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Midsummer’s Dream Wines
Midsummer’s Dream Wines:
Critically Acclaimed Wines
Throughout the year we scour the globe in search of the next great winery. In the 35-plus years we’ve been doing so, we have partnered with many wineries who have gone on to be regarded as some of the greatest anywhere. With that in mind, here is a mid-summer offering of some of our highest-scoring, critically acclaimed wines that are available now.
We have new arrivals weekly and around 300 wines available at all times. We have wines at every price point, from “everyday wines” at $16 to “once in a lifetime” wines at $1,600. You can call me to “talk wine”: 647 955 8872
By blending fruit from Marlborough’s Awatere, Waihopai, Wairau, and Brancott Valleys, Simon Waghorn captures the essence of Marlborough in a crisp Sauvignon Blanc of focus and elegance. You’ll find elderflower, gooseberries, citrus and flint on the nose, then echoed on the palate with refreshing acidity.
This 2018 isn’t yet reviewed by Wine Spectator, but every vintage from 2011 through 2017 has received 90 points or more.
“Bright, fresh and concentrated Sauvignon Blanc with punchy regional and varietal flavours including capsicum, nettle, gooseberry, melon and subtle passionfruit. A deliciously accessible wine that delivers everything I expect from Marlborough Sauvignon and more.” 95 points, Bob Campbell MW, May 2018
“Moreau and his son have built Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils into one of the best sources of Chablis in the region, alongside names such as Raveneau, Dauvissat, William Fèvre and Patrick Piuze. Moreau’s wines tend to have more flesh but retain the steely core and mineral, iodine elements. Most importantly, they reflect their individual vineyard origins.” “His Own Man”, Wine Spectator, September 2016
Vaudesir is one of seven Grand Crus, a large vineyard facing south and southwest. It is steep compared to the others, which offers respite from northerly winds, and the soils here are the lightest of the Grand Crus. This combination of factors produces a distinct macro-climate and the resulting wines are softer and more floral than other Grand Crus.
“(from a .50 ha parcel of vines that were replanted in 1998). More subtle if not invisible oak envelops the gently exotic aroma of white peach, orange peel, spice and quinine scents. The delicious and refined, indeed almost delicate, flavours exude a fine bead of minerality that really comes up on the detailed, saline and lingering finish that offers a bit more overall complexity. Lovely juice with fine potential. 2024+” (91-93) points, burghound.com, Oct 2018
For more on Christian Moreau et Fils., click here.
An elite Chardonnay among Oregon wines, the “Evenstad Reserve” brings together in a deftly blended wine the best barrels of the estate’s vineyards in the Dundee Hills. Three years ago Wine Spectator named this wine the best White Wine of 2016.
“The 2017 ‘Evenstad Reserve’ Chardonnay follows an exceedingly long line of beautiful releases, as the consistency of this wine is unparalleled in Oregon. The wine is a barrel selection sourced from a host of great Dundee Hills AVA vineyards. On the nose this takes on gorgeous aromatics of toasty lemon infused brioche with peat moss and lighter cantaloupe tones that all collide in the glass. The exceptional texture entices and adds to the drinking enjoyment. Ripe pear, apricot, lemon oil and shades of Challah bread with wet stone all collect momentum on this distinguished palate. While gorgeous in its youth, this stunning wine will cellar well for a decade or more. 2019-2032.”
95 points, International Wine Report, Aug 2019
“A very fluid wine with bright, pear and peach aromas with an edge of almond praline and spiced biscuits. The palate has a balanced and measured feel with layered and smoothly constructed texture as well as a long, caressing finish. Drink now.”
A baking-spicy Chardonnay, sourced in southern Napa Valley. It provides flavours of crispy hand fruit, pie crust, pineapple and meyer lemon. It is round and gentle, with an elegant restraint, never becoming heavy or “buttery”. The finish is medium-long and resonant.
“In 2016, Renee Ary added fruit from a new source to this wine, pulling from the Huichica Ranch in Carneros as well as the usual mix of vineyards in southern Napa, Oak Knoll and Atlas Peak. And though she has retained the basic style of prior years (90 percent of the lot fermented in French oak barrels, 40 percent of them new), she is using more barrels with water-bent staves, which tend to diminish the oak influence on the wine, and she’s changed her malolactic regime to diminish the buttery outcome while still softening the acidity. The result is an earthy Chardonnay that’s supple and creamy, with gentle loquat tartness and savoury, umami notes of fresh puffball mushrooms. Decant it for a creamy veal stew.” 93 points, Wine & Spirits, Oct 2018
Capellania is a single-vineyard at the Murrieta estate. 75-year old Viura vines grow an impressively full bodied wine. It is fermented in stainless steel and is raised in French oak barriques for 15 months, then is laid to rest for another year in bottle.
