2020. What a year. We all spent a lot more time at home. We learned to make sourdough bread or make the perfect steak or knit or paint or complete puzzles. We read books and we binge watched Netflix. We started gardens and spent more time with our families than ever before.
And we drank wine. Lots of it.
This list is our top wines of 2020 that we still have in stock and available to buy on Merchant of Wine. The list is in alphabetical order because we love every single wine on this list and can't pick a favorite!
Best Wine List
A benchmark producer for the region, this is a deep, dense, dark, yet elegant wine with finesse, style, and sophistication. Baja’s mosaic is on display with this artful blend that shows both hedonistic joy, and quality marks of a great producer. The nose is broad and bold and excites with earth, rock, spice, fruit, and expressions of soil; a good expensive wood streak holds it together as well. There is a calm here, a wine that shows it will age gracefully and reward some time in the cellar but also a flirtatious fun streak that says, "Drink me now!" The potential is exciting but so is the “Now" factor - the abundance of good fruit will continue to melt together with the wood features, but it all happens in the palate and the bluer tones are expressed in this more ambitious Baja estate. Absolutely a benchmark for Baja. 95 points.
2. BEAUX FRÈRES PINOT NOIR RIBBON RIDGE THE BEAUX FRÈRES VINEYARD, 2018
Oregon's top quality producer does not disappoint! Wine Spectator ranked this wine #9 in the top 100 wines of 2020. James Suckling rated it 96 points and says "There’s a real sense of depth and detail here with fresh cherries and blueberries, swathed in vanilla-dusted violets, fresh-cut roasting herbs and biscuit spices. The palate has a very plush and smoothly rendered feel with a long, smooth and seamless run of ripe blueberries and cherries. Concentrated and elegant pinot with a long, long finish. Drink across the next decade."
3. BODEGAS ZÁRATE ALBARIÑO, RIAS BAIXAS, SPAIN, 2019
This wine is the very best in Albariño! Fresh, clean nose with fresh white fruit and citric notes. On the palate is packed with fresh fruit flavors and mineral notes, crisp acidity and quite vivacious. Wine Advocate gave it 92 points and says "The eponymous 2019 Zárate is their entry-level Albariño, a vintage with structure and acidity, still very young, a powerful vintage with more of everything and probably a long-distance runner. It's varietal and clean, characterful, powerful and with a long, tasty finish, vibrant and almost salty. 64,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2020."
Full-flavored with good length, complex and strong tannins. A reserve Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with intense fruit aromas, and notes of black cherry and forest fruits. Twenty-four months in oak casks and six months in the bottle for an ageing which improves with time. This wine is a steal at only $19.95!
This is a brand that everyone should know, and frankly, few do. A quiet, shy family that farms, and makes brilliant wines. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that should be on top of every collector's list...
Pinot specific. Some wines get huge scores for their girth and prowess: massive wines. This is absolutely delicious, a world class wine that should be an ambassador for the varietal. Soft cherry, strawberry and mixed red fruits, elegant spice, truffle, wet leaf, mushroom, with velvety texture, exceptional fruit quality with definitive - terroir and Sonoma nuance. This is glorious wine that has a drink me now button and allows you to age this for about a decade... but who can wait? You might want to buy a few.
A blend of 8 single vineyards, the Moulin-à-Vent 2017 presents a deep garnet-color. Its complex nose reveals aromas of violets, ripened red fruit and black pepper. The freshness of these granitic terroirs balances well the remarkable richness and texture. Moulin-à-Vent pairs perfectly with lighter red meat dishes. Robert Parker gave this wine 92 points and says "The 2017 Moulin-à-Vent wafts from the glass with a beautiful and incipiently complex bouquet of cherries, raspberries, candied peel and warm spices. On the palate, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and pure, framed by velvety tannins and succulent acids and concludes with a sapid, subtly oak-inflected finish."
7. LUCIANO SANDRONE VALMAGGIORE NEBBIOLO D’ALBA, PIEDMONT, ITALY, 2018
The cool, long growing season naturally favors the Nebbiolo grape but Barbera, properly cared for, can give wines of precise and focused expression, showing both austerity and generosity. 2018 was such a vintage. The heat never really came until September, and what might have been an angular, shrill Barbera received a perfect dose of sunshine and heat, bringing out the natural generosity of the fruit by showing its core of dark plummy fruits, laced with raspberry and mineral notes.
The nose gives an impression of self-possessed, compact structure, which opens with air, giving more of the black plum aromas so characteristic of this wine. With coaxing, the nose reveals more black and red fruits, vanilla and spicy notes. On the palate, the characteristic freshness is front and center, with a core a fruit and sweet tannins to give balance and length. The finish is very fresh, with bright bursts of fruit and acid.
8. PHILIPPONNAT BLANC DE NOIRS, CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE 2012
This highly reviewed champagne is worthy of celebrations and holidays! Wine Spectator gave it 93 points and they say "Rich notes of crème de cassis and marzipan wrap the fine backbone of acidity in this well-balanced and expressive Champagne. Fresh and focused, with a satiny mousse and lovely hints of elderflower, lemon pith and ground ginger. Disgorged September 2018. Drink now through 2027."
With vineyards spanning from Calistoga to Coombsville, from the Mayacamas Mountains to the Vaca Range, The Bard is the most complex and diverse blend Realm produces. The Bard is a dense, weighty, and concentrated wine that year in and year out showcases the most dynamic expression of Napa Valley. This cabernet sauvignon-based proprietary blend celebrates the art and precision required of meticulous blending, combining grapes from impeccable growing sites with the judicious oversight of the human hand and palate.
The complexity of 2018 The Bard is unparalleled, not only in its fruit sources but in the way it’s put together and how it sits in the glass and on the palate. With fruit, acid, and tannins woven together seamlessly, this is the most complete example of The Bard Realm has ever made. With so many different dimensions coming together in harmony, there is more than meets the eye with this wine along with something for everyone. Quite simply, this is the best The Bard Realm has produced.
Red, blue and black fruit jumps out of the glass; the black fruit may be more dominant/hedonistic yet the wine shows brightness and finesse. This is a sexy, creamy, juicy The Bard, with spiciness and a savory umami quality that leaves you wanting more. The wine hits on all cylinders; it’s perfumed, layered and complex, ending with a note of licorice.
Deep and intense garnet color. The nose is elegant and delicate, with a lot of black fruit, delicate spices, and a touch of fine oak. The palate is supple, full-bodied, and particularly well-balanced. The Résonance Vineyard terroir imparts its signature minerality and tannic structure, an effect known as “polished tannins.” The aromatic concentration is remarkable, with black cherry, blackberry, and blueberry aromas. The finish is very long, harmonious, and fresh.
James Suckling gave this wine 93 points and said "Lots of plum essence to this pinot noir as well as dark peaches, raspberry crumble, blackberries and strawberries. Medium- to full-bodied with impressive concentration and depth, velvety tannins and tangy fruit. Chewy finish. Drink in 2020."
Even when the world is crazy like it's been in 2020, a glass of wine can transport you to another time and place. We recommend the wines on this list for the ultimate escape and for incredible enjoyment. Order takeout or cook that perfect steak and pour yourself a big glass!