This post continues to list some of my most memorable wines from 2020. As I said in my first post (which you can read here), if a wine is mentioned on my blog, it is worth seeking it out. That said, some stood out more than others, and that is what my two top 2020 wine posts are all about. So let’s continue, shall we?
Memorable White Rhône Wines
They Led Me Out of the Darkness!
If you recall my journey into white wine, you may recall the memorable exchange I had in a tasting room in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. If you do not know the story, wander back to this post from 2017, it will fill in the blanc (that is a pun… get it “blank” but blanc as in white wine. Ok, am I the only one laughing?).
2018 Acquiesce Belle Blanc,
Mokelumne River, Lodi, California
Just as my very first favorite white wine is a white blend of Rhône varieties, so is my favorite white wine from Acquiesce. Belle Blanc is 45% Grenache Blanc, 45% Roussanne, and 10% Viognier. These varieties all make delicious wine on their own, but one gets the best notes from all three when blended. And Sue from Acquiesce does this so, so well.
This is a full-bodied, straw-yellow white wine. The mouthfeel is embracing and encouraging. Hoping that you will hold this wine in your mouth to capture its varied flavors, including pear, apricot, green apple, and almond. Along with back notes of delicate white spring flowers.
We enjoy this wine as a cocktail wine, but it is also great to pair with an herbed pork loin or chicken breast.
Honestly, this entire lineup is memorable.
Yes, I love Rhône varieties. But never, and I mean never, have I truly enjoyed and wanted to drink every wine that any winery makes. I have ordered these wines, and I have reordered all of these wines. And I do not see that changing. Granted, it could change based on vintage variation, but so far, that has not been the case with these wines. And that says a great deal about Sue Tipton how she grows her grapes and makes her wines.
These are her wines and their prices. Order a case and get 10% off and free shipping.
Honestly, you can not beat these prices for the award-winning world-class wines. From left to right, Grenache Blanc $26.00; Grenache Rosé $25.00; Picpoule Blanc $28.00; Viognier $26.00; Clairette Blanc $28.00; Bourboulenc $28.00; Ingénue (A unique blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc and Picpoul Blanc); Roussane $34.00; Belle Blanc $34.00 and (not pictured) Sparkling Grenache Blanc $55.00
Order direct from the website. And when you order, be sure to add a special instruction that you ordered from Strong Coffee to Red Wine’s blog post.
Memorable and Favorite Pinot Noir
You Had Me at Pinot
Let’s be clear; Pinot Noir had been my “go-to” wine for decades. When I want a red wine, and I could not decide, I typically default to Pinot Noir if we have any. (We usually do.) I used to think that I only truly loved Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma, but I learned that while “place” is important, clone selection and winemaking practices are key. I realize that that is a lot to unpack in a memorable wine post, and I may need to do a post that is a deep dive into Pinot Noir. Or not, as that may be way too “wine-nerdy” for you all. Leave me a comment if you want me to do so, and I will see what the response is.
2015 Utopia ‘Paradise’ Estate Reserve Pinot Noir,
Ribbon Ridge, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Utopia grows and makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which is common in Willamette Valley. Of the Pinot Noir’s, they make an Estate Pinot Noir and two Reserve Estate Pinot Noirs. One is a selection of the best barrels made from the Dijon Clone 777 crop, and the other is a blend of the best barrels of three of the nine clones grown in Utopia’s vineyard; Dijon Clone 777, Pommard, and Wadenswil.
There is something to be said for the best barrel selection wines. The winemaker chooses these barrels as the most complete and honest expression of what is possible for a given year. This is why the prices are higher and well worth every penny. A wine like this for us is a special occasion wine. As such, we drank this wine at Thanksgiving dinner this past year.
This wine is bold deep ruby color with bright red highlights that ring the glass. The aromas are earthy, spicy, and of red and black fruits, including cherry and plum, depending on where you place your nose in the glass. The mouthfeel is velvet and weighted. On the palate were flavors of red and black plum, cherry, blackberry, and baking spice. While the flavors linger, they are balanced with perfect acidity that claims the four corners of your mouth and tongue no matter if your next move is another sip or a bite of dinner.
Utopia wines are sold directly from the winery. You can order online at UtopiaWine.com.
But Can You Find It in January?
With rosé remaining on-trend, you can always find a quality rosé in your favorite wine store. However, the selection will be lean because most retailers are merely selling through last year’s vintage before the new vintage arrives in March or April. It is for this reason that I put together a Favorite Rosé post in the summer. You can find it here. The first half of the post are European rosés that may still be on the shelves. Direct to Consumer rosé is most likely sold out as boutique wineries only make a couple of hundred cases to last through to the autumn.
The two rosés below are the two for whom I fell hard and fast. Neither is currently available, and because of the wildfires of last fall, I am unsure if there will be any this spring. But on the chance that there is, you really have to try these.
These are not classic Provence-style rosé, which is what Gary craves. He loved both of these but did grow tired and wanted to go back to his French rosé blends. I, on the other hand, could drink these two any day, any time.
I present no tasting notes other than to say that these two wines are bright and beautiful expressions of the single variety grape from which they are made. They are very well balanced in body, acid, and flavor. They will quench when needed and pair with food as well. I can not predict what the 2020 price would be but expect in the middle-high twenties per bottle.
Go to these websites in late March or early April and order up some fantastic rosé.
Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Laurelwood, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon