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The Top Ten Red Wines from the 2017 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival

WF-logo-2016-(3)It is time to unveil our Top Ten Red Wines from the recently concluded 2017 Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival.  We have already talked about the white wines, which you can read here, because the overall quality of the whites was noticeable and somewhat remarkable.  That does not take anything away from the reds, however, as per usualIMG_2522 there were many great wines to be found, and a few surprises along the way to keep it all interesting and fun.  This was a difficult decision process, and there is little difference in quality, or value really, between the top group.  As always it comes down to our preferences and opinions.  Also, as usual, we will not include anything above $100 on this list.  We didn’t have time to get to everything, unfortunately, so you can be sure there is something we missed.

To the wines!

1. 2014 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon – 80% Cab with the rest made up of Bordeaux varietals, this is 50% from Rutherford estate grapes and 50% sourced from other Napa vineyards.  Smooth, rich and the fruit goes on and on.  Cheri’s favorite of the event.  Great price too at $40.

2. 2014 Trefethen Merlot – from Oak Knoll fruit, this is beautifully made, with elegant fruit and building tannins.  IMG_2546There’s a lot of character and structure to this wine.  Less opulent than their Cabernet Suavignon, but more refined.  About $35.

3. 2015 CoudouletIMG_2461 de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone – this is great Cotes-du-Rhone, and really drinks like a full fledged Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  You don’t have to pay top dollar for this though.  $22

4. 2015 Sonoma-Loeb Pinot Noir – Dutton Ranch – we put their Chardonnay on the Top Ten White Wine list, and here is their Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir on the red list.  Fruit, fruit and more IMG_2524fruit.  This is not shy, but still balanced and fresh.  Outstanding.  $40

5. 2012 Orma Toscana – from Bolgheri, this is 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% IMG_2492Cabernet Franc.  It’s big, it’s a baby and still quite tannic.  It’s pretty great though, and will reward some patience.  $80

6. 2014 Justin Justification – 55% Caberenet Franc and the rest Merlot, this is a beautifully structured and elegant wine, while still full bodied and rich.  Around $60, and less opulent than the also excellent Isoceles.IMG_2476

7. 2014 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon – we had this at Rosecliff on Friday night, and it is a classic Napa mountain cab.  Dark, rich and full of berries, caramel notes and tobacco.  $40

8. 2015 Bosman Family Vineyards Adama Red Blend – the white was on our Top Ten White Wine list, and this red from South Africa surprised us as well.  There are seven different red grapes in this, mostly Rhone-centric but then they throw in Primitivo and Nero d’Avola.  This is young, structured and still a bit tannic, but really, really good.  I’d like to follow this over the next five years and see how it ages.  $26

9. 2012 Famiglia Pasqua Amarone – this is a value pick, as it is excellent Amarone at a price that comes in underIMG_2554 $40.  Balanced and long.

10. 2012 Ceretto Barolo Brunate – great Barolo from a great vintage.  Cherry, tar and floral notes.  IMG_2457Structured and layered, but not too dense.  This will develop into a sublimely elegant wine, and is pretty hard to resist right now.  Good value too at $45.

And of course there were many other worthy wines.  Some to take note of include:

2014 Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Knoll – rich profile – $50

2015 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee – consistent, go to wine – $30IMG_2469

2015 Chappellet Signature Cab – just released and always great – $60

2014 Justin Isoceles – always excellent – $80

2014 Vale D’Maria – a very unusual blend of over 30 varietals, all planted together. – $30IMG_2483

2011 Fuedi di San Gregorio Taurasi – tannic but will be great – $35

2014 Siduri Russian River Pinot Noir – $32 and good value there.

2012 Chateau Tour Pibran – elegant Bordeaux – $40

2014 Martin Ray Napa Reserve Cabernet – great value at $35

Any of the above honorable mentions will impress your palate and your friends.  These are all top notch wines, represent good value, and stand out from the crowd.  There is no shortage of variety in the wine world, and you can always look forward to trying something new.  We think that is a very good thing.

Newport delivers another great weekend of wine and food.  We’re already planning for next year.

A votre santé!

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