Hi-Time Wine Cellars World Wines

Hi-Time's Top World Wines of 2014

Top Italian Wines

Top Spanish Wines Under $50

Top South American Wines

Top Greek Wines

Top Southern Hemisphere Wines

Top Italian Wines of 2014

#1) ORNELLAIA 2011

WINE SPECTATOR 96 POINTS - “A dark and inky red, featuring violet, black currant, cedar, sandalwood and iron aromas and flavors. Nonetheless, this comes across as elegant, even as the tannins prove formidable on the finish. A terrific young wine in the making. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2017 through 2035. 2,200 cases imported.” –BS

JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "This shows incredible concentration with dark-berry, dark-chocolate, mint and rosemary character. Full body with a superb depth of fruit and polished tannins. It’s chewy but caressing. This needs at least four or five years to come around. Powerful and intense. Yet it remains fresh and bright."

Winemaker's Comments - The sun-filled, early-maturing 2011 vintage perfectly expresses the qualities of Ornellaia. The wine appears an intense, youthful ruby red. The nose offers rich fruit that is fully ripe yet at the same time crisp and lively, backgrounded by delicate nuances of balsam and toastiness. On the palate, the powerful concentration immediately impresses, as do the tannins, massive yet silk-smooth and glossy, which allows the wine to completely fill the mouth but with no feeling of heaviness. The finish, near endless, is deliciously pungent and spicy, with a welcome crispness throughout.

$179.99 750ml [301428] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Tenuta Fontodi is Chianti’s class act. Renowned for its Super Tuscan Flaccianello and the Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon favorite Vigna del Sorbo, the estate’s Chianti Classico is unflinchingly reliable.  Winemaking in the timeless land of Chianti Classico dates back to the 8th century, and the term “Chianti” was applied to wine as far back as 1398, and the wholly organic Tenuta Fontodi is one of many existing estates that can trace their lineage back to these historic times. Flaccianello is one of the first mono-varietal Sangiovese Super Tuscans-- it began as a cru of grapes from the vineyard of the same name, the “Flaccianello della Pieve”; in 2001, however, Fontodi widened Flaccianello’s base to source from the estate’s best grapes. This big red wine, born in 1981, combines all the old-world characteristics of Sangiovese with modern vinification techniques. Fontodi is an all-time favorite of both Hi-Time staff and customers.

#14 WINE SPECTATOR 'TOP 100' 2014
WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - “Beautiful deep ruby with incredible richness in aroma—blackberry, blueberry and plum—tempered by sweet spice from the oak. This offers mouth filling lushness, intense fruit, terrific balance and harmony, with a long, complex finish.—Non-blind Flaccianello vertical (July 2014). Best from 2017 through 2032. 4,000 cases made.”

$120.00 750ml [302488] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



WINE ENTHUSIAST 100 POINTS - “If a wine can truly be perfect, this is it. Displaying power, grace, depth and complexity, this Barolo delivers sublime Nebbiolo sensations including rose, underbrush, red cherry, leather, licorice, baking spices, clove, white pepper and balsamic notes. The intense flavors are balanced by velvety tannins and fantastic energy. Drink 2018–2038.”

WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - “The 2010 Barolo Bric del Fiasc was the first single vineyard expression made by Scavino in 1978. Next year, Scavino will release a special magnum of wine from the 1988 vintage. The wine was back then, and is now, fermented with a submerged cap. This is a bright and intense wine with a profound inner beauty and balance. The wine rolls off the tongue in silky waves. The finish is extra-long, fresh and bursting with energy. This is a wine to set aside for ten years or more. The tannins already show a good degree of softness, but this wine is at the humble start of its evolution. Drink: 2018-2035.”

ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - “Dark red fruit, iron, smoke, incense and orange peel are some of the many notes that flesh out in the 2010 Barolo Bric del Fiasc. A deep, fleshy Barolo, the Bric del Fiasc is incredibly polished and refined, with perhaps a bit less power than previous vintages, but more in the way of finesse. At this stage, the Bric del Fiasc comes across as not fully formed. It will be interesting to see what the next year brings.”

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The Galardi Terra di Lavoro is considered one of the top Italian wines by many wine critics, and it is Campania’s top rated wine year after year. The previous 14 vintages of Galardi Terra di Lavoro have all been rated 93 to 99 points by Robert Parker with 8 vintages rated 97 points or higher. The 2011 vintage has not yet been reviewed by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, but the 2011 was recently rated by James Suckling at 97 points. The Terra di Lavoro is a blend of 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso grown organically on the slopes of the Roccamonfina Volcano. Only a few thousand bottles are produced each year.

Our notes - this wine has complex aromas of dark fruits, black olives, game and herbs with a smoky, volcanic ash undertone. It is structured and full-bodied with deep blackberry fruit, dark plums, and cured meat culminating in a long finish. This is a fascinating, complex wine which should be decanted for 1-2 hours if opened in the short term and will age for many years. It pairs well with game, red meat and other rich dishes.

JAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS - “Complex aromas of blackberry, stones, cracked black pepper and tar. Full body with soft, round tannins and a juicy, fruity finish. Soulful and refined from this estate. This is a magical wine from Southern Italy.”

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Andrea Bosco, along with his father (Agostino) and mother (Carla), represent the quintessential family-operated Piemontese winery. Long recognized by European critics, especially Decanter, as a “rising star”, Andrea’s winemaking skills continue to reach new heights and new accolades here in the US. In the past, Andrea has experimented using new small oak barrels not because he was interested in “chasing points” or creating a style of wine for a particular palate, but because he was interested in producing the best wine possible from his land. Beginning with the 2008 vintage, he, shall we say, “got it right.” The wines no longer see any aging in small barrels, instead they spend 24 months in large, neutral oak barrels of 1,200 liters (Botte Grande). You won’t find any oak on the nose or on the palate – just pure, unadulterated nebbiolo aromas of dried strawberries, white roses and tar.

JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - “What gorgeous aromas of sliced strawberries and flowers. Full body, with silky tannins and a fabulous intensity. Such incredible depth and length. Best ever from here. A small producer you should know. Better in 2016.”

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90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 5% Colorino - We look forward to tasting this wine each year, knowing who its ‘big brother’ is-- and (again!) it did not disappoint. It begins with a beautiful, sexy nose. Bright red fruits dominate with plums and raspberries and a touch of strawberry tea followed by notes of pomegranate and mixed savory wood scents. The palate is lush and flavorful with red berry fruits, black tea and graphite minerality that flow across the viscous sea of red-- so balanced, multifaceted as supple tannins move in tempo with the dance of fruit, herbals and wood.

ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - “A model of pure understatement and class, the 2010 Montevertine seems to hover above the palate. There is a sense of pure weightlessness in the 2010 that is marvelous to behold. The flavors remain bright and pretty much primary, so readers should consider cellaring bottles for at least a few years. Sweet, silky tannins frame the exceptionally polished finish”

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Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a dry red wine made primarily from Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes. According to tradition, the grapes are allowed to dry on straw mats, which concentrates the sugars and flavors in the grapes. The grapes are then pressed and fermented, before being aged in oak barrels. The wine resulting from this labor-intensive process is very flavorful. The 2007 Le Bessole is voluptuous and generous in the mouth with remarkably fresh fruit including mulberry, cherry, kirsch, raspberry and baking spice. This medium-bodied Amarone is very approachable with soft, supple tannins. It is the perfect introduction for those wanting to try this classic Italian wine-at an affordable rarely seen in Amarone.

WINE ENTHUSIAST 92 POINTS - “This dense and concentrated Amarone offers an intense bouquet on marinated cherry, blackberry and tobacco. The palate delivers rich flaors of blackberry, prune, licorice and a touch of carob, along with round tannins ans soft acidity. It has layers of flaor and nice depth. Drink now through 2017.”

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The estates of Felsina, developed over more than a thousand years, still represent the basic drive of their work culture, despite the post-WWII exodus from the countryside by sharecropping families. The farms remain the same. Like all good farmers, their main concern is to protect the soil’s natural fertility, which they strive to do by keeping an open mind to new techniques, avoiding excess, and working in an experimental environment that embraces biodynamic production through the most modern technologies and innovations available worldwide.

WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - “The 2010 Chianti Classico Reserva Rancia is chiseled and focused. It offers a full spectrum of Sangiovese characteristics with balsamic herb and medicinal tones followed by crushed stone and delicate clove or nutmeg. Rancia is equally impressive in the mouth with firm structure and enduring fruit flavors.”

ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - “The 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is cool, inward and reserved at this stage. Much less expressive than it was from barrel, today the 2010 appears to be in a closed phase. There is so much tension in the glass, though, and I can hardly wait to see where the 2010 goes over the coming years. A burst of mineral and floral infused fruit lingers on the polished, nuanced finish. Today, the 2010 seems to bring together the finesse of 2004 with the structure and power of the 2010. A pretty magical combination, if you ask me."

$39.98 750ml [303071] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Rosso’s from Montalcino are, in essence, “baby” Brunello. If you’ve always been enamored with wine from Montalcino, Uccelliera has to be one of the benchmarks. The wine is 100% Sangiovese, but we’re talking about a different clone than what is used in Chianti. Here we get a wine that has more of everything and by that I mean breadth and amplification when compared to Chianti Classico (which is why Chianti producers make a Riserva). With Uccelliera’s it’s an unadulterated love affair. It’s fresh, rich, and powerful, but being a Rosso di Montalcino, just plain easy to drink!

JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - “Layers of red fruits with ruby stone, pine tree and balsamic on the nose. Fresh but round tannins with sufficient character of wild cherry and berries. Long, elegant finish. This is like an outstanding Brunello. Drink now, or better on 2016"

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On a recent trip to Italy, our Italian wine buyer Patty Quick had an opportunity to visit the exquisite Relaisil Falconiere hotel and Michelin-rated restaurant nestled between the old groves and vineyards of the Baracchi estate. This beautiful property dates to the 17th Century and is located on a slope just east of Cortona in picturesque Tuscany. While enjoying dinner at the property, Patty was fortunate to be served the BARACCHI O’LILLO red wine. Needless to say, this wine made a big impression on her! Upon her return, she was on a mission to track down the importer and see if we could bring it into Hi-Time. This wine has elegance, finesse and charm and will pair beautifully with a range of foods, including Italian favorites and meat dishes. Baracchi has become the most prominent estate winery in Cortona, and one of the most recognized in Tuscany. Recent press has created a strong demand for Baracchi wines in the US and solidified the brand’s position as one of the most sought after newcomers from Italy on the market.

WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - “Round, vibrant and juicy, packing plenty of cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Broad-shouldered and powerful, this remains focused on the fruit. Shows fine length, echoing cherry, spice and mineral notes. Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Best from 2016 through 2025.”

$17.95 750ml [302509] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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Top Spanish Wines Under $50


Muga is one of the great names in Spanish winemaking and has been a cornerstone of our Spanish wine selections for at least 20 years. The “Prado Enea” is the longest lived and most traditional bottling from Muga—always an impressively balanced wine showing finesse and power; floral delicacy and deep black fruit. Neal Martin from The Wine Advocate recently visited the Bodega and tasted four vintages from four decades—the 1970, 1981, 1991, and 2005. As we’d expect, the reviews were filled with superlatives (and an average score of 94.5 pts). We know these wines are great now, but what happens to a wine you suspect can age a long time, 20, 30, or 40 years down the road? The answer is in the series of reviews from the August Wine Advocate: “vibrant,” “...amazingly fresh and vital,” “...a complex, cerebral bouquet,” “...a complex array of flavors..." Of course we recognize most of us won’t age a wine 30 or 40 years, but the 2005 vintage is truly special in Rioja and this favorite bottling Muga is exemplary. It is one of those “now and forever” kind of wines. With a decanter and 20 minutes of patience you will see the many layers of greatness in the 2005 Muga.

WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - “The 2005 Prado Enea Gran Reserva spends 36-months in oak, nine months in new oak after which it is racked into American oak that is “semi-new” (i.e. a new barrel that is “broken in” with a wine beforehand). It has an unashamedly opulent bouquet of primal, ripe, boysenberry, mulberry, dark chocolate and crushed violets that blossom with aeration. The palate is full-bodied with crisp acidity cutting through the pure blackberry and cassis fruit. It has wonderful focus and intensity, though the finish demonstrates convincing composure. This is an outstanding Gran Reserva whose silky texture will instantly win you over. Drink 2013-2030+”

$49.98 750ml [301523] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - “The 2004 Gran Reserva 904 is Tempranillo from Brinas, Labastida and Villalba balanced with 10% Graciano from Briones and Rodezno. The grapes were fermented and macerated in inox vats for 14 days at 28º C, and malolactic fermentation lasted 28 days. The wine aged for 4 years in used American oak barrels averaging 4 years old, during which time it was manually racked 8 times. 150,000 bottles were filled. This 2004, from a superb vintage shows a beautiful light red color with a brick rim and a superb nose redolent of balsamic woods, spices, leather, well-hung meat, incense and truffles. The light to medium-bodied palate shows fully resolved tannins, great acidity and pure, pungent flavors that linger in the mouth forever and that can only be Rioja. This is a wine to smell over and over again. It might sound like an exaggeration, but this wine is still too young and you should wait a little bit and drink the superb 2001 vintage which should still be available on the market while this one matures in bottle. At this quality level the price is superb especially considering that the wine is being released 10 years after the vintage. Drink 2016-2024.”

$43.98 750ml [380850] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


#3) EL NIDO 2012 CLIO

Clio continues to be one of our most requested wines and customers anxiously await each new vintage release. It combines the lush, velvety tannins of Jumilla’s famed Monastrell grape (aka Mourvedre) with the pedigree of rare old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon. Clío frequently receives 94-97 point reviews from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and the 2012 bottling is definitely another strong showing! The Bodegas El Nido project is the result of the collaboration of the Gil Family, Chris Ringland (one of the best Australian enologists and author of Clío and El Nido) and others. Dark cherry in color, the nose is intense with dark, ripe fruits (cassis and currant) and comfit with toasted coffee and licorice, which lend a sense of finesse and elegance. On the palate there is ample evidence of strength with uplifting acidity and forward tannins, fleshy dark fruits, savory spice, a touch of earth and flat-out opulence. These characteristics combine harmoniously on the palate to make for another stunning wine from Bodegas El Nido. Clio’s combination of opulent fruit, complexity and drinkability prove difficult to resist.

$39.98 750ml [377064] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



This is a newer discovery and we are happy to be able to bring this fabulous wine into the store! Acustic Celler is the project of Albert Jané who grew up helping tend vineyards and learning the craft of winemaking from his family. He worked there until he was 33 years old when he fell in love with the rugged landscape and ancient vineyards of Montsant, an area of north-eastern Spain which surrounds Priorat. Albert left the security of the family business to start his own adventure, Acústic Celler. He chose the winery name to reflect his desire to keep his wines, “unplugged.” In other words, to let the terroir and grapes speak for themselves. The old vines provide an amazing nectar of fruit, which is fermented using natural yeasts. Cautious use of barrel-aging helps the wines achieve maturity without hiding the character of the grapes from which they have been made. The flavors of this wine dance on the tongue and somehow manage to achieve richness and lightness at once. Bravo!

STEPHEN TANZER’S INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR 92 POINTS - “(70% Samso and 30% Garnacha): Opaque ruby color and highly aromatic scents of blackberry and blueberry liquer, licorice and a hint of lavender. Enters lush and rich on the palate, with impressive freshness, offering flavors of bitter cherry and dark berry liqueur. Finishes long and sweet, with floral note clinging tenaciously.”

WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - “The 2011 Brao is a dark, meaty red produced with a mixture of 70% old-vine Carinena and the rest Garnacha from equally old vines, quite powerful and concentrated, with slightly rustic aromas of tree bark, spices and faint flowers intermixed with notes of dark cherries and flavors of black cherries and licorice, with abundant, fine-grained tannins. A powerful red with balance to age. Drink 2014-2018.”

$34.98 750ml [382357] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



In the holy pantheon of Spanish red wines, the big, full-bodied wines of Priorat can contend only with Rioja and Ribera del Duero for excellence and prestige. A historical appellation dating back to the 12th Century, Priorat, or “priory,” takes its name from the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei founded in 1194 to commemorate the spot where, legend has it, a shepherd had a beatific vision of angels ascending a stairway to heaven. Buil & Gine, a family domaine founded in 1996, has quickly risen to preeminence in the appellation, and is widely considered one of the best young producers in Priorat.

WINE & SPIRITS 95 POINTS - “This youthful Montsant has the intensity of a wild teenager. The fruit is powerfully red even as aggressive tannins seize the palate, needing at least five years in the bottle before it all might settle down. The payoff will be to bask in its vibrant fruit and complexity. A blend based on old vine garnacha and cariñena, alon with merlot, tempranillo and cabernet, Baboix comes from a vineyard o n decomposed granite in Falset.”

$29.95 750ml [382900] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Bodega La Rioja Alta was formed in 1890 and is an outstanding producer, supplying fully mature wines of world class quality. The wines are made in the traditional Riojan manner with Tempranillo as the primary grape along with careful aging in oak and bottle that gives Rioja its unique character. The La Rioja Alta wines display a wonderful rich ruby color, gorgeous aromas of oak, spices and fruit followed by a sensational feel on the palate. These wines offer a wonderfully complex bouquet, rich flavors, a seductively smooth texture and are ready to drink upon release.

WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - “Cedar, tobacco and spice hints frame dried cherry, berry and vanilla notes in this silky red. The flavors mingle nicely, framed by juicy acidity and light but firm tannins. The wine has a lovely, weightless intensity. A fine example of the traditional style. Drink now through 2020.”

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The evidence is in and the verdict is undeniable. The Faustino Gran Reserva offers one of the most incredible wine values on the planet. Where else can you get a 97 point-rated wine crafted by a legendary producer, which is aged for more than a decade in their cellar-all for under $30.00? Did we mention 2001 was a great vintage in Rioja? The price of admission for one of the world’s greatest wines is extraordinarily inexpensive. This wine is beguiling, complex and elegant. It remains fresh with nice fruit and delicious, savory flavors. This wine will age, but is drinking beautifully right now.

DECANTER MAGAZINE WINE OF THE YEAR 97 POINTS - “Restrained, mineral style with elegant tannins.Youthful and fresh, feminine and complex. Deliciously decadent, with extraordinary vitality in the palate and a long, unique finish. A jewel at this price.”

LA TIMES WINE OF THE WEEK! (3/19/14) - “One of Spains great Bodegas - Still family owned to this day, dating back to 1861. Don Julio Faustino is at the helm. Faustino is possibly the best known Rioja around the world and Faustino 1 the Gran Reserva certainly sets the benchmarks for others to follow.”

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We wrote up the 2011 Teso de la Monja “Almirez” in February which was a runaway success—not really surprising considering the price tag and 94 point review from Robert Parker who noted, “at this quality level, one would expect the price to be three digits or more.” Unfortunately, our stocks lasted less than a week. Of course, this overnight sensation for the “Almirez” was years in coming. We actually bought the winery’s first release on reputation alone, more than a year before it arrived in the states. Look for a style of Tempranillo that shows the maximum power and depth the grape can offer (blueberry, blackberry liqueur, pepper,and smoked meats), balanced by surprising touches of elegance (lavender perfume—year after year). This wine gives the old phrase “the iron fist in a velvet glove” new meaning--the texture here is dense, sumptuous, well balanced and exciting. We think the accolades are going to just keep coming. Get it before it’s gone.

STEPHAN TANZER'S INTERNATIONAL WINE CELLAR 92 POINTS - "Opaque purple.  Smoky blueberry and cherry compote aromas pick up a peppery nuance with air, along with a subtle mocha quality.  Fleshy and seamless on the palate, offering sweet, concentrated black and blue fruit flavors and a touch of lavender pastille.  Spreads out nicely on the juicy, penetrating finish, which is framed by silky, slow-building tannins."

$22.98 750ml [380781] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Jorge Ordonez, the mastermind behind many of the world’s finest Spanish wines, purchased the Bodegas Breca vineyards in 2005. The property consists of old vines planted on rugged hillsides up to 3000 feet (the highest growing region for Garnacha grapes in Spain). The climate during the growing season is arid and blistering hot with cooling nights as a relief. The winter is very cold and never seems to end. Can grapes actually survive these conditions? Yes, but it’s probably not the best place for a vacation home! Those twisting and gnarly ancient head-pruned vines produce miniscule yields and incredible fruit concentration! This is only the 3rd release of the Breca; the 2010 was capped off with 94 Points from Robert Parker ‘s Wine Advocate, which stated, “Frankly, I was at a loss for words when I tasted it. It may be the most amazing wine I have ever tasted at this price point in over 3 decades…” Two vintages later, he may be saying the same for this newly released and spectacular 2012 Breca! But don’t wait for Bob, crank open this juicy treat! Afterall, as the review also suggested, “Consumers should fill their trunks with these beauties.” We could not agree more!

Tasting Notes - Dark ruby with purple highlights. Red and dark fruit aromas with floral, spice cake and mocha great the nose. On the palate, fleshy black raspberry and cherry compote flavors accompanied by loamy soil and pepper. This medium-bodied wine possesses supple tannins and closes with a long finish.

$13.98 750ml [380258] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Bodegas Montecillo was founded in 1874 in Spain’s Rioja Alta region. The winery was one of the first to adapt Bordeaux winemaking techniques to Spanish grapes, earning the reputation and prestige that it still enjoys today. Winemaker Maria Martinez Sierra has continued the unique quality and traditions of the winery, using 100% Tempranillo grapes aged in French oak barrels. Wine Spectator gave this wine the special designation of Best Value and ranked this wine #62 in its 'Top 100' wines of 2014. Delicious with red fruit, florals, tobacco and baking spice. It is bright, fruit forward and easy to drink.

WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - “The polished texture carries crisp flavors of tart cherry, fresh herb, anise and mineral, supported by light, firm tannins and lively acidity. Graceful, with balanced fruity and savory notes that give way to a spicy, floral finish. Drink now through 2022. 103,700 cases made. Special Designation: Best Value.

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Top South American Wines of 2014


The wines of Viña Cobos are the result of the shared dream of Paul Hobbs and partners Andrea Marchiori and Luis Barraud, who have combined their rich experience to produce a premium expression of Malbec.  Their aspiration is to produce a Malbec of power and elegance unequalled anywhere in the world.  Indeed, the resulting wine, sourced from the Rebon Vineyard, displays their success and illustrates the lofty heights the grape is capable of attaining.  This wine reveals notes of dark florals with red and blue fruit enhanced by baking spices.  The palate is complex, lively and rich, layered with blueberry, cassis and Kirsch.  This wine is balanced, harmonious and complete. 

JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - “Very intense aromas of blackberry, coffee bean, blue slate and dried flowers. Full body, refined texture with sexy fruit.  Fabulous length. This caresses every inch of your palate. Drink now or hold.”

$69.98 750ml [382858] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



The winery is owned and operated by Baptiste Cuvelier and his dad, of Château Léoville-Poyferré situated in Saint-Julien in the heart of the Médoc. This elegant and classic wine is structured like a good school teacher. It has a lot to teach you about terroir and nuance. The Malbec is dark with extracted colors and a spicy nose and evolves in the mouth with lovely fruit, delicate essences of cinnamon, clove, black pepper and dulce de leche. Its refined touch yet lovely tannins rounds out through the finish.

WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - “The flagship is the 2009 Grand Malbec, a contender for Malbec of the vintage at this early stage. A glass-coating opaque purple color with legs that ooze down the glass, it offers up a beautiful bouquet of sandalwood, exotic spices, truffle, floral notes, red licorice, and black cherry. Voluptuous on the palate, this sweetly-fruited, dense, nicely proportioned Malbec will evolve for 4-5 years and deliver prime drinking from 2015 to 2029.”

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The Black Tears bottling from Tapiz is an obvious reference to the dark staining of tears evident when pouring this delicious Malbec into the glass.  Remarkable for its balance, this wine is absolutely gorgeous, endowed with concentration, exceptional polish and finesse.  Sourced from Uco Valley, the climate and soil of the property give special characteristics to this impressive Malbec, which was aged 24 months in new French Oak. Deep, almost opaque ruby with significant staining of the tears.  Expressive notes of violets, dark fruits, vanilla and cocoa greet the nose.  On the palate, this wine is full-bodied, caressing the tongue with amazingly silky smooth tannins.  Blackberry, blueberry, black raspberry and chocolate linger on the very long finish.  This is an impressive, mouth-watering, polished and refined wine, which makes you want to reach for a second glass.

$49.95 750ml [382957] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



While Ventisquero’s Felipe Tosso and famed winemaker John Duval collaborate on all the Ventisquero wines from the “Grey” label on up, “Vertice” is their special project together. “Vertice” comes from the steepest, highest two ridges of the Apalta Vineyard and combines equal measure of Carménère (Felipe’s specialty) & Syrah (John Duval’s signature variety). The result is a wine that is both inky and immensely full-bodied and graceful with surprisingly pretty notes of violets and boysenberry. The stony, granite-based soils show most clearly in this wine with a long mineral finish and firm, fine-grained structure. Two years ago we discovered the Viña Ventisquero line from Chile. At the time we wrote, “WOW, what a lineup-- pure, multi-layered wines at unbeatable values,” adding several wines across many price points: we were most impressed with “the best of the best”.

Ventisquero owns over 4,000 acres across top growing areas in Chile, from Casablanca, Maipo, Apalta and more. The “Grey” wines represent the best blocks in the best vineyard from Ventisquero’s vast holdings. Winemaker Felipe Tosso is a star in Chile, but for these higher tier wines they have the added assistance of consultant John Duval, famed as the man entrusted to make Penfolds Grange for over 20 years. This collection is impressive and drinks well above their price tags that seem downright modest in the American market.

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In 2007 Darioush Kahledi from Napa Valley and Capataz estate vineyard owner Aria Mehrabi set out to farm and acquire limited amounts of high-elevation Malbec to produce a wine that balances Mendoza’s traditionally expressive varietal character in a rich, complex and age-worthy style. Partnering with local experts, Darioush winemaker Steve Devitt starts with 100% Malbec from vines ranging from 14 to over 70 years in age, situated on three vineyard estates nestled in the Andean foothills. The combination of rocky well-drained soil, high altitude and a long steady growing season produced an impeccable 2011 vintage.  Aromatic wild herbs, cassis, chicory and lavender introduce the 2011 Capataz.  Plenty of blackberries, dried cherry and spices create a rich saturated mouthfeel balanced with dark cocoa and espresso notes that lead into dense yet sweet and velvety tannins.  Notes of licorice, kirsch and clove add complexity to the finish.

$29.95 750ml [382951] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Tikal wines reflect the spirit of Mendoza: the sense of pride, love, celebration and even a bit of craziness. Ernesto Catena spent his childhood in the vineyards of Mendoza among wine-growers and local pundits. A skilled horseman, software developer and book editor, Ernesto pursues all that gives pleasure in life. This hedonism (in the best sense of the word) shows through in his wines. It is a style meant to provide enormous pleasure rather than provoke contemplation; an expression of emotion rather than intellect. He has named his wines with passion in mind: Patriota (Patriot), Amorio (Love Affair), Jubilo (Rejoice), and Locura (Madness).

WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - “An elegant and refined red, offering bountiful flavors of dark plum, roasted cherry and blackberry pie that are lush and open-textured. Intense notes of dark chocolate and raspberry preserves linger on the spice-infused finish.”

$29.98 750ml [380845] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Flaherty is a small production, boutique winery in Chile.  Proprietors Ed Flaherty and Jen Hoover came to Chile in 1993 to work a harvest, fell in love with the country and never left.  Over the years, Ed worked with some of the top Chilean wineries, before Ed and Jen struck out on their own. Small quantities of this delicious Syrah-dominant blend are now being imported into the United States for us to enjoy.  This wine is deep purple in color with a garnet rim and notes of dark fruit, toasted oak and cinnamon.  On the palate, the fruit is fresh with blackberry, blue plum, dusty cocoa and baking spices.  This juicy, medium-bodied wine has very smooth tannins and is approachable now.

WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS -  “The 2011 Flaherty is an unusual blend with a base of Syrah complemented by Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo fermented in small bins that aged in barrel for 19 months in his garage in Aconcagua. It has sweet aromas of ripe fruits and flowery notes that make it quite showy, very clean and pure, elegant and complex. The palate is velvety with polished tannins and good acidity. The floral notes return in the aftertaste, but with with a restrained feeling. 10,479 bottles were filled. Drink now through 2020.”

$24.98 750ml [382505] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Recuerdo is an estate label for the innovative Vines of Mendoza project.  The property covers over 750 acres in the famed Vista Flores sub-zone in the Uco Valley of Mendoza.  Santiago Achaval from Achaval-Ferrer has been guiding the program since the first plantings in 2006.  Want to own your own winery in Argentina, but don’t know where to start?  Buy a “micro-winery” from The Vines of Mendoza.  Santiago Achaval and his team oversee the production of 360 small wines under this one roof—all from different small stakeholders.  The larger Vines of Mendoza project is something like a laboratory with hundreds of variations of what the estate can do.  Recuerdo is the “house brand,” but what a house!  With Santiago Achaval behind the wines we knew the Recuerdo would be elegant, refined, and beautiful Malbec.

WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - “The 2012 Recuerdo Malbec, from young vines in Vista Flores in the Uco Valley, has a complex bouquet of dried flowers, raspberries, blueberries and sweet vanilla. This pure Malbec from stony and sandy soils is aged in mostly third-use oak barrels with some wine kept in vats in order to preserve the fruit and freshness of the wine. The palate is medium-bodied, with great acidity and freshness, pure, focused flavors and great length.  Superb for the price. Bravo!”

$16.95 750ml [382918] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



A relative newcomer to the Argentine wine scene, Maipe wines burst onto the scene with its wonderful combination of quality and affordability.  From the eastern foothills of the Andes, the Maipe Cabernet Reserve benefits from its high altitude location of almost 3000 feet, contributing to the purity and intensity of fruit of this delicious wine.  100% hand-harvested with two-thirds aged in new French oak.  The 2012 vintage received a 92 Point score from Robert Parker in which the wine was described as "...beautiful, full-bodied texture, deep, rich, concentrated flavors and a long finish. For $15.00, it is impossible to find a Cabernet Sauvignon this good from anywhere else in the world.”  The 2013 vintage has not yet been rated, but based on our tasting, we expect rave reviews!" Deep ruby in color with classic Cabernet aromatics of Crème de Cassis and blackberries alongside bittersweet ganache. On the palate, full bodied with excellent concentration, ripe currants and blackberry fruit along with fig and cocoa.  This wine has nice structure with moderate tannins and can be enjoyed now or over the next several years.

$14.98 750ml [382962] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Medium ruby in color, the aromas are enticing with dark cherry, plum and red currants. Baking spices, tobacco and fresh-tilled earth are also noticeable. On the palate, darker flavors emerge including blackberries, black cherries and licorice. The wine is savory with tannins which are present, but smooth. This wine will pair well with rack of lamb, steak or drink deliciously on its own.

JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - “A beautiful red here with light chocolate, berry and nutmeg character. Full body, with ultra-fine tannins and a long, long finish. All here. A blend of malbec, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot. Drink now”

$11.99 750ml [382490] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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Top Southern Hemisphere Wines of 2014


Two Hands Wines was founded in early 1999 by Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz. The original aim shared by Michael and Richard was to make the best possible Shiraz-based wines from prized Shiraz-growing regions throughout Australia. Their intention was, and still is, to showcase the diversity of Australian Shiraz by highlighting regional characteristics and allowing the fruit to be the primary feature of the wines. Two Hands refers to the very personable approach taken with each parcel of grapes, no matter how big or small. The wines are carefully guided through the viticulture and winemaking process by Michael Twelftree.‘Quality without compromise’ is a core value that drives all Two Hands decisions so, not surprisingly, the wines have received international acclaim from respected wine critics, with Robert Parker proclaiming Two Hands as ‘...the finest negociant operation south of the equator...’

In November 2012, Two Hands was named in the Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 for the 10th consecutive year, an achievement that has never been equalled by any other winery the world over. We generally enjoy the process of putting together our December newsletters as we get to try some of the best wines (and spirits, beer, cigars, et al) that have been released throughout the year.  This wine was definitely a highlight of the newsletter-creating process for this humble editor! The nose exudes a kaleidoscope of fruits: mulberry, pomegranate, persimmon, boysenberry, cassis.  Dark spices weave their magic in and around the fruits as flecks of black tea, mint, dark floral perfume and midnight incense lend their voices to the olfactory crescendo.  Concentrated, rich, extracted. The palate is confident, filled with forward fruits of cassis and mixed red berries, red plum.  Amidst the fruit are streaks of earthy loam, underbrush, sandalwood, mint and a touch of cocoa and smoke.  Fine-grained tannins and ample acidity keep it lively, bode well for further joys once cellared (if you can keep yourself away).  Beautiful chiaroscura between power and finesse; complete stunner of a wine.

#16 WINE SPECTATOR "TOP 100" 2014
WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - “Utterly seamless, focused, powerful and elegant, layered with cherry, boysenberry and red plum fruit, revealing glints of coffee, jasmine and cardamom that add extra nuances. Delivers complexity without extra weight. The finish won’t quit. Drink now through 2022."

$64.99 750ml [382881] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Hamilton Russell Vineyards - the most southerly wine estate in Africa and the closest to the sea - is located in the cool, maritime Walker Bay wine appellation, in a beautiful valley behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The estate specialises in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the best in the New World. Quite young and evolving, this has lovely aromatics and beautiful fruit clarity, understated and refined, with a feminine quality that only very well-made Pinot Noir can offer, that helps give it its allure. The nose brings forth a light earthy component to the herbal, underbrush and spice nuance that sits over the assorted red fruit tones of cherry, currant and plum. Medium-bodied, silky textured, with sleek, finer-tuned tannins, there’s a fine line of acidity that gives brightness and juiciness to the gorgeous red berry fruit flavors that mimics the nose. Showcasing beautiful fruit definition with just the right savoriness, this has terrific balance and wonderful hang time on the finish.

#29 WINE SPECTATOR "TOP 100" 2014
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - “Alluring, with gorgeous toasted spice and cherry confiture aromas, backed by silky red currant, damson plum and cherry fruit flavors.”

