Best of Year Picks 2020/21
Domaine de Châteaumar 2019 Secret de Nos Vignes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône Valley, France
“A blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Mourvedre, the wine spent eight months in French oak and then four months in concrete tanks. Chewy tannins develop into a well-behaved, upright red. Spiced plum, dried violets, and a sweet, earthy sweetness are pronounced, along with a high-fidelity acidity. Silky chocolate-cherry comes in mid-way, and the wine continues to go deep as it opens, maintaining an elegant stance all the way.“
Mas des Etoiles 2016 Malbec, Cahors, France ($18)
“A tongue treat of violets and espresso. The flavors press juicy, yet firm tannins on the palate with a fluidity and pace of a well-bred racehorse. Dark plum, cassis and black cherry bitters are toothsome.
This 100% Malbec is from 25-year-old vines, aged 18 months on the lees, in stainless steel tanks.”
Elicio 2020 Vermentino, Mediterranée, France ($15)
“A 100% Vermentino from a region south of the Luberon where it’s hot, dry, and windy. Clay and limestone soils add expression and seven months in stainless steel tanks lead to a vibrancy.
Rich notes of ripe pear, heather, and salted kiwi are bathed in what the producer refers to as olive oil flavor. A hint of hazelnut on the finish leaves us asking for more.”
Château ROC MEYNARD – Bordeaux Blanc Millésime 2020
“White flowers and grapefruit on the nose. This small-production 50/50 Sauvignon Blanc/ Sémillon comes from only two hectares of white varieties grown at this estate.
It has excellent vibrancy on the palate, succulent but with a soft, sweet juiciness to it. There are elements of nectarine, apricot and ripe peaches with some wet stone, mineral touches that come through too.
It’s great quality, easy to drink, and has nuance and aromatic interest.
Pair with cheese, and white meats. Drink 2021-2024″
Veema 2016 GSM AOP Languedoc, France (20$)
“The freshness that exudes from this blend of 45% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre, which aged 12 months in French oak, is apparent.
(The grapes, grown on sun-drenched sandstone cobbles in vineyards located between Nîmes and Arles, are allowed to ripen optimally.)
Aromas of grilled meat, rhubarb, and chocolate establish the platform for the layers of flavor-lavender, espresso, plum, and black cherry-that follow a silky entry.”
Château Belugue 2015 Fronsac, Bordeaux, France (28$)
“This family-owned estate spans just under 20 acres, with vineyards planted on hillsides along the junction of the Isle and Dordogne rivers.
Aged 12 months in French oak, this blend of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon has a regal character that comes through in its texture, flavor, and aromatics.
You can smell the soil, deep-rooted brush, slate, and dark chocolate, and the gorgeous entry on the palate speaks of silky tannins. Robust notes of roasted coffee, new leather, and sweet tobacco are shadowy and deep, finishing with dried fruits, black plum, and sandalwood-tinged savoriness.”
Domaine du Crampilh 2016 Cuvée l’Originel (Madiran)
“There is real elegance in fourth-generation owner Bruno Oulie’s wine.
The 90% Tannat in the blend is on it’s best behaviour, giving ripe black fruits that dominate the tannins.
It’s full structure is restrained by acidity and black-plum flavors at the end. Drink from 2021.” – Roger Voss
Domaine Bellegarde 2016 Cuvée Tradition (Jurançon)
“Ripe, sweet late-harvest fruits are the secret behind this poised wine. It is perfumed, packed with exotic fruits, honey, and a touch of lemon marmalade.
Acidity shoots through the wine, so it is not cloying. Rather it is well balanced, fresh, and sweet at the same time. Drink from 2019.” – Roger Voss