FOR TIM’S “Top 10-Wines-of-the-YEAR 2019” in the Florida Today newspaper, click below or scroll down a bit to read his Word document:
Top 10 Florida Today click below:
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Cruvinet Wine Bar
Enjoy a sampling of beer or a glass of wine from our Enomatic Cruvinet while you shop! The machine hosts 12 different wines with a selection of 8 whites and 4 reds! Servings are 3 oz. or 5 oz.
Through the Grapevine/ Top 10 Wines of 2019 by Tim Dwight
—Dwight is a Certified Wine Educator, Sommelier and wine writer as well as proprietor of the Green Turtle Market in Indian Harbour Beach
This year’s Top 10 list features wines from the low $20s up to a retail ceiling a little over $50 as is our tradition for this annual column. Most all of what follows should still have some availability in the retail and restaurant world, though inventories may prove fleeting as we go forward into 2020.
Both the 2015 and 2016 vintages were excellent throughout America as well as France though perhaps even more so in Italy where some of the finest wines of the past decade were produced. A trip in May to Tuscany reinforced my opinion of the high quality of the wines.
Prices, of course, continue to rise; a recent round of governmentally imposed tariffs have created pawns out of many imported wines (cheeses, olive oil and the like) and placed wine lovers in a distressed condition.
As always, be on the lookout for bargains and don’t be afraid to explore new and unfamiliar wines. Your local merchant should be able to guide you in discovering new treasures. What follows are ten special selections that should surprise and delight even the most jaded of palates—Sante!
#1 Wine-of-the-Year: Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2016
Italy has enjoyed an unprecedented run of great vintages over the last decade though none more important than 2016. The quality level was unparalleled due to great weather and ever-improving technology in both the vineyards and wineries. From the northern Piemonte region down through Tuscany and the southern plains, this is a vintage to savor in Italy.
Castello di Volpaia earns the top spot on our list for their “reserve” Chianti Classico. While the word “classico” denotes a geographic region and not a qualitative one, here’s a Chianti that’ll compete with most of the pricier Brunello di Montalcinos from further south. An ancient village that is one of those seductive Tuscan places that tempts people into quitting their jobs and uprooting their lives, Volpaia hosts fewer than 100 residents, most of whom are involved in winemaking.
This ’16 vintage sangiovese is redolent with black cherry, blackberry and mineral accents. Lively acidity and smooth tannins are harmonious with voluptuous ripe fruit flavors and a gentle, lingering finish. Curiously, this wine scored a whopping 97 points in Wine Spectator magazine but failed to make their own recent Top 100 list. I’m happy to correct that slight. Drink now or cellar for 5-6 years; (approximate retail $35).
#2/ Mt. Peak “Sentinel” 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
Straddling the border between Napa and Sonoma in the Mayacamas Range, Monte Rosso vineyard has long been the source of some very fine red wines. The Mount Peak winery was established on the site of an abandoned “ghost winery” from the 1880’s that saw its demise during the Prohibition era. Happily, the project has been resurrected with backing from Gina Gallo and family and the wines are superb and well-priced for the quality. Full-bodied and decadently delicious. ($55)
#3/ Inama “Vulcaia” Fume Sauvignon 2017, Veneto
This white wine is so much fun to drink I had a hard time keeping it off the very top of this list. Primarily sauvignon blanc from Italy’s Veneto region, it’s full-bodied and richly styled with spice and mineral accents and a velvety, almost honeyed texture. Not your typical sauv blanc, this will appeal to lovers of buttery, vanilla-accented California chardonnays. ($35)
#4/ Tollot-Beaut Chorey-Les-Beaune Bourgogne 2017
It’s tough for a red Burgundy to crack any Top 10 list with a ceiling of $50 because production is low and prices are high. I’m always excited to find an exception, and this pinot noir from the “cheap seats” of a lesser-known village fits the bill perfectly. Soft and sensuous with red cherry, strawberry and herbed spice notes, there’s a lingering elegance that’s hard to step away from. ($43)
#5/ Walt Wine Company “Blue Jay” 2017 Pinot Noir
Unmistakably Californian yet grown from fruit in the cooler Anderson Valley of Mendocino County, Walt is the maiden name for Kathryn Hall, proprietress of the eponymously named Napa cabernet project. Here in the foothills it’s all about pinot noir, and this one’s a beauty. Bright acidity keeps the blue fruited notes clean and vibrant on a complex framework. ($34)
#6/ Chateau Feuillet “Torrette” Valle D’Aosta 2016
Even hardcore wine aficionados can be forgiven for not being familiar with this particular selection. Coming from northern Italy’s mountainous Aosta region, the two grape blend here is 90% petit rouge and 10% mayolet. While most red grapes grow poorly in such a cold climate, these two indigenous varietals produce an extremely interesting, light-to-medium-bodied spicy red wine. Delightfully different! ($23)
#7/ Terranoble Carmenere CA Costa 2014, Chile
