Wednesday, December 18, 2019

2019: Top Wines Over $50

What were some of my favorite wines of the past year?

Welcome to my third Top Wines List. I've already posted my Top Ten Wines Under $20 and Top Ten Wines Over $20 (But Under $50). It is now time for my Top Wines Over $50. This isn't a Top Ten list as there aren't always sufficient wines at this price point that I've tasted and deemed worthy for inclusion. Like the prior lists, this list includes wines that not only I enjoyed, but which I also found to be particularly compelling for various reasons. They might be especially delicious, something more unique or just excellent values for the price. They all stand out, for some particular reason, above the other wines at this price point that I have tasted this past year.

This is a purely subjective list, based on my own preferences, and makes no claims about being the "best" wines out there. It is primarily the wines which spoke to me the loudest, even when they were subtle wines. These are all wines that I highly recommend and which I believe many other wine lovers will also enjoy.

The wines are not listed in any particular order and each choice is linked to my more detailed prior review. All of these value wines are worth your consideration but please also note that the prices are approximations and the actual price may vary in your area. In addition, some of the wines might not be available in your local area, though you might be able to order them from the winery or an online store, dependent on your state's shipping laws.

1) 2014 Shirvington Cabernet Sauvignon ($58.99)
Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and with a 13% ABV, this Australian wine was compelling. With a dark red, almost plummy color, the wine had an appealing nose of red fruits with subtle spice notes. On the palate, there was an initial taste of bright red fruits, cherry and raspberry, and on the finish it transformed so there were more black fruit, plum and black cherry, flavors. Throughout the complex palate, there were subtle spice notes, restrained tannins, and a hint of sweetness. It was a more elegant wine, with a lengthy, satisfying finish, and it was a delightful companion to steak.

2) 2014 Podere Il Carnasciale Caberlot (about $275/magnum)
This unique wine is made from Caberlot, a natural crossing of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, using only their best and oldest grapes. The wine is unfiltered, has a 13.5% ABV, and is bottled only in magnum. It was a more complex wine, with silky tannins, vibrant plum and black raspberry flavors, and a spicy backbone. Each sip delivered an intriguing taste, which tantalized the palate with a harmonious melange of flavors. The lengthy finish was satisfying and the acidity was spot-on. It would benefit from food pairing, maybe wild boar or lamb.

3) 2017 Antiquum Passiflora Pinot Noir ($58)
This Oregon Pinot Noir, using high altitude grapes, is a superb wine, fresh and vibrant. It also possesses a light red color, an alluring aroma, and a complex melange of flavors, including plum, black cherry, and almost tropical fruit notes. There are also earthy notes, accompanied by chocolate and dark spices, with a very lengthy finish you didn't want to end. Some a compelling Pinot.

4) 2016 Troon Vineyard Cuvée Pyrénées ($65)
Also from Oregon, this wine is a blend of 62% Tannat & 38% Malbec, has a 13.5% ABV, and is produced with native yeast, no new oak, and spends some time in concrete. This was a fascinating and impressive wine, with a rich, almost purplish color, and a nose of black fruits and spice. On the palate, there is plenty of intriguing complexity, each sip delivering something different to your palate. Ripe plum, black raspberry, hints of cherry, chocolate, dark spices, rich acidity, and more. The tannins are well integrated and the finish is lengthy and satisfying. A well-balanced wine, it brings hedonistic pleasure to your palate, and would be a great accompaniment to steak, wild boar, or other hearty dishes.

5) NV Krug Rosé (about $300)
This Rosé is a blend of 51% Pinot Noir, 17% Chardonnay, and 32% Pinot Meunier. The blend also contains 22 wines, 5 vintages (2005-2010), 47% Reserve wines, and 9% macerated Pinot Noir. Elegant, complex, and subtle, it seduces your palate with its compelling melange of flavors, from red fruits to citrus. It is delicate and fresh, with crisp acidity and pure deliciousness. Each sip tantalizes and satisfies, and will make you yearn for another sip. While it might not possess the depth of the other two Champagnes, it still pleases on many levels. This is a Champagne of romance, a bottle to share with your significant other for celebrations, or simply to make any night even more special.

6) 2016 Halter Ranch Ancestor ($80)
A Bordeaux style blend, from Paso Robles, California, this wine, at 14.6% ABV, is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Petite Verdot, and 11% Malbec. The aromas of this wine were compelling, alluring notes of black fruits and dark spices, which meshed so well together, almost like the smell of a freshly baked fruit pie. On the palate, the wine was powerful yet elegant, with well-integrated tannins and a silky mouthfeel. It possessed a complex melange of flavors, with rich blackberry, black cherry and blueberry, mixed with dark spices, vanilla, and some mineral notes. It was rich and delicious, a hedonistic wine which is sure to please. You don't want its lingering finish to ever end. Paired with a juicy steak, this is a fantastic pairing, and it certainly would do well with many hearty dishes.


This year, there were five countries and regions on this list, with only Oregon occupying two spots, the others being Australia, California, France, and Italy. Of these six wines, they also consist of one Sparkling Wine and 5 Red Wines. Not all expensive wines are worth their high price but these wines well worth the splurge. These are the type of wines that words often cannot do justice. These are wines to experience and savor, not to dissect and analyze. These wines should be shared with others, with family and friends, to share the experience. With the holidays near, why not splurge and buy one of these wines.

If you have some of your own recommendations for unique and compelling wines over $50, please add them to the comments.

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