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Top 10 wines in the US press

Cadaretta Springboard Washington 2011, Walla Walla, Washington

Sandra Silfven recommended this “top of the line” Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot blend from Washington’s Cadaretta writing in Detroit News.

She said: “It’s a powerful red with intensity and concentration. Open the bottle and let it get some oxygen before you pour. Aromatics are cedar, dark currant, cinnamon and dark licorice. Tannins are ripe and sweet; acidity is firm. Texture is silky. It’s a dark, brooding, gentle monster — purple teeth for sure. Springboard is Cadaretta’s reserve blending of the best barrels in a particular vintage. This one is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot off two AVAs: Red Mountain and Walla Walla. It’s aged 19 months in French oak, 100 percent new. (No wonder the price.)”

Price: $50

Patz & Hall Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Carneros 2012, California

California’s Patz & Hall was founded in 1988 by Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz and is “one of the country’s prized labels for premium Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs”, according to Silfven.

Od this 2012 Chardonnay she said: “This is California “grand cru”-level Chardonnay from the iconic Hyde Vineyard off the Hyde-Wente clone of Chardonnay. This outstanding vintage led to a wine that’s intense, packed with fruit, full-bodied, oak-infused, with firm acidity: a model for Chardonnay producers. More a pinnacle, I should say. Intense green apple, pear, tropical fruit aromas are woven with spicy, smoky oak; texture has that edge of acidity and great density. It was aged in 50 percent new French oak barrels. The label wears a medallion to commemorate the 25th vintage from this vineyard. Larry Hyde sets aside certain parcels for Patz & Hall, who have sourced grapes from here since 1990. This vintage yielded 62 barrels for them. It’s a special wine.”

Price: $60

Merry Edwards, 2012 Flax Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir

Peg Melnik, writing in the Press Democrat, picked this Russian River Valley Pinot Noir as one of her wine picks of the week.

She said: “A Pinot with great complexity. Aromas and flavors of Bing cherry, blueberry, currant and white pepper. Wins you over with its depth of flavor. Worth the splurge.”

Price: $54

2012 Clos de Tart Grand Cru Monopole, France

2009 vintage pictured

Stepping up considerably in terms of price, Will Lyons had the enviable task of sipping his way through a selection of Grand Cru Clos de Tart wines writing in the Wall Street Journal this week. The walled vineyard of Clos de Tart is located in Burgundy’s Côte d’Or – a 48km strip of land that he said has long attracted connoisseurs, collectors and winemakers due to the quality of its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

He said: “Why the wines are so exquisite is a mystery that’s vexed viticulturists and geologists for centuries. Some point to the area’s calcareous, complex soils, others to its climate, with cold winters and hot summers. At Clos de Tart, winemaker Sylvain Pitiot puts it down to the soil—a complex blend of limestone, clay and gray marl—and the terroir, which he defines as something beyond human intervention, the combination of soil, slope, exposure, drainage and climate.”

Of this vintage Lyons said: “In 2012, the weather conspired to produce only half a crop, making this a rare find. The wine sits in the glass with a dark crimson hue. Fresh, with dark cherries and dark fruit on the nose, it has good vitality and tension. It’s marked by balance, grace and freshness.”

Price: $360

Stolpman Syrah, Estate Grown, Ballard Canyon 2012

Dennis Schaefer, writing for The Examiner, picked this Stolpman Syrah as his wine of the week from a selection showcased at Santa Barbara County’s Celebration of Harvest by the region’s winemakers.

He said: “All the wines offered were stellar examples of their type but the stand-out for me was the Stolpman Syrah 2012. Why? Because it tastes really, really good.”

He added: “A great nose of dark fruits, violets, lavender and spice is immediately apparent. It has a lovely, well rounded mouth feel that reveals not only the sweet ripeness of the fruit but also a welcome savoriness as well (from the lignified stems of the grapes at fermentation, according to Mr. Stolpman). The fruit flavors, of blackberry, black currant and dark plum, are augmented by hints of smoked meat, iodine, pencil shavings and beef jerky. In a great spot for drinking right now, it has the potential to age for a few years in the cellar too.”

