Heavyhitters = 95+ Rated Wines

Washington:

2013 Avennia 'Arnaut' Bouchey Vineyard Syrah- This amazing Syrah was aged 16 months in 15% new French oak prior to bottling. The wine begins with aromas of white pepper, smoked pork shoulder, wild blackberry and mocha. There are flavors of blackberry pie, mocha,  and black cherry with suggestions of roasted dates. Massive, masculine and tannic right now, this will age gracefully for at least another decade. This is every bit as good as the absolutely exceptional 2012. Give this at least an hour decant before enjoying. Drink 2017-2028- 95

2009 Cayuse 'God Only Knows Vineyard' Grenache- This Grenache was sourced from the Armada vineyard and was cropped at a mere 1.5 tons per acre. This is one of the most memorable wines that I have sampled in the past year. This expressive Grenache wine opens bright and intense aromas of red cherry, red raspberry, lavender and blood orange with wet gravel. Flavors of pink bubble gum, crushed wet rock, red cherry, red raspberry and sea salt. This is intense and incredible wine that is out of this world delicious. Words make it nearly impossible to express the level of complexity and intensity to the wine. Drink 2016-2028- 99

2012 Cayuse 'God Only Knows' Grenache- The 2012 Cayuse 'God Only Knows' Grenache is an ethereal wine by this estate. This incredible wine has a classic Walla Walla stony nose. There are deep aromatics of sage, rose petals, crushed wet rock, lavender, red cherry, red raspberry and blood orange. The range of flavors at play is tremendous. In the glass there are slow developing enticing flavors of red raspberry, Umami, Shitake mushroom, crushed wet rock, boysenberry, pomegranate seed and crushed white wildflowers. This Grenache becomes even more rich and aromatically present following a two hour decant. The minute long finish is astonishing, while the structure of the wine makes it nearly impossible to resist. Simply put, this is nothing short of a scintillating release by Christophe Baron that shows incredible tension, minerality and richness in this near perfect vintage. Drink 2016-2030- 99

2010 Cayuse 'Widowmaker' Cabernet- The 2010 'Widowmaker' is a massive bottling by Cayuse that is sourced from their En Chamberlin Vineyard. Incorporating both masculine and feminine edges, the 'Widowmaker' begins with aromas of black truffle, blackberry jam, Turkish coffee and crushed wildflowers. The aromatics show incredible range. This leads to flavors of blackberry cobbler, anise, smoked meats, pipe tobacco, gravel and mocha. Absolutely gorgeous and stunning wine, with a seamless texture and a one minute long finish. Lovely weight, with a huge influence from the stones. A vibrant style of Cabernet that is unlike anything in the state.Drink 2016-2028- 96

2011 Cayuse 'Armada Vineyard' Syrah- The 2011 Arnada Vineyard Syrah is showing beautifully right now and is hitting its sweet spot. This wine has a hugely smoky nose with aromas of smoked meats, ash, blood orange, dried sage, red currant and red cherry. The flavors of red raspberry red cherry lavender crushed wild flowers and incredible minerality gorgeous wine. Very intense for this cold vintage. Representative of feminine and elegant Syrah that is one of a kind. Drink 2016-2026- 97

2013 Cayuse 'En Chamberlin Vineyard' Syrah- The 2013 Cayuse 'En Chamberlin Vineyard' Syrah is a true heavyhitter artfully crafted by superstar winemaker Christophe Baron. Displaying an intense aromatic profile of seaweed, Umami, horse manure, wet gravel and wild blackberry, the intoxicating bouquet brings you back to the glass for more. There are ripe flavors of smoked pork shoulder, Umami, black olive, boysenberry pie, smoked brisket and light suggestions of coffee grounds. The texture of this wine borders ethereal, as this is translucent, yet fat on the mid-palate. What is so compelling is this level of minerality and poise has been captured despite the heat of the vintage. Leave it to Baron to create this magical Syrah. Drink 2016-2026- 97

2013 Cayuse 'Impulsivo' Tempranillo- One of my favorite wines of this tasting at Cayuse was the gorgeous 2013 'Impulsivo' Tempranillo which is the best of its kind in Washington. The 2013' Impulsivo' is made from Tempranillo that is sourced from the En Chamberlin Vineyard. The wine begins intense with aromas of wet stone, blackberry cobbler, Umami, and red raspberry with forest floor. There are vibrant flavors of blackberry, smoked meats, Umami and crushed gravel with green olive and a saline streak. This has incredible minerality and balance. I can see this heavyhitter of a wine pairing exceptionally well with a range of foods. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2013 Cayuse 'Cailloux Vineyard' Syrah- Another scintillating release from the Cayuse portfolio is their 2013 'Cailloux Vineyard' Syrah. This incredible Syrah was co-fermented with 5% Viognier and shows the true stony character of the region. The Syrah opens with hugely intense aromatics of mint, black olive, blackberry, black cherry and creosote. There are decadent flavors of smoked meats, black olive, Umami and lithe minerality. This translucent Syrah wine has a lovely dense mouthfeel and texture and a long and lingering finish that sits alongside moderate tannins.Drink 2017-2028- 95

2006 Col Solare- The 2006 Col Solare is a gorgeous wine made of 72% Cabernet, 19% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Syrah. Perfumed nose of prune, black cherry, green olive and cassis. Velvety mouthfeel with minimal tannic structure. Hard to believe this wine is almost 10 years old given the vibrant acid backbone. Persistent Flavors of boysenberry, mocha, vanilla and a 30 second finish. A truly remarkable wine that still has a bright future. (Drink 2012-2025- 95

2007 Col Solare- This is a blend of 75% Cabernet with 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Unbelievably rich aromatics of this wine with cassis, blackberry and black truffle. Velvety mouthfeel with delicious flavors that beg for another glass. Aromas and flavors of raspberry ganache, blackberry, mocha and graphite resonate through the wine. Reminds me of some great Left Bank Bordeaux from the '09 vintage. Superlative wine will drink well into the next decade. (Best 2015-2030)- 95

2014 Col Solare Red Wine- This gorgeous wine is up there with some of the best Col Solare releases that I have sampled in the past 20 years. This intense, massive and brooding deep-hued wine is a classic effort by the superstar winemaking team of winemaker Darel Allwine and assistant winemaker Will Wiles at Col Solare. Dense, firm and masculine, this monster of a wine awakens with aromatics of black tea, sandalwood, black cherry, creme de cassis and Turkish coffee. The nose reminds me of the incredible 2013 bottling. There are decadent flavors of black tea, black olive, mocha, allspice and suggestions of dark chocolate shavings. Polished, smooth and absolutely scintillating, this is another stunner by Col Solare and their superstar winemaking team. Give this at least a two hour decant before enjoying. Drink 2018-2033- 95

2013 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc- This wine is a blend of 65% Sav Blanc and 35% Semillon. Nose has lemongrass with cantaloupe and mushroom, forest floor as well. Palate has bright acidity with Meyer lemon, cantaloupe, lemon lime flavors and incredible balance. Finish lingers. Drink 2014-2025. -95

 

2014 DeLille 'Red Willow Vineyard' Malbec- A brooding, dark color coats the glass to this intense and unctuous Malbec wine. This inky colored wine opens with aromatics of dark chocolate, roasted figs, black cherry and black tea. This leads to flavors of black tea, mocha, anise, creme de cassis, black olive and blackberry cobbler. Intense, layered and rich, this needs another year for fruit and aromatic amalgamation. Drink 2018-2030- 95

2014 DeLille 'Quintessence Vineyard' Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon- Made from 68% Malbec with the rest Cabernet, this is one of the most exceptional bottling of its kind that I have sampled in the past few years. The Malbec dominant wine opens with aromas of violets, black cherry, anise, creme de cassis and graphite with milk chocolate. The palate is plush, displaying ripe flavors of black tea, blackberry jam, mocha, anise, creme de cassis and sagebrush. Layered, massive and deep, this is a decadent treat. Try to give this another year for everything to soften and come together. Drink 2018-2030- 95

2014 DeLille 'Four Flags' Cabernet- This gorgeous wine is a blend of 42% Grand Ciel, 31% Upchurch, 19% Ciel du Cheval and 8% Klipsun. The intense and brooding Cabernet wine begins with ripe aromatics of sagebrush, black tea, red bell pepper and mint with milk chocolate. There are rich flavors of black tea, anise, creme de cassis, red bell pepper, sagebrush and coffee grounds. This shows wonderful range, persistence and poise. The wine is drinking beautifully right now but will cellar for 15 plus years. Try to resist this exceptional Cabernet for another year. If enjoying young, give this at least a one hour decant. Drink 2018-2033- 95

2014 DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc- Year after year this is one of the best, if not the best, Bordeaux style White out of Washingon state. Composed of 75% Sav Blanc and 25% Semillon. The wine was aged in oak, 70% new for 5-6 months. Beautiful nose of starfruit, lemon rind and baked apple. Rich mouthfeel with vanilla, pear, red delicious apple, starfruit and a 30 second long finish. This is very bit outstanding and up there with the 2008 and 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc as the best Chaleur Estate Blancs I’ve ever tried. Drink 2015-2022. -95

2012 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Rouge- Red cherry and red currant with oak in the nose. Palate has ripe layers of red cherry, cherry tomato, blackberry and anise. This is incredible juice now and can benefit from 2-5 years of cellaring. Drink 2017-2030. -95

2013 DeLille 'Four Flags' Cabernet- The 2013 DeLille Cellars 'Four Flags' Cabernet follows up the highly impressive 2012 bottling. This wine begins with intense aromatics of black tea, Asian spices, dark chocolate and Turkish coffee grounds. The wine has rich flavors of mocha, blackberry cobbler, anise and creme de cassis with suggestions of black olive and creosote. This is memorable wine that will have a long life. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2013 DeLille 'Harrison Hill' Cabernet- The 2013 'Harrison Hill' Cabernet from DeLille is a stunner that will reward the patient drinker. The wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet, 25% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. This has aromatics of baking spices, mocha, coffee grounds and sagebrush. This leads to flavors of blackberry compote, loganberry preserves, mocha and leather. Lovely viscosity and minerality to this esteemed bottling. This is a polished, dense and layered treat that shows that DeLille's winemaking team are on top of their game. Try to resist this for at least another year. Drink 2017-2031- 95

2013 Delmas Syrah- The wine is a blend of 91.9% Syrah and 8.1% Viognier from SJR Vineyard in the rocks region of Walla Walla. This was aged 14 months in French oak (65% new), prior to bottling. This compelling wine opens with aromas of wet stone, smoked meats, creosote and oak. There are rich flavors of milk chocolate, blackberry, cedar and smoked pork shoulder. This is mineral driven and is special wine made in this hot vintage. Aerate this for an hour before enjoying. Drink 2015-2025- 95

2014 Delmas Syrah- Following up the gorgeous 2013 bottling, the 2014 Delmas Syrah is cut from a similar thread. The new release Delmas wine is a blend of 91.7% Syrah and 8.3% Viognier that was sourced from the esteemed SJR Vineyard. Having visited the SJR Vineyard on several occasions, I have witnessed firsthand the incredible attention to detail that goes into creating this exceptional wine. Proprietor Steve Robertson is constantly in the vineyard, as the highly specialized vineyard management clearly translates to the novel, Walla Walla Rocks expression in the bottle. The Syrah wine is made by superstar winemaker Billo Naravane and sat 14 months in 60% new French oak prior to bottling. The aromatics of this wine are entirely intoxicating as you are constantly drawn back to the glass for more. There is a bouquet of black truffle oil, cran-orange, forest floor, red cherry, Umami and red raspberry. The wine has deep flavors of black cherry, black truffle, cherry pie, Umami, and tamarind. Similar to his Rasa bottlings, you can truly feel Billo Naravane's skill in crafting his signature texture, viscosity and mouthfeel to this wine. The intensity of this wine is tremendous, and while this wine can be cellared for a decade or more, the Rocks District Syrah is absolutely impossible to resist right now. Only 150 cases made of this special Syrah bottling. Drink 2016-2027- 96

