Share

DOMAINE DELAPORTE

Sancerre Rosé "Chavignol" 2020

(Chavignol, Loire Valley, France) $34

Here’s a jump start to summer–an absolutely beautiful rosé that’s refined, even ethereal. The flavors are a cool pool of strawberries and spices with a sea-salt-like minerality that’s mouthwatering. So many rosés are heavy or dull or lifeless. Not this one. For starters, it’s from a cool region–the Loire Valley (which is considerably cooler than Provence). Plus, there’s this interesting twist: Domaine Delaporte is a well-known producer of fantastically fresh Sancerre made, of course, from Sauvignon Blanc as it (mostly) is. But a tiny amount of Sancerre is red or rosé and made from Pinot Noir. So besides being crisply delicious, this rosé is a rare find. Get some now—and btw, it’s sensational with soft goat cheeses! (14.1% abv)

92 points KM

Available at Solano Cellars

Share

RÉSONANCE

“Résonance Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2019

(Yamhill-Carlton, Willamette Valley, OR) $70

This is the most deeply seductive Pinot Noir I’ve tasted this year. The complex earthy/umami flavors pull you down into some primordial world of pure hedonism. The wine’s texture is silk draped over velvet.  And like many of the top Willamette Valley Pinots, the core of the wine is rich and spicy. Elegance abounds. Résonance is the Willamette Valley winery begun in 2013 by the Burgundy producer Maison Louis Jadot, a firm that has a long track record of beautiful Pinots. (Jadot was founded in 1859, the same year Oregon became a state). Is there something “Burgundian” about the style of Résonance? You be the judge. (13.5% abv)

96 points KM

Available at Resonance Wines

Share

YALUMBA

“Samuel’s Collection” Viognier 2018

(Eden Valley, South Australia, Australia) $19

If you like Chardonnay (fruit-forward, round, and lush), you’ll love this Viognier from Yalumba, a winery that has won more awards for its Viogniers (there are several of them) than any other winery in the world.  The flavors are a rich profusion of apricot and apple Danish notes, with sparks of spiciness and a bright touch of minerality. Viognier is naturally low in acidity, so if high-voltage acidity is not your thing, this wine’s creamy softness will be just the ticket. The wine is made by Louisa Rose, one of the most renowned winemakers in Australia (and a Viognier specialist). It’s named “Samuel’s Collection” after Samuel Smith who founded Yalumba in 1849.  And it’s from the tiny Eden Valley—an eden for white grapes in South Australia. At this price, you might just want to lay in a case. (14% abv)

92 points KM

Available at Vivino

Share
Two wine glasses and a Bottle of EMILIO LUSTAU 30 Year Old PEDRO Ximénez VORS

EMILIO LUSTAU

30 Year Old PEDRO Ximénez VORS

(Jerez, Spain) $110

How can I convince you that you have to taste this wine? I suppose I could say that I would choose this over a Sauternes any day. Or I could point out that to drink this wine is to drink a miracle of Nature. Or I could say that a great Pedro Ximénez (“PX”) is an out-of-body, surreal, sensual experience. (All are true). Emilio Lustau is one of the great historic Sherry bodegas. Their wickedly delicious PX is black-mahogany in color, with neon greenish glints. The flavors, slow and languorous, are both savory and sweet—the finest dark chocolate, sea salt, black figs, camphor, café au lait, and dark, fat raisins. Decadent is not a strong enough word to describe this wine. You must end an evening—some evening soon—with this. I promise you’ll be mesmerized. (“VORS” is Latin for Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum, or “Very Old Rare Sherry”). (15.5% abv).

98 points KM

Available at Pogo's Wine

Share

BILLECART-SALMON

“Les Rendez Vous No. 1” Meunier Extra Brut Nonvintage

(Champagne, France) $75

In the United States, sales of top Champagnes are on a meteoric rise. Tasting Billecart’s new “No. 1”, I understand why. This is Champagne at its most ravishing–a Champagne with the precision of a Japanese knife, and the elegance of falling snow. The super bone-dry flavors play on your palate like so many high keys on a piano—citrus, brioche, minerals, and ribbons of vanilla. Billecart-Salmon is well-known for its popular rosé Champagne, but I think this stunner is now my favorite. Deep and pure, it’s made entirely from Pinot Meunier and spent 52 months on its yeast lees. (Get some before No. 1 runs out and No. 2 arrives!) (12% abv)

95 points KM

Available at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

Share

KUMEU RIVER

Estate Chardonnay 2020

(Kumeu, New Zealand) $30

Everyone knows New Zealand as Sauvignon Blanc territory, but the country known for the freshness and expressiveness of their wines also makes some fantastic Chardonnays.  The very best of those are made by the winery Kumeu River. If you love Chardonnay, I promise you’ll be knocked out by the Kumeu River wines. The estate Chardonnay has a scrumptious chalky/vanillay richness and saline minerality that’s reminiscent of Grand Cru Chablis (at a fraction of the price).  The sense of purity in the wine is evident in every sip. Slightly more expensive is the Kumeu River “Coddington” Chardonnay ($48), which I think of as the “Kistler” of New Zealand for its depth, power, and can’t-wait-to-take-another-sip appeal. Kumeu River is owned by the Brajkovich family, who came to New Zealand from Croatia in 1937. Winemaker Michael Brajkovich is New Zealand’s first Master of Wine. (13.5% abv)

