A compelling top 100 season

  • Quite the trend: Wine Enthusiast has put Beringer Founders’ Estate 2017 pinot noir at the top of its 100 Best Buy list of 2019 (Supplied image).

    Quite the trend: Wine Enthusiast has put Beringer Founders’ Estate 2017 pinot noir at the top of its 100 Best Buy list of 2019 (Supplied image).

  • Perfect pour: the success of Penfolds has been driven by the generations of visionaries and innovators. From the beginning in 1844 until today (Supplied image).

    Perfect pour: the success of Penfolds has been driven by the generations of visionaries and innovators. From the beginning in 1844 until today (Supplied image).


Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Magazine are now releasing their annual lists of wines that they feel deserve special attention. As I write on November 12, Spectator has just named their selections for No 10 and No 9 of their top 100. By the time you read this the entire list will have been published.

For No 9, chosen from 15,000 blind-tasted wines, Wine Spectator selected Penfolds Barossa Valley RWT Bin 798 2017 shiraz with a score of 96/100 and this opinion: “Offers a lush, juicy mix of blackberry, blueberry and black cherry flavours that appears seamless, integrating with notes of amaretto, clove and lavender.

“Plush, juicy and very generous on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2034.”

The news is that we do not have this vintage yet, but it is due to arrive in early December. I should mention that there are limited stocks left of the 2016 in our stores and at Discovery Wines, and this garnered amazing reviews.

Jeb Dunnuck gave it 99/100 and said: “The Penfolds 2016 Shiraz RWT is a brilliant, brilliant wine and I suspect the finest version of this cuvée ever produced.”

Just behind was Bob Campbell at 98/100 and James Halliday and Robert Parker at 97/100.

The Brits in Decanter Magazine wrote: “It’s all underpinned by French oak polish along with a freshness and fine-boned structure that should see this sleek beauty last two decades if kept in good condition. If this were a bordeaux, it would be a second growth, and apart from Grange this is the star of the show this year. It should be great with a roast rib of beef. 96/100. Drinking window 2020 to 2040.” $198.90.

Wine Enthusiast produces a few lists and their “100 best buys of 2019” is out and we have the top one, but let’s work our way to that.

They use $15 as the top selling price, but that is a most difficult target here with a duty of $6 per litre and shipping costs based on ships leaving here empty, which adds to the overall freight.

Of the many thousands of wines that they blind-tasted, we are told that 1,300 made the Best Buy grade on price and, once quality was considered, they whittled it down to 100.

At No 78, with a score of 88/100, is our Bogle Vineyards 2016 Essential Red that you can purchase for $22.40.

This compelling Californian blend of old vine zinfandel, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah has created a ripe and mouth-filling wine.

Richly textured fruit of dark berries and black plums is nuanced by the flavours of juniper and dried herbs.

The juicy, jammy fruit is framed with spicy cedar and hints of pipe tobacco and cocoa as the American oak lingers through the ageing of twelve months.

Luscious from start to finish, this wine is easy to drink, but impossible to forget.

The magazine calls it “a friendly wine with warm, generous fruit flavours that keeps it easy to sip”.

When you are in a Californian frame of mind, you cannot go wrong with any of the Bogle wines.

I really like all the Cune wines from Spain and was happy to see that their 2016 Cune Crianza took spot 41 with a score of 90/100. We are still distributing their 2015 that received a 92/100 from James Suckling and, so, it is very consistent.

J. Lohr Riverstone 2017 Chardonnay secured spot 37 with 90/100.

The vineyard’s winemaker, Kristen Barnhisel, describes it in this way: “The 2017 Riverstone Chardonnay exhibits youthful hues of light to medium straw. The enticing aromas are reminiscent of peach, nectarine, marmalade, yellow floral, baking spices and honey. Those aromas echo on the palate and are complemented by orange and apricot, balanced with a creamy texture from ageing Sur lie. Flavours of crème brûlée and a touch of oak can be found on the long finish.”

The magazine wrote of a strong floral character, honeydew and white peach. $24.40.

We notice quite a trend towards pinot noirs from California, and that they can often be a bit pricey due to the challenges this grape presents to winemakers.

For instance, of the approximately 1,000 clones of this vine, there are about 70 that are suitable for producing good wine. You must select the best ones for your terroir.

Pinot likes to grow in cool climates and is therefore more susceptible to disease, but the good news is that Mother Nature loads the vine and fruit with the strong antioxidant called resveratrol.

This results in healthier vines and humans that consume pinot noir, in moderation.

The wine that has been selected as the best value of them all, and has secured the No 1 spot, is bright ruby in colour and displays ripe currant flavours rounded out by aromas of cedar and spice.

It has immediate fruit-forward flavours that balance well with the toasty smokiness of the oak.

It would pair perfectly with a red wine risotto or grilled salmon. Wine Enthusiast gives it a score of 91/100 and comments: “This medium to full-bodied wine is one of the best values in pinot today. It shows classic black and red-cherry aromas, a broad palate of dark fruits and light oak spices. Lifted acidity and moderate tannins complete the nicely composed picture.”

We will sell you a bottle for $21.95 or, if you buy a twelve-bottle case, it will be $19.75 a bottle. The wine is Beringer Founders’ Estate 2017 pinot noir.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409).Visit www.wineonline.bm<;/i>

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Published Nov 22, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 22, 2019 at 7:22 am)

A compelling top 100 season

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