8 Haute Red Wines You Should Buy Right Now


Photo Credit: Courtesy The PlumpJack Group

Whether you’re looking for a 100-point wine, a new wine that reflects Sofia Coppola‘s style, an Italian wine or a wine named after the best-selling book Fifty Shades of Grey, we’ve got you covered in our list of red wines to buy now.

Odette Reserve 2012_0007

2012 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon $98.00: Robert Parker gave this wine (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot) 100 points. Really, what else do you need to know? Throw in the fact that he called it “off-the-chart” and “mind-blowing” and you get the idea he would have scored it higher if he could. Kudos to winemaker Jeff Owens, a longtime member of the PlumpJack family who directs the winemaking at Stags Leap Estate’s Odette with incredible passion and great detail to his craft. He made history in becoming the first winemaker to score a perfect 100 from the Wine Advocate in his inaugural vintage. “I feel extremely grateful and honored to receive such an incredible rating. This is just the start and I hope to continue to raise the bar every year,” says Owens.
Silver Oak 2010 Napa ValleyPhoto Credit: Courtesy Silver Oak

2010 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Released on Feb. 7, 2015, this is a seamless wine that expresses bright, fresh fruit characters from an unusually cool California vintage. It has a vibrant, ruby color and a complex nose of boysenberries, blueberries, sage, licorice and roasted chicory. It has a luscious mouthfeel with notes of fresh fruit and carnation flowers on the palate. It has fine-grained tannins and a velvety texture that leads to a long, fruit-filled finish. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2031. Selected from vineyards throughout the appellation, it is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc.

2012_SLDCSPhoto Credit: Cliff Lede Vineyards

2012 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District ($75): Cliff Lede Vineyards is synonymous with Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends from high-end vineyard sites in Napa Valley. Winemaker Christopher Tynan joined the team in 2012 and this is his first bottling from Cliff Lede Vineyards. Released in February, the 2012 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District is made with 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 3% Merlot. The fruit was sourced from the hillside terraces of Lede’s Poetry Vineyard, as well as his Twin Peaks Vineyard estate surrounding the winery, and a few, select neighboring vineyards in the Stags Leap District. The wine is composed of small lots from Lede’s best blocks, representing a diverse range of carefully selected clones and rootstocks. From exposed, rocky terraces that are volcanic in origin, to the ancient riverbed alluvial soils, the breadth of contributing sites translates into a wine of impressive complexity. Enticing aromas of crushed blackberries and cassis are complemented by dark chocolate and grilled rib-eye. Black licorice, cocoa powder, and espresso add complexity to this opulent wine. Exceptional concentration and a rich mouthfeel create a powerful impression that finishes with polished tannins and a Graves-like minerality, a hallmark of Stags Leap District vineyards.



2012 Franciscan Estate Magnificat ($55): As Franciscan Estate winemaker Janet Myers says, “Magnificat is one of the original Meritage blends in California, a wine Franciscan Estate has proudly produced since 1985. Named for J.S. Bach’s masterpiece, it is crafted to be as seamless and harmonious as its musical namesake. Starting with over 200 small lots of red wine, Magnificat is created to showcase our finest Bordeaux blend of the vintage. Carefully assessing each lot as it ages in barrel, we create the blend with repeated trials and blind tastings. Depending on how the varieties express in a given year, the composition will be different, always shaped to provide consistency of style. The wine is founded on Cabernet Sauvignon, but true to Meritage, uses other Bordeaux varietals to give roundness, structure and rich complexity.”


2013 Sofia Red

2013 Sofia Red ($17): Released just last month, the Sofia Red is the first red wine to join the Sofia family of wines, which originated with the introduction of the Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine 16 years ago. The Sofia Red, a lighter bodied red wine with elegant fruit expressions and a touch of spice, is a true reflection of Sofia Coppola’s wine style – which comes from spending time in France where she’s gained a fondness and true appreciation for the Rhône varietals. “As the Sofia line has grown, it was only natural to add a red,” Sofia says. “So I asked (Francis Ford Coppola Winery President and Director of Winemaking) Corey Beck to make something tasty and easy for an everyday wine, something that’s more in the lighter style of a Rhone and not a big typical Napa red.” The fruit for this wine was grown in Paso Robles appellation, an area renowned for producing standout Rhône varietal wines. Sofia Red is composed from Grenache (62%), Syrah (37%) and Mourvèdre (1%), three varietals typically found in Châteauneuf du Pape. 2013 Sofia Red offers delightful aromas of red cherries, pomegranate, and tea leaves with an alluring touch of tangerine. Soft and plush in the mouth while having a light, graceful balance, there are bright flavors of plums and boysenberries, aromatic spices and a hint of bergamot and cardamom. A lovely pairing for grilled salmon, linguine with pesto sauce or do just like Sofia, pair with dark chocolate with cocoa nibs.


2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley ($85): In October, Mayacamas Vineyards released the 2009 vintage of their Cabernet Sauvignon. Over many decades, Mayacamas has garnered a reputation for consistently producing one of the longest-lived, classic style Cabernet Sauvignons in the Napa Valley. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is no exception– the effusive nose is packed with aromas of black cherry, wild strawberry, sage, licorice, fig and red rose, while the bright acidity and firm but elegant tannins suggest much life ahead. Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon is lauded for staying true to its style throughout the years. Buy now and drink now or later–the beauty of Mayacamas’ wine is in its ability to lay down for years. Also, Napa Valley’s iconic Mayacamas Vineyards, recently reopened with a talented team led by owners Charles and Ali Banks of Terroir, Winemaker Andy Erickson, and Estate Director Jimmy Hayes. On the heels of its 125th anniversary, the property now provides a variety of one-of-a-kind tasting experiences throughout its 465 acres, bringing a taste of adventure and discovery to Mount Veeder.



2009 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino ($75): Riccardo Illy, President of the Gruppo Illy, which owns the famous coffee brand, as well chocolate and wine (a trifecta of taste), recently sailed through San Francisco for a select few tastemakers to taste Mastrojanni, part of the Illy portfolio and which crafts some of the most coveted Brunello di Montalcino. The 2009 Brunello di Montalcino (100% Sangiovese) displays clear and intense ruby red color with aromas of fruit blends and hints of vanilla and sweet leaf tobacco. The palate is full and round on entry, generous mid-palate and a a persistent and intriguingly tangy finish. This wine pairs well with game, grilled red meats and mature cheese. In San Francisco, you can find it at several places, including A16, Hennessy’s Wine & Specialty Food, Reverie Cafe, Bella Trattoria, 25 Lusk, Via Veneto and West Coast Wine Cheese.



2011 Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin ($18): Wine and a good book go together as well as wine and cheese so how could we resist including Fifty Shades of Grey Red Satin, blended by none other than Erika Mitchell, better known as E.L. James and the author of the bestselling erotic romance novels trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed?As she writes, “Wine plays an important role in Fifty Shades of Grey, reflecting the sensuality that pervades every encounter between Anastasia and Christian.  I’ve always had a penchant for good wine, so helping to create the blends Red Satin and White Silk felt like a natural extension of the Fifty Shades Trilogy.  I hope all of you curl up with a glass to savor the romance and the passion.” This decadent blend has flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, creamy caramel and vanilla, leather and clove spice.