Our Top 100 Wines of 2015 (Wines 11-25)

It’s that time of year again…

…when everyone publishes their top cars, movies, books, TV shows, and wines of the year. Wine Enthusiast (#1 San Felice 2011 Il Grigio Gran Selezione Chianti Classico) revealed theirs, and Wine Spectator (# 1 Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Au Paradis’) unveiled theirs. Now it’s time to release ours.

Over the next few weeks we will be releasing our lists of the top wines that we tasted in 2015. We took the thousands of wines that we tasted and narrowed it down to the best of the best. Our rankings are based upon our staff’s ratings during tastings, as well as popularity with our clients.  Lucky for us – and you – most are currently available.

#11 – 2007 Parador ‘Reserva’

Red Wine  |  Napa Valley  |  Available Online

2007 Parador RiservaWine Spectrum Rated 96: Reserva cuvèes are barrel-selected and aged at least an additional year in barrel. The total barrel aging is minimum 3 years prior to bottling. It is then aged in bottle for 5 years, totaling a minimum of 8 years of aging from the time of harvest. The 2007 Reserva is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Tempranillo. This Reserva displays round, juicy layers of baked raspberries and black cherries, with hints of dusty cocoa and just a touch of toasty oak. The palate shows robust red fruits, earthy minerality and hints of aged leathery spice. Soft tannins and a mouth-watering finish round out this unique vintage wine. Drinking well now, but can be layed down for another 5-10 years. 117 cases produced. AVAILABLE ONLINE.

#12 – 2010 Saint Helena Winery ‘Estate’

Cabernet Sauvignon |  Napa Valley  |  Available Online
Saint Helena Cab Estate

Wine Spectrum Rated 95+: Our estate vineyard is situated at the east end of Pratt Avenue in the Saint Helena appellation of Napa Valley along the Napa River. Our Consulting Winemaker, Aaron Pott, purchased fruit from our estate in the early 2000’s for another notable Napa Valley winery, and now he works intimately with our vineyards to create distinctive Cabernet Sauvignons reflecting our terrior. This wine has aromas of red cherry and cedar, with a hint of spicy clove. The velvety mid palate and smooth tannins carry flavors of raspberry and mocha with a hint of toffee. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, this wine will evolve nicely in the cellar for ten years or more. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot. Our vineyard is managed by Elizabeth Tangney and our estate crew, with consulting from winemaker Aaron Pott and viticulture guru, Jim Barbour.

#13 – 2011 Marcassin ‘Marcassin Vineyard’

Pinot Noir  |  Sonoma Coast  |  Available Online
Marcassin Pinot Noir

Wine Spectrum Rated 97, Robert Parker: There is no doubt that Marcassin is the most difficult appointment for people to schedule, to sit down and taste wine with owners Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer. The legacy they have created in California wine is immense.

The 2011 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard has sweet berry fruit, roasted herbs, incense, a touch of background wood spice and foresty notes all present in this medium-bodied, slightly lighter style of Pinot Noir from Marcassin. This was a challenging vintage, but the wines turned out outstanding, and very Burgundian. The alcohol is 13.9%, which is one of their lowest sugar levels. The wine presents a very attractive, moderately intense perfume, good acidity and excellent precision. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.

#14 – 2012 Gandona

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Napa Valley  |  Inquire Here

Wine Spectrum Rated 97, Robert Parker 96: Living up to the potential predicted last year, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is fabulous. One hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon aged 22 months in 80% new French oak, there are 500 cases of this terrific wine. With its inky purple color, a glorious nose of blackberry and blueberry liqueur, full-bodied mouthfeel, dense, pure notes interwoven with camphor, charcoal embers and spring flowers, this is stunning stuff and a great example of the Estate’s potential. Drink now-2025+.

#15 – 2012 Memento Mori

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Napa Valley  |  Inquire Here

memento moriWine Spectrum Rated 96, Robert Parker 95: Not surprisingly, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is deeper, richer and more opaque purple-colored than the 2011, displaying lots of blueberry, crème de cassis, licorice, camphor, barbecue smoke and a touch of wood. Full-bodied and ostentatious with great density, purity and palate presence, it can be enjoyed over the next 10-15 years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Beckstoffer Dr. Crane and Beckstoffer Las Piedras, as well as the Weitz Vineyard in Oakville. 

“The 2012 Memento Mori Cabernet Sauvignon is our most powerful vintage to date.  It is a winemaker’s dream to work with fruit of this quality.  With a near perfect growing vintage, this 2012 exhibits seductive aromatics of nutmeg, dark raspberries, hints of chocolate, sweet ripe plums and red licorice. Very bold and perfectly balanced on the palate, solidly structured yet plush as velvet, displaying very finely grained tannins. Only 660 cases produced. Drink now through 2030.” Sam Kaplan, Winemaker

#16 – 2012 Le Pich

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Napa Valley  |  Available Online

Wine Spectrum Rated 95: The 2012 Le Pich Cabernet is a deep, rich garnet color. A nose of black fruits, cedar and violets develop into a mouthfeel that is supple and ripe, with smooth tannins. Robust flavors of black plum, black cherry, and graphite lead to a long, balanced finish. A serious wine, and a great value. 

