2019 Top Values
These are the wines that hold nothing back. Richness and depth of fruit, concentration and intensity of flavor—this is what you get when you harvest grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Zinfandel at their ripest. The best of them balance their power with freshness and vibrancy, yielding structure as well as focus. Recent great vintages in the Southern Rhône deliver multiple examples from Grenache and Syrah, while Washington has come on strong with Cabernet, producing complex and polished versions.
92 $16 Dominio de Atauta Ribera del Duero Torre de Golbán Crianza 2016 | Spain | A thick, polished texture carries focused black cherry, plum, dark chocolate, licorice and graphite flavors in this balanced red, with well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Powerful yet graceful.—T.M.
92 $17 Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2014 | Spain | Rich and expressive, this exuberant red delivers bold flavors of plum, blackberry and licorice, balanced by graphite, black tea and forest floor notes. Tangy acidity offsets the firm tannins.—T.M.
92 $20 Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2017 | France | A bright, fresh style, with raspberry, cherry and red currant coulis flavors, underscored by light bramble and mineral accents. Shows good juicy energy. Grenache and Syrah.—J.M.
92 $20 First Drop Shiraz Barossa Mother’s Milk 2017 | Australia | Generous, with a plump mix of huckleberry and blackberry flavors, revealing a green olive hint on a dense, juicy frame. Black walnut and dried ginger notes emerge on the finish.—M.W.
92 $22 Viña Montes Syrah Colchagua Valley Alpha 2017 | Chile | A floral aroma introduces this red, with meaty and Asian spice notes to the decadent roasted plum and dark cherry flavors. Slate and hot stone accents come in on the muscular finish.—K.M.
92 $24 Carol Shelton Zinfandel Cucamonga Valley Monga Zin Old Vine Lopez Vineyard 2017 | California | This plush and briary Zin delivers vibrant cherry, bay leaf and pepper flavors that pick up speed toward well-groomed tannins.—T.F.
91 $16 Piattelli Malbec Cafayate Valley Reserve 2017 | Argentina | A big and strapping red, offering deep, rich and chiseled flavors of dried raspberry and cherry, with accents of hot stone. The minerally finish shows peppery hints.—K.M.
91 $16 Three Wine Company Zinfandel Contra Costa County 2017 | California | Refined and well-built, this delivers vibrant wild berry, smoky sage and pepper flavors that take on speed toward polished tannins.—T.F.
91 $17 Mercer Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2016 | Washington | This broad-shouldered version offers a core of refined blackberry, orange peel and sage flavors that take on structure toward big but polished tannins.—T.F.
91 $17 Bodega Vistalba Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza Corte C 2017 | Argentina | Flavors of dried beef, kirsch, plum tart and dark chocolate are plush and lusciously spiced, followed by a creamy finish loaded with cardamom and clove hints. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.—K.M.
91 $20 Viña Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Reserva de Familia 2016 | Chile | Ripe and fruity, with touches of elegance to the plush cherry tart, raspberry and red currant flavors, followed by sanguine notes on the spicy finish.—K.M.
91 $24 Lavau Vacqueyras 2016 | France | A warm, inviting style, with creamy-textured crushed plum and boysenberry fruit flavors gliding through, infused with fruitcake, melted black licorice and mesquite, showing a light lavender hint at very end.—J.M.
90 $16 Bodegas Luzón Jumilla Colección Crianza 2016 | Spain | Black cherry and currant flavors are fresh and focused in this lively red. Dense and polished, backed by well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. Monastrell and Garnacha Tintorera.—T.M.
90 $17 Viñedos Terranoble Carmenère Maule Valley Gran Reserva 2016 | Chile | There’s a zesty punch to the crunchy green herbal notes in this version, which flank concentrated cherry tart and crushed red plum flavors, with peppery accents on the pure, minerally finish.—K.M.
90 $18 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Tupungato Valley Reserve 2018 | Argentina | Dried berry and crushed red plum flavors show sinewy power, with dried green herbal notes. Dusty shadings emerge on the firm finish.—K.M.
90 $20 Jim Barry Shiraz Clare Valley Lodge Hill 2016 | Australia | Detailed, with an appealing precision to the mineral-laced plum, black cherry and date flavors. Spice and black tea notes linger on the finish. The tannins are dense but polished.—M.W.
90 $20 Duorum Douro 2016 | Portugal | This version has a supple profile, offering black cherry, olive and boysenberry notes, inlaid with anise, mocha and violet accents. Polished tannins show on the graphite-tinged finish.—G.S.
90 $20 Nine Hats Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2016 | Washington | Vibrant and generous, with supple black cherry, caramel and spice flavors that glide toward polished tannins.—T.F.
90 $22 Easton Zinfandel Amador County 2016 | California | Vibrant and sleekly focused, with a lively core of acidity and tannins, layered with raspberry, stony mineral and white pepper flavors.—T.F.
90 $22 Jean-Louis Chave Sélection Côtes du Rhône Mon Coeur 2017 | France | Bold dark cherry compote flavors are liberally laced with violet, savory and singed anise notes, showing a nice flash of warm earth through the finish. Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre.—J.M.