Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year for 2015

It’s that time of the year when lists are compiled and outstanding results are recognized. In the film industry, we are getting close to the Academy Awards being announced. In the sports arena (shout out here to the Kansas City Royals!), MVPs are called out and recognized. As you well know, the same is true for wine. Right now, Wine Spectator is revealing their top 100 wines of 2015. They started the roll-out the week of November 9th starting with the Top 10 wines – working down to #1.

This year, that top spot went to a Napa Valley wine. It is Peter Michael’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville Au Paradis.  The score from Wine Spectator is 96 points, and the price per bottle is $195.  This is only the 5th time that a Napa Valley Cabernet has owned that #1 ranking.

“A small, previously little-known vineyard in Napa Valley’s Oakville District has produced a wine that epitomizes the modern style of Napa Cabernet. Au Paradis is the newest offering from Peter Michael Winery. This producer’s stellar reputation was built on wines grown in Sonoma County, but the 2012 bottling of Au Paradis proves its deft touch extends to Napa. The wine speaks of its site, farmed and vinified to perfection by an experienced team capturing the brilliance of a bountiful vintage.”

I know that, while there were almost 2000 cases made, I will probably not find this wine for that price.  It has been snapped up.

So why should you even care about this Top 100?  It is relevant for the sheer fact that the criteria they use to compile the list are based on quality, value and availability. It doesn’t make sense to talk about great wine if you can’t find it. I appreciate that. While you and I may not be able to find all of these wines in their top 100, it does give you insights into top wineries and different varietals.  It gives you a level of confidence to try their wines. Drinking wine is an exploration, and this is a great way to expand your experience with different varietals and producers.

Starting Monday November 16th, the entire list of 100 wines will be available to access on- line.  This is available to all – free of charge — for a limited period of time.

Check out the list, note the different wines and wineries.  It is a great way to expand your palate and see how it has evolved. You may also find some of the wines on the list, and they make an excellent path to new experiences in wine.


Seghesio: A Bright and Fruity Wine at a Nice Price

The primary flavors of Zinfandel are jam, blackberry, black pepper, cherry and plum. You can even find boysenberry, cranberry and licorice in bottles as well. Sounds to me like a great party wine, and that season is just around the corner.

Seghesio is a great buy with a huge production that should not be missed. I have drunk many bottles of this wine. Seghesio has a tasting room in Healdsburg; and, if you ever get to that city, stop in and enjoy the tasting. If you can’t get to Healdsburg, you should be able to find this wine in several outlets. For the price, it is quite a delicious bottle. Here are some tasting notes:

Zinfandel — Sonoma County — Sonoma 2014
93 points | $24 | 116,000 cases made | Red
Plump and luscious, this is jam-packed with fruit. Lively blackberry, pepper and other spice box aromas lead to ripe and rich flavors of black raspberry, caramel and licorice. There are more complex Zinfandels, but few that are more enjoyable to drink. Drink now through 2022.—T.F.

My friends in Kansas City should enjoy some excellent barbeque with this bottle for a lovely pairing. Consider also turkey, pork or ham as a great partner for dinner with this wine.


A Great Value: “The Paring Wines”

A big challenge for wine lovers is to find excellent wine to enjoy at a great price. This is the “Holy Grail” for wine enthusiasts. One of the producers that fits that bill for me is “The Paring.” This is a label out of the Central Coast of California close to Santa Barbara. I found this wine when visiting Jonata in that same area. The Paring is Jonata’s second label and really worth every penny. How many pennies you ask? The Paring wines sell for $25 a bottle. Given what is in the bottle, this is remarkable!

They produce a red blend, a Syrah, a Pinot Noir, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a Rosé. They all sell for just $25 a bottle. Given the price point, one might be skeptical yet here are the reviews:

“Made by the team at Jonata, these wines are basically declassified lots that didn’t make the cut for the top Jonata releases.  These 2012s are a step up from past vintages and are crazy values. Don’t miss a chance to grab some of these!” Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

“These are the first wines I have tasted from The Paring, the second label of Jonata and The Hilt. The four wines in this range are all absolutely delicious. Best of all, the wines are all priced at $25 a bottle, which makes them among the very finest values readers will find in California. A great choice for by the case purchases or glass pours, these new releases from The Paring deliver serious bang for the buck. It simply does not get better than this.” –Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Both Jeb and Antonio were particularly enthusiastic for The Paring Red, a wine focused on The Paring’s cabernet lots. The 2012 “The Paring Red” scored 92 points from Antonio Galloni and 91 points from Jeb Dunnuck.

I have drunk The Paring’s wines for several years. I send it to my in-laws in Illinois to share the love (and have great wine to drink when we visit). The Paring is currently offering $1.00 shipping on a case of wine.

Step up and grab some for your holiday events or anytime. They will not disappoint. Cooler weather is here, and the shipping price can’t be beat. To learn more or to place an order, go to the website, The Paring Wines, or send an email to


The Paring