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October 9, 2019

A First Look at Our Editors’ Most Exciting New Wines

value pick of the week
Italy
Value Pick of the Week
castellare-di-castellinachianti-classico Label

CASTELLARE DI CASTELLINA

Chianti Classico 2017

94 points | $22 | 5,000 cases imported | Red

Tasting Note: A beam of pure cherry and blackberry fruit defines this intense, racy red, which is firm and tensile, with fine balance and a lingering aftertaste of vibrant fruit, graphite and tobacco flavors. Sangioveto and Canaiolo. Drink now through 2033. —B.S.

ABOUT THIS WINE: Castellare di Castellina's managing director and head enologist Alessandro Cellai takes a traditional approach for his range of Chianti Classicos. This 2017 is primarily Sangioveto, with some Canaiolo, aged seven months in neutral barriques and large oak casks and an additional seven months in bottle. Its bold fruit flavors and complexity belie the modest price, making it a terrific value.

Bruce Sanderson

California

Cabernet Sauvignon

value pick of the week
Italy
Value Pick of the Week
castellare-di-castellinachianti-classico Label

CASTELLARE DI CASTELLINA

Chianti Classico 2017

94 points | $22 | 5,000 cases imported | Red

Tasting Note: A beam of pure cherry and blackberry fruit defines this intense, racy red, which is firm and tensile, with fine balance and a lingering aftertaste of vibrant fruit, graphite and tobacco flavors. Sangioveto and Canaiolo. Drink now through 2033. —B.S.

ABOUT THIS WINE: Castellare di Castellina's managing director and head enologist Alessandro Cellai takes a traditional approach for his range of Chianti Classicos. This 2017 is primarily Sangioveto, with some Canaiolo, aged seven months in neutral barriques and large oak casks and an additional seven months in bottle. Its bold fruit flavors and complexity belie the modest price, making it a terrific value.

Bruce Sanderson
sojourncabernet-sauvignon-oakville-oakville-ranch-vineyard Label
sojourncabernet-sauvignon-oakville-oakville-ranch-vineyard Label
93 points | $125 | 150 cases made | Red

Broad and warm, with a loamy note underneath that allows steeped plum, cassis, menthol, anise and sagebrush accents to glide through at leisure. Shows a substantial structure, but this remains polished and thoroughly integrated, retaining a suave feel. Best from 2020 through 2030. —J.M.

ackermancabernet-sauvignon-coombsville Label
ackermancabernet-sauvignon-coombsville Label
92 points | $95 | 500 cases made | Red

Features a solid graphite spine running from start to finish, easily supporting the core of dense blueberry, black currant and blackberry puree flavors. Shows a dusting of tobacco and cocoa on the finish, with the fruit winning out easily. Rock-solid. Best from 2020 through 2030. —J.M.

cresta-veliacabernet-sauvignon-howell-mountain-eagle-summit-vineyard Label
cresta-veliacabernet-sauvignon-howell-mountain-eagle-summit-vineyard Label
92 points | $95 | 211 cases made | Red

Tarry and dense, featuring a core of black currant and fig fruit that mingles with licorice snap, bramble and tar notes. Shows rugged grip, melding steadily with the fruit and showing cut and drive on the muscular finish. Rock-solid. Best from 2021 through 2030. —J.M.

ridgecabernet-sauvignon-santa-cruz-mountains-estate Label
ridgecabernet-sauvignon-santa-cruz-mountains-estate Label
92 points | $65 | 5,900 cases made | Red

Reveals a singed cedar frame around a core of gently steeped plum and blackberry fruit, with notes of violet, bay leaf and charcoal filling in on the finish. Structured and toothy now, but should round into form soon enough, as the fruit is very vibrant. Best from 2021 through 2030. —J.M.

ruddcabernet-sauvignon-oakville-crossroads Label
ruddcabernet-sauvignon-oakville-crossroads Label
92 points | $80 | 620 cases made | Red

Warm and inviting, featuring plum sauce and blackberry puree flavors that swirl through, infused with gently singed alder, tobacco and sagebrush notes. Reveals an echo of loam through the persistent finish, with the fruit easily holding the upper hand. A textbook Oakville Cabernet. Best from 2020 through 2027. —J.M.

yao-familynapa-crest-napa-valley Label
yao-familynapa-crest-napa-valley Label
92 points | $52 | 1,800 cases made | Red

A dark and brawny style, with an alder and espresso frame around a core of dark currant, blackberry and fig paste flavors, all of which meld together slowly through the finish, which picks up a notable loam edge. For fans of the hefty style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2020 through 2030. —J.M.

