Top Ten Wines of 2019 (so far)
We’re a little past midway through 2019 and recently I’ve been reflecting on the thousands of wines I have tasted – the good, the bad, and everything in between – and what has really left me thirsty for more. I expected it to be difficult to put together a list of ten, but when I took a walk around the shop – I unconsciously gravitated toward the wines on this list. While many lovely wines have come and gone already in 2019, these are the 10 (an maybe one or two extra) that have stuck around, and that I will most certainly miss when they dry up…
Ippolito “Mabilia” Rosé 2018, Calabria, Italy $20.99
Perhaps freshest in my mind because I am drinking it as I write this! A tropical paradise in a bottle, this is so perfectly Calabria. It’ll make you think of pristine beaches and crystal clear water, sun shining down on you, cool breeze blowing…you get the idea.
Gvantsa’s Wine Aladasturi 2018, Georgia $29.99
I met Gvantsa at a tasting event a few weeks ago. She poured me her wine. I fell in love! With the wine mostly. But for such a young group of winemakers/growers, they have a relationship with their vines that speaks of a much older and wiser team. It is a great example of the proud history Georgia has with grape growing and a promise that the future will be even brighter!
Ermanno Costa “Balin” Chardonnay 2018, Piedmont, Italy $30.99
HOW IS THIS WINE SO CONSISTANTLY GOOD! And somehow it feels like this vintage is the best yet. I have seen many avowed Chardonnay haters change their tune once trying this. Great fruit in great hands makes great wine. Sometimes it is as simple as that.
Naveran Brut Vintage Cava 2017, Spain $17.99
At long last the search for the under $20 killer Cava has ended, and I could not be more pleased. Full of varietal and regional character and the freshest fruit you could ever dream of. If you’ve been drinking that Dibon Cava and you want to step your bubbly drinking up a notch, grab this…even though you shouldn’t need an excuse to drink excellent bubbles at an excellent price.
Marengo “Brunate” Barolo 2015 $74.99
This was one of those instances where you taste a wine and get knocked straight back out of your chair…even if you weren’t in chair. Multi-faceted, three-dimensional, take you on a magic carpet ride kind of good. I understand Barolo comes with a higher price tag, but I promise you, the quality far exceeds the amount of money it costs.
Chateau Haut-Batailly Paulliac 2015 $62.99
For a big chunk of my almost 10 years here, I seriously underestimated Bordeaux. Why? Who the hell knows. Maybe I didn’t think it could possibly be worth all that money and all that fuss. I’m ready to admit I was wrong. One trip to this hallowed region and I fell in love over and over again. This year we were fortunate to get a good price on the great Chateau Haut-Batailly from the outstanding 2015 vintage and, despite its youth, is an absolute pleasure to drink right now, but has a solid 20 years of growth ahead of it. Definitely belongs in your cellar…and mine.
La Villa de Maison Vialade…all of them! $8.99
Ok…so somehow these folks managed to make a red, white, and rosé, charge $8.99/bottle, and make wine better than they have any business making for that money. The correct move here is to try each of them, then start buying it by the case before these little gems are gone. You will be sad you missed it.
Shaw + Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Adelaide Hills, Australia $24.99
I didn’t go searching for Sauvignon Blanc from Australia. It came and found me. Already an avid Sauvignon Blanc lover, I was absolutely blown away by this wine. Whereas many Sauv Blancs from atypical regions can be innocuous and without character, this manages to carve a unique path through the classics of the Loire Valley and New Zealand. Absolutely a summer time sipper but don’t be surprised if I’m still sipping it come fall and winter…
RdV “Friends and Family” 2016, Virginia $37.99
Let’s talk about TEXTURE. Supple, velvety, enveloping, rich, full and yet somehow weightless. It just makes me happy to drink (and this many years into the wine game it’s hard to find domestic Cabernet that makes me feel something). This stands up, and often exceeds the quality of any Cabernet based wine in its price point give or take. A pleasure cruise of a wine that one should indeed share with good friends and family.
Beuer “Rotgut” 2017, Germany $19.99
I appreciate that Jochen Beuer chose to call this Rotgut knowing full well the connotation (or I hope at least someone told him). And from when I first tasted it to when it arrived in the store, the label underwent a significant change, opting for a cartoonish drawing of the devil. It is an apt depiction though, because it is frighteningly good. A blend of Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) Dornfelder, Cabernet Dorio, Portugeiser, this is light, fresh, juicy, and perfect for summer, but I’m looking forward to drinking it through the fall and winter as well.