2013 Doubleback Cabernet- The Cabernet is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. They chose to source from a host of Walla Walla vineyards including McQueen, Bob Healy, LeFore, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Waliser. Winemaker Josh McDaniels aged this in 75% new French oak and 25% second fill French oak barrels for 22 months. This decadent bottling has dense aromas of red currant, sandalwood, blackberry compote, mocha and roasted figs. This leads to rich flavors of graphite, dill, blackberry cobbler, anise and spicebox with moderate tannins. This really needs another two plus years of bottle age. A slumbering giant right now. Drink 2018-2035- 95

2007 Dunham Cellars Cabernet- This was taken from a 3 liter bottle. Perfumed nose of black tea, black currant and black cherry. Deep, dark hue creates this sense wine filled with blackberry, black olive, black cherry, anise and mocha. This is every bit outstanding. Drink 2015-2025. -95

2014 Dunham Cellars Late Harvest Lewis Vineyard Riesling-Aged in stainless steel, the wine was released in May 2015 and weighs in at only 7% alcohol. This has lovely aromas of orange marmalade, Lemoncello, and jasmine in this compelling nose. This wine has 30% residual sugar and there is wonderful richness and balance. There are ripe aromas of pineapple, golden delicious apple, white raisin and creme brûlée. This is ripe, concentrated and delicious. Drink 2015-2030- 95

2012 Dunham Cellars 'Lewis Vineyard Artist Series' Syrah- The wine has a deep core and opens with intense aromatics of black cherry, blackberry cobbler, smoked pork shoulder and anise. There are flavors of black cherry, smoked pork shoulder, tar, blackberry pie and black olive. This has a hedonistic edge with the rich black fruits and ripe texture. The minute long finish accentuates this incredible deep Syrah. Drink 2016-2029- 95

2013 Figgins Red Wine- The 2013 Figgins Estate Red Wine is a proprietary blend that tastes like it has slightly more Cabernet blended in than the other varietals (Petit Verdot and Merlot). Head winemaker Chris Figgins chooses the blending based on what varietal he enjoys the most each year. Sourced from the Figgins Estate vineyard, which is a high elevation vineyard set at 1700 feet, the wine has beautiful aromatics of green olive, dried sage and black cherry with black olive. There are rich and intoxicating flavors of black cherry, creme de cassis, anise, blueberry compote and coffee grounds. The rich and polished mouthfeel is just exceptional. The wine has a bright minerality and a texture that borders ethereal. This to me represents the best Figgins Estate Red Wine that I have sampled. The fruit weight and acidity suggests this will be a very long ager. Drink 2016-2033- 95

2014 Force Majeure 'Epinette' Red Wine- (Release August 2017). This is their take on a right bank Bordeaux. The wine is a blend of 58% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet and 5% Petit Verdot that was aged 22 months in 80% new French oak. The wine begins with aromatics of creme de cassis, anise, sagebrush, sandalwood and mocha. There are flavors of anise, creme de cassis, wild blackberry cobbler, green olive, mocha that sit alongside moderate to major tannins. This has a gorgeous texture and marvelous fruit weight.  After two plus hours of decanting this becomes even more massive, displaying a deeper, more muscular concentration with incredible viscosity. The range of flavors and aromatics are there, with the dense fruit weight that gives this a beautiful comparison to a top right bank Bordeaux. Kudos to head winemaker Todd Alexander on this excellent Merlot dominant wine. Drink 2017-2030- 95

2014 Force Majeure Cabernet Sauvignon- (Release Aug 2017). It has been highly impressive to see how this estate has performed following the hire of head winemaker Todd Alexander from Napa's Bryant Family Vineyards. Todd's hand is clearly in the glass. This hedonistic Cabernet wine is composed of 93% Cabernet with 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. Todd Alexander saw the blending as adding to the aromatics of this wine. This Cabernet wine opens with aromas of creme de cassis, creosote,  mocha, eucalyptus and black cherry. This leads to hedonistic flavors of mocha, black cherry, anise, creme de cassis, eucalyptus and coffee grounds with a hint of white pepper that sit alongside some moderate to major tannins. This Cabernet has tremendous weight and viscosity as this massive wine improves considerably following a two hour decant. The tension of this wine is impressive considering the vintage. This decadent wine really needs at least another year of bottle age for these deep tannins to settle and for more dark fruit profiles to fully integrate. These two amazing Bordeaux varietal releases by Todd Alexander have now made their full-throttle, red carpet entrance to the high end of the Washington wine scene. Drink 2017-2030- 95

2013 Gramercy Cellars 'John Lewis Reserve' Syrah- This wine opens with aromatics reminiscent of white pepper, anise, wild blackberry and green bell pepper. There are flavors of creosote, blackberry pie, black olive, pipe tobacco, spice cake and sandalwood and wet gravel that mingle with brisk minerality. The smoothness mid-palate and structure are absolutely gorgeous. Seamless and precise, this 'wow factor' Syrah is one for the cellar. Try to hold off drinking this beauty for one more year. Drink 2017-2028- 95

2012 Horsepower ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ Grenache- This wine comes from the esteemed ‘Sur Echalas Vineyard’ which has the highest density planting in the Walla Walla Valley. This is the second release of this wine. There are incredibly rich aromas of smoke, wet stone, tarragon, lavender and Bing cherry. The intense aromatics make you want to smell this wine for days. This leads to lush flavors of raspberry, cherry cola, essence of lavender, Mandarin orange rind and a wonderful effervescence. This is an incredible and memorable wine. The palate just glides and the finish lingers. Christophe Baron is on top of his A game. Drink 2015-2030- 97

2012 Horsepower ‘The Tribe Vineyard’ Syrah- Vigneron Christophe Baron first sourced from 'The Tribe' vineyard in 2011, set in the stones of Milton-Freewater, Oregon. The vineyard is a small, 3 acre Syrah vineyard, is planted one vine per stake and has very tight spacing at 3.5 feet by 3.5 feet. This hugely compelling new release opens with aromas of wet stone, ash, green olive, white pepper and smoked meats with blackberry preserves. There is an incredible melange of aromatics at play. Dense flavors of blueberry preserves, blackberry compote, smoked meats, Unami and black truffle oil. Intense and outrageously delicious. Lithe and unparalleled minerality for the varietal. Drink 2016-2028- 98

2013 La Rata Red Wine- This absolutely incredible bottling follows up the amazing ’12 La Rata Red Wine. The wine is made by Elizabeth Bourcier, Cayuse’s assistant vigneronne, who was first inspired by Clos Erasmus wines and wanted to combine Armada Vineyard Grenache with En Cerise Vineyard Cabernet. The resultant 60% Grenache and 40% Cabernet red blend is a stunner. As the wine slowly develops in the glass, it begins to release dense aromatics of wet stone, red cherry, smoke with red raspberry with rose petal accents. The aromatics are intense and bring you back to the glass for more. There are ripe aromas of cherry cola, wet stone, red raspberry, orange rind and lavender. The wine possesses a gorgeous minerality and balance. The novelty of this wine is apparent as there is really nothing like this in Washington. The texture is voluptuous as this it is impossible to resist this intense wine.  Drink 2016-2028- 95

2006 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet-This is an incredibly complex wine. Nose has mocha, anise and cassis wih oak. Palate has intense layers that open up after an hour of decanting. Black cherry, black olive, blackberry, creme de cassis and mocha. Absolutely a stunner. Rich, smooth and seamless.  Drink 2014-2028-96

2006 Leonetti Cellar Merlot- This wine has rounded out since being released in 2008. The grapes were chosen from the Seven Hills, Loess, Mill Creek, Upland. Pepper Bridge, as well as Bacchus-Dionysus and Wallula, both located in the Columbia Valley. It is a blend of 76% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Carmenere and 4% Petit Verdot, having the highest percentage of Carmenere that I have seen for this wine. This vintage was characterized by an early bud break and a hot summer which led to ripe fruit. The wine opens with aromas of milk chocolate, Turkish coffee, sagebrush and black cherry. This leads to rich flavors of black cherry, anise, sage, blackberry and mocha. There is a silky mouthfeel and wonderful viscosity, despite the wine being nearly 10 years old. This is drinking beautifully, one of the best of its kind. 2,723 cases of this delicious wine made. Drink 2015-2025- 96

2009 Leonetti Cellar Merlot- The 2009 Leonetti Cellar Merlot has been cellared for more than five years. At this juncture it is drinking stupendously. Superstar winemaker Chris Figgins has blended in a small amount of Cabernet, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, which adds to the structure and layers. Improving following a one hour decant, the wine yields decadent aromatics of black tea, Asian spices, black cherry cough syrup and blackberry pie. Lithe, dense and haing a plush mouthfeel there are gorgeous flavors of black cherry, roasted figs, dark chocolate shavings and suggestions of Chinese black tea. This wine glides through the mid-palate and has a structure that makes me think that it still has a long life ahead of it. Considering how it is showing now, it is nearly impossible to resist. Kudos to another heavyhitter by Chris Figgins. Drink 2017-2027- 95

2012 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet- This delightful blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot comes from the Seven Hills vineyard, the Loess vineyard, Mill Creek vineyard, Upland vineyard and Leonetti Old Block. It saw 22 months in new and once used French oak barrels. The winemaking director Chris Figgins, says this wine reminds him of the 2008 Cabernet. In the glass the wine explodes with ripe flavors of Turkish coffee, cassis, black olive and black cherry. On the palate there are flavors of anise, crème de cassis, blackberry with a moderate tannin structure. This possesses a wonderful mouthfeel with a rich, seamless texture as it glides on with a long finish. A truly memorable wine, as this is approachable in its youth but will continue to evolve beautifully for many years. Drink 2016-2035- 95

2013 Leonetti Cellar Merlot -This wine comes from Loess vineyard, Mill Creek vineyard, Upland vineyard, as well as Leonetti Old Block vineyard. The resultant wine is a blend of 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, with a higher percentage of Cab Franc than I have ever seen being used for this blend, as Cab Franc was most recently used in this blend from 2001-2003 and then in 2009. The wine saw 15 months in new and once filled French oak. The nose begins with aromas of black cherry, prune, cassis, and dill with lightly herbaceous aromatics. The palate has silky texture and wonderful weight. There are flavors of blackberry, red cherry, dill and black plum in this tremendous effort. This serious juice is hard to resist now.  Drink 2015-2030- 95

2013 Leonetti Cellar 'Reserve' Red Wine- The Leonetti 'Reserve' Red Wine is the most exceptional bottling out of the new impressive Leonetti lineup. The wine is a blend of 81% Cabernet with 11% Petit Verdot and 8% Merlot that sat 22 months in new and French oak prior to bottling.  The wine has a massive, deep core and possesses some absolutely intoxicating aromatics. This incredible wine begins with aromas of creme de cassis, anise, dark chocolate and black cherry with black olive. There are deep flavors of black cherry, black olive, black tea, mocha and blueberry pie. The mouthfeel and texture of this gorgeous wine is absolutely exceptional. Moderately tannic at this time, try to give this impossible to resist wine at least two more years in the bottle to fully develop. Kudos to head winemaker Chris Figgins in crafting this scintillating new release wine.  Drink 2018-2037- 97

2013 Leonetti Cellar Cabernet -The 2013 Leonetti Cabernet is another heavyhitter of a wine from this estate. Tightly wound and extremely firm at this juncture, the Cabernet is a blend of Seven Hills, Loess, Mill Creek Upland, Serra Pedace and Leonetti Old Block vineyards. The wine was aged 22 months in new and used French oak prior to bottling. Superstar winemaker Chris Figgins has crafted a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec. Possessing an ultra deep core, this wine opens with aromatics of roasted figs, black cherry, toffee, black tea and blackberry jam. There are flavors of black cherry, blackberry jam, blueberry compote, black tea, and creme de cassis.  Moderately tannic, this massive wine needs at least two years to develop. Drink 2018-2035- 95

