We’ve done the Cabs, and we’ve done the Pinots, now here are the other top domestic reds from 2015.
Unlike our Top 100 which was based upon our staff’s ratings during tastings, as well as popularity with our clients, our top varietal countdowns are based purely upon score (In the event of ties, we award the higher ranking to the more popular wine with our clients). We took the thousands of wines that we tasted and narrowed it down to the best of the best.
It’s not just Domestic Reds that we are counting down, take a look at the bottom of this post for full countdown schedule.
*If you are curious on how we tabulate our scores, please see the bottom of this post.
1 – 2012 Bevan Cellars ‘Sugarloaf Mountain’
Proprietary Red | Napa Valley | Inquire Here
Wine Spectrum Rated 98+, Robert Parker Rated 96-100: The opaque purple-colored 2013 Proprietary Red Sugarloaf Mountain, a blend of equal parts Cabernet Franc and Merlot, reveals gorgeous precision and purity, good acidity, nicely integrated oak, and a layered, skyscraper-like mouthfeel. It is a glorious, pedal-to-the-metal, balls-to-the-walls, singular red wine to enjoy over the next 15 or more years.
2 – 2013 Cayuse ‘En Chamberlin’
Syrah | Walla Walla | Inquire Here
Wine Spectrum Rated, 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.
3 – 2013 Martinelli ‘Jackass Hill’
Zinfandel | Russian River Valley | Inquire Here
Wine Spectrum Rated 96+: This Zinfandel from Jackass Hill Vineyard is made from 106-year-old, head-pruned, dry-farmed vineyards planted on one of the steepest slopes in Sonoma. This rugged section of the ranch is referred to by the Martinelli family as “Jackass Hill”, because only a jackass would farm a hill that steep. Jackass Hill is the steepest non-terraced hillside vineyard in Sonoma County. This Zinfandel is seriously full-bodied, showing notes of creme de cassis and dark berries combined with black peppery spice and anise flavors.
Red Wine | Napa Valley | Order Online
Wine 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.
Proprietary Red | Oakville | Order Online
Wine Spectrum Rated 96: 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.
Zinfandel | Howell Mountain | Order Online
Wine Spectrum Rated 96: The luscious 2005 Zinfandel is the inaugural vintage of Dark Matter. Never released before, this wine is an explosion of dark berries and white pepper, characteristics offered by the terroir of our “Four Sisters” Howell Mountain property. Blueberry and dark macerated cherry fruits, with hints of lavender and mouth watering cinnamon and peppery spices – these intense aromas and flavors are seamlessly integrated with seductive tannins and a long, lingering finish that has set our zinfandel apart from any others.
7 – 2012 Araujo ‘Eisele Vineyard’
Syrah | Napa Valley | Inquire Here
Wine Spectrum Rated 96: This delicious wine shows dark, rich purple in the glass, and displays a racy nose of smoked meat, bitter chocolate, coffee bean, licorice and a hint of violet. In the mouth, it develops opulent flavors of ripe, dark fruit lifted by floral notes, ending with impeccably fine tannins. The 2012 Syrah shows tremendous purity and intensity, while capturing the expression of the varietal. 99% Syrah, 1% Viognier.
8 – 2012 Blankiet Estate ‘Prince of Hearts’
Red Wine | Paradise Hills Vineyard | Inquire Here
Wine Spectrum Rated 95+: A companion red wine to the ‘Paradise Hills’ and the ‘Rive Doite’ is assembled from barrels that did not get selected for the flagship cuvées. This wine is produced under our “Prince of Hearts” label. Our first seven vintages were made by the legendary Helen Turley. Then for a few years Martha McClellan Levy assisted by world famous oenologist Michel Rolland oversaw vinification. For the past three years our director of winemaking has been Denis Malbec, former cellar master at Château Latour in Bordeaux.
Antonio Galloni: The 2012 Prince of Hearts Paradise Hills Vineyard is fabulous, as it has been the last few years. Racy and perfumed, the 2012 impresses for its balance, class and overall symmetry. Sweet floral and spiced notes add lift on the finish. Best of all, Prince of Hearts remains one of the very finest values in handmade, artisan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 is simply exquisite.
Merlot | Coombsville | Order Online
Wine Spectrum Rated 95: Dusty oak with aromas of blackberry pie and black raspberry fruit interplays with cocoa and vanilla to lead to a warm, cedary spice bouquet. In the mouth, rich black fruit is the theme, with layers of fruit complexity and silky tannins to give an incredibly lush and succulent texture on the palate. The fruity finish inspires another sip…, and another. This unique wine gives the overall impression of suppleness and intense fruit and lingering polished flavors. 95% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot.
10 – 2012 Amuse Bouche
Red Wine | Napa Valley | Order Online
Wine Spectrum Rated 95: Collectible wine and collectible art come together to create Amuse Bouche Napa Valley Merlot, a joint wine venture with Heidi Barrett and John Schwartz. This Pomerol-style Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend is made from some of the best grape sources in the Napa Valley. Amuse Bouche wine aspires to rival its greatest cross-Atlantic counterparts, such as Chateau Petrus and Chateau Le Pin.
For our Amuse Bouche 2012, we commissioned celebrated Parisian artist, Marc Clauzade, to create the gorgeous painting featured on this label: Le Bar à Vin. Born in 1957 and raised in a family of art and fashion (both grandmothers were designers for France’s top fashion houses in the 1930s), Clauzade embarked on an education in engineering before acknowledging his passion for art and enrolling at the Beaux-Arts school in Toulouse. Shortly after completing his training, he was awarded the coveted Grand Prix Oil from the FIAP Paris Salon. His art is now exhibited worldwide, including stateside at institutions such as the Galerie d’Art Français in New Orleans and the Galerie Rue Toulouse in Carmel. Clauzade uses flowing brushstrokes and contrasting lines to create flirty, colorful personalities in retro-chic milieus. The French Art Network hails Clauzade as “the first artist to reinterpret Lautrec and Dégas in over 100 years.”
As winemaker for several of the hottest cult wines in California, and referred to by TIME magazine as “The Wine Diva of Napa”, Heidi Barrett is always looking for new challenges. Heidi explains, “We have created Amuse Bouche wine, a limited edition, superb Pomerol style wine with the added value of limited edition art that is available to consumers through a variety of channels.”
Heidi Barrett was the winemaker for Screaming Eagle until 2005, as well as the previous winemaker for Dalla Valle, Grace Family, Barbour Vineyards, Vineyard 29 and Showket. She is currently making wine for Paradigm, Lamborn, Kenzo Estate, Au Sommet, Vin Perdu and Fantesca, in addition to her own label, La Sirena.
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
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
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