The below list is a selection of the top wines tasted over the past 12 months and reviewed at The selection is based on a combination of quality, value, availability, and a little bit of Wow Factor. It was made by scrolling through thousands of reviews and painstakingly cutting the list to these 100 wines.

While the list is led by Bordeaux’s incredible 2020s as well as California’s stunning 2021s from the Central Coast, it includes wines from throughout the world, including Napa, Sonoma, Oregon, Washington, the Rhône Valley, Champagne, Piedmont, and Tuscany. The list is not a grouping of the top-rated new releases and contains wines – and producers – who merit special attention.

While we try to select wines currently available in the market, that’s not always possible. Every producer on this list is worth your time and money. If a wine on this list is not available, by all means, try a different wine from the same producer. At a minimum, keep that producer on your radar for the future. Prices are either from release prices from the estates or pulled from average retail prices in the United States.

As with all Top 100 lists, this is an entirely subjective endeavor, and every wine on this list could be replaced with a different wine. Nevertheless, we think these are the most exciting wines at for 2023!

*click on the “+” beside the wine name to read the review

1 2021 J. Rochioli Pinot Noir Estate + A deep transparent ruby, the elegant 2021 Pinot Noir Estate displays a refined, classic appeal in its notes of wild raspberry, fresh roses, and forest herbs. Medium-bodied, it reveals fine tannins and remarkable purity throughout its fresh, well-balanced layers of orange peel, ripe red cherry, and floral, spicy notes that continue long on the palate. A beautiful Pinot with a lot of immediate appeal, it will continue to drink well over the next 6-8 years. This stunning wine far exceeds its entry-level status. It’s absolutely gorgeous.Tom Rochioli is leading his historic family winery and vineyards along with his wife Theresa and their children, Rachael (General Manager) and Ryan (Assistant Winemaker). The focus is on estate-grown expressions of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and old vine Sauvignon Blanc. Tom’s grandparents came to the Russian River Valley in 1938, having immigrated from Italy in 1911, and moved to the 125-acre Fenton Acres property where the winery is today. In the 1970s and 1980s, Tom’s father Joe began selling their grapes to winemakers Davis Bynum and Williams Selyem, who produced some of the best wines in the region. It wasn’t until 1983 that Rochioli decided to produce their own wines and renamed the property from Fenton Acres to Rochioli Vineyards. Tom’s father, Joe Rochioli Sr., passed away last August. In May, I had the opportunity to tour the vineyards with Tom and taste each of the wines for this report with him at the winery. Not all vineyard tours are created equal, and it is truly an enlightening and inspiring experience to see their old, moss-covered vines that are the source material for not only their own wines but for those of some of the top producers in Sonoma today. The River Block, where they fight Pierce’s disease, is a more vigorous site adjacent to the Russian River. He selects from the older pieces for his wines from this site. Three Corner Vineyard, which his father planted in 1974, was the first vineyard Tom ever trained, but it’s challenging to keep alive. Little Hill and Sweetwater are the biggest contributors to the estate wine. The Rochiolis practice no-till farming in the vineyard unless they’re trying to revive young re-plantings. Across the board, their wines are silky, expressive, age-worthy, and outright delicious. $72 96
2 2020 Chateau Cos D’Estournel + Based on 62% Cabernet Sauvignon and 38% Merlot, the deep purple-hued 2020 Château Cos D’Estournel has, dare I say, an almost Lafite-like sense of elegance and class, offering gorgeous cassis and darker currants fruits as well as tobacco, lead pencil, acacia flowers, and graphite. Hitting 13.46 alcohol, with a pH of 3.9 and an IPT of 80, this flawless, full-bodied, incredible elegant Saint-Estèphe has silky tannins, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. It will need a decade of cellaring to hit its prime drink window. Of the trilogy of 2018, 2019, and 2020, it’s clearly my favorite (that’s slitting hairs), with a similarity to the 2016, and will most likely merit another point at maturity. $240 99
3 2019 Domaine Clape Cornas + The 2019 Cornas flirts with perfection and isn’t far off the heavenly 2015. As with the Renaissance, it has a sunny, perfumed, exotic character as well as an incredible bouquet of black cherries, blueberries, ground pepper, game, and leather. Full-bodied, massive, and concentrated on the palate, it packs substantial tannins, is perfectly balance, and has a great, great finish. Cornas doesn’t get much better, ladies and gentlemen. Do your best to give bottles 4-5 years, and it will keep thereafter for two decades. $175 98
4 2019 E. Pira & Figli – Chiara Boschis Barolo Via Nuova + More citrus character emerges from the 2019 Barolo Via Nuova, which is lifted, elegant, and fresh with orange peel. On the palate, it has outstanding energy, with finely coiled tannins, more linear drive, and refreshing energy in its notes of pomegranate, raspberry, and crushed stones. I love this wine now, and it will be fantastic over the coming decades. $100 97
5 2020 Jaffurs Syrah Upslope + Lastly, the 2020 Syrah Upslope is the flagship of the estate and comes from a cellar selection of the single vineyards. It was co-fermented with 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier and aged in 60% new French oak. Offering the purity of the Larner Vineyard as well as additional peppery, gamey nuances, its deep purple hue is followed by a smorgasbord-like array of red, blue, and black fruits as well as full-bodied, unctuous layers of peppercorns, gamey meats, iron, and bouquet garni. With just about off-the-charts purity, a deep, layered mid-palate, and perfect balance, this awesome Syrah can be enjoyed any time over the coming 15 years or so. $80 99
6 2020 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte + Absolutely pure gold and reminding me of the 2009 (or is it the 2010?), the 2020 Château Smith Haut Lafitte sports a dense purple hue to go with incredible aromatics of blackberries, blueberries, scorched earth, wood smoke, and acacia flowers. One of the most concentrated, rich, and sexy wines in the vintage, this massive and extraordinarily opulent 2020 shows the vintage’s pure, elegant profile yet backs it up with sensational levels of fruit and texture. Based on 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it already offers pleasure given its wealth of fruit, but it deserves 7-8 years of bottle age and will evolve for 40-50 years. Not enough can be said about the quality of these wines. Bravo to Florence and Daniel Cathiard, as well as to director Fabien Teitgen, for another incredible achievement. $160 100
7 2018 Val Di Suga Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio Al Granchio + Moving to the fullest expression in this tasting, the 2018 Brunello Di Montalcino Poggio Al Granchio is generous with black cherry, a darker mineral earth profile, wet asphalt, and crushed violets. It is full and beautifully pure on the palate, with notes of kirsch, raspberry liqueur, turned soil, and cedar, and is generous with fruit all the way through, with ripe yet fine tannins. It amplifies the style with ease and impressive skill and is another outstanding wine to drink 2025-2045. $90 97
8 2019 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges De Latour Private Reserve + Lastly, the Grand Vin 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges De Latour Private Reserve is just about pure perfection, and the fact that there are roughly 12,000 cases is incredible. Classis darker fruits (cassis, currants) as well as chocolate, leafy tobacco, and loamy earth all define the bouquet, and this full-bodied, concentrated, powerful, yet also elegant 2019 has the balance and structure to evolve for decades. It should be relatively easy to find this in the market, and you won’t be disappointed. $160 99
9 2020 Clos L’Eglise + A real “wow” wine, the 2020 Clos L’Eglise sports deep ruby hue as well as an absolutely stunning bouquet of black cherries, red plums, damp earth, chocolate, truffle, and lead pencil. This deep, full-bodied, concentrated, beauty has that classic Pomerol opulence and richness paired with an incredible sense of elegance. The tannins are perfectly ripe as well. Give bottles just 4-5 years, and it’s going to age beautifully. This is the finest wine I’ve tasted from the Garcin-Lévêque family, surpassing both the 2009 and 2016. Don’t miss it. $90 99
10 2020 Chave Hermitage Blanc + Another heavenly white from this estate is the 2020 Hermitage Blanc, which is the usual 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from a mix of lieux-dits. Incredibly perfumed with notes of acacia flowers, buttered stone fruits, toasted brioche, honeysuckle, and crushed stone, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, layered texture, beautiful mid-palate depth, and a great finish. The purity, balance, and intensity here are just about off the charts, and this beauty deserves a solid decade of bottle age, although you’ll be excused if you drink one in its youth as well. $350 99
11 2020 Chateau Clinet + The 2020 Château Clinet checks in as a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, brought up in 80% new French oak. It’s a rich, yet gorgeous wine with a wonderful sense of freshness in its ripe blue and black fruits as well as tobacco, chocolate, and damp earth. Full-bodied, beautifully balanced, and elegant on the palate, it has perfect tannins, a layered, elegant mouthfeel, and one hell of an impressive finish. One of the finest Pomerols in the vintage, it will benefit from just 3-5 years of bottle age and keep for two decades. $130 98
12 2020 Domaine Des Bosquets Gigondas La Colline + The 2020 Gigondas La Colline ratchets up the intensity and is just about as good as it gets. Mulled cherries, Provençal garrigue, licorice, scorched earth, and spice flow to a full-bodied, beautifully textured, expansive Gigondas with awesome tannins and perfect balance. This powerful, concentrated, magical Gigondas can be enjoyed any time over the coming 15-20 years. As always, this cuvée is all Grenache from limestone soils at an elevation of 350 meters that was 70% destemmed and vinified in concrete tanks. Malolactic fermentation occurred in barrel, and the élevage is in 2- to 4-year-old demi-muids. $54 97
