich framework of ripe blackberries and kirsch—a gentle puff of lavender ushers in a long and complex finish. Very nicely done.
Chateau Beaumont Haut Medoc.
Exactly what I want for a mid-level Bordeaux. Mineral and rustic cedar notes are juxtaposed with fresh black fruit notes. The eucalyptus in the finish seals the deal. Lovely now but will mature over the next five to eight years. This is the best Bordeaux value in the state right now.
Amazing that this one is still kicking around, and it’s just about nearing its peak. Cedar, plums, and toast are woven into the medium-bodied framework. Excellent fruit concentration with finely grained tannins. Drinking perfectly now.
Chateau Bouscaut Pessac-Leognan.
Extraordinary value for a Grand Cru Classé des Graves.. Exceptionally full-bodied, this wine has the tannic structure and acidity to cellar for at least a decade. After being decanted for six hours, this wine began to offer up a bouquet of lilac and crushed stone with a burst of charred fresh fruit. This is an intense experience of burnt earth, unsweetened chocolate, and fresh berries on the palate. This wine shows, and it shows its pedigree.
J.M. Bouley “Clos De Chene” Volnay 1er Cru.
A beautiful Burgundy which is just starting to develop and will continue to do so for another decade. Lush and tannic for a Volnay, a filigree of freshly cut roses and allspice rises about its complex palate of red fruit and violets. A lush beauty that is just beginning to find its poetry.
Château Camplong “C de Camplong” Corbières.
The modern Corbières style marries the freshness of Beaujolais with the fierceness of a Languedoc red. This is a strong example of the technique of using whole-berry fermentation in a Mediterranean climate. The Syrah-based wine rolls out of the class with baking spices and roasted meat. On the palate, burnt chocolate and raisins are counterpoints to sweet candied cherries and cinnamon.