10 Wines to Drink in 2021
As we start a new year (one that’s hopefully happier and healthier than 2020), there’s no better time to curate lists: lists of places to go, things to do, foods to eat, shows to binge-watch, and notably, wines to drink. I tasted a lot of wines over the past year, some memorable and others entirely forgettable. That said, from serious splurges to everyday sips, here’s a selection of wines to drink in 2021 and beyond.
White wines to drink in 2021
Kumusha Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Region: Western Cape of South Africa
Kumasha translates to “your home,” “your roots,” or “your origin” in the Zimbabwean Shona language, honoring the country of winemaker Tinashe Nyumadoka. This is an excellent Sauvignon Blanc, and its crisp flavor kept me pouring more (you’ll likely struggle with one glass here as this wine is very easy drinking). The melon, guava, and passion fruit aromas are evident at first whiff and more intense (in a good way) with every taste. Pair this lovely white wine with cheese courses, branzino, and grilled chicken with mango salsa.
Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker Riesling Kabinett Trocken, Kimich 2019
Region: Pfalz, Germany
If you like a touch of minerality in your wine, then I think you’ll appreciate this dry Riesling. You’ll detect crisp green apple, mellow citrus, and bright grapefruit notes, as it’s mildly tart on the palate but offers a dry, lingering finish. The liter-size is certainly a bonus, adding an extra two glasses or so per bottle. Serve this elegant wine with spicy Thai food, pork sausage, charcuterie, or shrimp cocktail.
Domaine Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Légende Bordeaux Blanc 2019
Region: Bordeaux, France
While Bordeaux is certainly famed for its red wine, I learned when I visited in 2019 that the region’s whites hold their own. A pleasant blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, this white––from the legendary Rothschild family––stands under the producer’s wallet-friendly label: Légende. Lending tropical fruit aromas and a crisp, clean finish, this Bordeaux blanc lends itself well to daytime drinking––be it a late brunch or power lunch. But dinner isn’t off the table either. Pour this wine alongside raw oysters, pan-seared scallops, and chicken Milanese with arugula and tomato salad.
Mionetto Cartizze DOCG Dry
Region: Veneto, Italy
Bubbles make everything better, so start your Saturday evening with a glass of Prosecco. Cartizze is a micro-zone inside DOCG area Conegliano-Valdobbiadene in Northern Italy (not far from Venice). This sparkling wine releases apple, pear, and citrus on the nose, and a creamy, palatable finish. Try sipping the delightful Cartizze with moulés marinieres, shrimp scampi, or dessert: think blackberry tart or flourless chocolate cake.
Piper-Heidsieck Rare Champagne 2006
Region: Champagne, France
My splurge on this list of white wines to drink in 2021 is none other than Champagne. But this beautiful bottle is no ordinary Champagne (is Champagne ever ordinary?!), I can promise you. Piper-Heidsieck’s ultra-luxury bottle is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, creating sophistication in the glass. Expect dried apricots, sweet spices, kefir lime, honey, and the mild spiciness of Espelette peppers. The finish lingers in the mouth long after the taste. Pair with salmon sashimi, asparagus frittata, langoustines, and caviar.
Red wines to drink in 2021
Señorío de P. Peciña Crianza, Bodegas Hermanos Peciña 2013
Region: La Rioja, Spain
Prices range on this bottle depending on where you purchase, and as it’s so well-priced, it’s getting harder to find. (I order it through Astor Wines.) A beautiful, well-balanced Rioja, the wine highlights dark fruit alongside notes of oak, vanilla, and tobacco. The medium-long finish is smooth with moderate tannins and acidity. I’ve purchased this Crianza several times and found it enjoyable with a variety of foods, ranging from a crisp salad to pasta with chicken to dark chocolate. This Rioja is one of my favorite bottles in recent history.
Sebastiani Cherryblock Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Region: Sonoma County, CA
If there’s such a thing as a perfect Cabernet, this luxury bottle from Sebastiani may be it. Deep, dark purple in the glass, this outstanding wine offers complexity beyond its price. Most of the fruit hails from the original Old Vines block of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1961. It’s well-structured, presenting blackberry and vanilla aromas that reach the palette mingling with cedar and tobacco. Drink it alone––you won’t regret it, or alongside steak frites, beef short ribs, or roasted duck breast.
Osprey’s Dominion Flight Meritage 2013
Region: Long Island, NY
A Bordeaux-style wine reflecting the maritime climate of the North Fork of Long Island, this Meritage is a blend of Merlot, Carmenere, and Cabernet Franc. You’ll detect blackberry, vanilla, and toasted oak on the nose, and dense tannins on the finish. I’ve been drinking Osprey’s Meritage for years and it’s one of my go-to bottles from this region. It’s medium-bodied and can adapt to many dishes including smoked ham, wild mushroom risotto, and broiled lamb chops.
Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Oreste Buzio 2019
Region: Piedmont, Italy
I could stare at the light ruby color of this Grignolino––a lesser-known grape native to the Piedmont region of Italy––but that’s not as enjoyable as drinking it. Silky and subtle, this certified organic wine releases strawberry, cherry and raspberry aromas, as red currants and peppercorns glide on the palate. Drink this wine young. Pair a glass with pan-seared salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts or pizza Margherita.
Vérité La Joie 2017
Region: Sonoma County, CA
Undoubtedly, I saved the best for last. Lisa Perrotti-Brown of Robert Parker scored this magnificent Bordeaux-style wine 98+ points. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot portray plum, cedar wood, and black olive with touches of tobacco and clove. Tannins are well-structured and the finish, lush and long-lasting. This astonishingly delicious wine from father-daughter vignerons Pierre and Hèléne Seillan can enhance a filet mignon or New York strip steak––I cooked one medium-rare to accompany my bottle––but Vérité La Joie is even better to drink on its own. Be sure to savor every sip.
I occasionally receive wines for editorial coverage. All reviews or mentions are of my own accord and not influenced by others.
Rare Champagne photo courtesy of the brand.