Newly Released AND Very Highly Recommended

Recently tasted, newly released/soon to be released wines – typically tasted at trade functions/fairs, but sometimes tasted at the estate/winery/cantina; sometimes both. These are the wines that I find to be thoroughly compelling wines, wines that stir the soul, engage the mind.

My grading scale:

  • no recommendation (NR): wine is unmemorable, would not repurchase
  • recommended (R): I would recommend to friends/family, etc.; may repurchase
  • highly recommended (HR): would definitely repurchase; exciting
  • very highly recommended (VHR): beyond exciting, it’s epic; buy all you can afford (maybe more!)
  • The + or – sign many be attached to the rating. The + says its an excellent value within its peer group; the (-) minus says it’s a poor value relative to its peers.


28 April 2020

It’s a rare event in my life when a wine stops me dead in my tracks, sucks the words, or even notion of forming words, straight out of my mouth. A wine that leaves one alone but for their vinous companion, even if, as is often the case with me, in a room filled with hundreds, or even thousands of fellow wine professionals during trade events. This is such a wine. VERY STRONG BUY alert.

2018 Cerbaiola (Salvioni) Rosso di Montalcino

In the upper echelons of wine, and especially rosso di Montalcino wine. The aromatics are so intense, so vivid, with the fruit leaning toward high-toned, at first, then leaning in the purest of fruit essences, next. Ferrari (or Porsche, Bugatti, etc.), meet Cerbaiola, Cerbaiola, meet Ferrari – wait, you two already know each other? Me: not surprised. In the top 1% of rosso wines…ever? Time will obviously change this, but it’s a mystery how it could ‘improve’ it. Buy any you can find. Amazing, and very highly recommended


14 March 2020: The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino report is here HERE

Some of my very favorite wines from the two days I spent tasting in Montalcino are:

  • 2015 Cerbaiola (Salvioni) Brunello di Montalcino
  • 2015 Sesti (Castello di Argiano) Brunello di Montalcino
  • 2015 Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino
  • 2015 Terre Nere Brunello di Montalcino


2013 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate  (VHR)  { #ViniVeri2017 } Tasted after Tre Tine, this is just impossibly backward right now. Sure, it’s easy to gauge the weight, purity, etc., but any complexity beyond primary facets is a decade away. Some producers, I should say a few producers, have a 2013 Barolo wine with this type of structure, it’s genuinely impressive, with breadth, depth and complexity that will develop for several decades. HOLDvery highly recommended


2013 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Tre Tine  (VHR)  { #ViniVeri 2017 } I think this was the most crowded table of the whole event, and why not, Marta was there, having a blast, she’s infectious this way, so everyone else was, too. Oh, and this wine was there, which, by the way after one taste I wanted to kneel down and utter “I’m not worthy”, to Carlotta, a truly gifted #naturalwinegrower, her dedication and cleverness have really paid off in this vintage. If I had a good cache of these, I would definitely open one, and celebrate, because. Brilliant. Now or in 25 years, either way you winvery highly recommended

2013 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Cannubi (VHR+)  {winery} Another emotional wine, this following the Monvigliero, and again, I wasn’t quite prepared for such a moving experience. Honestly, I get excited just typing this note out, the wine having that much of an effect. No need for descriptors, all you need to know is you’re not likely to find any, but if you do, buy all you can find, without hesitation. If you are lucky enough to get several, open one straightaway – the others will live on for decades. Epicvery highly recommended+

2013 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero (VHR+)  {winery} This is an emotional wine. I was at a loss for words, not because I was unable to count off descriptors, but because the wine transported me to another realm, a realm of tranquil beauty and blissful elegance. Already available, with air, though likely to improve as well. Epicvery highly recommended

2014 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco (HR+)  Stunning. Tasted today during the Grandi Langhe event in Neive. In a room full of Barbaresco wines from dozens of producers, showing many vintages (to show a vertical context), this wine was in a category all its own. Electric was the word that kept repeating in my head, this is so fresh, so balanced. This may be my favorite new release classico in the past decade; likely even more than that. It’s thrilling. Medium-bodied with great cut, the layers of red fruit come with plenty of citrus and pomegranate/strawberry aromas and flavors. If you’re a fan of this house, I strongly suggest you consider multiple cases. May well end up being one of those wines that’s always going to be on point; a life of 20+ years should be no problem at all. A masterpiece of freshness, structure and elegance. This is only going to get better, and it’s already incredible, more so if you consider this is the base wine (2014 is a year in which Riserva wines have also been produced) highly recommended+