$39.98 750ml [377599] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Greenock Shiraz is a single vineyard wine produced from low-yielding Shiraz vines on the Kalleske estate at Greenock, in the North-Western Barossa Valley.  Cuttings for these vines originate from a vineyard planted on the property in the late 1800s. Today, sixth and seventh generation family members meticulously tend the vines. Traditional winemaking and eighteen months maturation in American and French oak hogsheads has ensured a complex, full-bodied Shiraz which will reward long term cellaring. Greenock Shiraz is a true family estate wine - grown, vintaged and matured on the Kalleske estate. We fell for this one quite readily and quickly.  The nose is full of fruit, jammy berries, framboise, kirsch, dark plum, that mesh quite nicely with spice, cocoa, sweet tobacco and hints of mint and earth.  The palate continues with the theme: great fruit leads with raspberry and loganberry as baking spices, subtle earth, mint and a flourish of concentrated cherries on the finish.  The framework of integrated tannins and balanced acidity, the harmony achieved with the fruit, spice and earthy elements, bodes well for aging.

5 GOLD STAR WINE - “Recognising that it is among the elite of Australia’s wines thanks to the vignerons and winemaker’s abilities. The wine shows flavours with balance, flavour, complexity, intensity and freshness and the ability to improve in bottle. Wines with five gold stars can be served with pride in the company of the world’s best wines”. - Robert Geddes, Australian Wine Vintages 2015

$39.98 750ml [382164] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Some of you may remember this wine from last year when we were able bring it into the store in a very limited quantity. It quickly sold out and we were unable to satisfy our customer’s demands for more-- until now! The 2012 vintage is in and it’s another winner. This wine is a beautiful Bordeaux-style blend from the premiere winegrowing region of Stellenbosch on the western cape of South Africa. When the buyer and other Hi-Time staff tried it, we were blown away by this delicious wine! In a blind tasting, one would be hard pressed to guess where this hails from. The balance, complexity and length of this delicious bottling represents an astounding value, which competes very favorably with other red wines from around the world.

This wine begins to draw you in with its deep ruby color and the stained tears on the stemware give a preview of the nicely extracted wine. On the nose, dark fruit, red fruit and cassis are framed by well-integrated French oak, which is complementary rather than obtrusive. Baking spices, sweet pipe tobacco and a dusting of cocoa are evident.  A floral element and freshly tilled earth add to the complex bouquet. On the palate, a perfect union of fruit and tannin lay the groundwork for a marriage of flavors with enough acidity to provide lift and definition. The silky tannins envelop the Kirsch and dark berry flavors and caress the tongue, leading to a long finish. This is a wine with structure, but also elegance and finesse which can be enjoyed now or over the next five to eight years. Yealands Family Wines  has been awarded New Zealand’s Most Sustainable Winery and International Green Company of the Year 2014.

“Thinking differently is what we do at Yealands.  Crafing award-winning wines in harmony with nature has seen us lead the world in sustainable winegrowing.  But most importantly, it means great tating wines which don’t cost the earth.”  - Peter Yealands

$24.95 750ml [380604] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Made by Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, Yalumba, this wine reflects the traditions of the acclaimed wines from the Northern Rhône.  Yalumba is one of our ‘go to’ wines when talking Australia. And the Yalumba ‘Hand Picked’ Shiraz/Viognier 2010 is no exception. This is a wine with limited availability so we did our best to grab as much as we could from the distributor. As is the tradition in the Côte-Rôtie (and the rules of the appellation), the Syrah (or, in Australian verbiage, Shiraz) is co-fermented with a smaller percentage of the white varietal, Viognier. Yalumba’s Hand Picked Shiraz/Viognier undergoes that same winemaking process of co-fermentation. The Shiraz, along with a small amount of Viognier, are actually crushed and fermented together (what harmony!). The addition of the Viognier intensifies the color, adds an extra dimension and a wonderful fragrance to the bouquet. It also brings softness to that rich and powerful Barossa Shiraz. It’s as if the Shiraz underwent training in etiquette to tone down its demeanor! The result is a wine of elegance, a term not typically associated with Barossa Shiraz! Inside the bottle, the wine has the full and alluring flavors of Barossa along with a good level of acidity to make it lively. Enjoy!

WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - “Vibrant and complex, this offers a tightly woven expression of plum, blackberry and grapefruit peel flavors, coming together seamlessly as the finish expands. Shows presence and depth. Drink now through 2020. 150 cases imported.”

JAMES HALLIDAY 95 POINTS - “Vivid purple hue; the fresh and fragrant bouquet offers black fruits, violets and anise; the medium-bodied palate is fleshy and generous, with a backbone of fine tannins and a lingering cherry toast note on the fine boned finish.”

$26.98 750ml [377538] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Yealands’ Single Block wines are crafted from parcels of exceptional fruit from vineyard blocks recognised for the distinctive flavors they produce.  The sheltered S1 block is the most inland, on the edge of the sustainably managed Seaview Vineyard, on an elevated plateau – 160km above sea level. Located in some of Marlborough’s harshest conditions, strong coastal winds, low rainfall, high sunshine and cool nights, these low-yielding vines produce small berries, with thick skins and an intense varietal character. This S1 Sauv Blanc, in particular, showcases how intense and beautiful this varietal can be and why New Zealand is a top destination for fans of this grape.  Classic New Zealand nose: gooseberry, pink grapefruit, lemon grass, minerally well water, along with stonefruit (peach) and tropical (pineapple) streaks.  The palate continues the theme: grapefruit citrus, orange blossom and white peach flavors, along with excellent forward acidity, lead to reflections of minerality and sweet tropical fruit on the long finish.  Like a bit more of the sauvage in your Sauvignon Blanc?  This is the one.

$27.95 750ml [382815] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Founder Peter Yealands’ vision is to create the world’s most environmentally-friendly wines. Constantly seeking new ways to work, he combines his love of the land with wines as bold as his ambition. These very approachable wines prove that sustainability always rewards with lasting quality. Certainly a pretty Pinot, there’s a bit of heft found within the depth of flavors and excellent acidity.  The nose is rife with ripe cherries, savory spice and a deft blend of dark florals and rose petal.  Cherries and mixed red fruits lead on the palate, while the forementioned acidity and soft tannins keep it balanced.  Light earthy spice joins the velvety fruit for the rolling finish.  Look for lamb and rosemary, tomato-based pastas or holiday parties for the best pairings (crowd-pleaser!).

