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Wines to Buy from the 2016 Boston Wine Expo

Boston Logo 2016This past weekend we were at the 2016 Boston Wine Expo for the Sunday Grand Tasting.  It was the coldest day in Boston in 60 years, but at least it wasn’t a driving blizzard like last year, when the Sunday event were cancelled.  This time we made it.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect, and the event has its positives and negatives.  One negative is the lack of food, which is something that IMG_2002really can make or break a good wine event.  If people are going to be milling about for four hours drinking wine a little protein goes a long way.  There wasn’t much of that to be found.  There were also many vendors selling wares unrelated to wine, and that can be a distraction.  Still, there was a lot of wine, and we managed to find some new stars, meet some old friends and talk to some great people.  Let’s highlight some of the new wines we came across that are really worth mentioning, and we feel are worth buying.  These will all be on our Value List.

Great Values

On the value side of the equation there were some startlingly strong wines.  There were some strong regions in this category, including California and the Languedoc, as well as a run of excellent Rioja Reservas.  Here are some to highlight, including a group of wines from the people at Rutherford that blew us away.

2013 Lander-Jenkins California Chardonnay – this is oaked but not heavily, and the oak brings it a little more texture that works great.  The wine is clean with nice fruit and stays that way all through the long finish.  I really like this wine, and would have guessed $20-$25.  It’s actually about $12.99 retail and a crazy good value.  One of the Rutherford lines.

2012 Lander-Jenkins California Pinot Noir – this has a more Burgundian nose than a fruit filled California profile.  It’s got IMG_2018great cherry flavors and is actually quite complex.  The finish is long and pleasing.  Once again I would have guessed mid-$20 range.  How about $14.99.

Both of these first two wines would make unbelievable everyday house wines and leave your friends thinking you suddenly came into some money.

2014 Rutherford Ranch Sauvignon Blanc – a big nose of peach and melon and a palate full of the same leaves you very happy with this crisp Sauvignon Blanc.  It’s very clean with refreshing acidity.  All good here.  $14.99

2013 Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – this is a dark red wine with a nose of black and red fruit.  It’s got good balance, medium + body and well integrated tannins.  All in all a very pleasing Napa Cabernet for $20.  You don’t see those everyday.

2013 Scott Family Estate Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir – wow, was this good.  Again it had a big nose of red fruits, earthy and very IMG_2022Burgundian.  On the palate it was luxurious and elegant, carrying the fruit into a long, balanced finish.  We thought this was clearly one of our favorite wines of the day and it is an absolute steal at $24.99  Also from the Rutherford Family.

Now for the Languedoc – a large area in Southern France making some excellent wines at very attractive prices.  Here are two:

2013 La Prestige Chateau Puech-Haut – this red blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah is medium+ bodied, dark red in color and has some nicely integrated tannins with nuances of oak and spice.  It finishes long and is really a quality red.  Under $20.

2011 Blason D’Aussieres Corbieres – dark red with aromas of red and black fruits.  Oak joins the party and on the palate the wineIMG_2011 is rich and satisfying, with soft tannins, good balance and a long, long finish.  40% Syrah, 30% Mouvedre, 20% Grenache and 10% Carignan.  Also under $20.

From Rioja:

2010 Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva – extremely elegant, with wonderfully complex aromas and flavors.  Medium bodied.  This is a beautiful wine.  About $15

IMG_20032005 Ontanon Rioja Reserva – very dark red with strong herbal notes, this wine is more powerful than the Campo Viejo above.  Darker fruits dominate and it finished very long.  This is from Rioja Baja but from higher elevations near the border with Rioja Alta. $25 and worth every penny.

Now Some Great Wines:

These three wines we thought were flat out excellent.  They are not the cheapest, but they are worth their respective prices.

2013 Pine Ridge Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – deep, deep red this has a nose of pure fruit with currant and blackberry.  IMG_2016It strikes you as a quintessential Napa Cab, and that is a good thing.  The fruit is front and center on the palate as well, with very subtle oak and a rich, long finish.  Everything about this screams quality.  It is delicious.  92% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest a combination Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  Around $40.  Value List at that price.

2012 Pavillon Haut-Lestage – from a right bank Bordeaux Chateau in Montagne St. Emilion, this wine is mostly Merlot and is elegance personified.  There is beautifully pure fruit, medium body and an amazingly satisfying overall experience.  A very long finish caps it off.  We thought this was off the charts.  Not available in New England yet but they were in Boston trying to change that.  Hopefully they succeed.  Look for this wine.  $45

2012 Chateau Lestage – their regular Bordeaux bottling, the 2012 is Merlot through and through.  This wine is rich, big and has everything you want in a top notch right bank wine.  The tannins are a bit stiff and this needs some time, but in a few years this will be killer.  Better yet it is around $25.  This is an outstanding wine, especially for the money.  Again, look for this if they are hopefully picked up in your area.

And finally, a winery you’ve probably never heard of with some very good wine.

Opolo Vineyards – the owners, Rick Quinn and Dave Nichols, initially bought adjacent vineyards in Paso Robles.  They sold their fruit to some fairly high profile wineries, and still do, but in 1999 they did their first crush for their label, Opolo.  They make a series of wines, and we tried some good juice including their 2014 Viognier ($21.99), the 2012 Grand Rouge ($19.99), the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($32.99) an a pretty excellent 2014 Mountain Zinfandel with big, bold fruit ($30).  The Zin is made in fairly large quantities so might be available near you.  Good stuff all around and something new and different.

And Laureate Imports was there with the wines from Vinska Klet Goriska Brda, which we’ve highlighted many time and are always worth buying.  These include their Avia, Colliano and Bagueri lines.

The best value of the bunch?  In a close contest with the wines from Lestage, we’re going with the 2013 Scott Family Pinot Noir, which is a truly great wine for $25.

A votre santé!


1 comment to Wines to Buy from the 2016 Boston Wine Expo

  • […] 2014 Scott Family Estate Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir – Dijon Clone – A medium to dark red, this wine has a nose with red fruit, earth and spice.  Some charred oak also makes an appearance.  On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, with black cherry and some of that charred wood.  Tannins are mild but noticeable.  There is some brisk acid, and a long finish.  We thought there was a touch of bitterness at the back end.  This is a good wine, but we think the 2013 version was better.  You can read a bit about that wine by clicking here. […]

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