Top 21 Wines of 2018 from Renegade Wines

This is the list you've been waiting for: The Renegade Top 21.
Every January we look back at the wines we've tasted, from rich & racy Italians to shinning Santa Rita Hills to historic estates in France. From our extensive tasting notes we've compiled our favorite 21 wines. The list below reflects both great quality and great value, and sometimes a nice bit of both.
Most are available so enjoy the reviews. Happy New Year!

2012 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Rangen de Thann Clos St. Urbain
(France, Alsace) $106
Where to begin? We found ourselves contemplating this wine for some many hours. Days even. Our finally conclusion was this: If the year were 2032 this might well be THE WINE OF THE DECADE. It needs time. Even six hours in the decanter just showed a glimpse of what this will become one day. It's insane. And then you might wonder, from Pinot Gris vines???
Zind-Humbrecht is legendary for a reason.

2016 Piedrasassi Mourvedre Harrison Clarke Vineyard
(Santa Ynez Valley) $36
Our shelves have not been graced with a 100% Mouvedre wine this good in years. And thanks to Sashi Moorman
, we now have a world class bottle. Silky, lovely, savory with beautiful red and dark berry fruit, fine-grained tannins, and a wonderful, stony finish. Bravo Sashi!

2017 Terre Nere Etna Bianco Santo Spirito
(Sicily, Etna DOC) $45
You've never tasted anything like this white wine. 100% Carricante vines planted in 1915 and 1975 at an elevation of 2200-2500 feet on Mt. Etna. Elegance and class. The first time we had this bottle of joy it was decanted for three hours then enjoyed with a poached salmon salad at Lucky's. Wow! 6000 bottles produced. We have a few left.

2016 DuMOL Syrah Wild Mountainside (Sonoma County, Russian River Valley) $58
Syrah sourced from the Timbervine and Greywacke vineyards, adjacent to one another on the steep slope of Black Mountain, high above the Russian River, and from Hoppe-Kelly high up on the Mayacamas range. Blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry fruit characters dominate both aromas and palate. There’s vibrant grapefruit zest, floral lilac, wild thyme and roasted meat characters. The fruit is plush and deep, but there’s always a sense of mountain precision and detail. A savory iron note adds intrigue to the full-bodied, chewy palate but the wine remains fine and polished throughout. Our #1 Syrah this year from Northern California.

2013 Borgo del Tiglio Friulano Ronco della Chiesa (Italy, Collio) $78
Borgo del Tiglio is one of the world’s greatest estates. Proprietor Nicola Manferrari crafts brilliant, chiseled whites built on saline-infused minerality and energy that capture the essence of some of Friuli’s most compelling terroirs. The winery is located in Cormòns, right in the heart of the Friuli. Like so many small, artisan wineries, the property is essentially a combination of home, farm and winery. This old-vine Friulano wine is from the flagship vineyard Ronco della Chiesa.
We strongly encourage a lengthy decanting of this wine to extract maximum appreciation. Six hours would not be inappropriate. One of the best white wines we've experienced. Tasting notes? We were so engrossed with the bottle and the conversation we neglected them. THAT'S how good this wine is.

2015 Ettore Germano Rosanna Rose Brut (Italy, Barolo) $38
We had unknowingly developed a sneer whenever a sparkling Nebbiolo was offered. We associated these wines with mildly sweet, sticky, flabby, soda-pop-like sparkling wine. HOWEVER! Knowing Germano is a stellar winemaker and produces incredible Barolos, we thought it couldn't hurt to take a swig. So we did. And again. And again. So good was this wine that we featured it at one of our tastings. And we sold out. And then again. You get the picture. We are waiting breathlessly for its arrival this month
. If interested email/call us to reserve a few or a bunch.

2015 Podere le Boncie La Trame (Italy, Toscana IGT) $56
Giovanna Morganti is quickly becoming recognized as one of the best of the new generation of Tuscan winemakers. Her small estate is a mere three hectares
and her only wine is called “Le Trame” (the intrigues).
The beauty of Sangiovese is revealed here in its most pure form, unencumbered by manipulation during vinification and elevage and without exposure to new oak. Much like the iconic “Le Pergole Torte” of Montevertine, Podere Le Boncie’s “Le Trame” makes a convincing case for Chianti Classico without naming it on the label. In fact we wish writers would cease touting her. Have you ever tried to find a bottle of "Le Pergole Torte" these days? We are afraid that is what will happen with Giovanna's wines.
For now her prices are fair and the wine is available. What an incredible experience, this wine!

2015 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly (France, Upper Loire, Pouilly-Fume) $76
A legendary Pouilly Fumé domaine which was founded in 1982 by Didier Dagueneau. These wines are amongst the finest made in the Loire valley. At times a little austere in their youth, they are designed to be cellared like great Burgundies. After a few years of ageing the wines positively explode with fruit flavours and with mineral expressions of the local terroir.
This wine has loads of character, pure charisma, is suave and engaging.

2016 Max Richter Graacher Domprobst Riesling Alte Reben (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer) $32
Von 90 Jahre alten Reben. Intensiv mineralischer Riesling im Einklang mit üppiger Frucht weißer und gelber Pfirsiche, sowie würzige Noten. Enorme Dichte im Mund, saftige Steinfruchtaromen und komplexe Schieferwürze füllen den gesamten Mund. Der lange Nachhall ist geprägt von Mineralität und feinen Kräutern.
From 90 year old vines. Intensive mineral Riesling in harmony with lush fruit of white and yellow peaches, as well as spicy notes. Enormous density in the mouth, juicy stone fruit flavors and complex slate spice fill the entire mouth. The long reverberation is characterized by minerality and fine herbs.
Does it loose something in the translation? We don't think so.

2017 Chateau de Rey 'OH de Syrah' (France, Languedoc) $15
An explosive nose, very "Syrah" where freshness and fruity approaches the taste buds and make them happy. Its always very generous, intense and persistent. The red fruits are fleshy, somewhat rather ripe but not too much, the spices are sweet, hints of dark earth then a fresh and crunchy finish. Outstanding for the price!

2008 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs (France, Champagne) $98
One of our favorite Champagne houses and not just because Salon is next door. From the brilliant and near-perfect 2008 vintage this Champagne is destined to become a classic.
The 2008 Delamotte is a deep, resonant Champagne endowed with stunning layers of depth. This wine has all of the kaleidoscopic, multi-dimensional personality of the vintage, but the full malolactic fermentation softens some of the natural angularity of the year. Pastry, brioche, baked apple, dried flowers and chamomile are all beautifully sculpted in the glass. We are reminded of the 2002 and the 1996 vintage that are now drinking sensationally.
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