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November 4, 2020

A First Look at Our Editors’ Most Exciting New Wines

value pick of the week
California
Value Pick of the Week
schramsbergbrut-blanc-de-blancs-north-coast Label

SCHRAMSBERG

Brut Blanc de Blancs North Coast 2017

93 points | $41 | 33,263 cases made | White / Sparkling

Tasting Note: Lithe and delicately balanced, with vibrant lemon custard, blanched almond and steely citrus tones that take on richness and speed on the long finish. Drink now. —T.F.

California

Cabernet Sauvignon under $100

value pick of the week
California
Value Pick of the Week
schramsbergbrut-blanc-de-blancs-north-coast Label

SCHRAMSBERG

Brut Blanc de Blancs North Coast 2017

93 points | $41 | 33,263 cases made | White / Sparkling

Tasting Note: Lithe and delicately balanced, with vibrant lemon custard, blanched almond and steely citrus tones that take on richness and speed on the long finish. Drink now. —T.F.

argotcabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-starstruck Label
argotcabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-starstruck Label
92 points | $85 | 150 cases made | Red

Quite ripe and lush, with lots of fig, boysenberry and blackberry compote flavors allied to velvety structure and backed by alder and licorice notes on the finish. For fans of the not-shy style. Drink now through 2028. —J.M.

buehlercabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-papa-s-knoll Label
buehlercabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-papa-s-knoll Label
92 points | $60 | 520 cases made | Red

This is solid, with a juicy core of plum and blackberry that cruises along while light apple wood, anise and sweet tobacco accents fill in the wake. Keeps good energy as everything melds on the finish. Drink now through 2030. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. —J.M.

buena-vistacabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-chateau-buena-vista Label
buena-vistacabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley-chateau-buena-vista Label
92 points | $50 | 6,417 cases made | Red

Bright and overt in feel, with a nice welcoming blast of açaí berry, plum and blackberry fruit that has melded nicely with hints of alder, sassafras and bay leaf. Shows good energy throughout, with enough grip to cellar short-term. Best from 2021 through 2028. —J.M.

christophecabernet-sauvignon-stags-leap-district-explorer-s-series Label
christophecabernet-sauvignon-stags-leap-district-explorer-s-series Label
92 points | $70 | 101 cases made | Red

Dark and winey, with an intense beam of crushed black currant and blackberry reduction flavors inlaid with a graphite spine and backed by licorice snap, violet and roasted apple wood accents. A brushstroke of tar coats the finish while the fruit pumps through. Best from 2021 through 2032. —J.M.

christophecabernet-sauvignon-yountville-explorer-s-series Label
christophecabernet-sauvignon-yountville-explorer-s-series Label
92 points | $80 | 97 cases made | Red

This offers a zesty mix of loganberry and blackberry fruit liberally laced with sassafras, bay leaf and wood spice accents. A sliver of alder runs through the finish, which has nice energy and focus. Best from 2021 through 2029. —J.M.

oakville-winerycabernet-sauvignon-oakville Label
oakville-winerycabernet-sauvignon-oakville Label
92 points | $60 | 1,450 cases made | Red

Nicely rendered, with red and black currant fruit mixed with sassafras, sage and warm earth notes. There's good grip through the finish, while the fruit keeps pace, leaving a late echo of crushed currant and loam. Best from 2022 through 2029. —J.M.

saddlebackcabernet-sauvignon-oakville Label
saddlebackcabernet-sauvignon-oakville Label
92 points | $80 | 846 cases made | Red

This has the well-defined fruit and racy graphite edge that typifies the vintage, with a core of steeped black currant and plum fruit and extra mesquite, sassafras and warm earth nuances throughout. The richness makes this tempting now, but no rush. Drink now through 2030. —J.M.

whitehall-lanecabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley Label
whitehall-lanecabernet-sauvignon-napa-valley Label
92 points | $46 | 5,279 cases made | Red

Ripe and alluring, with a lovely floral edge to the pure core of cassis and plum reduction flavors. A light licorice edge frames the finish, with a hint of singed mesquite. Offers some latent depth, so while approachable, this should also cellar well mid-term. Drink now through 2031. —J.M.

These wines are the Wine Spectator editors’ picks of the top scorers, great values, famous names and rising stars from their latest tastings! Subscribe to Insider Weekly for the first look!

