Late Harvest Torontel

2010 Chile Maule Valle
94 Points

A sublime set of caramel and honeyed late-harvest aromas couldn’t be more inviting. This Torontel is the best dessert wine from Chile. It’s intense and pure, with acidic balance. Rich amplified flavors of caramel, toffee and cocoa finish with grace on the finish. This is like a trip to Europe: think Vin Santo or Vendange Tardive. 

Editors' Choice Award
Wine Enthusiast March 2018
Erasmo Late Harvest Torontel bottle Platinum

José de Sousa

2014 Portugal Alentejo
92 Points

Domingos Soares Franco began experimenting with fermentation in amphorae after his family’s company bought the Casa Agricola José de Sousa Rosado Fernandes in 1986. Locals were using their massive, century-old clay pots as planters at the time; he bought up as many intact vessels as he could and filled the winery, adding more when they exploded in the middle of fermentation, in the middle of the night. The technique and style of this wine has shifted over the years, and this is the first vintage in recent memory that has found such a remarkable balance. A blend of grand noir (50 percent) with trincadeira and aragones, most of it fermented cool in stainless steel. A small portion fermented in clay pots charges the wine with complexity, creating a rainbow of color in the flavors, from strawberry to cassis, orange and blackberry. It’s volatile when first opened, but air allows the wine to integrate, firmly shaped by the tannins. Decant it for a glimpse into the Alentejo’s past.

Year's Best Portuguese Wines Award
Wine & Spirits February 2018
J.M. da Fonseca Jose de Sousa bottle Platinum

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese

2015 Germany Mosel
93 Points

Year's Best Mosel Rieslings. This is wound so tight right now that it’s hard to get much detail out of it. What it does offer is a sense of clarity so strong it feels like it’s got superpowers: If a wine could see, this one would, for miles. With time in the glass, notes of peach, pear and citrus emerge, but the sense of transparency and energy remains.

Wine & Spirits February 2018
Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese Bottle Platinum

Prosecco

NV/MV Italy Veneto
90 Points

Bright, airy bubbles and light foam introduce aromas of green apples, lime flesh, white flowers, peaches, grass and wet rocks. The palate remains dry with under- ripened pears, white rose petals,Granny Smith apples, almond skins, and melon.

Great Value Award
Ultimate Wine Challenge 2017
Cinzano Sparkling Wine Prosecco bottle Platinum

Asti

NV/MV Italy Piedmont
92 Points

Powerfully aromatic with notes of lemon peel, apple butter, honeysuckle, ginger, and pineapple. Sweet, frothy, and gushing with tropical fruit flavors on the palate, this refreshing wine offers complexity and a long, semisweet finish dotted with citrus.

Great Value Award
Ultimate Wine Challenge Ultimate Wine Challenge
Platinum

Chianti Classico

2014 Italy Tuscany
92 Points

Castello di Verrazzano's The 2014 Chianti Classico is gorgeous. Beautifully perfumed and deep on the palate, with a classic, midweight sense of structure, the 2014 hits all the right notes. Succulent red cherry fruit, pipe tobacco, leather, smoke and cedar infuse this creamy, super-expressive Chianti Classico from Verrazzano.

Vinous January 18, 2018
Verrazzano, Castello di Chianti Classico bottle Platinum

Chianti Classico Riserva

2013 Italy Tuscany
93 Points

The 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva is a powerful, somewhat austere wine that needs time to shed some of its formidable tannin. Vertical in structure and also quite virile, the 2013 shows the more masculine side of Sangiovese to great effect. The flavors are dark and bold in this authoritative Riserva.

Vinous January 18, 2018
Verrazzano, Castello di Chianti Classico Riserva bottle Platinum

Sassello

2013 Italy Tuscany
95 Points

The 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Sassello is a total knockout. Rich, creamy and beautifully textured in the glass, it exudes concentration and yet retains quite a bit of freshness. The balance of fruit, tannin and acidity is superb. Today, the red cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors are remarkably primary. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2013 for at least a few years in order for it to develop aromatic complexity.

Vinous January 18, 2018
Verrazzano, Castello di Sassello bottle Platinum

Sassello

2013 Italy Tuscany
95 Points

The 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Sassello is a total knockout. Rich, creamy and beautifully textured in the glass, it exudes concentration and yet retains quite a bit of freshness. The balance of fruit, tannin and acidity is superb. Today, the red cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors are remarkably primary. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2013 for at least a few years in order for it to develop aromatic complexity.

Vinous January 18, 2018
Verrazzano, Castello di Sassello bottle Platinum

Cometa

2016 Italy Sicily
94 Points

Lush style of Fiano from southwest Sicily; no use of oak. White peach, honeysucckle and apricot aromas. Superb varietal character, superb persistence. Mouthfilling and forward yet never over the top, thanks to balancing acidity. Arguably the region's finest white.

