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Red Wine

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Iconic? Yes. A great value? You bet. Charles Smith's nod to the Old World, Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is abundant with fruit: blueberry pie, ripe black cherries and plums orbit lighter notes of vanilla and violets 'round the bowl of the glass. On the palate, it's textbook Washington Cabernet, abundantly laden in mouth-filling fruit, lightly trussed in ripe tannins. Go ahead, pour yourself a second glass. 13.5% ABV | Sample Charles Smith Wines 8.9 Points ...

Château de Monbazan Grand Vin de Graves 2015

Château de Monbazan Grand Vin de Graves 2015

From Garagiste, a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec—in this case from a biodynamic producer (something of a rarity in Bordeaux), the 2015 Château de Monbazan Graves Rouge is plush on the nose and palate. The first impression is one of cherry pie, followed by vanilla, baking spices, and the merest suggestion of violets. It's easy going on the palate, with no hard edges. And while it lacks the earthy, leathery soulfulness that Graves is known for, it has charm. Drink now. 13.5% ABV Château de Monbazan 8.8 Points...

Herdade do Esporão Esporão Reserva Tinto 2014

Herdade do Esporão Esporão Reserva Tinto 2014

Another excellent vintage from Esporão, the 2014 Reserva Tinto is a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Trincadeira, and Cabernet Sauvignon aged in French and American oak for 12 months. The nose is poetic: anise, violets, cigarette pack foil (a very specific aroma, my mother was a heavy smoker) black raspberry, and black cherry. And while there's no suggestion of the gamey-savory note on the nose that explodes on the palate like a caged tiger, it has lovely sueded tannins and a white pepper finish. 14.5% ABV | Sample Herdade do Esporão 9.0 Points ...

San Marzano Talò Malvasia Nera Salento IGT 2015

San Marzano Talò Malvasia Nera Salento IGT 2015

Another delightful find from San Marzano, this 100% Malvasia Nera is softly textured and juicy. As with all wines in the Talò line, it over delivers for its roughly $15.00 price point. Juicy Italian plums, blackberries and black cherries are rendered more complex by an earthy-savory edge of dried herbs, coffee, and underbrush. In the mouth, it's round, fleshy, and voluptuous, and all too easy to drink. A soulful pairing with pizza, roast duck or pigeon. 13.5% ABV | Sample San Marzano 9.0 Points...

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

One of Napa Valley's best kept secrets, Louis M. Martini's 2013 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with juicy blackberries, blackcurrants, and cassis. Leather, dried leaves, and trail dust along with an attractive top note of vanilla round out the nose. It's sleek and softly textured on the palate with fine tannins and a medium+ finish. At this point in its evolution, it's totally accessible and offers real drinking pleasure for a modest price. Sample Louis M. Martini 9.0 Points...

Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie

Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie 2014

Crushed raspberries, pie cherries, cranberries, and underbrush waft from the glass. Beguiling secondary notes of dried violets, lilacs and potting soil lend perfumy complexity. It's a light, nimble Gamay—classic Fleurie—with lifted red fruit tightly wound round a mineral vein of iron ore followed by loamy soil, and bay leaf. 13.0% ABV Domaine de Roche-Guillon 8.8 Points  ...

Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

The 2013 Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is furnished in fruit-forward that run the gamut from black currants to blueberries along with toast, cedar and woodspice. Concentrated, ripe, and fairly powerful in the mouth, making this an ideal steak wine, the finish is herbaceous—a hanging note where bell pepper and cracked black pepper make their debut. Sample Lapostolle 8.9 Points...

Bodega Catena Zapata

Catena Zapata Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Laura Catena last year for an article that charted the research she's doing at the Catena Institute in studying the effects of high elevation on indigenous varieties and on international varieties like Cabernet. Of course, it's great fun to taste a wine like this after such a rousing discussion—her 2015 High Mountain Vines Cabernet Sauvignon is opaque with a violet rim and awash in aromas of damson plum, blackberry, espresso and dark chocolate. In the mouth it's full, round and viscous with that classic finish that we see in Argentine Cabs—black pepper, bell pepper, and cedar. Bodega Catena Zapata 9.0 Points  ...

Château Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

It's an odd thing to taste Pacific Northwest wines halfway around the world at a wine show in Romania—but then, life is full of interesting surprises and it was even more fun to see how our domestic wines are received in Europe. Château Ste. Michelle is one of Washington's State's founding wineries, it's also the largest topping out at over 1M cases. Their 2014 Cabernet is loaded with black fruit, wood spices, a sprinkling of brown sugar. An excellent, juicy wine well-suited for a weeknight supper. Chateau Ste. Michelle 8.8 Points  ...

Yves Cheron Les Dentelles Côtes du Rhône 2015

Yves Cheron Les Dentelles Côtes du Rhône 2015

I wanted to find a little more concentration of fruit at the core of this otherwise easy-drinking blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah from Yves Cheron. The 2015 'Les Dentelles' sports a classic Southern Rhône profile of plums and blackberries couched in garrigue, warm spice, and dried violet. It's bright on the palate, not surprising given that this wine is aged in concrete—a vessel that enhances acidity and minerality, as well as pure fruit expression. It finishes with pronounced notes of iron ore, peppercorn, and dried herbs. 13.5% ABV Vignobles Cheron 8.8 Points...