Purlieu’s sister label, Le Pich, gets its name from a Wappo Indian term meaning “golden eagle.” They are hunting birds, and you can often spot them above our vineyards as they soar, glide, circle and arc. They are beautiful birds — stately and impressive, but not haughty or boasting, with a nimbleness that’s inspiring. We hope that our Le Pich wines live up to the character of their namesake. Winemaker is Julien Fayard, and the Vineyard Manager is Steve Matthiasson.

#17 – 2012 Anomaly

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Napa Valley  |  Available Online

Anomaly Cab A5862Wine Spectrum Rated 96: 2012 was an ideal growing season.  It started with an early bud break and an even fruit set.  There were warm days and cool, foggy nights throughout the summer. Rains held off until all of our grapes were off the vines.  The 2012 Anomaly Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is an inviting wine; with warm spice notes of mahogany, nutmeg, and sage.  The palate of the wine begins with rich cherry flavors, and evolves seamlessly into darker notes of black currant and fruit compote.  It is rich in stature, but graceful in its delivery.  Tannins are fine grained, smooth, and persistent, leading to Anomaly’s signature smooth, velvety, and ridiculously long finish. 91% Cabermet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. Anomaly is surrounded by other magnificent properties – Beckstoffer ‘Las Piedras’, Beckstoffer ‘Dr. Crane’, the Hayne Vineyard, Abreu, and Kenefick Ranch. About 1200 cases produced.

#18 – 2012 Remoissenet ‘1er Cru

White Burgundy  |  Meursault-Blagny  |  Available Online
R3342 2012 Remoissenet Meursault 1er Cru ‘Blagny’

Wine Spectrum Rated 96, BurgHound: This is quite firmly reduced as the sulfur used for the bottling is still in evidence so it would be a good idea to decant this if you’re going to try a bottle young. There is a light touch of minerality to the reasonably vibrant but utterly delicious flavors that terminate in an agreeably dry, clean and persistent finish that offers good but not special depth. This too should drink well young.


#19 – NV Egly Ouriet ‘Grand Cru’

Brut Rose  |  Champagne  |  Inquire Here

E528Wine Spectrum Rated 97: One of the most captivating, precise and effortlessly elegant rosé Champagnes in the world—this has no peer in terms of quality, period.  Forty-eight months on lees; 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay—aged completely in barrel for the first time.  Pale salmon in the glass; red currants, black cherries and a dust of pepper over pink and red roses fill the nose.  Ripe and impressively structured, this rose delivers the perfume and poise of a noble red wine but the liquid grace of the finest Champagnes—incredibly long and persistent in the mouth, with hints of licorice and spiced cherries. Disgorged July 2014.

Egly-Ouriet remains one of Champagne’s leading small growers. From top to bottom these wines impress for their inimitable class. A non-interventionalist approach in the vineyards and cellar, old-vine parcels in top vineyards and long lees-aging are some of the qualities that define these sublime Champagnes. ~ Antonio Galloni

#20 – 2009 Mithra

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Mount Veeder, Napa Valley  |  Inquire Here

Mithra Cabernet 2012Wine Spectrum Rated 97: One hundred percent estate grown fruit on the Mithra vineyard located on Lokoya road within the Mount Veeder AVA. Planted to cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and malbec, the vineyard continues to produce site-specific mountain fruit since Mithra’s inaugural 2006 vintage. The 2009 vintage is 100% Estate fruit from the Mithra Vineyard on Mount Veeder. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2009 vintage has small percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec blended in the varietal composition. The wine is aged in predominantly new French oak. Just 400 cases produced.

This third vintage of Mithra is an intricately complex Cabernet Sauvignon with intense aromatics. Deep, plush, dark red fruits such as black raspberries, creme de cassis and purple plums expertly integrate with soft, round tannins that coat the palate. Hints of floral notes and spice weave through the mid palate, enhancing an elegant, expressive finish.

Mithra is made by winemaker Julien Fayard, who previously has worked in both Provence and Bordeaux, where he honed his skills at Chateaux such as Lafite-Rothchild and Smith Haut Lafite. Prior to stepping out on his own, he was the Director of Winemaking for Phillipe Melka at Atelier Melka. Julien is truly one of the rising winemaking stars in the Napa Valley.

#21 – 2013 Cayuse ‘En Chamberlin’

Syrah  |  Walla Walla  |  Inquire Here

Cayuse En ChambertinWine Spectrum Rated 97, Wine Advocate 94-97: Another sensational looking Syrah, the 2013 Syrah en Chamberlin Vineyard is the most savory, umami-styled, exotic and funky of the lot. Iodine, beef blood, licorice, mushroom and hints of soy and give way to a full-bodied barrel sample that has ample concentration, sweet tannin and a great finish. This is classic Rocks characteristics and is perfumed, complex and downright exotic. It should drink well for 15 years or more.

