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Top 10 wines in the US press

Ravenswood Belloni Zinfandel 2012, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California

Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, recommended this 2012 Belloni from Ravenswood – a field blend of several varieties with 78% of the vineyard planted with Zinfandel.

“It shows bright red-fruit and boysenberry flavors, with terrific acid and tannin. When I visited with him in California, Peterson also opened the 1992, which is still aging well and showing hints of toffee.”

Price: $35

Jolie-Pitt & Perrin Miraval Rosé 2014, Côtes de Provence, France

McIntyre also gave this rosé produced by Hollywood A-listers Brad and Angelina and the Perrin family a whirl, describing it as “quite good”.

“Yes, this is the Brangelina wine. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have teamed with the Perrin family, of Château de Beaucastel and Parallèle 45 fame, to produce a celebrity rosé that has reached 200,000 cases in its third vintage and has already been counterfeited in China. It’s quite good, as one would expect from the Perrins, but at this price it’s essentially a conversation piece.”

Price: $27

14 Hands ‘Kentucky Derby’ Red Blend 2012, Columbia Valley, Washington

This limited-release Kentucky Derby Red Blend from 14 Hands was released in March and was this week recommended by Sandra Silfven writing in Detroit News. 

“Think rich, bright berried flavors, spice and dark chocolate, lovely round tannins, sturdy acidity”, she said. “It’s a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, and was aged nearly two years in mostly neutral French and American oak. I would snap this one up by the case, and apparently online buyers at the 14 Hands Web site and new tasting room have done just that as the wine is sold out at the source.”

Price: $12

Zenato “Alanera” Rosso Veronese IGT 2012, Italy

Silfven also recommended this Italian red produced by the Zeneto family at their Costalunga Estate Vineyard in Valpolicella Classico. A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Corvinone with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is made using the traditional appassimento method of partially drying the grapes before fermenting them.

“This intense red makes me bunch up my shoulders and smile: Such a delicious wine with its bold aromas and lush flavors and texture”, she said. “It’s made mostly from indigenous grapes and named is “Alanera,” which means black-winged, for the ravens that inhabit the Valpolicello region, and for the dark color of wine that Corvina makes. The black-winged birds fly on the label as well. The wine is rich and intense, with half the grapes partially dried before fermentation to concentrate the flavors. Twelve months in French oak rounds out the tannin structure. Aromas are hints of dried cherries, prunes, blackberry, plum and spice.”

Price: $20

True Myth Chardonnay 2013, Edna Valley, California, Chardonnay

This “exciting” Chardonnay, produced in one of the coolest wine regions in California, was recommended by Rebecca Murphy writing for Dallas News.

She said: “True Myth is one of the brands produced by the Niven family of Edna Valley in California’s San Luis Obispo County. Their winemaker, Christian Roguenant, is master of the crisp, yet aromatic and full-flavored white wine. This Chardonnay is a fine example, with its ripe apple, pink grapefruit, pineapple and vanilla flavors. It’s rich and creamy in the mouth, yet bright and refreshing. Enjoy it with an avocado stuffed with fresh crab or a creamy mushroom risotto.”

Price: $12.99-$15.99

Montes Alpha Syrah 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile

This Chilean Syrah was described by Dennis Sodomka, writing in the Augusta Chronicle, as “a gorgeous inky purple” with aromas of “blackberries and blueberries, with some floral and leather notes”.

“It is a strong, full-bodied wine, with dark berry fruit flavors. The tannins are smooth, and the finish is long, with hints of jam, vanilla and black pepper. It is a rustic, yet elegant, wine.”

Price: $16 to 20

Sidebar, 2014 High Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Peg Melnik, writing for the Press Democrat, picked this “striking” Sauvignon Blanc as her wine of the week describing it as “exceedingly supple”, balanced by “bright fruit and a crisp finish”.

“It’s a lovely white and a bit unusual”, she added. “It will no doubt turn heads.”

Price: $25

Foppiano Vineyards, 2013 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Second to Sidebar was this Sauvignon from Foppiano Vineyards, which Melnik said was a “bright, tangy Sauvignon Blanc with a great quench”.

“Notes of grapefruit, lime, Meyer lemon and apricot. Sassy finish of spice. What gives this Sauvignon Blanc the edge is its pitch perfect balance. Impressive.”

Price: $15

Trione 2010 Red Wine, Alexander Valley Appellation, Geyserville Ranch

“This smooth red ahead of its time”, wrote Stacey Vreeken in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. 

“Predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (62%), notes of Merlot (12%), Cabernet Franc (7%), Petite Verdot and Malbec (both 6%) round this supple, rich wine. While a pleasant, easy-drinking wine, it should also stand up to aging. The Trione Russian River Valley Syrah shows similar dark fruit characteristics but with bright acids and developed tannins. Raspberry, pepper, forest floor and a lingering candy apple and cola flavors finish the wine.”

She added: “This wine is precocious, ahead of its time with ripe flavors and soft tannins. It’s approachable, drinkable, yet rich and full. Inky in color, fruit, soft florals, vanilla and oak aromas begin the red blend. On the palate, plum, ripe strawberry, blueberry are contrasted with cedar, tobacco, slate and wood. Cherry flavors wash through the finish.”

Price: $48

Champagne Paul Goerg Blanc de Blancs NV, Vertus, Champagne, France

On the palate, he said: “It is full of a lively mousse and nicely creamy in texture, before revealing the fresh and zippy citrus character of the fruit and the nuts, almond biscotti, some yeast residue rather than fresh dough, which is again classic for Champagne, and then lovely balance between white fruit and acidity right through to the long, lingering fresh finish.”

Price: $9.99 per half-bottle

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