So subtle and refined with currants, roses and cedar. Full body, yet very elegant and attractively austere. It goes on for a minute or two. Such beauty. 85% cabernet sauvignon, 10% carmenere, and 5% syrah. 18 months in barrel mostly new oak. Drink or hold. – J.S.
EDITOR'S CHOICE; This wine leans more toward the earthy, savory side of Pinot Noir, yet still boasts enough plum and black cherry fruit to please most consumers. It's medium bodied, with a velvety or suede-like texture and hints of root vegetables, mushrooms, sassafras and cola. Ready to drink. – J.C.
Aromas of cooked pear, apple and white pineapple follow through to a full body with incredible dryness and a mineral finish. White pepper and oyster shell too. This is so serious and unforgiving yet a phenomenon. Owners say it is the driest Fred ever. Drink now. – J.S.
Really enticing aromas of fresh flowers and dark fruit, as well as fresh herbs. Full body, chewy tannins and a rich finish. This is layered and provocative. From organically grown grapes. Give it two or three years of bottle age to come together. – J.S.
A pleasant surprise to emerge from this year's blind tastings was the fine showing of Ogier's 2017 Vacqueyras Boiseraie. A blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre, aged in a mix of tank, foudre and demi-muids, this full-bodied, supple wine combines garrigue with ripe raspberries and chocolate overtones. Drink it over the next 4-5 years. – J.C.
Delightfully pure, with crushed cherry and red currant fruit streaming through, laced with subtle savory, chalk and violet notes. Gains grip steadily through the finish as the fruit and other elements flesh out with air. Best from 2019 through 2028. – J.M.
WWA Silver 2018 Winner; Lovely aromas of plums, dried figs and earth. Good concentration and although modern shows nice lines and purity of fruit with well balanced alcohol. 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah
Brilliant violet. Fresh dark berries, garrigue and a hint of allspice on the fragrant nose. Juicy, focused and light on its feet, offering gently sweet blackberry and cherry flavors that deepen on the back half. Supple tannins come in late and add framework to a persistent, spice-laced finish. This wine should be approachable soon after release. – J.R.
Year's Best Burgundy; Light, cool and narrow in its cherry-blossom scents and floral fruit, this is almost petulantly Burgundian. As one panelist said, “It’s red Burgundy, not pinot noir.” And then its tense, silken texture and umami length set up a riff on foods to match, from chicken liver mousse with peach mostarda to tagliatelle with porcini.
Year's Best Burgundy; A powerful vintage of La Chaize, this is a compact, dense red with the scent of black grapes and more delicate hints of strawberries in the end. While it shows a lot of extract, it feels supple and firm, with tangy acidity to refresh thinly sliced flank steak.
Best Buy; Year's Best Burgundy; A tannic 2014, this wine has lasting red fruit with vegetal elements of herbs and anise, as well as a tangy blood-orange acidity. It’s spicy and firm, a wine to decant for braised lamb shank.