José de Sousa

2015 Portugal Alentejo
94 Points

Named after the Fonseca estate in Alentejo, this wine is impressively rich and structured. It has firm tannins that are balanced by dense black fruits and crisp acidity. A blend of Grand Noir (the local name for Baga), Trincadeira and Aragones, it's a very complete wine, fermented in clay amphora and stone lagars. It's still maturing, so drink from 2019. 

Wine Enthusiast December 15, 2017
J.M. da Fonseca Jose de Sousa bottle Platinum

120 Chardonnay

2016 Chile Central Valley
87 Points

No, this is not a misprint. This $6 Chardonnay is a quaffer's dream. Aromas of apple and pear are clean and pleasant. In the mouth, this feels round and balanced. Slightly salty apple flavors are steady on the finish.

#55 Top 100 Best Buys 2017 Award
Wine Enthusiast November 2017
Santa Rita 120 Chardonnay bottle Best Buy

Zisola Effe Emme

2014 Italy Sicily
89 Points

Hints of violet and graphite accent flavors of crushed mulberry and plum in this well-meshed, medium-bodied red. A firm frame of chewy tannins holds sway on the mineral- and herb-laced finish. Petit Verdot. Best from 2019 through 2024. 

Wine Spectator September 30, 2017
Mazzei Zisola Effe Emme bottle

Doppiozeta

2014 Italy Sicily
91 Points

Creamy tannins enfold the focused flavors of crushed raspberry and dried fig in this harmonious, medium- to full-bodied red, with an underlying note of smoky mineral. Aromatic accents of licorice snap, violet and herb show on the chewy finish. Nero d'Avola with Syrah. Drink now through 2027.

Wine Spectator September 30, 2017
Mazzei Doppiozeta bottle Platinum

Merlot

2013 Italy Sicily
92 Points

A soft and delicious merlot with chocolate and dried fruit character. Orange peel undertones. Full body, round and polished tannins and a flavorful finish. Drink or hold.

JamesSuckling.com October 20, 2017
Planeta Merlot bottle Platinum

Burdese

2013 Italy Sicily
92 Points

A luscious and rich red with currant and chocolate character. Medium to full body, round tannins and a juicy finish. So delicious. Drink or hold.

JamesSuckling.com October 20, 2017
Planeta Burdese bottle Platinum

Santa Cecilia

2013 Italy Sicily
94 Points

Wonderful aromas of violets and lavender with dark fruits. Medium to full body. I love the energetic acidity combined with the ripe fruit and firm, silky tannins. A fresh finish. Made from nero d'avola grapes.

JamesSuckling.com October 20, 2017
Planeta Santa Cecilia bottle Platinum

Syrah

2013 Italy Sicily
93 Points

The spice and dark fruit is opulent here with undertones of dried meat. Full body, round and soft tannins and a tangy finish. Fresh and juicy. Drink now.

JamesSuckling.com October 20, 2017
Planeta Syrah bottle Platinum

Chardonnay

2015 Italy Sicily
94 Points

A rich and layered chardonnay with so much cooked apple and pear character and vanilla undertones. It's a full-bodied white with the full Burgundy treatment. Sexy and enticing. Drink or hold.

JamesSuckling.com October 20, 2017
Planeta Chardonnay bottle Platinum

Cometa

2016 Italy Sicily
92 Points

I like the sliced pear and hints of white peach on the nose and palate. Some mineral undertones. Full body, dry and lightly bitter. 100% fiano. Drink now.

JamesSuckling.com October 20, 2017
Planeta Cometa bottle Platinum

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

2012 Italy Tuscany
96 Points

This 2012 shows the estate on top form, with this beautiful poise and balance (S. Hulme). This is great value, offering multi-faceted complexity (B. Besa). Big can be beautiful, as this wine from about 100ha of organically farmed vineyard demonstrates (M. Garner). 

