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Top 10 wines in the US press

Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2010, Italy

“I believe that the best examples of Brunello di Montalcino are among the world’s greatest wines”, said Eric Asimov writing in the New York Times.

Recommending this Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 2010, Asimov said it was “dense yet fresh, rich yet elegant, with pure, lingering flavors of red fruit, flowers and minerals.”

Price: $75

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino 2010

Asimov also praised this example from Donatella Cinelli Colombini, a wine that he said was “structured yet graceful, with earthy, smoky fruit flavors framed by dusty tannins.”

Price: $58

Clos des Lunes Lune Blanche 2013, Bordeaux, France

Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, said this bottle from the producers of Domaine de Chevalier was “one of the best white Bordeaux”, and a great introduction to the category.

“It is 70% Semillon, the rest Sauvignon Blanc, with just enough oak to tame the fruit. It’s a classy wine that will age well for five to six years but drinks beautifully now.”

Price: $19

Gáudio Verdelho 2014, Alentejo, Portugal

McIntyre also recommended this “tasty white, rich with tropical-fruit flavours” from Alentejo in Portugal – a region recently described as the “Swartland of Portugal” by Portuguese wine expert Sarah Ahmed, due to a recent influx of exciting small growers.

“Ideal by itself or with simple seafood dishes or appetizers”, added McIntyre. “Worth stocking up on”.

Price: $10


Ktima Tselepos Moschofilero Blanc de Gris 2013, Greece

This “interesting and unusual wine” from Greece completed McIntyre’s round up of food-friendly wines.

“Moschofilero, a native Greek grape variety, turns dark pink as it ripens, much like pinot gris”, he said. “This is almost like an orange wine, but without the oxidation or richness from being fermented on its skins. It is aromatic and floral, ripe and tropical, and yet it somehow remains dry.”

Price: $16

Talbott Vineyards Chardonnay Kali Hart 2013, Monterey, California, US

Sandra Silfven writing for Detroit News, showcased the wines of Talbot Vineyards in Monterrey, California this week, a winery that she said has a “longstanding reputation for impeccable Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands.”

Of its 2013 Chardonnay she said: “This sweetheart — the most affordable of the Talbott wines, is a pure fruit expression of Talbott’s Monterey grapes — citrus, pineapple, honeydew melon with a hint of French oak and minerality. The point of this wine, named for Robb Talbott’s youngest daughter Kali, is to give voice to the vineyard — not to over-manipulate the fruit with oak and cellar techniques. That cool-climate acidity of the hillside balances the fruit. Only 15% of the wine was racked to French oak — just enough to broaden the mouthfeel and add a subtle touch of toasty flavour.”

Price: €20

Talbott Vineyards Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands 2013, Monterey, California, US

Another of Silfven’s recommendations was for Talbot’s Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir, which she said offered an “explosion of bright cherry, raspberry and plum fruit all stitched up with spicy French oak notes, velvet tannins and cool-climate acidity.”

“It’s creamy and rich, and steals your attention from any food on your plate”, she said. “There is a subtle sweetness, but it isn’t sweet — it’s just the alcohol teasing your palate. Grapes come from the finest blocks of Sleepy Hollow Vineyard.”

Price: $42

Barboursville, Reserve Viognier 2013, Virginia, US

“Virginia vintners, like Texas vintners, are an intrepid lot, risking precious resources to fulfill a vision of making wine in regions not particularly hospitable to growing wine grapes”, wrote Rebecca Murphy in Dallas News. “When the results are as delicious as this Viognier, it’s easy to understand why they persist.”

Recommending this bottle from Barboursville she said: “It boasts captivating flavours of ripe, juicy peaches and melon laced with honeysuckle and citrus. It’s round and rich in the mouth, animated with tangy acidity. Bold flavors and voluptuous texture stand up to full-flavoured dishes like pad thai or sautéed scallops.”

Price: $23.99

Martinelli Bella Vigna Chardonnay 2011, Sonoma County, California, US

Dennis Sodomka, writing for the Augusta Chronicle, recommended this Chardonnay from Martinelli in California’s Sonoma County, which he said “has been making beautiful Chardonnays for a long time”.

“Bella Vigna is a blend of selected single-vineyard Chardonnay estate grapes, most of them two Dijon clones. These clones generally do well in cool climates, such as the Sonoma vineyards owned by Martinelli.”

He added: “It is a beautiful golden yellow in the glass, with mellow aromas of lemon, pear and toast, with a touch of mineral. My wife, Teri, thought it had a beautiful color, but not much on the nose. She liked the crispness of the wine, full of pleasant fruit with an undertone of crab apple. I tasted golden delicious apples, lemon and a bit of orange peel. We both loved the creaminess and balanced flavours.”

Price: $39 to $41

Re Midas Corvina delle Venezie IGT 2012, Soave, Northern Italy

Finally Gil Lempert-Schwarz, writing for the Las Vegas Review Journal, recommended this budget Soave from northern Italy, made from the Corvina grape.

“On the nose: There is a lovely basket of freshly picked ripe red Morello cherries, cherry compote and cranberry juice with just hints of aged wood, soft vanilla, mixed baking spices and a touch of warm minerals.

“On the palate: This is one of the lighter styles of Italian reds with nice density and that classic high acidity of cherry fruit right upfront, then a mellowing of the red fruit flavours with fruit roll-ups going into the mid-palate. The finish is really suave and soft with red berry crush, nice balance and a fine lingering aftertaste.”

Price: $3.99

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