Wow… there are lots of special occasion wines in this release- Brunellos, Amarones, Grand Cru Bordeaux… if I won the lottery I know what I would celebrate with! There are so many high end wines featured I was afraid there wouldn’t be much offered in my snack bracket of the $15-$35 range. But – I was pleasantly surprised! There are lots of good value wines in this release as well.
Graham Beck Brut Chardonnay /Pinot Noir Sparkling
#593483 Score 90 $18.95
I have never met a Graham Beck sparkling that I didn’t like! Tasting notes from Christelle Guiber, decanter.com calls this a good-value alternative to Champagne, with yeasty, nutty, complex aromas and a creamy rich palate with a fine mousse. Bonus
Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Rosé
#280172 Score 90 $21.95
Natalie MacLean is calling this a Best Value Wine, with a crisp, clean and fresh. Recommends pairing with roast turkey or potato chips. (Seriously- you have to try sparkling with potato chips… the salty hit with the yeasty, bubbly is a great combination!)
Willy Gisselbrecht Tradition Pinot Gris 2014
# 641597 $17.95
Vintage panel tasting notes describe this as crisp and fruity with floral, citrus tones and a lovely weight. Sweetness is balanced perfectly with bright acidity. (Oops… I think my new-found fondness for Pinot Gris is showing!)
Domaine Schlumberger Kessler Riesling 2012 (Alsace Grand Cru)
#061176 Score 92 $27.95
This is a real treat – a Grand Cru! Tasting notes abound with superlatives from Alison Napjus of winespectator.com. Nose has ripe peach and slate with ‘lip-smacking’ acidity on the palate with snappy saline, tea rose, melon and spice. A firm white, long creamy with fine balance and a vibrant finish.
There are some interesting Chardonnays from around the world as well that you can check out here in the notes I’ve organized as a tasting opportunity.
Baron De Ley Reserva 2010
#958868 Score 95 $21.95
This is excellent value for the middle tier Rioja classification. Reservas must be aged for 3 years one of which in oak. Tasting notes from decanter.com note woodsmoke, dark cherry and strawberry on the nose with a punch of citrus acidity and a long classic finish. Well balanced with firm structure.
Troublemaker Blend 9 (California)
#478636 Score 91 $24.95
This caught my eye because it is from Paso Robles. Matt Kettman of Wine Enthusiast suggest this stands up to Paso blends 3 X its price. He identifies plum, olallieberry (had to look that up.. olallieberry is a California blackberry variety), dried cherry mix with vanilla, dill and herbes de Provence on the nose and a creamy palate with boysenberry, blackberry with hints of lavender and white pepper.
The two Washington wines that follow are getting rave reviews from various sources around the red.
Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux Red Blend 2012 (Washington)
#287425 Score 91 $19.95
Sean P. Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast says the nose pops with complex notes of plum, blueberry, smoke, chocolate and floral accents. Silky, smooth mouth feel with chocolaty flavors. Sounds yummy…
Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Washington)
Tasting Notes from Andy Perdue & Eric Degerman of greathnorthwestwine.com call this a highly coveted wine with stellar consistency. Nose suggests black cherry and spice while the palate delivers cherries, blackberry, blueberry and grippy tannins. It won double Gold medal at the 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition. Based on the grippy tannin reference it is probably best enjoyed with food.
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Shiraz 2012
#433060 Score 94 $22.95
James Halliday of winecompanion.com.au identifies a fruit driven bouquet of black cherry, spice and black pepper with layers of blackberry, black cherry and integrated oak on the palate. While it is classified as Full-bodied and smooth with a high quality tannin structure he suggest is will drink into 2032 (!). They say you can drink or hold -so this would be a fun one to buy a few and try now and periodically over the next several years.
2027 Cellars Queenston Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013
#421370 Score 90 $35.00
David Lawrason of winealign.com indicates in his tasting notes a complex nose of cran-cherry, oak spice and vanillin plus herbs, evergreen and fine French oak treatment. (That’s a lot going on in a nose!) The palate shows good weight, firmness, tartness and integration- excellent flavor and length with perfect mineraltiy and earthiness for a pinot. He suggests drinking 2018-2022.