Monday, April 23, 2018

Crémants & Aromatic Whites from Alsace's Lucien Albrecht

For the money, Crémant d’Alsace is some of France’s best Champagne-method sparkling wine. And for that, we largely have Lucien Albrecht to thank.

In 1971, this Alsace producer began trying the Champagne method on their own grapes. They liked the outcomes, so, along with two other producers, they pressed French authorities for an official designation. In 1976, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée Crémant d’Alsace was born.

Forty-two years later, Lucien Albrecht is still carrying the Crémant d’Alsace torch, producing two main cuvées: a Brut (made from Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, and Chardonnay) and a Brut Rosé (made from Pinot Noir). They produce other white wines as well (Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Blanc), but the firm is perhaps best known for their bubbles.

The Albrecht name in Alsace goes quite a ways back, to 1698, when Balthazar Albrecht settled in Orschwihr, a village in southern Alsace. This was a few decades after the Thirty Years’ War, which left much of Alsace destroyed, but Balthazar pieced together a living cultivating vines around Orschwihr, and passed this on to his descendants. Today, the firm
sources grapes from Grand Cru vineyards Pfingstberg, Spiegel, and Ollwiller, as well as Bollenberg.

I recently met up with Lucien Albrecht winemaker Jerome Keller when he visited Washington, DC, to chat and taste through his wines. Today, the winery is owned by a cooperative, and it purchases many grapes from very small, independent producers, all around the winery’s home of Orschwihr. They produce about half a million cases, with most of their production focused on crémant. The vineyard sources around Orschwihr are planted in dry clay and heavy chalk soils, and I found that the chalky terroir element shines through nicely in the finished wines.

Jerome talked a lot about the dryness of his wine, something I’ve heard from other Alsace winemakers still trying to point out to American consumers that Alsace wines are frequently dry and zesty or just so zesty that they taste dry. And while the importance of history is always front and center in conversation about Alsace wines, I was excited to hear that Jerome has some new plans to make a skin-fermented (i.e., orange) wine from Chardonnay. While not “new,” (orange wines are as old as wine itself), it’s nice to see some Alsatian innovation in this realm, and I, for one, am stoked about the idea.

My notes on the wines I tasted are below, and the prices are based on
Wine-Searcher averages.

N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé - France, Alsace, Crémant d'Alsace
Nose shows bright flowers, ruby red grapefruit, and peaches. Zesty on the palate, slight creaminess, this is bright and tangy Cremant with flavors of red apple, ruby red grape fruit, and chalk dust. Fresh, fun, reliably good. All Pinot Noir. (87 points)

N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut - France, Alsace, Crémant d'Alsace
I get chalk dust, white and yellow flowers, along with peaches and yellow apples on the nose. The palate is crisp and tangy with flavors of yellow apples, peaches, a solid streak of saline and chalk dust, hints of biscuits. Delicious for the price. A blend of Auxerrois and Pinot Blanc. (87 points)

2013 Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Chardonnay Brut 1698 - France, Alsace, Crémant d'Alsace
This really surprised me. Aromas of rich yellow apples and pears, some salted almond, honey and crushed chalk. Zesty but some creaminess adds depth. Pears, yellow plums and bruised apple mix with sea salt, chalk dusty and a slight note of fresh biscuits. Richer than the non-vintage wines, but still focused, crisp, mineral-driven and very bright. I'd love to bury a bottle of this for three to six years. This was aged three years on the lees, and it has a 4 g/l dosage. All Chardonnay from limestone soils. (91 points)

2017 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Reserve - France, Alsace
Rich and honeyed and peachy on the nose, but also some chalk dust and flowers. Crisp acidity and a fresh appeal (2g of sugar in here) with peaches, apricots, limes. Honey, saline, chalk and minerals add complexity. Concentrated fruit from a low-yielding vintage, this is delicious right now but will improve with a few years. (90 points)

2017 Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris Cuvée Romanus - France, Alsace
Juicy aromas of peaches, honey and yellow flowers. Bold fruit (peaches, mango) but still fresh. Fruit-forward but some interesting floral, spice tones as well. (88 points)