2014 Leonetti Cellar Merlot - The 2014 Leonetti Merlot is a gorgeous follow-up to the absolutely scintillating 2013 Merlot bottling. Masculine and brooding, this exceptional Merlot wine has 6% Cabernet Franc blended in. Possessing an ultra deep core, the wine was sourced from the Loess and Mill Creek Upland vineyards and then was aged 15 months in new and once used French oak prior to bottling. The wine opens with aromas of milk chocolate, black cherry, wild blackberry and roasted figs. The wine has deep flavors of black cherry, milk chocolate, blackberry cobbler, anise, creme de cassis, coffee grounds and hints of wintergreen. This can benefit from at least another year in the cellar, as the fruit needs a bit more time to fully integrate.  Drink 2017-2032- 95

2012 Long Shadows Sequel-Smoky nose with cassis and is extremely perfumed. Palate is fat and viscous. Bacon fat, tar, blueberry, blackberry and a finish lingers for seemingly minutes. Open and expressive but this is a long ager. Drink 2015-2025 -95

2011 Long Shadows Poet's Leap- This impressive bottling has had three years in the bottle. There are wonderfully rich aromas of mushroom, red delicious apple and pear. Vibrant and mineral driven wine with a lovely mouthfeel. This leads to flavors of green apple, lemon/lime, ripe pear and grapefruit. Impressive interplay between sweet and sour. This is the best WA Kabinette style Riesling out there and the best Poet's Leap yet. Drink 2015-2024. -95

2013 Long Shadows 'Feather' - Randy Dunn crafts this 100% Cabernet wine. This is his best effort in 10 years of trying this wine. The Cabernet begins with aromas of red bell pepper, red raspberry and red cherry. Absolutely amazing richness and depth with mouthwatering acidity. Layered flavors of anise, creme de cassis, red bell pepper and a long and persistent finish. Absolutely decadent and needs a lot of time. Drink 2017-2035- 96

2013 Long Shadows 'Pedestal'- Michel Rolland, Pomerol vintner and consultant to many of the world's top wineries,produces this fantastic Merlot wine. Comprised of 75% Merlot with the remainder Malbec and Petite Verdot, this is the smallest portion of Merlot ever used for the wine. The Merlot has aromas of black cherry, black olive and anise. There are rich and dense flavors of Turkish coffee, anise, black cherry and graphite. Absolutely intense and outstanding effort, with an herbaceous character. These guys are absolutely on top of their game, as this is one to sip and savor. . . in at least a year. Drink 2017-2030- 95

2010 No Girls ‘La Paciencia Vineyard’ Grenache- The La Paciencia (patience) vineyard vines are tightly spaced and planted on an angle. Originally planted between 2003 and 2005, near the Armada vineyard, the first few vintages of grapes from this vineyard were declassified. This cool vintage wine opens with prototypical Walla Walla rocks aromas of wet stone, mushroom, lavender and orange peel. There are flavors of red raspberry garrigue, Bing cherry, cran-orange and provencale herbs. This mineral driven wine has exquisite texture and a finish that lingers. This is drinking in its sweet spot. Drink 2015-2028-  95

2012 No Girls ‘La Paciencia Vineyard’ Syrah- The 2012 No Girls 'La Paciencia Vineyard' Syrahis another gorgeous effort by vigneron Christophe Baron. This expressive bottling begins with highly intense aromas of barnyard, green olive, anise, cigar box and smoke with blackberry jam. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry cobbler, prune, and smoked meats persist and wonderfully coat the palate. Gorgeous texture and richness. This has a plush mouthfeel with incredible intensity. The Syrah arouses the senses and has tremendous aging potential. Drink 2016-2027- 95

2002 Quilceda Creek Cabernet- Rich nose with rose petals, red cherry and cassis. Palate is rich with good concentration considering it's age. Crème de cassis, blackberry and anise. Delicious. Drink 2005-2025 -96

2003 Quilceda Creek Merlot- Brownish purple color with plum and blueberry on the nose. Compelling nose. Very cab-like on the palate with rich strawberry, blueberry, plum and spice cake. Delicious. Drink 2008-2028-96

2003 Quilceda Creek Cabernet- Mocha and boysenberry on the nose. Flavors of coffee, graphite, creme de cassis and amazing viscosity. Drink 2013 this memorable wine 2012-2028 -97

2004 Quilceda Creek Cabernet- Dark fruit on the nose like plum, blackberry and anise. Palate is rich and silky. Getting black cherry, blackberry, cassis, coffee and spice cake. Smooth and viscous. Drink 2014-2030 -96

2005 Quilceda Creek Galitzen Vineyard Cabernet- Rich dark hue with slight rim variation. Plum and red cherry on the nose. Palate has incredible smoothness with blueberry, boysenberry, chocolate, coffee and Christmas spice. Delicious. Drink 2014-2025. -97

2006 Quilceda Creek Cabernet- Cassis, oak and ripe figs on the nose. Palate has a vegetal sense unique to the other vintages. Red bell pepper, dark cherry, anise, blackberry and coffee. Seamless. Incredible terroir, I might mistake this for Napa. Drink 2014-2030. -98

2007 Quilceda Creek Cabernet-  dark hue and has blackberry, black cherry and oak on the nose. Smooth but intense. Anise, cassis, provencale herbs and mocha flavors with blackberry backbone. Tannins are prominent. Blockbuster wine. Delicious. Drink 2014-2030 -98

2008 Quilceda Creek Cabernet- Unbelievable nose with black cherry, spice cake, and anise with oak. Palate has anise, cedar,blackberry jam and tar. Needs time. Drink 2015-2030 -97

2012 Quilceda Creek ‘Palengat’ Proprietary Blend- This wine has elegant aromas of dill, red cherry, cassis, and mocha. This offers a more herbaceous nose than any other the other releases. The wine bring intense flavors of anise, black olive, black cherry, dried herbs, crime de cassis and vibrant acidity. The mouthfeel is thick, layered and viscous. Drink 2017-2030. -96

2012 Quilceda Creek Columbia Valley Cabernet- 1Rich and viscous mouthfeel that has a silky texture and is unparalleled in Washington. This wine is so delicious that it is hard to put down and cellar, even though the wine will improve, as this wine is Washington Cabernet at its finest. Intense flavors of anise, creme de cassis, blueberry, mocha, graphite and black olive in this monstrosity of a wine. Incredibly layered but will improve further with bottle age.  This wine is up there with the 2005 and 2006 in terms of the best Quilceda Creek Cabs I’ve had. Drink 2017-2030. -99

2012 Quilceda Creek ‘Galitzine Vineyard’ Cabernet - Beautifully perfumed nose that has a floral accent with rose petals. Nose has cherry tomato, cassis, oak and raspberry compote. The viscous mouthfeel is fat and thick, reminiscent of a superstar Napa Cabernet from a hot vintage. Flavors of anise, black berry, mocha, graphite cascading into moderate tannins. Drink 2017-2030. -98

2013 Quilceda Creek 'Columbia Valley' Cabernet- Following up the highly impressive 2012 Cabernet, the 2013 Cabernet was sourced from the Champoux Vineyard (95%) as well as the Wallula Vineyard (5%).  Needing more than a two hour decant at this point to fully sing, the Cabernet opens with exotic aromatics of Turkish coffee, creme de cassis, anise, red bell pepper and violets. The wine has ultra-rich flavors of anise, creme de cassis, red bell pepper, graphite and blackberry cobbler while maintaining a vibrant minerality. The texture of this wine is ethereal. Despite a long decant there are still some mild to moderate tannins, that complement the velvety mouthfeel. This combination of viscosity and tension is without an equal in Washington Cabernet. There is a seamless quality to this wine that reminds me of the epic 2005 Quilceda Creek ‘Columbia Valley’ Cabernet bottling. The intoxicating aromatics of this wine bring you continually back to the glass for more. Try to resist this beautiful wine for at least two more years. Drink 2018-2040- 98

2013 Quilceda Creek 'Galitzine Vineyard' Cabernet- This 100% Cabernet wine was primarily sourced from their estate vineyard on Red Mountain, with only 5% coming from the Wallula Vineyard. The Cabernet was aged for 20 months in new French oak prior to bottling in June 2015. Initially aromatically reticent and needing a two plus hour decant, the wine slowly develops with air. After considerable time in the decanter to unwind, the wine unleashes exceedingly dense aromatics of creme de cassis, anise, coffee grounds, red bell pepper, and red cherry. This leads to mouth-watering flavors of red cherry, red bell pepper, creme de cassis and anise with suggestions of mocha and crème de cassis. Somewhat mirroring the Columbia Valley bottling, the texture, fruit weight and intensity of this wine is absolutely superlative. I see this as showcasing a slightly more masculine fruit and aromatic profile than their 2013 Columbia Valley bottling. This wine represents an absolutely gorgeous effort that stands neck and neck with their Columbia Valley bottling and is up there with the best Galitzine Vineyard Cabernet that I've ever sampled in the past ten years. Cellar this impressive bottling for at least two more years. Drink 2018-2040- 97

2009 Rasa Creative Impulse- this Cab Dominant blend has 71% Cabernet with the rest Merlot. The wine opens with aromas of blackberry, coffee grounds, cassis and black olive. Delicious and rich mouthfeel with vibrant acidity. Open and forward style with anise, blackberry, black olive, milk chocolate and creme de cassis. Just delicious and makes you beg for another sip. Drink 2015-2025. -95

2012 Rasa ‘Creative Impulse’- This outstanding Bordeaux style red is a heavyhitter. Comprised of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot., the wine opens with a complex nose with red bell pepper, cherry pie and dill with sagebrush in this herbaceous and terroir driven nose. There are flavors of red cherry, cherry tomato, raspberry, blackberry and anise. This is a rockstar wine that is balanced, rich and has an incredible mouthfeel. This long ager has 152 cases made so grab some before it sells out. Drink 2015-2035- 96

2009 Rasa Principia Reserve Syrah- Terroir driven wine with mushroom, and fruit aromas of blackberry, raspberry garrigue and black cherry. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry and raspberry preserves. Just completely delicious. Drink 2015-2022. -95

2013 Rasa ‘Primus Inter Pares Monettes Vineyard’ Grenache- Fermented in second use puncheons, the wine begins with aromas of rose petals, anise, red cherry and red raspberry and wet rock with suggestions of lavender and provencale herbs. This leads to ripe flavors of gravel, red raspberry, red cherry and nice viscosity with a long finish. This is impossible to resist and is up there with the best Grenache in the state. Polished and absolutely delicious. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2012 Rasa ‘Fianchetto’ Red Wine- This is an XL Vineyard Bordeaux blend of Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The wine begins stub aromas of mocha, black cherry and anise. This leads to flavors of blackberry jam, coffee grounds, creme de cassis, anise and done in the hugely modern style. The texture of this wine is ethereal. This is intense Cabernet, showing moderate to heavy tannins at this point that settle after three hours of decanting. The purity of fruit is exceptional here. Drink 2018-2031- 96

2012 Reynvaan 'In The Hills' Syrah - The 2012 'In the Hills' is a striking effort, made from 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier, a blend which is typical of the winemaking style in Côte-Rôtie. This incredible wine opens with rich and complex aromas of provencale herbs, gravel, green bell pepper, tar and blackberry which all take shape in the glass. It possesses wonderful minerality and elegance to the mouthfeel, combining fruit and citrus flavors, having cassis, blackberry, anise, raspberry alongside orange rind. This is a stunning wine that is one of the best from this stellar vintage. Best 2015-2025.- 96

