Taste of Wine: My review of 2015 and the Top 10 Tastes

Taste of Wine: My review of 2015 and the Top 10 Tastes
Walt Wines sources grapes from 11 different premium vineyards in five wine districts in California. Walt is a division of Hall Wines of St Helena, Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Walt Wines

TASTE OF WINE has come a long way, about to step into its 11th year of bringing you news and views of a procession of wines that make the world a happier place.

I wish to thank everyone that, in 2015, invited me into their lives and places of business, so that I could bring my readers a further taste of the world of wine. A special thanks to Banfi Vintners, the world leader in Italian wines, for their kindness in recognizing TASTE OF WINE and supporting its goals.

Locally, Seasalt Del Mar and its owner Salvatore Ercolano, in its first year, has brought a lively, important wine imprint on the San Diego restaurant scene this year.

I read in the Wall Street Journal how the medical profession again reported that moderate consumption of red wine, “shows that it can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression…by keeping people socially active.” I’ll drink to that!

Taste Of Wine columnist Frank Mangio, left, with winemaker Ryan Hill at the Hill tasting room in Yountville, Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Taste of Wine

Taste Of Wine columnist Frank Mangio, left, with winemaker Ryan Hill at the Hill tasting room in Yountville, Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Taste of Wine

Space is limited so let’s get into the Top 10 Tastes for 2015.

You will find three Merlots, two Pinot Noirs, two blends, one Cabernet and one Italian Brunello.

Napa Valley dominates with four entries. The 10 are equally ranked as “excellent,” considering flavor, body and value at the best pricing I could find.  The list is alphabetical and does not indicate ranking.

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Tuscany, Italy, 2010.  ($54.99) The big and bold Sangiovese clone with intense ruby red flavor and hints of licorice.  Supple tannins caused by a five-year process before release.  Castellobanfi.com.

Chelsea Goldschmidt Merlot, Dry Creek Sonoma, Calif. 2011. ($22) Bravo to world renowned winemaker Nick Goldschmidt’s daughter who learned all about wine from pop.  One of our three emerging Merlots.  Goldschmidtsisters.com.

Etude Chardonnay, Carneros Napa Valley, 2012. ($14)  A bright, fresh Chardonnay with a Carneros flavor in the south bay of Napa Valley.  Enjoy lemon, honeydew melon and pear accents.  Active acidity keeps it refreshing.  Etudewines.com

Grgich Hills Estate Merlot, Napa Valley, 2012.  ($43)  Founded by the legendary Mike Grgich, the winery is certified organic and their Merlot is full-bodied, a “cab lover’s Merlot.” Grgich.com.

Hill Family Estate Merlot, Napa Valley, 2012.  ($40)  Deep, jammy, blackberry nose with ripe strawberry and sweet mocha. Long finish.  Hillfamilyestate.com.

Morgan 12 Clones Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2012. ($33) Dan Morgan Lee has more than 33 years of making great Pinot at the winery.  The Santa Lucia Highlands was made famous for Pinot by Morgan and his Double L Ranch.  Morganwinery.com.

Pepper Bridge Seven Hills Blend, Walla Walla, Wash. 2012.  ($60) Washington has a lot going for it with over 700 wineries.  Pepper Bridge is a low production, elite winery with finesse, elegance and a long finish.  Pepperbridge.com.

Preston Parker Brave blend, Paso Robles, 2013.  ($25) New wine name with a long history of wine making and marketing professionals, using only the best grapes available.  Top winemaker in Paso makes this blend of Grenache and Syrah.  Prestonparkerwines.com.

Provenance Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2012.  ($28)  Could be the best buy of the ten.  Excellent Napa Valley vintage year, and a “Rutherford Dust” wine with lots of distribution.  Provenancevineyards.com.

Walt The Corners Pinot Noir, Sonoma, 2013. ($75) The grapes are sourced from the Anderson Valley just above Napa Valley in the rugged Corners district.  Wine has great depth and character.  Every berry is hand-sorted. Bold finish. waltwines.com.

Wine Bytes will return next week.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View his columns at tasteofwinetv.com, and reach him at mangiompc@aol.com.  Follow him on Facebook.

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