Decanter 2018
Planeta Cometa bottle Platinum

Giulio Ferrari

2005 Italy Trentino
98 Points

Sweet scents of orchard fruit and flowers introduce the Pinot Gris, leading to a balanced and flavorful palate of honeyed pear, and honeydew melon with hints of orange and almond. The wine is round in the mouth with vibrant acidity and a persistent finish…Well done.

Decanter January 22, 2018
Ferrari Giulio Ferrari bottle

Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

2013 Italy Tuscany
94 Points

The deep, rich red-plum nose sucks you into this powerful Brunello that has great fruit and polished, dry tannins that are beautifully in synch. Long, intense and rather complex finish. A great food wine for tonight, but this has the structure to hold for up to a decade.

JamesSuckling.com January 25, 2018
Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG bottle Platinum

Terre Bianche Torbato di Alghero DOC

2014 Italy Sardinia
87 Points

Pale, bright yellow color. Lemon, grapefruit, white flowers and a hint of pungent herbs on the nose. Bright and juicy in the mouth, offering simple but clean flavors of grapefruit, lemon, oregano and talc. Finishes firm and citrussy, with modest length. Still, this delivers considerable flavor for only 11.5% alcohol.
 

Vinous January 1, 2016
Sella & Mosca Terre Bianche Torbato di Alghero DOC bottle

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

2006 Israel Upper Galilee
89 Points

With 16 months in French oak, this is a big wine with big flavors. Fleshy black plums guts, black cherry, crushed African violet petals and a touch of tobacco appear in the bouquet, while cherry pit, pepper and cigar spice fill otu the palate. Medium weight and lush in the mouth with solid tannins and acidity, this is a good choice now with strong meat dishes or a candidate to hold onto for a couple more years. 

Wine Enthusiast April 10, 2018
Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon Bottle

Asti

NV/MV Italy Piedmont
90 Points

A light, refreshing Asti, this wine's scents of candied orange peel and pink grapefruit flavors end cleanly. Serve it with fresh fruit and cheese or at brunch with a goat cheese salad.

Wine & Spirits August 10, 2018
Mondoro Asti bottle Platinum

Nero d'Avola

1986 Italy Sicily
86 Points

Here's a great value wine that opens with aromas of ripe plum and blue flower. The simple but well made palate offers juicy black cherry and a hint of vanilla alongside soft, round tannins. Drink now.
 

Wine Enthusiast March 1, 2016
MandraRossa Nero d'Avola bottle Best Buy

Alta Torrontes

2012 Argentina San Juan
87 Points

The 2012 Callia Alta Torrontes offers nectarine, lychee and passion fruit on the well-defined bouquet. The palate is fresh on the entry: very Gewurztraminer in style, with orange zest and ginger furnishing the finish.
 

Wine Advocate October 12, 2018
Callia Alta Torrontes bottle

Vodka

NV/MV Sweden
94 Points

Look for faint citrus at first, opening up to marshmallow sweetness on the midpalate and finishing with more bracing citrus and white pepper sparks. Mix into a Vesper or other martini-style drinks. Distilled from grain.

Wine Enthusiast 2/1/2018
Ravo Vodka Bottle Platinum

Chardonnay

2016 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Bright golden yellow. Strong notes of vanilla and caramel complicate tropical fruit nuances on the nose. Then rich and ripe, with buttery and oaky flavors of orchard fruit and pineapple. Finishes broad and tactile with building oakiness. After last year’s more discreet Old World-styled mineral Chardonnay, this is a return to Planeta’s more typical Chardonnay style, one that harkens more to the New World. For those who like this style of buttery vanillin and tropical fruit-accented Chardonnay that will be just fine. 

Vinous September 2017
Planeta Chardonnay bottle Platinum

Chardonnay

2016 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Bright golden yellow. Strong notes of vanilla and caramel complicate tropical fruit nuances on the nose. Then rich and ripe, with buttery and oaky flavors of orchard fruit and pineapple. Finishes broad and tactile with building oakiness. After last year’s more discreet Old World-styled mineral Chardonnay, this is a return to Planeta’s more typical Chardonnay style, one that harkens more to the New World. For those who like this style of buttery vanillin and tropical fruit-accented Chardonnay that will be just fine. 

Vinous September 2017
Planeta Chardonnay bottle Platinum

Côtes du Rhône "Les Forots"

2016 France Rhone Valley
90 Points

This smoky version shows a beefy hint, with accents of bay leaf and juniper chiming in, giving the core of dark plum and blackberry preserves a delightfully rustic hint. Finishes with silky structure and an echo of smoldering cast iron. Syrah. Drink now through 2020. 

Wine Spectator December 31, 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Forots bottle Platinum

Côtes du Rhône "Les Forots"

2016 France Rhone Valley
90 Points

This smoky version shows a beefy hint, with accents of bay leaf and juniper chiming in, giving the core of dark plum and blackberry preserves a delightfully rustic hint. Finishes with silky structure and an echo of smoldering cast iron. Syrah. Drink now through 2020. 

