If I Could Buy Only One – Dec 9th, 2017 VINTAGES Release

As part of our VINTAGES recap, we asked our critics: “If you could buy only one wine from this release – which one would it be and why?”

Our picks from the Dec 9th VINTAGES release:

Michael Godel: A question frequently asked at this time of year is “can you recommend a big red? My brother (or father, friend, colleague) likes big reds, like California Cabernet or Australian Shiraz.” As critics we often like to steer people in a mind-broadening direction and so we recommend anything but. Today I choose to give the people what they want. The Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon is a big red. Tom Burgess purchased the 1870’s era mountainside winery in 1972 with a plan to express terroir, from grapes, through wines, to reflect the vineyard’s soil, exposure and micro-climate. The home estate Burgess vineyard produces the flagship Cabernet Sauvignon. Haymaker vineyard is the spot for Syrah on the eastern side of Howell Mountain and Triere vineyard in the Oak Knoll District is the site for Merlot. Like the previous 2012 this continues the tenets of deep, dark and brooding with some petit verdot in the mix and another arid vintage to thank for the depth and the inky body. Less caramel, darker and nary a reductive moment. Fruit is from between Howell Mountain tufa and Atlas Peak lava at a 1500m spot on the western side of the mountain and 1200m on the east side, above the fog and the frost. Once again it’s altitude and volcanic attitude that bring pitchy black fruit flavours. As good as ’12 may have been, this ’13 goes further and will live much longer.

Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

David Lawrason: Given the season upon us I would buy this exquisite Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne as my one splurge for a celebratory moment. I am seldom moved by pink sparkling wine because so many rely on their prettiness to sell – showing basic freshness, liveliness and a gentle dab of berry fruit on the nose. After the first sip or three the experience wears off.  This very pale salmon-copper coloured Champagne is not even really very pretty – looking a bit dull. Yet it has a subtle, complex weave of aromas and flavours that will intrigue until the bottle is empty. It is nicely slim, taut and well balanced, with a very vague sense of sensual sweetness. Terrific balance, focus and depth.

Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne

John Szabo, MS: I’ll confess I was blown away by the Gemtree Uncut Shiraz when I tasted it after a long lineup of big red wines. It leaped out of the range for its genuine life and vibrancy, and I was not at all surprised to learn later that it was grown biodynamically. Even in warm, coastal McLaren Vale Gemtree has managed to craft a wine with remarkable freshness, along with that extra dimension of flavour that only special wines possess. “Uncut” refers to nothing added from vineyard to bottle, and I love the balance, the fleshy dark fruit extract, the lively acids, and the length.

Gemtree Uncut Shiraz 2015

Sara d’Amato: My predilection for the wines of the Rhône aside, the bargain hunter in me couldn’t overlook this well-priced Côtes du Rhône from Domaine Les Grand Bois. Utterly seductive, this grenache based blend elevates the varietal’s playful side expressing an appealing edginess and surprising intensity.

Domaine Les Grands Bois Cuvée Les Trois Soeurs Côtes Du Rhône 2015

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Lawrason’s Take
Szabo’s Smart Buys
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Michael’s Mix

New Release and VINTAGES Preview