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Top 10 wines in the US press

2010 Pearl Morissette Cuvée Madeline Cabernet Franc, Niagara Peninsula, Canada

Lettie Teague, writing in the Wall Street Journal, hailed Cabernet Franc as the perfect wine with which to see you through the autumn months, which “at the start, it’s a dead-ringer for summer; by the end, it’s winter’s near-twin.”

“Cabernet Franc is a lighter, brighter and less tannic version of its much-touted offspring (Cabernet Sauvignon)”, said Teague. “Marked by notes of raspberry and spice, it’s lively and juicy, and in some incarnations can be quite concentrated and rich.”

Of this example she said: “This rich, concentrated and well-polished Cab Franc shows why winemaker François Morissette believes Cabernet Franc could be the “claim to fame” for Canada’s Niagara Peninsula.”

Price: $35

2012 Domaine des Roches Neuves Cuvée Terres Chaudes, Loire Valley, France

Teague also recommended this Cabernet Franc, produced by winemaker Thierry Germain, who she credited with producing “notable Cabernet Francs (and Chenin Blancs) at his Loire Valley estate.”

“This medium-bodied red is a bit rustic, with notes of earth and red and black fruit”, she added.

Price: $30

2012 Hacienda La Lomita Pagano, Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

“The wines from Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe are the most exciting discovery I’ve made in the past few years”, said Michele Parente in the San Diego Union Tribune before recommending this bottle from the Valel de Guadalupe.

“Not all of them are great — consistency will be key to the region’s wider success”, she conceded. “But one standout that falls into Wine of the Week’s $30-or-under ground rule is La Lomita’s Pagano. Made of 100 percent grenache, it’s a crimson-colored pleaser with a youthful brightness in the glass and red berries and smoky caramel undertones on the palate. I’ve had it about 10 times, and it’s been consistently delicious in the tasting room or with a full Mexican meal.”

Price: $28

Alta Vista Premium Torrontes 2013, Cafayate Valley, Argentina

Sandra Silfven, writing in the Detroit News, recommended this Argentine white made from the country’s native Torrontes grape.

“This Alta Vista 2013 Torrontes racked up 91 points from Wine Advocate”, she said. “The 2012 vintage was another big points scorer. I always say Torrontes is like a mix of Gewurztraminer and Viognier with a dollop of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. A top US importer, Kobrand, brings Alta Vista to the U.S. — that should be enough to sell you on it.”

She added: “Intense aromas of honeysuckle, orange zest, citrus and pineapple are followed by tart flavors of lemon-lime-grapefruit and herbs with drying floral notes and tart quince. It’s complex and nicely balanced with firm acidity.”

Price: $20

Tablas Creek Esprit Blanc de Tablas Paso Robles 2013

“Complexity and structure and flavors that take you past the world of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc: that’s what you find with the Rhône-style white blends from Tablas Creek Vineyard”, wrote Silfven of this producer based in California’s Paso Robles.

“What a special, finely crafted Rhône-style blend from sunny Paso Robles”, she said. “The winery’s flagship white is dry and complex, with layers and layers of flavor. It’s a blend of mostly Roussanne and a fair complement of Grenache Blanc finished with Picpoul Blanc. The Roussanne gives it richness, minerality, honey and spice. The Grenache Blanc adds green apple and a note of tarragon; Picpoul Blanc adds minerality and tropical tones. Aromas open with peach, citrus and savory herbs followed by rich, bracing flavors: green apple, nectarine, citrus and brown spices. It’s a golden beauty that can age 15 years or more.”

Price: $45

Château d’Oupia Les Hérétiques 2013/2014, Languedoc, France

2007 vintage pictured

Dave McIntyre, writing in the Washington Post, recommended five “super value” wines under $20, including this red from the Languedoc, of which he simply said “wow!”,

“This juicy, lively red from the Pays de l’Hérault appellation in France’s Languedoc region is a tremendous value for the price”, said McIntyre. “Don’t worry about the vintage (both area distributors have switched to the 2014, but some stores, especially in Virginia, might still have the 2013); just stock up for your weeknight autumn cookouts.”

Price: $9

Paul D. Grüner Veltliner 2014, Austria

McIntyre also recommended this “delightful” Grüner from Paul Direder in Austria.

“It’s light and zesty, with Grüner’s characteristic flavors of white flowers and talc”, he said. “The liter-size bottle emphasizes the wine’s value. This wine is widely available throughout the region, and the following list is not complete.”

Price: $11 (1 liter)

Trinity Hill Syrag, Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand

Dennis Sodomka, writing in the Augusta Chronicle, highlighted two wines produced by Trinity Hill in Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay.

“Thanks to wine legend Charles Banks, Trinity Hill wines are now becoming widely available in the United States”, he said. “The first shipment to Georgia in April already has sold out and suppliers are trying to get more. That is hardly surprising, because New Zealand now believes the United States is their No. 1 market by volume.”

Of its “spectacular” Syrah, Sodomka said: “In the glass it is a deep crimson color, with vibrant aromas of raspberry, blackberry and cloves. The flavor profile is similar to a northern Rhône Syrah, powerful, with ripe tannins and spicy notes. Gibson believes the cuttings used to plant their vineyards came from the famed Hermitage region in the northern Rhône.”

Price: $29-31

‘The Gimblett’, 2013, New Zealand

Its “The Gimblett” is a Bordeaux-style blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

“Powerful aromas of blackberry and herbs lead to mouth-watering flavors of stone fruit and blackberry”, he said. “While this wine is delicious young, it has good acidity and structure and should age well for 10 years or more.”

Price: $29-31

Verruzzo di Monteverro 2013 Toscana, Italy

Finally Kelsey Robertson, of the luxury consumer magazine The Robb Report, recommended this robust red from Tuscany which he said “hints at dark-fruit notes on the nose, and contains strong tannins and such flavors as currants and tomato stems on the palate.”

“The Super Tuscan, Verruzzo (Italian for “small wild boar”), is blended with 40% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Sangiovese and aged in stainless-steel tanks to produce a wild flavor, just as its name implies.”

Price: $29

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