This is seriously good, proper Chablis grown on precious Kimmeridgian soil facing Les Blanchots, west of Montée de Tonnerre. Given what’s in the bottle, it’s offered at a shockingly good price. It’s textbook Chablis and unveils itself very slowly in the glass. One of those rare wines that’s different with almost every passing sip – especially as it warms a bit. Consequently, there’s a myriad of flavors that dart to and fro: pineapple, grapefruit, fresh mint, wildflower, wet stone, apple…all delightful and with that famous Chablis cut.
92 Points, Jeb Dunnuck – 90 Points, Parker’s Wine Advocate
Domaine de Beaurenard has been making upper echelon Châteauneuf-du-Pape for years, but I hadn’t had a Rasteau from them until I ordered it at Balthazar. Oooo was it good. This biodynamic baby Châteauneuf danced in the glass with inviting aromas of black cherry, licorice and blackberry pie with a full body of silky supple fruit that all harmonized together beautifully. When I tell you it was the perfect compliment to the steak tartare, I mean it was a match made in heaven. I had to get a second glass before I finished the dish.
93 Points, James Suckling
If you’re looking for arguably the best expression of Rufina each year, you can’t do any better than Selvapiana. Located right in the heart of Chianti Rufina in Tuscany, the producer has long been considered one of the very best. Wine Spectator declared a few years back, “Selvapiana would give stiff competition to first-class red wines from just about anywhere else in the world. It also shows that Chianti Classico does not have a monopoly on the quality of Chianti as a whole.”
Chapoutier’s new 2020 release reminds both me and Chapoutier himself of the 2010 vintage. The wine has so much vibrancy and depth, it’s an old-vine blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan from the village of Latour de France. Beautiful deep purple in color with increasing aromas of cocoa, creme de cassis, dark plum, and black cherries. Richly textured and voluptuous on the attack, packed with black-fruit preserves, braced by a refreshing acidity and long smooth tannins that paint a silky portrait. It’s a rock solid wine from an absolute icon.
92 Points, James Suckling
An absolute treat coming out of Piedmont. Open this one a good deal before you plan to serve and let it get some air. The nose is very pretty with cherry, cassis and dried currant. Red fruits on the palate with nuanced dash of cigar smoke, wild berry preserves, and tobacco. It’ll be a show stopper in a year or two but it’s starting to really hit its stride right now.
Soon to be Rated
With Herve and Fabre Montmayou wracking up NYT features, huge scores, gold medals and lifetime achievement awards, I’m left with one choice: get in now or be left in the cold. Waiting for the scores to roll in is a luxury that we know longer have with Fabre Montmayou. Good for the winery, but not so good for us. Rest assured though, the 2020 Cabernet Franc Herve sent me is fantastic, and will surely be minted with the same kind of high-flying praise as the vintage before it. But by that time, you’ll only have a bottle or two left in the cellar.
91 Points, James Suckling
The 2020 Celeste Sur Lies Verdejo Rueda is a must try. I had a glass last week and it blew me away. The beauty of these Spanish wines is that the quality is every bit $50/bottle, and the price tag is always a fraction of that. This one is fruity and fun with a lot of citrus, grapefruit, lemon lime notes to pair with some nice firm acid and wonderful concentration and depth. Cut off flinty soils, it’s got a great mineral component that harmonizes beautifully with the fruit. It’s a super food-friendly wine, especially with seafood, but it’s the kind of wine you might just want to sip on and enjoy all by itself.
From two New Jersey natives comes something special from Napa Valley. First the Faustini’s bought grapes from the historic Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard for their first test batch. Next they brought in Opus One & Clos du Val alum Kian Tavakoli to head up the winemaking. Throw in an outrageously good 2016 vintage in Napa and what you have is the recipe for a knockout wine that is starting to come into its own and will be great for the next 10-20 years!