France

White Burgundy

blain-gagnardmontrachet Label
blain-gagnardmontrachet Label
96 points | $800 | 10 cases imported | White

The white peach and citrus flavors are accented by floral, hazelnut, vanilla and butter notes in this enticing white. The texture is supple and rich, offset by vibrant acidity. Comes together on the expansive, mineral-tinged aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2029. —B.S.

pierre-yves-colin-moreymeursault-perrieres Label
pierre-yves-colin-moreymeursault-perrieres Label
96 points | $240 | 5 cases imported | White

A seductive white that draws you in with heady aromas of stone, butter, hazelnut and lemon. The intensity continues on the palate, where the mineral element and vivid acidity elevate the white peach, apple and baking spice notes. The texture borders on creamy, but maintains a mineral edge and cascades on the long aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2030. —B.S.

pierre-yves-colin-moreymeursault-charmes Label
pierre-yves-colin-moreymeursault-charmes Label
94 points | $195 | 12 cases imported | White

A lean, somewhat severe style, this holds the lemon, apple, clove, vanilla and toasty oak flavors close to the vest. Unfolds with some air and comes together on the finish. Hazelnut, vanilla and mineral accents grace the aftertaste. Be patient. Best from 2021 through 2028. —B.S.

pierre-yves-colin-moreyst-aubin-la-chateniere Label
pierre-yves-colin-moreyst-aubin-la-chateniere Label
94 points | $87 | 30 cases imported | White

A briny, seashore aroma gives way to lime blossom, white peach and apple notes, all backed by lively acidity. Balanced and supple, with fine cut extending the complex flavors on the aftertaste. Very compelling. Drink now through 2027. —B.S.

chateau-de-meursaultmeursault-charmes Label
chateau-de-meursaultmeursault-charmes Label
94 points | $180 | 50 cases imported | White

This is sleek and infused with lemon, white peach, vanilla and toasted brioche flavors. Harmonious in a linear, taut way, with excellent length and a complex, mineral-tinged aftertaste. Drink now through 2025. —B.S.

chateau-de-meursaultmeursault-perrieres Label
chateau-de-meursaultmeursault-perrieres Label
94 points | $150 | 60 cases imported | White

Lush, featuring floral, peach and butter flavors that are enmeshed in a textural wonderland. Shows fine balance, with the bright acidity driving a long finish of butterscotch and baking spice notes. Drink now through 2024. —B.S.

pierre-yves-colin-moreyst-aubin-en-remilly Label
pierre-yves-colin-moreyst-aubin-en-remilly Label
93 points | $87 | 30 cases imported | White

Lime blossom and citronella aromas and flavors highlight this elegant, racy, persistent white. This doesn't have much flesh on its bones, but offers a strong mineral element and vanilla notes on the lingering aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2025. —B.S.

philippe-colinst-aubin-les-combes Label
philippe-colinst-aubin-les-combes Label
93 points | $65 | 50 cases imported | White

A sleek, supple white, with a velvety texture complementing the white peach, lemon tart, pastry and vanilla flavors. Harmonious and long, this ends with subtle, woody tannins and toast and spice elements. Fine intensity. Drink now through 2025. —B.S.

chateau-de-meursaultmeursault-les-charmes-dessus Label
chateau-de-meursaultmeursault-les-charmes-dessus Label
93 points | $180 | 20 cases imported | White

The creamy texture and oyster shell aromas and flavors set the pace here, along with peach, lemon, vanilla, butter and spice notes. Well-balanced, with a lingering finish of butter and spice. Drink now through 2025. —B.S.

France

Côte-Rôtie

julien-bargecote-rotie-cote-blonde Label
julien-bargecote-rotie-cote-blonde Label
96 points | $95 | 50 cases imported | Red

This is tightly packed, offering pure cassis, damson plum and bitter cherry fruit, inlaid with singed alder, tea and olive notes. The long finish features a piercing iron spine that runs throughout and imparts a very precise feel. Best from 2022 through 2040. —J.M.

julien-bargecote-rotie-cote-brune Label
julien-bargecote-rotie-cote-brune Label
96 points | $95 | 60 cases imported | Red

Still youthfully coiled up, with a core of pure cassis, cherry and plum fruit waiting in reserve, while singed alder, incense, bergamot tea and iron notes cruise through. The finish displays tightly drawn curtains of grip for now. Should be a stunner when it opens fully. Syrah and Viognier. Best from 2022 through 2040. —J.M.