13 2021 Adelaida Vineyards & Winery Syrah Signature Anna’s Estate Vineyard + All from the estate vineyard in the northern part of the appellation, the 2021 Syrah Signature Anna’s Estate Vineyard is 100% Syrah raised in 50% new French oak. Absolutely classic Paso Robles Syrah notes of black and blue fruit, peppery herbs, violets, leather, and game define the bouquet, and it hits the palate with a full-bodied, pure, layered, seamless profile that has so much to love. I like it today, yet it has the balance, as well as the structure, to evolve for a decade.This estate, with the wines made by Jeremy Weintraub, continues to up the ante, and today they unquestionably fashion some of the top Rhône and Bordeaux variety releases in Paso Robles. These latest 2021s are easily the finest wines I’ve tasted from this address. $75 97
14 2020 Marc Sorrel Hermitage Le Greal + Even better, the 2020 Hermitage Le Gréal showed brilliantly, and this powerful, concentrated Hermitage is going to be one for the cellar. Revealing a dense purple hue as well as great aromatics of blackberries, new saddle leather, truffle, roasted herbs, and peppered meat, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, mouth-filling texture, building tannins, and a great finish. It’s going to take a decade to hit maturity, but this brilliant Hermitage will have 30 years of longevity. Bravo! $150 99
15 2021 Rivers Marie Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard Old Vines + The 2021 Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard Old Vines truly has another gear and is rich with unfolding layers of black cherry, damp forest floor, and cinnamon. The palate is long and concentrated, with raspberry liqueur and cherry skin. This will certainly take several years to see its full potential. $150 100
16 2019 Castello Di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva + The 2019 Chianti Classico Riserva is 90% Sangiovese and the rest Canaiolo and Colorino, raised only in used barrique and large cask. It pours a pure ruby and has floral and herbal aromas of cherry candy, black raspberry, forest herbs, tomato leaf, and dried roses. It is medium to full bodied, with good concentration, fine tannins, and a long, clean finish, and it is savory with dried herbs, oregano, dried cherry, salty earth, and an angular structure. This pure and detailed wine is going to be a fantastic one to cellar and to drink 2025-2040.Aldo Bianchi purchased this historic estate in 1961, and in 1986 they began excavation to build the incredible 300-meter tunnel that today is home to their historic cellar, with bottles dating back to 1962. (That vintage was the estate’s first as well as that of the denomination.) Il Poggio was the first wine in the region to be labelled with a single vineyard. The third generation is now in charge, with Laura Bianchi having taken over from her father Fabrizio. In the cellar, they work with Slavonian oak for the aging of the wines. $50 94
17 2020 Chateau Bellefont-Belcier + The finest wine I’ve tasted from this estate, the 2020 Château Bellefont-Belcier is an incredibly gorgeous blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep ruby/purple-hued, it offers a great nose of cassis, ripe black cherries, camphor, dried flowers, cedar, and forest floor. Bringing gorgeous richness, it nevertheless stays flawlessly balanced, with ultra-fine tannins and a great finish. The purity of fruit here is just about off the charts. While it already offers pleasure, it’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and have 20-25 years of prime drinking. This estate uses a five-day cold soak and fermentation, all in concrete, spanning 25 days. Malolactic fermentation occurs in barrel (four months on lees), and the wine spends 18 months in 30% new French oak, with the balance in once- and twice-used barrels. Yields in 2020 were also reasonable at 34 hectoliters per hectare. $75 98
18 2008 Krug Champagne Millesime + There’s a profound and coiled energy in the 2008 Champagne Millésime, which pours a youthful medium golden hue and opens in the glass to aromas of crushed oyster shell, golden white peach, preserved lemon, shortbread, and fresh ginger. Medium to full-bodied, it has electric and powerful concentration and is packed with preserved Meyer lemon citrus oils, electric tension, and a laser-like mineral texture. Its mousse adds a white pepper spice and a long finish, lasting for ages on the palate. With a strong identity, intense mouthwatering freshness, and outstanding length, it’s not for the faint of heart, but this is going to be a wine we’ll be talking about in 30 to 40 years’ time. $450 97
19 2020 Chateau Haut-Bailly + Another wine I underrated on release, the 2020 Château Haut-Bailly is just about pure perfection, and whereas the 2018 is closer in style to the 2009, this plays things a little closer to its vest and is reminiscent of the 2010. Full-bodied, concentrated, and powerful, it nevertheless cuts a focused, precise path across the palate and brings incredible purity in its darker fruits, smoked tobacco, cedar pencil, and Asian spice-driven aromas and flavors. The tannin quality here is off the charts, and this beauty has everything you could want from wine. It needs a solid 4-6 years (if not longer) to hit the early stages of its prime drinking window, and it’s going to evolve for 50+ years. $150 99
20 2022 Chateau De Nalys Chateauneuf Du Pape Grand Vin Blanc + Made from 40% each of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne and the rest Clairette, brought up all in wood, (2/3 demi-muids and 1/3 barrels, 5% new), the 2022 Châteauneuf Du Pape Grand Vin Blanc is one of – if not the – white of the vintage. White peach, citrus oil, green almonds, brioche, and toasty notes define the aromatics, and it’s full-bodied, with a layered, concentrated yet focused mouthfeel, good acidity (pH 3.4), and a great finish. It’s a stunning white from the south that I wish every reader could taste. It will evolve for 15 years or more.One of the most exciting estates today in Châteauneuf du Pape has to be Château de Nalys, which was purchased by the Guigal family in 2017, who installed the talented Ralph Garcin as director and head winemaker. To say the estate has seen a turnaround would be an understatement, and these latest releases are unquestionably up with the finest wines of the vintage. The estate is on the cusp of starting a huge renovation in the cellar, and I have no doubt the best is still to come. $100 99
21 2019 Gaja Barolo Sperss + The 2019 Barolo Sperss is rich with dark mineral earth, black cherry, and Earl Grey tea. Long and mouthwatering, it has a powerful structure while retaining finesse. It is fantastically balanced, with gripping tannins, fresh acidity, and notes of forested earth and ripe red berries. A wine for the long haul, this is another great and noble wine to drink over the coming three decades.The Gaja estate was founded in 1859, although it was Angelo Gaja, the fourth-generation winemaker of this Barbaresco estate, who made the innovations that would help shape the region as it is today. The entire family shares responsibilities across their estates. Great attention is paid to their practice of sustainable and regenerative farming. I met with Giovanni Gaja for this tasting at the estate in Barbaresco and also made a visit to the nearby region of the Alta Langa, only 16 kilometers away from the original estate. The latest major development for the estate in Piedmont is a brand new winery exclusively dedicated to their still white wine production in Alta Langa, designed by the Italian architect Giovanni Bo, who the family have worked with since 1982. The vineyards of Gaia & Rey and Brassica will remain the same, but fermentation and production will move to this location. There is greater biodiversity in Alta Langa compared to Barolo and Barbaresco, with 60% of the land being undeveloped land and hazelnut farms, and only 40% vineyards, compared to Barbaresco, which has 80% of the land under vine. For this reason, as well as the higher elevations, this area is seeing an influx of attention across the region. In 2015, they purchased 30 hectares of land that had been planted to hazelnut trees, at an average elevation of 650 meters, which they have converted to vineyard and indigenous plants of the area. The winery, which I toured in March of 2023, will be completed in time to begin production for this year’s harvest. Cascina Langa, the historical name for the property, has soils that are rich in sand and tuff, which they believe will be well-suited for adding structure for the white varietals of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They also planted several other experimental vines to learn what will work well in the region. $570 99
22 2018 Guigal Cote Rotie Chateau D’Ampuis + Not scheduled to be on the market until November of 2023, the 2018 Côte Rôtie Chateau D’Ampuis is nevertheless a remarkable Côte Rôtie that readers will love to have in the cellar. Sporting a deep ruby/purple hue as well as awesome Côte Rôtie notes of smoked game, violets, acacia flowers, and both red and black fruits, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, has polished, seamless tannins, and a layered, perfectly balanced mouthfeel. It shows the softer style of the vintage (especially compared to the more structured, tannic 2019) and already offers pleasure, but this will easily evolve for at least two decades. $130 97
23 2021 Raen Pinot Noir Sea Field + The 2021 Pinot Noir Sea Field is a transparent jeweled ruby color and takes things up a notch with its superb aromatics of ripe cherry, gravelly earth, and fresh rose petal. Medium-bodied, with sweet tannins and notes of ripe black raspberry and fresh herbs, it maintains a light sunny touch to its slightly darker profile. Drink 2025-20240.Carlo and Dante Mondavi founded RAEN in the West Sonoma Coast AVA with the goal of seeking California Grand Cru-equivalent sites in the Freestone-Occidental area, and this year saw the promotion of Melanie McIntre from associate winemaker to winemaker. Less than two miles from the ocean, their wines are vibrant expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In the vineyard, they practice no-till farming. The 2021 vintage introduces the first vintage of the Chardonnay Lady Marjorie, an homage to their grandmother and intended to be the counterpoint to the Royal St. Robert tribute of Pinot Noir. Seafield is a roughly 4-acre vineyard and is the rockiest site, with an eastern exposure at 1500 feet of elevation. Bodega is surrounded by redwood forest and is the smallest vineyard at just under two acres. Though the Chardonnays are certainly high quality, the Pinot Noirs capture another level of personality and energy that I find quite compelling. $100 99