Decanter October 2017
Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG bottle Platinum

Ultime

NV/MV France Champagne
90 Points

Long lees aging (six years) has been good to this wine. It has balanced the bone-dry character of the wine, allowing it to fill out. Now, it is a beautifully structured Pinot Noir-dominate wine, with a light tannic character as well as hints of almonds and plenty of citrus fruits. Drink now. 

Wine Enthusiast December 2017
Boizel Ultime Bottle Platinum

Joyau de France

2000 France Champagne
94 Points

Aged for 15 years on its lees, this mature Champagne is toasty, sheding its bright fruitiness while gaining a richer, more developed and nuanced character. Almonds and spice are partnered with intense acidity, resulting in a beautiful wine that is ready to enjoy now.

Wine Enthusiast December 2017
Boizel Joyau de France Bottle Platinum

Blanc de Blancs

NV/MV France Champagne
90 Points

A blend from Grand and Premier Cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, this is tight and minerally in character. The texture is mitigated by the generous dosage that gives the wine its soft apple and pear notes. Drink now.

Wine Enthusiast December 2017
Boizel Blanc de Blancs Bottle Platinum

Triple C

2013 Chile Maipo Valley
92 Points

A stacked nose includes aromas of tomato, herbs, cocoa, molasses and berry fruits. The saturated palate announces that this is a big one, while spicy flavors of plum and berry fruits are slightly herbal on a finish with excellent feel and flow. Drink this blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère through 2021.

Wine Enthusiast November 2017
Santa Rita Triple C bottle Platinum

Giulio Ferrari

2005 Italy Trentino
92 Points

Finely knit flavors of baked apple, honey, toasted almond and pastry dough ride the detailed mousse of this rich sparkler, enlivened by vibrant acidity that creates a mouthwatering impression on the smoke-tinged finish. Drink now through 2027. 

Wine Spectator October 31, 2017
Ferrari Giulio Ferrari bottle Platinum

Giulio Ferrari

2004 Italy Trentino
98 Points

Lovely bright shade and infinite length in the perlage. Lightly toasty on the nose at first, then classic Trento citrus and fresh apple. Concentrated flavors on the palate, very firm structure, serious, complex, and deep. Lovely return of fruit on the finish.

Decanter 2016
Ferrari Giulio Ferrari bottle Platinum

Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese

2014 Italy Sicily
92 Points

The 2014 Sicilia Nerello Mascalese Eruzione 1614 is a drier and more mineral-driven expression compared to its peers. The bouquet delivers an immediate and wide array of volcanic characteristics with ash and crushed-sulfur stone. The mouthfeel is linear and tight with fine tannins that are silky and long in terms of mouthfeel. The wine is excellent, but I am surprised by the subdued presence of primary fruit in a vintage like 2014 that is recognized for its exuberant blackberry and black currant aromas. I am assigning a slightly shorter drinking window as a result.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Eruzione 1614 Nerello Mascalese bottle Platinum

Eruzione 1614 Carricante

2015 Italy Sicily
91 Points

The 2015 Sicilia Carricante Eruzione 1614 is an enormously refined and elegant white to enjoy now or to put back in the cellar for another five years to further its evolution. This is a fine and temperate expression that bestows its volcanic characteristics in a prideful and upfront manner. The wine is full of mineral nuances that resemble brimstone, ash and crushed limestone. Yet, this Carricante-based wine (with a small part Riesling) is generous in terms of its fruit and citrus definition. Preserved lemon and candied orange peel appeal on the finish.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante bottle Platinum

Etna Rosso DOC

2015 Italy Sicily
88 Points

Planeta is expanding its offering of Etna wines and this base red is part of that effort. The 2015 Etna Rosso is a subtle and easygoing wine that offers a quick and informal alternative to the large majority of Nerello Mascalese-based wines that tend to be much more austere and reticent in character. This wine reads like an open book. It flaunts its primary fruit, its fresh acidity and its firm but not astringent mouthfeel. Drink this Etna Rosso with barbecued meats.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Etna Rosso DOC bottle

