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2012 Hacienda Monasterio $36.99 (Wine Advocate 94 points)
The 2012 Crianza, from a dry vintage, resulted much fresher than expected, fresher than 2009 and 2011 in fact. The wine matured in 20% new French oak barrels for some 20 months. There are no traces of the barriques and the nose took me to the Riberas of yesteryear, with some subtle rusticity; it's ripe without excess and there's good balance between fruit, spices and perhaps something earthy. The palate is extremely balanced, medium-bodied with very fine tannins, tasty, approachable and long. This could very well be the best crianza ever produced at Monasterio. This has to be one of the bargains of the vintage in Ribera, given the quality it delivers. I tasted the latest releases from Hacienda Monasterio with winemaker Peter Sisseck (Dominio de Pingus). They are, year in and year out, among the best and most reliable wines from Ribera del Duero, with a superb Crianza in 2012, possibly their best ever. Even if the wines are not cheap, they are very good value for the quality they deliver.
 
2013 Chateau de Puligny Montrachet Bourgogne Blanc $29.99
From the walled vineyard right in front of the Chateau inside the village of Puligny-Montrachet, this over-achieving Bourgogne Blanc is stellar year in and year out. It definitely shows the floral and mineral notes in the nose that make the village famous. Good length and buttery, citrus fruit make this a great wine at any price, but this "little" wine from an estate with an embarrassing array of riches can stand up to the best of them.
 
2014 K Syrah Milbrandt $26.99 (Wine Advocate 94 points)
Probably the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2014 Syrah Milbrandt Vineyard is 100% Syrah, fermented with 100% whole clusters, that spent 15 months in 20% new French oak barrels and puncheons. This beauty is overflowing with notes of cassis, caramelized meats, licorice and spice, which gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated, superbly textured Syrah that can be enjoyed today, or cellared for a decade.
 
2013 Limerick Lane Zinfandel $29.99 (Wine Advocate 92 points)
The 2013 Zinfandel from the Russian River is another sexy wine, and one of their largest production cuvées of just under 2,000 cases. It finished at 14.6% alcohol and shows plenty of classic Mediterranean roasted herbs, pepper, spice and full-bodied blackberry and cherry fruit. It’s a classic Zinfandel, very pure, impressively crafted and should drink nicely for up to a decade.
 
 

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