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Chateau Grange Cochard, Morgon (Beaujolais, Burgundy, France) Côte de Py 2015 ($25, Weygandt-Metzler Importing)
 Don’t make the mistake of thinking of all Beaujolais as light and frothy, or of Gamay as a second-rate grape variety.  This serious, substantial wine demonstrates that both are capable of much more.  Filled with seductive flavors echoing red fruits, leather, savory spice, and more, it has the sort of nuanced complexity one associates with red Burgundy or northern Rhône wines -- which makes sense, as the region sits right between these two more celebrated ones.  More and more artisanal winemakers are fashioning Beaujolais like this, a development well worth celebrating as you toast the advent of 2019. 
92 Paul Lukacs

WRO WINE BLOG

Posted by Robert Whitley on December 6, 2018 at 9:14 AM

10 Luxury Wine Gifts Under $100

Creators Syndicate
A gift of wine this holiday season is special on its face because it’s personal. It’s also a minefield for those choosing the gift. Those with little wine experience will have doubts about the quality or the price. Even those who know what they like in a wine might be reluctant to assume others will share their enthusiasm.

I will attempt to alleviate a bit of the anxiety by suggesting ten well-priced (under $100 retail) luxury wines that are universally respected by wine connoisseurs. The following wines are among my personal favorites; wines I would be happy to gift and honored to receive:

Black Kite 2016 Pinot Noir, Kite’s Rest, Anderson Valley ($50) – The brilliant winemaker Jeff Gaffner convinced the owners to divide their Anderson Valley estate vineyard into three distinct parcels: Redwoods’ Edge, Stony Terrace and River Turn. Kite’s Rest, a blend of those three specific terroirs, combines the elegance and aromatics of Redwood’s Edge with the richness and depth of Stony Terrace and River Turn. You can’t miss with this wine.

Cakebread Cellars 2015 Chardonnay Reserve, Carneros ($55) – Richer and more layered than Cakebread’s “regular” chardonnay, the reserve hit a home run at the 2018 Ciritcs Challenge in San Diego, where it was named best-of-show white wine. This is a stunning wine that demonstrates California chardonnay can possess power and elegance at the same time.

Castello Banfi 2013 Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italy ($95) – From a special section of the Banfi Estate, Poggio Alle Mura has a long track record of excellence. The 2013 may be the finest vintage yet, and it’s available this year as Banfi celebrates its 40th anniversary in Montalcino.

Corison 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($95) – Winemaker/owner Cathy Corison is the queen of Napa Valley cabernet. She enjoyed a rock-star career as winemaker at Chappellet Vineyards before she struck out on her own and her star is still shining as bright as ever. Corison has resisted the trend in recent years to opt for power over elegance. Her cabs are among the most elegant and well balanced in the Napa Valley.

Domaine Carneros by Taittinger 2015 Brut Rose, Carneros ($42) – This is a serious sparkling rose from perhaps the finest sparkling wine producer in the United States. Winemaker Eileen Crane oversees production and the wines reflect her dedication to quality and style. They are impeccable in every way and this vintage brut rose is a gem.

Dutton-Goldfield 2015 Chardonnay, Rued Vineyard ($55) – Winemaker Dan Goldfield is perhaps best known for his scintillating single-vineyard pinot noirs. That said, his Rued Chardonnay is about as good as California chardonnay gets. You won’t be disappointed.

Gloria Ferrer 2007 Carneros Cuvee, Late Disgorged, Carneros ($80) – Gloria Ferrer’s prestige cuvee, Carneros Cuvee, gets the same tender loving care a top-notch Champagne house would lavish on its $400 a bottle tetes de cuvee. If you’ve never tasted an aged, mature bubbly you are in for a treat.

Jordan Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley ($56) – The best cabernet sauvignon for the price in the world, bar none. And they do it every year!

Merry Edwards 2016 Pinot Noir, Olivet Lane, Russian River Valley ($68) – Merry, the queen of California pinot noir, retired this year so this vintage from one of her favorite vineyards is one of her last. Long live the queen!

Moet & Chandon 2009 Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne, France ($78) – Vintage Champagne from a top house at this price would be hard to pass up. So what are you waiting for?

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Paul
Lukacs
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Murphy
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Whitley
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Belding
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This Issue's Reviews
 
Excellence on a Big Frame: Primitivo di Manduria
Jim Clarke

In my last column for Wine Review Online, I addressed an effort by producers in the Languedoc to keep up with the apparent trend toward fresher, lower-alcohol wines by adjusting their blends, exploring different appellations, and so forth. Overall, I think this is a good thing, but we should never forget that fresher, etc., is not the only way to make wine. When your grape variety and growing conditions demand richness and power, sometimes it's advisable to let them go for it. Such is the case with Primitivo in Puglia.
Millions of Years in the Making: Appreciating the Geology that Underlies our Favorite Wines
Wayne Belding

Wine aficionados love to talk about geologic aspects of vineyard sites that produce their favorite wines. Whether it's the Jurassic limestone of Burgundy, the granite of Beaujolais or the schist of the Douro Valley, the geology is approached with reverence. The study of geology revolves around understanding how the rocks we observe on the surface of the earth are formed. By understanding their genesis, we can develop far-reaching theories on the earth's formative processes.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Smoked Salmon Rillettes


This is the time of year when we're all happy to have a couple of reliable, delicious, relatively simple and wine-friendly recipes on hand. Whether a simple snack or more substantial fare, we ideally want the dish to be something that can be made a day or two ahead and whipped out of the fridge just as the guests begin to arrive. Enter Smoked Salmon Rillettes, a pâté-like preparation usually spread on bread, toast, or crackers. Although customarily made from chopped pork that has been simmered in fat a long time until it is very tender, this deliciously rustic fare may also be made from goose, duck, or game birds, as well as salmon or, as we recently discovered, smoked salmon. This version tastes somewhat more elegant than most others, and so is an excellent choice for holiday entertaining. And make plenty. If your guests are anything like ours were, they'll eat every morsel!
On My Table
Unpacking a New Terroir in Argentina
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

This wine is a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc produced by the Dominio del Plata winery, which is the winery of notable Argentine enologist, Susana Balbo. The winery produces several different tiers of wines, of which BenMarco is among the finest. The BenMarco wines focus on terroir as their defining concept, and that focus roused my curiosity to taste the wines. After visiting Argentina in February, I came to understand the exciting terroir movement that is occurring there - particularly within the Valle de Uco -- and I witnessed the distinctiveness that Malbec wines can derive from their different terroirs. This wine hails from what I consider one of the most exciting of Argentina's new Geographical Indications (GIs), Gualtallary.