2012 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Pfingstberg - France, Alsace, Alsace Grand Cru
Gorgeous aromatics of peaches, nectarines, tennis balls, honey. On the palate, this is richly textured but so crisp and delicious. Juicy fruit but deep mineral presence. Lots of life ahead for this beauty. (92 points)

2016 Lucien Albrecht Gewurztraminer Reserve - France, Alsace
Pretty aromatic display of lychee, peach nectar and spiced tea. Rich and lush on the palate with medium acidity, hint of tannin on here, too (this gets a bit of skin contact). Apricots, mango, peaches, bold fruit but laced with spices, herbs and nuts. (89 points)

2015 Lucien Albrecht Gewurztraminer Spiegel Alsace Grand Cru - France, Alsace
Intense aromatics of pineapples, peach nectar, lychee, with white pepper. Rich and full but bright acidity. Peaches and mangoes topped in nougat, honey, white pepper, spiced tea. Wow this boasts a lot of complexity and will age nicely. (91 points)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Exciting New Releases from Oregon

I’m a huge Oregon wine-lover, and I’m always excited to taste whatever I can. The sample size this week is small, but the wines are all high quality examples.

The two new releases from Troon Vineyard (a Montepulciano and Sangiovese) are really exciting. Lighter style (11.5 and 12.5% alcohol), the grapes are sourced from a vineyard in Applegate Valley, fermented with wild yeasts, and aged 12 months in all old French oak. I’ve long been a big fan of Troon’s Rhone variety wines, but apparently they can excel with all sorts of varieties out there.

Elouan, a new Oregon Pinot Noir project from well-known California winemaker, Joe Wagner, deliver a whole lot of Oregonian Pinot goodness for the price.

And the new vintage of Gran Moraine Chardonnay is an incredible follow-up to the 2014 vintage, and it reinforces my impression that this is a stunning Oregon Chardonnay, one to watch in the future for sure.  

This wine were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

SRP: $40
Deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherries, red currants, rhubarb, clove, coffee, lovely mix of rich aromas. Full-bodied with medium acidity and velvety tannins, this is a chewy and bold style but the wine still stays bright. Rich cherry and raspberry jam flavors laced with coffee, clove, black tea. Bold and packed with deliciousness but also lively and complex. (90 points)

2016 Elouan Pinot Noir Klamath's Kettle Reserve - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Rogue Valley
SRP: $40
Deep ruby color. Aromas of jammy strawberries and cherries, with rhubarb, roses, coffee, warm spices, clove, vanilla. Crisp acidity frames the wine nicely, with velvety tannins, along with tangy cherries and jammy raspberries, along with complex elements of cinnamon, rhubarb, clove, coffee. This could use a few years, but it’s impressive now. (91 points) 

2015 Gran Moraine Chardonnay - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
SRP: $45
Light yellow color. Complex aromas of limestone, wet river rocks, chalk dust, with honey, lemon curd, lemon meringue and salted almond. So vibrant and crisp on the palate, gorgeous texture and depth but stays brisk. Apricot, limes, lemon curd, the fruit is doused in saline, mineral, sea salt, white tea, honeyed biscuits and salted almond. Complex, deep, refreshing, delicious, this is insanely good stuff. The wine spends 16 months in a combination of French oak and stainless steel. (94 points)

2016 Troon Vineyard Sangiovese White Family Vineyard - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Light ruby color. Bright aromas of chilled strawberries and red cherries, mixed with rose petals, violets, sage, wild herbs. Crisp acidity frames the palate so nicely on this medium-bodied wine (12.5% alcohol), dusty/light tannins. Bright cherries, raspberries, red apple fruit, topped with roses, clove, cinnamon, earth, soy and white pepper. A refreshing, brisk but serious Sangiovese. (91 points)

2016 Troon Vineyard Montepulciano White Family Vineyard - Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Bright ruby color. Spicy aromas of raspberry leaf, white and green peppercorns, rose hips, on top of red apple peel and crisp strawberries. Bright and refreshing on the palate with light tannins and an easy-going appeal, yet the flavors of quite complex. Strawberry, raspberry, red apple, along with complex herbal, spice, tobacco and potpourri. Wow, what can’t Troon do in Applegate Valley? (90 points) 

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Three Killer North Coast California Reds from the Cellar

As readers of this blog know, I review a lot of wines, especially wines from California. Sure I'm an Old World-lover, but I never go too long without sipping some California goodness. Here's a peak into the kinds of California wines that I buy and cellar.

Two of these wines come from Mendocino (which I've visited several times and love), and one is a rare red blend from Humboldt County. All three of these wines stood out in recent weeks as excellent, exciting wines, all of which could have been cellared further, especially the Bedrock Syrah.

My notes on some stellar wines are below...

2009 Cabot Vineyards Confluence
California, North Coast, Humboldt County
Gorgeous aromas of mushroom, savory spice, anise, roses, rhubarb, on top of red currant and cherries (the fruit is still going!). Crisp acidity frames the wine but the dusty tannins provide structure, along with tart, chilled red fruits, some currant compote, The balance is gorgeous, and the complexity is impressive in flavors of: black pepper, broth, mushroom, leather, black tea. Impressive depth and complexity – this would be a great ringer in an aged Bordeaux tasting. A Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. (92 points)

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard
California, North Coast, Mendocino County
Aromas of saucy backberry, lots of smoke and meat and charcoal, grilled herbs, violets – just wow. Grippy tannins but vibrant acidity keeps it lively. Black cherry and plum fruit, generous but tangy. A host of complex soy, smoke, peppered steak, tar, olive and leather make this complex and astounding wine. I love Bedrock, and this wine in particular, but I think this may be the best one I’ve tasted from Mogran. Hats off, sir. Well done. This has a decade+ of evolution ahead. The most Cornas-y California Syrah I’ve tasted in a while. (95 points)

2013 Radio-Coteau Pinot Noir Savoy Vineyard
California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
Gorgeous aromatic displays: red apple peel, red cherry, along with bright roses, raspberry leaf tea, herbal oils, mushroom – wow. The palate is medium-bodied, the tannins provide solid structure and crisp acidity. Tart red cherries, red currants and wild strawberry, the fruit is gorgeous, and laced with spicy pepper, broth, mushroom, cinnamon sticks. These elements will be even better in 2-5 years, but this is already gorgeous. (94 points)

Saturday, April 14, 2018

More New Releases from California

This week’s report includes four wines from Sonoma-based producer Smith Story, which is the project of husband-wife duo Eric Story and Ali Smith-Story. It was my first time tasting these wines, and I found a lot to like.

Eighty-Four offers up a few well-priced and exciting wines from Napa. A cooperative effort between Doug Shafer and winemaker Elias Fernandez, these varietal wines are named for the year in which they began making wine together, and they’re definitely worth seeking out.

Lastly, we have two 2016 offerings from Napa’s Frank Family (which further solidify my love for the 2016 vintage in Napa), and a big, delicious Cab from Kelly Fleming.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc - California, Sonoma County
SRP: $25
Pale yellow color. Aromas burst with lime, apricot, guava, cut flower stems, chalk dust and honeysuckle. Zippy and fresh but pleasantly plump texture with flavors of lemon-lime, green pears, apricot and guava. Notes of sea salt, mineral, nettle and honeysuckle elevate the complexity. Very well-integrated and balanced. The fruit comes from Knights Valley and Sonoma Mountain AVAs. (88 points)

2015 Smith Story Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $75
Light ruby color. Nose shows chilled strawberries, wild raspberry, red apple peel, rose bush, potpourri, some sweet incense. Medium-bodied, so clean and crisp on the palate, with tangy acidity and smooth tannins. Raspberries, cherries, red apple, juicy but crisp fruit laced with cola, sage, roses and rhubarb. Lovely, fresh, inviting, nuanced. 16 months in French Oak (25% new). (90 points)

