If I Could Buy Only One – February 3 VINTAGES Release

We asked our writers, “If you could buy only one wine from this release, which one would it be and why?”

Viña Leyda Coastal Vineyard Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2022, Leyda Valley, Chile
$17.95, Philippe Dandurand Wines Ltd.
John Szabo – An $18 pinot noir that tastes like proper pinot noir? That’s my only one this week, or any week for that matter. If you’re of the same mind, head straight to the Viña Leyda Coastal Vineyard Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2022. Winemaker Viviana Navarrete has experience with the variety from top to bottom in Chile, and points to the Leyda Valley as arguably the best place in the country to produce pinot. The Las Brisas vineyard snuggles right up against the Pacific and its icy waters, and the climate can be considered genuinely cool and well suited to pinot (and chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and maybe slightly less syrah). This wine is brimming with fresh-tart red berry fruit, raspberries and red cherries, pure and fresh, absent obtrusive oak, crunchy, not overly complicated but delicious. It’s rare to find pinot of this quality and drinkability at $18; New Zealand comes to mind as capable of producing a similarly pure style, though prices there are much higher for equivalent quality these days. Chill and go!.

Alpamanta Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2020, Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
$38.95, The Living Vine
Sara d’Amato – In the spirit of the VINTAGES release this month that is celebrating the wines of Chile and Argentina, my “Only One” is an organic selection from an Argentinan estate in southern Luján de Cuyo in the region of Ugarteche, just north of the Uco Valley, that sits at 950 meters above sea level (on the lower side for Mendoza). Curiously packaged in a Burgundian bottle, this supple and aromatic blend of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc from Alpamanta is sourced from a single vineyard of great promise indicated by this stylish wine with a compelling brightness and considerable complexity and length. Potently perfumed and ready to drink, this floral, savoury, and salty assemblage should spark curiosity beyond the Mendozian malbec mould.

Kitma Biblia Chora Areti Agiorgitko 2016, PGI Pangeon, Macedonia, Greece
$36.95, Le Maitre de Chai
Megha Jandhyala – Biblia Chora’s Areti agiorgitiko is my “only one” this week, part of this well-regarded producer’s premium line of wines. At over half a decade old, the 2016 vintage is maturing gracefully. I love how nuanced and elegant it is, yet vibrant and vital, with so much to offer for under $40. Its rich harmony of flavours – red and dark fruit tones mixing seamlessly with lightly toasted brown spices and vanilla – is a delight to the senses. Its texture is equally beguiling – velvety and rich, yet firm and energetic. I would buy a couple of bottles of this wine, enjoying them over this decade at different stages of development. 

Isole E Olena Cepparello 2020, IGT Toscana, Tuscany, Italy
$179.95, Halpern Enterprises
Michael Godel – One of Tuscany’s great estates is Isole e Olena, located in the San Donato in Poggio UGA of Chianti Classico. It has been sold to the same French company that purchased Montalcino’s Biondi-Santi. Isole E Olena Cepparello 2020 is “a result of the viticulture,” insists winemaker Paolo de Marchi. Also soft maceration, long délestage for a result that is suave, stylish and democratic. The method induces more molecules in the aromatic compounds and also proteins are developed in added ways. The grapes did accumulate major sugars, maximum ripeness and the finish at 15 percent alcohol is matched by very well balanced parts, especially substantial tannins that are anything but aggressive. Purity of sangiovese, rounder as a vintage, something that old and new buyers of this IGT will be drawn to, for early gratification and also long a life ahead. The following 2021 bottled last Spring will be de Marchi’s last finished vintage at Isole e Olena.

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Megha’s Picks
Michael’s Mix
Sara’s Selections
Szabo’s Smart Buys

New Release and VINTAGES Preview