The number 10 wine is a favorite from Napa for me. I love O’Shaughessy and I find it better than Shafer Hillside on a regular basis and it is a fraction of the cost. This is classic Napa and was featured at the Hennepin Lake Tasting in October.
2015 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – USA, California, Napa Valley (10/11/2018)
Hennepin Lake Tasting 2018; 10/11/2018-10/14/2018 (Minneapolis, MN): Excellent and second best wine at the tasting. Bright fruit, floral, dust and a nice minerality streak. Medium to long finish and drinking quite well for this young a vintage. I would decant a few hours prior to serving and I could see this wine cellaring for a decade. (94 points)
The number nine wine of the year would have been the number one wine of the year had all the bottles sampled would have been as good as this one. Classic saying is there are no great wines just great bottles and that applies here. For less than $30 this wine delivered in Spades. In January email me to find out where this will be for under $30.
2014 Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon Chateau Buena Vista – USA, California, Napa Valley (1/30/2018)
Day 1: Lighter in color. Nose offers toasted oak, plum, cherry and coffee beans. On the palate good use of oak and fruits and apparent and pleasing. Very balanced overall and even though it is a 2014 don’t hesitate to pop and pour. I will see where this wine goes on day 2 and 3. Should be interesting.
Day 2: Nice fruits on the nose. Oak, spices, coffee beans and rose petals. On the finish picks up a crushed rock quality. Medium plus finish and an excellent value. This is even better than day 1. 93 points.
Day 3: Even better with menthol, toasted oak, spices, dark currants and crushed rock. For concentrated effort and what an amazing value. The evolution of this wine over three days is quite remarkable. Why more people don’t see the evolution of younger wines over the course of time is mind blowing. 94 plus!!! (94 points)
The number eight wine is from a Twin Cities Wine Club Event which will be upping the game in 2019 on tastings in the Twin Cities. I love Syrah and the Booker delivered!
2011 Booker Vineyard Syrah Fracture – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles (12/8/2018)
Syrah & Shiraz Tasting (Gary’s Place, Minneapolis): Outstanding wine and really drinking well. Decanted one hour. Smooth and polished with violets, raspberries, spice, pepper and dust. Balanced and good acidity. This wine should drink well for another five plus years. Outstanding Paso Robles Syrah. (94 points)
The number seven wine comes from Phil at Hennepin Lake’s epic tasting every year. For $25 you can sample thousands of dollars in one night. I have not seen an event in the country that delivers this value because it would not exist.
2015 Domaine du Pégau Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (10/11/2018)
Hennepin Lake Tasting 2018; 10/11/2018-10/14/2018 (Minneapolis, MN): The best young Pegau I have ever tasted and wine of the tasting. Garrique, funk, stones and rustic edges. This is a powerful wine but very balanced. Long finish and actually drinking great right now. If I had a six pack I would drink one every two years to see the evolution. 94-96. (94 points)
The number six wine was the best pairing with food this year. I am not a huge food/wine pair guy but this La Rioja wine was the perfect match for the Paella.
2005 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904 – Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (9/30/2018)
Wine Dinner featuring Paella (Margaux’s Table, White Bear Lake): Decanted this 2 hours. Showing amazing tonight. My wine of the night. The dill was up front but blew off quick. Wood, raspberries, tar and spices. A perfect Rioja that is still affordable. Drink now or hold for a few more years. I would not advise waiting a ton on these as they are really showing well. (94 points)
The number 5 wine should be on the under $20 list but when I bought it the price tag was $21.99 from WTSO. Later it was $10.99 at Big Top Liquors. Not all bottles have been this stellar but all are 90 plus.
2010 Ardal Tradicion Ribera del Duero Reserva Selección Especial – Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (7/13/2018)
Day 1: This is one of the better WTSO wines I have had in years. The 2nd bottle corked but this one is rocking! Rustic wine with leather, sour cherries, earth, bramble, dried herbs and an array of darker fruits. On the finish picks up a nice chocolate element. This is a classic effort and the traditionalist would approve. If this ever pops up again buy!!! 94 points
Day 2: Very similar to day 1 and this tells me a decade of drinking. Very concentrated finish and just enjoyable to drink. 94 points
Day 3: This wine is holding strong on day 3 and adds a nice coffee bean element. Great fruit and complexity. Medium to long finish. Balanced with a capital B. 94 points
Recommendation: Buy this!!! This wine will drink well for over a decade. (94 points)
The number 4 wine is one in which I can’t afford but was happy to sample it. Over $200 for this Napa beauty. This wine will age for decades.
2014 Nine Suns Cabernet Sauvignon Houyi Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (7/30/2018)
4 Napa Cabs at various price points (St. Paul, MN): Wow! This wine is amazing. One of the best I have sampled this year. Concentrated with dark cherries, blackberries, spices, oak, vanilla and earth. Long finish and good acidity. Decanted 2 plus hours. I would see this peaking in 2025. Excellent wine and thanks to David for providing this one! (95 points)
The number 3 wine is still available in town. Hennepin Lake had this beauty for $39.99 while WineStreets has it for $49.99. Should be a long term aging wine.
2015 K Vintners Syrah The Beautiful – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley (10/29/2018)
Day 1: Not what I would expect from Washington State. Very Northern Rhone. White pepper, game, violets, earth and black licorice. This has a medium to long finish and is quite a complex wine. Not many would pick Washington State in a blind tasting. I am quite please with this day 1 showing on quite a young wine. Should evolve on day 2, 3 and possibly 4. 94 points
Day 2: Violets, white pepper, soy sauce, game and menthol. This has the least amount of fruit I have ever tasted from a Washington State Syrah but I love this wine! One of the more interesting wines of the year for me. A must buy! 95 points
Day 3: Holding form from day 1 and 2. I love this wine.
Recommendation: Buy three or four and try one young and see how this evolves over the years. I see this as a 15 year wine. One of my top wines of the year considering the price of $45. (95 points)
The Number 2 wine on the list was an aged CDP which was at its peak of performance. The number one wine was from the same wine dinner back in January.
1998 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/28/2018)
Annual CDP Tasting (Edina Country Club): Wine of the night. Funk, underbrush, raspberries and floral notes. Classic CDP and had a few glasses over the course of 3 hours and there was no drop off on this one. While I would enjoy this now as it is peaking I could see 3 to 5 more years of cellaring without fear. Just an amazing, complex wine. Defiantly a better bottle than I have had prior to this as I never hated this wine but never loved it either. This is why I love Cellar Tracker to see how wines evolve and bottles vary. (95 points)
The number one wine is liquid gold. This wine is young in the annuals of the Sauternes world however is drinking so well that if you had a case enjoy one every year.
2001 Château Suduiraut – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (7/15/2018)
By far the wine of the night. Liquid gold. Apricots, honey, golden apples and subtle spices. Super concentration and good acidity. This is still young and has another 20 years of enjoyment. Amazing! (96 points)