My Best California Wines Tasted in 2020

Posted on

2020 was by all standards an unusual and strange year with fires and Covid-19. While I am generally fortunate enough to taste and appreciate over 1600+ wines, this year with Stay at Home, fires, etc., I was only able to taste about 1200+ wines. This list roughly represents the top 6% of those wines. I have broken it out by price point, those $50 and under and those $51 and up—-something for everyone! The picks also span almost the entire state AVA’s and sub-AVA’s. I believe whole heartily and stand by these picks. There were many other very good and solid wines, but these “stood out” in the crowd

No matter which category, each wine listed will enhance your tasting experience. These wines represent some of best quality for California wines. Most can be purchased at the winery only and are based upon availability. On the California Wines and Wineries website (not blog) you can put the name of the wine/winery in the search engine and most have stories associated with each wine for a deeper dive.

During the year I have kept meticulous notes on each wine tasted and hope you enjoy these selections in the coming year. Wishing you a wonderful New Year and that 2021 be prosperous, meaningful and find you in good health.



My Best Wines of the Year $50 and less

2018 Tenbrink Chardonnay

2018 Tolenas Sauvignon Blanc

2018 Coquecicot Chenin Blanc

2014, 2015 Shale Canyon Cabernet Franc

2017 LangeTwins Petite Sirah 100 Vineyard

2018 Wood Family Vineyards Chardonnay

2018 Lavender Ridge Roussanne

2014, 2016 Zuidema Wines Grenache

2016 3 Steve’s Cabernet Franc Cienega Valley

2016 Allegorie Tempranillo

2017 Stringer Cellars Syrah Harrison Clark

2018 Dave’s Porch Wines Sauvignon Blanc

2018 Cuda Ridge Winery Sauvignon Blanc

2013 LangeTwins Teroldego

2016 Arroyo Cellars Zinfandel Dry Creek

2019 Arroyo Cellars Chardonnay

2016, 2017 Cuda Ridge Winery Cabernet Franc

2017 Wood Family Vineyards Petite Sirah

2016 Prie Old Vine Zinfandel

2016 Rapp Ranch Chardonnay

2016 Val Du Vino Spanish Dragon (Tempranillo)

2016 Dracaena Cabernet Franc Reserve

2016 Kenefick Ranch Cabernet Franc Catlins Select

2017 Crocker & Starr Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Jessie’s Grove Carignane

2016 Casino Mine Ranch Marcel Tempranillo

2018 Wood Family Against the Grain Red Blend (Bourbon Barrel)

2016 Yorkville Cellars Petit Verdot

2016 Yorkville Cellars Carmenere

2017 Cuda Ridge Winery Malbec

2018 Cuda Ridge Winery Carmenere

2018 Acquiesce Picpoul Blanc              

2015 Tate Wine Company Merlot

2019 Acquiesce Clairette Blanche

2019 Acquiesce Ingenue

2016 Jeff Runquist Petite Sirah Reserve

2017 Borjon Petite Sirah

2017 Leisure Street Cabernet Franc

2019 Acquiesce Bourboulene

2015 Russian Ridge Concerto (blend)

2017 Silenus Cabernet Franc

2016 Rosa Fierro Cellars Cabernet Franc

My Best Wines of the Year $51 and up

2009, 2010 Lineage Collection blend

2011 Crocker & Starr Stone Place Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Steven Kent Winery Premier Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Outpost Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Crocker & Starr Casili 7 blend

2010, 2015 O’Shaughnessy Howell Mtn Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Frog’s Tooth Alicante Bouschet

2016 Tenbrink Petite Sirah

2010 Nickel & Nickel Branding Iron Cabernet Sauvignon

2009, 2010 Larkmead LMV Salon blend

2010 Shadybrook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

2008, 2010 Detert Winery Cabernet Franc

2009 Larkmead Solari Cabernet Sauvignon

2012 YoungInglewood Cabernet Sauvignon

2006, 2007, 2010 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2017 Outpost Grenache

2016 J. Davies Malbec

2016 YoungInglewood Cabernet Franc

2014 Arkenstone NVD Cabernet Sauvignon

2009, 2010 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Mt Veeder

2014 St Rose Winery Pinot Noir Ten Block

2016 Steven Kent Winery Cabernet Franc

2016 Vinoce Cabernet Franc Mt Veeder

2017, 2018 Maritana La Riviere Chardonnay

2018 Terminim Cepages d’ Or Blend

2010 Skipstone Cabernet Sauvignon Fault Vineyard

2008 Oakville East Cabernet Sauvignon Exposure

2013 Rapp Ranch Cutter’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Hindsight Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

2013 Mira Cabernet Franc

2014 YoungInglewood Malbec

2010 Justin Isosceles Reserve blend

2018 Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon

2015, 2017 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms

2010 Mountain Terraces Lex Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Shadybrook Cabernet Franc

2017 Hunter Glenn Estate Cabernet Franc

2018 Brecon Cabernet Franc

2016 PrueCru Winery Cabernet Franc

2016 Palazzo Cabernet Franc

2017 Diamond Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Franc


2 thoughts on “My Best California Wines Tasted in 2020

    Exploring the Wine Glass said:
    December 21, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    thank you for including Dracaena Wines!!! Happy Holidays!


    Tana Cole said:
    January 13, 2021 at 3:42 am

    Thanks so much for choosing Jessie’s Grove Carignane as one of your Best Tasted in 2020!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s