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Popular Wines

Popular Wines

Popular Wines

As magical and enigmatic as the world of wine can be, it’s not always easy to find your way around. Every day, inexperienced wine enthusiasts try to explore new blends and end up with a shopping list that their budget simply cannot support. Every high-quality wine is a unique, important experience, one that opens a person’s taste palate to a whole new world of flavor and pleasure. Something primal awakens within, urging you to find new and more compelling aromas and textures. But with so much to choose from, where do you begin?

When it comes to wine, popular blends are relatively common for a reason. They serve as an excellent entry point into the world of fine wine, and studying them lets you understand more obscure, complicated wines out there. A collection has to start somewhere, and these blends are often easier to get and help you develop your taste. Imagine bonding with your friends and family over a brand you’re all familiar with and able to appreciate to its fullest. Good wine offers something new, yet vaguely familiar with each glass, as your mouth picks up on subtleties in the liquid that tempt you further and inspire thought and introspection, uncorking new conversation topics and improving the mood no matter the situation.

If you’re looking for safe picks, you want to set your sights on quality brands from Italy, France, and Spain. A glass of sultry Sangiovese or Trebbiano Toscano can liven up a family meal and impress even the stuffiest guests while being a perfect partner to any traditional Italian dish you can think of. One taste of a Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay is enough to let France stand out as a breeding ground of divine, elegant elixirs that can fit the taste of any enthusiast. Meanwhile, Spain offers powerful blends such as Garnacha, Bobal, or Tempranillo, helping you create memorable moments out of even the most ordinary evening. And this is only scratching the surface.

Our goal is to introduce you to popular, tested brands the same way we would introduce you to a potential soulmate. With the right mood and some good timing, you can develop a healthy, pleasurable relationship with wine that lasts a lifetime.

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1953 petrus Bordeaux Red

A youthful, very fresh Pétrus, with lively black olive character and an expansive, powerful mouthfeel. Very ripe fruit flavors. This will continue to improve with age, but it's perfect to drink now.Wine Spectator | 92 WSThe 1953 Petrus constitutes one of the more underwhelming wines of an extraordinary vertical. It has quite a formidable reputation but it does not deliver. The bouquet is attractive with scents of fireside hearth and chestnut infusing the red fruit, yet it is not imbued with the panache or breeding of the 1949 Petrus served alongside. With aeration it develops a subtle algae-like aroma (actually a scent I am partial towards.) The palate is fresh and clear with a core of red berry fruit infused with cedar and bay leaf scents. It does not fan out towards the finish and feels as if it is running out of puff with age, something that I have found with many Bordeaux born this year. It just tapers towards the finish as if to say: That’s your lot Sonny Jim. It represents a good but not great Petrus compared to the superior 1949, 1950 or 1955. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.Vinous Media | 91 VMA Medoc-like nose offers subtle, restrained, menthol, blackcurrant, and caramel-scented aromas. Medium-bodied, with politely elegant, sweet flavors, and a rich, well-balanced finish, this is one of the most restrained and subtle Petrus offerings I have tasted. The wine is in excellent condition and should last for another decade.Robert M. Parker, Jr. | 90 RP

As low as $5,395.00
1960 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red

A nice surprise from an unheralded vintage. A broad, spicy brown sugar flavor lends it plenty of substance. Has the juniper and cedar notes that many of the great vintages share. Drink now to 1995.--Lafite Rothschild vertical.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

