2015 Les Darons, Languedoc (Parker 91-93 Points!)

Because the wine's grapes came from 40+-year-old vines, the winemaker named the wine Les Darons which is slang for the Dads or old men. This wine is young and requires 25+ minutes of decanting before getting too deep into it. The initial nose is of dusty blackberries, fine dried tobacco, cocoa, and soft leather. At 15 minutes, violets, blueberries, and black cherry liquor diversify the darker black fruit flavors. The Syrah and Carignan impart enough juiciness to deliver the notable tannins which would compliment rich, full-flavored meats. The fine tobacco and peppery minerality give this wine a level of sophistication typically seen at much higher price-points. This $16.98 value was reviewed 91-93 point by Robert Parker.

- Tasho Katsaboulas

2015 Penya Red Blend, France (Tasho Katsaboulas 91)

The 2015 Penya Grenache-Carignan-Syrah blend from Côtes Catalanes, France generously rewards those who decant with patience. Out of the decanter, an initial nose of spice, violets, dry gray stones, and tart red fruits with blue and black fruit accents is joined by an interesting inkiness. At 15 minutes, faint whiffs of smokiness emerge and meld with aromas of fresh raspberries. At 21 minutes, the fruit is just beginning to loosen a bit, and plum skins are emerging on the nose, but the wine is still not quite ready to drink. At 27 minutes, the fruit is starting to loosen introducing the beginning of the drinking window. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate scored this wine 89 points. For the first 40 minutes, I agreed. However, after 40 minutes of decanting, this wine soars to a new level as lush black fruits impart a deep, rich flavor that brings a wonderful counterbalance to the tart, juicy red fruits. At 57 minutes, there's a sappiness to the plum and raspberry fruits that remind me of Now-and-Later candy (wine is dry). This interesting red blend kills it at just $13.87! I have no reservations in upgrading the Wine Advocate's 89 to the 91 point score this wine fully deserves.

- Tasho Katsaboulas

2014 Chateau Landereau Bordeaux Clairet Rosé

The Chateau Landereau Rosé is the perfect Rosé for early Spring as it has a fuller body and deeper concentration than most Rosés. A subtlely smoky flint minerality and slight chalkiness accents layers of strawberry, cherry, and cranberry fruits with lively acidity. Antonio Galloni's Vinous scored this wine 87 points, a great score for a $9.98 Rosé.

- Tasho Katsaboulas

2015 Les Hauts de Lagarde White Bordeaux, France (Wine Enthusiast 90 Points & #20 on Top 100 Best Buys)

The 2015 Les Hauts de Lagarde is a Sauvignon - Semillon (60/40) blend from Bordeaux, France. We (Jimm and Tasho) splashed this down in a decanter and vigorously agitated the wine with immediate results in aromas of beeswax, lemon zest, wet white chalk, lanolin, faint white pepper, and unripe yellow plums.

At 9 minutes, the palate is offering delicious gooseberry flavors, and aromas of elderflowers are beginning to emerge. At 12 - 15 minutes, the wine is truly starting to open, and the palate is becoming really juicy while maintaining a waxy creaminess at the same time. The acidity of Sauvignon Blanc provides the perfect amount of energy to deliver the juicy honeyed citricity in waves through the plush, creamy waxiness featuring beeswax and chalky minerality. The wines prescribed 60/40 composition must be a rough generalization as the winemaker clearly was not constrained in achieving a perfect balance in the wine.

The energy and length of the wine are remarkable featuring a solid 45+ second finish that persists even longer if you count the refreshing mineral-water-like aspect that lingers. 

I see this wine as extremely versatile. Porch lovers will no doubt love this wine for its refreshing aspects such as the juicy lemons and crisp minerality. The acidity makes this a great food wine, even for rich dishes. Then, although the wine is incredibly refreshing, there's a creamy waxiness yielding a body that makes this a great cold weather wine as well. 

This wine is very worthy of being placed at #20 on Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Best Buys. However, I feel the wine possesses a complexity and balance that exceeds Wine Enthusiast's 90 point rating. I personally scored this wine at 92 points.

Give this outstanding $16 white Bordeaux a try and lets us know what you think @KatsWine. This wine is a Tasting Team Wine so we'll message you back with 15% Off your next Tasting Team Wine when you do!

- Tasho Katsaboulas