Intro Offer

Italy

Barolo

damilanobarolo-cerequio Label
damilanobarolo-cerequio Label
94 points | $90 | 50 cases imported | Red

This is aromatic and expressive, boasting rose, cherry, strawberry, earth and tobacco flavors. Supple yet well-built, with vibrant acidity and refined tannins. Shows fine length. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

luigi-einaudibarolo-terlo-vigna-costa-grimaldi Label
luigi-einaudibarolo-terlo-vigna-costa-grimaldi Label
94 points | $62 | 200 cases imported | Red

Macerated cherry, black currant and tar flavors predominate, with accents of eucalyptus, tobacco and rose hip tea. Toned and graceful like an athlete, with plenty of innate power, showing terrific balance and length. Best from 2024 through 2050. —B.S.

giacomo-grimaldibarolo-ravera Label
giacomo-grimaldibarolo-ravera Label
94 points | $57 | 150 cases imported | Red

This aromatic version offers floral and black pepper scents that lead to flavors of cherry and strawberry. A matrix of dense, dusty tannins exerts its influence midpalate through the finish. Shows purity and length, so be patient. Best from 2023 through 2045. —B.S.

giacomo-grimaldibarolo-sotto-castello-di-novello Label
giacomo-grimaldibarolo-sotto-castello-di-novello Label
94 points | $57 | 200 cases imported | Red

A tightly wound, racy style, exhibiting rose, cherry, currant, licorice and mineral flavors. Packs a lot character into its linear frame, all the while remaining balanced. Refined tannins and vibrant acidity provide support and drive. Best from 2022 through 2042. —B.S.

luigi-pirabarolo-margheria Label
luigi-pirabarolo-margheria Label
94 points | $61 | 200 cases imported | Red

Rose, cherry and white pepper aromas and flavors highlight this silky, elegant red, which shows ample structure in the form of bright acidity and refined tannins. The fine harmony and terrific length complete the profile. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

fratelli-revellobarolo-gattera Label
fratelli-revellobarolo-gattera Label
94 points | $60 | 150 cases imported | Red

This red is all about finesse and elegance, with pretty red fruit flavors—strawberry, cherry and currant—matched to iron and hay accents and well-mannered tannins. Harmonious and almost approachable now, yet should develop over the next two decades. Best from 2023 through 2040. —B.S.

elvio-cognobarolo-cascina-nuova Label
elvio-cognobarolo-cascina-nuova Label
93 points | $65 | 2,160 cases made | Red

An elegant style, displaying cherry, licorice, menthol and tar aromas and flavors, this is harmonious and very approachable now, yet there is sufficient structure for this red to age well too. Fine length. Best from 2022 through 2037. —B.S.

tenuta-cuccobarolo-del-comune-di-serralunga-d-alba Label
tenuta-cuccobarolo-del-comune-di-serralunga-d-alba Label
93 points | $55 | 900 cases imported | Red

A bright, expressive style, this Barolo features strawberry, cherry, floral and cut hay aromas and flavors. Iron and tobacco accents flirt around the edges as the dense matrix of tannins emerges on the lingering finish. Best from 2023 through 2040. —B.S.

damilanobarolo-lecinquevigne Label
damilanobarolo-lecinquevigne Label
93 points | $50 | 2,500 cases imported | Red

There are plenty of savory notes—eucalyptus, juniper and thyme—reconciled by cherry and earth flavors in this red, which shows a midpalate sweetness before the pointed tannins emerge. The finish is long and satisfying. Best from 2023 through 2040. —B.S.

Oregon

Pinot Noir

zena-crown-vineyardpinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-conifer Label
zena-crown-vineyardpinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-conifer Label
95 points | $75 | 535 cases made | Red

Impressive for its detailed structure and rich polish, this shows expressive raspberry, black tea, sweet anise and forest floor accents that with finish with silky, medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2030. —T.F.

drouhin-oregon-roserockpinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-zephirine Label
drouhin-oregon-roserockpinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-zephirine Label
94 points | $65 | 1,830 cases made | Red

A dynamic wine, showing both grace and structure, this opens like a flower bloom, revealing notes of raspberry, crushed stone, fresh violet and savory tea. Builds richness and tension toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2027. —T.F.

bethel-heightspinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-flat-block Label
bethel-heightspinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-flat-block Label
93 points | $60 | 250 cases made | Red

Dense and structured, this needs time to unfurl, offering raspberry and blueberry flavors laced with notes of river stone, orange zest and black tea, with medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2028. —T.F.

bethel-heightspinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-west-block Label
bethel-heightspinot-noir-eola-amity-hills-west-block Label
93 points | $60 | 180 cases made | Red

This has presence and density, with a tightly focused structure that complements deep black raspberry, mineral and dark Asian tea flavors, building toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2027. —T.F.

France

Condrieu

delascondrieu-la-galopine Label
delascondrieu-la-galopine Label
96 points | $68 | 50 cases imported | White

This is well-endowed, with long waves of creamed apricot, yellow apple and white peach fruit laced with subtle anise, green fig and brioche notes. The finish is very flattering, but not at the cost of definition. Drink now through 2025. —J.M.

georges-vernaycondrieu-les-chaillees-de-l-enfer Label
georges-vernaycondrieu-les-chaillees-de-l-enfer Label
95 points | $190 | 35 cases imported | White

Bright and nicely detailed, with a mix of green almond, white peach, honeysuckle and mango notes, backed by a subtle bitter orange thread on the finish. The rich and showy side of this white is balanced by its inner purity. Drink now through 2024. —J.M.

les-vins-de-viennecondrieu-lieu-dit-jean-raude Label
les-vins-de-viennecondrieu-lieu-dit-jean-raude Label
95 points | $85 | 125 cases made | White

