Best US Wine Shop of the World for 2020 by BWW

Sokolin Voted Best US Wine Shop in the World 2020Currently celebrating our 86th year as a premier wine retailer, Sokolin was founded in 1934 and received one of the very first liquor licenses issued by New York State after Prohibition was repealed. What began as a family business continues to be family-owned and operated; a company that is very much built on integrity, high quality and excellent service. Each and every client is treated to an exceptional level of service. Behind our fierce commitment to selection and customer service is our team of dedicated and knowledgeable wine professionals who are passionate about what they do. We know wine inside and out, and we are able to marry the needs of our clients with the fine wines in our collection. Our expert guidance has certainly made a name for Sokolin among wine collectors and enthusiasts alike, and we are proud of the reputation it has earned us.

And so, we are beyond thrilled to have been awarded the title of Best US Wine Shop of the World for 2020 by BWW. The Best Wine Shop of the World competition is part of the Best Wine of the World Competition (“BWW”). 214,198 votes from wine professionals and wine lovers from 71 countries were cast during the voting period. BWW is the largest wine competition in the world and is considered to be the toughest. We are very proud of this award!

The competition is held by, the world’s largest wine information service. is trusted by thousands of wine professionals and wineries from around the world and provides up-to-date information on wine. Its users include several well-known wine professionals, such as Antonio Galloni, James Suckling, Allen Meadows, Jeb Dunnuck, Neil Martin, Stephen Tanzer and more.

Thank you for continuing to choose Sokolin as your source to the world’s greatest wines and everyday, amazing values. We continue to look forward to putting our passion and expertise to work for you!

The Sokolin Team

All Eyes are on 2008 Champagne

Pop, fizz, clink! 2008 may not have been a great year for the financial sector, but when it comes to Champagne, 2008 was firing on all cylinders! All eyes are on 2008 Champagne as it has become the most sought-after vintage since the epic 1996 vintage, and the demand has been off the charts! The buzz in the industry about the this vintage is to buy as much as you can find. The overall popularity of top vintage Champagne is growing, and the 2008s are ones you don’t want to miss. We’ve seen ’08 releases from top Champagne houses like Billecart Salmon, Dom Perignon, Bollinger, Louis Roederer, Piper-Heidsieck (and more), and they are truly incredible! Packed with freshness and complexity, the ’08 Champagnes are approachable now, but are built to last. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, chef de cave of Louis Roederer (the producer of Cristal) said, “I think the 2008 is my best Cristal to date.”

Not only does our inventory include the absolute top 2008 Champagnes available on the market, but we also offer excellent Champagnes from this vintage that are lower priced from producers like Laurent Perrier, Henriot, Delamotte and Veuve Clicquot. Click here to view our full portfolio, which includes legends and values.

This vintage is one you don’t want to miss and is perfect for all of your upcoming celebrations and milestones!


Wines to Transition You from Summer to Fall

Summer is now behind us, and fall is in full swing, which means shorter days, cool temperatures, crisp breezes and falling leaves are the norm. It’s the season for football, pumpkin spice everything and the time of year when we wine lovers move to more seasonally appropriate wines. We’re sharing a few seasonal staples that we’ll be sipping on during the transition from warm weather to cool days.

Fall isn’t just for red wines. We love enjoying a full-boded white wine, such as Roussanne, as the temperatures cool. You’ll find this varietal most often in the Rhone region, but you can also find it in California. We recommend 2016 Alban Vineyards Roussanne from California, which has been called “one of the standout expressions of Roussanne in California…” (Jeb Dunnuck). This bottle will cost you less than $50 and leave you smiling on a cool autumn day. 93 points.

Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir may be the obvious choice this time of year and for good reason. It’s a very food-friendly varietal, so it pairs well with a lot of different dishes. Top Pinot Noirs aren’t just coming out of Burgundy – California and Oregon are producing excellent wines, and quality has never been better. 2015 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills is from an amazing producer, has a score of 94 points and is under $36. This is a solid choice that offers great quality for the money. If you’re looking to branch out into Oregon Pinot Noir, check out 2016 Ayres Pinot Noir Lewis Rodgers Lane Ribbon Ridge ($31.99 / btl). This wine is very limited, with only 251 cases produced, and you’ll be happy you opened this beauty.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon should definitely be on your fall wine list. For a more affordable choice, check out the 2015 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon, which could offer the best bang for the buck in Napa Valley Cabernet. It’s priced at only $33.95, but could easily be mistaken for a wine that costs 3-4x the price. This Napa Cabernet offers the taste of Cali-Cult wine without the Cali-Cult price. If you’re looking to splurge, 2013 Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon to Kalon Vyd delivers the goods! The outstanding 2013 vintage is one of the best ever to come out of Napa Valley. This vintage also marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary Robert Mondavi’s “vision to create something special in the heart of Napa Valley” (Robert Parker).

