Thursday, December 30, 2021

Vino-Sphere’s Top Wines Of 2021: An Exclusive List

What a year it has been. Our friends, family and country emerged from turbulent pandemic waters only to get washed overboard again with virus variants, lockdowns, and a lingering uncertainty toward just about everything.

We made the most of it when sunshine broke through the storm clouds. Our highlights included a magical tour of Umpqua Valley in Oregon, a visit to North Carolina wineries in the Blue Ridge Mountains, a return to the Wine Media Conference plus an in-depth introduction to the wines of Burgenland, Austria. That’s in addition to plenty of tasty bottles shared with family and friends.

As we prepare to turn the page on 2021 and look forward to uncorking a fresh and sparkling 2022, we present our curated list of the best bottles we sampled in 2021. Each is linked to the article in which it was featured. Our picks for “wines of distinction” are indicated with **.


Alma Negra NV Brut Nature Rosé, Mendoza

Bending Branch 2017 Tallent Vineyard Tannat, Texas Hill Country

Brandborg 2015 Bradley Vineyard Gewürztraminer, Elkton

** Brennan Vineyard 2019 Ella’s Pine, Texas

Byrd Vineyard 2012 Red Wine, Mendocino

Calvert 2018 Brut Rosé, AOC Crémant de Bordeaux

Cameron Hughes 2019 Lot 752 Gavi DOCG

** Cameron Hughes Lot 825 2020 Napa Valley White Meritage

Cantine Ermes Quattro Quatri Nero D'Avola Sicilia DOC

** Cassata Sonoma 2014 Sonoma CRU Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Château Belle-Vue 2018 Petit Verdot, Grand Vin de Bordeaux

** Chateau Yaldara 2012 1847 Pappy’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Barossa

Claus Preisinger 2019 St. Laurent Ancestral Pet Nat, Burgenland

Clos Pissarra 2015 “Arrels” Garnacha, Montsant

Cooper Ridge 2020 Vineyard Cuvee, Umpqua Valley

Deerfield Ranch 2012 Estate Syrah, Sonoma Valley

Dry Creek Vineyard 2019 Heritage Vines Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Vineyard 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley

HillCrest Vineyard 2016 Old Stones Teraldago, Umpqua Valley

In Signo Sagittarii 2008 Blaufränkisch, Burgenland

** Korbin Kameron 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley

** L’Ecole 2020 Luminesce, Walla Walla Valley

L’Ecole No. 41 2015 Perigee, Walla Walla Valley

** Luke 2018 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope

Marqués de Cáceres 2020 Verdejo, Rueda

Melrose Vineyards 2016 Parker’s Pinot, Umpqua Valley

Monasterio de la Viñas 2011 Gran Reserva, Cariñena

Nadia 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, Santa Barbara County

** Nieto Senetiner 2011 "Don Nicanor" Villa Blanca Malbec, Luján de Cuyo

P.J. Valckenberg 2016 Madonna Kabinett, Rheinhessen

Ravines 2017 Maximilien Red Blend, Finger Lakes

Reserve des Chastelles 2019 Rosé, Tavel

Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2018 Grüner Veltliner, Umpqua Valley

Riva Leone 2017 Barbaresco DOCG

Serre Vineyards 2018 Reserve Sangiovese, Yadkin Valley

Seven Hills 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley

Sforno 2020 Gran Reserva Red Blend, Argentina

** Spangler Vineyards 2016 Khayan’s Block Dolcetto, Umpqua Valley

Stone Ashe 2019 Coppedge Hill, North Carolina

Tablas Creek 2020 Patelin de Tablas Rosé, Paso Robles

** Turley 2018 Fredericks Vineyard Zin, Sonoma Valley

** Utopia 2015 “Eden” Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge

Watermill Winery 2017 Hallowed Stones Cabernet Franc, The Rocks District, Oregon

Weingut Strub 2019 Silvaner Trocken

Winery ET 2018 Tridendron, Burgenland

Woodward Canyon 2018 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley

Ziereisen 2016 Talrain Spätburgunder, Baden

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