2014 Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots Proprietary Red Wine $179.99 (Wine Advocate 95 points)
The 2014 Proprietary Red Les Pavots (3,570 cases) is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 13% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot aged in mostly Taransaud barrels with a small helping of Darnajou thrown in. This wine is fabulous in the vintage, although certainly less profoundly concentrated and extracted, as well as structured, compared to the 2013, which was off-the-charts fabulous. This is a brilliant wine, charming, with front-end loaded plum, blackcurrant and black raspberry fruit interwoven with graphite, tar and truffle notes. The wine has sumptuous texture, sweet, velvety tannin, and a long, full-bodied finish. It should drink well for at least two decades.
2009 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva $59.99 (Wine Advocate 96 points)
The most classic cuvée was not produced in 2007 or 2008, so we jumped to the phenomenal 2009 Prado Enea. It was produced with grapes from cooler vineyards that enjoyed 20 extra days of slow ripening compared with warmer zones, which provided them with perfect ripeness and deep flavors. This blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the remaining 10% between Mazuelo and Graciano had an extended élevage, in this case no less than three years (alternating newer and older barrels). This is still a baby and I know Winemaker Jorge Muga would like to keep it in bottle for longer before selling it, but the commercial pressure is tremendous, as there has been no wine since 2006. The wine has 14.1% alcohol and a surprising 3.34 pH, especially considering 2009 was generally a warm and ripe year. But somehow this cuvée seems to work very well in ripe vintages. The wine feels even younger on the palate, and it still needs to develop some further complexity and the silky texture for which this wine is famous. There is good balance here and all the elements are in place for a nice development in bottle. In fact, it feels like one of the great recent vintages of Prado Enea. There will be no Prado Enea in 2012 and 2013 either, but it’s produced in 2010, 2014 (small quantities) and 2015. At this quality level, the price seems like a real bargain. 90,000 bottles produced in 2009.
2013 Hacienda Monasterio Crianza $36.99 (Wine Advocate 95 points)
The wonderful 2013 Crianza from Hacienda Monasterio is one of the great successes from a challenging vintage that resulted in a heterogeneous collection of wines, where you can find the best and the worst. 2013 was a shorter vintage and they didn’t do a Reserva or Reserva Especial that year, so the very best grapes from their estate vineyards went into this Crianza. In fact, they sold 40% of their production in bulk. The final blend was 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and they didn’t use any Merlot this year. It’s a very precise vintage, with symmetry and a chiseled mouthfeel coupled with very good acidity, a little higher than in 2014 and with half a degree less of alcohol.
2013 Altamura Cabernet Sauvignon $89.99 (Wine Spectator 94 points)
A powerful youngster, teaming with rich, layered dark berry, licorice, black walnut, savory herb and cedary oak flavors. Sails along on the finish, courted by chewy, extracted tannins that add to the traction and definition. Drink now through 2032. 3,800 cases made.