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Elegant Reds

Pinot Noir exemplifies the balance and refinement of these medium-bodied reds, with Burgundy, California, Oregon and New Zealand all producing distinctive versions at affordable prices. Yet the focus and freshness of this category can be found in a range of other wines, such as the Sangiovese-based reds of Tuscany, which offer complex flavors in an elegant package, and the lively Tempranillos of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions.
91 $20 Rodáno Chianti Classico 2013 Italy Fresh and aromatic, this balanced red delivers black cherry, blackberry and spice flavors, allied to a juicy texture. Echoes fruit and spice on the aftertaste.—Bruce Sanderson
90 $16 Canoe Ridge Merlot Horse Heaven Hills The Expedition 2015 Washington Sleek and supple, with black cherry and dark chocolate aromas that lead to layered plum and orange zest flavors.—Tim Fish
90 $17 Avignonesi Rosso di Montepulciano 2015 Italy An elegant red, balancing notes of cherry, leather, tobacco and earth with a vibrant structure, with mineral and tobacco accents.—Bruce Sanderson
90 $17 Babich Pinot Noir Marlborough 2016 New Zealand Dried lavender and Earl Grey tea details add to the charm of this perfumed red, with lingering cranberry and raspberry notes. —MaryAnn Worobiec
90 $18 Chaos & Harmony Pinot Noir Marlborough 2015 New Zealand This stylish red is lavishly perfumed, with a tangy cherry core.—MaryAnn Worobiec
90 $19 Domaine Gouron Chinon 2016 France A brisk, fresh style, offering pomegranate and red currant fruit, with a bright finish.—James Molesworth
90 $19 Bodegas Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza 2013 Spain This juicy red is balanced and lively, offering fresh flavors of cherry, blood orange and licorice, with citrusy acidity.—Thomas Matthews
89 $11 Bodegas Castaño Monastrell Yecla Hécula 2015 Spain Black cherry and red plum flavors are balanced by leafy and loamy earth notes in this red, with orange peel acidity.—Thomas Matthews
89 $13 Château Puygueraud Francs Côtes de Bordeaux 2014 France A fresh red, with good energy to the red currant, cherry and damson plum fruit. Racy finish. Merlot blend.—James Molesworth
89 $13 Santa Cristina Toscana 2015 Italy This light, juicy red has black cherry, blackberry and herb flavors, with moderate grip. Merlot blend.—Bruce Sanderson
89 $15 Bodegas y Viñedos Tamaral Tempranillo Ribera del Duero 2015 Spain This delivers bright flavors of blackberry, blood orange, toasty vanilla and cardamom, with lively acidity.—Thomas Matthews
89 $16 Château St.-Didier Malbec Cahors Prieuré de Cénac 2015 France This expressive red is fresh and concentrated, offering flavors of blueberry, black cherry and licorice.—Gillian Sciaretta
89 $18 Bridlewood Pinot Noir Monterey County 2014 California A spicy, savory expression, with dried herb, cherry and raspberry flavors. Shows an overall sense of balance and finesse.—James Laube
89 $18 Kings Ridge Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2015 Oregon Focused on a medium-weight frame, this has cherry, licorice and wet earth flavors that glide into the long, expressive finish.—Harvey Steiman
89 $19 Erath Pinot Noir Oregon 2015 Oregon Bright and sleek, with pretty pomegranate and pear flavors that linger gently.—Harvey Steiman
88 $13 Bodegas Campo Viejo Tempranillo Rioja 2015 Spain Cherry, leafy and vanilla notes mingle in this juicy and harmonious red.—Thomas Matthews
88 $14 Brigaldara Valpolicella 2015 Italy Ripe strawberry and cream flavors are accented by dried herb and smoke in this lightly chewy red.—Alison Napjus
88 $16 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme 2015 Italy Rich, vibrant and smooth, evoking black cherry, black currant and almond flavors, with a lingering aftertaste.—Bruce Sanderson
88 $18 Josh Cellars Pinot Noir Central Coast 2014 California Pure, rich and vibrant, with a zesty mix of wild berry, raspberry, licorice, savory herb and cassis notes.—James Laube
88 $20 Louis Latour Bourgogne 2015 France This firm red is shy in aroma, yet offers plenty of juicy cherry, smoke and spice flavors.—Bruce Sanderson