10 Amazing Producers Pouring at Wine Spectator Grand Tour

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dates are set for Wine Spectator's 2015 Grand Tour. This is a stand-up/walk around wine tasting with stops at 3 cities in the US this year where hand-picked wineries each pour one signature wine. And it's usually a really good one. Winemakers and winery owners are often the ones pouring and Wine Spectator editors are in attendance so it's a great chance to chat these folks up.

The event also provides an opportunity to meet up with other wine enthuisiasts. I've made some friends through the blog and on Twitter I'm looking forward to meeting at the Dallas event. If you're on the fence about which location to attend maybe Dallas would fit your schedule? Here's a post on how to get there for nearly free using points & miles. If you're coming let me know! I'd love to say "hi" and I'm hoping to pull together a small [but hopefully VIP] pre-tasting meetup at the Hyatt if we can pull it off.

Here's a list of wineries pouring at the Grand Tour. I thought it would be useful to scan the list and share some of my favorites that I know from past experience. Events like these are good for tasting aspirational wines and developing a relatable framework for benchmark producers. I'll be on the lookout for new categories and producers but here are some of my aboslute favorites and why...

Alto Moncayo

They scored a winner with 2 recent vintages garnering 100 point ratings from Parker. Their Grenache-driven and surprisingly affordable blockbusters can get boozy at times but there's so much delicous flavor it's hard not to adore.

Likely wine: Alto Moncayo proper
Hope they pour: Aquilon


Black Kite

I haven't written about Black Kite as much as I should have considering how reliably outstanding I've found their fruit-forward [yet balanced] California Pinot Noirs.

Likely wine: Kite's Rest
Hope they pour: Something I haven't tried but like more


Casanova di Neri

They produce Brunello in a modern but elegant style. If you're new world leaning [like I am] but interested in breaking through to the other side check them out for sure.

Likely to pour: Tenuta Nuova
Hope they pour: Tenuta Nuova


Elk Cove

Another producer I consistently enjoy but don't write enough about. The 2012 Oregon Pinot Noir vintage has been crushing it for me lately. So good. I popped a bottle of 2012 Elk Cove Clay Court Pinot Noir the other night and it was amazing. 93+ points with ease. And their more affordable appellation bottling is always outstanding.

Likely to pour: 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir Mount Richmond
Hope they pour: 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Noir La Boheme


Their Fontalloro stikes a perfect balance between modern and old world. Fantastic place to visit with affordable prices relative to their quality. Highly recommended benchmark Italian producer.

Likely to pour: Fontalloro
Hope they pour: Rancia



I once [wrongly] thought of Flowers as a ripe, fruit-forward, steakhouse Pinot Noir producer. Their wines are actually beautifully balanced. Kind of like a Patz & Hall, Radio-Coteau or Gary Farrell. Not too ripe, not too lean. Just right.

Likely to pour: Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir
Hope they pour: Something else I haven't tried yet and like even more


Kosta Browne

This hits the sweet spot of wines you can taste at a Spectator event you're not likely to see at many other tastings. Wine Spectator's ratings have been favorable to KB over the years and the guys at KB recognize this and represent, giving fans a chance to taste their wines even if they can't crack their mailing list. Definitely one to try early when your palate is sharp and can appreciate it.

Likely to pour: Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Hope they pour: Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir


El Nido

Absolutely without a doubt one of my favorite producers. So consistently wow - outstanding. Semi-related someone shipping me a couples bottles of 2012 El Nido Clio this week. Popped one right open and it was right on the money. How do they do it vintage after vintage? If Loren Gil is pouring definitely chat him up. He's a wealth of knowledge about Spanish wines and other world class wines of similar style as his.

Likely to pour:  Clio
Hope they pour: El Nido proper


Chateau Pontet-Canet

Bordeaux representation at this year's events seems slightly less than in the past. I dunno - maybe I'm just not looking for them given that Bordeaux isn't particularly in my wheelhouse. Pontet-Canet is a winner though. Definitely make time to taste this one.

Likely to pour/hope they pour: 2010 Chateau Pontet-Canet

Tenuta Sette Ponti

Amazing producer who uses traditional grape varieties to produce wines in a slightly more modern/international style. At least that's what my palate tells me. So good.

Likely to pour: Oreno
Hope they pour: Crognolo (great wine, more affordabe, but Oreno is what they'll pour)

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I've always said these Wine Spectator are the best way I've found to quickly develop a relatable frame of reference for benchmark wines in important categories. The familiar producers listed here are ones I'll look forward to trying again, but I'll pick another category or two (maybe Portugal?) to branch out and explore.

Question of the Day: What producers jump out at you? Any chance you can join in Dallas?


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