24 2019 Grattamacco + Reserved layers and depth slowly begin to emerge from the 2019 Grattamacco, so it is going to need time in cellar to open and show itself. As it opens in the glass, it reveals attractive dark mineral earth, kirsch, black pepper spice, and balsamic. It is concentrated and compact at this stage, with savory richness, and it displays full and balanced structure, ripe and present tannins, and notes of cassis, cedar, and pine resin. It reveals rich complexity without ever feeling murky, and its energetic tension takes this wine to the next level. Drink 2025-2050.I met with Luca Marrone, chief winemaker for ColleMassari Wine Estates, for the first time in person this past November, having previously been restricted to Zoom meetings during the height of the pandemic. My visit to the Bolgheri estate was long anticipated and did not disappoint. Grattamacco was founded in 1977 by Piermario Meletti Cavallari (Giorgio Meletti Cavallari’s father). Luca is one of the more thoughtful and exciting winemakers, producing compelling wines with remarkable focus and transparency of place across each of the regions. Today, they have 32 hectares of vines, predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, and a small amount of Petit Verdot. They also have the oldest Vermentino vines in Bolgheri, and the white wines hold an important place in the range. Touring the winery, they have a collection of some of the first open-tank barrels that Sassicaia used in their first vintage in 1968, which they continue to use, and they are an important part of informing their wines today. The following wines were tasted exclusively at the winery. $100 98
25 2022 Domaine De La Janasse Chateauneuf Du Pape Prestige Blanc + There are two demi-muids of the 2022 Châteauneuf Du Pape Prestige Blanc (one being new), and it’s mostly old vine Roussanne from the sandy portions of the La Janasse lieu-dit. Another thrilling white from this incredible team, it has awesome aromatics of honeyed tangerines, white flowers, citrus oil, and toasted spices, with a kiss of chalky minerality. Rich and medium to full-bodied, it’s concentrated yet vibrant as well. $80 97
26 2020 Domaine Bernard Gripa Saint Joseph Le Berceau + Coming from older vines and arguably the greatest terroir in the appellation, the lieu-dit Saint Joseph just south of Tournon, the 2020 Saint Joseph Le Berceau sports a dense purple hue to go with more powerful notes of blackberries, plums, scorched earth, roasted meats, and spice. Dense, concentrated, and broad, it brings serious ripeness yet never goes over the top. It’s going to take 7-8 years, however, to shed its considerable baby fat, at which point it will show a more classic Saint-Joseph profile. This cuvée is partially destemmed and the élevage is all in 228-liter barrels. $60 94+
27 2018 Le Ragnaie Brunello Di Montalcino Ragnaie VV + Compelling and evolving aromas emerge from the 2018 Brunello Di Montalcino Ragnaie VV, which packs in more concentration and another layer of depth, with ripe red cherry, fresh pine, and wet asphalt. Medium to full-bodied, with notes of ripe black raspberry, sage, and freshly turned soil as well as an exceptionally long finish, it has vibrant energy without being austere. This is hands down one of the top wines of the vintage. Bravo. Drink 2025-2045. $150 97
28 2021 TOP Poise + A real wow of a white wine, the 2021 Poise is rich and layered, with medium to full-bodied aromas and flavors of brioche, white flowers, stone fruits, and hints of toasted nuts. This beauty is pure, balanced, has a great texture, and outstanding length. The blend is 91% Roussanne and 8% Grenache Blanc that’s from a mix of sites (Bien Nacido, Kimsey, Heartstone, and L’Aventure) that saw no malolactic fermentation and 11 months in 35% new French oak. It’s one of the finest Rhône variety whites coming from California today. $70 95
29 2019 Vietti Barolo Rocche Di Castiglione + More lift is on display in the aromas of the 2019 Barolo Rocche Di Castiglione, with medicinal herbs, menthol, red raspberry, and a more cooling effect. The tannin structure is finer as well, with more drying sensation, fresh acidity, and more. From a southeast exposition that has more ventilation, I personally prefer this wine to the others from Vietti. It is not lacking in complexity. Drink 2025-2045 and beyond.Vietti was founded by Carlo Vietti in the late 1800s and is based in Castiglione Falletto. After marrying Luciana Vietti in the late 1950s, Alfredo Currado joined the operations of the winery and later was largely regarded as responsible for the resurrection of the Arneis grape. Until this year, the estate had been helmed by fifth generation winemaker Luca Currado Vietti and his wife Elena, who have been the longtime champions of their family’s winery. In 2016, the estate was purchased by Krause Holdings, which had enabled Luca and Elena to continue their roles while simultaneously supporting significant growth, gaining sought-after site acquisitions for production such as Monvigliero in Barolo. Though the winery is in solid control in terms of the winemaking, the recent departure of Luca and Elena is certain to leave a spiritual hole impossible to fill any time soon. $250 97
30 2021 Occidental Wines Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental + A youthful deep ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental is highly expressive with wild lavender, kirsch, and fresh mountain herbs. Full-bodied, with youthful suppleness to its fruit at this stage, it has the same fantastic salinity that’s present across this whole lineup Occidental. Drink 2024-2034.The family estate of Steve Kistler in the Bodega Headlands, Occidental is exclusively devoted to producing coastally influenced Pinot Noir. Kistler was initially drawn to the area after tasting a bottling of Summa Vineyard that expressed a vivid and more cool climate style. Though Occidental was officially founded in 2011, Steve has been planting vineyards and purchasing property in the area since the 1990s and has retained his original cellar team for the past 30 years. His daughter Catherine Kistler has been the assistant winemaker since 2017, and they are members of the West Sonoma Coast Vintners Association. Looking toward the estate’s future, they have acquired a new ranchland property two and a half miles from the coast and will begin planting Pinot Noir vines on Goldridge soils next year at this even cooler temperature site. The following wines were tasted at the winery in May. For each of the single-vineyard sites, they hold the wines back an additional year, so this tasting focused on the 2020 vintage (with the exception of the 2021 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental). $65 95
31 2021 L’Aventure Estate Cuvee + Pure perfection from this talented team, the 2021 Estate Cuvee checks in as 50% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Petit Verdot that was raised in 80% new French oak. Absolutely incredible aromatics of crème de cassis, blueberries, violets, ground pepper, and graphite give way to a full-bodied red with a seamless, elegant mouthfeel, ultra-fine tannins, a deep, layered mid-palate, and that rare mix of power and elegance that’s so hard to come by. It shows the pure, layered, elegant style of the vintage, and this beauty offers pleasure today yet will ideally be given 3-4 years in the cellar, and it will evolve for two decades at a minimum. $125 100
32 2020 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron + The flagship 2020 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron is pure gold, a full-bodied, rich, powerful 2020 displaying the vintage’s purity, focus, and structure front and center. A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, its dense purple hue is followed by a mammoth-sized bouquet of cassis, blackberries, smoked earth, graphite, and cedar pencil. With ripe tannins, a seamless, layered mouthfeel, and one heck of a finish, it comes closest in my mind to the estate 2010, and I think is clearly in the same realm as the 1989, 1990, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2015, and 2019. It offers pleasure today, but it certainly warrants 7-8 years, a decade if possible, of bottle age and will have 40-50 years of overall longevity. $180 98+
33 2019 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve + The finest vintage I’ve tasted from this estate (although I think the 2016 will give it a run), the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a full-bodied, incredibly elegant, seamless To Kalon Cabernet delivering classic notes of crème de cassis, tobacco, graphite, and chocolate. Its oak is perfectly integrated, and it has silky tannins, no hard edges, and a great finish. This brilliant 2019 already offers pleasure (as do most 2019s), but it’s going to cruise for 25-30 years in cold cellars. $225 98
34 2019 Querciabella Chianti Classico Riserva + Readers looking for a serious, yet polished style will love the 2019 Chianti Classico Riserva. Dark layers of menthol, licorice, black cherry, and incense intertwine and unfold in the glass. Full and generous with red and black fruit, it has a remarkable weightlessness while simultaneously delivering beautiful concentration. With ripe tannins, notes of blood orange zest, red plum, and salty earth, and a refreshing snap of acidity on the finish, it is approachable in its youth and will continue to improve over the coming 10-15 years. This is an outstanding wine to snap up.Translating to “beautiful oak,” Querciabella has 72 hectares of vines in Greve, Radda, and Gaiole. They are certified organic and practice vegan viticulture and winemaking. $59 95
35 2020 Chateau Valandraud + One of the wines of the vintage is Jean-Luc Thunevin’s 2020 Château Valandraud, which comes from the cooler, eastern side of Saint-Emilion. Exhibiting a dense purple hue as well as an incredible perfume of crème de cassis, ripe black cherries, violets, new leather, and an almost Hermitage-like burning embers character, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ripe, seamless tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, and a finish that won’t quit. A blend of 85% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s clearly in the same league as the 2019, if not slightly more concentrated. Give bottles 5-7 years in the cellar, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following 20-25 years or so. $160 99
36 2021 Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay Temperance Hill + The 2021 Chardonnay Temperance Hill is incredible in its aromatics for lovers of well-managed reduction. Bright golden-yellow, it’s flush with flint wet stones, vibrant citrus, and golden pineapple. Full-bodied, with a core of driving citrus and energetic acidity, it has a long and saline finish, with a weightless feel and elegant balance. It has a lovely, rounded edge to its acidity and does not come across as harsh. This is an outstanding and age-worthy wine to drink 2025-2035. $60 96