maison-les-alexandrinscote-rotie Label
maison-les-alexandrinscote-rotie Label
94 points | $89 | 30 cases imported | Red

This sports a slightly brawny edge, with steeped black currant and dark plum compote notes, infused liberally with bay leaf, savory and tobacco details and picking up pepper, singed alder and warm cast iron accents on the finish. Shows lots of range and character. Best from 2022 through 2038. —J.M.

gilles-bargecote-rotie-cuvee-du-plessy Label
gilles-bargecote-rotie-cuvee-du-plessy Label
94 points | $75 | 100 cases imported | Red

A streamlined, sanguine style, with singed rooibos tea, red currant and raspberry coulis notes, all carried by fine-grained tannins. Mesquite, iron and white pepper flashes on the finish add range and detail. Best from 2022 through 2038. —J.M.

louis-cherry-barruolcote-rotie-la-boisselee Label
louis-cherry-barruolcote-rotie-la-boisselee Label
94 points | $80 | 125 cases imported | Red

Really solid, offering a core of well-steeped blackberry and plum fruit, wrapped in alder, bay leaf, olive and warm cast iron notes. Grippy but energetic, with great cut through the finish as the fruit and other elements meld. Best from 2022 through 2036. —J.M.

louis-cherry-barruolcote-rotie-les-roses Label
louis-cherry-barruolcote-rotie-les-roses Label
94 points | $88 | 75 cases imported | Red

Alluring, with smoldering black tea and singed bay leaf notes leading off, followed by a core of lush blackberry and black currant compote flavors. Nicely grounded, showing a graphite spine through the finish. Built for cellaring. Best from 2022 through 2036. —J.M.

st-cosmecote-rotie Label
st-cosmecote-rotie Label
94 points | $86 | 230 cases imported | Red

Dark and winey, with olive- and bay leaf–laced grip running underneath a core of steeped black currant and blackberry pâte de fruit notes. Singed mesquite hints swirl through the finish. Best from 2022 through 2038. —J.M.

delascote-rotie-seigneur-de-maugiron Label
delascote-rotie-seigneur-de-maugiron Label
93 points | $112 | 50 cases imported | Red

Well-packed, with red and black currant compote, dried bay leaf, singed mesquite and sanguine notes, all running through an iron-tinged finish. Solid grip. Best from 2022 through 2038. —J.M.

Italy

Chianti Classico

barone-ricasolichianti-classico-roncicone-gran-selezione Label
barone-ricasolichianti-classico-roncicone-gran-selezione Label
95 points | $85 | 675 cases imported | Red

Beginning to develop some leather and woodsy aromas and flavors, this supple red also evokes fresh cherry, plum, iron and tar flavors. Big and brooding by the time it plays out on the lengthy finish, this stays bright and balanced overall. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

cecchichianti-classico-valore-di-famiglia-gran-selezione Label
cecchichianti-classico-valore-di-famiglia-gran-selezione Label
95 points | $65 | 500 cases imported | Red

A tightly wound version, this offers an expressive cherry aroma, followed by cherry, plum, earth and tobacco notes that intermingle with the vibrant acidity. Firms up in the end, yet delivers loads of energy and a long finish. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

il-molino-di-gracechianti-classico-riserva Label
il-molino-di-gracechianti-classico-riserva Label
95 points | $33 | 350 cases imported | Red

A sheen of vanilla and toasty oak complements the lush, ripe black cherry and plum fruit in this suave Chianti Classico. Focused and well-structured, showing fine balance and a long finish that brings tobacco and orange peel hints into play. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

rocca-delle-maciechianti-classico-sergioveto-riserva Label
rocca-delle-maciechianti-classico-sergioveto-riserva Label
95 points | $53 | 300 cases imported | Red

A wonderful expression of Sangiovese, featuring a core of cherry flavors allied to leather, iron, sandalwood and tobacco notes. Shows sweetness midpalate, backed by a muscular structure. Fine length. Best from 2021 through 2035. —B.S.

casa-emmachianti-classico-gran-selezione Label
casa-emmachianti-classico-gran-selezione Label
94 points | $49 | 410 cases imported | Red

A dose of new oak and pipe tobacco marks the aroma here, backed by flavors of black cherry, plum and iron. Firm and compact on the finish, with a lingering essence of woodsy, tobacco and spice elements. There's a lot going on here, but this needs time. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

istinechianti-classico-levigne-riserva Label
istinechianti-classico-levigne-riserva Label
94 points | $53 | 100 cases imported | Red

