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WAGNER

Dry Riesling 2017

(Finger Lakes, New York) $15

New York State dry riesling may well be the best wine in America that way too few of us think to drink. And yet, it’s so utterly, fabulously drinkable. Take this Wagner. It’s mouthwatering, sleek, bone-dry, and as fresh as cold mountain air. Plus, there’s all that snappy minerality and no oakiness to get in the way of the wine’s pure flavors. Not only are wines like this hugely versatile with food, but they are great to drink while you’re cooking (or standing around in the kitchen watching someone else cook!). Wagner, one of the top wineries of the Finger Lakes, was founded in 1979. (12.3% abv)

91 points KM

Available at Wagner Vineyards

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Guido Porro Barbera d'Alba

GUIDO PORRO

Barbera d’Alba “Vigna Santa Caterina” 2018 

(Piedmont, Italy) $23

Somehow it seems fitting that a rugged masculine barbera should be made by a man named Guido. Earthy and full of personality, it’s a barbera that’s delicious in an old-fashioned sort of way, including the attractive hint of salty sweatiness (like a man who’s just run a mile). Loads of dark fruit and a noble bitterness round out the flavors. Italian wine lovers know these sorts of barberas and know how sensational they are on a cold night with, say, a bowl of pasta Bolognese. (14.5% abv)

91 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

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muscat alsace france

ALBERT BOXLER

Muscat 2016

(Alsace, France) $45

An ecstatic scream of spice and a howl of white pepper. Oh man, is this delicious. The bone dry muscats of Alsace have no equal anywhere on the globe and Albert Boxler produces one of the very best. Bracingly fresh, the wine is spliced through with a lemony citricity that’s vibrating with energy. I can’t wait to try this with spicy food, but dry muscats are also just perfect with simple dishes like roast chicken. Muscat is often misconstrued as inevitably sweet (and muscat can be made that way). But the famous dry muscats of Alsace are all about spice, not sweetness. (13% abv) 

93 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

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leeuwin estate cabernet sauvignon margaret river

LEEUWIN

“Art Series” 2014

(Margaret River, Australia) $65

Here’s a stylish, powerful, intense cabernet sauvignon that, while not inexpensive, could easily keep company with cabernets that cost more than $100. It’s from one of the most remote wine regions on earth—Australia’s Margaret River, which sits just a few cool miles inland from the point where the great Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean.  This is cabernet at it’s most alive and fresh, with a fantastic rich core of cassis, spice, and forest notes. Terrifically balanced, it’s got many years of life ahead. Leeuwin (LOO-in), founded in 1973, is one of the top producers in the Margaret River and is equally famous for their “Art Series” chardonnays.  (13.5% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Buy Now at Wine.com

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MARC HÉBRART

"Cuvée de Réserve" NV Brut

(Champagne, France) $40

I’ve often wondered why I love drinking a glass of Champagne every night (other than the fact that it’s indispensable to motherhood). I think the reason is this: great Champagne is all about energy, vibrancy, aliveness. It says carpe diem in the most delicious way. This Marc Hébrart is one of my favorites—a crisply starched wine that’s kinetic on the palate. The pinpoint rushes of flavor are reminiscent of exotic citrus, apple tarts, and homemade bread. Plus, there’s a finish so lovely and lingering that you hope it won’t end. Happy #ChampagneDay. (12% abv)

95 points KM

Available at First Bottle Wines

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FRANK FAMILY VINEYARDS

Blanc de Blancs Brut 2014

(Carneros, Napa Valley, CA) $55

We don’t believe in needing a special occasion to pop open a bottle of delicious sparkling. But we definitely do believe that no great occasion should pass without doing so! Here then: a toast to Napa Valley Vintners on their 75th Anniversary plus a jam-packed Special Edition all about Napa. And to celebrate, Frank Family’s Blanc de Blancs is just the ticket. A lively, minerally, and elegant sparkler spring-loaded with fresh apple and pear flavors and a wonderful hum of freshness that vibrates through the wine. Enjoy!

Available at Frank Family Vineyards

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TENUTA LA PERGOLA Arneis 2018

TENUTA LA PERGOLA

Arneis 2018

(Roero, Piedmont, Italy) $16

Arneis (are-NACE) is the lively, fresh Italian white that pinot grigio wishes it could be. But most of us have drunk a lot more boring pinot grigio than we have arneis—in part because so much pinot grigio is mass-produced, while arneis is made in tiny amounts by small estates in Piedmont, one of Italy’s most famous wine regions. La Pergola’s arneis is sleek and bone dry, evocative of stone fruits, lemon zest, and a wonderful salty-hinting minerality. Finding a cold bottle of this in the fridge when you get home from work is just heavenly. And what a steal! (13.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

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ZIND-HUMBRECHT

Riesling 2015

(Alsace, France) $29

Here’s an oh-my-god-this-is-delicious dry riesling for an omg under-$30 price. No surprise it’s from Zind-Humbrecht, long considered one of the finest estates of Alsace and an estate known for dry rieslings with mega-watt flavors. The aroma greets you with effusive waves of exotic spices and a wonderful marmalade-like zestiness. Then the palate explodes in exciting mouthfilling fruit interspliced with lively bursts of salty minerality and white pepper. The texture is pure silk. And best of all, a fresh light crispness hums through the wine like an electric current. Zind-Humbrecht, in business since 1959, owns many of the top vineyards, including holdings in four of the top Grands Crus of Alsace. (12% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Total Wine & More

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GRAN MORAINE

Chardonnay 2016

(Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR) $55

I don’t usually like it when a wine is defined as being like another wine that exists halfway around the world. But damn, if I had had this wine blind, I most certainly would have guessed it was a white Burgundy. The utter richness spiked by starbursts of minerals…the through-line of fresh acidity…the voluptuousness modulated by tautness…the earthy sensuality. It all added up to: Burgundy. But Gran Moraine is in the Willamette Valley, and (like a few of its neighbors), it’s making serious chardonnays that are knock-outs. The dramatic rise in the quality of Oregon chardonnay over the last few years is still largely an untold story. But try this and see for yourself. Hedonism in a glass anyone? (13.3% abv)

96 points KM

Available at Gary's Wine & Marketplace

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ADELSHEIM

“Breaking Ground” Pinot Noir 2015

(Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, OR) $45

David Adelsheim, a pioneer of the modern Oregon wine industry, has said that when it comes to fine wine, being true to a place—revealing a place—is more important than deliciousness per se. For my part, I know this: When the two come together, the result is deeply satisfying. Breaking Ground is a perfect example. A blend of wines from small vineyard blocks representing the three main types of Willamette Valley soils, it’s a precise and savory wine evocative of dark spices, rocks, red fruits and forest. The Adelsheim style has always been about restraint and true to form, this wine isn’t wearing any jewelry. What it does have is structure and it’s just waiting for roast chicken, grilled salmon or a huge platter of sautéed wild mushrooms. (13.5% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Vivino.com