"Nussbaumer” Gewurztraminer 2019
(Trentino Alto Adige, Italy) $28
If you like rich, dramatic, dry wines, then you’ll be knocked out by CANTINA TRAMIN’S Gewurztraminers from the mountainous alpine foothills of Trentino Alto Adige/Sudtirol in northern Italy. These are bold white wines that howl with freshness and are as sophisticated as they are lusciously spicy. You might think you don’t like dry Gewurztraminer. But you owe it to yourself to taste one of the best in the world. CANTINA TRAMIN’S “Nussbaumer” Gewurztraminer 2019 is just $28. The winery also just now released its spectacular “Epokale” 2013 Gewurztraminer ($125)—nearly ten years old and a vivid whirlwind of passionfruit, peaches, mangos, lychee, ginger, and Asian spices. Truly a stunning, distinctive wine, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.
BETZ FAMILY “Pere de Famille” Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Columbia Valley, WA) $78
Beautiful waves of richness without a whit of heaviness. Long threads of violet, blackberry, vanilla, and espresso flavors woven into a tapestry. Vivid and precise.
COL SOLARE Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Red Mountain, WA) $75
Powerful but velvety and supple—an achievement given Red Mountain’s usual force field of tannin. Dense berry and vanilla flavors, overlaid with notes of spearmint.
JANUIK “Ciel Du Cheval Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Red Mountain, WA) $45
Stellar for the price. Inky and dense with lots of fine soft tannin and concentrated rich flavors reminiscent of violets, red licorice, roses, and dark chocolate. Delicious.
PEPPER BRIDGE “Seven Hills Vineyard” 2018 (Walla Walla, WA) $50
A big, full-throttle Cabernet with immense tannin and flavors evocative of black licorice, spice, vanilla, cigar box, and peat. A powerhouse built for the long term.
QUILCEDA CREEK Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (Columbia Valley, WA) $199
Deep, rich, and very hedonistic. There’s always a majesty to Quilceda Creek’s beautifully structured, impeccable, delicious Cabernets, and they age for decades.
WOODWARD CANYON Merlot 2019 (Walla Walla, WA) $52
Vivid raspberry and cherry fruits, vanilla, and dry underbrush. A forceful Merlot with dense flavors and a commanding structure.ver
Available at At the Winery Websites
Oregon has become a hotbed of fantastic, artisanal Chardonnays—Chardonnays that are refined and complex. One of our favorite producers: BIG TABLE FARM, a husband-and-wife team who do everything, including draw the labels by hand. The 2019 BIG TABLE FARM Chardonnays (just released) are leaner and racier than usual, reflecting the coolness of the vintage. The 2019 BIG TABLE FARM Chardonnay from Eola-Amity ($48/ 93 pts) is vividly fresh and packed with “lemonicity.” The winery’s top wine—BIG TABLE FARM “The Elusive Queen” Chardonnay 2019 from the Willamette Valley ($85/ 95 pts)— is a starburst of minerality. Tightly wound now, it’s a super concentrated chardonnay to cellar for a year or two.
"Eroica" Riesling 2019
(Columbia Valley, Washington) $20
This playful Riesling from Washington state evokes aromas and flavors of wines made in the slate hill slopes of Germany’s Mosel region. The word eroica means “heroic” in English, and describes the partnership of two great Riesling producers that together crafted the wine, German winemaker Ernst Loosen, and Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Bob Bertheau. Crisp, clean, and pure, with a hint of lime— what better way to prep your Thanksgiving meal than while sipping on this affordable beauty. (12% abv)
92 points KM
Available at Wine.com
- Premiere Napa Valley/PAULA KORNELL “Something Old, Something New” Blanc de Noirs Brut 2018 (Carneros, CA) $
A delicious sparkler that’s vividly fresh with apple Danish and lemon pie notes.
- Premiere Napa Valley/ TROIS NOIX “Muir Hanna Vineyard” Chardonnay 2020 (Oak Knoll District, CA) $
A fresh, super tropical, creamy Chardonnay with just the right touch of vanilla and toast.
- Premiere Napa Valley/CALMERE ESTATE “Les Soeurs” Pinot Noir 2018 (Carneros, CA) $
An earthy, structured Pinot Noir with notes of a forest in autumn. Wild mushroom risotto would be a perfect partner.
- Premiere Napa Valley/TRES SABORES Zinfandel 2018 (Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA) $
Big-fruited, spicy, and beautifully layered. Reminiscent of dark chocolate-covered cherries.
- Premiere Napa Valley/VINE CLIFF “Jewel” Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $
Lots of power and structure behind this Cabernet from steeply terraced 25-year old vines.
“Estate Bottled” Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
(Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $200
One of Napa Valley’s magnificent historic stone wineries, Far Niente (the name means “without a care” in Italian) was founded in 1885. The winery and exquisitely sited vineyards are poised up on a bench in the western hills of Oakville. Abandoned in 1919 at the onset of Prohibition, it was bought in 1979 and painstakingly restored by the late Gil Nickel, whose family continue as co-owners. With its beautifully polished tannins, the 2017 is rich without being heavy and the flavors (black currants, forest, damp earth, and spices) are very alive.
Available at Far Niente