Carmenere is another red grape (like Malbec) that began its journey in Bordeaux but has evolved and excelled in the Southern Hemisphere. What malbec is to Argentina, carmenere is to Chile in terms of a now indigenous workhorse varietal. Though rarely exciting, in the right hands—and vineyards—carmenere can produce an interesting, pleasing full-bodied red. Terranoble works out of Chile’s Colchagua Valley for this “CA Costa” (coastal) bottling that’s rich with red fruit, currants and herbal spice notes. Perfect for barbeque, grilled meats or mushrooms. ($30)
#8/ Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc, Languedoc 2018
Wine legend Hugh Johnson called Mas de Daumas Gassac the first “first growth” of the Languedoc many years ago and while they’ve got some serious competition now in the far reaches of Mediterranean France, this is still a special address. This white wine is a blend of viognier, chardonnay, petit manseng and chenin blanc, and that’s something you’d likely encounter nowhere else in the wine world. Aged only in stainless steel tanks, the winery prefers to let the grapes speak for themselves in terms of flavor, texture and nuance. ($35)
#9/ Snowden “Ranch” Napa Valley 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
The “Ranch” bottling comes from a family with roots in both Napa and France. It must be a terrible thing to be a member of the Snowden-Seyess clan and race between St. Helena and Burgundy tasked with making exceptional wines in each spot. They’re successful, of course, and it’s hard to find a better full-bodied Napa red at this mid-tiered price. Blended with 10% merlot and 5% petit verdot, this cabernet is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. ($50)
#10/ Windracer 2015 Anderson Valley Chardonnay
The second selection on our list from the Anderson Valley, chardonnay (as well as pinot noir) excels in the cooler climes of this northerly location above Sonoma County. Part of the ever-expanding Kendall-Jackson empire, this stand-alone project exemplifies a style of buttery-oaky chardonnay that’s proven such a success in California at a price that’s tough to beat. ($20)
Green Turtle’s Wine Department is led by Certified Wine Educator Tim Dwight along with staff including Ms. Dominique Haas, formerly of Lausanne, Switzerland and Ms. Shirley Jacobus from New York State. Our staff brings great passion as well as many years of wine experience and travels throughout the wine producing areas of both Old and New World countries.
We share a love of new and unusual wines along with an appreciation for the classics of Napa, France and Italy. Monthly Wine Dinners hosted in our beautiful Grapevine Café feature guests from international wineries as well as wine Educators and Master Sommeliers. Executive Chef Dennis Lott prepares gourmet 6-course dinners to go along with an appropriate—and exciting—selection of matching wines, and our events are always sure to sell out quickly.
We have recently begun a series of casual, inexpensive Green Turtle Wine School Classes. Once every several weeks on Wednesday evening from 6:30 until 8:00 pm we offer an in-depth exploration of differing wine topics. Recent classes have featured Rose Wines, Beaujolais, Tuscany and Champagne, supported by video presentations as well as tastings and discussion.
Our wine selection at Green Turtle is extensive and ever-changing, featuring over 1,200 different wines from throughout the world. France is represented by a choice selection of Bordeaux and Burgundies with great additions from Southern France, the Rhone and Loire.
Our staff spent time June ’18 visiting and discovering the fabulous wines of Piemonte in Northern Italy, focusing on classic Barolos, Barbarescos and Barberas as well as regional white wines as well. Tuscany, in particular Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti are favorites also and you can always be assured of tracking down some high scoring labels at the Green Turtle.
Our back room Spanish wine collection is a great source of value priced treasures and we’ve got top labels of Tempranillo from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Priorat and Montsant are well-represented with dramatic, full-bodied reds from Garnacha and Monastrell.
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina make up a good portion of our New World wines although we are most proud of our USA wineries.
Pinot Noirs, Chards and Pinot Gris from Oregon are plentiful as are Cabs, Syrahs, and Merlots from the Columbia Valley and Washington State. California commands the lion’s share of our shelf space and you can be assured of finding great value, everyday drinkers along with legendary Cabernet classics such as Caymus, Stag’s Leap, Pahlmeyer, Paul Hobbs, Ramey, and Shafer.
Periodically, we’ve got hard-to-find cult classics as well from Sine Qua Non, Cayuse, Andy Erickson, Colgin and Harlan Vineyards; please inquire if you don’t see what you’re looking for, many of our treasures are locked away in our 55 degree temperature controlled wine cabinets.
We invite you to come out and explore our shelves, get to know the staff and sample some great bottles—wine is our passion here at the Green Turtle!
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10% discount on all in-store wines
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