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2020 Top Values

Elegant Reds

These medium-bodied reds perform a delicate balance, offering complexity and depth to their flavors while maintaining freshness and harmony. Italy and Spain each showcase the diversity that’s possible in this category, from darker fruit profiles to earthier styles evoking wild herbs and tobacco. Pinot Noir is often defined by its refinement and finesse, yet a number of interesting blends make their appearance here as well, including supple examples from Washington and New Zealand.
93$20Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2015 | Spain | This round, juicy red is fresh and lively, with black cherry, tangy plum, leafy, toast and vanilla flavors mingling over moderate tannins and orange peel acidity. Bright and accessible. —T.M.
93$25Caiarossa Toscana Pergolaia 2015 | Italy | Expressive and complex, offering black cherry, black currant, violet, wild herb, iron and tobacco aromas and flavors, with vibrant acidity delivering a long finish. Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. —B.S.
92$21Casa Emma Chianti Classico 2017 | Italy | Shows terrific Sangiovese character, with black currant, black cherry, graphite, leather and leafy tobacco aromas and flavors, displaying purity. Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Malvasia Nera. —B.S.
92$22Craggy Range Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels Vineyard Hawkes Bay 2018 | New Zealand | A sophisticated red, with lingering notes of cardamom, blueberry and cedar. Fragrant and balanced on the finish. Merlot blend. —M.W.
92$22Querciabella Maremma Toscana Mongrana 2018 | Italy | Ripe and polished, this red offers plum, black cherry, licorice and spice flavors. Vibrant and harmonious, with a lingering aftertaste. Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. —B.S.
91$14Cune Rioja Crianza 2017 | Spain | This lively red shows depth and energy, with bright berry and cherry flavors mingling with herb, cocoa and toast. Focused and harmonious. Tempranillo blend. —T.M.
91$17Castello di Albola Chianti Classico 2016 | Italy | Shows ripe cherry, plum and strawberry flavors, with fine harmony. A lingering finish echoes the fruit, adding earth, tobacco and iron notes. —B.S.
91$25Artesa Pinot Noir Los Carneros 2017 | California | Refined flavors of dried cherry, red currant and plum tart are flanked by touches of membrillo and ample toasty notes. —K.M.
91$25Château Lamartine Cahors Cuvée Particulière 2016 | France | Elegant, with currant and raspberry flavors woven with menthol, cured meat and floral notes, backed by solid freshness. —G.S.
91$25Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir Central Otago 2018 | New Zealand | Perfumed notes of dried lavender, green tea, white pepper and fresh loamy earth add an air of elegance to this. —M.W.
91$25Roco Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Gravel Road 2018 | Oregon | Tightly focused, this offers polish and structure, with layered raspberry and cherry flavors, laced with stony mineral notes. —T.F.
90$15Icardi Barbera d’Asti Tabaren 2018 | Italy | This expressive red features intense aromas and flavors of blackberry, boysenberry and pomegranate, singed by earth and graphite. —B.S.
90$16Bodegas Ordoñez Montsant Zerran 2016 | Spain | This lively red delivers bright, fresh flavors of cherry, berry and vanilla, accented by fresh herb and floral notes. Garnacha blend. —T.M.
90$18Pedroncelli Merlot Dry Creek Valley Bench Vineyards 2017 | California | This is well-structured, with a firm backbone of acidity to the dried dark currant, dark cherry and dried berry flavors. —K.M.
90$20Maison L’Envoyé Morgon Côte du Py 2018 | France | This bright red offers a creamy mix of ripe raspberry, peach and currant notes accented by aromatic rose petal, tangerine zest and spice. —G.S.
90$21Tasca d’Almerita Etna Tenuta Tascante Ghiaia Nera 2016 | Italy | An elegant red, balanced and fresh, featuring sculpted tannins that frame flavors of crushed plum and cherry fruit. —A.N.
90$22L’Ecole No. 41 Frenchtown Columbia Valley 2018 | Washington | Supple and vibrant, offering expressive red currant, violet and spiced cinnamon flavors, with polished tannins. Merlot blend. —T.F.
89$16Maryhill Winemaker’s Red Columbia Valley 2016 | Washington | Supple and elegant, with pretty cherry, rose petal and orange peel accents that linger. Cabernet Sauvignon blend. —T.F.
89$17A.A. Badenhorst Family Secateurs Red Swartland 2016 | South Africa | A ripe red, with notes of mulberry, dark cherry and chocolate. Lively and well-balanced. Syrah blend. —A.Z.
88$13Castle Rock Pinot Noir Mendocino County 2018 | California | Sleek, with savory richness to dark cherry, currant and raspberry flavors. —K.M.