Must-have wines are not necessarily wines to be aged in a cellar, said the editors of Wine Enthusiast. “Then what exactly are they?” To us, they’re wines that offer exceptional quality at affordable prices. Most are meant to be consumed in the near term. Here are our top five must-have wines for 2008, rated on a 100-point scale.
Failla 2006 Phoenix Ranch Syrah (Napa Valley) (95, $42)
A brilliant, “major league” red wine with licorice and pepper flavors; will age for about six years.
San Vicente 2005 Rioja (97, $65) “Simply great modern Rioja.” An ultra-stylish red with an extensive berry and fruit-flavored palate.
Château Lynch-Bages 2005 Pauillac (96, $115) A classic, well-structured red wine with ample tannins; “big and dense.”
Alma Rosa 2006 Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County, Calif.) (94, $20) “A tremendous wine.” Completely balanced and wonderfully complex.
Avignonesi 2004 Desiderio (Cortona, Italy) (95, $50) This intense, delicious Merlot is loaded with personality and “cherry-berry nuances.”