There has never been a better time to be a wine lover than now. Indeed, every year is better than the year before for wine lovers largely because restaurants, retail stores, and wine clubs have together created amazing access to wines from across the globe. If you are in the market for something new to try in 2019, below you’ll find wines that merit a second look–from the vineyards of Colorado to entirely female winemaking operations. All are available online, some are sold in retail stores.
Colterris Merlot Riverside Vineyard Grand Valley 2016, Colorado: Colterris—meaning from Colorado land—evokes the state’s hot, dry, sunny summer with a powerfully dense red wine. Ripe with black cherry and spice the wine is made from premium estate vineyard fruit and sees loads of love from winemaker Bo Felton. Why Try? Well, it’s from Colorado (another region to watch), and this wine was the state’s Governor’s Cup Double Gold Winner.
Craggy Range Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels, 2016: Silky, serious and elegant, this wine is a Bordeaux styled blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. You’ll get all of the earthy, brooding fruit you love from a powerful red blend with refined top notes of black cherry, blackberry, and warm spice. Why Try? There is more to New Zealand than Sauvignon Blanc and this wine is proof.
Dalla Valle Maya, 2015: An ethereal, sumptuous, red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the hillsides of Napa’s Oakville AVA made by famed winemaker Andy Erikson. Estate Director Maya Dalla Valle recently returned to the winery after several years working at Petrus, Ornellaia, and Chateau Latour. Why Try? Maya and her mother Naoko are one of the few mother-daughter teams in Napa and the winery’s use of Cabernet Franc makes this blend distinct.
Hawk and Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014: This silky red wine from Lake County’s Red Hills AVA shows an Old World style of winemaking with restraint on alcohol and fruit. It is heady with black cherry, cassis, and notes of the forest after a rain. You’ll also get a whiff of baking spice and licorice—which just adds to the wines mouth-watering flavor profile. Why Try? The winery is an entirely biodynamic operation. Most importantly, winemaker Richard Peterson shows us the exquisite quality wines that the under-the-radar Red Hills can produce.
Hickinbotham Brooks Road Shiraz 2016: This beautiful wine is all about balance, harmonizing the richly textured blue-black fruits into a layered richness on the palate. The tannins and structure fold into place nicely—drink now or age for 10 -20 years. Why Try? This wine is a world-class example of the polished rough beauty of Australian Shiraz and a steal for $75. Buy a case and age them.
Huston Vineyards Merlot, Idaho, 2015: The wines from this award-winning Idaho producer do a fine job of showcasing the remarkable Idaho terroir. It’s dry, hot and brilliantly sunny—ideal conditions for ripening Bordeaux varietals. This Merlot is blended with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah –which lend the final wine a nice balance. Dark cherry and mocha notes mingle with some dusty tannins and bit of dried herb for a richly fruity and pleasing mouthfeel. Why Try? The family crafts several other wines, including a rosé, from the Snake River AVA in Idaho. It is one of 52 wineries in Idaho—a region to watch if you love full-bodied, richly woven reds.
Inman Endless Crush Rose, Pratt Sexton Road, 2018: We all know and love the delicacy of a dry rose wine but winemaker Kathleen Inman is doubling down on terroir and fruit expressiveness with her two new single vineyard rose offerings. The Pratt Sexton Road is luscious and rich with notes of wild berries and spice. The more mineral-driven Pratt Vine Hill rosé shows savory notes of stone fruit. Why Try? Both wines pop with vivid freshness and together illustrate the significance of terroir, and there are very few winemakers producing single vineyard rosé wines.
Oceano Spanish Springs Vineyards Chardonnay, 2017: This single vineyard Chardonnay is crafted with fruit from the closest vineyard to the ocean in California. It’s made in a more modern, racy, and fresh style with notes of grapefruit, lemon cream, and pear. Why Try? Oceano is a woman-owned business (Owner Rachel Martin who started her wine adventures at the family winery in Virginia) and African winemaker Marbue Marke are pushing the envelope in an exciting way with cool climate Chardonnay.
By: Katie Kelly Bell