37 2008 Bollinger Champagne R.D. Extra Brut + The 2008 Champagne R.D. Extra Brut is chiseled, powerful, and packaged with a chalky mineral texture. Made from 70% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay, with 3 grams per liter dosage, it pours a bright straw yellow hue, while its aromatics are more mineral-tinged and feel a touch more noble and upright in character. Aromatically, it opens to notes of toasted almond, preserved Meyer lemon, brothy saline, and vibrant fresh fruit. Displaying tension and grace, it has the richness of Bollinger but is more upright, with an electric mineral energy that courses through the finish, which lasts for days. Mouthwatering and long, it’s a stunner. It needs more time to harmonize all its components, but this is a wine to cellar for the ages, and I think this is going to be a vintage of RD we talk about for a very, very long time. Cellar it if you can and drink 2026-2056. Disgorged December 2022.Located in Aÿ, Bollinger was founded in 1829. This year, former cellarmaster Gilles Descôtes passed away after having stepped down from his position in 2022. Denis Bunner, who had worked as Descôtes’ assistant cellarmaster for the past ten years, has taken over the role of his longtime colleague. To mark the 200th anniversary of the house, they have several projects in the works scheduled for completion in 2029, not only to commemorate the occasion but to carry the house into their next chapter. Construction is underway to renovate the Maison Deuil, the long-time private residence on the property, into a 20-room hotel along with a restaurant, which is sure to significantly impact the tiny village. In September of 2023 they attained B Corp Certification, which focuses on social and environmental standards. A signature of the house is that they have their own cooperage on site to build and maintain their barrels. Gael Chaunut took over the position from Denis Saint Arroman as head cooper for the house in December of 2020. All the wood is sourced from their property in the forest of Cuis. As négociants, they purchase 60% their grapes and own 179 hectares of planted vineyards. Sixty percent of their production is dedicated to Pinot Noir, with 25% to Chardonnay and the remainder to Meunier. This year is the second-ever release for the La Côte Aux Enfants, which is the second single-parcel bottling from the house and completes the collection of Pinot Noir Champagnes alongside the PN Series and Vieilles Vignes Françaises. Stylistically, the Vieille Vignes Françaises remains the richest and most powerful wine in the range, with an emphasis on the concentration of its fruit from the ungrafted vines of Clos Saint Jacques. $440 98
38 2020 Vernay Condrieu Coteau Vernon + From older vines and a steep, granitic hillside just outside the village, the 2020 Condrieu Côteau Vernon always offers another level of complexity and depth over the other releases here. Orange blossom, honeyed minerality, brioche, white flowers, and spice are just some of its nuances, and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a layered, seamless mouthfeel, integrated acidity, and a great finish. While 2020 was a hot, extreme year, this is pure and has a terrific sense of freshness and outstanding length. Beautifully done, it ranks with the top handful of Condrieu in this report. $180 97
39 2021 Jada Vineyard Hell’s Kitchen + The 2021 Hell’s Kitchen (45% Syrah, 32% Graciano, and the rest Grenache) is more smoky and gamey, with a Northern Rhône-like character in its black and blue fruits, white pepper, violet, and gamey, bacon fat-like nuances. With full-bodied richness, a layered, elegant mouthfeel, and that rare richness-without-weight style, it’s another gem in this lineup that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink bottles over the coming decade or so.Joshua Harp’s Jada Vineyard, with help from Napa’s Tony Biagi, has leapt into the top handful of producers in Paso Robles over the last few years and these 2021s might be the best yet. $72 98
40 2019 Sine Qua Non Grenache Eleven Confessions Vineyard + The late bottled 2019 Grenache Eleven Confessions Vineyard is another undeniably great wine from this incredible estate and it tops out my scale. Based on 89% Grenache, 6% Syrah, 4% Petite Sirah, and the balance Gelber Muskateller (Muscat Blanc), all from the Eleven Confessions Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, it spent 39 months in 50% new French oak, with the balance in 2- to 5-year-old barrels. It’s a powerful, full-bodied, opulent Grenache that brings to mind a great vintage of Domaine de Marcoux’s Vieilles Vignes with its gorgeous red and black fruits, smoked herbs, leather, and assorted spicy, sandalwood, and peppery nuances. Full-bodied on the palate, it has flawless balance, a deep, layered mid-palate, and velvety tannins. It brings that rare mix of richness and elegance that only Grenache can. Give bottles 2-4 years and enjoy over the following 15+.Looking at the new vintages reviewed here, the 2021s come from a cooler, even, balanced year and actually share a similar profile with the 2019s. These are still classic Sine Qua Non releases, but there’s clearly a fresher, elegant vibe, and the wines are flawlessly balanced. In comparison, the 2020s come across as bigger, richer wines that have tons of sexy opulence and richness. I was able to taste the two longer élevage Eleven Confession Vineyard releases from 2019, and these are absolutely captivating wines I wish every reader could taste. As I said above, there are lots of similarities to the 2021s here, and the wines have a beautiful purity and elegance about them without sacrificing depth or richness. $280 100
41 2021 Kistler Chardonnay Dutton Ranch + The 2021 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch has expressive notes of honeycomb, ripe orchard fruit of peach, white mushroom, and fresh spice. Full-bodied, it has a more rounded and creamy texture on the palate, with lemon curd, citrus oil, and ripe apple. Its pristine fruit holds good freshness, and this very pretty wine has a distilled quality that makes I feel like it will last forever. This is a gorgeous wine to enjoy over the next 12-15 years.Located in the Russian River Valley, Kistler is led today by winemaker Jason Kesner, who continues the long tradition of working from a singular clone of Chardonnay with Burgundian lineage that Steve Kistler, now of Occidental Wines, began in the 1980s. The 2021s were all tasted at the winery with Jason this May. Across the board, the wines from this vintage carry a savory profile that’s less about its fruit character and more about texture and sense of place, expressing a haunting sense of power and range. These are wines that I sometimes find difficult to pin down into words, but they are truly worth experiencing for yourself. $135 98
42 2021 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills + Leading off the reds, the 2021 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills offers a pure, complex, intense perfume of ripe raspberries, peppery herbs, exotic flowers, and underbrush. This deep, rich, medium to full-bodied Pinot Noir has a layered mouthfeel, ripe tannins, remarkable purity, and a great, great finish. It will stand up to anything in the vintage and should be snatched up by savvy readers.As usual with Greg’s wines, these wines are not destemmed and are brought up all in neutral barrels. Most of the Chardonnays check in around 14% alcohol, with the Pinot Noirs between 14%-14.5%, and they all have singular characters as well as a decade of longevity at a minimum. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better lineup of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from anyone in California. $45 95
43 2019 Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf Du Pape Le Plateau + Deep ruby-hued, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Le Plateau offers up a powerful, concentrated, full-bodied style as well as a truly “wow” bouquet of blackcurrants, blackberries, truffle, Provençal garrigue, and graphite. A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah, this beauty hits the palate with a massive mouthfeel, ripe, building tannins, and an incredible finish. It’s built for the long haul but is a legendary wine in the making that will probably evolve for 30-40 years.I love seeing Pierre Fabre bring Mont-Redon back to its prior glory. I think this estate is unquestionably producing some of the top wines of the appellation today, and that should be no surprise given the incredible terroir of this estate. Looking at the Châteauneuf du Pape releases, there’s a classic cuvée and a Le Plateau cuvée, both in red and white. The classic cuvée is, as you would expect, a classic expression of the appellation and brought up in tank and used oak. Both Le Plateau releases come from the prime upper plateau terroir (think La Crau, only in the northwestern portion of the appellation) and see more new oak. In general, these Le Plateau releases are serious, concentrated wines that demand bottle age. In addition to the Châteauneuf du Pape, this estate produces a bevy of releases from throughout the Southern Rhône, all of which merit attention. $280 98+
44 2020 Domaine Le Sang Des Cailloux Vacqueyras Cuvee Lopy + The 2020 Vacqueyras Cuvée Lopy is also straight-up terrific, with a slightly more concentrated profile that will benefit from bottle age. Exhibiting a deep purple hue as well as notes of darker cherries, mulberries, peppery herbs, and garrigue, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, has ripe tannins, and a straight, focused profile that needs 2-3 years in the cellar. It’s going to have 15 years of overall longevity if you’re so inclined. $26 92+
45 2020 Domaine De Chevalier + The Grand Vin 2020 Domaine De Chevalier ratchets everything up another notch and will be one of the legendary wines from this address. Notes of pure cassis, graphite, lead pencil, and scorched earth define its incredible aromatics, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ultra-fine tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. This is pure, classic, regal Pessac-Léognan is as good as anything in the vintage. Give bottles 4-6 years and it will evolve for 50, 60, 70+ years. I absolutely love this wine. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. $100 98+