2015 Smith Story Cabernet Franc - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley
SRP: $40
Deep ruby color. Aromas of fresh red plums, red and black cherries, with roses, cola, some sweet pipe tobacco. On the palate, fresh and crisp and clean with dusty tannins and cool red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, cherries). Rhubarb, pepper, cola, roses and spicy tobacco add complexity, while mushroom notes come out with time. Lots of fruit and flavor but fresh. The wine is aged 20 months in used French barrels. (89 points)

2015 Smith Story Cabernet Sauvignon Pickberry Vineyard - California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Mountain
SRP: $60
Deep ruby color. Smells like tangy black cherries, red and black currants, along with violets, eucalyptus, mint, some spice rub and clove. Such freshness and liveliness on the palate with structured tannins, the balance is great, and this is such an integrated wine. Plump blackberry and tangy red and black currants, topped with violets, roasted chestnut, spicy clove, tobacco, sweet herbs and potpourri. Wow this is a juicy, spicy, complex Cabernet. aged in 2-4 year old French barrels for 21 months before bottling. (91 points)

2016 Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay - California, Napa, Carneros
SRP: $38
Medium yellow color. Nose of almond butter, nougat, vanilla and white flowers, on top of creamy yellow apples and pears. Juicy and plump texture on the palate, but fresh acidity, creamy but not heavy. Yellow pears and apples, orange marmalade, the fruit is mixed with flavors of honey, almond, candle wax and clove. Powerful and packed with richness but it is put together so well and maintains freshness. (90 points)

2016 Frank Family Vineyards Pinot Noir - California, Napa, Carneros
SRP: $38
Deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherries, raspberry, rhubarb, black tea, tobacco and cedar. Full-bodied with plush tannins and moderating acidity. Tart cranberry sauce and rich black cherry fruit, forward and bold but nuanced. Notes of rhubarb, cola, tobacco, white pepper, cedar. Rich and fruity but complex and enticing. Yum. (90 points)

2017 Eighty Four Wines Albariño - California, Napa, Carneros
SRP: $28
Rich yellow color. Gorgeous aromatics of apricots, green melon, honey, salted almond, so many fresh white and yellow flowers. Plush texture, lots of depth here, but the acidity is brisk and refreshing. Glazed apple, apricot, white peach, the fruit is topped in yellow flowers, salted almond, a racy streak of minerals and chalk dust. The complexity is really impressive, and it’s downright delish. Another great example of what Albarino can do it Napa. (90 points)

2014 Eighty Four Wines Malbec - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $48
Rich purple color. Nose boasts lots of yummy fruit (blackberry, black cherry, dark plums) with complex elements of smoky charcoal, eucalyptus, violets, espresso – lovely aromatics. Full-bodied (15.1% alcohol) but the texture is smooth and the acidity keeps it fresh. Gushing blackberry and blueberry with menthol, eucalyptus, roasted coffee, violets, potting soil, vanilla, chipotle spice rub – serious complexity in here, but it’s plush, forward and delicious and goes down so easily. All Malbec aged 20 months in 50% new French oak. (91 points)

2012 Eighty Four Wines Petite Sirah - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $50
Dense purple color. Aromas of tart black currants, dark plums, a dark and earthy note, like smashed rocks and wet forest floor, some anise and espresso – complex and awesome aromatically. Full-bodied (of course!), the tannins are built to last, but the edges are rounded out nicely. The fruit is dark but tart, like crunchy dark plums and currants. Notes of anise, espresso, cedar, graphite. A massive wine at 15.8% alcohol, but its remarkably lively. All Petite Sirah aged 40 months in 100% new French oak. (91 points)

2014 Kelly Fleming Wines Big Pour - California, Napa Valley
SRP: $90
Rich purple color. Gobs of fruit on the nose (currants, blackberries, gushing plums), along with complex notes of eucalyptus, graphite, cedar and vanilla. Bold presence on the palate, the wine has a smooth feel though, with velvety tannins and fresh acidity that keeps it tangy. Tart black cherries and currants with juicy blackberries and plums, rich but fresh. Complex notes of cedar, coffee, vanilla, graphite, eucalyptus. As the name indicates, this is absolutely delish and goes down so easily, but it sports significant complexity as well. Cabernet with 11% Malbec and 8% Syrah. (91 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Wine Reviews: New Releases from New Zealand & Italy