To suggest that “this full bodied wine appeals to Chardonnay lovers” is too simple. This will exceed your expectations in every way. Although drinking it cold is delicious, allowing it to warm to just below room temperature as you would a red wine allows the wine to fully blossom. Then you’ll experience the true texture and the richness of the wine.
“This is a very impressive food-wine. The discreet candied lemon and lime notes are underlined by the French oak and the medium-full palate is dry, but silky with a long, refined finish. Named after the plot where the viura vines of the estate are grown.”
Vigna del Sorbo is simply one of Italy’s greatest red wines. Over the last ten vintages (2006 to 2015), its average score from Wine Advocate is 94.6; from Antonio Galloni at vinousmedia.com, 96.2 points. The 2016 already has a 98 from Wine Advocate, pre-release.
“Another captivating wine in this range, the 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo is all class. A rush of dark cherry, plum, sage, lavender and menthol races across the palate. Deep and powerful, yet also remarkably light on its feet, the 2015 has it all. Moreover, the 2015 is one of the most refined Vigna del Sorbos yet. It won’t be long before the 2015 is recognized as one of the all-time great Vigna del Sorbos. Proprietor Giovanni Manetti prefers whole berry ferments in order to maintain as much freshness as possible. In recent years, Manetti has reduced punchdowns to just once a day in fermentation. The gentler approach to extraction comes through loud and clear.” 97+ points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, Feb 2019
“What a nose of clay, earth, crushed stones, rose petals, red licorice, baking spices, tar and Chinese spices. The level of sophistication to the red-fruited core, laser-sharp acidity and polished tannins, which grip and caress the palate, make this the greatest Chianti Classico ever made by Fontodi. From organically grown grapes. A long, long finish. Drink in 2022.”
Pio Cesare, a boutique family winery, produces a classic Barolo at a very high level, though only 5,000 bottles are produced. Unlike many Barolos that attain the same kind of critical praise, it is immediately approachable, yet still enjoys very long ageing potential.
“This is very smokey and earthy yet clean at the same time. Loads of dark fruit and perfume. Full-bodied with round and wonderfully polished tannins. Fantastic length and precision. A generous yet reserved wine that has so much to give. Can’t wait to taste it on release. Barrel sample.”
“Dried flower petal nose with savoury meaty hints, and captivating tension and freshness on the palate, of ripe and intense red berry-cherry fruit and harmonising tannins.”
95 points, Decanter, 2019
“The 2015 Barolo is a beautifully balanced and tight expression of Nebbiolo that hits all the right spots on the palate, from the side of the mouth where you taste the acidity to the back where you get a sense of the wine’s structure and integrated tannins. That freshness could pair well with a steak in pepper cream sauce. Long skin maceration times are followed by oak ageing, partially in botti with a smaller part in barrique. Some 80,000 bottles were made.”
94 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, June 2019
One of the great, classic vintages, 2010 produced what Decanter.com called, “Superb wines with great power balanced by acidity and tannin.”
The six additional years that this wine has been in bottle since its release have helped tame those tannins, which were prominent but fine in their youth, and the Corbin drinks with richness and depth. A robust and brooding wine, while remaining balanced and seamless. An excellent value in Grand Cru Classé Saint-Emilion
“Nose starts with fresh brewed coffee, cedar and chocolate toffee. With a bit of air it shows ripe plum, sweet licorice and fresh leather. Wonderful dark round fruit on the palate with velvety caressing tannins. Full with a long finish with lots of dark fruit. Succulent wine.”
“Lush, concentrated black currant and kirsch-like fruit, a hint of licorice and some floral notes and subtle background oak jump from the glass of this blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. It is another relatively large-scaled St.-Emilion at 15% natural alcohol, but the good news is that there are nearly 4,500 cases of this wine in the marketplace. The purity, sumptuous texture and seductive nature of this wine will endear it to most readers. Its is certainly a sleeper of the vintage, as Corbin has rarely made a wine of this intensity and richness, at least not in many a year. Drink it over the next 15+ years. This 2010 is a spectacular wine from Annabelle Cruse-Bardinet from her 33-acre vineyard in the lieu-dit of Corbin (hence the name of the chateau). 2013-2028.”
