Monday, December 28, 2009


Thinking about what wines I chose for my Top 40, there were some obvious oversights, as well as just no room for all the amazing juice of which I had sampled over the past year. I wanted to round up some other standouts that I missed, forgot, or just couldn’t get into the list (in no real particular order):

1. Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast 2006. From the our friends at Hahn Family Estates, this gorgeous Cab impressed many customers this year, showing that a Cab under $25 can beat even the priciest counterparts.

2. Dusted Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006. Corey and Chad made quite an impression on me out in WA, and this wine was one of the first I reeled into the store upon my return. It’s a beautiful effort and affordable too.

3. Atalaya Almansa 2007. Another glorious red wine from importer Jorge Ordonez. Monastrell and Garnacha make up the bulk of this sexy beast.

4. Dei Sancta Catharina 2006. Usually on my Top 40 every year, I left it off simply due to the overwhelming amount of wines I came across this year. Catharina Dei is one of my favorite winemakers, and her signature red blend is a perennial guarantee of quality and phenomenal drinking pleasure.

5. La Gramiere Cotes-du-Rhone 2006. This tale of husband and wife buying a small plot of land in the Southern Rhone, and turning out a stunning red blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that is a beautiful love story in a glass.

6. Poet's Leap Riesling Columbia Valley 2008. A gorgeous effort from the collaborative-happy Allan Shoup and the good folks at Long Shadows Vintners, this amazing Riesling is arguably their best and certainly their most affordable wine in the lineup.

7. d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne-Viognier McLaren Vale 2008. D’Arenberg is one of the most deserving, unsung producers of Australia, turning out a vast array of values, including this tasty white wine. Just great bang-for-the-buck quality.

8. Intriga Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley 2008. A sleeper wine that is produced by the Gras family (of MontGras) and made from almost 50 year old Cab vines. Dark, concentrated and rich beyond belief, this Cab really overdelivers.

9. Montes Folly Apalta 2005. I opened a bottle of this one with the Mrs. sometime back and really blew her away with the level of concentration and density this voluptuous red possessed both in bottle and glass. Drinking it with dinner was like eating leftovers in bed after previously engaging in some pretty steamy behavior. Just sin heaped atop of sin.

10. Achaval-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza 2008. Another usual suspect in my Top 40, I once again gave some other wines a shot on the premise that this is the BEST friggin’ Malbec under $30 year-in-and-year-out and doesn’t need my blowhard opinion to champion it, unless you haven’t tried it yet. Then my friends, I suggest you get up off your duffs and get yourself a bottle, grill some meat, open and enjoy.

Once again, new things are coming for 2010 so have a Great New Year, be safe, and see you next year!


Philip said...

Thanks for the high praise on the 2006 Smith and Hook, Kevin! The 2007 is even better (IMHO).

Cheers and Happy New Year!
Philip C. Woodrow
Hahn Family Wines

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