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PAZO SEÑORANS

Albariño 2019

(Val do Salnés, Rías Baixas, Spain) $22

It’s hard not to fall in love with a wine when its seductive aromas fairly burst from the glass. Mandarin orange, starfruit, Asian pear, pink grapefruit—they all come tumbling out of the wine plus flashes of minerals and white pepper. And all of those are set against a creamy mouthfeel. I almost couldn’t believe how vivid and refreshing this wine is. Albariños are, of course, generally very tasty. But Pazo Señorans is a cut above—a wine that’s elegant, lifted, and feels like a pure ocean breeze. (14.5% abv)

92 points KM

Available at Martin Wine & Spirits

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Hannah Selbach

SELBACH-OSTER

Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Trocken*** “GG” 2018

(Mosel, Germany) $37

At its best, German riesling doesn’t just have acidity; it has juicy, delicious acidity—the kind that’s so kinetic, you fear the wine glass might burst. Not to mention a minerality so vibrant it seems to scream with excitement. This very bone dry (trocken) riesling from Selbach-Oster is a great example. The freshness and citrusy precision are off-the-charts. If ever there was a terrific wine for drinking right this (summery) minute, this is it. The “***” references the single oak vat this wine was made in, and “GG” denotes this dry wine’s equivalency to a grand cru. The Selbach family’s wine heritage goes back to 1660, and the family is deeply passionate about riesling. 13% abv

92 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

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TAYLOR FLADGATE

10 Year Old Tawny Port

(Oporto, Portugal) $30

Say the word Port and most of us imagine sitting in front of a fireplace after dinner on a winter night. But you can also turn the binoculars around completely, because Port—especially tawny Port—is outrageously good drunk chilled as an aperitif, in summer. (Accompanied by some aged cheese like Manchego, it’s off the charts). I love the way a slight chill “lifts” the tawny Port’s mellow nuttiness and gives the wine a kind of refreshing vibrancy that summer drinking demands. Taylor Fladgate’s 10 Year Old Tawny–lusciously full of fig and berry notes—is languorously smooth and has a dryish crisp finish. If you’ve never started an evening this way, a hedonic experience awaits you. And as an extra inducement, an opened bottle of tawny Port lasts months so you’ve got nothing to lose. 20% abv

90 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

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ROAR

“Soberanes Vineyard” Chardonnay 2018

(Santa Lucia Highlands, CA) $50

Chardonnay is too often thought of in a binary way. Either big and voluptuous or sleek and elegant. Kim Kardashian or Audrey Hepburn. Take your pick. But many of the best California chardonnays counterintuitively (and mysteriously) span both worlds. Like this fantastic ROAR from the Soberanes Vineyard. As rich and languorous as crème brulee, it also soars with starbursts of lemony crispness and sparks of brightness and light. And as with a good white Burgundy, there’s also a subtle earthiness here too. Something grounding. Something to hold onto. Or something that holds on to you. 14.4% abv

95 points KM

Available at Roar Wines

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DOMAINE ZIND-HUMBRECHT

“Roche Calcaire” Gewürztraminer 2016

(Alsace, France) $36

From the marl-rich vineyard Roche Calcaire comes this opulent gewürztraminer which belts out its flavors with all the force and soul of a gospel singer. Minerals, litchi, marmalade, spice, rock dust, ginger, and a whole field of roses come at you in a lightning bolt of intensity. Zind-Humbrecht was founded in 1959 after the Zind and Humbrecht families combined their vineyard holdings. (The Humbrechts had been growing grapes since 1620). The estate is known for making some of the most boldly expressive and powerful wines—not just in Alsace—but in all of France. At the same time, these are wines of profound loveliness, beauty and poise. While they are more expensive, Grand Cru wines from this estate are wines you should not miss—especially the rieslings and gewürztraminers from the Grand Crus named Hengst, Brand, Goldert, and Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain. (13.5%abv)

97 points KM

Available at Wine Watch

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REMELLURI

Reserva 2012

(Rioja, Spain) $38

When you look at your notes and see you’ve written, “Yikes; incredibly sexy wine,” you know you’re in the presence of a wine of great personality and complexity. At least that was what I thought after tasting this exquisite red Rioja reserva, a wine that should cost three times what it does. The heady incense, dark chocolate, sea salt, exotic spices, black licorice, and cigar notes are stunning and evocative of tempranillo at its best. The wine has power and fantastic volume and velocity. Remelluri is making some of the most exciting wines in Rioja. If you love Old World wines, you MUST try this. 14% abv

98 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

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MASSERIA LI VELI

Susumaniello 2018

(Salento, Apulia, Italy) $19

Susumaniello is an ancient indigenous grape variety in the southern Italian region of Apulia (or Puglia, pronounced POOL-ya, as it’s written in Italian). If you’ve never had it, join the club. This was a first for me. (The variety was nearly extinct until Masseria Li Veli began to rescue it.) Wow, what a gem. Generous and juicy with waves of dark cherry pie flavors, it tastes like a great zinfandel—only better. An ethereal wine for pasta because it’s got loads of both richness and freshness, and is mouthfilling but not ponderous. (Hide the label, and make your favorite wine drinking partner try to guess what it is). The name susumaniello means “little donkey” in the local dialect, a reference to the large bunches that hang from the vines like the heavy loads carried by donkeys in days past. (14.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Saratoga Wine Exchange

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ABACELA

Grenache Rosé 2019

(Umpqua Valley, Oregon) $19

Kicking off summer without laying in a half case of good rosé seems a little half-hearted. Summer IS, after all, the time to drink not think. (The very definition of quaffing). Here’s your wine—a simple, lovely, very-affordable rosé that’s as fresh as iced strawberries. Plus loads of crisp pink grapefruit and cherry flavors. There may be dozens of rosés on store shelves these days, but all rosés are not created equal (a rosé is not a rosé is not a rosé), and far too many are sour, thin, and skunky. In our recent tastings, we liked this Abacela from southern Oregon for going up against some pricier, fancier competitors–and still tasting the best! (13.2% abv)

88 points KM

Available at Abacela

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TASCA d’ALMERITA

“Mozia” 2018

(Sicily, Italy) $22

Full of delicious personality, Mozia is a fantastic white wine from the tiny island of Mozia just off the Sicilian coast. The island, one of the most important and historic Phoenician settlements in the Mediterranean, is where the color purple was first created (from sea shells). The wine Mozia has a sea spray freshness, snappy crispness, and a core of creamy peachiness. Made from the Sicilian variety grillo, Mozia comes from 40-year-old vines. I can’t think of a better (or better priced) summer white. For its part, Tasca d’Almerita, one of the top Sicilian producers (they own Regaleali), has been at the forefront of saving Sicily’s ancient indigenous varieties. (13.5% abv)

92 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

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PARADIGM

Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

(Oakville, Napa Valley, CA) $84

Paradigm has always been a paradigm of sorts—a classic wine that reflects its place, a wine that’s more modest than showy, a wine that evokes deliciousness and drinkability. It’s one of those satisfying wines that, put in the center of a dinner party table, gets emptied first. Paradigm Winery is owned and run by Ren and Marilyn Harris, both with deep roots in California. Marilyn’s grandparents arrived in Napa Valley in 1890; Ren’s family came to California in 1769. Thanks to a former career in vineyard real estate, Ren knew the Napa Valley inside out. By the time he and Marilyn bought an abandoned prune orchard with the dream of turning it into a vineyard (in 1975), they had settled on Oakville as the most desirable area. This, 18 years before Oakville became an AVA. From the first vintage in 1991, Paradigm’s winemaker has been Heidi Barrett (whose clients now include other esteemed properties as well). 14.6% abv

Available at Paradigm Winery

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PEGASO

"Zeta" 2016

(Sierra de Gredos, Castilla y Leon, Spain) $21

When garnacha (grenache) is good, it is very very good. In fact, it whirls with fantastic cherry flavors, from grenadine to kirsch to the best cherry preserves you ever had in your life. Few wines are this effusively fruity and yet taste sophisticated, spicy, and minerally at the same time. There’s no tannin to contend with here, just pure rich deliciousness (for $4 a glass!). The Sierra de Gredos are mountains of slate and granite in the center of Spain. Viticulture here is ancient, and many of the vines are both old and head pruned (without trellising). (14.5% abv)

90 points KM

Available at Gary’s Wine and Marketplace

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DOMAINE WEINBACH

“Cuvée Ste. Catherine” Pinot Gris 2017

(Alsace, France) $66

If you don’t believe pinot gris can have complexity and mind-bending concentration, you must try this.  Domaine Weinbach, built in the early seventeenth century as a Capucin monastery, has been owned and run by the Faller family since 1898, and specifically by the women of the family since the 1980s when Colette and her daughter Catherine were among the first women ever to lead and manage a winery in France. Since 2016, Catherine has been joined by her sons, Eddy and Théo. The beautiful monastery estate sits at the foot of the hill Schlossberg (“Castle Hill”), and the surrounding vineyards are known as the Clos des Capucins. Domaine Weinbach’s wines are among the most elegant and expressive in all of Alsace. They have a purity to them that can seem absolutely regal. The pinot gris Cuvée Ste. Catherine is a stunning example. Rich, creamy, minerally, smoky, and nutty, it is dense in flavor yet soars with freshness. Pinot grigio it is not. (14.5% abv)

93 points KM

Available at The Wine House