Another year of drinking amazing wine reminds me that we have so many hard-working winemakers to be thankful for in this world. Each time I open a bottle of wine that gives me a thrill I offer up a silent word of thanks to the individuals who labored over the vine, who pruned, picked, hauled, loaded, stirred, schlepped and tasted, tasted, tasted, to make something of beauty. Each bottle that thrills me gets recorded in my book of tasting notes and at the end of the year I review them all. This is a “highlights” list of 365 days (well, minus a few days off for beer) of tasting wine. These wines made the cut because they rose to the top on the day I tasted them. Wine, like all things, has good days and bad days. I only wish I had space for the many other amazing wines I tasted this year. (Note: the list is in no particular order and prices vary.)

Red Wine Value of the YEAR: 2012 Aia Vecchia “Lagone” Toscana IGT: This blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc hails from the Bolgheri region of Tuscany. It’s a happy wine with abundant black cherry, dried herbs and spice over vanilla. Pop and pour this tonight and raise a glass to finding a delicious bargain. ($15)


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2015, Rassegna Stampa