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The Top 25 Wines of 2016

top-25-2016It is that time of year again.  Christmas carols fill the airwaves, shoppers struggle against the crowds, special bottles of wine are ready for the holiday celebrations and everyone puts out their top lists of this or that for the past year.  Actually, since many lists are already out and have been finalized for weeks, they can be more of a “best of most of the year” assessment.  Last I checked the year continued until midnight on December 31st.  That said, we’ll beat the clock by a little bit and list our Top 25 Wines from the previous year.

Our parameters for picking these are limited and simple:

One: It’s just Cheri and I so this is solely based on our opinion.

Two: These are wines we personally tried between January 1, 2016 and December 31st, 2016.

Three: Everything retails below $100 (which eliminates some truly great wines, and we’ll highlight some of those at the end of this article)

Four: What really matters most is the Wow! factor.  These are wines that made an impression, enough of one that they came to mind

An unbelievable Reserve Cab from Seamus takes #1

An unbelievable Reserve Cab from Seamus takes #1

immediately when considering what should be included here.  Some just bring world class, jaw dropping quality.  Some are a mix of great quality and low price, which I believe translates to value.  They come from everywhere and hit every price range between $10 and $100.  Most are available, some may be a bit harder to find.

Keep in mind we don’t have the staffs of editors and regional tasters that the major rating magazines employ.  We don’t have 10,000 wines in the mix.  In a normal year we’ll try around 750 – 1000 wines between wine events, smaller formal tastings, samples sent for reviews and what we buy or bring out of our cellar.  Generally we tend to not include the cellar wines unless they are still available on the retail market.

So here they are.  If you’d like to read the original review and tasting note, just click on the wine.

The Top 25 Wines of 2016!

1. 2012 Seamus Atwood Ranch Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – spectacularly rich and complex wine.  $88 and worth every penny.img_0872

2. 2011 Kanonkop Paul Sauer – a South African Bordeaux style blend to rival anything Bordeaux makes.  $50ish and value there.

IMG_19813. 2010 Vina Koyle Auma – another world class red blend, this time from Chile.  Heaven in a glass.  These top 3 are ridiculous.  Close to $100.

4. 2014 Capture Sauvignon Blanc “Les Pionniers” – complex, delicious and clearly superior white.  $45

5. 2015 Georges Dubeouf Morgon –  Cote du Py – Cru Village wine from an unbelievable vintage in Beaujolais.  $22

6. 2013 Pascual Toso Alta Malbec – this changed my mind about Malbec.  Beautifully made wine.  $40IMG_2033

7. 2013 Morgan Syrah – our #1 wine from this years Newport Mansions event.  At $20 this is off the charts value.

8. 2013 Domaine Haegi Pinot Gris – you have to get this from Quigley Fine Wines.  Small production from Alsace.  $24

9. 2009 S. A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese – quintessential, classic Riesling.  $60ish

Duboeuf Dinner 610. 2010 Domaine Vincent Careme – Le Clos – wonderful Chenin Blanc from Vouvray.  $40

11. 2014 Prelius Cabernet Sauvignon unbelievably rich, deep, complex cabernet for the money. $17

12. 2014 Etude Pinot Noir – Grace Benoist Ranch – rich, fruity, complex and everything you want in Pinot Noir. $35

13. 2013 Yangarra Old Vine Grenache – the sole Australian wine on this list. $32

14. 2013 Domaine du Castel Gran Vin world class Bordeaux style blend from Israel.  Yes, Israel.  $80img_2339

15. 2013 Galerie Pleinair Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – second year in a row for this wine. You will see why.  $50

16. 2013 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot – wonderfully made wine, likely less than $15.  We got a case for $9.99 a bottle!

17. 2012 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bricco Ambrogio – a little muscular, will age forever.  $60

18. 2013 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon – from a line of great wines across the board this year.  $45

19. 2013 Robert Mondavi To Kalon Reserve Fume Blanc – what you expect in Mondavi Reserve wine.  Greatness.  $52img_2217

20. 2013 Colliano Cuvee White – at around $15 this is always one of the best value bottles anywhere.

21. 2011 Kanonkop Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – rich, elegant Cabernet.  Kanonkop does everything well. $40

22. 2014 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon – after the great 2012 and 2013 vintages in Napa, this is not a let down.  $30

23. 2012 Charles Krug Generations – rich and complex red blend.  Delicious juice.  $55

24. 2011 Vina la Playa Axel Syrah – serious value wine here.  $22

25. 2013 Raats Cabernet Franc – always a favorite, and two years in a row as well here.  $40

That’s quite a list, and if you get a chance to try some we suggest you do so.  The Seamus wine likely requires you join their wine club, and personally I was willing to do just about anything to get some in our cellar.  I can’t say enough about the top three wines on the list, they are all in the category of “how much better can it possibly get”.  Of course, we have yet to get our hands on that bottle of Romanee Conti, or Petrus.

So take your pick.  Go for the $15 bottle of excellent wine, or splurge and get something that will blow your mind.  Speaking of blowing your mind, there were many wines above our $100 price limit that deserve mentioning.  Here are just a few:

2013 Joseph Phelps Insignia  $230

2013 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $140 (and the 1976 as well – which was great!)magdelena

2011 Pascual Toso Magdalena  $130

2013 Hall “Kathryn Hall” Cabernet Sauvignon  $165

2006 Penfolds Bin 169 Cabernet Sauvignon $200

Whatever you do – drink what you like!  We’re looking forward to finding many more great wines in 2017.

A votre sante!

 

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