Wine Spectator December 31, 2017
Jean-Luc Colombo Côtes du Rhône Les Forots bottle Platinum

Moscato Di Noto

2016 Italy Sicily
90 Points

Aromas of white rose, citrus and yellow stone fruit are front and center on this dry, vibrant white. The tangy palate doles out apricot, grapefruit and a saline note alongside crisp acidity that gives it a quenching close.

Wine Enthusiast February 2018
Planeta Moscato Di Noto bottle Best Buy

Cometa

2016 Italy Sicily
92 Points

Alluring scents of white and yellow flower, stone fruit and a whiff of Mediterranean herb take center stage on this silky, savory wine. The luminous palate mirrors the nose, offering ripe apricot, crushed herbs and lemon drop flavors accompanied by a mineral vein and fresh acidity.

Wine Enthusiast February 2018
Planeta Cometa bottle Platinum

Etna Bianco DOC

2016 Italy Sicily
92 Points

Radiant and refined, this white opens on aromas of Spanish broom, white flowers and Mediterranean brush. It’s savory and racy, offering apple, pear and orange flavors alongside bright acidity. A salty mineral note lingers on the finish.

Wine Enthusiast February 2018
Planeta Etna Bianco DOC bottle Platinum

Siepi Toscana IGT

2015 Italy Tuscany
95 Points

This has depth and complexity, featuring black cherry, plum, leather, spice and mineral flavors. The dense texture exudes refined tannins as this stays fresh through the long, saturated finish. Fruit, spice and tobacco elements linger. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2035.

Wine Spectator December 15, 2017
Siepi Platinum

Ripanco

2014 Portugal Alentejo
93 Points

Earthy and mocha notes on the nose, warm and spicy red fruits on the palate with very smooth delivery of blackberry and plum followed by an herbaceous note. Juicy acidity, fresh and long with good persistence.

Decanter 2017
J.M. da Fonseca Ripanco bottle Platinum

Casa Real

2013 Chile Maipo Valley
94 Points

Explosively fruity and rich-tasting, with concentrated, nicely framed flavors of blackberry, raspberry and dark plum. Shows notes of hot stone midpalate, offering a pure, minerally finish. Drink now through 2022.

Wine Spectator December 15, 2017
Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon bottle Platinum

Tirreno

2015 Italy Tuscany
91 Points

Here is a new wine from the Mazzei family's property on the Tuscan Coast. The 2015 Maremma Toscana Tirreno is a red blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Alicante, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The warm vintage has helped to enhance the natural richness and softness of this pretty wine. Dark fruit tones segue to spice, leather and tobacco.

Wine Advocate November 30, 2017
Belguardo Tirreno Bottle Platinum

Tenuta Belguardo Maremma Toscana DOC

2015 Italy Tuscany
93 Points

Here is a wine that is really coming into its own. The 2015 Maremma Toscana Tenuta Belguardo is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc (aged in oak for 18 months) that has now earned Maremma Toscana DOC status. This is a rich and beautifully integrated blend that offers balanced power and a fully rich or concentrated style. Dark fruit, spice and leather peel back in thick, delicious layers. 

Wine Advocate November 30, 2017
Tenuta Belguardo Maremma Toscana Rosso DOC Platinum

Faustino I Gran Reserva

2005 Spain Rioja Alavesa
91 Points

A classical Rioja with the minty scent of American oak, this tastes of salted plums and roasted tomatoes, a gentle, harmonious wine. It’s clean, with firmly stated acidity to cut through the fruit richness, leaving a cool, tightly wound spiciness in its wake.

Wine & Spirits December 15, 2017
Best Buy

Faustino VII Rose

2016 Spain Rioja Alavesa
90 Points

This dry rosé shows a traditional character, with deep color, firm texture and light tannins to buttress the orange peel acidity, offering expressive flavors of cherry, tea and quinine. Has the depth and structure to match with food. Drink now through 2022.

Wine Spectator December 15, 2017
Platinum

Giulio Ferrari

2005 Italy Trentino
96 Points

This remains one of the top sparkling wines of Italy with such density and agility. It is real competition to the top cuvée Champagnes of France. Aromas of essence of lemon and hints of bread dough. Some stone and minerality, too. Full body. Complex pie crust and bright fruit. Flavorful finish. A solid and intellectual sparkling wine. Drink or hold.

Top 100 Italian Wines of 2017 Award
JamesSuckling.com December 15, 2017
Ferrari Giulio Ferrari bottle Platinum

Siepi Toscana IGT

2015 Italy Tuscany
98 Points

Beautiful aromas of violets, berries and currants. Dried flowers, too. Full body, such intense fruit and acidity. Vivid and complex. Wild raspberry. Tight and dense. A triumph for Siepi. Half sangivoese and merlot. Better in 2022 but hard to not drink now.

Top 100 Italian Wines of 2017 Award
JamesSuckling.com December 15, 2017
Siepi Platinum