2019 Best Wine Discoveries

2019 was a great year for wine discoveries. Here is a list of the discoveries of the year and where I purchased them. Unfortunately many are long gone.

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No surprise on this one!!!

2015 Tenuta di Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT (12/26/2019)
Day 1: Bordeaux style blend, red currants, minerality, menthol, earthiness. Medium plus finish. A bit tight on day 1. 91-92 points
59% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Verdot.
Day 3: Minerality, cherry, blueberry, raspberries, earth and menthol. Medium plus finish. Good concentration and acidity. Long term aging potential. 93/94.
Recommendation: $21.99 Haskell’s in Bloomington. Buy!!! (93 points)

Sampled: 8 times

Purchased: Haskell’s Bloomington $21.99 (still several cases left)

2016 Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Paraje Altamira – Argentina, Mendoza (12/4/2019)
Day 1: Dust, blueberries, cherry, floral and minerals. Very enjoyable wine. Nice fruit but love the minerality on the finish. This exceeds the price point. Medium finish. 91 points
Day 2: Very good with a nice smoked meat quality along with blueberries, cherry, floral, minerals and dust. Medium plus finish. This is a crowd pleaser and for the price a hit at your next party. 91 points
Day 3: Picks up some smoke/smoked meats along with blueberries, cherry, minerals and dust. Not as concentrated as day 1 and 2 but solid. 88 points
Recommendation: This will age through 2024. I would decant this for an hour or drink it over 2 days. (91 points)

Sampled: 1 time

Purchased: 1010 Washington Wine & Spirits $14.83 (on sale)

A Balanced, Inexpensive Aussie Shiraz

2014 Jamsheed Syrah Harem Series La Syrah – Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Yarra Valley (3/15/2019)
Day 1: Good acidity and vibrant flavors. Rustic with raspberries, floral, underbrush and spice. Nice balanced effort and no off elements to this wine. Medium plus finish. 91 points
Day 2: Again good acidity. Rustic wine featuring floral, raspberries, boysenberries, underbrush, twigs and spice. Medium plus finish and rock solid again. 91 points
Day 3: Wow getting some Northern Rhone funk, spice, underbrush, raspberries and minerals. Medium plus finish and picks up some white pepper. Good acidity. Did this sky rocket up the point scale. 93 to 95.
Recommendation: Hold this until 2022. Had I not save this for 2 plus days I would have never got the evolution. Outstanding value for only $11 on my 3 Day Wine Review email blast. Only one smart wine drinker took advantage of this deals as I was happy to pick up the remaining bottles. (93 points)

Sampled: 5 times

Purchased: Sid’s Discount Liquors for $11.00 (tax included).

2015 Domaine Christophe Cordier Mâcon-Charnay Vieilles Vignes – France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Mâcon-Charnay (11/7/2019)
Day 1: Sampled at Hennepin Lake earlier in the day and bought at 1010 Washington Wine & Spirits for much less. $14.99 on sale. This is really nice with saline, shells, orange peel and chalk. Short to medium finish. Picks up some nice Carmel elements on the finish. Very complex for a wine under $20.00! 91 points
Day 2: Honey, Carmel, saline, shells and orange peel. Very complex wine for $15. Medium finish and good acidity. Highly Recommended. 91 points
Day 3: Not as good as day 1 and 2 and lost some of the intensity. Drink on a pop and pour and enjoy.
Recommendation: This is a short term ager. Drinking well now so why wait. Drink now to 2021. (91 points)

Sampled: 2 times

Purchased: 1010 Washington Wine & Spirits $14.89 (sale pricing with tax)

2013 Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley (1/18/2019)
Day 1: Nice overall. Menthol, vanilla, oak, cherry, blueberries and burnt toast. Medium plus finish. Outstanding 2013 effort. This on a pop and pour. Nice spice quality on the finish. Excellent value under $30. 92 points
Day 2: Menthol, vanilla, oak, chocolate, dark fruits and floral notes. Even better on day 2 and complex wine. Medium plus finish. This wine should age for another 5 years. 93 points
Day 3: Some sediment on the last pour. Really good and balanced. I am getting some nice pencil shavings, dark fruits and minerals. Medium plus finish and delicious. 93 points
Recommendation: Drink now but with a 2 hour decant or cellar for two to five years. A wonderful wine! (93 points)

Sampled: 3 times

Purchased: WineStreet Spirits $33.00 (tax included). Might still have some left.

