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The CORKSCREWER 13: Best Wines of 2015


Why 13? Because 100 is too damn many.

Because 13 is more satisfying than 10 or 12. Because we believe, like the Chinese do, the number 13 is a fortuitous one. We don’t taste 10,000 wines in a year like the major wine critics do, but we have tasted over 1,000 wines in 2015. And we feel that’s enough to give you the names of 13 wines that you absolutely must try.

The number 13 forces us to be very picky and very disciplined in putting our annual list together. Our list could easily be 50, but these are the ones you absolutely must know. These are the ones that, in their own way, made a bold statement upon their release (in the U.S.) in 2015. There’s an element of surprise in each of these wines, or of greatly surpassing expectations. Whatever the price, there’s deep value and bang-for-buck in these 13. There’s infinite and uniquely individual personality, and there is something to learn from each one. Wine is an endless highway we travel, and these 13 wines are significant markers we have laid down in our journey, and we hope they will be a part of yours.



1.      CHATEAU D’YQUEM Sauternes 2011

Bordeaux, France | $400 | 100 pts

We’ve all come to expect magnificence from this legendary estate, but—in one of the greatest vintages ever for Bordeaux sweet wines—nothing prepares you for the experience of when the wine is in your mouth   search   direct

2.      TRUE MYTH Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Paso Robles, California | $20 | 92 pts

When a Cabernet this all-around solid and complete and approachable and delicious comes at this price, it’s a major accomplishment and cause for celebration for everyday wine enthusiasts everywhere   search   direct

3.      FLAM Noble 2010

Judean Hills, Israel | $100 | 97 pts

A most aptly-named wine—a profound, intensely heart-rendering and intellectual Bordeaux blend—from one of the most exciting wine-producing regions in the modern era   see our review   search   direct

4.      GARY FARRELL Bacigalupi Vineyard Chardonnay 2013

Russian River Valley, California | $50 | 94 pts

The vineyard responsible for Chateau Montelena’s landmark victory at the 1976 Judgment of Paris is back in rare form in the hands of rising star winemaker Theresa Heredia   search   direct

5.      GÉRARD BOULAY Comtesse Sancerre 2013

Chavignol, Loire, France | $55 | 98 pts

This is a pinnacle, a Mount Everest, of 100% pure Sauvignon Blanc, from a passionate genius of a winemaker and from one of the greatest terroirs in all of France   see our review   search   direct

6.      HALL “Bergfeld” Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

St. Helena, Napa Valley, California | $160 | 98 pts

There’s over a century of history behind this wine, yet, in vintage 2012, this is a modern classic—rich and concentrated fruit, elongated and rounded tannins, sophisticated structure and enthralling complexity all in glorious harmony to create an ageless Napa Cab as if frozen in time   search   direct

7.      STINSON VINEYARDS Rosé 2014

Monticello, Virginia | $19 | 92 pts

The most thrilling, burgeoning winemaking happening in America today is taking place on the East Coast, where Thomas Jefferson used to roam, and this delectable, stylish and most pleasurable pink wine made from 100% Mourvedre is a standard bearer   see our review   search   direct

8.      CLOS SOLENE Hommage À Nos Pairs Reserve 2013

Paso Robles, California | $95 | 97 pts

The greatest and most inventive American-made Rhone-style blends are coming out of California’s central coast, and this very-hard-to-obtain Syrah blend is a simply stunning and unbelievably sensuous cool-climate red wine   search   direct

9.      BANSHEE Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2012

Sonoma, California | $25 | 93 pts

This upstart Sonoma winery’s entry-level Pinot ushers in the new era of wine that is hip, unpretentious and relaxed—and with a can’t-believe-how-good-it-is-for-the-price X-factor—for the next generation of wine enthusiasts   see our review   search   direct

10.    VASSE FELIX Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Western Australia | $40 | 95 pts

Almost shocking in its singular personality, Cabs from Down Under these days are clearly venturing towards uncharted territory, as this one so vividly demonstrates: Old World European restraint meets New World sensibilities in its pronounced oakiness, mushroomy earthiness, Victoria’s Secret silk smoothness, and elegant structure like a Bentley   search   direct

11.    SEGHESIO Aglianico 2008

Healdsburg, Sonoma, California | $38 | 92 pts

A little piece of Italy is alive and thriving at a 120-year-old winery in the little California town of Healdsburg, and this full-bodied and poignantly robust wine from a classic southern Italian red grape variety is one of Seghesio’s best and most distinctive wines among a number of great Zinfandels they are known for    search   direct

12.    MALDONADO Los Olivos Chardonnay 2013

Napa Valley, California | $42 | 93 pts

A small, Hispanic family-run winery in Napa produces a big, richly perfumed and flavored Chardonnay that towers above many of its mainstream, big-money backed competitors’ Chardonnays due to the wine’s refinement, elegance, expressiveness, purity, grace and seamlessness—clearly the product of a most passionate kind of winemaking   see our review   search   direct

13.    MIURA Pinot Noir, Williams Ranch 2011

Anderson Valley, California | $50 | 95 pts

Juice from Pinot grapes grown in this far north California vineyard mostly go into a Williams Selyem bottling (the Williams Ranch vineyard is owned by Burt Williams), but this lesser-known winery has an allocation of these precious grapes and makes a gorgeously textured, incredibly balanced and entirely brilliant bottling of their own—only 48 cases of it!   search   direct


December 4, 2015


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