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Top 10 wines in the US press

Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California

“Elegant and bright with cherry and raspberry fruit flavours and an earthy core to keep everything focused, the wine is an excellent ambassador for Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noir”, writes the Washington Post‘s Dave McIntrye.

“Davis Bynum is a venerable Sonoma label, purchased several years ago by the owner of Rodney Strong Vineyards. Sold mostly to restaurants, this is a wine to seek out on a list,” he writes.

Tooth & Nail Fragrant Snare 2014, Paso Robles, California

“This blend of Chardonnay, Albariño, Gewürztraminer and Muscat defies any Old World paradigm,” McIntrye continues.

“It’s beguiling and sneaky, with flavours of talc and jasmine that creep up on you just when your mind is about to wander back to the conversation.”

La Mesma Gavi 2014, Italy


Finally from McIntyre, he asks: “Have you ever stood in a garden and wondered which flower you smelled, somewhere out of sight, around a corner or over a wall, its enticing perfume carried to you on a delicate breeze?”

“That’s this wine.”

Chai de Bordes, Bordeaux AOC 2010

“This pretty wine with a weekday price is made primarily from Merlot with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon,” writes Rebecca Murphy of the Dallas Morning News.

“It boasts smooth cherry, blueberry and cassis flavours supported by solid tannins – a cozy companion for a beef stew or roast chicken.”

2013 Koi Zen Cellars, Petit Verdot, San Diego

“My experience has shown that the outlier can be more interesting than the usual suspect.,” the San Diego Union Tribune‘s Michele Parente writes.

“And wineries that take chances on unknown varietals usually do so because they have an affection for that grape. These financially riskier passion projects often prove to be deliciously successful.

“Case in point: the 2013 Koi Zen Cellars Petit Verdot, crafted in San Diego from Lodi grapes. Surprising and sophisticated, it is definitely not a wine to be avoided.”

Otima 10 Port, Portugal

Next, Dennis Sodomka offers up a Port in his column for the Augusta Chronicle this week.

“The wine is a beautiful tawny colour in the glass with nuts and hints of ripe fruit in the aroma. There is a rounded, balanced taste that is light and delicate, loaded with ripe, dried fruit. The finish is long and pleasant.

“I like traditional port, with its rich, heavy tastes, but I understand how a good port, especially a vintage port, can overwhelm some people. So I see the Otima 10 as a great alternative,” he continues.

“It can be served as an aperitif, with dessert, or when you are sitting around a crackling fire in the fireplace or in a campground.”

Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, Napa Valley, 2014

Next, Sandra Silfven at the Detroit News offers up three varieties from three vintages from the same Napa producer, beginning with this Chardonnay.

“What tension between alcohol, oak and fruit,” she writes. “It’s a full-bodied Chardonnay; alcohol is 14.5%. The fruit and acidity are juicy — flavours of apple, pear, toast, spice, lemon meringue.

“It has beautiful integration of oak, fruit, acidity, and is sweet and juicy on the mid-palate.”

Freemark Abbey Merlot, Napa Valley, 2012

“Inhale the spice, the dark berries, dark plums, dark chocolate, vanilla and smoky oak,” Silfven recommends.

“The flavour profile, the depth of the flavours, the acidity, the weight in the mouth, the density in the glass: It’s just so Napa.

“It’s off five noted vineyards in Napa, including Suscol and Stage Coach. It has small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec blended in.”

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2011

“Ted Edwards, director of winemaking, said it took all of his 30 years of winemaking at Freemark Abbey and his history of working with the vineyards to make the 2011, produced in the most difficult California vintage in memory,” Silfven continues.

“And if you give this still-young wine time to get oxygen in your glass, you will see he really pulled this one off.

“It’s rich, layered with flavors and complexity, nicely infused with smoky, spicy oak and framed in supple tannins and firm acidity.

“You get the sensation of bright red berries, plums, dark cooking spices, cedar. It’s full-bodied and opulent. It’s produced off the historic Bosché Vineyard in Rutherford and Veeder Peak on the ridges of Mount Veeder.”

Trisaetum Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2013

And finally, Eric Asimov at the New York Times is full of praise for this “tightly wound and energetic” Pinot Noir, “with aromas and flavours of red fruits and minerals.”

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