2014 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (3/20/2019)
Day 1: Pop and pour and amazing funky character. Garrique, stones, tar, damp leaves and raspberries. Very balanced and excellent wine. Medium to long finish. This is the best of the bottles so far and will be buying more. Drinking really well young. 93 points
Day 2: Still has the amazing funk with roasted chesnuts, raspberries, menthol, stone and tar. Super concentrated wine right now with medium plus finish. Just singing and even better as the Gophers beat Louisville today. 93+
Day 3: Awesome. Roasted chestnuts, funk, spice, tar, pepper, stone and red currants. This is packed with flavor and concentrated finish. For $30 a QPR of the year candidate. 94 points
Recommendation: At $30 a bottle a case purchase! This will drink well for another decade but shocking how good this is right now! (94 points)

Sampled: 3 times

Purchased: $33.00 WineStreet Spirits

2015 Rhys Pinot Noir Anderson Valley – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley (1/12/2019)
Day 1: This is rocking out of the gate. Very much the style of Pinot I like from California and it features cranberry, dust, spices, dried leaves and black olives. Very balance and nice acidity. Medium plus finish and should drink well through 2023. Excellent wine for $30. 92 points
Day 2: Drinking really well with cranberry, celery, subtle wood notes, dried leaves and black olives. A very alive wine with good acidity. This is drinking extremely well on day 2. This is a pop and pour now or a candidate to cellar for up to 5 years. 92 points
Day 2.5: Really looking for a glass of wine to end the night so this one won’t make it the traditional 3 days. Last glass is not as good as the glass earlier.
Recommendation: I would really look at drinking this wine over the next 3 to 5 years. It is good just on a pop and pour. I tend to find Pinot Noir struggling on day 3. (92 points)

Sampled: 1 time

Purchased: $33.00 at WineStreet Spirits

2014 Boedecker Cellars Pinot Noir Athena – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (3/30/2019)
Day 1: My friend Brian Bangs (RIP) was the one who introduced me to Boedecker as their distributor in MN. Great QPR. Wood, spices, Rose petals and smoked meats. Medium finish and good balance. Solid. 91 points
Day 2: Wood, strawberry, floral, spice, and smoked meats. Showing some weight today and moderate acidity. This would go really good with grilled meats. 90 points
Day 3: To quote Nature Boy Ric Flair, “Whoooooo!” This is one of the great transformation over 3 days of all time. Beautiful fruit featuring cherry and strawberry. Perfume, underbrush, rose petals, bacon and smoked meats. Concentrated much more on day 3. Medium plus finish and the only minor flaw is acidity which is above average. This is a long time ager. Wow!!! 94 points
Recommendation: If you bought four like me do the 3 day wine review on this one. You will be amazed. If you have one bottle drink after 2021. (94 points)

Sampled: 4 times

Purchased: WTSO for $16.99

2014 White Rock Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley (12/19/2019)
Day 1: Second pour and much better than the original. Blueberries, minerals, cherry, earth, coffee beans and spice. Medium plus finish and concentrated wine. Some oak present but well integrated. 93 points
Day 2: Now we are talking. Getting the funk from the tasting last Saturday. Minerals, cherry, blueberries, spice, coffee beans, blackberries and tobacco. Medium to long finish and picks up some menthol. Excellent depth on this one. 94 points
Day 3: Amazing with pencil lead, funk, blueberry, oak, minerals and spice. Multilayered wine and long finish. Picks up some nice dusty quality on the finish. This wine will drink well throughout 2030. 95 points (95 points)

Tasted: 2 times

Purchased: $60 at Sunfish Cellars

2008 Davenport Cellars Continuity – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley (12/30/2019)
Day 1: Holly S… This just took over the top wine of 2019 for 3 Day Wine Review for wines under $30.00. $10.50 on their closeout special which concluded on December 28. Just picked this up from FedEx Office today and it is outstanding. No bottle shock which is a myth to begin with. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. From the following vineyards Kiona, Seven Hills, Sheridan and Burgess.
Classic Washington State. Leather, tobacco, blueberries, cherry and minerality. Drinking unbelievable. So balanced and very Bordeaux like. This would do well in a blind tasting. I am so happy my brother Brian confirmed how great this wine was as he gave it 92 points on two separate occasions. I only bought 4 and regret not getting a case. This wine should age another 3 to 5 years. 93 + points
Day 2: This is not nearly in the same league and based on that drink on day 1. You don’t need to decant this wine. (93 points)

Sampled: 1 time

Purchased: Davenport Cellars for $10.50 (sale is over, $30.00 now)

Worst Discoveries of the Year

2015 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT (6/1/2019)
Day 1: Pop and pour. Iodine, leather, floral, dust and lighter red currants. Short to medium finish. This wine lacks concentration and is quite watery. Might be young and score withheld on day 1.
Day 2: Time has not improved this wine much. Roasted chestnuts, light red currants, mushrooms, floral and dust. Very short, uninspiring finish. Not impressed on this wine. 85 points
Day 3: Opening up a bit but still lacks complexity. Picks up some stone and wood character. A bit better than day 2. 87 points
Recommendation: After trying this over 3 days an easy pass for me. Just really a boring, non eventful wine. (87 points)

Purchased at Winestreet Spirits $33.00 (tax included)

2016 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley (10/10/2019)
2019 Hennepin Lake Charity Event (Minneapolis, MN): A slam dunk for worst wine of the year. Brown sugar! This could have passed for a cheap port. The last several vintages of this wine seem like the wine maker for Prisoner wines is at the helm. Comment if they are. No balance and no acidity. (78 points)

2018 Gassier Côtes de Provence Sables d’Azur Rosé – France, Provence, Côtes de Provence (10/5/2019)
Worst Rose of the Year Candidate. Just odd and no minerals or classic light fruits. Don’t buy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (75 points)

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