This week’s tasting report includes some value-driven wines from big-time New Zealand producer Kim Crawford, as well as some bright and zesty Verdicchios from Italy’s Marche region. Lastly, there’s a tasty Montefalco Rosso and a teeth-stainingly delicious Sagrantino as well.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2017 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $18
Pale lemon color. Aromas burst with grapefruit, kiwi, limes along with zesty pepper, jalapeno, nettle and white flowers. Tickling acidity on the palate with medium body and juicy grapefruit, lemons and green apples. Flavors of cucumber slices, honeysuckle and clove. Always a reliable, widely-available, tasty, example of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, and lovely for the price. (87 points)

2017 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc Signature Reserve - New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $25
Pale yellow color. Bursting aromatics of bell pepper, jalapeno and asparagus, on top of juicy peaches, limes, some honeysuckle thrown in too. Crisp and bright, light/medium-bodied (12% alcohol) but some impressive depth and richness. Peaches, cantaloupe and lime doused in complex vegetable/spice elements: jalapeno, nettle, sliced bell pepper, lemongrass. Finishes with flor and honey notes. Classic Kim Crawford style but dialed up a bit. (89 points)

2016 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir South Island - New Zealand, South Island
SRP: $19
Bright ruby color. Smells of crisp cherries, strawberry jam, wild raspberry, along with cinnamon candies and rose petals. Medium+ acidity with light tannins, a fresh and lively style. Tangy cherries and strawberry jam mix with rose petal, cola, rhubarb pie, some white pepper. Accessible, fresh, light, a crowd-pleasing Pinot that’s really good for the money. (87 points)

SRP: $12
Pale straw color. Peachy nose with honeysuckle and sweet floral perfume. Crisp but plump with pineapple and limeade flavors, along with some honeycomb and sweet white flowers. Fun, fresh, friendly Pinot Grigio. (85 points)

2017 Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Macrina - Italy, Marche, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico
SRP: $14
Medium yellow color. Nose shows peachy, lemon, apricot, with bright white flowers, tonic and dandelion notes. Zesty acidity, moderate creamy texture, this is a fresh and vibrant wine with green apples, with sliced cucumbers, dandelion, sea salt, floral potpourri. Lively and fresh, very nice for the price. (87 points)

2017 Garofoli Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Podium - Italy, Marche, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore
SRP: $25
Medium yellow color. Floral and bright on the nose with lilies, dandelions, honeysuckle, with richer peach, apricot, nectarine, orange marmalade. Crisp acidity frames the wine, nice textural depth, dry and steely with orange and apricot fruit. A saline and quinine note mixes with cut floral stems. More depth than the Macrina, but still a brisk and lively wine. (88 points)

2014 Perticaia Montefalco Rosso - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco Rosso
SRP: $21
Medium ruby color. Aromas of crisp, chilled red cherries, red currants, tangy plums, along with charcoal, roses, spiced tea, fennel. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and smooth tannins. Tart red and black plum fruit mixes nicely with spiced tea, pepper, violets, scorched earth, gravel. Dry but fresh. Sangiovese with 15% Sagrantino and 15% Coloino. (88 points)

2012 Tenuta Alzatura Sagrantino di Montefalco - Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Sagrantino di Montefalco
SRP: $31
Light purple color. Aromas of tart black currants and cherries, with charcoal, anise, tobacco, leather and cured meat notes. Grippy tannins (wow this is young), but moderating acidity, and lots of tart black currant and plum fruit. Lots going on already in terms of smoky, meaty, savory, earthy tones, but the fruit is still dense and concentrated, and this has a lot of complexity to unpack. I’d love to bury for 5-8 years. 100% Sagrantino aged 16 months in barrel. (91 points) 

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

$10-$20 Will Get You a lot of Good Wine from Argentina & Chile

Argentina and Chile are goldmines of delicious, inexpensive wines, and here in America we receive a lot of different options.