This is ripe, bright and pure, with a long display of honeysuckle, white peach, starfruit, melon and yellow apple fruit, lined with acacia and honeysuckle notes. The acidity is well-embedded, keeping it all afloat while staying in the background. Drink now through 2027. —J.M.

les-vins-de-viennecondrieu-la-chambee Label
les-vins-de-viennecondrieu-la-chambee Label
94 points | $85 | 250 cases imported | White

A lively version, with a punchy mix of white peach, yellow apple, melon and papaya notes, all gilded with honeysuckle and subtle brioche notes through the long, detailed finish. Drink now through 2026. —J.M.

ferraton-pere-filscondrieu-les-mandouls Label
ferraton-pere-filscondrieu-les-mandouls Label
93 points | $65 | 30 cases imported | White

A ripe, mouthfilling version, offering waves of creamed apricot, glazed peach and dried quince flavors, with a late flicker of honeysuckle giving the finish some lift. Drink now through 2023. —J.M.

les-vins-de-viennecondrieu Label
les-vins-de-viennecondrieu Label
93 points | $72 | 250 cases imported | White

This leans to the exotic side, with apricot, melon and papaya notes laced with orange blossom and bitter almond threads for structure. There's a juicy, open feel through the hedonistic finish. Drink now through 2023. —J.M.

Hot Wines

These are the most exciting discoveries from our editors’ most recent tastings, published exclusively in Wine Spectator Insider. They are high-scoring wines from around the world that may be difficult to find, but are worth seeking out.

mullineuxchenin-blanc-swartland-olerasay Label
mullineuxchenin-blanc-swartland-olerasay Label
97 points | $90 / 375ml | 130 cases imported | White

Intense yet very harmonious, this vibrant wine is gold in color and somewhat light, but keeps coming back to you in waves. Shows beautiful balance, coating the palate with rich flavors of peach preserves, candied orange, mint and honeycomb, underscored by singed lemon peel and subtle sea salt notes that offer even more allure, followed by an endless finish. The second release of this solera-aged straw wine. Drink now through 2050. From South Africa. —A.Z.

luciano-sandronebarolo-aleste Label
luciano-sandronebarolo-aleste Label
97 points | $175 | 160 cases imported | Red

A core of ripe, sweet cherry lurks beneath the iron, tar, eucalyptus and tobacco flavors in this firmly structured red, which shows freshness. This has both finesse and power, with a tight matrix of tannins and a long finish. Best from 2023 through 2047. From Italy. —B.S.

georges-vernaycondrieu-coteau-de-vernon Label
georges-vernaycondrieu-coteau-de-vernon Label
97 points | $240 | 35 cases imported | White

Plump and showy up front, with apricot, peach and mango flavors taking the lead, back by a warmed brioche note on the finish. This has depth and weight, but stays lively, with a flash of green tea and buried minerality showing at the very end to keep it honest. Hard to lay off now, but this has the density to cellar a bit as well. Drink now through 2027. From France. —J.M.

Do you love finding new and interesting wines to drink? Then you'll LOVE Insider Weekly. Every issue will lead you to exciting discoveries.

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Wine Spectator's 100-Point Scale

95 - 100
Classic
80 - 84
Good
90 - 94
Outstanding
75 - 79
Mediocre
85 - 89
Very Good
50 - 74
Not Recommended

Our Editorial Team

Marvin R. ShankenEditor and Publisher

Thomas Matthews Executive editor, New York

Joined Wine Spectator in 1988. Tasting beat: Spain

Kim Marcus Senior editor, Napa

Joined Wine Spectator in 1988. Tasting beats: California Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir; Argentina; Chile

James Laube Senior editor, Napa

Joined Wine Spectator in 1981. Tasting beat: California

Bruce Sanderson Senior editor, New York

Joined Wine Spectator in 1993. Tasting beats: Burgundy, Piedmont, Tuscany

James Molesworth Senior editor, New York

Joined Wine Spectator in 1997. Tasting beats: California Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Rhône Valley, Port

MaryAnn Worobiec Senior editor, Napa

Joined Wine Spectator in 1997. Tasting beats: California Sauvignon Blanc and other whites, Australia, New Zealand

Alison Napjus Senior editor and tasting director, New York

Joined Wine Spectator in 2000. Tasting beats: Italy, Champagne, Alsace

Tim Fish Senior editor, Napa

Joined Wine Spectator in 2001. Tasting beats: California Zinfandel and other reds, Oregon, Washington, U.S. sparkling wines

Gillian Sciaretta Associate editor, New York

Joined Wine Spectator in 2012. Tasting beats: France, Israel, Portugal, Spain

Aleks Zecevic Associate tasting coordinator, New York

Joined Wine Spectator in 2013. Tasting beats: Austria, Loire, Germany, South Africa

Wine Spectator's 100-Point Scale

95 - 100
Classic
80 - 84
Good
90 - 94
Outstanding
75 - 79
Mediocre
85 - 89
Very Good
50 - 74
Not Recommended