2012 Reynvaan 'Stonessence' Syrah- This intense and brooding wine starts with aromatics of wet rock, unami, crushed wildflowers and blackberry cobbler with smoked pork shoulder. This leads to flavors reminiscent of wild blackberry jam, creosote, smoked brisket and wet rock. This is layered and complex with incredible poise and richness. This is absolutely impossible to resist right now. Drink 2016-2028- 96

2013 Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘In The Rocks’ Syrah- This wine was co-fermented with 5% Viognier. This wine saw 25% new French oak for 18 months prior to bottling. The Syrah wine opens with dense aromatics of bacon fat, seaweed, creosote, and tangerine rind. There are flavors of wild blackberry, cranberry, tangerine rind, seaweed and smoked pork shoulder. This incredible wine glides through the palate. The elegance of this wine is there as it takes on some Burgundian characteristics. Try to cellar this hard to resist wine for at least another year. Drink 2017-2028- 96

2014 Reynvaan Family Vineyards 'Foothills Reserve' Syrah- This dense colored, heavyhitter of a wine begins with intoxicating aromatics of Unami, wet rock, red cherry, blackberry, white pepper and smoked brisket. The Syrah has deep flavors of Mandarin orange rind, red cherry, red raspberry, creosote and seaweed. The poise, tension and mouthfeel of this wine is amazing. I can see this improving with another year in the bottle. Drink 2017-2028- 97 (Release November, 2016)

2007 Reynvaan Family Vineyard 'In The Rocks' Syrah- This intense wine has an incredible range of aromatics. There is an intense bouquet of white pepper, Unami, black truffle oil, Bulls blood, red cherry, red raspberry and hints of pipe tobacco. There are flavors of red cherry, black pepper, crushed wet rock, red raspberry and Unami. There is a striking saline and mineral content to this exceptional wine. Drink 2016-2023- 95

2009 Reynvaan Family Vineyard 'Stoneessence' Syrah-  Matt Reynvaan has crafted an incredible wine here. This gorgeous Syrah wine begins with aromas of Umami, forest floor, black truffle, wet stone, smoked pork shoulder and leather. The wine has flavors of red cherry, leather, black truffle, black olive and hints of Umami and wild blackberry. This has incredible range and an exceedingly long finish. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2012 Woodward Canyon Cabernet Artists Series-Graphite and cassis on the nose. Dense wine with creme de cassis, blackberry and mocha.  Incredible depth.  Drink 2015-2025 -95

California:

2012 Alpha Omega 'Era' Cabernet- A blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, this gorgeous and round bottling begins with intense aromas of mocha, black tea, anise, cassis and black olive. There are deep and viscous flavors of anise, creme de cassis, blackberry pie and mocha. Intense wine from this incredible vintage. This wine will cellar beautifully for at least two decades.  Drink 2016-2035-  96

2013 Alpha Omega ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay- Alpha Omega have crafted an absolute heavyhitter of a wine here. Even more impressive than their regular Chardonnay bottling, the ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay wine starts with aromatics of roasted hazelnuts, unripe pear, pineapple, and creme brûlée. There are dense flavors of peach pit, mango, golden delicious apple and poached pear. Gorgeous wine here that lingers on the tongue and shows a Chablis like minerality. Balanced, expressive and intense Chardonnay that is best served a little warmer than average, for the full range of fruit to show through. Drink 2016-2026- 95

2013 Alpha Omega ‘Beckstoffer Georges III’ Cabernet- This impressive Cabernet wine begins with rich aromatics of blackberry jam, coffee grounds, creme de cassis and anise with eucalyptus. There are layered flavors of creme de cassis, dark chocolate, anise, Turkish coffee and black olive. This Cab shows absolutely gorgeous range, depth and intensify here. The plush mouthfeel shows through. This is impossible to resist right now but will prove to be even better in another year. Drink 2017-2040- 95

2005 Arrowood Cabernet Reserve Especiale- ripe black fruit with tar, smoke and black olive on the nose. Palate has blackberry, anise, creme de cassis and black olive with cloves. Deep, rich and concentrated, this wine could easily cellar for another 10. Drink 2013-2028-95

2005 Arrowood Reserve Chardonnay- The wine has yeast and vanilla on the nose. Vibrant acidity on the palate with cream and lemon. Fruit has integrated nicely. Vanilla cream finish that lingers. Drink 2008-2015 -95

2009 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet- Nose has creme de cassis and oak. Palate has anise, chocolate, plum and black cherry and creme de casis. Concentrated and rich. Hard not to drink now. This will age for many years. Drink 2015-2028 -95

2007 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay- butterscotch and oak on the nose. Palate is unreal. Great viscosity. Butter, caramel, vanilla, shortbread and oak. Seamless. Unreal wine. Drink 2010-2020-95

2012 Cardinale Red Wine- This massive wine opens with aromas of anise, creme de cassis, mocha, blueberry compote and cedar. There are gorgeous and layered flavors reminiscent of anise, Christmas spice, mocha and creme de cassis. Incredible intensity and structure with moderate tannins. Gorgeous fruit weight and poise to this memorable bottling that's surprisingly ready to drink. Just be sure to give it at least a one hour decant beforehand. Drink 2016-2040- 96

2005 Cardinale Red Wine- This incredible wine begins with aromatics of mocha, sandalwood, anise and creme de cassis. There are deep flavors of anise, creme de cassis, Turkish coffee, blackberry preserves and pipe tobacco. The finish lingers as there is a seamless quality to this amazing drinking experience. A plush treat, this shows the incredible cellaring potential for Napa. Drink 2016-2030- 97

2004 Caymus 'Special Selection' Cabernet- Rich nose with plum, fig, mint and black cherry with some oak. Palate is rich and viscous. Improved flavor concentration with more than an hour of decanting. Fat on the tongue with black cherry, olive, ripe red tomato, creme de cassis and blackberry with strong minerality. Delicious. Drink 2012-2028 -95

2012 Caymus 'Special Selection' Cabernet- This wine has intense aromas of blackberry, violets, graphite, creme de cassis and coffee grounds with lavender. This leads to rich and dense flavors of blackberry preserves, mocha, graphite with nice grip and minerality. A delight to drink. Drink 2015-2035- 95

2013 Caymus 'Special Selection' Cabernet -The 2013 Caymus 'Special Selection' Cabernet Sauvignon is a memorable wine that shows the heat of an epic vintage for Napa Cabernet. Initially aromatically subdued, this wine needs a one hour decant to better assert itself. This intense wine starts with aromatics of mocha, tar, sagebrush, black cherry and black plum. There are exceedingly deep flavors of anise, creme de cassis, coffee grounds, creosote and blackberry cobbler. The fruit weight is exceedingly broad and the plush texture coats the mid-palate. This is a massive, masculine Cabernet that isn't for the weary. Try to give this heavyhitter of a wine at least another year for the fruit to fully amalgamate. Drink 2017-2040- 95

2012 Chalk Hill 'William P. Foley' Cabernet- This is Chalk Hill's most esteemed Cabernet wine. It is a dense Cabernet that will need a ton of time to fully come together. There are wonderful aromas of graphite and blackberry with creme de cassis. The depth and richness is there. Flavors reminiscent of blackberry, graphite and creme de cassis persist. A sleeping giant. Drink 2019-2030- 95

2002 Chateau St. Jean ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay- This wine has butterscotch, pineapple and golden delicious apple flavors that are rich. Maybe the best California Chard I’ve ever had. Drink 2006-2016 -95

2006 Chateau St. Jean ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay- This wine has tons of tropical fruit on the nose, especially pineapple and banana. Fantastic viscosity to the wine with crème brulee, pineapple and banana flavors with a great cream finish. As good as any Sonoma Chard out there. Drink 2009-2017 -95

2009 Chateau St. Jean 'Reserve' Chardonnay- Rich color with banana and creme brûlée on the nose. Palate has prototypical brioche, creme brûlée, pear and golden delicious apple. Seamless and smooth. Drink 2011-2020 -95

2008 Darioush Cabernet Franc-Perfumed nose of red bell pepper, red cherry and provencale herbs. Palate is viscous and has red currant, red cherry and anise. Possibly the best for the varietal that I've ever tried. Drink 2014-2028 -95

2013 Darioush Cabernet Franc- The 2013 Darioush Cabernet Franc is the best wine in the stunning new lineup of Darioush wines. This incredible Cab Franc was sourced from a high elevation Mount Veeder estate vineyard.  Darioush produces very little of this wine. This stunning example of the varietal follows up the excellent 2012. This Cab Franc begins with aromas of red bell pepper, anise, eucalyptus and dill. There are deep flavors of creme de cassis, mocha, anise, red bell pepper and black olive. This masculine style Cab Franc is a layered and polished effort that will be exceedingly long lived. The wine is pretty tannic at this point, so try to give this slumbering monster at least another year. Drink 2017-2040- 95

2012 Epoch 'Authenticity' Red Wine- This gorgeous wine is a blend of 71% Syrah, 28% Mouvedre and 1% Viognier. The wine opens with generous aromatics of star jasmine, anise, creme de cassis, and Turkish coffee. There are dense flavors of milk chocolate, creme de cassis, roasted figs, and tar. The wine has a seamless quality despite its fruit weight which is profound. The texture is absolutely gorgeous and bordering ethereal. Drink 2016-2030- 96

2012 Epoch 'Paderewski Vineyard Block B' Syrah- This dense wine opens with aromatics of milk chocolate, creme de cassis, allspice, white pepper and boysenberry jam. There are deep flavors of wild blackberry preserves, black cherry compote, roasted figs, creosote, anise and mocha. Dense, and needing at least a two hour decant, this is a decadent treat. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2011 HALL 'Katherine Hall' Cabernet- This 100 percent Cabernet wine is always predominantly sourced from the Sacrashe vineyard. Creme de cassis, black olive, black cherry and dried herbs on the nose. Palate has deep flavors of creme de cassis, black olive, black cherry, mocha and dried herbs with vibrant minerality. A monster. Drink 2017-2030 -95

2013 HALL 'Howell Mountain' Cabernet- This absolutely fabulous and intense wine begins with hedonistic aromas of milk chocolate, anise, creme de cassis, and Turkish coffee. The wine has uber-rich flavors of anise, mocha, blueberry compote and creme de cassis. There is incredible poise and complexity to this Cabernet that all leads to the long and lingering finish. This is truly one for the cellar. Drink 2017-2040- 97

2013 HALL 'Coeur' Cabernet- This outstanding Cabernet wine was sourced from St. Helena from a set of vineyards, including one owner from HALL. A hedonistic core, this wine has a perfumed nose of rose petals, red cherry, blackberry jam, roasted figs and cherry tomato. There are dense flavors of black cherry, creme de cassis, coffee grounds, blackberry jam and tar. Intense and not for the weary, this massive wine is on the hedonistic side. Drink 2017-2030- 95

2013 HALL 'Eighteen Seventy-Three' Cabernet- This Cabernet is sourced from a is a blend of vineyards from the eastern hillside of Napa Valley. The wine begins with aromatics of sweet pipe tobacco, red cherry, lavender, anise and creme de cassis. There are flavors of red cherry, roasted dates, creme de cassis, mocha and tar with a graphite edge. Drink 2017-2035- 96

2013 HALL 'Bergfeld' Cabernet- This Cabernet is sourced from the HALL estate 14 acre vineyard that is planted to Cabernet and Merlot. The wine begins with aromatics of green olive, pipe tobacco, tar, black cherry and eucalyptus. There are flavors of black cherry, anise, creme de cassis, wild blackberry pie and mocha with graphite. The silky mouthfeel and richness contributes this wonderful textural experience, as the wine captures the heat of this great vintage in Napa Valley. Drink 2016-2035- 96

