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2018 Top Values

Elegant Reds

The key to this category of medium-bodied reds is their capacity to deliver loads of juicy fruit while staying light on their feet. Defined by their finesse and balance, they stay fresh, detailed and lively despite the complexity and depth of their flavors. Pinot Noir is the touchstone, with the best values coming from Oregon and New Zealand, but talented vintners all over the map are producing a range of other reds in a graceful style.
92 $15 Castello di Monsanto Toscana Monrosso 2016 Italy Bursts with ripe cherry, blackberry and floral flavors, driven by lively acidity and an elegant frame. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Sangiovese. —Bruce Sanderson
92 $20 Bodegas Palacios Remondo Rioja La Montesa Crianza 2015 Spain Silky and polished, this is graceful, lively and energetic, with cherry, raspberry and orange peel flavors. —Thomas Matthews
91 $20 Renato Ratti Barbera d’Asti Battaglione 2015 Italy Starts out with earthy aromas, then eases into black cherry, plum, earth and spice flavors, with ample fruit on the finish. —Bruce Sanderson
91 $16 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Famiglia Zingarelli 2016 Italy A dusting of bittersweet chocolate coats the black cherry and blueberry fruit in this firmly structured red. —Bruce Sanderson
91 $20 Sherwood Estate Pinot Noir Waipara Valley 2016 New Zealand Plush raspberry and maraschino cherry flavors are bright and fleshy, with details of rosemary, cedar, nutmeg and white pepper. —MaryAnn Worobiec
91 $20 Finca Villacreces Ribera del Duero Pruno 2016 Spain Smoky and loamy earth notes frame a core of black cherry and plum flavors in this firm, dense and balanced red. —Thomas Matthews
91 $20 Vista Hills Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016 Oregon Silky and graceful, showing generous complexity and expressive cherry and savory tea flavors that linger on the finish. —Tim Fish
90 $20 d’Angelo Aglianico del Vulture 2015 Italy Balanced, offering ripe, juicy cherry and strawberry fruit, with light, silky tannins. —Alison Napjus
90 $16 Bodegas Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2013 Spain Lean, firm and focused, with cherry, tea, leafy, licorice and spice flavors. —Thomas Matthews
90 $16 Edetària Garnatxa Negra Terra Alta Via Terra 2017 Spain This supple red offers red fruit and dried herb flavors, with fresh acidity. —Thomas Matthews
90 $20 Maison L’Envoyé Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Straight Shooter 2016 Oregon Generous and lively, with raspberry and baking spice flavors that dance along the vibrant finish. —Tim Fish
89 $17 Allegrini Valpolicella 2017 Italy A stylish red, showing expressive flavors of crushed cherry, raspberry, wild herb and spicy mineral. —Alison Napjus
89 $11 Domaine de Montine Côtes du Rhône 2016 France A bright, fresh style, with lively raspberry, blood orange and damson plum fruit. Grenache and Syrah. —James Molesworth
89 $18 Morgan Cotes du Crow’s Monterey 2016 California This snappy red offers raspberry, licorice and smoked pepper flavors that finish on a lively note. Grenache, Syrah and Tempranillo. —Tim Fish
89 $15 Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses 2016 France Silky and refined, showing alluring plum and cherry puree notes, with lavender and violet hints. Relies on purity and charm. —James Molesworth
89 $17 Trinity Hill Pinot Noir Hawkes Bay 2016 New Zealand Pepper and dried rose petal notes are firm and taut but very appealing, with spice, mineral and cedar accents. —MaryAnn Worobiec
89 $13 Tussock Jumper Shiraz-Grenache-Viognier Western Cape 2016 South Africa Sleek and ripe, with a stream of raspberry and cherry puree flavors, flanked by red licorice hints. —James Molesworth
88 $15 Château Le Gardera Bordeaux Supérieur 2016 France Fresh and direct, offering cherry and red currant paste flavors, with tobacco and charcoal. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. —James Molesworth
88 $13 D. Kourtakis Agiorgitiko Nemea Kouros 2016 Greece A balanced, medium-bodied red, with well-knit tannins and a spiced mix of black raspberry, licorice snap and smoke flavors. —Alison Napjus
88 $10 Renzo Masi Sangiovese Toscana Il Bastardo 2017 Italy Laced with fresh cherry flavors, this succulent, focused red shows ample grip, with licorice, earth and tobacco accents. —Bruce Sanderson