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My Top 10 Best Ever Red Wines

August 26, 2017 - By Igor Sill

It took me some time to assemble my list of the very best Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends I’ve ever tasted over the past 8 years.

To relive those memorable tasting experiences over the span of those years was hauntingly unforgettable. I assess a wine’s quality based on its coloration and purity, complexity and balance, aromatic flavors along with the memory of its long finish after the glass is emptied. I hope you appreciate my “top ten best wines ever” list as I had fun retrieving these great memories along with the very special folks and occasions I shared those memories with. Here are my top 10 best ever red wines:

1) Chateau Margaux, 1982: This was my very first foray into the grand vin experience with bottled history. This elegantly soft, refined Bordeaux ended with a parade of freshly ripened strawberries and cherries in a rich silky texture. Incredibly memorable. 100 pts

2) Chateau Latour, 2000: Presented with this stunning vintage by Artemis Group’s (owner of Chateau Latour & Eisele Vineyard), President, Patricia Barbizet, I found it to be an exceptionally great wine with fresh, lavishly rich character, freshness and dark, inky purity. A truly exceptional vintage. 100 pts

3) Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, 2005: A youthful, however, extraordinarily harmonious wine. Aromas are packed with berries, truffle, cassis and tobacco pleasures. 99 pts

4) V.Sattui, Paradiso, 2011: V.Sattui’s Bordeaux-style red wine changes in varietal composition from vintage to vintage. My absolute favorite is their 2011, a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petite Verdot and 2% Malbec. Achieved “Wine of the Year” 97 points and Platinum Medal, Critics Challenge. Stunning in every sense of the word. Perfectly balanced and elegantly blended. The memory of Paradiso is going to stay with me for some time. Decant. 97 pts

5) Peju Province Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011: An excellent vintage year for the Peju family. This wine exhibits a lovely bouquet of black currants, raspberry plum jam with coffee aromas along with great structure, complexity and balance. 96 pts

6) Dalla Valle Maya, 2002: a proprietary blend containing 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, which originally debut in 1989. The 2002 Maya is perfectly blended, boasting a rich, inky purple color with deep intensity. 96 pts

7) Spottswoode Family Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011: One of the very few 2011 Cabernet Sauvignons that evolved properly in this challenging vintage year. Excellent, deep garnet coloration, with bouquets of savory cherry and blackberry fruits, black olives and a hint of vanilla spice. Decant. This wine is in high demand and has sold out at the winery. 95 pts

8) Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013: Superb silky textures, deep red with black fruits, cedar and cigar box scents. One of Opus One’s very best vintage years. Absolutely excellent. Decant. 94 pts

9) Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012: A voluptuously rich Cab, with a deep blackberry concentrated finish. The 2012 vintage is one of Napa’s all-time great harvests and 2012 celebrates 40 years of Caymus Vineyards. Decant. 92 pts

10) As for #10, well, let me just say that I am enthusiastically pursuing my 10th exquisite Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon search, ideally from Napa, California and will keep you posted...

Igor Sill farms a hillside cabernet sauvignon vineyard in St. Helena, a mountain vineyard on Atlas Peak and operates Atlas Peak Mountain Winery in Napa. He’s a passionate wine lover, winemaker, writer, Court of Master Sommeliers, attended UC Davis’ winemaking program, member of the Napa Valley Wine Technical Group, Judge for the International Wine Challenge, London; sponsor of UCDavis Wine Society; and holds his master’s from Oxford University. sillfamilyvineyards.com


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