Etna Bianco DOC

2015 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Planeta's 2015 Etna Bianco is a terrific wine that shows surprising fullness and volume (for the Carricante grape which is usually more streamlined in approach). This wine, however, boasts extra stuffing or fiber that adds to the wine's volume and, ultimately, to its persistence. The bouquet delivers an attractive assembly of white peach, citrus, honey and crushed-granite aromas. The wine is inherently simple in spirit, but it awards a thoroughly refreshing drinking experience nonetheless.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Etna Bianco DOC bottle Platinum

Eruzione 1614 Carricante

2016 Italy Sicily
92 Points

The 2016 Sicilia Carricante Eruzione 1614 is comprised of 90% Carricante and 10% Riesling. This wine offers many exciting assets that distinguish it from its competition. First, that supporting presence of Riesling adds some of those benzine and resin-like aromas to the overall complexity of the bouquet. It is subtle, but the Riesling impact is well integrated within the broader texture of the wine. Second, the bouquet shows fruity tones of exotic fruit and perfumed honeydew melon, but it also offers drying mineral tones of brimstone and crushed seashell. This wine should continue to evolve over the next ten years.

Wine Advocate September 2017
Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante bottle Platinum

Doppiozeta

2014 Italy Sicily
88 Points

Dark red-ruby. Clean aromas and flavors of dark fruit, spices and herbs. A hint of chocolate emerges on the medium-long, slightly tart finish. A well made wine but tastes like it could have been made with any grape variety anywhere in the world that has a hot climate. Made with 100% Nero d'Avola grapes. 

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Doppiozeta bottle Platinum

Zisola Effe Emme

2014 Italy Sicily
91 Points

Dark red-ruby. Floral and spicy notes complicate blueberry aromas on the nose. Then bright dense and juicy with lively, peppery acidity nicely framing the dark cherry and berry flavors on the palate. Finishes with hints of blueberry nectar and herbs. Made with 100% Petit Verdot, this is just about as good as the variety gets in Italy; well done. The wine is not shy in its alcohol-derived power (15% alcohol) but it camouflages well thanks to a combination of sweetness, size and ripeness, not to mention very good overall balance.

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Zisola Effe Emme bottle Platinum

Vermentino

2015 Italy Tuscany
89 Points

The 2015 Vermentino is an attractive, crisp white to drink now and over the next year or so. Citrus peel and sweet floral notes give the wine its bright, aromatic personality.

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Vermentino bottle Platinum

Zisola Sicilia IGT

2015 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Bright red. Perfumed aromas of quinine, sweet spices and herbs complicate red cherry notes. Fresh and juicy with youthful, chewy tannins and a peppery bite on the long finish. Ages 10 months in small oak barrels. A nice wine.

Vinous September 2017
Mazzei Zisola Sicilia IGT bottle Platinum

Azisa

2015 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Vivid straw-yellow. Expressive aromas of lemon juice, yellow peach and spearmint, complicated by balsamic nuances. At once sweet and focused, with no shortage of energy to the dense stone fruit, balsamic and minty flavors. Finishes big and bold, delivering outstanding juiciness and length. Lovely wine of sneaky complexity. A blend of Grillo and Cataratto.

Vinous September 2017
Zisola Azisa Bottle Platinum

Azisa

2016 Italy Sicily
91 Points

Bright pale straw. Lovely aromas and flavors of yellow melon, green fig, sage and rosemary with hints of riper orchard fruit and butter. Juicy acidity provides lift and precision on the long salty finish. A lovely wine, but borders on being almost too Sauvignon Blanc-like; anyways, it’s delicious. A blend of Grillo and Catarratto (wrongly, the label doesn’t specify which Catarratto, and it should, as there exist different biotypes that give different wines). 

Vinous September 2017
Zisola Azisa Bottle Platinum