Price: $30

2010 M. & S. Bouchet ‘Le Sylphe’ Cabernet Franc, Loire Valley, France

This “quietly elegant” Cabernet France was recommended by Irene Virbila, writing in the LA Times.

She said: “This Cabernet Franc from Matthieu and Sylvanie Bouchet has a quiet elegance. The silken, vibrant Loire Valley red tastes of bright fruit, sweet spices and black pepper. The vines are old, some of them 80 years or more, and the small estate near Saumur has been farmed according to biodynamic principles since 1962. In fact, Matthieu’s father, François, was a leading French consultant in biodynamics and wrote the how-to book on using its principles in the vineyard. He consulted for Domaine Leflaive, Domaine Leroy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and many other estates in Europe.”

Price: $24

Maison Nicolas Perrin, Vin de France, Syrah 2012

Rebecca Murphy highlighted this “exciting, budget-friendly Syrah”, made by “two of the most respected wine families of France”, writing in Dallas News this week.

She said: “Nicolas Jaboulet’s family made wines in the northern Rhone Valley from 1834 until the family sold the company to Compagnie Financière Frey in January 2006. Marc Perrin’s family has been making wines in the southern Rhone Valley since the early 1900s. Their collaboration is a savory style of Syrah with black cherry and plum fruit mingling with black pepper, a touch of bacon and dusty mineral notes. It’s medium bodied, with zesty acidity to keep it fresh in the mouth. It finishes with ripe tannins. Enjoy it with a hearty beef stew.”

Price: $14.99

2013 Il Mandorlo Malvasia Nera, Salento, Italy

“Ever drink a Malvasia Nera from Italy? Maybe you should,” wrote Michael Dresser in The Baltimore Sun this week.

He said: “Sometimes you find a wine that’s truly distinctive, not really like anything else. This is one of those wines. It’s a medium-bodied red wine with a super-long finish and great vibrancy. It’s earthy and rustic in a very good way, with intense wild berry fruit and hints of Italian herbs. It should stand up well to spicy tomato-based sauces. Drink up while young.”

Price: $13

Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay 2013, New Zealand

Dennis Sodomka recommended this “elegant” New Zealand Chardonnay, which he said was “reminiscent of a restrained white Burgundy” writing in the Augusta Chronicle.

He said: “The wine is a beautiful honey gold color in the glass, with peach and toasty oak aromas. On the palate are smooth, creamy notes of nectarine, citrus and toast with a hint of spice. There is a nice balance among acidity, fruit and minerality. The Stoneleigh Latitude Chardonnay is an elegant wine that would be perfect with an elegant dinner, or for sipping on the porch. It is more reminiscent of a restrained white Burgundy than a fruit-forward California Chardonnay. The grapes are bag pressed after harvest, and only the first free-run juices are used. The juice is fermented for up to six months in French and Hungarian oak barrels of which about 30% is new wood, 30% one-year-old wood and the balance older, neutral oak. The lees are stirred regularly to add balance and complexity to the taste. There is just enough oak to give the wine some depth and complexity without overpowering the fresh fruit.”

Price: $17 to 20

Bridlewood Pinot Noir 2012

Finally Chris and Sherry Hardi, of the La Crosse Tribune, suggested this Bridlewood Pinot Noir as an “interesting” wine to serve with your Thanksgiving dinner.

They said: “This is a versatile medium-bodied red that won’t overpower your food like a bigger red might, but it can still handle the dark meat of the turkey and spicy stuffing. It’s dark berry and fruit flavors combined with balanced acidity will indeed compliment the variety of dishes To make this a truly American holiday, we recommend a domestic pinot. This wine comes from California’s Monterey County, where cooling Pacific Ocean breezes provide for a long growing season. A gentle fermentation process highlights many layers of flavor.”

Price: $13 to $18

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