2012 Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino $99.99 (Wine Advocate 94 points)
Valdicava represents its own school within the greater Brunello philosophy. This estate (under proprietor Vincenzo Abbruzzese) crafts contemporary and modern wines with noticeable density and ever-present aromatic intensity. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino reveals a dark and inky appearance with bright ruby highlights that break through the background darkness with brilliance. The nose is generous and robust with dark cherry fruit, plum, Indian spice, mocha and espresso bean. These elements are stitched together with seamless transitions. Despite that grand approach, Sangiovese’s prickly and often nervous personality shines through nonetheless. The variety adds delicate berry nuances and bright acidity that give this wine profound depth. This is a very well-made wine that promises a long aging future.
2015 Booker Vineyard My Favorite Neighbor Proprietary Blend $79.99 (Wine Advocate 97-99+ points)
Showing the potential of the Bordeaux varieties in these limestone soils on the west side of Paso Robles, the 2015 My Favorite Neighbor Proprietary Blend is a smokin’ blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Petit Verdot that’s aged all in French oak. Locked and loaded, with tons of jammy blackberry fruits, creme de cassis, sweet oak, violets and chalky minerality, this tour de force is full-bodied, incredibly rich and structured. Forget it for 2-3 years and drink over the following 15-20 years.
2013 Bootleg Proprietary Red $34.99 (Wine Advocate 94 points)
The 2013 Proprietary Red from Bootleg is a major sleeper of not only the vintage, but in its entire concept. There are just over 8,000 cases of this wine, which has been culled from KJ vineyards on Atlas Peak, Oakville, Mt. Veeder, Rutherford and Spring Mountain. The wine is a blend of 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petite Sirah, 21% Zinfandel, 12% Merlot, and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. That’s like throwing in the entire kitchen sink, but the result is a stunningly delicious, complex, big-time, sexy style of wine with a deep, opaque purple color, a beautiful nose of blackberries and blueberries, with some lavender Provençal herbs, licorice and a touch of espresso. The wine has a fabulous texture, a plush, full-bodied mouthfeel, and beautiful purity and depth. It’s something that could only be made in California, given the blend, but it is off-the-charts in terms of its hedonistic appeal. At the same time, it is complex enough to satisfy the intellectual senses as well. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. A big-time winner.
2014 Tether Napa Valley Red Wine $49.99
Amazing color and gorgeous aromas jump out of the glass. Black stone fruit, a whiff of dark chocolate and anise greet you upon impact. On the palate this youngster will really wow you. Lush, beautiful and well-balanced. Bold black fruit from the Cabernet Sauvignon, balanced nicely with the silkiness of the Merlot and a crescendo of intensity from the Petit Verdot lead into a long finish – a good 30 seconds! This is hidden gem that want to impress with!