This is broad, rich and powerful, with saturated cherry and black currant flavors embedded into the dense structure. Very harmonious despite its youthful exuberance, finishing long and mouthwatering. Mineral and earth details emerge in the end. Best from 2021 through 2040. —B.S.

istinechianti-classico-vigna-istine Label
istinechianti-classico-vigna-istine Label
94 points | $45 | 200 cases imported | Red

Pure and elegant, with cherry, currant and violet notes fused to a backbone of acidity and tannins. Shows fine balance, as a lingering aftertaste of fruit, graphite and underbrush completes the profile. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.

castelli-del-grevepesachianti-classico-clemente-vii-riserva Label
castelli-del-grevepesachianti-classico-clemente-vii-riserva Label
93 points | $35 | 2,500 cases imported | Red

This is rich and lushly textured, featuring black cherry, plum, violet and earth flavors that mesh nicely with the fluid profile. The tannins are refined and find a balance with the fresh acidity and bright fruit. Fine length. Best from 2021 through 2027. —B.S.

villa-a-sestachianti-classico-riserva Label
villa-a-sestachianti-classico-riserva Label
93 points | $20 | 600 cases imported | Red

A distinctive lavender aroma leads off, segueing into cherry, raspberry, violet and mineral flavors. Though solidly built and a bit austere now, this red shows purity and overall balance. Fine length. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2022 through 2038. —B.S.

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.

taylor-fladgatevintage-port-vargellas-vinha-velha Label
taylor-fladgatevintage-port-vargellas-vinha-velha Label
98 points | $275 | 40 cases imported | Dessert

Zesty and wild in feel, with a broad range of steeped loganberry, plum, red currant, açaí berry and fig flavors all playing out atop mouthwatering bramble and anise notes. A strong woodsy spine cuts through and drives the finish, which picks up tar and chai spice accents before ending on the drier side. Distinctive. Best from 2035 through 2060. From Portugal. —J.M.

moet-chandonbrut-rose-champagne-dom-perignon Label
moet-chandonbrut-rose-champagne-dom-perignon Label
96 points | $395 | Sparkling

This graceful 2006 shows lovely freshness, featuring a pronounced note of pink grapefruit granita layered with finely detailed accents of toasted nut, lemon thyme, smoky mineral and crystallized honey. Plushly creamy in texture, with a steely streak of acidity well-knit throughout and firming the lasting, spiced finish. Drink now through 2029. From France. —A.N.

bodega-catena-zapatamalbec-mendoza-adrianna-vineyard-fortuna-terrae Label
bodega-catena-zapatamalbec-mendoza-adrianna-vineyard-fortuna-terrae Label
95 points | $140 | 550 cases made | Red

Well-crafted and pure-tasting, with intense, mineral-infused flavors of raspberry, red currant and dried cherry, supported by fresh acidity. The lively finish reverberates with crushed stone and spice notes. Best from 2020 through 2025. From Argentina. —K.M.

ABOUT THIS WINE: Made by the influential Catena family, this wine is not the big, strapping style of Malbec that helped bring Argentina onto the world stage, but instead is a very refined version that is reflective of both its site and the diversity that Argentina can offer. The Adrianna Vineyard is one of the highest in Mendoza, at about 5,500 feet in elevation. The alluvial loamy soil is rich with limestone, which helps to promote the structure in the wine. It was barrel-fermented with native yeasts in a mix of 225-liter and 500-liter containers and then barrel-aged for 24 months.—Kim Marcus

aldo-conternobarolo-colonnello Label
aldo-conternobarolo-colonnello Label
95 points | $175 | 62 cases imported | Red

Alluring aromas of black currant, cherry, licorice and mint are set against a backdrop of vanilla and toasty oak notes in this red. Ripe cherry and plum flavors ply the middle as this plays out on the long, fruit- and spice-filled aftertaste. Best from 2023 through 2043. From Italy. —B.S.

ABOUT THIS WINE: Giacomo Conterno walked the parcels in his family’s Bussia vineyards just before the harvest in October 2015. The berries at the top of the hill tasted very sweet, but he was concerned about keeping the necessary acidity to have the kind of tension Nebbiolo gives. "In the end, the grapes were healthy, but we decided not to harvest certain parcels that were in some cases a little too ripe," he said after the fact. Colonnello, which has sandy, magnesium-rich soils, was picked about five days earlier, as opposed to the usual two to three days, than Cicala and Romirasco, whose limestone and clay soils delay the ripening process.—Bruce Sanderson

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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

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, Portugal

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
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