46 2021 Lingua Franca Pinot Noir The Plow + Refreshing and long on the palate, the 2021 Pinot Noir The Plow pours a medium ruby hue and is expressive but needs time. It has a touch of reduction and would benefit from a decant if opening young. It opens to reveal a beautiful, elegant perfume of rosewater, tangerine, grenadine, and graphite, followed by a pure, medium-bodied red with outstanding energy and a weightless feel while retaining a wonderful tannin structure that will feel angular at first to some. It’s long on the palate and is deceiving, as it’s such a pleasure to taste now. Drink 2024-2040. $75 98
47 2020 Chateau La Fleur-Petrus + The finest vintage from this address I’ve ever tasted, as well as a perfect wine, the 2020 Château La Fleur-Petrus reveals a dense purple hue to go with a deep, layered, full-bodied, yet flawlessly balanced style carrying a smorgasbord-like array of red and black fruits, chocolate, dried flowers, spicy oak, and damp earth. It’s not a powerhouse in the style of Trotanoy, Vieux Château Certain, or say, Clinet, but is all about finesse, elegance, and complexity. This magical Pomerol will benefit from 4-6 years of bottle age and cruise for 20-30 years in cold cellars. $300 100
48 2018 Produttori Del Barbaresco Barbaresco + No crus were produced in 2018. The 2018 Barbaresco is aromatically expressive, with a perfumed and mineral character, with rocky earth. It has medium body, good concentration, and plenty of fruit and mineral earth that drive through the finish. An outstanding value, drink 2025-2045.As one of the most important and quality-minded co-operatives in the world, Produttori del Barbaresco is currently composed of 51 growers across Barbaresco. Founded in 1894 by Domizio Cavazza, the headmaster of the Royal Enological School of Alba, it was originally a collection of nine growers. Today the operations are managed by Aldo Vacca, who was formerly the assistant to Angelo Gaja for 15 years. $45 95
49 2020 WeatherEye Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate + Probably my favorite in the lineup, the 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate sports a dense purple/plum hue to go with Pauillac-like aromatics of blackcurrants, blueberries, freshly sharpened pencils, violets, and a liquid rock-like sense of minerality. Concentrated, focused, medium to full-bodied, and structured, it has a great mid-palate, masses of ripe tannins, and a great finish. It needs to be forgotten in the back of the cellar for 4-6 years but should have 2-3 decades of overall longevity. $135 96+
50 2020 Pian Dell’Orino Pianodorino + The 2020 Pianodorino pours a rich ruby hue and is ripe with red cherry, fresh roses, wild herbs, and wet stone. Medium-bodied, with fine-grained, ripe tannins and rounded fruit through the mid-palate, it is pure and ripe with fresh red plum, hallmark floral perfume, and turned earth, all in wonderful balance. This is a fantastic entry into the wines of the estate and captures the essence of their style. Drink 2023-2030. $55 92
51 2020 Chateau Larcis Ducasse + The Grand Vin comes from a tiny 11.15-hectare vineyard that has been in the Gratiot family since 1893. Located on the south-facing Côte Pavie, between Château Pavie and Château Bellefont-Belcier and consisting of clay on top of limestone soils, the vineyard has recently been going through a replanted phase using a selection massale and a higher density planting. The grapes are hand-sorted, vinification occurs all in concrete and spans four weeks, with the élevage in 50% new French oak. A normal blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the 2020 Château Larcis Ducasse reminds me of the 2005 and is up with the top handful of wines on the Right Bank. It has a brilliant perfume of red and black fruits, white truffle, leafy tobacco, and Asian spices. This carries to a full-bodied, concentrated, powerful Larcis-Ducasse with ultra-fine yet building tannins, perfect balance, a stacked mid-palate, and one heck of a great finish. It’s going to flirt with perfection in 7-8 years (I’m probably underrating it a point) and have 30 years of overall longevity. Tasted numerous times with consistent results. $120 99
52 2021 Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage + From Zinfandel grown in the pure sand soils of this incredible site, the 2021 Evangelho Vineyard Heritage is lifted and pure with raspberry liqueur, fresh flowers, and brushy earth. Medium-bodied, with a highly refined structure, it reveals a floral perfume of herbes de Provence and rose petals that lasts long after the wine has dissipated. With fine tannins and a gorgeous, sandy mineral texture, it’s a beautiful wine to drink over the next 10 or more years. $50 96
53 2020 Brave & Maiden Estate Bequest + The flagship 2020 Bequest checks in as 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 17% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, all from the estate in Santa Ynez. It’s another deep purple/plum-hued effort that I’d be happy to put next to the best from Napa. Ripe currants, cassis, spring flowers, graphite, lead pencil, and hints of scorched earth all define the aromatics, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a silky, elegant mouthfeel, gorgeous tannins, and one heck of a great finish. This is pure gold and unquestionably up with the finest Bordeaux blends from Santa Barbara County ever made. Bravo!These Brave & Maiden wines are made by Victor Robaglia and offer ripe, sexy, opulent profiles that stay nicely balanced. They’re some of the finest examples of Bordeaux varieties coming out of Santa Barbara today. $120 99
54 2018 Philipponnat Champagne Blanc De Noirs Extra Brut + Produced entirely from Pinot Noir from Premier and Grand Cru villages, the 2018 Champagne Blanc De Noirs Extra Brut displays a light straw/copper tinge and has so much personality, with loads of kirsch, red plum, fresh roses, and graham crackers. Full-bodied, with a spine of fresh acidity and orange citrus as well as a savory flourish, you get the ripeness of the house without it feeling overdone. This is one of the calling cards for Philipponnat that feels so well-integrated. It exhibits the powerful nature of Pinot Noir but has fantastic structure, and although it’s drinking great now, it will be incredible to hold onto over the coming 20 years. Drink 2023-2043. 4.5 grams per liter dosage. 40,790 bottles produced. $90 94
55 2019 Pio Cesare Barolo Mosconi + My favorite of the Pio Cesare wines at this tasting, the 2019 Barolo Mosconi displays great balance in is notes of raspberry liqueur, pressed roses, and blood orange. With fine, ripe tannins and a note of salty mineral earth, it is fresh and persistent with ripe red fruit and orange peel and is long on the palate. Drink 2025-2045. $200 96
56 2020 Fingers Crossed Grenache Head Held High + The 2020 Grenache Head Held High brings slightly more richness and depth compared to the 2021 (at least at this stage) and is loaded with red and black fruits, peppery herbs, flowers, sandalwood, and spicy nuances. It does everything right, and it’s full-bodied, concentrated, has remarkable purity, and fine-grained tannins. This sensational Grenache is one of the finest expressions of the variety I’ve tasted from California. It will evolve for 10-15 years.Looking at the 2020s from Fingers Crossed, these show the richer, riper style of the vintage and are noticeably bigger wines than the 2021s. Nevertheless, they hold onto a beautiful sense of vibrancy and are flawlessly balanced. The 2021s come across as more cool climate-inspired, with bright, fresher styles that certainly had me thinking of comparisons from the Rhône (the Syrah in particular). One thing is sure, you can’t go wrong with any of these latest releases from Nicolas and Julia Krankl. In addition, I expect production to increase slightly here going forward, as they’ve been able to pick up a few additional parcels in top vineyards in Santa Barbara County. $126 98
57 2021 Zeitlos Riesling + A medium golden hue, the 2021 Riesling has fresh and attractive aromatics of ripe peach, citrus blossoms, and lime candy. Fully dry, this medium-bodied white has a wonderful core of fresh acidity and concentration. It offers a beautifully elegant texture and reveals notes of savory herbs, mouthwatering salinity, fresh lime zest, green apple, and dark minerals. I love this wine for its impressive, layered aromatics and its savory character. Drink it over the next 10 or more years. $60 95
58 2021 Carlisle Syrah Rosella’s Vineyard + The last vintage for this cuvée, as the vines were ripped up, the 2021 Syrah Rosella’s Vineyard is an opaque purple with a tinge of red. As close to Northern Rhône style as it gets, it reveals notes of smoked meat, black pepper, lavender, and plum followed by a full-bodied red with loads of graphitic earth. Light on its feet , with a supple texture, its notes of blackberry, fresh herbs, and tea leaf last long on the finish. This beautiful wine will have good longevity over the next 10 or more years. $50 98
59 2019 Domenico Clerico Barolo Ginestra Ciabot Mentin + A bit higher pitched compared to the Pajana, the 2019Barolo Ginestra Ciabot Mentin is pure with anise spice, kirsch, and rocky earth. More linear than the Pajana, with equally if not more impressive length and finish, it is evenly paced, with notes of blood orange, ripe apricot, ripe berries, and candied roses. Outstanding and drinking well already, it easily has another two or more decades ahead. $140 97
60 2022 Chateau De Vaudieu Chateauneuf Du Pape Les Clairette De Gabriel Blanc + Last of the whites, the 2022 Châteauneuf Du Pape Les Clairette De Gabriel Blanc checks in as 100% Clairette brought up in equal parts new and used barrels. It’s medium-gold hue is followed by a gorgeous perfume of white peach, tart pineapple, brioche, and subtle honeyed white flower-like nuances. It’s medium to full-bodied, has a focused, pure, elegant mouthfeel, beautiful depth, and a great finish. It’s another remarkable white from this talented team that will benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for a decade.Located in the center of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation, just south of Rayas, Château de Vaudieu is run by Laurent Bréchet, and they release a number of special cuvées based largely on individual parcels around the domaine. The winemaking can be thought of as quasi-modern, with most of the wines destemmed and brought up in older barrels and demi-muids. New oak is kept to a minimum and the wines always show Provençal, elegant characters. In addition to the brilliant reds, this estate fashions some of the greatest whites in the appellation. $84 96