95 points KM

Available at Vivino

Share

BRAND

Proprietary Blend 2018

(Napa Valley, CA) $250

Because I live in Napa Valley, people often ask me to name Napa’s up-and-coming superstars—small wineries that few people know about—yet. Brand is one of those wineries. Tucked up in the mountains next door to Colgin on Pritchard Hill, the winery’s vineyards are on rocky slopes 1200 to 1400 feet in elevation. Brand makes a fantastic, polished Cabernet with mountain-power. But my favorite wine is their stunning Proprietary Blend (Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon) with its hedonistic blue velvet softness, soaring structure, and its savory, dark chocolate and violet flavors. It’s a complex wine with a delicious sense of aliveness and purity. Great to drink now; undoubtedly sensational with even a few more years of aging. Brand is owned by Christine O’Sullivan and Jim Bean, both of whom spent their early careers working with Steve Jobs at Apple. They know a thing or two about intensity (in work and in wine). (14.9 % abv)

96 points KM

Available at Brand

Share

ST. SUPERY

Sauvignon Blanc 2021

(Napa Valley, CA) $25

This Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s St. Supery winery is so sheerly delicious, it’s off-the- charts. It’s simply packed with personality and flavor—big rushes of peachiness, guava, and lime. Plus loads of freshness, and not a whit of greenness. Lively, refreshing wines like this are like a door opening into springtime. And at $5 a glass, you absolutely can’t go wrong. St. Supery is owned by the French fashion house of Chanel. It’s clear they know a thing or two about style. (13.5 abv)

95 points KM

Available at St. Supery Winery

Share
bottle-of-j-de-villebois-wine

J. de VILLEBOIS

Sancerre 2020

(Loire Valley, France) $29

A friend of mine has a bottle of chilled Sancerre in his refrigerator all the time. I see why. A good Sancerre is as fresh as mountain air and as snappy as lime zest. And while Sancerre is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, it doesn’t taste like most other Sauvignons in the world. Sancerre isn’t “green.” It’s chalky and has a kind of creamy tanginess—like goat cheese which, incidentally, is considered Sancerre’s perfect food companion. Come spring, a carafe of Sancerre and a salad topped with warm goat cheese will be on bistro tables all over Paris. I might not be able to go to Paris quite yet. But I can open a bottle of this gem. (13% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Vivino

Share

JOHN DUVAL WINES

“Plexus” 2019

(Barossa Valley, Australia) $40

If any red wines in the world could be called lip-smacking, it’s Barossa Valley “GSMs” from Australia. This one’s actually an “SGM” (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre), and it’s so full of luscious red berries you can’t stop drinking it. But it’s not just its off-the-charts fruitiness that makes Plexus so delicious. The wine is also woven through with hints of sarsaparilla, a peppery spiciness, dark chocolate, and cooling menthol flavors. It all adds up to a rich, long, satisfying wine—all for $8 a glass. If anyone should know how to make a scrumptious Australia red, it’s John Duval. For 29 years he was a winemaker at Penfolds (where, among other wines, he made Grange). John Duval Wines is his “retirement project”. (14.5% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Vivino

Share

RADIO-COTEAU

“Board & Batten” Proprietary Red 2018

(Sonoma Coast, California) $48

We’ve been admirers of the Radio-Coteau wines for years but only recently, during a visit, did we come across this particular wine. Frankly we had no idea what it was (the label didn’t say). We knew only this: the wine we were drinking was a fantastic coastal red—richly concentrated, beautifully structured, packed with delicious spicy fruit, cooling, utterly pure tasting and precise. Eric Sussman, the owner and winemaker, finally revealed that the wine is a blend of Syrah and Zinfandel—both estate grown on the cold Sonoma coast. Just 150 cases were made, and Sussman has agreed to make some of that wine available to WineSpeed readers. Don’t miss this. I promise, it’s stellar. (14.2% abv)

96 points KM

Available at Radio-Coteau

Share

WILLIAMS SELYEM

“Eastside Road Neighbors” Pinot Noir 2019

(Russian River Valley, CA) $88

When Pinot Noir is supple and silky, the texture is just achingly hedonistic. I, for one, can’t stop drinking Pinots like that. They go straight to the cravings center of your mind. Williams Selyem has been making highly textural, elegant Pinots for more than two decades. Many are single-vineyard wines which are hard to get your hands on. But their “Eastside Road Neighbors” is available and it’s one of our favorites. The refined waves of flavor—red berries, rose petals, Asian spices, cigar box, warm earth—are off-the-charts delicious. Curiously, all of the Williams Selyem Pinots are made in repurposed dairy tanks (Sonoma has always been known for its dairies), which are built to be immaculately clean. Laid on their sides, the tanks provide a high ratio of skin to juice.  And that results in a wonderful richness of pure fruit flavor. Don’t miss this. (13.7% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Gary's Wine and Marketplace