Share

ALBERT BOXLER

Riesling Grand Cru “Brand” 2015

(Alsace, France) $79

You must drink this chilled on a warm evening sometime (very) soon. Bone dry and spring-loaded with vibrant pristine flavors, it’s a mouthwatering, mouthfilling kaleidoscope of fruits, minerals, spices, and exotica. Drinking riesling from Brand (one of the great Grand Cru vineyards of Alsace) is like listening to exciting jazz, the music going in every direction and yet ribbons of soulful harmony tying it all together (and wrapping you up in it at the same time). For wine lovers, the name Albert Boxler is synonymous with mind-bending deliciousness. From 40-year-old riesling vines planted in granite. (13.5% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch

Share

E. GUIGAL

Côtes-du-Rhône 2015

(Rhône Valley, France) $12

Tasting this, I had the sudden sensation that a sexy guy from Texas just walked into the room. Cowboy boots, leather jacket, 5 o’clock shadow. I could still smell the campfire. (Is this profiling?) Guigal, of course, is one of the Rhône’s most traditional and respected producers. These days, there’s a lot of insipid Côtes-du-Rhône out there, but this dynamo (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre) isn’t one of them. If you love the meaty, gamey, spicy flavors of Rhône reds, this steal is for you. (14% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Wine.com

Share

SPARKMAN CELLARS

“Kingpin” Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

(Red Mountain, Washington) $61

There’s nothing quite like a wine that tastes as though it costs twice as much as it does. Sparkman’s appropriately named Kingpin is that wine, and it’s delicious. First there’s the cashmere-blanket texture (no easy achievement with cabernet). Then there’s the ascent of flavor, an impressive wave of cassis, vanilla, violets and minerals. Powerful wines can sometimes trip over themselves. But the classical beauty of three renowned vineyards on Red Mountain (Klipsun, Kiona, and Obelisco) shines through in this very fine and sophisticated cabernet. Hedonistic now, I bet it’s heaven in a few years.   (14.5% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Sparkman Cellars

Share

PATRICIA GREEN

Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017

(Willamette Valley, Oregon) $24

Patricia Green was a free spirit in a wine region renowned for them. Nearly 20 years ago—when women rarely did this sort of thing—she left her job, gathered up her savings, bought a broken-down winery, and put her name on the door. Patty Green died in an accident this past spring. She and her partner Jim Anderson had just finished making this extraordinary wine, and I can’t help but think of it as her final gift to the wine world she loved. If sauvignon blanc is usually something of a wild girl, this sauvignon is the exact opposite—a wine of uncommon beauty and grace. A wine that’s utterly refined and exquisitely fresh. A tribute and a testament. And a wine you must taste. (13.7% abv)

92 points KM

Available at Patricia Green Cellars

Share

CATENA “La Consulta” Malbec 2015

(Mendoza, Argentina) $19

You smell the crusty char of the steak as it crackles on the grill. A few minutes later, you smell the warm juices as the meat rests. It’s an agony of temptation, cooking a steak. And so you sip wine while you wait. And pretty soon, the wine itself begins to taste curiously like a steak—richly meaty, savory, salty. Firm in texture but with a soft, succulent core. Some people believe that the wines of a place evolve in concert with the foods of that place. And the two are therefore destined to be a perfect match. Catena’s stellar malbec from the ultra-high-altitude vineyard “La Consulta” is waiting to make your next steak the steak of a lifetime. (13% abv)

93 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

Share

DOMAINE DE LA TAILLE AUX LOUPS 2015 Montlouis “Les Hauts de Husseau”

(Montlouis sur Loire, Loire Valley, France) $30

Montlouis (and Vouvray) in France’s Loire Valley make the world’s greatest chenin blancs—wines of intensity and such crispness they almost seem crunchy. (Phenomenally fresh on a hot night). In France, such snappiness is sometimes called nervosité which translates as “nervy,” but what is really meant is a kind of kinetic energy (tasting is believing). Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (domaine of the wood where the wolves gather) is owned by Jacky Blot, one of the most extraordinary producers of bone dry chenin blanc with all of its natural acidity (no malolactic fermentation). The vines that make this stellar white are 70 years old. (12.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Hi-Time Wine Cellars

Share

RADIO-COTEAU “La Neblina” Pinot Noir 2012

(Sonoma Coast, CA) $50

First I wrote, “God, is this good.” A few minutes later, I wrote, “Man, is this good.” Then I underlined both sentences and put exclamation points. Finally though, I made myself try to say why. Was it the wine’s earthy lusciousness? Its sappy texture? Its long swaths of dark, savory flavors? I know this: Radio-Coteau’s pinots pull you into them and don’t release you. They captivate your emotions and your mind. And they are so damned delicious. (Ok, I give up now). Radio-Coteau has been quietly making great pinot for more than a decade. The name, by the way, is French slang for “word of mouth.” (13.4% abv)

94 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

Share

DOMAINE WEINBACH Riesling “Cuvée Theo” 2015

(Alsace, France) $39

The first thing to know about Alsace riesling is that it’s not German riesling. In fact, in some ways, it’s the polar opposite—yang to Germany’s yin. What I love about it is its sense of profundity. Alsace riesling has gravitas and no wine more so than Domaine Weinbach’s Cuvee Theo, a wine of astounding minerally precision and near atomic density of flavor. It’s both gripping and a wine that holds you in its grip with its powerful beauty. Domaine Weinbach is owned by a mother-daughter team who for decades have made many of the best wines of Alsace. (13% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

Share

PEAY “Pomarium” Estate Pinot Noir 2016

(Sonoma Coast, CA) $60

I once read that the monks of Burgundy considered the texture of a great pinot noir a spiritual experience. The way it glided airily over the palate. Slippery silkiness, as if the wine were a dancing elixir. I was reminded of that idea as I drank the 2016 Pomarium from Peay (pronounced PAY). The wine is exquisitely precise (not a molecule out of place) and has ethereal cool pristine fruit (not fruit that’s heavy and overripe). I can imagine the monks being entranced by such a beautiful wine. I was. (13.5% abv)

95 points KM

Available at Peay

Share

RAÚL PÉREZ “Ultreia St. Jacques” Mencia 2016

(Bierzo, Spain) $18

If you’ve never tried the red grape variety mencia, take your first plunge with Ultreia (pronounced as ul-TRAY-ya) St. Jacques from Raúl Pérez. It’s a fascinating wine—sleek yet rustic, fruity yet sophisticated, vivid in flavor, but not ponderous. Plus, the best mencias, like this one, have a whoosh of spice. Finding such full-throttle deliciousness in a wine that costs less than $25 is, well, a gift. Ultreia comes from 75-year-old vines in Bierzo, a mountainous part of northern Spain. It’s a perfect summer red.