If you’re a value seeker, Cotes du Rhones are perfect to have on hand for fall. Pesquie Cotes de Ventoux Terrasses is one of our go-to values from the Rhone region, and the 2017 vintage is a winner. Priced at only $12.99, this is a wine to order by the case, which is a blend made of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. Jeb Dunnuck commented “I love this cuvee, which is year in, year out, one of the great value buys out there.” We couldn’t agree more. For a wine that’s 100% Syrah, 2015 Sleight of Hand Syrah Levitation is a sure-fire winner. Production is very limited, and this full-bodied red from Washington will pair perfectly with hearty fall foods.

If you’re looking for a red wine to warm you up on a cool autumn day, 2015 Alegre Valganon Rioja Tinto is for you. It’s a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha, and it’s a wine that’s built to last. Priced at only $18.95, this 93 pointer should be on your fall list. “It is an excellent wine from an exciting new winemaking couple in the firmament of old school Rioja…” (John Gilman).


One of the Best Values in Fine Wine

Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy’s most well-known red wines and is also one of the best values you can find in the world of wine. If you’re looking for a wine that will over-deliver for the price, Brunello is your answer! It comes from central Italy in the vineyards surrounding the town of Montalcino. While wines have been produced in Italy for a few thousand years, Brunello is a relatively modern wine in comparison.

Brunellos are 100% Sangiovese and must be aged for five years prior to release. Full-bodied, Brunellos are long-lived, packed with red fruit and the right balance of acidity and smooth tannins.

All bottles we’re featuring below come from superstar winemakers, have high scores from great vintages and are priced under $50. It's hard to find this level of price to points ratio in any other region! These wines drink great today and will cruise for the next 10 years. Take advantage of the low prices now!

2012 La Rasina Brunello di Montalcino - $36.95 – JS

2012 Nardi Brunello di Montalcino - $39.99 – 93 JS

2012 Mocali Brunello di Montalcion Vigna Delle Raunate - $39.99 – 94 JS

2012 Abbadia Ardenga Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Piaggia - $39.99 – 95 WE

2013 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino - $49.99 – 96 VM



5 Terrific Wines to Serve with Burgers

Fire up the grill! There’s just a couple weeks of summer left, so get outside and enjoy the last days for backyard cookouts and burgers. We're sharing five terrific wines to serve with your favorite burger just like the way you like it! Starting at only $27.95, these wines will provide a fantastic pairing experience whether you’re serving up a classic or are trying something new and different.

2015 Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon – this wine is a hidden Cali gem that we love! Grown in the Alexander Valley, the 2015 Stonestreet Cabernet Estate has a score of 92 points and is priced at only $27.95. It’s such a deal when it comes to California Cabernet. This estate was established in 1995 by Jess Stonestreet Jackson and Barbara Banke, and his son and daughter-in-law now run the estate.

2015 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon – this Napa juice offers some of the best bang for your buck when it comes to Napa Valley Cab! Over the past decade, Waterstone Winery has built a reputation for its top quality Napa Valley Cabernets. Part of what makes Waterstone so special is that its wines taste like Cali-Cult wines without the Cali-Cult prices, impressing wine aficionados as well as those just discovering the world of wine. Priced at only $33.95, this wine tastes like it costs 3-4x the price, and your friends will think that you paid way more for this bottle.

2012 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino – some of the best deals in fine wine can be found in Brunello di Montalcino! This 96 pointer for only $44.95 offers so much quality for the money, and the 2012 vintage is A+. This wine drinks great today and will continue to improve.

2016 Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape - you’ll fall head-over-heels for this 95 point Chateaunuef du Pape! Janasse is one of the best producers whose quality is consistently amazing, yet so few people have tried it. This wine is a must-try, especially for the low price of $49.95. 

2015 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve – California continues to produce world-class Cabernets that compete with the greatest wines in the world, and Beringer is at the top of the quality hierarchy! You’ll be in total awe over this 99 pointer, and it will take your burger to the next level.

This Could Be the Best Bang for the Buck in Napa Valley!