2013 HALL 'Katheryn Hall' Cabernet-This ultra-deep cored wine opens with aromatics of coffee grounds, sage, pipe tobacco, anise, creme de cassis and black cherry liqueur. There are rich flavors of black cherry, blackberry preserves, Turkish coffee, sagebrush, creme de cassis and dark chocolate shaving. The silky, bordering ethereal texture yields a seamless quality to the mid-palate. The minute long finish accentuates this incredible wine. This seductive beauty will cellar gracefully for decades. Drink 2017-2035- 97

2014 HALL 'Katheryn Hall' Cabernet- (barrel sample)- This wine is slated to be bottled in December 2016. The wine opens with aromatics of sweet pipe tobacco, anise, creme de cassis, mocha and black cherry. There are deep flavors of creme de cassis, black cherry, anise, pipe tobacco and blackberry pie. This is massive and intense, with a vibrant mineral streak and huge tannins. I can see this being a monster of a wine. This has a slightly more masculine edge than the 2013 ‘Katheryn Hall’ Cabernet bottling.-  96-99

2013 HALL 'Rainin Vineyard' Cabernet- The 2013 Rainin Vineyard is sourced from an 8 acre property just off Diamond Mountain road, which is located in a cooler section of a generally warmer district. This Cabernet has intense aromatics of blackberry pie, crème de cassis, black tea, mocha, sagebrush and underlying hints of eucalyptus all coming together beautifully in the glass. There are gorgeous flavors of ripe black cherries, crème de cassis, mocha, anise, mint and graphite which are deeply layered on the palate. The weight and mouthfeel of this wine is hedonistic and ethereal, further adding to its early appeal. Overall, this is an absolutely sensation wine from Hall and I expect this to continue to evolve gracefully for many years to come. Drink 2017-2035- 99

2013 HALL 'The Bishop' Cabernet- This extreamly limited production wine from Hall is named after winemaker, Steve Leveque, whose last name translates in French to "The Bishop." This vintage is composed of a proprietary blend consisting of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, sourced from both Howell Mountain and the Rainin Vineyard in the Diamond Mountain District. This simply sensational wine opens beautifully to aromatics of ripe black fruits, mocha, sweet pipe tobacco, eucalyptus and folding in a herbal edge with hints of sage. The palate is viscous and intense with concentrated flavors of mocha, black cherry, roasted dates, crème de cassis and mint. This continues to impress with its remarkable range from start to finish and is drinking absolutely incredible right now, but also shows wonderful aging potential as well. Drink 2017-2035- 98

2013 HALL 'Sacrasche Vineyard' Cabernet- The Sacrashe Vineyard is Hall's estate vineyard in Rutherford and was the first vineyard purchased by the Hall's in 1995. Planted to predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, Sacrashe is situated atop the eastern ridge of the Vaca mountain range in Rutherford, and known for its extremely limiting volcanic tuff soils and gentle slopes. As this majestic wine slowly begins to open it releases a bouquet of crème de cassis, blackberry pie, black cherries, anise, black olive tapenade and hints of milk chocolate, all coming together in a harmonious fashion. This continues to impress with its deep, concentrated flavors of crème de cassis, anise, mocha, pipe tobacco, mint and hints of graphite, which resonate beautifully across the palate. This demonstrates a gorgeous textural richness with an opulent mouthfeel and polished tannins, both profound and elegant. There is incredible weight and intensity along with a wonderful seamless quality, which continues on through the long, multidimensional finish. There is a wonderful future ahead for this wine, but it is just about impossible to resist today. Drink 2017-2035- 99

2012 HALL ‘Jacks Masterpiece’ Cabernet- The wine is barrel selected from the choicest mountain fruit. The wine starts with aromas of dill, mocha, anise and creme de cassis. There are flavors of mocha, anise, creme de cassis, Turkish coffee and blackberry preserves. The wine has some moderate tannins and is currently needing more than two years in the cellar to unwind. Drink 2018-2040- 95

2013 HALL ‘Diamond Mountain’ Cabernet- This wine begins with aromatics of anise, Turkish coffee, milk chocolate and cassis. There are flavors of creme de cassis, Turkish coffee, anise and wild blackberry pie. This is exceedingly good with its opulent fruit and rich texture. Drink 2018-2040- 96

2012 HALL ‘Bergfeld St. Helena’ Cabernet- This balanced and rich Cabernet begins with aromatics of dill, mocha, anise and creme de cassis. There are flavors of mocha, creme de cassis, anise and blackberry pie. Intense and outrageously good wine that will cellar beautifully for many years. Drink 2018-2040- 95

2013 HALL ‘1873’ Cabernet- This dense Cabernet wine begins with aromas of blackberry, milk chocolate and Christmas spice. This leads to flavors of Turkish coffee, anise, creme de cassis and blackberry cobbler. This is highly tannic and intense right now, with gorgeous fruit weight and complexity. Drink 2018-2040- 95

2014 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc- The 2014 Illumination Sauvignon Blanc impresses from Quintessa and is one of most memorable Napa Sav Blancs that I have sampled in the past year. The wine is a blend of 52% Sauvignon Blanc Musqué, 32% Sauvignon Blanc, and 16% Semillon that was released nearly a year ago. Today this wine is absolutely gorgeously rounded out, The wine begins with aromatics reminiscent of lemongrass, Meyer lemon, Bartlett pear, white peach and Pazzaz apple. There are dense flavors of Granny Smith apple, starfruit, Meyer lemon oil, peach pit and macadamia nut. Perfect for a warm summer day, the wine is balanced, intense and out of this world delicious right now. This is up there with the best in North America. Drink 2016-2026- 95

2013 La Jota Merlot- Sourced from the La Jota Vineyard as well as lesser parts from the W.S.Keyes Vineyard, head winemaker Chris Carpenter has made one of the best Merlot bottlings from Napa that I have sampled this year. This gorgeous wine was aged 19 months in French oak (80% new) prior to bottling. Possessing an inky, dark color, this hedonistic Merlot opens with aromatics of pencil shavings, milk chocolate, coffee grounds, black cherry cough syrup and nicely woven oak. There are deep flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, anise, creme de cassis and dark chocolate torte. The plush mouthfeel is exquisite. Tannic and masculine, try not to enjoy this hedonistic Merlot at least for another year. This is up there with the best Napa Merlot that I've sampled in the past year. I'm very surprised that this balanced wine weighs in at 15% alcohol. Drink 2018-2032- 95

2013 La Jota Cabernet- This wine saw 19 months in primarily new French oak before bottling and is a blend of 75% Cabernet with 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Needing a significant three plus hours decant, this ultra-dark hued, decadent Cabernet begins with dense aromas of cassis, black cherry, coffee grounds, sage, red bell pepper and hints of blueberry pie. There are intense flavors of creme de cassis, mocha, Black Forest cake, and a graphite edge. If enjoying young, be sure to give this monster of a wine a considerable decant and aeration. The minerality of this gorgeous wine shines through. Drink 2018-2035- 95

2013 Kongsgaard Chardonnay- The 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay is a striking beauty from Kongsgaard. This spectacular wine opens with inviting aromatics of poached pear, crème brûlée, golden delicious apple and toasted hazelnuts all taking shape beautifully in the glass. On the palate, this leads to rich flavors of poached pear, marzipan, Meyer lemon oil and Gala apple, with suggestions of Shiitake mushroom. This has that dazzling intensity that you can almost feel in the glass leading up to the finish, continues to pull you back in with its seductive flavors. Overall, this is a memorable drinking experience and certainly a one of a kind effort from John Kongsgaard. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2014 Kongsgaard 'Napa Valley' Chardonnay- Following up the more than splendid 2013 release, the 2014 Kongsgaard 'Napa Valley' Chardonnay is another stunner from this storied estate. Possessing a rich and golden hue, this wine opens with aromatics or butterscotch, beeswax, poached pear, bananas foster and hints of nutmeg. The nose is absolutely intoxicating, continually bringing you back for more. On the palate there is lovely structure and fruit weight. Having an oily texture, there are bright flavors of Meyer lemon oil, white truffle, kumquat, Marzipan and creme brulee. The range of this wine makes you ponder while taking in the exceedingly long, minute plus  long finish. A memorable wine, this will cellar beautifully for at least another decade. Drink 2017-2028- 97

2014 Lewis 'Napa Valley' Chardonnay- The 2014 Lewis 'Napa Valley' Chardonnay is another gorgeous release from this great Napa estate. This outrageously good, heavyhitter of a Chardonnay by Lewis, shows a gorgeous combination of poise, opulent fruit and condensed oak treatment in a hot vintage. There are rich aromatics of butterscotch, toasted Macadamia nut, bananas foster, Meyer lemon zest and ripe golden delicious apple. This leads to dense flavors reminiscent of creme brulee, butterscotch, vanilla cream, buttered popcorn, poached pear and meringue, with hints of Meyer lemon zest. With rich weight on the mid-palate, and marvelous acidity, this is a stunner from this estate. There is an oily and sexy Chardonnay, bordering unctuous, as the stunningly plush texture coats the palate. The finish is exceedingly long, as this Chard is one that will only improve with a few years of bottle age. This Chardonnay wine is up there with the best California Chardonnay releases that I have reviewed in the past year. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2012 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc- This wine opens with intense aromatics of gooseberry and lemon rind in the nose. The palate has flavors of Meyer lemon, orange peel, gooseberry, and the finish lingers. This has complex lemon and lime flavors. Unreal juice. Drink 2014-2022 -95

2012 Opus One Red Wine- The 2012 Opus One is a stunning release from this storied Napa Valley producer. While there is intense fruit, it is hard to describe the silky texture and plush mouthfeel, which brings you back to the glass for more decadence. This blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6%Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 2% Malbec begins with seductive aromatics of black cherry, crème de cassis, mocha, tar and anise, all coming together beautifully in the glass. There are vivid flavors of crème de cassis, blackberry, mocha, sage and black olive which lead to an exceedingly long, voluptuous finish. Overall, this possesses incredible poise and elegance, showing a simply gorgeous seamless quality throughout. While this is drinking beautifully at this stage, it certainly has the potential to cellar for two more decades, or even more. Drink 2016-2035- 98

2013 Opus One Red Wine- The 2013 Opus One is an absolute stunning release, and is certainly one of most impressive young wines I have ever tasted from this estate. This shows a darker, more forward profile from this warm vintage, and is clearly one to contemplate, as there are so many complexities and working parts to this compelling wine. This instantly impresses as it opens to intense aromatics of crème de cassis, black cherry, blackberry compote and black plum woven together with mocha, sandalwood. The mouthfeel is voluptuous and beautifully concenrated with deep and penetrating flavors of black cherry, créme de cassis, blackberry cobbler, anise, sage and anise, which all resonate beautifully across the palate. This is already extreamly appealing, but try to resist this hedonistic wine for at least another few years, as there is undoubtedly a long future ahead. Drink 2017-2035- 99

2007 Opus One Red Wine- The 2007 Opus One is composed of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. It comes from a near perfect growing season. During fermentation and maceration, component lots received an average of 20 days of skin contact prior to 19 months of barrel aging in 100% French oak. This exceptional red blendbegins with aromas of anise, hazelnut, mocha and creme de cassis. This leads to rich flavors of creme de cassis, kalmata olive, Turkish coffee, black cherry and anise. This is rich and layered with major intensity and a long finish. Drink 2016-2026- 96

2013 Ridge ‘Monte Bello’ Cabernet- A hedonistic monster that somehow shows wonderful restraint, the 2013 ‘Monte Bello’ Cabernet confirms why it commands a cult following. The wine begins with dense aromas of black tea, anise, crème de cassis and coffee grounds. There are rich flavors of mocha, dill, anise, casssi and hints of milk chocolate. Polished, lithe and moderately tannic right now, this is best enjoyed in a few years. This is literally a slumbering giant. Drink 2018-2035- 95

2010 Robert Mondavi Winery 'Reserve' Cabernet- This wine opens with an extremely dense nose with mocha, blackberry and oak. The palate has rich flavors of anise, mocha, blackberry and is highly tannic. A sleeping giant that needs a ton of time. Drink 2018-2035. -95

