Share

THREE STICKS

“Gap’s Crown Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2015 

(Sonoma Coast, California) $65

The cold mountain ridges above the Sonoma Coast are foreboding and rugged, but the best pinot noirs that are born there are just the opposite: enticing and supple. Like this gorgeous pinot from Three Sticks’ Gap’s Crown Vineyard. Vivid, precise, and fresh, it smells of the cool ocean air that wafts in over the vines. Many pinots exude silkiness as this one does, but silkiness plus a certain graceful richness is a combination that’s irresistible. The Sonoma Coast has become ground zero for world class pinot … as this must-taste wine attests.

94 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

Share

TREFETHEN

Chardonnay 2016

(Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, CA) $38

Trefethen made its first Napa Valley chardonnay in 1973, and 3 years later, its 1976 chardonnay was ranked Number One in the Gault Millau Wine Olympics in Paris. The best news of all: they’re still making beautiful, sophisticated chardonnay to this day. (Experience does count). Unlike the California butter bombs of the 90s and 2000s, this chardonnay harkens back to a time when top chardonnay meant one that was refined, lovely, fresh, lively, and wonderfully long. This is that wine. (13.4% abv)

93 points KM

Available at Trefethen

Share

NICOLAS FEUILLATTE

Brut Rosé NV

(Champagne, France) $40

Creamy and minerally, with a beautiful burst of red fruit coming up through the center, the Nicolas Feuillatte (FOY-yat) Rosé Champagne is inviting and long. Like a sea of tiny pearls, the mousse is very fine. Some rosés can feel a bit sharp or alternatively a bit dull. This wine is neither. What you’ll find instead is an exciting (and sensual) rosé Champagne. Nicolas Feuillatte is a cooperative, and its wines are always priced well for the flavor they deliver. The fall is coming. It’s Back-to-School time. In our house, Champagne season starts now. (12% abv)

93 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

Share

MUHR-VAN DER NIEPOORT

“Spitzerberg” Blaufränkisch 2013  

(Carnuntum, Austria) $50

Maybe there’s no actual evidence, but I feel pretty sure that blaufränkisch (BLOUGH-frank-ish) is pinot noir’s sexy older brother—the one who rode Harleys and hung out with Hemingway (or did whatever the equivalent was two thousand years ago). This blaufränkisch from the single vineyard Spitzerberg is certainly like that—a peppery, fruity red that’s racy and dark at the same time. Blaufränkisch, Austria’s leading red, has the wonderful ability to be simultaneously velvety and structured. If I could stop what I’m doing and cook up some duck breasts with cherry sauce, I would. (13% abv)

92 points KM

Available at K&L Wine Merchants

Share
CHÊNE BLEU

CHÊNE BLEU

Rosé 2017 

(Vaucluse, France) $27

I hope you aren’t rosé-ed out, because you don’t want to miss this dry sophisticated rosé from an enchanting high-altitude property in southern France, the site of a priory in the Middle Ages. Unlike so many (innocuous) modern rosés, Chêne Bleu (the name means Blue Oak) is an old-style, artisanal French rosé—full-bodied, full-flavored, and full of personality. Even the blend that makes it up is interesting—grenache, syrah, rolle, cinsault, and mourvèdre. I first had Chêne Bleu on a 105-degree day in the Napa Valley, and it was pure heaven. This is the kind of rosé that’s great all-year-round. (14% abv)

89 points KM

Available at Vivino.com

Share

YACOUBIAN-HOBBS

Areni 2015

(Rind, Vayots Dzor, Armenia) $32

The first time I read about Areni-1 (pronounced are-AY-nee)—the name archeologists have given the cave that contains remnants of the oldest known winery in the world—I could not help but be entranced. Dating from more than 6,000 years ago in Armenia, Areni-1 is one of the richest archeological sites ever discovered. And this wine was made a stone’s throw away from it by California winemaker Paul Hobbs and Armenia’s Yacoubian (yah-COO-bee-in) family. Made from areni grapes, the wine is plush with a black peppery spiciness and delicious black cherry flavors. It reminds me of a mystical cross of syrah and cabernet. If you love history, this wine—it’s one of only a handful of Armenian wines available in the U.S.—is a must. (14% abv)

89 points KM

Available at Paul Hobbs Wines

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