Many of you are already familiar with Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon. Over the past decade, Waterstone Winery has built a reputation for its top quality Napa Valley Cabernets. Part of what makes Waterstone so special is that its wines taste like Cali-Cult wines without the Cali-Cult prices, impressing wine aficionados as well as those just discovering the world of wine.  

We were first introduced to this winery several years ago, and 2001 was the first vintage we sold. Waterstone has been a best-selling wine at Sokolin, year after year.

The 2015 vintage ($33.95 / btl) is now in stock, and they hit it out of the park with this vintage, which was an outstanding one for Napa Valley. The same remains true in this vintage as in previous vintages of Waterstone - this wine tastes like it costs 3-4x the price!

2015 Waterstone Cabernet Sauvignon is Bordeaux-like on the nose with licorice, forest floor, plums, crème de cassis with a hint of cedar, baking spices and oak. It’s elegant, pure and layered, medium to full bodied and bursting with fruit that flows across the palate with a 60+ second finish.

2015 is also the first full vintage with Laurie Hook (formally of Beringer) at the helm. She’s taken over the reigns as winemaker, and it shows in the purity and seductiveness of this extraordinary vintage.

Production for the 2015 was down substantially from prior vintages and is 1/3rd of what Waterstone historically produced, meaning we have very LIMITED quantities available.

This is the perfect wine to serve with steak, burgers or lamb, and it’s also an affordable and great wine to gift.

If you're a fan of Waterstone, act quickly and order your case today. This is your chance to experience maybe the best bang for the buck in Napa!

Rosé All Day - The Rise of Rosé

Wine lovers seem to love to Rosé All Day, especially millennials, and Rosé has taken the wine world by storm. It’s now said to be the fastest growing wine category in America. Its popularity has resulted in phrases like “Rosé All Day” and “Yes Way, Rosé.” There are nearly 3 million pictures on Instagram tagged #rosé. The right marketing and branding, coupled with attractive packaging and influencer associations came together to further propel an already hugely popular wine into a stratospheric level. Another influence in its rise came from celebrities joining the movement and producing their own Rosés, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Bon Jovi.

Beyond that though, there’s a big reason that it’s so popular, and that’s because it’s delicious and so versatile! Rosés can be enjoyed with a variety of food, making it a perfect choice to pour during summer days. It’s great for the beach, a picnic or sipping poolside. The price is nice, too. You can find really great Rosés in the $20 range, and sometimes for a little less.

Provence is the Rosé capital of the world, and chances are, if you’ve been drinking Rosé, you’ve likely had one from Provence. The Rosés from this region are crisp and light and not fruity or big. Today, we’re sharing a few of our best-selling Rosés that our customers love.

2018 Diving Into Hampton Water Rosé - $19.99

This Rosé was released last year for the first time, and it quickly became one of the most sought-after Rosés. Wine Spectator ranked the 2017 vintage higher than any other Rosé on its list of Top 100 Wines of 2018. Diving Into Hampton Water Rosé is a collaboration between rock star Bon Jovi, his son and the famous winemaker, Gerard Bertrand. The entire 2017 production sold out very quickly on allocation, and we’ll most likely see the same thing happen with the 2018 vintage. The bottle is gorgeous, featuring a graceful woman diving into a pink colored pool. It’s made up of a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvedre grapes and is priced at only $19.99. This vintage will disappear quickly, so order yours before it's sold out!

2018 Chateau Saint Roseline Cru Classe Lampe de Meduse - $16.99

This Rosé is one of Provence’s best kept secrets. We started offering the 2016 vintage two years ago, and we immediately knew that it was a winner. If you think the bottle is beautiful, just wait until you taste the Rosé! Our team is blown away by the quality coming from Chateau Sainte Roseline, a prestigious, one thousand year old terroir and one of the richest historical sites in Provence. This Rosé is one of the few in Provence to have achieved the elite ‘Cru Classe’ status, a mark of supreme quality. It’s priced at only $16.99, but don’t fear underpaying for a great Rosé.

2018 D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé - $19.99

This Rosé is always a HUGE best-seller at Sokolin. The ’18 vintage has a beautiful, pale pink color with a crisp and pure finish that exemplifies Provencal Rosé. It was created by Sacha Lichine, son of the famous Alexis Lichine, who spent time working at his family’s chateau in Bordeaux. Whispering Angel Rosé is a world-class Rosé that is priced at only $19.99, yet it tastes like it costs twice the price.

