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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

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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.

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TURNBULL Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2015

(Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $85

There’s a kind of elegance that some powerful cabernets can possess, and it makes them sensational. This Turnbull is one—a majestic wine of structure, purity, extraordinary precision, and sheer deliciousness. To be this good, a cabernet can’t be dull and overripe. Indeed, it must possess a subtle spine of acidity so that the wine feels alive and vivid. I can’t think of a better wine for Father’s Day—unless it’s this wine’s older brother, the Turnbull “Black Label” Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($150), which is even more extraordinary. (14.5% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Turnbull

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CLEMENTINE CARTER Grenache Blanc 2016

(Santa Barbara County, CA) $25

What does fresh actually mean? Is it the lifted aroma of a flower? The vivid wetness of a fruit? The brisk scent of the ocean? The clean feel of cool morning air? Or maybe it can be all of these—as it is in this terrific wine from the small Santa Barbara producer Clementine Carter. Grenache blanc, well known in southern France, is fairly rare in California. And it’s a temperamental grape. But when you get it right (like this), it makes a delicious wine of purity and, yes, total freshness. (13% abv)

90 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

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KAY BROTHERS “Amery Vineyard Block 6” Shiraz 2013

(McLaren Vale, Australia) $110

There are several criteria a wine must meet before I think it’s great. It must be distinctive, precise, well-balanced, complex, and long. It must taste “connected” to the place where the grapes were grown. And it can’t merely be fruity; it must have more intriguing and sophisticated flavors—even a sense of corruption. This Kay Brothers Block 6 Shiraz—from 121-year-old vines (!)—hits the nail on the head. Plus, its texture is Bordeaux-sleek (no pancake syrup here) and the flavor is woven through with intriguing notes of exotic spices. Kay Brothers is one of the oldest family-owned wineries in McLaren Vale. If you need a bottle of wine for Father’s Day, this could be it.  (13.5% abv)

95 points KM

Available at Wine.com

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SCHLOSS GOBELSBURG “Renner” Erste Lage Grüner Veltliner 2015 

(Kamptal, Austria) $38

The single vineyard known as Renner is an “Erste Lage”—the equivalent of a Premier Cru. And it’s a sensational place for grüner veltliner vines which, when planted in the right spot, give a wine that is a bullet train of minerals and white pepper.  Gruner is the white grape of Austria, and it can make one of the most “alive” white wines in the world. I always find that Schloss Gobelsburg’s grüners are positively kinetic with energy.  You cannot go through the summer without tasting this. (13.5% abv)

92 points KM

Available at The Wine Cellarage

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DOMAINE DE DURBAN Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge 2016

(Beaumes-de-Venise, Southern Rhône, FR) $19

To anyone who knows their southern French wines, Beaumes-de-Venise is usually an explosion of apricots in the form of a fortified sweet muscat-based wine. This wine is its secret cousin—a juicy, dry red made from grenache, syrah and mourvèdre grapes born of vines nearly 50 years old. I think of it as a delicious, sexy, every night Côtes-du-Rhône, only better and at a fraction of the price. Just waiting for some lamb chops or sausages thrown on a grill. (14.5% abv)

89 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch

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FLORENT COSME Vouvray Sec “Coup de Fougue” 2016

(Vouvray, Loire Valley, FR) $25

Great Vouvray sec (dry Vouvray) can taste more like crisp apples than apples do. And this wine from Florent Cosme is a perfect example. Sleek, snappy, and absolutely loaded with minerals, it’s as precise as a dagger. If you’re an “acid freak,” this one’s for you. The wine comes from 40-year-old vines growing in flint and clay over limestone…the legendary soil matrix of the Loire. The Loire Valley is known as the Garden of France, and this Vouvray with a composed salad is to die for. (13% abv)

90 points KM

Available at 56 Degree Wine

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OSTATU Rosado 2017

(Rioja, Spain) $15

Is there anyone left who hasn’t become a rosé drinker? (Rosé’s multi-year meteoric rise in sales makes that hard to imagine). Around our office, we taste scores and scores of good rosés, but this wine really knocked us out. It’s from the Alavesa, the best part of Rioja, and its taut minerally flavors are racy, sophisticated, and delicious. The top Spanish rosés (rosados), by the way, are some of the most exciting in Europe. Ostatu rosé tastes like it costs a lot more than it does. Don’t you need a refreshing summer staple? (13.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Vintage 38

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WENTE “Eric’s” Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

(Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay, CA) $26

Finding a fresh, crisp chardonnay that doesn’t have a thump of oak or a twang of sweetness is, well, rare.  (We taste hundreds of chardonnays and too many taste like ground up St. Joseph’s Aspirin for Children). But Wente’s “Eric’s” is the real deal—a chardonnay with lovely apple and pear flavors, and an aliveness on the palate that’s refreshing. Wente is one of the oldest great names in California chardonnay (many of the original chardonnay plant material came from this winery in the 1800s). Fifth generation winemaker Karl Wente made this in honor of his father, Eric. (13.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Wine.com