Top Lists

Top Ten Wines of 2021
01
2018 Chateau Leoville Poyferre

Every bit as good as the 2009, and I think better than the 2010 and 2016, the 2018 Château Léoville Poyferré is a total thrill that tops out my scale. Based on 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, its dense purple hue is followed by an incredible, full-bodied monster of a wine that, despite massive amounts of fruit, tannins, and extract, still stays weightless and ethereal, with incredible purity. Loaded with notions of crème de cassis, spring flowers, tobacco, violets, charcoal, and cedar pencil, it's extraordinarily concentrated, flawlessly balanced, and has a finish that won't quit. This is a legendary wine in the making. Give bottles 7-8 years, a decade would be even better, and it will keep for 40-50 years. Hats off to the Cuvelier family for another extraordinary wine!

View full post
02
2019 Domaine De La Janasse Chateauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Chaupin

I was able to taste the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Chaupin on two occasions, rating it one point higher on one of those as well. Incredible notes of red and black fruits, violets, scorched earth, ground pepper, and Provençal garrigue notes define the nose, and it’s a darker, richer, slightly more powerful wine than usual, while still showing the inherent elegance and finesse this cuvée always shows. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following 15-20. Don’t miss it!

View full post
03
2018 Dominus

The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot brought up in 40% new French oak. With an essence of Cabernet-like character in its darker currants, green tobacco, cedar, graphite, and floral aromas and flavors, this gorgeous wine is full-bodied and has bright yet integrated acidity, polished tannins, and a great, great finish. It’s just gorgeously put together and a magical, flawless wine. It's going to take a decade to hit maturity but will evolve for 40-50 years in cold cellars. It is as good as it gets in classic, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon!

View full post
04
2019 Clos Du Mont-Olivet Chateauneuf Du Pape La Cuvée Du Papet

The deeper hued 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Cuvée Du Papet checks in as a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah that saw plenty of stems and aging mostly in foudre, with a small part in demi-muids and barrique. Straight-up sensational notes of blackcurrants, ground pepper, garrigue, leather, and graphite emerge from the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a concentrated, dense, powerful mouthfeel, building tannins, and a brilliant finish. It's built for the long haul, and along with the 2016, it’s one of the finest wines I've tasted from this talented family. Hide bottles for 7-8 years and enjoy over the following 20-25+.

Unfortunately, no 2020 reds were submitted for this report, but the 2019s here are both brilliant wines. If classic, old-school, yet clean and pure Châteauneuf is your thing, it doesn’t get much better than the 2019 Cuvée du Papet, and it’s going to be a real treat comparing the 2019 and 2016 over the coming 20 to 30 years.

View full post
05
2019 Tensley Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard

A consistent winner in every vintage, especially now that the site is owned by Tensley, the 2019 Syrah Colson Canyon boasts a deep, inky hue as well as backward, primary blue fruits, charcoal, and ground pepper-like aromas and flavors. This big, rich, full-bodied, thrilling Syrah is more seamless and elegant than the 2018 was at this stage, but it’s certainly in the same ballpark. It will keep for 10-15 years if you’re so inclined. This is one of the larger production cuvées from Tensley, and it saw 15% stems and 20% new French oak.

View full post
06
2019 Clos Des Papes Chateauneuf Du Pape

Tasted out of bottle, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape is a stunning example of this estate as well as the vintage. Gorgeous kirsch, flowery incense, spice box, and garrigue-like notes define the nose, and it hits the palate with classic Clos des Papes elegance and finesse backed up by a great mid-palate, fabulous concentration, and a monster of a finish. Don’t miss this beauty. It can be enjoyed today with incredible pleasure or cellared for two decades.

View full post
07
2018 Chateau Larcis Ducasse

The 2018 Château Larcis Ducasse checks in as 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc that comes from a gorgeous hillside terroir on the Côte Pavie, located between Château Pavie and Château Bellefont-Belcier. Aged 18 months in 60% new barrels, it offers a truly sensational bouquet of ripe blackcurrants, espresso roast, scorched earth, bloody meat, chocolate, iron, and bouquet garni. A massive, super-rich Saint-Emilion with a dense, concentrated, layered mouthfeel, it has building yet sweet tannins and incredible purity of fruit. Reminding me of the 2005 shortly after release, this heavenly juice offers astonishing richness and depth while staying flawlessly balanced and elegant. Sadly, there are less than 3,000 cases produced, but this monumental, legendary wine won't hit maturity for a good 8-10 years and will have 40-50 years of longevity if well stored. Hats off to Nicolas Thienpont and consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt for producing one of the wines of the vintage as well as one of the greatest young Bordeaux I've ever tasted.

View full post
08
2018 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon

Just about pure perfection in a glass, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as 100% varietal sourced from top sites including Dr. Crane, Las Piedras, Weitz, Oakville Ranch, and Vine Hill. This deep purple/blue-hued beauty boasts a stunning bouquet of pure crème de cassis and blackberry fruits as well as complex forest floor, graphite, chocolate, and spicy oak. Full-bodied, rich, sexy, yet incredibly elegant and seamless on the palate, this is pure Napa Valley magic that has appeal even today yet the class to evolve for 30 years in cold cellars.

View full post
09
2016 Le Chiuse Brunello Di Montalcino

The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is lifted with aromatics of soft medicinal herbs, fresh soil, cherry fruit, and dried flowers. The palate is fresh with black cherry fruit, tea leaf, orange peel, and mineral-rich, stony earth. There is well-integrated structure, with crispness, fresh acidity, and a beautifully long finish. This is one of my favorite wines of the vintage for its classic structure, high complexity, and nuanced, balanced style. Drink 2025-2042.

Le Chiuse is a small 6-hectare estate that was split off from the Biondi-Santi estate in 1993, when it was inherited by Simonetta Valiani, the great granddaughter of Ferruccio Biondi-Santi, who owns the property today. Le Chiuse is a certified organic estate.

View full post
10
2018 Andrew Will Sorella

The flagship from this great estate is the 2018 Sorella, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend (8% each of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and the 4% Petit Verdot) that spent the same 22 months in 35% new French oak. Gorgeous crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, lead pencil, and chocolate define the bouquet, and it's medium to full-bodied, flawlessly balanced, and has a great, great finish. A classically styled, structured, age-worthy beauty, it will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and have 2-3 decades of overall longevity. Trust me, this will pass undetected in a blind lineup of top Bordeaux.

This is another brilliant lineup of wines from Andrew Will. As I’ve written in the past, readers looking for classic, age-worthy Bordeaux blend can’t go wrong with these.

View full post