#22 – 2013 Gerard Raphet ‘Grand Cru’

Red Burgundy  |  Clos de la Roche, Burgundy  |  Inquire Here

G6093Wine Spectrum Rated 96:  Always a more brooding cru, in 2013  this wine shows darker, deeper fruit and lots of earthy nuances, with pin-point balance and serious complexity. Perfumes of warm earth, smoke and warm raspberry sauce; flavors of red/purple fruits mix with peppery spice and earth. A noble cru that will certainly go the long haul in a cool cellar.

Raphet wines are a Burgundy-lover’s Burgundy. They are best appreciated by those already familiar with the light color and earthy flavors of classic Burgundian Pinot Noir. Aromas depart from the traditional Burgundian violets to suggest a potpourri of cinnamon, clove and incense. The wine’s light color and fine texture require a studied attention on behalf of the drinker.

#23 – 2013 Darms Lane

Chardonnay  |  Oak Knoll, Napa Valley  |  Available Online

Darms Lane Chardonnay 2013Wine Spectrum Rated 95: Subtle and nuanced, our 2013 Chardonnay offers aromas of Asian pear, brioche with hints of caramelized apple and fig. The rich yet balanced palate presents more pear and apple flavors. Moderate acidity and a good mouthfeel, our 2013 is round, soft with excellent texture that should pair nicely with food especially cream dishes. 800 cases produced. 100% Chardonnay – 65% Estate Bon Passe Vineyard – 35% Trefethen Vineyard.

#24 – 2013 Bevan Cellars ‘Ontogeny’

Proprietary Red  |  Napa Valley  |  Available Online

B4492Wine Spectrum Rated 96, Robert Parker 95: Ontogeny is a combination of all of the vineyards that have gone into the previous wines, so it has an amazing pedigree, but making sure that they all come together and find their harmony is the challenge. It is not as tannic as the 2012, but has considerably more aromatics at the same stage. The 2013 is an obvious sibling and will be delicious on release. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petite Verdot. 

“In many respects, the impressively talented visionary Russell Bevan produces wines very much in his own bigger-than-life, boisterous image. With his serious insider knowledge, which gives him access to some great sources that other producers somehow have missed, he seems to magically transform his wines into personality-filled, savory, intensely flavored efforts, many of them truly world-class in quality. He’s been on a fabulous roll for the last five or six years, reaching his pinnacle of success, maybe even greatness, with his 2012s and 2013s. Moreover, he seems to have mastered the 2014 vintage as well.” ~ Robert Parker

#25 – 2012 Oakville Winegrowers ‘Oakville Cuvee’

Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Oakville, Napa Valley  |  Available Online

OakvilleWine Spectrum Rated 96: Aromas of cherry, spiced plum and cocoa lead into a wine of medium plus body with a sumptuous texture and lengthy finish.  The flavors are classic for Oakville Cabernet with plum, chocolate and cherry showing prominently at this tasting with a thrilling balance of structure and acid in this exceptional wine.  The finish persists for 30-45 seconds offering nuanced flavors of fruit.

Each year, acclaimed vintners of the Oakville Winegrowers Association contribute small lots of their prestigious Cabernet Sauvignon to create a unique wine that reflects the essence of the Oakville appellation. The vintners have blended a spectacular cuvée that celebrates the majesty of these vineyards. Only 100 Magnums and 50 Double Magnums are bottled and each is numbered and etched in gold. For the serious collector, this is a rare gift to be treasured for years to come.

Q. Why should I pay attention to the Wine Spectrum score?

A. The reason is simple. We taste and score wines with our entire sale’s team – the owner, the wine buyer, the sales manager, and all of our sale’s advisors. It’s not only one person’s opinion and rating of the wine, but a total average of the whole tasting panel. That adds up to  decades of combined tasting experience to ensure that we bring only the BEST wines to our clients. 

It is because of this and many other factors that our clients have come to respect our score and use it to help determine what wines they want to procure for their cellars and display on their tables. At Wine Spectrum you get a much better representation of how people will ENJOY a wine.

2015 wines of the year release schedule

December Schedule

12/10: #10#9, and #8 ranked wines

12/11: #7#6, and #5 ranked wines

12/14: #4 and #3 ranked wines

12/15: #2 ranked wine

12/16: #1 ranked wine

12/18: #11 – #25 ranked wines

12/21: #26 – #50 ranked wines

12/21: 2015 Winemaker of the Year

12/22: #51 – #75 ranked wines

12/23: #76 – #100 ranked wines


January Schedule

1/4: Top Chardonnay’s of the Year

1/7: Top Pinot Noir’s of the Year

1/11: Top Cabernet Sauvignon’s of the Year

1/14: Top Other Domestic Red’s of the Year

1/18: Top International Wines of the Year

1/21: Top Wines of the Year under $60


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