2020 Top Values
Bold flavors and rich textures define these powerful reds, which deliver as much ripeness and concentration as possible, while still maintaining focus and balance. Warmer regions tend to deliver the most riveting examples, allowing grapes such as Malbec in Argentina, Shiraz in Australia, Zinfandel in California and Grenache in the Southern Rhône to reach their full potential. The flavor-packed reds of Portugal throw their weight around with distinctive versions from the country’s Dão and Douro regions.
93$20Bodegas Resalte de Peñafiel Ribera del Duero de Restia Crianza Selected Harvest 2015 | Spain | Floral and spice box aromas are enticing, with lively black cherry, orange peel, black tea and mineral following through. Polished tannins and lively acidity keep this focused and balanced. —T.M.
92$17Volver Alicante Tarima Hill Old Vines 2017 | Spain | This bold red features a thick, rich texture, with ripe, heady flavors of currant and blackberry preserves, backed by cocoa, espresso and loamy earth notes. Harmonious, in a full-throttle style. —T.M.
92$18Goldschmidt Zinfandel Alexander Valley Fidelity Nick Goldschmidt Railyard 2018 | California | This Zin is supple and sleek, offering polished, multilayered fruit, with raspberry and toasty spice flavors that glide on the lasting finish. —T.F.
92$20First Drop Shiraz Barossa Mother’s Milk 2018 | Australia | Rich and juicy in flavor, with maraschino cherry, red licorice and fresh raspberry puree notes up front, plus matcha, dried lavender, star anise and fresh tobacco hints that linger. —M.W.
92$22Château La Vieille Cure Fronsac 2017 | France | This is packed with plum and blackberry compote flavors, supported by graphite and smoldering tobacco notes. Everything melds through the toasty, solidly structured finish. Merlot blend. —J.M.
91$15Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja Berola 2016 | Spain | This red is thick yet fresh, fruit-centered but with savory elements for balance, with blackberry, currant, licorice, cocoa and loamy earth flavors. In the modern style. Grenache blend. —T.M.
91$15Pendulum Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2018 | Washington | Sleek, yet shows simmering potency in the background, with expressive blackberry, mocha and cinnamon flavors building structure toward fine-grained tannins. —T.F.
91$15Viña Haras de Pirque Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Hussonet Gran Reserva 2018 | Chile | Voluptuously spiced, with plum tart, cherry pastry and raspberry flavors that are well-knit. Creamy midpalate, ending with chocolate notes. —K.M.
91$17Concha y Toro Carmenère Peumo Serie Riberas Gran Reserva 2018 | Chile | Svelte and focused, with fine-grained tannins supporting the fresh-crushed plum, cardamom and dark cherry flavors. The finish lengthens out nicely. —K.M.
91$20Familia Zuccardi Malbec Uco Valley Q 2019 | Argentina | This rich version offers a deep well of cherry, dark plum and wild herb flavors that are matched to crisp acidity, with a finish that lingers with cedar and slate. —K.M.
91$20Penley Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra Phoenix 2018 | Australia | A firm red, with savory details of loam and toasted herbs adding bass notes to the dense and muscular body of cassis, wild blackberry and plum flavors. —M.W.
91$25LES VINS DE VIENNE CÔTES DU RHÔNE LES CRANILLES 2017 | France | Ripe and vivid, with succulent plum and blackberry paste flavors cruising along, lined with mineral, apple wood and anise notes and followed by a focused finish. Grenache, Syrah and Carignan.—J.M.
90$12Alta Vista Malbec Mendoza Vive 2019 | Argentina | Lusciously spiced, with concentrated red currant, raspberry and cherry tart flavors that show notes of slate and flint. The supple finish is filled with chocolate and cream. —K.M.
90$15Bodegas Ego Jumilla Goru Verde 2018 | Spain | Black cherry, plum and cocoa flavors mingle in the round, juicy texture of this red, with smoky and earthy notes adding a savory character. Lively acidity and firm tannins give this focus. —T.M.
90$15Brotte Cairanne Création Grosset 2017 | France | Silky and refined in feel, with gently mulled cherry and plum notes that glide along, picking up light flashes of anise and black tea along the way. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. —J.M.
90$19Boas Quintas Dão Fonte do Ouro Reserva 2017 | Portugal | This shows good density and freshness, delivering ripe black cherry and red plum flavors marked by sweet spice and mountain herb elements. Touriga Nacional blend. —G.S.
90$20Klinker Brick Syrah Lodi Farráh 2016 | California | An appealing briary note accents the blackberry and smoked pepper flavors in this snappy red. Rich and polished, with a bright finish. —T.F.
90$20McPrice Myers High On The Hog Central Coast 2017 | California | Bold and zesty, with lively black raspberry, bitter chocolate and licorice flavors that build muscle toward broad-shouldered tannins. Grenache blend. —T.F.
90$20Quinta do Crasto Douro 2018 | Portugal | Red plum and raspberry fruit is infused with violet and anise accents, framed by moderate tannins that show finesse. Offers nice energy and freshness, ending with spice and mineral notes. —G.S.
90$21Alto de Casablanca Pinot Noir Casablanca Valley Ritual 2017 | Chile | A svelte and juicy red, with a concentrated core of raspberry and cherry flavors backed by rich acidity. The well-spiced finish shows hints of smoked paprika. —K.M.