8 Hearty, Bold Winter Wines
Let’s face it, this winter has been relatively mild, but that’s all about to change. Prime evidence? The impending blizzard. But instead of bemoaning the coming wintry hellscape, bundle up and pop the cork of these hearty, bold pours. They’ll keep you nice and warm until springtime—53 days from now. —Marina Vataj and Joseph Hernandez
96 Blandy’s 1998 Colheita Single Harvest Sercial (Madeira)
This bone-dry, wood-aged Madeira is intense. Acidity vies with the old wood and spice to give a wine that is unique. The long wood aging has not reduced the vibrancy of the wine, leaving a lingering and impressive aftertaste. — R.V.
abv: 20% Price: $50
95 Scar of the Sea 2012 Le Belle Rose Vineyard Pinot Noir (Monterey County)
Thoroughly complex and elegant, this begins with a nose that wavers between deep purple fruit and bright spice, with black licorice, Indian spices and gaminess as well. It’s extremely soft and tantalizing on the palate, with a fruit backbone of sour cherry leading into brown spice on the edges. A brush of Limonata citrus appears on the finish. Editors’ Choice. — M.K.
abv: 13.4% Price: $38
94 Pierre Gimonnet et Fils NV Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)
In keeping with Gimonnet’s dry style, this is almost bone dry and as sharp as a knife. Behind the steely texture, it is fruity as well, with tight apple and strong citrus flavors. It’s a tense and nervy style with depth of flavor and concentration. This is 100% Chardonnay harvested in 2011 from Oger grand cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs. Drink now, although it it will age and round out in bottle through 2015 at least. — R.V.
abv: 12.5% Price: N/A
94 Sokol Blosser 2011 Goosepen Block Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills)
Once again the Goosepen Block Pinot stands at the head of a very good class. It is elegant and racy, with an expressive, yet delicate mix of berries, rose petals and iron filings. It truly reflects the classic iron fist in the velvet glove nature of the very finest Pinot Noir. Cellar Selection. — P.G.
abv: 13% Price: $80
93 Finca Flichman 2012 Dedicado Red (Mendoza)
Heady, ripe black-fruit aromas are accented by coconut, graphite and mineral notes. This is a powerful yet classy blend of Malbec along with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah. The flavor profile is toasty and oaky, with tons of vanilla, coconut, licorice and cardamom accenting potent berry and cassis flavors. The finish is deep, ripe and delicious. Drink through 2020. Editors’ Choice. — M.S.
abv: 14.5% Price: $30
93 Iron Horse 2012 Native Yeast Chardonnay (Green Valley)
Steely in wet stone and high-toned citrus, this Chardonnay is from Hyde-Old Wente clones and deftly made in a light style that doesn’t skimp on delicious complexity. Apple and herb figure prominently, as does a remarkable mouthfeel of minerality, a testament to the winery’s cool growing sites. — V.B.
abv: 13.2% Price: $48
92 Germano Ettore 2012 Rosanna Metodo Classico Brut Rosé Nebbiolo (Vino Spumante)
Made entirely from Nebbiolo, this boasts finesse and structure. Aromas of rose and red berry carry over to the palate alongside bright cherry and yeasty notes of baked bread. Crisp acidity generates freshness, while the elegant perlage gives a silky texture. It finishes bone-dry. Oliver McCrum, Volio Vino. Editors’ Choice. — K.O.
abv: 13.5% Price: $35
91 Bodegas Dios Baco S.L. NV Élite Amontillado Sherry (Jerez)
Walnut, almond and toffee aromas drive the nose on this amontillado that’s narrow on the nose and not at all blowsy. In the mouth, this is round and rolls along with ease. Flavors of almond and peanut brittle finish long and toasty, with a lasting note of peanut butter. — M.S.
abv: 18% Price: $25