As low as $765.00
1961 latour Bordeaux Red

As stunning and immortal as ever. Complex aromas of mint, plum, currants and dried dark fruits that turn to raisins and chocolate. Full and juicy with a finish that lasts for minutes. Perfect wine as always.James Suckling | 100 JSPort-like, with an unctuous texture, and a dark garnet color with considerable amber at the edge, the 1961 Latour possesses a viscosity and thickness. One of the three bottles served at the Chateau's tasting revealed a surprisingly aggressive, minty, herbaceous nose, but the other two bottles were liquid perfection, exhibiting fragrant, cedary, truffle, leather, mineral, and sweet, jammy aromatics, full-bodied, voluptuous textures, exquisite purity and concentration, and a layered, highly-nuanced finish that represents the essence of compellingly great wine. The 1961 has been fully mature for over 15 years, but it seems to get richer, holding onto its succulence and fat, and developing more aromatic nuances without losing any sweetness or concentration. An extraordinary wine, it is unquestionably one of the Bordeaux legends of the century! Anticipated maturity: now-2025.Robert M. Parker, Jr. | 100 RPThe 1961 Latour poured at the vertical in Hong Kong is unquestionable one of the finest bottles that I have tasted. It has a breathtaking bouquet: fresh as morning dew and brilliantly delineated, intense black fruit whereby every atom is suffused with mineralité. It feels so youthful and vital. The nose is the apotheosis of Bordeaux being so aromatically regal and aristocratic. The palate is medium-bodied, with tannins sculpted by the finest chisel in the set: tightly wound black fruit, a perfect line of acidity and a breathtaking delineation, utterly harmonious and blessed with a persistent graphite-tinged finish that lasts over a minute. Majestic. Tasted at the Latour dinner in Hong Kong.Vinous Media | 100 VMA blockbuster. Amazingly youthful, yet complex and complete on the palate. Aromas of mint, berries,currant and minerals follow through to a thick and caressing, full-bodied palate. Superlong and superripe. Got to love this. Will it age forever?--Latour vertical. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 100 WS

As low as $36,190.00
1963 Quinta Do Noval Nacional

(Quinta do Noval Nacional) I had never tasted the legendary 1963 Nacional previously, and this stunningly pure and still almost youthful wine was every bit as profound as its reputation suggests. The glorious nose erupts from the glass in a sappy mélange of red plums, cherries, heather, coffee, cigar smoke, clover honey, a brilliant base of soil, orange zest and incipient notes of celery seed and other savory delights. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and still rock solid at the core, with glorious transparency, melting tannins, laser-like focus and brilliant soil drive on the very, very long and tangy finish. Like several other of the very best 1963 Ports, the ’63 Nacional is still a fairly young wine and will continue to dazzle for another fifty or sixty years. It was an absolute privilege to taste this legendary wine! (Drink between 2012-2075)John Gilman | 100 JGAmazingly, the importer still has tiny stocks of such legendary ports as the 1970, 1963, and 1962 Nacionals. In most vintages the production of Quinta do Noval Nacional is no more than 250-275 cases. The 1970,1963,1962 and 1994 are candidates to achieve perfect scores. The 1963 Nacional’s opaque purple color is remarkable, looking more like a 1992 than a 33-year old port. The wine possessed a fabulously smoky, cassis, black-cherry, peppery nose. After thirty minutes in the glass, fruitcake notes and more evolved aromas emerged. This port is so concentrated it defies belief, with extraordinary balance, and, like its two siblings, well-integrated alcohol and tannin. The impression is one of a silky, succulent, voluptuously-textured mouthful of exceptionally extracted port. This is a legend in the making. In 30-40 years it may well be considered, along with the 1931, as one of the greatest ports ever produced. Those lucky few with a bottle or two should plan to hold onto them for another decade before pulling the cork. It, too, is a hundred-year port.Robert Parker | 99 RPToffee, incense, dried cherry, bergamot and green tea notes provide the aromas here, with mulled plum and licorice flavors forming the core. A light singed balsam wood accent lines the finish, which is viscous and sweet-edged but stays decidedly dry in feel overall. Harmonious and incredibly long.—Non-blind Quinta do Noval vertical (May 2018). Drink now through 2030. 251 cases made.Wine Spectator | 99 WSGood full, deep red. Knockout nose offers red and black cherry, strawberry, spices and mint. Unbelievably young for a wine that’s nearly a half-century old, offering incredible power and thrust to its red berry, spice and mineral flavors. Fills the mouth with perfume. Combines extraordinary mid-palate lift with a silky texture and buns of steel, conveying an impression of buzzing energy. The endless finish features great concentration and urgency, and utterly noble tannins. Can a 49-year-old port still be on an up curve? I hope to find out. This wine should go on for another 30 years without difficulty.Vinous Media | 98+ VM

As low as $7,245.00
1966 mouton rothschild Bordeaux Red

(Château Mouton Rothschild) This was a good solid bottle of ’66 Mouton, which has always been my favorite between the ’62 and the ’70. There was a time fifteen years ago when I crossed paths with this wine very often, as it offered much better value than the 1970, but as the market has realized the sleeper status of this vintage of Mouton, its price has risen commensurately. The nose is complex and classy, offering up notes of red currants, cherries, woodsmoke, tobacco, a bit of old Rioja-like nuttiness, ginger and cedar. On the palate the wine is medium-full, complex and resolved, with solid acidity, melting tannins, and a good, long, clean finish of impressive balance. Fine juice, though this particular bottle lacked just a touch of vibrancy vis à vis the best bottles I have crossed paths with. (Drink between 2005-2020)John Gilman | 91 JGThis review may be generous, but I have always liked this wine, even though it borders on being slightly too dry, austere, and restrained. Nevertheless, the dark garnet color and classic sweet, spicy, tobacco, coffee, and black currant aromas are enticing. The wine still has powerful tannin in the finish, which contributes to the dry, austere character this example has always exhibited. One of the more intellectually-styled Moutons, the 1966 is a classic example of the vintage, as well as of the chateau's Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated style. Anticipated maturity: Now-2008. Last tasted 10/97Robert Parker | 90 RP

As low as $825.00
1967 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red
As low as $1,550.00
1970 fonseca Port

Some people may enjoy this wine’s rather fat, rich and powerful fruit now, but I still find it too young for drinking. Deeply colored, with smoky mint, tar and fruit aromas, full-bodied, with concentrated fruit flavors and plenty of tannins.Wine Spectator | 96 WSTasted at the Vintners Company’s 650th anniversary celebration at Vintners Hall, the Fonseca 1970 was the finest bottle I have encountered. The bouquet opens beautifully with heady scents of clove, ginger, small red cherries, bergamot and allspice, displaying exquisite definition and harmony. The palate follows suit with lovely balance and poise in the mouth, notes of kirsch, shaved ginger and walnut building to an opulent, viscous finish that lacquers the mouth. Yet this bottle shows more control than the bottle tasted four years ago. The 1970 Fonseca is in a very nice place at the moment. You should join it. Tasted May 2013.Robert Parker Neal Martin | 95 RP-NM

97
RP-HG
As low as $325.00
1970 haut brion Bordeaux Red

(Château Haut-Brion (Graves)) The 1970 vintage of Haut-Brion is an interesting wine, as in the 1980s and early 1990s, this wine was quite red fruity and seemingly a bit high-toned to be ranked amongst the top vintages of this fine First Growth. But time has worked its magic, and in the new century it became more classically black fruity in profile and seemingly put on a bit more weight in the mid-palate, to eventually offer up a quite classic bouquet of cassis, black cherries, brick dust, cigar smoke and a fine base of gravelly soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite elegant in profile (channeling both the style of the vintage and the property), with a good core, melted tannins and a long, silky and complex finish. Fine juice. (Drink between 2017-2030).John Gilman | 93 JGThe 1970 Château Haut-Brion is a First Growth that has probably been over-shadowed by the Latour 1970 during its lifetime. However, this bottle proves that it is not to be underestimated; it highlights the glaring gap that exists between itself and another First Growth, the 1970 Château Margaux that I tasted alongside. There is plenty of vigor on the nose with dashing red berry fruit, cedar and black olive - just very Haut-Brion.The palate is medium-bodied, well balanced and fresh, nothing over-ambitious, just a Claret in the traditional sense of the word that gently builds towards a sous-bois dominated finish. This is an excellent showing, stout and a little austere, and you could argue an Haut-Brion with its peak in its wing-mirrors. Yet good bottles such as this will continue to offer pleasure for another decade. Tasted June 2015.Robert Parker Neal Martin | 92 RP-NMVery firm, with ripe plum and currant notes coming through its chewy texture, finishing with woodsy, bitter chocolate overtones. A sturdy wine that keeps threatening to become supple.--Haut-Brion vertical.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

90-92
RPNM
As low as $935.00
1971 petrus Bordeaux Red

This bottle of 1971 Petrus is perhaps the best that I have encountered, completely overawing the 1970 served alongside. It boasts a gorgeous bouquet with delineated red berry fruit, pressed rose petals, hints of kirsch and a touch of sandalwood, perhaps even a little exotic compared to previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied with seductive fleshiness on the entry, a surfeit of black truffle infused red fruit and life-affirming purity. Unlike other bottles, this example seems to meliorate with aeration, gaining intensity and depth towards the precise and tender finish. I doubt that I will find another 1971 Petrus as good as this. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.Vinous Media | 97 VMThis wine has been seemingly fully mature since the mid- to late seventies. It is a seductive, opulent vintage for Petrus. The color now is a dark garnet with considerable amber at the rim. The incredible nose of Christmas fruitcake intermixed with mocha, jammy kirsch, and black currants is followed by a silky textured, full-bodied, very opulent wine that is still totally intact. The tannins have totally dissipated, and the wine is an unctuous, seductive Petrus that is certainly one of the vintages that is most delicious and compelling. A sensational wine and probably the wine of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: Now-2011. Last tasted, 11/02.Robert Parker | 95 RPThis wine is as comfortable as your favorite pair of slippers. Extremely caressing, with wonderfully enticing aromas and flavors of tobacco and violets and a rich, round palate.--Pétrus vertical. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

95
RP
As low as $5,860.00
1974 petrus Bordeaux Red
As low as $2,270.00
1976 Haut Brion
As low as $550.00
1976 Montrose
As low as $180.00
1977 fonseca Port

Vintage Port doesn’t seem like the right wine in the middle of the summer but I had an Amarone producer for dinner the other night in Tuscany and he had never drunk a wine from his birth year. He was lucky enough to have been born in 1977 - a great Port year! I found a bottle of 1977 Fonseca in my cellar - probably my last. It was absolutely gorgeous. I gave this fortified wine a perfect score in its youth and I think it has finally evolved into its perfection as a mature vintage Port. Here is the tasting note. 1977 Fonseca Vintage Port: This is in total balance now with such harmony. What amazing aromas of berry and flowers. Full and sweet, the tannins are complete dissolved. The fruit is perfect. This goes on for minutes. Drink now. But it will go forever.James Suckling | 100 JSWhat a Vintage Port. Dark ruby center, with a dark garnet edge. Aromas of flowers, blackberry and licorice. Subtle and complex. Wow. What a palate. Full, concentrated and rich, yet balanced and beautiful. Solid and sleepy. Still not giving all it has to give. This is just coming around. Gorgeous and classy. Love it. ’77/’85/’97 blind Port retrospective. Drink now.Wine Spectator | 100 WS(Fonseca) I have always found the ’77 Fonseca to be one of the stars of the vintage, and this most recent bottle was beginning to really hit on all cylinders. The bouquet delivers a beautifully complex and concentrated mélange of sweet cassis, plum, blackberry, mint, tobacco, chocolate, minerals, and cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and almost voluptuous, with a fine core of fruit, beautiful structure and focus, ripe tannins, and great grip on the long and modestly tannic finish. This wine is a beautiful and relatively forward example of the vintage, and consequently it is offering up superb drinking already. My gut instinct suggests that there is more complexity to come with further bottle age, but it is pretty hard not to want to drink this beauty at this stage of development. A quintessential vintage of Fonseca. (Drink between 2007-2050).John Gilman | 95 JGFonseca is one of the great port lodges, producing the most exotic and most complex port. If Fonseca lacks the sheer weight and power of a Taylor, Dow or Warre, or the opulent sweetness and intensity of a Graham, it excels in its magnificently complex, intense bouquet of plummy, cedary, spicy fruit and long, broad, expansive flavors. With its lush, seductive character, one might call it the Pomerol of Vintage ports. When it is young, it often loses out in blind tastings to the heavier, weightier, more tannic wines, but I always find myself upgrading my opinion of Fonseca after it has had 7-10 years of age. The 1977 has developed magnificently in the bottle, and while it clearly needs another decade to reach its summit, it is the best Fonseca since the 1970 and 1963.Robert Parker | 93 RP

100
WS
As low as $235.00
1978 Alain Hudelot Noellat Romanee Saint Vivant Grand Cru
As low as $1,795.00
1978 mouton rothschild Bordeaux Red

Supple yet strong willed, this is mature enough for drinking now, with chocolate, cherry, violet, vanilla and raspberry notes.--Mouton-Rothschild vertical.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

92
WS
As low as $535.00
1978 petrus Bordeaux Red
91
RP-NM
As low as $2,775.00
1979 petrus Bordeaux Red

A rather hard wine, with a firm backbone of silky tannins and sweet black olive, vanilla and berry aromas and flavors.--Pétrus vertical. Best from 1992 through 1995. Wine Spectator | 90 WS

97
RP-HG
As low as $3,090.00
1980 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red
As low as $980.00
1981 lafite rothschild Bordeaux Red