Top 10 list


Last week we listed the Top 10 kosher wines costing $30 or more a bottle. Here is our list of our Top 10 value-priced wines, those costing $20 and less:

Montefiore White 2012 ($20): Accented with minerals, balanced and very fruity, the Colombard’s bright citrus acidity offers orange, lemon and pineapple notes within a medium frame contributed by the Chardonnay.

Aveleda Grinalda Vinho Verde 2012 ($11): Slightly sweet and a bit fizzy, it has candied lemon and lime scents and flavors intermingled with tart apple, stone fruit and lychee, along with lively acidity throughout the refreshing finish.

Abarbanel, Batch 30, Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 ($14): Uncomplicated with clean and inviting notes of melon, citrus, apple, pear and light clover honey, with just enough balancing acidity to keep it all genuinely refreshing to drink.

Recanati Rosé 2014 ($15): Refreshingly bright summer wine with grapefruit and floral aromas which expand into spicy strawberry, red berry and citrus flavors, accented with herbal and mineral notes.

Recanati Diamond Chardonnay 2013 ($15): Creamy without being buttery, the wine exhibits delicate yet bright apple, pear and tropical fruit notes with some minerality and enough acidity to maintain balance and keep it food-friendly.

Backsberg Chardonnay 2013 ($15): Begins with a hint of smoke mingled into the peach aromas. The stone fruit and melon flavors are big and rich and nicely balanced by lime accents with some vanilla oakiness in the medium finish.

Backsberg Merlot 2013 ($15): Opens with scents of plums and red fruit, offers complex raspberry, dark cherry, cocoa, and savory notes along with medium tannins and a bit of smoke and spice.

Dalton Pinot Gris 2014 ($20): Medium-bodied with aromas of hay, peaches and grapefruit, and flavors of green apple, stone fruits and loads of citrus, it has a lengthy finish that is accented with minerals and a bit of herbaciousness.

Teperberg Meritage, Shomron, 2013 ($18): Begins with aromas of red berries, dark plum and earth. The lively flavors include black currents, more plum, cherries and blueberries with leather and hints of herbs and spice.

O’Dwyers Creek Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($17): Offers that iconic grapefruit profile of the Marlborough region, with some lovely peach and tropical notes, a grassy, slightly vegetal (bell pepper?) edge, some lovely acidity, and good balance.

Spirits-wise, let’s revisit just two beloved whiskies of this past year. Here you go:

Longrow Red, Cabernet Sauvignon Cask, 11-year-old, Peated Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (52.1 percent; $90; every year sees a new release with a different type of red wine cask): This unusual yet successful whisky matured for seven years in ex-bourbon casks, then an additional four years in ex-cabernet sauvignon wine barrels (from Australia’s Angove Winery “Long Row” label cab). It offers aromas of fruit salad (strawberries, cherries, raspberries and citrus) against a medium but distinct peat smoke and brine background, with hints of new leather and something vaguely like gasoline and olive oil, but not in a bad way at all. This distinct nose is followed with a seriously oily body and nicely sympathetic flavors of fruit compote with spice, rich peat smoke, light brine and faint black licorice, ending in a long finish of rich peat and red fruits (currants?). This is an unusual and wonderful Scotch whisky.

Glenfarclas 105 Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky (43 percent abv; $80). This is one of those sherried malts for which metaphorical seatbelts are required. This is big, rich and round, and without adding at least a dash of water is hot and warming, and with water becomes distinctly softer, sporting a longer, smoother finish. Velvety smooth with aromas and flavors of raisins, prunes, dates, dessert wine and something cocoa almost akin to Mexican mole sauce. This is powerful, alluring, luscious and delicious. L’Chaim!

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