If I Could Buy Only One – January 22 VINTAGES Release

We asked our writers, “If you could buy only one wine from this release, which one would it be and why?”

Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Picasses Chinon 2018

($21.95, Le Sommelier Inc.)
John Szabo– I’ve fallen in love all over again with cabernet franc of late, with so may great examples coming out of Ontario now, especially from the 2020 vintage. But it’s always worthwhile revisiting the benchmarks, and in this case, the closest analogous region is of course the Loire Valley, and especially the appellation of Chinon. For a taste of a textbook example, pick up the Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Picasses Chinon 2018. It’s a classic from Raffault, a highly reliable name in the appellation, featuring green herbs and wild violets, fresh green pepper and black cherry, black raspberry, graphite and cedar chips, on a lovely mid-weight, juicy frame. Drink or hold into the mid-’20s.

Fincas De Landaluce Graciano 2017

($25.95, Wilson Group Wines & Spirits)
Michael GodelFincas De Landaluce Graciano 2017 is a varietal graciano from Rioja’s sub-zone of Rioja Alavesa, and 20 year-old vineyards of clay-calcareous soils in the Verdecillo farms of El Prao and Carravalseca, in Laguardia. Graciano is a later harvested grape variety and in 2017 the summer heat and the good late fall weather turns up both the sugar and the phenolic ripenesses for this unique wine. Actually quite surprised at the level of juiciness and forthright behaviour, while crafty and long-chained tannins lurk behind, drying the finish as they should. Would have expected some dried fruit and gathered spice mix but instead there are florals, sweet herbs and freshness. Speaks to low yields, a smaller crop, great concentration and a perfect response from the agricultural and winemaking teams. Great price for a Spanish red able to age seven to 10 years.

Brigaldara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2018

($21.95, Rogers & Company)
David Lawrason– This Brigaldara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2018 performs way above its price. The nose is generous and charming with a rosemary-like herbality I find in many higher quality Valpolicella. Plus cherry jam, florals and peppery spice. It is medium bodied, almost plush, rich and warming yet elegant. Great mouthfeel and flavour intensity here. Grab a case if you can for those occasions when you want to open a lovely wine without reason.

Clos De Luz Massal 1945 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

($21.95, Touchstone Brands)
Sara d’Amato– If you’re looking for a comforting, but not over-the-top red to get you through some of the coldest weeks of the year, look no further than Clos de Luz’s Massal 1945 Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 from some of Chile’s oldest vines in the Almahue Valley of Cachapoal. Bold, but balanced with a terrific degree of freshness due to a slightly cooler than average vintage. Made using a low-interventionist approach with wild yeast and no oak derivatives. Authentic with an appealing texture, volume from just-ripe tannins and memorable length.

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.

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Selections
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview

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