I recently tasted through a bung of $10-$20 wines from South America, and was really impressed with the diversity, quality and value. There are a few Malbecs in this report, along with some really solid wines from Chilean heavyweight producer Concha y Toro’s Serie Riberas lineup. And the sparkling wines from Mendoza’s Domaine Bousquet seem perfect for the inexpensive summer sparkler category.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. 

N.V. Domaine Bousquet Brut - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $13
Rich golden color. Nose boasts rich apricot, honey and yellow flowers. Plump texture on the palate but such zesty acidity, and this has a refreshing dryness for a Charmat method sparkler. Lemon curd, apricot and nectarine topped in floral perfume, chalk dust, stony minerals. Fresh and lively but some honey and clove notes on the finish. Drinkers of inexpensive Prosecco looking to up their game a bit, try this delicious sparkler, a blend of 75% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir. (88 points)

N.V. Domaine Bousquet Brut Rosé - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $13
Very pale copper color. Smells of strawberries, red apple peel, raspberry leaf, nettle, and some musk. Zippy and lively with pleasantly light bubbles and flavors of strawberries and watermelon slices. A streak of nettle, white pepper and raspberry leaf, with some chalky, floral tones. Pleasant, refreshing, very good for the price. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay. (87 points)

2016 Trivento Malbec Reserve - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $11
Light purple color. Aromas of raspberry, strawberry am, roses and vanilla. Medium-bodied, fresh acidity, soft tannins, tangy red cherries and raspberry jam, with roses, cola, vanilla coffee, and a spicy herbal note. Fun, fresh and nice for the price. (86 points)

2015 Trivento Malbec Golden Reserve - Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo
SRP: $21
Rich purple color. On the nose: plums, juicy blackberries, cocoa, anise cookie, scorched earth and vanilla. Full-bodied with smooth tannins and fresh acidity. Tangy black cherries and blackberries, bold but nuanced, with flavors of cocoa, vanilla, espresso, violets and scorched earth. (88 points)

2016 Concha y Toro Chardonnay Gran Reserva Serie Riberas - Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua
SRP: $17
Medium yellow color. Aromas of lemon curd, baked apple, yellow flowers, chalk dust, hazelnut and sea salt. On the palate, I love the lively acidity and freshness, and it fits nicely with the creamy texture. Peaches, nectarine and yellow apple fruit blends with chalk, limestone, saline and honeyed white tea notes. Rich but zesty, with lingering minerality and vibrancy. Very impressive, serious stuff, especially for the price. Fermented and aged 10 months in French oak (only 10% new). (88 points)

2016 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva Serie Riberas - Chile, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $17
Rich purple color. Smells of smoky black currants, tart blackberries, waves of rich dark fruit, along with charcoal, cedar, pipe tobacco and graphite. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and structured but silky tannins. Pure, dark but crisp fruit (cherries and currants), laced with vanilla, charcoal, scorched earth, graphite and violets. Rich, smooth, delicious, such high quality and deliciousness for the price. (89 points)

2016 Concha y Toro Malbec Casillero del Diablo Reserva - Chile
SRP: $12
Vibrant purple color. Aromas of tangy plums, sweet cherries, violets, coffee, vanilla. Medium-bodied with fresh acidity and soft tannins. Ripe plum and cherry fruit, fun and pleasant, with notes of violet, cola and vanilla. A nice intro to what Chile has to offer in this price range. (85 points)

2015 Concha y Toro Malbec Gran Reserva Serie Riberas - Chile, Colchagua Valley, Marchigue
SRP: $17
Bright purple color. Dark and saucy plums on the nose, black cherries, sweet cocoa, eucalyptus, vanilla. The palate starts and finishes with refreshing acidity, velvety but dry tannins, tart black cherries and red and black currants. The fruit is laced with charcoal, dark earth, cocoa, touches of vanilla and cedar on the finish. Delish, but also complex and balanced. Very impressive. (90 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.