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#10-#4: My 25 Most Exciting Wines of 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

#10 2005 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill

I caught this 96 WS/$125 bottle for $80-some dollars on a Blanchards Black Friday deal back in 2009.  I cracked it open not long ago, and just like every time I've had it at a tasting alongside other outstanding Napa Cabs, it delivered.  94 points for me on this bottle.  Such a consistent wine for Chappellet.  Well done.

#9 2007 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon

For me, this has been the value play of the 2007 vintage and every time I try this I'm reminded why I like it.  It's because the flavor profile so completely aligns with what I'm looking for in a Napa Cab.  It strikes this perfect balance of savory and sweet that I just go nuts for.  Of course everyone's palate is different so your mileage may vary.  That said, I know a lot of people that like this wine.  Available for $30 and under if you're a real value hound.  93 points for me (92 Spectator).  Another wine I don't think I'd be sorry buying a ton of.

#8 2007 Ridge Monte Bello

Professional ratings for this $145 release price wine are interesting.  James Laube from Spectator hasn't rated a Ridge Monte Bello 90 points in a decade - yet this one received 92 points from him.  Robert Parker on the other hand regularly gives 90 points ratings for this wine - including a 97+ rating for the 2005.  Parker only thought the 2007 was a 92 point wine.  I popped a half-bottle purchased from the Bin Ends bargain bin for $40 (what a deal) on the last day of 2010 and I was impressed.  Of the Monte Bello I've tasted in the past, it usually strikes me as Bordeaux-like wine in a similar style as Opus One and Dominus that needs time to show well.  This 2007 definitely will benefit from age but I thought it was radiant and impressive now.

#7 2007 Zero One Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon The Wild Sky

When Spectator dropped a 93 point rating on this $30 946 case production Washington Cab I thought to keep an eye out for it.  A few weeks later Garagiste offered it up at an aggressive price.  I pinged a few friends to see if they wanted to go in on a case and discovered tremendous interest in this wine almost instantly.

The first bottle I had was outstanding: I agreed - 93 points.  The second I'd only rate 86 points.  The CellarTracker median is 91 points.  If not for this second "off" experience this wine very well could have finished in my top 3.  More on this wine here.

#6 2000 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron

Certain wines need age to show their stuff, and Bordeaux is certainly one of those categories.  That's where having friends with deeper cellars and more experience can be hugely beneficial.  I went over to my pal Adam Japko's house to try a bunch of 2000 Bordeaux this past year.  What an enlightening experience.  The wines were all showing well but there were huge stylistic differences.  I thought this Pichon Baron showed new world tendencies while still being true to Bordeaux.  98 points for me.  One of the best wines I've ever tasted.  More on this tasting here on Corkd.

#5 2006/2007 Coho Headwaters 

95 points Wine Spectator for this $40 mostly Cab red Napa blend.  I agreed with WS - 95 points.  There's been some availability of this wine in Massachusetts but as is usually the case it can be had for less in California.  When I see this wine on a shelf for around $33 it's hard to imagine a better Napa red for that price.  A highly recommended QPR-bender.

The only thing more incredible than a 95 point $40 Napa Cab is following it up next year with another 95. 2007 is a generally more well-regarded vintage so if I had to choose which to buy for long-term potential I'd probably go with the 07.  But for me they were both outstanding and very similar.  More here.  Will the 2008 be able to continue the run this wine has been on?

#4 2007 Red Car Heaven & Earth La Bohéme Pinot Noir 

I snagged a couple bottles of this at Lower Falls Wine Co. in 2009.  One of the highest rated wines from the California Pinot Noir vintage Wine Spectator called the best ever.  I tried one in late 2009 and rated it 93 points.  The second bottle I enjoyed in December and gave it 95 points.  2 points might not seem like a huge difference but as we discussed around the WPP QPR Calculator each point north of 90 is exponentially more difficult to attain.  I think this wine is very special and I'm on the hunt for some of the 2009s.  More here.

Others in this series:
Check back later in the weak when I reveal my most exciting wine of 2010.  I'd love it if you subscribed to the site so we can continue the conversation in 2011.  Happy New Year!

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