$17.95 750ml [382748] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Yalumba was founded in 1849 by Samuel Smith, British migrant and English brewer, who had brought his family to Angaston (in the Barossa Valley, South Australia) seeking a new life. After purchasing a 30-acre parcel of land just beyond the southern-eastern boundary of Angaston, Smith and his son began planting the first vines by moonlight. Samuel named his patch “Yalumba” – aboriginal for “all the land around”. Five generations and 160 years later, Yalumba, Australia’s oldest family-owned winery, has grown in size and stature, embodying all that has made the Australian wine success story the envy of winemakers the world over. Often described as one of Australia’s unsung heroes, Grenache is naturally lighter in color than Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon but continually provides wonderful big fruit flavors. Yalumba is extremely fortunate to have some of the oldest Grenache vines in the Barossa, with fruit for this wine being sourced from vines planted in 1898!

Spiced red berries, mixed red fruits, cedar, mint and incense make for a pleasant nosing, as crimson florals and red wine candle join the fray.  Grenache can have such a sexy, inviting perfume and this old vine beauty has lost none of her charms over the years.  The palate smartly echoes the nose: mainly red fruits (raspberries, cherries, redcurrant), brown spices, subtle earthiness are girded by hints of herbals and mint, with a touch of briar.  Balanced acidity and supple tannins lead to a fruit-filled, nicely spiced finish.  Easy-drinking, sensous, satisfying.

$16.98 750ml [378925] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Long referred to as “Bayten” by locals, Buitenverwachting (meaning beyond expectations) is located on the east-facing slopes of the Constantiaberg on the Cape of Good Hope.  Ocean breezes make this area one of South Africa’s coolest winegrowing areas, allowing for slow ripening, resulting in grapes that achieve full ripeness while retaining fresh acidity.  This wine was aged on the lees for three months prior to bottling.  Bayten offers a mélange of citrus and stone fruits with honeysuckle, jasmine and green notes on the nose.  The palate reveals peaches, apricots, lemon rind and lemongrass with a nice balance of richness and refreshing crispness on the finish.

WINE SPECTATOR #63 "TOP 100" 2014 - (Smart Buys)
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - “Very solid, with a crunchy feel along the edges and pure white peach, flint and honeysuckle notes racing along. Drink now. 4,000 cases imported.”

$13.98 750ml [382354] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Heartland is that place between the vines with the best view of the gum trees. When the team behind Heartland first got together to start their winery all those years ago, the idea was to embrace the best Australian fruit could offer and create wines of balance and texture with a uniquely Australian identity. They found a pure expression of this identity in Langhorne Creek, which has remained the chief source of their fruit ever since.

This is their first vintage of Spice Trader.  The idea behind the name related to the spice traders of yore, when explorers would 'go the distance' to find exotic flavors.  They are co-conspirators or perhaps patrons of the hunt for elusive spices that fascinate our palates and capture our imaginations. Wine should be an adventure. And what an adventure! This blend of 58% Shiraz and 42% Cabernet Sauvignon is both epic and monstrous-- but not in the quite the way you think; it’s epic in the sense of depth in flavor, and monstrous in scope of value related to how absolutely delicious it is.  This one blew us away with how much ‘wow’ there is for the very fair price.  Do you know that the word awful once meant ‘full of awe’?  This wine has that kind of dichotomous nature.  The kids these days might express their approval by saying: “Dude! That’s sick!”  We really, really like this one and were astounded (and delighted!) it’s under 14 bucks a bottle.

The nose is loaded with darker fruits, incense, midnight florals, spiced meat, plenty of exotic spice and english tobacco.  The palate sees a mix of sweet red and black cherry fruit, darker berries, kept perfectly aloft with deft acidity and supple tannins.  Eastern/baking spices and a touch of cured meat support the mid-palate.  The finish is long and luxurious, receding slowly in a wake of dark fruits and spices.

WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The 2012 Spice Trader Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon is deep garnet-purple in color and shows off a pronounced cassis and black plum nose with hints of eucalyptus, star anise, cloves and pepper. Medium to full-bodied with lots of mouth-filling and juicy blackberry flavor, it is supported by medium level, grainy tannins and refreshing acid before finishing with very good length. Drink it now to 2017."

$13.95 750ml [382619] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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Top Greek Wines of 2014


Haridimos Hatzidakis, originally from Crete, now lives and makes wine on the volcanic island of Santorini.  His 2012 Santorini is a wonderfully full-flavored dry Greek white with a seam of ripe acidity at its heart that gives it vitality.  It is composed of 100% organically-farmed Assyrtico. The highly regarded English wine journal, Decanter, gave this wine 95 points!

DECANTER 95 POINTS - “Honey-baked fruits, banana leaf, jasmine, flowers, pine, lime and grapefruit lift.  Immediately lively and bold on the full-throttle, textured, harmonious palate:  mouthwatering freshness with tart lemon-curd ripeness, underlined by punchy minerality.”  British wine writer Jancis Robinson praises this white’s “wonderful combination of citrus and mineral with quite a broad ripe palate structure but no shortage of acidity.  Really attention-grabbing.”

$19.95 750ml [342353] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Domaine Porto Carras is located on the western coast of the Sithonia Peninsula in Halkidiki, Greece, about 60 or 70 miles from Thessalonika. One of the largest wine estates in Greece, the spectacularly terraced and organically farmed vineyards are planted on the slopes of Mount Meliton above the Gulf of Torone. Famed French oenologist Emile Peynaud gave advice about the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals there. The 2010 Magnus Baccata, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, displays a deep purple color, intense aromas of fruits of the forest, sweet spices and chocolate with hints of delicate oak. Rich cherry and cassis flavors in the mouth lead to balanced tannins and rich aromatic aftertaste. This wine is great with red meats and matured cheeses with intense flavor.

DECANTER 3 STARS - “Bordeaux-like wine with rich cassis aromas. Dense dark fruit flavors end with a cedar oak quality.”

$19.95 750ml [342364] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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