Boston Wine Expo, I found myself at the spacious tasting tables of 90+ Cellars. Brett Vankoski, pictured above, is one of the co-founders of 90+ Cellars and is personable and down-to-earth, an excellent advocate for his wines. In short, 90+ Cellars purchases excess wine from established wineries all around the world, and then rebottles them under their own label, at a reduced price. I've positively reviewed a number of their wines over the years, and found many of them to be excellent values. At the wine store where I work, Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose, the 90+Cellars wines are very popular with consumers.
Brett led me through a tasting of several of their wines, some of their newest releases, and I've chosen two to highlight here. Coincidentally, both are Rhône blends, one white and one red. Locally, many wine stores sell 90+ Cellars wines so both of these wines should be readily available.
So check out these, and other wines, from 90+ Cellars.
Rioja. I have visited the region in the past, reviewed numerous Rioja wines, and recommended Rioja at the wine shop where I work. The Rioja booth had four separate tables, and presented a nice tasting progression, starting with white wines and moving up to Gran Reserva red wines.
The Gran Reserva Red wines, which must be aged for at least five years, were impressive. The 2005 Ramon Bilbao Gran Reserva was elegant and complex, with a dominant earthiness, black fruit flavors, intriguing spice notes and a very lengthy finish. A wonderful wine that earns a hearty recommendation. The 2001 Bodegas Ontanon Gran Reserva was equally as compelling, sharing many of the same characteristics except there was less earthiness and more herbal notes on the palate.