2001 Robert Mondavi Winery 'Reserve' Cabernet- The 2001 Robert Mondavi Winery 'Reserve' Cabernet shows all the grace and poise of this incredible vintage in Napa. More than 15 years after its release, it is a gorgeous showing. The wine is comprised of 50% To Kalon Vineyard fruit and nearly all Oakville fruit. The resultant wine is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine begins with aromas reminiscent of black cherry, anise, creme de cassis and crushed wet rock. The tannins have mellowed considerably through the mid-palate, yielding wonderful rich flavors of Turkish coffee grounds, blackberry cobbler, dark chocolate shavings and graphite. The finish is memorable and precise. Drink 2016-2021- 95

2012 Paul Hobbs ‘Nathan Coombs Estate’ Cabernet- This impressive wine has aromatics of anise and blackberry. The richness is profound. There are deep flavors of milk chocolate, anise and blackberry with moderate tannins. Very serious. Drink 2018-2035 -95

2014 Robert Biale 'Varozza Vineyard' Zinfandel- The Varozza family has been farming on this site since 1913. This seamless wine opens with aromatics of black plum, black cherry, prune and blackberry cobbler. There are plush flavors of black cherry, cola, prune, boysenberry preserves, blueberry compote and hints of dark chocolate shavings. The smoothness and silky texture of this wine makes this wine a true heavyhitter. There is almost a Bordelaise character to this exceptional wine. Drink 2016-2027- 95

2013 Sanguis 'John Sebastiano Vineyard' Loner Pinot Noir- This Santa Rita Hills bottling needs more than two hours in the decanter to open up. Once aroused it begins with aromatics of cherry cola, red raspberry preserves, lavender and nutmeg. There is a viscous and velvety texture to this scintillating wine. Flavors of cherry pie, cherry cough syrup, cola and red raspberry persist. An absolutely seamless wine, with brightness and decadence. Drink 2016-2026- 95

2013 Sanguis 'Loner R13-b' Pinot Noir- Sanguis and superstar winemaker Mattias Pippig have another stunning new release wine with their 2013 'Loner R13-b' Pinot Noir release. This absolutely exceptional Pinot is sourced from the Santa Rita Hills, and displays an intense aromatic and flavor profile from this hot vintage. The wine opens with a bouquet of forest floor, black truffle oil, candied cherry, and cola. There are rich flavors of Black Forest cake, cherry cola, black raspberry, black truffle crudo and Asian spices. With a plush mouthfeel, this robust Pinot Noir is out of this world delicious. Be sure to give this wine at least a one hour plus decant if enjoying it in its full-throttle youth. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2012 Sanguis 'Chinese Fortune' Proprietary White Wine- This wine is an absolutely superlative and intoxicating blend of Rousanne, Marsanne, Chardonnay and Viognier. This has the kind of aromatics that makes you go back to your glass for one hedonistic whiff after another.  It is drinking absolutely out of this world at this time. Following a two hour decant, this wine opens up considerably. This blend begins with aromas of lemongrass, honeydew melon, and star jasmine. This leads to flavors of lychee, red delicious apple, poached pear, nutmeg and bananas foster. This has a long and lingering finish that coats the tongue. There is a botrytis like character to this exceptional viscous white blend. Drink 2016-2028- 96

2012 Sanguis 'My Soul Is Rested' Proprietary Red Wine- Needing more than two hours to open up in the decanter, this is aromatically invigorating wine. A bouquet of creme de cassis, mocha, pencil shavings and blackberry pie explodes out of the glass. There are dense flavors of mocha, red bell pepper, creme de cassis, anise and blackberry cobbler. Highly seductive, the intensity and richness showcases this outstanding vintage. Try to cellar for at least one more year. I have never sampled a better red blend from this region. Drink 2017-2035- 95

Oregon:

2014 Archery Summit 'Arcus Estate' Pinot Noir- Having a deep core, the wine starts with perfumed aromatics of black cherry, black raspberry, black truffle, white pepper and black plum. There are flavors reminiscent of black cherry, black truffle oil and black raspberry. The weight and balance of this wine is simply gorgeous. Try to avoid drinking this exceptional Pinot for another two years. Drink 2018-2033- 95

2005 Argyle ‘Cowhouse’ Pinot Noir- This incredible wine has earthy aromatics with forest floor and mushroom. The palate has incredible fatness and viscosity. There are deep flavors of raspberry, cherry and nutmeg with vanilla. Possibly the best Oregon Pinot I've had. Drink 2008-2020. -95

2006 Argyle 'Spirithouse' Pinot Noir- Taken from an esteemed vintage this wine has black fruits, darker than the 2007. Black cherry, boysenberry and cherry cough syrup on the nose. Palate is dense and viscous. There are rich flavors of cherry pie, raspberry, vanilla and a long, lingering finish. Serious weight and complexity. This thing could age another 5. Opulent expression of Oregon Pinot. Drink 2014-2030. -96

1998 Argyle ‘Extended Tirage’- This is their signature sparkling wine at Argyle. This seamless wine begins with flavors of pear, cream, golden delicious apple and wonderful effervescence. The finish lingers in this amazing domestic sparkling wine. Drink 2010-2020 -96

2000 Argyle 'Extended Tirage' - This wine has improved with some age. The nose begins with aromatics of baked apple and oak with mushroom.  The palate yields rich flavors of brioche, baked apple and pear, with light vanilla nodes. Tremendous effort, effervescent with strong minerality for its age. This could cellar 5 more years. Drink 2010-2020 -96

2005 Argyle 'Extended Tirage' Sparkling Wine- This intense sparkling wine begins with a dense bouquet of Pazzaz apple, apricot, cantaloupe and baking spices. With wonderful mid-palate weight this exceptional wine yields dense flavors reminiscent of white flowers, white grapefruit oil, Granny Smith apple, nutmeg, and kumquat. Exotic, layered and downright exceptional, the silky mousse captivates, leading to an exceedingly long finish. Drink 2017-2027- 95

2008 Arterberry Maresh 'Juliard Vineyard' Pinot Noir- The 2008 Arterberry Maresh 'Juliard Vineyard' Pinot Noir shows incredible development at this juncture in its drinking window. Sourced from Pommard clone fruit from vines planted in 1988 and 1976, the wine captures this exceptional balanced vintage. This perfumed wine opens with aromas of rose petals, red cherry, red raspberry, and hints of cola. The flavors of cola, cranberry, guava, orange rind and tamarind are rich and intense, with lively minerality. Rivaling the best in Oregon, this is one of them more superlative Pinot Noirs that I have ever sampled from this esteemed vintage Drink 2016-2026- 95

2014 Big Table Farm 'Earth' Pinot Noir- Head winemaker Brian Marcy, has had previous stops at Neyers Vineyards and Marcassin before starting Big Table Farm with Clare Carver. The 2014 'Earth' Pinot Noir is one for the cellar. This intense wine starts with aromas reminiscent of unami, black truffle oil, tar, Marcona almond, wild blackberry preserves and white pepper. Gorgeous range of aromatics at play. There are flavors of black cherry, wild blackberry, cola, black truffle and sandalwood. the finish lingers. The texture and fruit weight is exceptional. Head winemaker Brian Marcy has created a scintillating bottling here that will only improve with some bottle age. Only 100 cases produced of this incredible wine. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2014 Beaux Freres 'The Beaux Freres Vineyard Cuvée '59' Pinot Noir- This special wine is sourced from the two oldest blocks in the vineyard.  The Pinot Noir begins with exotic aromatics of guava puree, pomegranate, Shitake mushroom and blood orange. This wine has flavors reminiscent of rose petals, guava, marionbeery jam and strawberry pie. This wine has an absolutely outstanding finish to this feminine style bottling. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2013 Brittan Vineyards 'Gestalt Block' Pinot Noir- This deep colored Pinot has aromas of crushed wet rock, loganberry preserves, black truffle and first floor. There are flavors of wild blackberry, cran-pomegranate, slate, blueberry compote and guava purée as red and dark fruits mingle beautifully. The structure is profound. This is novel and an absolute heavyhitter, up there with the best in Oregon. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2012 Domaine Serene 'Recolte Grand Cru' Chardonnay-This rich and layered Chardonnay wine begins with aromatics of brioche, hazelnut, Gala apple and suggestions of allspice. This leads to flavors of poached pear, with a huge finish and lingers for more than 40 seconds. The weight and viscosity is there. Hugely impressive effort to this true heavyhitter. This is gorgeous right now but will continue to build lovely secondary characteristics. Drink 2017-2028- 95

2012 Domaine Serene 'Monogram' Pinot Noir- This absolute heavyhitter of a wine utilizes 75% new oak (aged for 17 months) and is chosen from the winemaker Erik Kramer's finest Pinot Noir barrels. The wine opens with intense aromatics of red cherry, herbs de Provence, red raspberry, black truffle and black pepper. The gorgeous aromatics continue to bring you back to the glass. As the wine slowly evolves in the glass this leads to dense flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, cran-pomegranate and crimini mushroom compote. The Pinot Noir has a minute-long finish. The texture and mouthfeel of this wine borders ethereal. There is a seamless quality to this wine that showcases the fruit and balance of the 2012 vintage. Hats off to Kramer and his winemaking team for creating this incredible new release wine that is the finest that I have sampled from this amazing vintage. Drink 2016-2033- 96

2014 Evening Land 'Summum' Chardonnay-This wine is sourced from a small section of the Seven Springs Vineyard. The wine opens with a bouquet of shitake mushroom risotto, lemon zest, challah bread and baking spices. This leads to flavors of lemon oil, tangerine rind, meringue and white truffle crudo. Intense, lithe and having wonderful fruit weight, this complete Chardonnay is a joy to savor. The exceedingly long, near one minute finish, connects this world class Burgundian style Oregon Chardonnay. Drink 2017-2030- 95

2012 White Rose 'Winemakers Cuvee' Pinot Noir- This Pinot was sourced from 5 vineyards and the winemaker thinks this is the best of the vineyards. Rich nose with pomegranate, red cherry, strawberry and mushroom. The palate has red cherry, pomegranate, mushroom, forest floor and raspberry. Delicious and layered wine. Drink now, 2015-2025. -95

Argentina

2013 Achaval-Ferrer 'Finca Mirador' Malbec- The 2013 'Finca Mirador' by Achaval-Ferrer is a stunner from this estate. This impressive wine starts with rich aromas of mocha, blackberry, blueberry compote and violets. This wine just has an incredible range of aromatics. There is lovely freshness and purity of fruit on the mid-palate. The wine has rich flavors of violets, blueberry, milk chocolate, wild blackberry and rose petals. The range and depth is enchanting. This is impossible to resist right now but it will continue to gain secondary components as it ages. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2009 Bodega Catena Zapata 'Nicolaus Catena Zapata'- One of the estates best wines, this one is every bit as good as the 2010 'Nicolaus' bottling. This wine begins with rich aromas of blueberry compote, Turkish coffee and creme de cassis. There are exotic flavors of graphite, anise, smoke and blueberry compote. Gorgeous range of flavors with incredible depth and Bordelaise elegance. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2010 Bodega Catena Zapata 'Argentino' Malbec- The wine is a blend of Catena Zapata’s historic Malbec vineyards, Adrianna and Nicasia. The wine is made from the best grapes from the Catena estate vineyards. This dense colored wine opens with incredibly rich aromas of Turkish coffee, mocha, anise and crushed spring flowers. There are flavors of boysenberry preserves, black cherry, espresso bean and a long and lingering finish. Stinking acidity and wonderful richness on the mouthfeel. This is impressive. Drink 2015-2029-95

