In general, I have been an old world style wine drinker. Lots of French, Italian, and Spanish wines come across my dinner table. Recently though, I have really dug into the off the beaten path styles of wine that I think get overlooked by wine drinkers, especially in America where most people are drinking what I call the BIG 3: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
Below are my 5 picks that you need to try as we usher in 2021:
2016 Apriori Antica Chardonnay
The first wine I want to talk about is the 2016 Antica Chardonnay from Apriori. If you ask anyone that knows me, I normally stay away from California Chardonnays due to the overripe qualities they have and the excessive use of Oak. The Antica Chardonnay though is an exception to the rule. This cooler climate white is much more reminiscent of a White Burgundy. The fruits are tart, the mid palate is creamy, and the wine is perfectly balanced. The alcohol doesn't push 14.5%-15% either which is what makes this wine so good!
2019 Passaros Escolha
I have been working with Passaros wines for nearly a decade now. We had it on our Wines by The Glass list while working in New York City, and there will always be a place for it on the shelves as long as I work here. Even though the wine is technically a Vinho Verde, it drinks nothing like the cheap wines that you associate it with. The heavy dose of Albarino gives it a life in stone fruit notes and salty minerality that sets itself aside from others making wine in the area.
2017 Mas De Bouislauzon Chateauneuf Du Pape
Mas de Boislauzon has been one of my favorite producers over the recent years. It seems like no matter what the vintage, they are at the top of the list when it comes to producing quality Chateaneuf du Pape for the price. 2017 was an interesting year for some producers, some made some good wine and some didn't. When the reviews came out though, I knew I could count on a quality rating for this wine. Everything I look for in a classic CDP is here, and really for the price, you can't beat being able to taste a wine over the next 20 years for much less.
2019 Huet Haut Lieu Sec
Chenin Blanc is an interesting grape. It takes on many different forms, but there is no place that is grows better than in the Loire Valley. Huet is the top producer of Chenin in Vouvray, a region most known for the grape. The best part is that none of the wines will break the bank, but you can enjoy them over the next couple decades. Chenin Blanc has lots of acidity which is what gives its ability to age a long time. The acidity is also the reason why you can have it with something as delicate as an oyster, or as hearty as a steak.
2019 Franz Etz Gruner Veltliner
Whoever started the trend of putting Gruner Veltliner in 1 liter bottles, I want to thank them. Gruner is one of the best kick back and relax wines out there. It is very light, crisp, and easy drinking. While it goes well with many foods, I find that Gruner is delicious on its own. It is best from Austria which is where this wine is from. The wine is almost always a mineral bomb, which is why I like it so much. If you haven't had any, this is a great one to snag. It is absolutely delicious, but also won't empty your wallet!