If I could buy only one – Sept 3rd, 2016 VINTAGES Release

As part of our VINTAGES recap for September 3rd, we asked our critics:

If you could buy only one wine from this release – which one would it be and why?

Here’s what they had to say about the release. You can find their complete reviews, scores and store inventory by clicking the highlighted wine name or bottle image below.

Paid ContentIMPORTANT NOTICE: As of the September 17th VINTAGES release we are implementing important changes around our VINTAGES content including a reduction in our annual Premium Membership fee. As of September 17th this article will be available to non-paying members only 30 days after publication. We would appreciate you taking a moment to understand why we are making these changes.


Our “If you could buy only one wine” picks from the September 3rd VINTAGES release:

John Szabo, MS – I have the unfortunate affliction of being drawn towards a certain style of red wine: beguilingly perfumed, more savoury than outright fruity, ripe but not baked or raisined, complex enough to challenge the senses, and with a palate framed by palpable but finely-grained tannins (from grapes not wood) and incisive acids, not gushing with sugary fruit and alcohol. I say unfortunate because the wines that meet this description tend to cost a lot: Barolo/Barbaresco, Burgundy, Etna Rosso, Côte Rotie and Hermitage, the “mountain” cabernets from Napa and Sonoma, and properly firm Sonoma Coast pinot noir, to name a few classics. To discover an as-yet unsung source of such wines is thus a great and happy thing, where value is well ahead of the curve. Xinomavro from Macedonia in northern Greece is a great example. So too is baga from Bairrada in Portugal, so this week’s “only one” was an easy choice: Vadio 2012 Tinto. Fans of wines as described above will love this pure baga made by Luís Patrão, a relatively new, tiny family operation dedicated to local varieties and traditional styling (Patrão’s day job is at Esporão). Best 2016-2022.

Vadio Tinto 2012

David Lawrason – Picking one wine out of the dozens brings personal preference and circumstance into the equation, so I don’t want readers to think that because I would buy this one wine only they should buy it too.  Nor should you assume it is the highest quality or best value wine in the release. Descendientes de J. Palacios 2013 Pétalos from Bierzo in northwest Spain, does offer both high quality and good value at $24.95, but I would buy it more because I really like the mencia grape, and the way it offers both nerve and structure and gorgeous aromatics. I can’t think of a “new” red grape that I have “discovered” in recent memory that is more engaging.  I also like the region it is from – with its impressive steep stony slopes and its sense of remoteness. If this region and grape were in France it would be ranked up there with the northern Rhone or Burgundy. And I like the winemaking here, that delivers the inherent character of the grape and honest regionality in a way that is clean, modern and appealing. It’s also a wine I would drink now (with an hour aeration) or happily age for five years.

Descendientes De J. Palacios Pétalos 2013

Sara d’Amato – I’ll be toasting the start of another school year this week with a “Rive” Prosecco from Tenuta Degli Ultime. “Rive” roughly translates to “steep slope” and refers to the vertiginous hillsides of the premium DOCG Conegliano-Valdobiaddene region. There are 43 specific vineyards sites on these hillsides that make up the terroir-focused designation of “Rive”. These premium, single vineyards wines are also vintage dated unlike most Prosecco. Now, if only math problems could be this delicious to get your head around.

Tenuta Degli Ultimi Rive Di Collalto Prosecco Valdobbiadene 2013

Michael Godel – Wines that deliver a sense of place or, as we like to refer to it here in Ontario as “somewhereness,” always seem to stand out. The switchboard for the ideal is in Burgundy where the intrinsic reality is calculated in climats, that is, plots or blocks defined by the confluence of place, geology, slope, aspect and climate. Ancient somewhereness aside this Olivier Leflaive 2014 Bourgogne Chardonnay “entry-level” white Burgundy is eerily Chablis-like, far from barrel-dominated and anything but entry-level. If to you climat, unadulterated chardonnay and a respected producer mean anything at all, this Leflaive is worth the price. We can’t all afford white Burgundy but here the quality far exceeds the cost.

Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Chardonnay 2014

Articles covering the VINTAGES September 3rd release:

Szabo’s VINTAGES Preview
Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES

Use these quick links for immediate access to all of our Top Picks in the September 3rd release.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Lawrason’s Take
Michael’s Mix
All September 3rd Reviews

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Premium subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!