61 2020 Leonetti Cellar Reserve + The flagship 2020 Reserve is based on 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot. It strikes a good balance between all the single vineyards and is pure, classic Cabernet in its crème de cassis, ripe black cherries, smoky oak, graphite, and tobacco-driven aromas and flavors. Pure, concentrated, full-bodied, and beautifully elegant, it has fine tannins, perfect balance, and a great finish. This gorgeous 2020 is more finesse-driven and elegant compared to the Cabernet Sauvignon yet should evolve for just as long. Both the Reserve and Cabernet Sauvignon from Leonetti are incredible wines that transcend the vintage, and bravo to winemaker Chris Figgins. Don’t miss these wines. $160 97
62 2010 Ruinart Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut + This is the first vintage of this cuvée that the house has opted to age under cork instead of crown capsule for the aging on the lees, sur latte. It pours a vibrant straw/green hue, and comes from five villages: Sillery, Avize, Cramant, Chouily, and Mesnil-sur-Oger. The 2010 Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc De Blancs Extra Brut was raised, as it always is, without the use of oak, and saw 3 grams per liter of dosage. Highly expressive on opening, it’s layered with aromas of fresh baked croissant, key lime, melon, and honeysuckle. Rounded and long on the palate, it’s elegant and refined within its medium frame and takes on a remarkable silky chalk texture. Floral all the way through the finish, with long-lasting notes of lemon curd, it retains a springy freshness that is true to the house style but is quite elevated and impeccably well-balanced with layered depth. This would be a great addition to the cellar. Drink 2025-2045. Disgorged in June of 2022. $295 96
63 2018 Pol Roger Champagne Vintage Brut Rose + Made from 60% Pinot Noir and the rest Chardonnay, with 15% red wine from Les Riceys, the 2018 Champagne Vintage Brut Rosé pours a bright but deeper shade of pink with an orange hue and is forward with aromas of ripe raspberry, rose petal, orange peel, and a hint of spice. Medium to full-bodied, it has broad shoulders and a bit of tannic grip, with a fine mousse that fades to the background, allowing the wine’s more serious side to show off its style. Chalky and powerful on the palate, with wonderful clarity and a long finish, it’s going to move into its more savory side with another couple of years in the cellar. It will pair well alongside roast duck and through the end of a meal. Drink 2025-2045.Pol Roger is a sixth-generation family-owned business founded in 1849 that is solely focused on Champagne based in Epernay. Damien Cambres replaced former chef de cave Dominique Petit in 2018. Since 2011, they have fully moved to stainless steel fermentation and aging. They house 9.5 kilometers of cellars that are notably deep at 33 meters underground and employ four full-time riddlers to turn the bottles and carefully collect sediment from them. (Only 11 exist in the region today.) This year they completed a new facility for packaging and shipping that rests on the footprint of the historical site of the original cellars, which disastrously collapsed in 1900, destroying 1.5 million bottles. In August of 2022, Christian de Billy passed away at the age of 93. He was the great grandson of Pol Roger and was instrumental in the creation and launch of several cuvées, including the Rosé in 1961, the Blanc de Blancs vintage cuvée in 1965, and the cuvée Sir Winston Churchill in 1984 with the 1975 vintage. They own 92 hectares today and produce approximately 1.7 million bottles annually. Pol Roger is a Pinot Noir-based house that focuses on the art of blending. The wines tend to strike a balance of refinement in the mousse without shying away from power and structure across the range. $130 95
64 2019 Hamel Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Pamelita Reserve + Layers of fresh aromas coax from the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Pamelita Reserve, with notes of redcurrant, delicate oak spices, leather, and fresh soil. Aromatically, this would have great appeal for Napa wine lovers who are looking to expend their reach. Ripe and velvety in texture, with good freshness and impeccable balance, this is packed with a lot to love for drinking across many styles. The palate is plush with notes of wild raspberry liqueur, as well as loads of fresh sage, dark minerals, and a long finish. This is the most complete of these wines from Hamel hands down and can be enjoyed over the next 20 years. $225 97
65 2020 Andremily No 9 + I loved the 2020 No 9 from barrel and this beauty does not disappoint from bottle. Based on 89% Syrah, 9% Mourvèdre, and the rest Viognier that was only 50% destemmed, it spent 22 months in 65% new French oak. A wine that demands lots of air to show at its best, it reveals a deep plum/purple hue as well as a brilliant bouquet of red, blue, and black fruits, ground pepper, iodine, crushed violets, and wild sagebrush. With incredible purity and precision aromatically, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, concentrated mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It’s a big, rich wine from Binns, but if anything, it shows another level of finesse and stays light on its feet and graceful. This world-class Syrah will benefit from 3-5 years of bottle age and evolve nicely over the following two decades. It’s clearly one of the wines of the vintage in Santa Barbara, if not one of the greatest 2020s in the state. $110 99
66 2019 Nervi – Giacomo Conterno Gattinara Molssino + Coming from one of the great sites from the volcanic soils of Gattinara, the 2019 Gattinara Molssino is smoky, with a darker profile of black and red fruits and notes of black cherry, leather, and wet asphalt. This medium-bodied red offers wonderful concentration and purity, with ripe yet present tannins as well as notes of gravelly earth, cranberry, and tea leaf. It is an outstanding wine expressive of its more northern terroir to drink over the coming 15 years. $190 94
67 2021 Melville Syrah Donna’s + The 2021 Syrah Donna’s is all varietal and comes from the Melville Vineyard. Its vivid ruby/plum hue is followed by classic Syrah notes of ripe blackberries, mulberries, pepper, violets, and gamey meats. These carry to a full-bodied Syrah with ultra-fine tannins, a layered, multi-dimensional texture, and a gorgeous finish. This absolutely captivating Syrah is already impossible to resist yet is going to evolve for 15-20 years with ease. It’s up with the finest vintages of this cuvée produced. Hats off to Chad Melville for a brilliant, world class Syrah!As I’ve written in the past, the style at Melville has shifted considerably, with the wines today playing in the fresher, more acid-driven, vibrant end of the section. The quality remains incredibly high, and these latest 2021s are the finest wines I’ve tasted from winemaker Chad Melville. $62 98
68 2021 Failla Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard + The 2021 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard is gorgeous, with a floral perfume of fresh roses, raspberry eau de vie, fresh coniferous herbs, and spice. Medium-bodied, this stunning wine has wonderful transparency, with fine sweet tannins, ripe red berries, and fresh flowers. Its fabulous, mineral-laced texture lasts for days, and while it will certainly have serious longevity, it’s irresistible now. Drink 2023-2043.Since Failla’s first vintage in 1998, Ehren Jordan has been focused on producing exceptional cool-climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah using biodynamic farming practices. Today, Failla has 11 acres of estate vines and has steadily acquired key vineyard sources from the Occidental Ridge, Hirsch, Peay, Savoy, and Platt vineyards. More recently, they have been expanding north to Oregon, where they are now getting fruit from the Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. They have also purchased an Oregon winery, Patton Valley Vineyards in Gaston, as well as 30 acres of vineyard land in the Laurelwood District on sandy, windblown basalt soils. $88 98
69 2021 Brick House Pinot Noir Evelyn’s + I love the aromatics that lift from the 2021 Pinot Noir Evelyn’s, with spice and anise, wild red berries, and dusty earth. It’s very elegant in style and offers a significant departure in its texture, with a soft, stony mouthfeel, medium to full body, a linear feel, and a more citrus-driven finish, with notes of orange oil lasting long after the wine is gone. Refined with mineral accents, this is going to benefit from time in the cellar to uncoil and should have a long arch in its evolution. Drink 2025-2040.One of the benchmark estates of the Willamette Valley, Doug Tunnell and Melissa Mills began the winery with the first vines they planted in 1990. He is widely mentioned in my travels across the region, especially regarding his farming, which is certified biodynamic through Demeter. The vineyards are planted on southeast-facing slopes in the heart of the Ribbon Ridge AVA. Each of the following wines were tasted at the estate with Doug and his fantastic assistant winemaker Savannah Mills. $88 96
70 NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc De Noirs Extra Brut + The NV Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut is incredibly expressive and complete aromatically. It pours a golden hue and has a perfume of red flowers, kirsch, brioche, and a delicate touch of smoke. This is a wine that evolves in the glass and develops almost espresso-like richness with time. It is full-bodied but remains elegant, with good concentration and a long finish. It feels sunny. It spent 72 months on the lees before disgorgement in July 2021. $200 96
71 2020 M. Chapoutier Saint Joseph Les Granits + The 2020 Saint Joseph Les Granits brings another level of richness and depth, with a darker, almost cooler edge to its black fruits, scorched earth, and graphite, with an Hermitage-like leather note. Full-bodied on the palate, it builds beautifully with air and has sweet tannins, a stacked mid-palate, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. I finished my note with a few expletives that I can’t post here, but suffice to say, I think this is an utterly magical Saint Joseph. It offers pleasure even today yet will have at least two decades of prime drinking. As always, this comes from the lieu-dit Saint Joseph, was destemmed, and the aging spanned 18 months in 20% new demi-muids and barrels. $138 97
72 2021 Epoch Estate Wines Grenache York Mountain + slightly deeper hued than the Sensibility, the 2021 Grenache York Mountain offers a darker, meatier style in its darker berry fruits, ground pepper, iron, and smoked meat-like aromas and flavors. Rich and medium to full-bodied, it has plenty of tannins, a supple, layered, elegant mouthfeel, gorgeous purity, and a great finish.Epoch continues to pull heavily from their estate Paderewski Vineyard, but they’re also releasing new cuvées from their York Mountain estate as those vines come online. I expect this trend to continue. Looking at the wines reviewed here, I was able to taste all their 2020s now from bottle, and they’ve clearly produced some of the top wines in this challenging vintage. If there’s any smoke in these wines, I was unable to find it, and they have remarkable purity in their aromatics and ripe, polished tannins. I was also able to go through the 2021s with winemaker Jordan Fiorentini, and there are some legit genius wines in here that are as good as anything out there. I’d wager these 2021s are some of the finest wines produced from this estate, and I can’t wait to try them again from bottle next year. $80 97
73 2021 Elvio Cogno Barbera D’Alba Pre-Phylloxera + A rich purple in color, the 2021 Barbera D’Alba Pre-Phylloxera comes from 130-year-old vines from a single cask. It is expansive aromatically, with a perfume that offers more spice in its notes of black pepper, blackcurrant liqueur, and lavender, giving it an almost Syrah-like character. A very special wine, it fills the palate with plummy fruit and cleans up with dark minerals. Full-bodied without being weighted, this is a wine with more aging potential, although it is outstanding now. Drink 2023-2040.Elvio Cogno founded his eponymous estate in 1991, after working for 30 years in partnership with Marcarini with the labels of Cogno-Marcarini. Originally from Novello, he had an opportunity to purchase the winery farmhouse, Cascina Nuova, located in the commune of Novello, in the heart of the Ravera Cru (MGA). That same year, he put Ravera on the map by producing the first-ever bottling of Barolo labeled as Ravera. They currently operate and own 16 hectares of vines, 11 of which are within the Cru of Ravera, and the remaining 5 hectares are parcels around the Novello Comune. Today the estate is run by Elvio’s son-in-law, Valter Fissore, and his daughter Nadia, who took over in 1996. In the vineyards, they continue to push forward, working to improve vineyard health and implement organic farming practices while adapting to the region’s changing climate conditions. The total annual production is approximately 120,000 bottles. Their key holdings include the pre-phylloxera Barbera sourced from Berri on the western edge of La Morra, from 130-year-old vines. They survive because of the sandier soils and the cooler microclimate, which sees more wind coming off the river to the west. Less than 2000 bottles are produced each year. The Barolo from Bricco Pernice is a warmer microclimate within Ravera, as it is sheltered from the winds coming off the mountains, with soils that are a higher proportion of limestone compared to the other plots within Ravera. Bricco Pernice is entirely composed of the Lampia clone of Nebbiolo. Also within Ravera, Elvio planted Vigna Elena in 1991, the same year Valter and Nadia’s daughter Elena was born. It is a triangle-shaped parcel, uniquely planted exclusively to the Rose clone of Nebbiolo, whereas the rest of their Nebbiolo vines are composed of Michet and Lampia clones. In 2005, they had the opportunity to work with Bordini in Neive to begin producing their Barbaresco. Each of the following wines was tasted at their tasting room with Valter Fissore in March of 2023. Across the range, the wines showed wonderful purity, with each wine having a unique and singular stamp, making them some of the most enjoyable and expressive wines from the area, and I highly recommend seeking them out. $70 96
74 2020 Arista Winery Chardonnay Estate + From a vineyard planted by Ulises Valdez in 2012 entirely to the Montrachet selection, the 2020 Chardonnay Estate is expressive with flint and smoky earth, candied green apple, and preserved lime. Full-bodied, with an underlying mineral texture and notes of cantaloupe, honeysuckle, and crunchy saline, it’s ripe and viscous but has great freshness and length. Drink 2024-2035.Located in the heart of the Russian River Valley, Arista Winery was founded in 2002 by Al and Janis McWilliams, who handed over day-to-day operations to their children, Mark and Ben, in 2012. Today, the winemaking is overseen by esteemed winemaker Matt Courtney, who spent eight years with Marcassin. Additionally, Matt makes wines under his own label, Ferren. He holds back an additional year in bottle for both wineries before release. Thus, the most recent coverage is for the 2020 vintage, where they made the difficult decision to only produce white wines due to the impact of the fires. $90 98
75 2020 Domaine Rostaing Cote Rotie Cote Blonde + Leading off two perfect wines, the 2020 Côte Rôtie Côte Blonde comes from two separate plantings going back to the 1970s and was brought up all in barrel. A legendary Côte Rôtie in every way, it offers an incredible perfume of sweet cassis, black raspberries, spring flowers, incense, camphor, and hints of cured meats. This carries to a full-bodied Côte Rôtie that has just about off-the-charts richness, a layered, seamless mouthfeel, beautifully polished tannins, and flawless balance. This unquestionably rivals the 1999, and while it’s going to have some early accessibility, it deserves at least 4-6 years of bottle age and will last for two decades or more. $200 100
76 2021 Patricia Green Cellars Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard Perspicacious Cuvee + Pouring a dark red, the 2021 Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard Perspicacious Cuvee is lush with toasted sage, wild wet stone, medicinal herbs, black raspberry, black pepper, and violets. This wine takes things to another level, with all its components coming together with a velvety texture, earthy grounded tones, fresh acidity, and it’s pure, rich, and long on the palate. Cellar this one away and drink 2027-2040 and beyond. $155 98
77 2019 Keplinger Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Ranch Vineyard + Lastly, and incorporating 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Ranch Vineyard is more black-fruited, with some savory herbs, iron, and loamy earthy nuances as well as a full-bodied, rich, powerful style on the palate. It’s a beautiful, concentrated, age-worthy 2019 that deserves 4-6 years of bottle age. $200 97+
78 2021 Law Estate Wines The Nines + The 2021 The Nines sports a deep ruby, semi-opaque hue as well as a great nose of kirsch liqueur, wild strawberry, ground pepper, and spring flowers, with an incredible sense of minerality. Aged in 64% new oak, this gorgeous Grenache is medium to full-bodied and has a layered, seamless mouthfeel, plenty of tannins, and a gorgeous finish.Located high up in the hills west of Paso Robles, Law Estate Wines are made by Philipp Pfunder. These are classic Paso Robles Rhône blends that bring substantial richness and depth yet still manage to remain beautifully balanced and light on their feet, which is the magic of these limestone hills of the region. They’ve done well in 2020, and the 2021s are absolutely sensational wines. $105 98
79 2021 Optik Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard + From a site just to the west of Bien Nacido, the 2021 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills Vineyard is slightly deeper ruby-hued, with a terrific, darker cherry, smoked herb, and black tea-driven profile carrying medium to full-bodied richness and depth as well as ripe, supple tannins. As with all these Optik releases, it’s impeccably made and a joy to drink.These Optik releases are made by Joey Tensley and come primarily from the Santa Maria Valley. As I write in some of the reviews, these wines are a joy to drink. $50 94
80 2021 Riise Wine Doyan + Leading off the 2021s and the only wine tasted out of bottle, the Grenache-dominated 2021 Doyan is gorgeous as well and shares plenty of similarities with the 2019. Pure red and black fruits, spring flowers, and spicy nuances all define this beauty, which is full-bodied, has flawless balance, fine tannins, and one heck of a great finish. It’s a stunning Grenache from Paso Robles that will evolve for 10-15 years in cold cellars. $100 97
81 2020 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate + Plenty of ripe blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, graphite, and lead pencil notes emerge from the 2020 Chaleur Estate, an ultra-classic, medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, and a splash of Petit Verdot. With good concentration, terrific purity, and building tannins, it should benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and have two decades of longevity. $90 95
82 2020 Domaine De L’A + Up with the finest vintages of this cuvée to date, the 2020 Domaine De L’A checks in as 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc from the western edge of the Castillon region. Aged in 70% new French oak, it has a brilliant perfume of crème de cassis, chalky minerality, spring flowers, and leafy tobacco. This deep purple-hued, medium to full-bodied, concentrated Castillon has building tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and a gorgeous finish. It will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and evolve gracefully over the following 10-15 years. $60 95
83 2020 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou + Lastly, the 2020 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is another legendary wine from this château that has been on an incredible run over the past decade. A blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot that was brought up all in new French oak, it has a saturated purple hue to go with an incredible, mineral-laced bouquet of crème de cassis, liquid violets, graphite, and tobacco leaf. More structured and concentrated than any of the Léovilles, this blockbuster, deep, concentrated, full-bodied Saint-Julien has off-the-charts purity, ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish. I wrote in my notes, “Like the 2010, only better.” You won’t find a more concentrated yet flawlessly balanced and elegant wine out there. It’s going to need a decade of cellaring and will have 40, 50, if not 60 years of longevity. $250 100
84 2021 Alma Rosa Winery Attente Red Wine + The 2021 Attente Red Wine (52/48 Grenache and Syrah aged 14 months in 60% new barrels) is deeper purple-hued, with a brilliant, powerful nose of smoked black and blue fruits, ground pepper, leather, spring flowers, and violets. Deep, full-bodied, and gorgeously concentrated, with ultra-fine yet building tannins, a great mid-palate, and flawless balance, this magical Rhône-like blend needs to be tasted to be believed. Unquestionably the finest wine I’ve tasted from this estate, it should be snatched up by readers. It will benefit from a year or three in the cellar and drink fabulously over the following 10-15 years.I was blown away by these latest releases from Samra Morris, and I’d easily put these wines up with the crème de la crème in the Central Coast. In addition to smoking good Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay, don’t miss her Rhône blends! $85 99