2011 Bodega Catena Zapata 'Nicasia Vineyard' Malbec- The Nicasia vineyard is located in the far southerly growing region of Altamira en La Consulta. The grapes are hand-loaded into 225-500 liter new French oak barrels for a 100% barrel fermentation for a period of 15 days. Winemaker Alejandro Vigil ages the wine in French oak barrels for 18 months, followed by 24 months of aging in bottle before release. This wine opens with aromas of boysenberry, Turkish coffee, cedar and rose petals. This layered and complex wine delivers aromas of anise, creme de cassis, mocha and a wonderfully complex and mineral driven palate. This would pair marvelously with a juicy ribeye steak. Drink 2015-2030-95

2010 Bodega Catena Zapata ‘Nicolaus Catena Zapata’ - This is a wonderful blend of 75% Cabernet with 25% Malbec sourced from La Pirámide, Domingo, Adrianna and Nicasia Vineyards and is named after the winery founder, Dr. Nicolás Catena. The 2010 is a massive wine, yet possesses wonderful elegance. It displays a dark, inky color, followed by aromas reminiscent of dark fruits, black cherries, milk chocolate, graphite and hints of sweet oak. On the palate this is richly textured with nice viscosity, leading to delicious flavors of blueberry, blackberry, graphite and milk chocolate. Overall, this is an outstanding wine from winemaker Alejandro Vigil which shows remarkable aging potential and should continue to evolve gracefully over the next two decades, however it will require a few more years of bottle age before it hits its stride. Drink 2017-2030- 95

2011 Catena 'Nicolaus Catena Zapata' Red Wine- This esteemed wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet and 20% Malbec that head winemaker Alexander Vigil aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak and then for an additional 24 months in the bottle. The wine was sourced from high elevation vineyards (La Piramide, Domingo, Adrianna and Nicasia) and some of the choicest fruit selected by the winemaker. The resultant wine is a stunner. There are rich aromas of anise, creme de cassis, coffee grounds, violets, rose petals and suggestions of leather. There are dense flavors reminiscent of creme de cassis, blueberry pie, anise, mocha, spicebox, sandalwood and a graphite edge. The silky texture is bordering ethereal. This is every bit as good as the absolutely exceptional 2010 'Nicolaus Catena Zapata' bottling, showing similar range and viscosity. Following more than two hours in the decanter, this wine displays a more prominent graphite edge, and a real left bank Bordelaise feel. There is little doubt this  excellent blend will age gracefully for decades, but is completely impossible to resist at this juncture. Hats off to Vigil and his winemaking team with this gorgeous wine. Drink 2016-2030- 95

Australia:

2008 Clarendon Hills Australis Shiraz- Inky color and needs more than two hours to fully open up. The wine begins with dense aromatics of blackberry, smoked meats blueberry and and cherry cough syrup on the nose. The palate has rich flavors of blueberry, blackberry, anise, tar and smoked meats. Every bit spectacular Shiraz that is meant for a special occasion. Make sure to recant this for many hours before drinking. Drink 2015-2030. -95

2014 Mollydooker 'The Velvet Glove' Shiraz- Impossible to resist and not for the weary, the 2014 'The Velvet Glove' by Mollydooker is an insanely delicious and decadent treat. This incredible Shiraz wine has intense aromatics of prune, red cherry, thyme and blueberry compote. There are ultra-dark flavors of blackberry pie, dark chocolate, black cherry and coffee grounds. Scintillating and rich, this has a lovely acidity and mouthfeel. You can really grasp the fruit weight on the mid-palate. Drink 2016-2030- 97

2012 Mollydooker 'The Velvet Glove' Shiraz- This velvet labeled wine is ethereal and is clearly pushing perfection at this juncture. The Shiraz wine begins with an exceedingly dark core that stains the glass (and your teeth). The sexy, hedonistic and aromatically intense Shiraz begins with aromatics of toffee, blueberry compote, blackberry cordial and creme de cassis. There are intense flavors of cassis, blackberry pie, mocha, blueberry compote and hints of sage that sit alongside incredible acidity. The viscosity of this monstrous wine is incredible as the fruit weight on the mid-palate deliciously coats your tongue. The wine has some very serious aging potential as it is opulent right now but will slowly lose its intensity over time. I see no need to currently shy away from enjoying this gorgeous bottling. Kudos to the entire Mollydooker winemaking team in crafting this memorable Shiraz that is not for the weary. Drink 2016-2028- 99

2012 Mollydooker 'Blue Eyed Boy' Shiraz- The wine has an inky color with black cherry and cassis on the nose with oak. The palate is incredibly complex and viscous.  There are exceedingly dense flavors of black cherry, cedar, black olive, mocha and blackberry. Hard to not drink now. Drink 2014-2025. -95

2014 Mollydooker 'Carnival of Love' Shiraz- The 2014 Mollydooker 'Carnival of Love' Shiraz is an insanely good bottling from this storied producer in South Australia.  Possessing an inky dark core, this intense wine opens with creme de cassis, blackberry liqueur, and hints of mocha and crushed mint. The palate is intense and deep with intoxicating flyovers of creme de cassis, anise, black cherry cough syrup, violets, blueberry compote, ripe red strawberry, boysenberry liqueur and suggestions of black peppercorn. The minerality of this wine is apparent, as this shows a hedonistic bent while displaying beautiful structure. The finish is exceedingly long, and mocha driven. This masssive Shiraz will drink exceedingly well straight out of the bottle, but can benefit from a one hour decant. Drink this incredible wine over the next 15 years. Exceptionally bold at 16.5%. alcohol, this still maintains wonderful poise and balance. Drink 2016-2026- 96

2010 Torbreck 'The Factor' Shiraz- This wine has an incredibly rich nose with rose petals, red cherry and prune. Palate has prune, vanilla cherry and raspberry flavors. Viscous and rich wine that is intense and has lovely layers. Drink 2015-2025 -95

2012 Torbreck 'Run Rig' Shiraz- this dense yet balanced wine begins with aromas of rose petals, mocha, anise, smoked pork shoulder and cassis. There are flavors of anise, smoked brisket, mocha, cassis and black cherry with black olive. Gorgeous and intense wine that captures the balance and viscosity of this incredible vintage. One of the best from 2012 down under. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2013 Two Hands 'Bella's Garden' Shiraz-The wine has intense aromas of mocha cassis and rose petals. There are very deep Flavors of anise spicebox blackberry and black olive. Gorgeous range of flavors from this estate that is impossible to resist right now. You can really taste the warmth of the vintage. Drink 2016-2028- 95

NV Yalumba 50 Year Old Tawny Port- Yalumba mentions that the wine possibly originates from the 30s, and is comprised of a host of varietals including Shiraz, Grenache, Dolcetto, Mourvédre and Muscadelle. The wine is then fortified with fine pot-still brandy produced in Yalumbas very own still. This has intoxicating aromas of roasted figs, vanilla, toffee and coffee grounds. This leads to dense and rich flavors of orange rind, toffee, Turkish coffee and wonderful minerality. This has the acid structure to cellar for decades but it is absolutely stunning right now. Drink 2015-2035- 95

France:

2013 Chateau d'Yquem- Literally a perfect wine, the 2013 Chateau d'Yquem comes from a growing season that saw a great amount of rain in the spring, followed by a near perfect summer. Harvest came under near perfect conditions. This incredible wine opens with an ethereal nose containing white flowers, honey, ginger and marzipan. The palate has dense flavors of creme brulee, bananas foster, vanilla cream, tangerine rind and an exceedingly long finish. There is a refreshing quality to this wine that leads to the exceedingly long finish. I can see some wonderful aging potential with this blockbuster release. Drink 2020-2050- 100

1999 Chateau d’Yquem- This expressive bottling begins with aromas of apricot and creme brûlée on the nose. Palate is balanced but has plenty of fruit. Pear, apricot, crème brûlée and minerals on the palate. Unbelievable complex and layered. Drink 2010-2030. -97

1998 Chateau D'Yquem- This wine has a lovely, rich nose with aromas of orange marmalade, creme brulee, pineapple and apricot. There is a silky texture and mouthfeel to this wine which leads to flavors of golden raisin, pineapple, creme brulee and tangerine marmalade. This viscous effort is seamless, having a memorable, nearly minute long finish. Drink 2015-2030-97

2005 Chateau Climens- The 2005 Chateau Climens is a perfect wine. At this juncture it is literally perfection in a bottle. Unctuous, intense, and simply gorgeous, this perfumed wine has aromatics of quince, creme brulee, bananas foster, candied mango and baking spices. The wine has dense flavors of vanilla creme brulee, roasted pineapple, ripe mango, and sweet marcona almond purée. Seductive,  complete and gorgeous, this is one of the finest Sauternes I have sampled in the past five years. This has the structure, weight and intensity to cellar for another 40 years. Drink 2017-2057- 100

1998 Chateau Coutet- This wine has a beautiful golden hue with aromas of bees wax, honey and baking spices. Incredible balance in the palate with golden delicious, crème brulee, honey and apricot. Drink 2008-2020. -97

2003 Chateau Coutet- This balanced and Intsnse wine begins with aromatics of creme brûlée, roasted pineapple and banana foster. There are flavors of golden delicious apple pie, vanilla bean creme brûlée and a touch of butterscotch. Layered and structures wine that will continue to cellar beautifully. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2005 Chateau Coutet- In 2005 Botrytis arrived at Coutet towards the beginning of October. This outrageously good Barsac is a blend of 75% Semillon with 23% Sav Blanc and 2% Muscadelle. The wine comes from a limestone based soil and was aged 18 months (70% new) in French oak. The wine has aromas of bananas foster, creme brulee, golden delicious apple and vanilla cream. There are flavors of lemon/lime, creme brulee, butterscotch, and candied Meyer lemon. This is incredibly balanced and has a dry, saline streak. This seamless wine will drink brilliantly into the next decade. Drink 2015-2028- 95

2003 Chateau Lafarie-Peranguay- This wine is near perfection in a bottle. It is a deeply concentrated wine with incredibly botrytis. The wine begins with spice, white raisin and honey on the nose. The palate has honey, apricot and incredibly thick. Delicious and memorable wine. Drink 2015-2030. -96

2001 Chateau Rieussec- this nose is out of this world. Bananas foster, creme brûlée, nutmeg, overripe golden delicious as well. Palate is viscous, smooth and rich and balanced. Apricot, banana, pineapple, golden delicious, creme brûlée, vanilla cream honey and light lemon rind flavors. Out of this world complexity. Drink now. Drink 2012-2030. -97

2003 Chateau Rieussec- This is one of the best Sauternes I’ve had. Balance is impeccable. Crème brulee and white raisin on the nose. The palate is elegant with crème brulee, apricot and caramel. This is pure liquid sex. Drink 2013-2035 -99

2005 Chateau Rieussec- This intense wine begins with aromas of creme brulee, crushed white flowers, marzipan and hints of vanilla bean. There are dense flavors of orange marmalade, poached pear, vanilla creme brulee and bananas foster. The viscosity and intensity of this wine is gorgeous, while the mid-palate glides into the exceedingly long and memorable finish. Drink 2016-2035- 95

2003 Chateau La Tour Blanche- This tremendous bottling has a rich and dark color. The nose has aromatics of apricot and tropical fruit, as well as botrytis and creme brûlée. with suggestions of bananas foster. The palate is viscous and complex. This is as close to 100 point Sauternes that I've had recently. Apricot, rich cream, vanilla creme brûlée, pear, and minerality. Seamless wine as this wine is literally perfect. Drink 2013-2050. -100

2003 Chateau Doisy-Vendrines- Apricot and Creme brûlée and roasted pineapple on the nose. The palate has flavors of vanilla cream, creme brûlée, honey, and orange marmalade. Delicious, viscous and balanced. Drink 2012-2030. -95

2003 Chateau Suduiraut- Rich nose with pineapple and bananas foster with honeysuckle. Palate has incredible balance. Vanilla, creme brûlée, honey, pineapple and golden delicious. Ripe fruit but balanced. Incredibly complex. Drinking well now but has a long life. Drink 2012-2030.  -95

