Rarities

2019 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $800

100 points Wine Advocate

Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep garnet-purple colored 2019 Scarecrow hits the ground running with bold expressions of crème de cassis, wild blueberries and chocolate-covered cherries plus hints of dried herbs, tilled soil and crushed rocks with a fragrant undercurrent of Indian spices. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with layer upon layer of tightly packed mineral-sparked black fruit flavors, framed by super plush tannins and absolutely seamless freshness, finishing long, long, long. This expression of the venerable J.J. Cohn vineyard—including vines planted in 1945 by John Daniel and dry farmed—is pure magic. 2,000 cases were made.

100 points Jeb Dunnuck

99 points Vinous 

2019 Spottswoode Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $250 – 2 bottles 

100 points Wine Advocate

The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 89.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc and 4.0% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs of lot of swirling to unlock the most gorgeous perfume of bright black and red cherries, fresh blueberries and blackcurrant pastilles with hints of roses, cinnamon stick and orange peel. Medium-bodied, elegant and tightly wound, the palate shimmers with SO MUCH energy, featuring layer upon layer of floral, savory and crunchy black fruit notes, finishing long and minerally. This is a remarkably poised, seemingly effortless beauty that cannot fail to make your jaw drop. Forget it in the cellar for a good 3-5 years, at least, to allow all those nuances to fully emerge and then savor it over the next 30 years+.

2019 Sine Qua Non Disenta Syrah Central Coast $350 – 3 bottles

100 points Wine Advocate

The 2019 Syrah Distenta I is composed of 83.6% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre, 5.2% Petite Sirah, 6.2% Grenache, 1.4% Muscat and 0.6% Petit Manseng. “I think Muscat is the number-one white grape for me to blend with reds,” Manfred told me last year. “It kinda triples the effect of the wine.” The red winemaking included 33% whole cluster. The vineyard sources for this wine are 35% The Third Twin, 33% Eleven Confessions, 31% Cumulus and 1% Molly Aida—all estate-owned vineyards. This wine was bottled at the end of July 2021, after 23 months in French oak, 43% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it erupts from the glass with a powerfully fragrant nose of red roses, Morello cherries, boysenberries and juicy blueberries, followed by hints of mocha, star anise, cardamom and cassia. The concentrated, full-bodied palate is jam-packed with bright, crunchy black, blue and red fruits. It has a rock-solid structure of firm, finely-grained tannins and seamless freshness lifting the shimmering layers to a long, energetic finish. The complexity and vivacity of this Syrah are simply jaw-dropping!
(Also received 97 Vinous)

2019 RIDGE Montebello Red Wine Santa Cruz Mountains $245 

98 points Vinous

The 2019 Monte Bello is a wild, exotic wine. Huge, soaring aromatics meld into a core of heady, exotically ripe fruit. Not a shy wine by any means, the 2019 is atypically opulent, and yet all of the classic Monte Bello structure is there, underneath all of that fruit. The 2019 needs time in bottle to shed its baby fat, but there is a lot to look forward to. I imagine it will always be a pretty exuberant wine. Inky red fruit, blood orange, espresso, sweet American oak, cedar and pipe tobacco leave a lasting impression. In a word: magnificent!

2018 Vasse-Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec Margaret River $150

99 points Wine Advocate

The 2018 can comfortably be described as being one of the greatest, if not the greatest vintage in Margaret River’s 55-year modern history (i.e., since 1967). When this 2018 Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec was released, it was both satisfying and terrifying. The former, because it confirmed everything I had suspected/hoped prior to its release. The latter because it would force me to put my neck on the line and give it the score I believe it deserves. Having seen it blind a number of times in esteemed international company, I am comfortable that this wine more than stands up alongside its counterparts from Bordeaux and Napa in the 2018 vintage. It is a marvelous example of Margaret River Cabernet, in that it offers us red raspberry, pomegranate, cassis and red licorice, alongside pink peppercorns, nori, sun-dried kelp, hints of iodine and earth, and all of it framed by ferrous tannins. It is fresh, it is structured, it is incredibly long. It will live forever.

2016 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva $225

99 points James Suckling

The complexity and beauty of this wine is something else on the nose, offering perfume, cedar, dried flower, black cherry, blueberry and crushed stone. Orange peel, too. Full-bodied with incredible layers of ultra-fine tannins that give this wine horizontal depth that almost seems endless. Extremely long and lightly chewy at the end. This is one for the cellar.

99 points Wine Enthusiast

Delicate aromas recalling forest berry, rose, violet and wild herb shape the enticing nose. The savory, elegantly structured palate features juicy red cherry, spiced cranberry, star anise and a hint of tobacco set against taut, fine-grained tannins. Fresh acidity keeps it well balanced and focused. A wonderful expression of the fantastic vintage from one of Montalcino’s most historic producers, it boasts great aging potential. *Cellar Selection*

98 points Decanter

Fuligni’s Riserva is born in the San Giovanni vineyard at Podere Cottimelli, the estate’s original site. It is a selection of the best bunches from vines averaging 50 years of age. The 2016 is currently a brooding beast, but a remarkably handsome one at close glance. It starts with polished leather and walnut skin before disclosing hints of lavender, anise and freshly turned earth. The structure is even denser and drier than the annata, but the fruit is also sweeter and more concentrated. Finely chiselled tannins wrap around black cherry and red plum, and with an intense mineral drive this is fully charged. It will take a few more years, however, to lay bare all of its lurking intricacies.

98+ points Vinous

The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva seduces the senses as it mixes savory and sweet, the dusty rose and crushed stone aromas giving way to wild strawberry and dried cherry. A velvety textural wave saturates the palate with salty minerals and tart raspberry fruits, lifted by stunning acidity and cooling herbal tones that create a cascading feel to the crunchy red fruits. While structured and dry, it’s also incredibly long, crystalline in nature, and lingers on notes of salted licorice and savory spice. This shows all of the best qualities of the vintage, expertly matched to the classic stylings of Fuligni. That said, the 2016 is a sleeping giant, in need of cellaring to show its best. Deciding between this and the estate Brunello from 2016 is like splitting hairs, but what I can say is that the Riserva has the potential for a longer life and possibly a higher score when at full maturity.

97+ points Wine Advocate

Here’s one of the show-stoppers in this report. The Fuligni 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a layered and important wine with deep renderings of wild berry, ripe fruit, oak spice, pressed flowers and garden herbs. This Brunello lives up to its Riserva designation with extra textural richness, more oak definition, structure and a bigger, longer-lasting aromatic profile. The wine closes with hints of cola, rosemary and wild rose.

97 points Wine & Spirits

The Fuligni’s estate is in Montalcino’s northeast quadrant, where the high elevations cause temperatures to drop sharply at night. Those conditions combined in 2016 with a long and even growing season to produce this exciting Riserva. The wine is effortlessly concentrated and powerful, its deep flavors of dark cherry layered with notes of fresh tobacco and mortared herbs underlined by a firm streak of graphite. Scents of violet and lavender enhance the wine’s graceful personality as vibrant spice notes draw out the long, harmonious finish.

95 points Wine Spectator

Ripe and harmonious, this red features cherry and berry flavors augmented by earth, mineral, tobacco and thyme accents. Fresh and firms up as it winds down on the long, fruit-, mineral- and spice-tinged finish.

WS=Wine Spectator VN=Vinous WA=Wine Advocate JS=James Suckling JD=Jeb Dunnuck WE=Wine Enthusiast