2018 Miraval Rosé (Pitt – Jolie – Perrin) - $22.95

Miraval Rosé has been one of the most popular Rosés for the past few summers. It’s always a highly anticipated arrival and is a huge customer favorite. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie teamed up with the famous winemaking Perrin family of Chateau Beaucastel, and together created an amazing, sought-after Rosé from one of the most prestigious estates in Provence. It’s a pure expression of Provencal Rosé that is priced at just $22.95.

2017 Domaine Ott Rosé Cotes de Provence Chateau de Selle - $39.99

Domaine Ott has always been the leader of quality when it comes to Rosé, and it has a certain je ne sais quoi that keeps people coming back for more, year after year! It’s at the top of the Rosé quality hierarchy and is arguably the most recognized Rosé on the planet. Customers love this wine, and demand increases every year. Chateau de Selle is one of Domaine Ott’s premium Rosés that's sure to impress. This is a Rosé that ages well.

The Best Bang for the Buck in Grand Cru White Burgundy

As you know, red Burgundy is skyrocketing in price, but more recently, the top white Burgundy producers have taken note and are starting to raise prices just because their red counterparts are. Nowhere is this more evident than in Corton Charlemagne where just a few years ago, most bottles were priced around $80-125. Now, many wines start at $140 and go to thousands for the top ones like Coche Dury.

I see this trend continuing and wouldn't be surprised if many of the wines you’ve known and loved are $400 bottles in the next few years. Are they worth it? I'll let the market figure that out, but I want to share with you a Corton Charlemagne producer who hasn’t raised prices, yet the quality keeps ticking up. That producer is Louis Latour, consistently one of our top-selling producers of Corton Charlemagne, year after year. The Latour family has been producing wines for over 200 years. Louis Latour is my perpetual favorite because it stands tall to other top producers, yet costs a lot less.  And reliably ages for decades.

I’m loving the 2015 vintage of Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne! It received a 97 point score and is priced at only $109. It’s a staple in my house, an old school legend and a steal when it comes to Grand Cru white Burgundy! The ’15 vintage is in stock and ready to ship, so stock up for the summer months.

Robert Parker Announces His Retirement Last Week

Robert Parker announced his retirement from The Wine Advocate last week, marking the end of a 40 year career. What does this mean for the fine wine business?

Today, it's easy to forget just how big Parker's contributions to both the wine consumer and the wine industry really were, but let's look back to 1978 when it all began. 

1) Parker created the 100 point rating system, which was revolutionary, and with it, increased global interest in wine.

2) Parker was the first critic to expand upon Emile Peynaud's "The Taste of Wine: The Art and Science of Wine Appreciation" in a way that gave depth, clarity and life to wine reviews in a way that increased overall interest and access to learning about wine for the general public.

3) He was the first to do a non-advertising based, unbiased subscription model that followed his Ralph Nader like zeal to out corruption and give the real deal, which he did.

4) He broke the old caste systems of "Famous Chateau" by rewarding quality over the name and pedigree of vineyards. In doing so, he forced old world, big name producers to upgrade their vineyards and winemaking practices and allowed relative newcomers to shine based solely on their merits over name and history.

5) Parker could have impact on the GDP of France just by declaring a good vintage!

What does this mean for the rare wine industry?

The wine rare wine business has and most likely never will find a singular lead wine critic who had the power of Robert Parker again. Today, there have been approximately five different publications who have picked up the slack - even Parker's own Wine Advocate has been purchased and filled with competent critics. Antonio Galloni, James Suckling, Allen Meadows and Jeb Dunnuck have all stepped in and have, as a group, done a great job filling the void that Parker's retirement has left. The business will move on and perhaps a leader will emerge, or maybe each will find a niche that they excel at, in the same way that Parker thrived in the Bordeaux, Rhone and California markets.

What does this mean for wine investment?

During his career, Parker handed out high scores to a limited number of wines in each region, even less so with the coveted 100 point score. Though you might see many of those wines on our offers, it's what we specialize in, and in reality, these wines are extremely rare. In the past, Parker was often inclined to change scores with each tasting, but as of today that option is gone, and these scores are set in stone, historic records of a bygone era… "The Parker era."

I believe that the highest scoring wines of Robert Parker's career are now going to become even more valuable with his retirement. They are, in essence, the definitive mark of quality that cannot be replicated today.  Many of these wines have anticipated maturities well beyond both Parker's and many of our lives, up to 100 years out in the future for some 2009 Bordeaux. Parker was the only one with the experience and authority to make such bold pronouncements. As a result, wines with big scores, especially 100 pointers will continue to rise in price.

During his reign, Parker was considered to be the single most influential critic in any field. Think about it - movies, art, food, and Wall St. all had a variety of sources to choose from to gain insight into a market, but in wine, Robert Parker was THE market for several decades. His influence and power will live on in his reviews and the wines that he has championed.

We all owe Bob a lot, and I am at the top of the list of appreciators. I've had the pleasure of dining with Bob and his wife and adore them. I truly thank Bob on behalf of Sokolin and the wine business for all he has added to it.  I wish him the very best in retirement.

Thoughts on 2018 Bordeaux

Our team recently traveled to Bordeaux for the 2018 En Primeur campaign and spent days tasting barrel samples at many top chateaux. They tasted over 100 wines on both the Left Bank and Right Bank and reported back with the following information:

Team 1:

2018 was an unusual vintage to say the least. The entire region experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall through the spring months until mid-July. The rain caused headaches for many producers as they fought diligently to protect their vines from mildew. Several chateaux lost a significant portion of their crop to mildew causing overall production numbers to be historically low. It was a very odd feeling to walk through the barrel rooms of Pontet Canet and Palmer and see the cellars nearly empty.

But after the rains stopped in July, the region experienced very even temperatures and very little rain through the end of the summer, which allowed the remaining vines to grow strong, concentrating the flavors within the grapes. Those chateaux lucky enough to not be too adversely affected by mildew were treated to beautiful crops that produced spectacular wines.

Many people attending the 2018 En Primeur tastings quickly noted the power and concentration displayed by the vintage. The best wines could easily age for 50+ years while many wines will be very approachable over the next 5-10.

One word that I found repeated frequently in my notes was “fresh”. So many of the wines had that great fresh, fruity characteristic that perfectly balances the big, tannic structures found in 2018.

With regards to pricing and availability, there will be many producers that will most likely open at higher prices than 2016 simply because of the decreased production. But, I am confident that there will still be a lot of value to be found in 2018. Many of the “2nd” wines produced in 2018 were the best we have ever tasted. Some great examples to look for are La Dame de Montrose, La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion, Croix de Beaucaillou, Duhart Milon, and a new label from Chateau Haut Bailly called “Haut Bailly II”.

While there may not be as many great wines from top to bottom in 2018 as there were in 2015 and 2016, there will still be plenty of “value wines” worth chasing at release.

As for the “1st Growths,” 2018 is going to be a very strong vintage for Lafite, Margaux, and Haut Brion. On the Right Bank, look out for Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Canon and Vieux Chateau Certan.

Team 2:

A very impressive vintage in 2018 with many exceptional wines. The best wines seem to match or even eclipse some of the best recent vintages. The opulence and seductiveness of the 2009 vintage, the structure and tannins of the 2010 vintage and the pure, fresh fruit of the 2016 vintage.

On the left bank, St. Julien, St. Estephe, Pauillac and Margaux excelled with the top producers while on the right bank, Pomerol seemed to really shine along with Ausone and Cheval Blanc in the St. Emilion. 

The one major difference between this vintage and the 2016, 2009 and 2010 vintages is that it isn’t as consistently great across the entire vintage like those vintages were. While there are fabulous highs, there are also some wines that underperformed. It will be important to be selective when purchasing.

What wine critics are saying:

“At the very peak of quality, the 2018s are mind-blowingly incredible.” – Robert Parker Wine Advocate

“I think it could turn out to be an all-time great, similar to 2010, 2009 and 1989 or even such classics as 1982 or 1959.” – James Suckling

“Bordeaux has another incredible vintage on their hands with 2018. Following the opulent 2015s and the pure class of the 2016s, the 2018s resemble a hypothetical mix of a sunny, dry year such as 2009 or 2015 mixed with a cooler, more classic year such as 2010 or 2016.” - Jeb Dunnuck

“…the 2018s are ripe, sexy wines loaded with fruit and texture, yet they also display a remarkable freshness and purity (as well as singular characters) that make the vintage so special. It’s not a year that favored one side of the river over another, and there are truly profound wines from both the Right and Left Banks.” - Jeb Dunnuck

“The best 2018s are aromatically intense, deep, dark wines that beautifully marry fruit intensity with structure.” – Vinous Media

You can view a listing of our 2018 Bordeaux futures available for purchase.