2001 Chateau D'Arche- This is taken from an incredible vintage in Sauternes. Petrol, honey, pineapple and butter in the nose. Palate has creme brûlée, cinnamon, bananas foster and pineapple. Nice weight and balance.  Long and lingering 30 second finish. Drinking exceptionally well in 2015. Drink 2015-2028 -96

2006 Chateau Guiraud- This is a silky smooth with the palate in this seamless expression with crème brulee, banana and vanilla cream flavors. Truly impressive bottling that will drink incredibly into the next decade. Drink 2015-2030-95

2009 Chateau Guiraud- Opulent, sexy and stunning come to mind when sampling this incredible Sauternes wine. The chateau is located in the heart of Sauternes and has a 100 vineyard on a single block. The 2009 Chateau Guiraud begins with a bouquet of honeysuckle, gardenia, honey, nutmeg and bananas foster. Racy and intense on the mid-palate, there are rich flavors of butterscotch, honeydew melon, vanilla creme brulee, apricot jelly and nutmeg. This stunning wine is one for the cellar. While this is clearly a long-ager, it is amazing how good this drinks young. Drink 2016-2036-  95

2007 Chateau Doisy-Vedrines- Intense, layered and flamboyant, this wine opens with aromas of butterscotch, creme brulee, orange blossoms, honey, passion fruit and apricot jam. There are idense flavors of creme brulee, pineapple upside down cake, passion fruit and candied kumquat. This is just an incredible value. Drink 2016-2027- 95

2006 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Vendages Tardives- This is from one of the most famous vineyards in the Alsace. 79 grams a liter of residual this wine has incredible lemon lime flavors of ripe Apple, honeydew, apricot and slate. Incredible minerality and slightly effervescent. Drink 2013-2025 -95

2009 Chateau Beychevelle- This estate has created an incredible wine from this amazing vintage. The wine starts with intense aromas of mocha, blackberry and anise with smoky accents. There are rich flavors of anise blackberry pie, mocha, lavender and coffee grounds. This is drinking surprisingly good considering its age. Drink 2016-2040- 95

2010 Chatrau Branaire-Ducru- The wine starts with rich aromas of anise, cassis, and mocha. There are vibrant palate with mocha, cassis, anise when graphite.  The tension is there alongside moderate tannins. While this is nowhere near ready, the wine will give drinking pleasure for many decades. Drink 2019-2040- 95

2003 Chateau Certan de May- The founding family of this estate, presumably of Scottish origin sometimes documented as Demay, who lived in France since the Middle Ages and were installed in Pomerol at the end of the 16th century. Records indicate the family by royal ordnance became masters of the fief of Certan, or Sertan, making this the oldest vignoble of the district. The 5 hectare vineyard, set on clay and gravel soils, is comprised of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Pommerol begins with aromas of red currant, red cherry, mushroom and forest floor. This leads to flavors of mocha, anise, creme de cassis, blood orange and incredible warmth and minerality. This is intense and terroir driven wine -- an absolutely stunning effort from this estate. The wine has aged gracefully and is drinking at its peak. Drink 2016-2026 -95

2006 Chateau Haut Brion- This estate has made the best of this somewhat challenging vintage. The wine starts with overwhelming aromas of mocha, sage, anise and cassis. The wine has gorgeous and rich flavors of anise, smoke, spicebox, cassis and tar with coffee grounds. Sumptuous blend of flavors and minerality. Drink 2016-2040- 95

2006 Chateau de Beaucastel- This intense bottling begins with aromatics of graphite, provencale herbs and anise. This rich and layered wine has flavors of cassis, anise, red currant and red cherry. This is herbaceous and novel wine that is hugely age-worthy. Drink 2014-2025-95

2007 Chateau de Beaucastel- 2007 was an amazing vintage and this incredible Chateauneuf showcases this rich vintage. This incredible wine starts with deep aromatics of creosote, smoked ham, provencale herbs, and thyme crusted rack of lamb. There are rich flavors of blackberry cobbler, black olive, cloves, anise, cassis and leather. The wine is currently showing a darker fruit profile than most of the other vintages and showcasing the heat of the vintage right now There is a gorgeous range of flavors, with incredible intensity and poise. Drink 2016-2030- 97

2008 Chateau de Beaucastel- This incredible red wine begins with aromas of raspberry garrigue, provencale herbs, white truffle and tarragon. It has a lovely herbaceousness throughout, indicative of this earthier vintage. The wine has flavors of red raspberry, red cherry, red currant and vanilla cream. Lovely and viscous wine with a finish that lingers for nearly a minute. Sumptuous stuff from this estate. Drink 2016-2028- 96

2009 Chateau de Beaucastel- This impressive Chateauneuf starts with aromas of thyme, smoked pork belly, Bulls blood, wet rock and hints of blood orange. The rich aromatics continually take you back to the glass. As the wine lingers on the palate there are rich flavors reminiscent of red currant, anise, cassis, blood orange rind, allspice and tar. Very feminine considering the heat of the vintage, this wine has nearly a minute long finish. Drink 2016-2033- 96

2010 Chateau de Beaucastel- This gorgeous wine opens with aromatics of rose petals, smoked brisket, pipe tobacco, anise and spicebox. There are deep flavors of cassis, anise, black cherry seltzer, and black raspberry. The moderate tannins and bright minerality suggest this still could benefit from another year or two in the bottle. This is the masculine expression of Beaucastel. Right now this is a bit of a slumbering monster. Drink 2017-2035- 97

2012 Chateau Beaucastel- One of the best estates in the Rhone, the wine starts with intense aromas of lavender, provencale herbs, coffee grounds, blackberry and leather with anise accents. There are deep flavors of milk chocolate, coffee grounds, anise and smoked pork shoulder with tar elements. This is a memorable bottling that has a long future ahead of it. Drink 2016-2028- 95

2009 Louis Roederer 'Crystal' Brut- This intense wine has aromatics of green papaya, biscuit, tangerine rind and Meyer lemon accents. There are rich flavors of lemon rind, Bartlett pear, kumquat, brioche and Gravenstein apple. The gorgeous, silky texture and rich, polished mouthfeel contribute to an absolutely awesome drinking experience. Drink 2016-2035- 95

2004 Moet e' Chandon 'Dom Perignon'- This exquisite bottling is a blend of 52% Pinot Noir and 48% Chardonnay. The wine has a silky mousse and opens with aromas of Bartlett pear, brioche and hazelnut. It is silky and effervescent throughout, as sampling this wine is an ethereal experience. The texture and mouthfeel, combined with the structure and fruit of this wine is up there with the best of its kind. Flavors of lemon zest, kumquat, starfruit and red delicious apple come to mind. A magnificent bottling that will last for several more decades. Drink 2015-2030- 96

2005 Moet e' Chandon 'Dom Perignon'- This incredible vintage champagne opens with aromas of brioche toast, fresh starfruit, mandarin orange blossom and shitake mushroom. This wine has flavors of gala apple, cut grass, dried apricot and Meyer lemon zest. The bubbles are delicate and glide along the tongue throughout this ethereal textural experience. There is a nice rich and layered approach to the wine, that finishes with vanilla cream. Drink 2016-2030- 95

2006 Moët e' Chandon 'Dom Perignon'- These guys continue to produce some of the best champagne in the world. This new bottling is no exception.  This wine begins with aromas of brioche, porcini mushroom, gala apple and banana. This leads to flavors of red delicious apple, toasted macadamia nut, Meyer lemon rind, and Japanese pear. This is absolutely ethereal as the mousse is silky and incredibly textured. An absolutely stunning champagne. Drink 2016-2030-  96

2011 Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru- This wine comes from vineyards in the southwest and southeast portions of the hill of Corton. The seamless bottling begins with aromas of gala apple, nutmeg and roasted hazelnut. This leads to flavors of creme brûlée, poached pear, Meyer lemon rind and whipped butter. Absolutely gorgeous wine that will improve with some bottle age. The finish is rich and compelling as the vanilla cream flavors lift from the tongue. The viscosity and intensity are very prominent. Drink 2019-2035- 95

2006 Louis Roederer 'Cristal' Brut Champagne - This impressive bottling is a blend of of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay. The wine was 20% fermented in oak with weekly lees stirring to give the wine richness, even though there is no malolactic fermentation. The dosage is between eight to ten grams per liter. This wine has aromas of pear, brioche and mushroom. This leads to flavors of starfruit, red delicious apple, poached pear and a lovely effervescence. The wine sings and lasts for more than 30 seconds on the finish. Drink 2015-2030- 95

Krug NV Grand Cuvee Brut- This wine is an incredible blend of 142 wines. This was disgorged in 2014 and was also released that year. The wine opens with aromas of hazelnuts, brioche, red delicious apple and poached pear. This leads to flavors of brioche, pear and golden delicious apple with Meyer lemon rind rounding out the citrus component. Balanced and forward, this wine has an incredible effervecence. it is impossible to resist right now. A memorable bottling Drink 2015-2035- 95

Krug NV Grand Cuvee Brut- Truly one of the great NV Champagnes of the world, the 'Grand Cuvee' was disgorged in winter 2015, and is an intoxicating blend of wines from 12 vintages, spanning from 1990-2007. The resultant wine is a stunner, showing bright aromatics of kumquat, Meyer lemon rind, Gravenstein apple and Marcona almond. The mousse and silky texture borders ethereal, with flavors of Key lime, New York apple, honeydew melon, brioche and kumquat persist. The exquisite range of this wine and the weight on the tongue further adds to this incredible drinking experience. The gorgeous finish lasts for nearly a minute. Drink 2017-2035- 96

Krug NV Rose Champagne - This comes from a host of vintages from 2000-2006 and sat on less for five years prior to bottling .This was disgorged in 2013. The The wine has ripe aromas of poached pear, brioche and raspberry, showing a full cornocopia of aromatics. There are flavors of raspberry, mushroom, red delicious apple and just a scintillating finish that lingers for nearly a minute. This is a powerful Champagne that is one of a kind. You can just enjoy every second enjoying this memorable wine that flows seamlessly. Drink 2015-2040- 97

Germany:

2003 Joh. Jos Prum 'Wehlener Sonnenuhr' Spatlase- Taken from a ripe vintage this wine has peach, lemon like and dried herbs on the nose. Palate is sweet without being unctuous. Pear, lemon lime and slate with white peach flavors. Just insanely delicious at this stage in the development, with the minerality to cellar for another 10. Drink 2012-2025-95

Italy:

2012 Antinori 'Solaia'- The 2012 Solaia is an absolutely tremendous wine from Antinori. This compelling blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese, 5% Cabernet Franc has a brooding, dark color with complex aromatics of ripe cassis, blueberry purée, black truffle, sandalwood and dark chocolate. On the palate this is full-bodied and well-structured with impressive balance and depth. This absolutely seamless wine leaves behind flavors of cocoa, dark chocolate, blackberry pie and blueberry preserves to linger on the finish. This needs time, but overall the 2012 is a classic Solaia, which has a long, bright future ahead. Drink 2019-2040 -98

2011 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino- This wine represents a wonderful growing season and you can smell and taste the wonderful warmth in the bottle. This Brunello begins with aromas of sandalwood, dried cherry, rose petals and stewed strawberry. This brings flavors of red raspberry, guava, cherry pie, pipe tobacco and anise. Just delicious and lithe wine that's open and expressive, straight out of the bottle. Drink 2015-2030- 95

2009 Lisini 'Ugolia' Brunello di Montacino- This single vineyard Brunello comes from a 1 hectacre parcel of land. This wine has aromas of red currant, red raspberry and dill. This leads to flavors of blackberry, black cherry, black truffle mushroom and red currant. Incredible combination. Of red and dark fruits alongside silky tannins. This is just incredible wine, the best I've tried from this vintage . Drink 2016-2030- 97

Portugal: