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Proprietary Blend Wines

Proprietary Blend Wines

Proprietary Blend Wines

There’s a level of mystery and intrigue when it comes to drinking a wine for which you're not fully informed about, and if that sounds like a thrilling idea to you, then you’re probably already interested in proprietary blends. While the concept doesn’t have a legal definition, it is used to describe blends whose components aren’t disclosed by the producer. In many cases, the wine tends to be a Bordeaux-inspired blend, but this isn’t always the case.
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1963 quinta do noval nacional Port

(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
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
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 $265.00
1982 sassicaia Super Tuscan/IGT

This is a forgotten vintage of Sassicaia from the 1980s with all the hype about the legendary 1985 - a perfect wine. It shows incredible depth of fruit and mineral character. It’s full body and round textures with soft tannins. Drink now. Decant and serve.James Suckling | 95 JSA rich and voluptuous wine with a deep color. Intensely opulent black currant and mint bouquet; the palate is packed with fruit and velvety tannins. Will improve for years, but delicious now.--Super Tuscan blind retrospective. — JSAdd this wine to this Personal Wine ListAdd this wine to this Personal Wine ListDefault PWL (0) Learn more about Personal Wine ListsRelated Links Additional Tastings User NotesAdditional Tastings for TENUTA SAN GUIDO Vino da Tavola-Tuscany Sassicaia 1982Issue: Jul 31, 1996Score: 90Rather intense, in a fresh way, reflecting perhaps the relatively high acidity in this wine from the start. Of medium to full body, it bursts with cassis and black cherry flavors and a touch of Sassicaia’s characteristic mineral persona.--Sassicaia vertical. Drink now. –PMIssue: Jul 31, 1987Score: 84Richer on the nose than on the palate, with ripe concentrated berry and plum character that turns a bit lean and spicy on the palate. One of the most highly prized wines in Italy, but it seems to lack a bit on the follow through.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

90
WS
As low as $780.00
1985 opus one California Red
97
DEC
As low as $565.00
1987 ornellaia Super Tuscan/IGT

Good bright medium red. Explosive, complex aromas of raspberry, cherry, truffle and earth. Sweet and concentrated, with deep, fairly youthful red fruit and mineral flavors. Quite sappy and fresh for a 17-year-old wine, though not quite as nuanced in the mouth as on the nose. Finishes with substantial dusty tannins and very good vinosity. A strong showing for this wine.Vinous Media | 90 VM

As low as $270.00
1988 ornellaia Super Tuscans/IGT

This brilliant wine is one of the best new breed Tuscan reds I have tasted. The color is a sensational black/purple and the nose offers gorgeously intense aromas of black plums, cassis, licorice, and spicy new oak. In the mouth, there is extraordinary opulence and richness, enough acidity to provide grip, and plenty of tannin lurking behind the cascade of fruit. The explosive finish goes on and on. Approachable, even delicious now, this splendid wine promises to get even better over the next 4-6 years and possibly last through the first decade of the next century. Impressive!Robert Parker | 93 RPA solid wine, with wonderful structure for aging, but still closed and not giving much at this stage. Dark-ruby color, with smoke, berry and cherry aromas and flavors. Loads of velvety tannins, full body and a long finish. Great, soft texture. Wait until at least 1997.--Super Tuscan retrospective. — JSWine Spectator | 93 WSThe 1988 Ornellaia (magnum) shows a touch more complexity and delineation than the 1985 in its layers of dark fruit, herbs, licorice, minerals and spices, with a surprising level of freshness and firmness. It is a beautiful Ornellaia with several years of fine drinking ahead. The 1988 Ornellaia is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc that spent 11 months in French oak, 40% new.Vinous Media | 92 VM

93
RP
As low as $365.00
1989 beaucastel chateauneuf du pape Chateauneuf du Pape

This is a floral and elegantly complex edition of this wine with dried meat and leather, iron and graphite, tobacco and dry spices. More elegant palate than the 1990, it has a very fine stream of red fruit and spiced cherries and a central, linear focus. The flavors hold so very long, deeply concentrated and focused. The fruit livens up at the finish and opens very impressively. Drink now.James Suckling | 98 JSThe 1989 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an awesome wine with the usual Beaucastel meat, earth and game notes backed up by ripe, clean dark fruit aromas. The palate is stunning and shows considerable structure and a precise, almost angular character. Much more structured and precise in the mouth than the 1990, this has a long, beautiful finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 1989 is inkier/purple in color than the 1990, with an extraordinarily sweet, rich personality offering up notes of smoke, melted licorice, black cherries, Asian spices, and cassis. Full-bodied and concentrated, it is one of the most powerful as well as highly extracted Beaucastels I have ever tasted. It requires another 3-4 years to reach its plateau of maturity, where it should remain for at least two decades. (Many purchasers have reported bottle leakage (due to a cork problem) with this vintage. I purchased two cases of this wine, but none of my bottles reveal any sign of leakage. A good friend of mine, Dr. Jay Miller, owner of Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore, has consistently had a problem with “corked” bottles of the 1989, but no leakage.)Robert Parker | 97 RPPerhaps the greatest Beaucastel ever produced. Has the class and structure of a great vintage of Mouton-Rothschild. Deep, inky in color, with intense herb, plum, game and spice aromas, this full-bodied wine has an explosion of fruit and an iron backbone. Try the beginning of next century.--Châteauneuf-du-Pape retrospective. Best from 1995 through 2005. 25,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WS(Châteauneuf du Pape- Château Beaucastel) I have always been a fan of the 1989 Château Beaucastel, which I rank just behind the superb 1981 at this fine estate. The most recent bottle I tasted of this wine was still just a touch youthful, but offered up fine complexity on both the nose and palate and shows excellent promise. The bouquet is a blend of roasted fruitcake, cherries, new leather, venison, incipient notes of sous bois, woodsmoke and hot stones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with a bit of tannin still to resolve, fine focus and grip and a very long, classy and slightly chewy finish. I would be tempted to give this wine a few more years to really resolve, as it will be a superb wine and it would be most enjoyable to drink it at the same plateau that the 1981 has been enjoying for a good decade already. (Drink between 2015-2050).John Gilman | 93+ JG

97
RP
As low as $329.00
1990 le vieux donjon chateauneuf du pape Rhone Red

A big, ripe and full-bodied effort that’s fully mature, the 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape offers fabulous character and depth, and is about as classic as they comes. Showing an amber/mature color, it has loads of garrigue, spice meats, red currants, licorice and pepper as well as a rich, layered and seamless profile on the palate. It’s a thrilling wine, but it’s not going to get any better, so drink up.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RP

98
RP-HG
As low as $275.00
1990 sassicaia Super Tuscans/IGT

The nose is practically humming, hovering close to perfection, the burnished Tuscan sun on full display. This is the most perfect level of ripeness, warmth, beauty and juiciness; the main quality here is drinkability. This still has the bite of tannins, their teeth are still on display but exerting a languorous hold, nothing fierce or menacing at this point. Roasted wild strawberries, grilled over sarments, elongated tannins with nothing to prove.Decanter | 96 DECThe 1990 Sassicaia appears to be the finest wine made at this estate since the nearly perfect 1985. It boasts a saturated purple, almost bluish color, and a sensational yet unevolved and youthful aromatic profile of sweet, nearly over-ripe blackcurrants, cedar, tobacco, and toasty new oak. Full-bodied, with staggering concentration and extract levels, this tannic, super-pure, well-defined Cabernet possesses low enough acidity and sweet enough tannin to make it accessible to those readers unable to defer their gratification, but do not expect this wine to attain its plateau of maturity before the end of the century. It will last through the first decade of the 21st century.Robert Parker | 94 RPPerhaps not up to the glory of the '88 or '85 but the '90 Sassicaia will be remembered for its great harmony. It's a rich wine with an excellent combination of new wood and ripe fruit, full body and silky tannins, adding a crisp finish. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. 10,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

94
RP
As low as $550.00
1990 ornellaia Super Tuscans/IGT

A great vintage all over Europe, this is most likely, after the scarce 1988, Ornellaia’s vintage of consecration after only five years of winemaking. Michel Rolland arrived in 1991 and remains Ornellaia's consultant today. The wine has extremely elegant citrus and black pepper aromas, with fresh cherry flavours complemented by a leathery core and a white chocolate and cigar-leaf finish. It has shades of light and dark all over the palate, with a full, quite fleshy suppleness balanced by refreshing natural acidity and crunchy extracted tannins. Drinking Window 2019 - 2030.Decanter | 97 DECGood fresh deep red. Knockout nose combines black fruits, tar, mocha and humus. A hugely concentrated, sweet wine with great richness of fruit and extract. The first vintage of Ornellaia to reach 14% alcohol, and it shows in the wine's compelling thickness. Far from the subtlest wine in the range, but ripe acidity and big, sweet tannins give it plenty of verve and grip. Today, I find this wine fresher and a bit more detailed than the estate's 2000. A monumental wine today, but this could still use another four or five years in bottle to reach its peak.Vinous Media | 96 VMThis is a blockbuster with masses of chocolate, earth, minty aromas and flavors; full bodied with full round tannins and a super acid backbone. Best Ornellaia ever made. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 8,330 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSAnother super effort from this producer, Ludvico Antinori's 1990 Ornellaia is a worthy successor to the super 1988. Fat, supple, and loaded with black-cherry and curranty fruit, and a dash of vanillin from new oak barrels, this full-bodied, velvety-textured, opulent wine should drink well for 10-12 years.As good as the Ornellaia is, it is hard to imagine how terrific the single vineyard offering Ornellaia called Masseto must be in 1990. Several of my Italian friends claim it is absolutely brilliant.Robert Parker | 92 RP

96
RP-NM
As low as $365.00
1992 christian drouin calvados les millesimes Eau-de-Vie

No written review provided. | 95 ISC

95
USC
As low as $229.00
1992 fonseca Port

Fonseca has scored in both the 1991 and 1992 vintages. The 1992 is a majestic young port that should ultimately rival, perhaps even surpass this house’s most recent great efforts (1985, 1977, 1970, 1963). This colossal vintage port reveals a nearly opaque black/purple color, and an explosive nose of jammy black fruits, licorice, chocolate, and spices. Extremely full-bodied and unctuously-textured, this multi-layered, enormously-endowed port reveals a finish that lasts for over a minute. It is a magnificent port that will age well for 30-40 years. Importer: Kobrand, Inc., New York, NY; tel. (212) 490-9300.Robert Parker | 97 RPIntensely fruity on the nose, with lots of blackberry and violet. Full-bodied and lightly sweet, with slightly astringent tannins and a medium finish. Silky. Still very tight. Needs time. ’91/’92 Port retrospective. Best after 2010. 8,500 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

98
RP-HG
As low as $129.00
1993 ornellaia Super Tuscans/IGT

Axel Heinz said this was a really good, very classic vintage but overshadowed by 1995 and 1997. It has an iodine minerality on the nose alongside notes of cedar wood and a slightly bretty character. The palate is full-bodied and firm, with thick yet ripe textured tannins, crisp acidity, bright bramble fruit and a cedar wood finish. This Ornellaia is a wine for knowledgeable collectors due to its austerity without any flaw. Drinking Window 2019 - 2030Decanter | 95 DECThe 1993 Ornellaia (magnum) is just plain beautiful. Plums, tobacco, spice box, cedar and spices come together with notable elegance. The wine possesses exceptional purity in a soft, approachable style. The 1993 is one of the best Ornellaias for current drinking. It is a wonderful effort. In 1993 Ornellaia relies heavily on Cabernet Sauvignon (78%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) in the blend, while the remaining 17% is Merlot. The wine spent 16 months in French oak, 33% new.Antonio Galloni | 92 AG

As low as $520.00
1994 fonseca Port

Hold on to your hat. This is the best Fonseca since 1977, and it’s probably even better than that classic vintage--more like the breathtaking 1948. Mind-blowing, with masses of color, aroma and fruit flavor. Smells like fermenting berries, boasting loads of crushed grape, violet and berry character. Big, full-bodied and very sweet, with tons of tannins and a sweet finish. Tannic and huge, it’s a long-term, great Port. Best after 2012. 8,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 100 WSTight knit – not giving much away on the nose, but silky fruit is underlying. Pure berry fruit palate initially with a super-fine tannic superstructure rising in the mouth, revealing its freshness and purity on a really beautifully defined finish. There is great architecture here. Drinking Window 2014 - 2050Decanter | 98 DECOne of the most spectacular 1994s, this opaque purple-colored wine is an exotic, flamboyant, ostentatious port. Extremely fragrant and pungent, with a flashy display of jammy cassis, pepper, licorice, and truffles, this port is an attention-grabber. Awesomely rich, and full-bodied, with superb length, richness, and overall balance, it possesses a huge mid-palate, layers of flavor, an unctuous texture, and a blockbuster finish. Everything is in place, with the brandy and tannin well-integrated, even concealed by the masses of fruit and glycerin. This wine will drink fabulously well at age ten, but keep for up to thirty years. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2035.Robert Parker | 97 RP

100
WS
As low as $135.00
1994 r. lopez heredia vina tondonia gran reserva Spain Red

Extremely intense aromas of dried lemons, apples, limes and chalk. Full body, wonderful depth of fruit and density with bright acidity and a layered and rich palate. Yet remains vivid and fresh. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 97 JS(aged for nine years in American oak barrels and then held in bottle for a minimum of eight years before release) Brilliant red. A highly complex, expansive bouquet evokes cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, incense, vanilla and woodsmoke, accompanied by hints of five-spice powder and licorice in the background. Sweet, expansive and seamless in texture, offering intense cherry-vanilla, spicecake and rose pastille flavors that deepen slowly as the wine opens up. Fully mature but with plenty of life left in it, this wine finishes impressively long, supple and sweet, displaying discreet tannins, resonating spiciness and suave florality. I reviewed this wine five years ago and am very happy to say that it has improved with additional bottle age.Vinous Media | 95 VM

96
RP
As low as $295.00
1995 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Such a powerful mouthful of wine that after swallowing, it’s almost hard to talk. Explosively aromatic, with jam, tar, licorice and exotic spices, it leads with concentrated fruit, then follows with a sledgehammer of polished tannins that somehow dissolve on the finish, where the fruit reemerges like a rainbow. With a slab of well-aged, chargrilled beef--paradise. Drink now through 2005. 450 cases made.Wine Spectator | 97 WSSaturated ruby. More perfumed, more floral, fruit-driven aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, black raspberry, mocha and clove; vibrant and youthful. Huge, sensual and deep on the palate, with great creamy depth of flavor. Still a bit youthfully tight but has the structure and concentration to develop over the next decade or two. Great persistence on the finish; huge, dusty, noble tannins coat the entire palate.Vinous Media | 95+ VMA clone of the 1994, the 1995 L’Ermita does not reveal quite the power and density of its older sibling, but that is a tough call ... especially at this age. The color is an opaque purple, and the wine displays more pain grille, grilled jus de viande, blackberry, and floral notes in its aromatics, which seem slightly more evolved than the 1994’s. In the mouth, the 1995 is deep, powerful, and rich, with low acidity, better sweetness and integration of tannin (only when compared to the massive 1994), layers of extract and flavor, and a 40-second finish. It is a remarkable wine with formidable style, intensity, and flavor. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2020.Robert Parker | 94 RP

As low as $510.00
1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires
As low as $300.00
1995 chateau tirecul la graviere cuvee madame Loire (Other)

As good (better??) than the 2001, the 1995 Monbazillac Cuvee Madame is straight up extraordinary juice that certainly one of the finest dessert wines I’ve ever tasted. A blend of 60% Muscadelle, 40% Sémillon that spent just under three years in new French oak, it offers a heavenly bouquet of orange marmalade, caramelized peach, brioche and honeycomb, a huge, full-bodied, unctuous profile, no weight and a finish that just won’t quiet. If you love sweet wines, I promise, it doesn’t get better. It’s drinking sensationally today, yet I suspect it will have a 50-year lifespan.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDI have applauded recent efforts of this estate, which goes to unprecedented lengths as well as labor to produce the most amazing sweet wines I have ever tasted. Their two new vintages include a perfect 1995 Cuvee Madame and a totally profound regular cuvee of 1995 Monbazillac. I recently had the 1993 Cuvee Madame next to an exceptional bottle of 1989 Chateau d’Yquem. Everyone at the table went ballistic over the 1993 Cuvee Madame. They loved the Yquem, but thought Tirecul la Graviere’s 1993 Cuvee Madame to be the superior wine. Perhaps the tasting should be repeated in 20-30 years to determine if the results would be similar. That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that the 1995 Cuvee Madame is as profound a sweet wine as I have ever tasted. Made from 80-year old vines, harvested grape by grape, and with yields of 12 hectoliters per hectare (under one ton of fruit per acre), this wine boasts a glorious nose of apricot jam, tangerine essence, and subtle spicy oak. With its profound richness, blazingly vivid definition, huge body, viscous thickness (with no heaviness), and finish that lasts for nearly a minute, this nectar constitutes one of the most extraordinary sweet wines I have ever tasted. As is the case with so many of the world’s greatest wines, the production is insignificant. Only 50 six-bottle cases are being imported to the United States.Robert Parker | 100 RP

100
RP
As low as $285.00
1996 sassicaia Super Tuscans/IGT

Am loving that tingle of tannins that I am now getting, just beautiful. The florality is heightened, with roses and redcurrant leaf, soft white truffles, and the most beautiful rolling tobacco. Supremely elegant, a masculine wine but one that is in full ‘holding open the door’ mode. A nose that keeps on opening up, pausing to allow you to catch up. We are in libraries, secret passages, you feel the history of the building in this wine. You feel that it is a testament to its time. Gorgeous, makes you smile with joy at how good great wine can be. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc.Decanter | 98 DECHere's a little gem from Tenuta San Guido that has never been reviewed in Robert Parker Wine Advocate (except informally by me one year ago in a Hedonist's Gazette). I have consistently found the 1996 Bolgheri Sassicaia to be an impressive wine on the few occasions I have had to taste it. This is one of those rare underrated vintages that bring so much delight and surprise in an important retrospective such as this. As I recall from my informal tasting, this Sassicaia shows a heavy dose of Cabernet Sauvignon typicity but without the astringent medicinal tone or unripe greenness you might expect. Instead, it delivers a bright but balanced, tonic verve that is driven by the wine's natural acidity. I had previously paired this wine with an oversized bistecca alla fiorentina t-bone steak and the marriage was perfect. This was a difficult vintage in Bolgheri, but the results in the bottle suggest otherwise.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RPA well-structured Sass, with plenty of blackberry and dried herb character. Full-bodied, with plenty of ripe tannins and a currant bush and herb finish. Give it time to develop. Best after 2001. 13,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

As low as $410.00
1997 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Irresistible fruit meets immovable structure. It’srare that such a juicy, ripe fruit-bomb, lush withblackberry and blueberry flavors, is also soconcentrated and well structured, but this richred effortlessly marries power and grace. Abenchmark for the appellation. Drink now through 2010. 300 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSBright ruby. Highly nuanced aromas of blackcurrant, pungent minerals and spicy, toasty oak. Large-scaled yet light on its feet. Terrific fruit carries through to a very long, ripely tannic aftertaste. Kept fresh and lively by a flavor of licorice and very good acidity. A great showing for a vintage with a modest reputation for red wine in Spain. Palacios used more heavily toasted barrels following the rainy harvest of ’97, but eschews charred oak in richer years like ’98.Vinous Media | 92 VM

96
WS
As low as $1,460.00
1997 ornellaia Super Tuscan/IGT

Fruit and complexity as well as freshness and richness. Beautiful nose with extraordinary aromas of prunes, licorice, and dried flowers with rosemary undertones. Full-bodied and velvety textured. So beautiful to drink now, but obviously has a long future ahead.James Suckling | 97 JSDark ruby red. Shows intense blackberry, currant, fresh herb and mineral character on the nose. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, caressing finish. Still young and powerful.--1997 Italian blind retrospective. Best after 2009. 11,415 cases made.Wine Spectator | 95 WSProbably the finest (and most sumptuous) Ornellaia yet produced, the 1997 has it all. A dense purple color offers up smoky espresso and jammy black cherry aromas wrapped in new oak. Full-bodied, opulent, thick, and juicy, this low acid, seamless classic can be drunk now and over the next 15+ years.Robert Parker | 94 RP The estate’s 1997 Ornellaia (65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc) combines the large-framed opulence of the 1999 with the slightly more herbal notes found in the 1998. It is a big, plump wine packed with layers of fruit and well-integrated oak, showing outstanding length and the telltale note of sweetness on the finish that defines this vintage. Despite its approachable nature today, the 1997 appears to have enough structure to drink well for another decade. Both the 1997 Ornellaia and Masseto enjoyed a very strong showing in this tasting. Antonio Galloni | 93 AG

95
RP
As low as $440.00
1997 tommaso bussola amarone vigneto alto Italy (Other)

The prodigious 1997 Amarone Vigneto Alto TB is reminiscent of Henri Bonneau’s 1990 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins. The lofty 16% alcohol is barely noticeable. Yields were a minuscule 20 hectoliters per hectare. Sadly, there are only 300 cases of this extraordinary Amarone. It boasts notes of smoke, truffle oil, blackberries, plums, and earthy, concentrated black currant jam. Layered, thick, full-bodied, and dry, with extraordinary purity as well as definition, it is an amazing achievement. While not for everybody, this is a singular, impeccably balanced wine. Anticipated maturity: now-2020.Robert Parker | 96 RP

96
RP
As low as $279.00
1997 san leonardo Italy Red
95+
RP
As low as $135.00
1998 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Rose

There’s a firm, juicy pinot noir at the core of this rosé, a bold young wine that’s packed with citrus acidity and intensely concentrated fruit. If you open it now, the wine will need food to bridge its power, whether roast quail with chanterelles or a steak with sautéed wild mushrooms. Or cellar it, relying on the exceptional balance and depth of flavor to sustain the wine as it ages.Wine & Spirits Magazine | 95 W&SExotic notes of toasted coconut and rum spice accent this fresh and elegant rosé, while flavors of macerated cherry and plum, pastry and pomegranate ride the delicate texture. Graceful, with a mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2020.Wine Spectator | 93 WSCopper-pink with a frothy mousse. Smoky strawberry and cherry aromas are complicated by buttered toast, blood orange and dried flowers. Deep and chewy, with vivid red berry and bitter cherry flavors underscored by dusty minerals. Gains power on the broad, focused and gently nutty finish. Already complex, and ready to drink.Vinous Media | 92 VM

92
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As low as $430.00

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