Here’s a look at this month’s top-scoring Cellar Selection, Editors’ Choice and Best Buy. For full tasting notes on these and hundreds of other wines, visit our Buying Guide. Sign up for the Top Shelf newsletter for more wine and spirits reviews here.
96 Vine Cliff 2009 16 Rows Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville).
As good as the winery’s regular 2009 Cabernet is, this tiny-production selection from the estate vineyard is even better. However, as the tannins are fierce, it’s not a wine you want to drink anytime soon. Through the astringency shines a bright, burning core of perfectly ripe blackberries and savory black currants, with a hint of crème de cassis. Very beautiful, flashy and impressive, this 100% Cabernet should begin to soften and mellow after 2018. —S.H.
abv: 14.9% Price: $85
96 Corliss Estates 2007 Syrah (Columbia Valley).
Corliss allows its wines to age for extra years in bottle prior to release, and it pays off with powerful, muscular, densely structured wines that have been polished to a fine luster. This Syrah emphasizes fruit, not funk, with opulent flavors of black fruit, dried cherry, fig and plum. Thirty months maturing in two-thirds new French oak adds dark streaks of coffee and cocoa. With its tremendous depth, this could be cellared for another few years, but why wait? —P.G.
abv: 15.4% Price: $55
92 Bridgman 2011 Riesling (Columbia Valley).
In a state with an embarrassment of Riesling riches, this is a standout. Full, fresh, bright and complex, it opens with a bouquet of lime, citrus blossom and tea scents. The flavors follow, proving to be off-dry, detailed, balanced and vivid. —P.G.
abv: 11% Price: $11