85 2022 Domaine Brusset Gigondas Les Hauts De Montmirail + A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre, the 2022 Gigondas Les Hauts De Montmirail comes from terraced, higher elevation, limestone soils. Darker berry fruits, leather, graphite, camphor, violets, and loads of spring flower notes define the aromatics, and it’s medium to full-bodied on the palate, with a tight, focused, incredible pure style. It shines for its incredible purity and elegance and should gain a touch of weight and richness with 3-5 years in the cellar. $37 94+
86 2020 K Vintners Syrah The Deal + As with almost all of the Syrahs here, the 2020 Syrah The Deal was not destemmed, saw an extended maceration, and spent 18 months in 40% new French puncheons. Deep ruby/purple-hued, it has an incredibly floral perfume of black and blue fruits, pepper, iron, and crushed stone. With medium to full-bodied richness, a focused, precision, elegant texture, and a great finish, it’s a gem of a Syrah as well as an insane value. $35 95
87 2021 Andrew Murray Vineyards Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard + The 2021 Syrah Watch Hill Vineyard sees slightly less Viognier and is a co-fermented blend of 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier that’s all from a site in the Alisos Canyon. Fermented with 15% stems, it has more red and blue fruits as well as vibrant floral, cracked pepper, and underbrush notes in its medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, pure, focused style. Its tannins are ripe and polished, and it has good yet integrated acidity as well as a great finish. It’s a beautiful wine to enjoy any time over the coming decade. $55 95
88 2021 Cristom Vineyards Pinot Noir Eileen Vineyard + A deep saturated ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Eileen Vineyard is more aromatically reserved initially but opens in the glass to emerging notes of rocky earth, ripe black and blue fruit, and wild herbs. It already displays a tension aromatically that carries over to the palate, where the wine is full-bodied, with a weightless feel, ripe, well-structured tannins, and a tension-packed, ripe core. It has a nervous energy at this stage that bodes well for significant aging potential over the next 15 to 20 years. It’s a remarkable wine that demands aging time.The wines for this report were tasted at the winery, where I toured the vineyards with winemaker Daniel Estrin in the Eola-Amity Hills. Daniel joined the team in 2019, following his work with Ted Lemon at Littorai, where he began as an intern and worked his way up to assistant winemaker. Although he has certainly taken a page from Ted’s farming and biodynamic practices, the estate is not certified, and they prefer not to work within the proscriptive confines for certification. $80 96
89 2019 Shafer Vineyards Relentless + The 2019 Relentless is mostly Syrah, yet the cuvée always includes a good bit of Petite Sirah, with 11% in the 2019. A deep purple-hued blockbuster of a Syrah, it offers loads of ripe blackberries, ground pepper, sappy herbs, and violet-like aromas and flavors. One of those wines that delivers richness and intensity with no sensation of weight of heaviness, it has terrific balance, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Enjoy bottles over the coming 10-15 years. $90 96
90 2021 Linne Calodo Cherry Red + Leading off the Zinfandel-dominated reds, the 2021 Cherry Red has a killer nose of red and black plums, peppery herbs, incense, and sandalwood. It’s powerful and intense on the nose, yet hits the palate with a supple, layered, elegant mouthfeel, ultra-fine tannins, and no hard edges. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. A blend of 57% Zinfandel (from head-trained vines planted in 1977), 15% Syrah, 11% Carignan, and the rest Tempranillo and Mourvèdre, drink bottles over the coming decade.Winemaker Matt Trevisan continues to be the master of the blend and produces exotic, singular, incredibly compelling wines based largely on Rhône varieties as well as ample Zinfandel-dominated wines. $95 97
91 2019 Corliss Red Wine + Another vivid purple-hued beauty from this team, the 2019 Red Wine is based mostly on Cabernet Franc, with a smaller portion of Cabernet Sauvignon and a little Petit Verdot. Pauillac-like notes of cassis, currants, tobacco, and graphite define the aromatics, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with the vintage’s fresh, focused style, ripe tannins, and a gorgeous finish. It’s another straight-up gorgeous wine from this estate that will evolve for two decades. $95 97
92 2019 Saxum Four Hearts Vineyard + I loved the 2019 Four Hearts Vineyard. It’s a bigger, opulent, more powerful wine delivering lots of smoky blackcurrant and darker fruits, notes of chocolate, roasted herbs, and graphite, full body, ripe, building tannins, and a great finish. The Cabernet really plays a significant role in the overall profile of this beauty, and this uber-rich, balanced, layered, incredibly impressive 2019 will evolve for another 20-25 years or more. The blend is 38% Petite Sirah, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Tempranillo, and 3% Zinfandel, aged 32 months in 70% new French oak.The 2020s from Saxum are solid wines, although there are subtle signs of smoke in a few of the wines, and in general, the wines are narrower and more focused than normal, yet still nicely concentrated. At a high level, I think these are good to outstanding wines that will offer pleasure. Clearly the 2021s are a step up, and this is another brilliant vintage for winemaker Justin Smith. $132 98
93 2021 Nicora Buxom + The 2021 Buxom is a beauty, and its Bien Nacido component just about jumps out of the glass with its darker, peppery, gamey style. A blend of 98% Syrah and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s medium to full-bodied, has terrific purity of fruit, ripe tannins, a notable sense of freshness, and a great, great finish. It’s one of my favorites in the lineup in 2021. $70 96+
94 2020 Alain Voge Cornas Les Vieilles Vignes + The older vine cuvée, the 2020 Cornas Les Vieilles Vignes is 100% Syrah. It’s similarly inky hued and offers up full-bodied aromas and flavors of ripe black cherries, graphite, bouquet garni, and iron. It’s deep, concentrated, and powerful on the palate, with flawless balance, building yet silky tannins, and a great, great finish. This is a straight-up thrilling Cornas to enjoy over the coming 15+ years. $70 97
95 2020 Chateau Larrivet Haut-Brion + The 2020 Château Larrivet Haut-Brion is a gorgeous, incredibly satisfying Pessac, and it’s certainly up with the finest vintages I’ve tasted from this estate. It has lots of red, blue, and black fruits as well as ample spice, leafy tobacco, truffle, and smoked earth, and it develops a beautiful sense of complexity and nuance with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it shows the vibrant, elegant style of the vintage, has ripe tannins, perfect overall balance, and a great finish. If you love a great Graves, buy a case of this beauty and enjoy over the next two decades. This estate continues to fly too far under the radar for most consumers. $50 95
96 2021 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon Lopai Vineyard + From a later, cooler site near Denner on Vineyard Drive (previously known as Zimmerman Vineyard), the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Lopai Vineyard has a darker core of blackcurrants, espresso, darker chocolate, and spicy oak to go with a full-bodied, broad, expansive style on the palate. This sexy, ripe, opulent, concentrated beauty will evolve for 15 years if well stored. It doesn’t have the freshness and vibrancy of the Denner but has a touch more richness and depth. $80 97
97 2019 Ovid OVID + Another perfect wine is the 2019 OVID, which is based on 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot. Incredibly perfumed, nuanced, and complex, it has ripe black and blue fruits as well as notes of gravelly earth, tobacco, lead pencil shavings, and truffle. Insanely pure, full-bodied, and perfectly balanced, with fine tannins, this is another heavenly wine from this team and offers everything you could want from wine. Give it 4-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades. $450 100
98 2021 Chanin Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard + Coming from a great, great vineyard just outside of Santa Maria, the 2021 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard reveals a medium gold hue as well as brilliant aromatics of ripe pears, honeyed flowers, chalky minerality, and toasted nuts. With medium-bodied richness, its oak is beautifully integrated, and it has good acidity as well as a great finish. Another brilliant Chardonnay from Chanin, this will stand toe to toe with the best out there. $55 96
99 2021 Nicolas-Jay Pinot Noir Temperance Hill + Pouring a bright ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Temperance Hill is expressive out of the gate, revealing lifted aromas of violets, kirsch, licorice, and allspice. It has a core of concentrated fruit through the palate, with its gripping ripe tannins coiled around an even spine of acidity that propels the wine forward through a long, balanced finish. A harmonious wine with an angular texture at this youthful stage, I enjoy this already, but it deserves another few years’ time before drinking over the next decade or two.This powerhouse team of Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo Camuzet in Burgundy and music entrepreneur Jay Boberg are producing some incredible and exciting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley. The following wines were tasted at their new tasting room facility in the Dundee Hills. $95 96
100 2019 Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon VHR + Even better, yet certainly in the same mold as the 2014, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon VHR is straight-up heavenly stuff, and I suspect it will warrant another point in 5-7 years. This deep purple-hued effort has a great nose of cassis, redcurrants, dried herbs, and tobacco, with some background chocolaty oak. Deep, full-bodied, concentrated, and mouth-filling, it has a seamless texture, velvety tannins, and the balance to evolve for over two decades. It doesn’t get much more classic Oakville. $200 99
By Jeb Dunnuck
Founder & Wine Critic
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