Top Wines of 2018

#1) 1998 Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva
Wine Spectator: 94 PointsA lovely, layered red, offering baked strawberry and cherry fruit accented by graphite, chartreuse liqueur, leather and citrus peel aromas. Vibrant and minerally, with creamy tannins and a subtle streak of tarry smoke echoing on...
Giorgio Pelissero
Honorable Mention: 1999 Giorgio Pelissero Barbaresco 'Annata'
Vinous: 93 Points  A dark, powerful wine, the 1999 Barbaresco bursts from the glass with notable depth, intensity and pure resonance. Black cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco and licorice meld together in a Barbaresco endowed with magnificent...
#2) 2016 Occidental Freestone-Occidental Pinot Noir
The Occidental vineyards define the western edge of where pinot noir can be grown successfully on the Sonoma Coast.  Since the early 1990s, Steve Kistler has believed that the climate and soils on the uplifted marine terraces and ridges around the...
Merry Edwards
#3) 2017 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley
This has been our best-selling white wine for years now and, why not?  It’s simply a magnificent rendition of Sauvignon Blanc that manages to appeal not only to already-confirmed lovers of California versions of the variety, but also lovers of...
#4) 2013 Benanti Rovittello Etna Rosso
From two vineyards on the northern slopes of Etna, this blend, like all of Benanti’s reds is predominantly Nerello Mascalese with 10% Nerello Cappuccio. Grapes grown on the northern slopes are harvested on average a month later than those of the...
#5) 2015 Vietti Perbacco Langhe Nebbiolo
Designation: Langhe DOC Nebbiolo Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo Winemaking: Vinification of grapes coming from different vineyards of Nebbiolo most of all included in the Barolo and Barbaresco area. Alcoholic fermentation lasts around 3/4 weeks. Each parcel is...
#6) 2016 Cockburn's Vintage Port
This is a total spice box; more so than any other 2016 Vintage Port in house. Black pepper, ginger, clove, anise, orange peel, cinnamon and fruit cake notes were so beautifully entwined with plum, blackberry, violet, lavender and chocolate...
Ken Wright
#7) 2016 Ken Wright Shea Pinot Noir Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton
In the early 1980’s, Dick Shea decided it was time to leave his big city job as an economist and investor so he and his wife got away from it all and purchased a piece of land in then pretty desolate Yamhill-Carlton district of the Willamette...
#9) 2017 Deltetto Roero Arneis San Michele
It’s rare that a single property gets two wines on our list but it happened twice this year with Lisini’s Brunello and IGT and, further north, at the Deltetto winery in Roero. Carlo Deltetto and his sisters have done a remarkable job taking...
Amapola Creek
#10) 2013 Amapola Creek Cuvee Alis Sonoma Valley Estate
Winemaker Notes:The 2013 Cuvee Alis opens in the style of the great Rhone wines of France that are made from the same varieties; subtle at the start, with a slow build towards an exquisite display of aromatics. At the front of the nose you will notice a...
#11) 2013 Lisini Brunello di Montalcino
There are few other estates in Montalcino with roots as deep as Lisini’s. The Lisini-Clementi family has owned property in the area since the sixteenth century, and the historic tower and loggia, landmarks in the area, were begun in the 1300s. The...
Luiz Seabra
#12) 2016 Luis Seabra Xisto Cru Ilimitado Douro Tinto
Importer's Note:After a decade as winemaker at Niepoort, where he was responsible for some of the best known and highly rated wines to come out of the famed Douro and Porto producer, Luis Seabra decided that he no longer wanted to make wines to someone...
Alpha Omega
#13) 2016 Alpha Omega Two Squared Red Napa Valley
Winemaker's Note:Patterning itself after most of the top estates of Bordeaux, Alpha Omega offers an elegant second wine brand, Two Squared by Alpha Omega. These wines are designed to be approachable in both flavor and price. Opulent, fruit-driven and...
Reserve de la Comtesse de Pichon Lalande
#14) 2006 Reserve de la Comtesse de Pichon Lalande Pauillac
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: The second wine, the 2006 Reserve de Comtesse, is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Petit Verdot. This beautiful, velvety, seductive effort offers sweet black cherry and black currant...
Domaine de la Folie
#15) 2017 Domaine de La Folie Rully Blanc Clos La Folie
My romantic association with La Folie’s Rully Blanc goes all the way back to the 1980 vintage, a wrinkled label of which I have stuck in a photo album we brought back with us from Japan.  The wine was our go-to back in the day at the little...
Pierpaolo Pecorari
#16) 2017 Pierpaolo Pecorari Rosalba Rosato di Refosco e Pinot Noir
Alessandro Pecorari’s rich, complex expression of Pinot Nero makes a bit of a bold statement.  Here, in the Izonso hills near Italy’s border with Slovenia, the soil is also marked by its limestone on which Pinot Noir thrives.  But...
Orin Swift
#17) 2017 Orin Swift 8 Years In The Desert
John Rittmaster for Prima Vini Wine Merchants:Once again our good friend, winemaker David Phinney, has mixed wine with performance art to great effect in his stunning return to the grape that first inspired his genius. I am not entirely sure about the...
#18) 2016 PRIMA Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
OK, not to toot our own horn, but PRIMA’s 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is in a great space right now.  When it was first released, there was a certain tension to it- an austerity brought about by its youth and the surfeit of...