92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Feb 2013
“These latest releases from Paul Hobbs are pretty much sensational across the board and Hobbs finds a rare mix of purity and elegance matched to richness and concentration that hits all my sweet spots. Hobbs commented that 2016 was a perfect vintage where everything came together easily, and the resulting wines have a terrific sense of elegance, purity an balance that make them already irresistible, yet will also allow them to age gracefully. Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is a classic wine from this region as well as a great example of the style of this estate. Ripe black cherries, currants, flowers, and earthy notes all flow to a full-bodied, concentrated 2016 that has a beautiful sense of purity and elegance. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”
This really is exceptional Russian River Valley Pinot, from an intense and concentrated vintage. It shows an assertive nose of Morello cherry, mulberry, blackberry tea, baking spice, and red clay. The texture is refined and alluring, giving way to a medium body, focused flavours of boysenberry, bergamot, and iron through a lengthy finish. Fine-grained tannins, tangy acidity, and a velvety mouthfeel add tension and structure.
Geyserville has been made every year since 1966. It is an exotic field blend, with old-vine Zinfandel at the core. Hand harvested fruit is fermented naturally for 9 days and minimal sulphur is used in the making of this wine. It ages in 100% American oak barriques (only 20% first-fill) for twelve months. While enjoyable now, it has a good twenty years of life ahead.
“This is impressive for the sense of presence and depth it delivers on the nose and palate with subtly spiced dark plums and cherries, as well as cocoa powder and a superbly composed structure that delivers a seamless, long and fresh finish. Drink or hold.”
“The 2016 Geyserville Proprietary Red Wine is a real success this year, bursting from the glass with an exuberant bouquet of sweet cherries, blackberries and plums, with subtle hints of the licorice and spice to come with age, and a subtle framing of sweet new oak. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, supple and layered, with a lovely core of ripe, succulent fruit and beautifully fine-grained structuring tannins. The finish is long and pure. There are 23 different grape varieties co-planted in the Geyserville vineyard, but in 2016, Zinfandel dominates at 73%, followed by 17% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah and 3% Alicante Bouschet. 2020-2033.”
95 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, May 2018
“From a single vineyard in the Alexander Valley, the 2016 Geyserville is a rock star of a wine that readers should snatch up!…..It promises two decades or more of prime drinking.”
“Deceptively medium in body, the 2016 packs a serious punch. It also needs at least a few years in bottle to settle down, as the tannins are quite imposing. There is a purity to the 2016 that is absolutely striking.”
Located in Conn Valley at the southern base of Howell Mountain, Buehler Vineyards has one motivation – to make wines as good as any in Napa, at far lower prices than their competition. In fact, in September 2016 the San Francisco Chronicle published an article “Buehler: the best-value Cabernet in Napa Valley”. It is a family affair, a small winery without castles and fountain installations, and its vineyards are old and were paid off long ago.
I can truly say that it is near impossible to find better Napa Cabernet for the money!
“Dark cherry, plum, mocha and licorice are all amped up in the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate. Ripe, unctuous and supple, the Estate offers lovely depth and textural richness from start to finish. This silky, pliant Cabernet will drink well with minimal cellaring.”
Most of this fruit is young-vine Cabernet from the Wools Ranch on Mt. Veeder, the balance comes from the O’Shaughnessy Estate vineyard on Howell Mountain, which is home to seven Bordeaux varietals including St. Macaire. The intensity of Mt. Veeder fruit, paired with the deep, resonant fruit of Howell and you have a magical combination of terroir.
“Starting with the base 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, it’s an interesting blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 3% St. Macaire, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. It offers a brilliantly pure, seamless bouquet of crème de cassis, toasted spice, new saddle leather, and leafy herbs and lavender. Deep, rich, and multi-dimensional on the palate, it’s a full-bodied, layered, awesome entry level wine that can be drunk today with tons of pleasure or cellared for 15-20 years.”
“Deep garnet-purple coloured, it reveals notions of scorched earth, tar, tilled black soil and fungi over a core of blackcurrant cordial, aniseed, dark chocolate and espresso plus a waft of tobacco. Full-bodied, concentrated and very earthy in the mouth, the rich, black fruits are superbly framed by firm, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and mineral laced.”
94+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2018
The Napanook vineyard at the Dominus Estate was the first vineyard planted in what is now the town of Yountville, in 1838. The vineyard is entirely dry-farmed, allowing the vines to draw deeply on the land’s unique geology.
The viticulture and winemaking are meticulous, with the objective of producing wines that are pure, balanced, and complex. Minimal intervention and restraint throughout the process preserves the character of the site. The resulting wines, with a tremendous potential for ageing, convey the very personality of this legendary vineyard.
“This is fantastic on the nose with blackberries and forest flowers. Very aromatic. Full body with soft, well-integrated and medium-grained tannins. Undertones of black olives. Love the hints of sandalwood. Drink or hold.”
“Brought up in 20% new barrels, the 2015 Napanook is an awesome wine in its own right, offering classic cassis, tobacco, leafy herbs, and violets notes, with an almost Bordeaux-like earthiness. Full-bodied, incredibly pure and seamless on the palate as well as impeccably balanced, it’s more than worth your time and money.”