If I Could Buy Only One – August 8th VINTAGES Release

Back by popular demand: We asked the writers, “If you could buy only one wine from this release, which one would it be and why?”.

John Szabo, MS: From Cabernet vines planted in 1947 in the northerly, high elevation Cafayate Valley, the El Esteco 1947 Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 is a brilliant wine, appealingly herbal and peppery, crunchy and lively, varietally accurate but with lighter tannic structure than the mean. Acids are balanced and there’s genuine flavour density and depth, and terrific length in the price category. Drink or hold into the mid-’20s, or even beyond.


Michael Godel: I was able to taste this stunning nero d’avola and frappato blend in Sicliy on two occasions, one year apart, with winemaker Patricia Tóth. The Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico is one thing, Planeta Cerasuolo Di Vittoria Classico Docg Dorilli 2016 is another matter altogether. The name of the estate marks the iconography of this Planeta blend, from a chosen vineyard carrying the dialectical tome of the namesake river passing by. A minor reduction noted in May 2018 beget a blooming in May 2019. In 2020 the Cerasuolo fragrance emerges wild, open, full and with a guarantee by vintage for texture and the structure to age.


David Lawrason: Long time readers may have recognized my soft spot for southern Rhone Reds. I don’t think there is much debate that Chateauneuf makes the highest quality examples as measured by their complexity, elegance and depth. There is debate certainly in that not all CDPs reach the mark, and that value can be an issue too. But when you hook a good one, you know it. That’s what happened as soon is the Lavau Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016 hit my palate. It was full and rich yet streamlined and compact at the same time, with all classic flavours focused straight through on the great finish. And $44 is not such a bad price.  If that is still bit a rich for you I direct you to a dandy bargain Rhone, Pesquié 2018 Edition 1912 from Ventoux ($18.95).


Sara d’Amato: Chantegrive is one of the largest estates in Graves. Its consultant winemaker is that of Hubert de Bouard from Château Angelus in Saint Emilion giving the Château de Chantegrive 2016 a “great expectations” status. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint with its taught, mineral, salty profile and notes of ripe cherry, wet stone and fine, lightly grippy tannins. I can’t help but be impressed with the quality for price of this left-bank, southern Bordelaise delight.


Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Lawrason’s Take
John’s Top Picks
Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Sommelier Selections

New Release and VINTAGES Preview