Best Wines Tasted in 2021

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2021 continued to be an unusual and strange year with fires and Covid-19 especially in California. While I am generally fortunate enough to taste and appreciate over 1600+ wines, this year with Covid 19, fires, etc., I was only able to taste a little over 1400+ wines. This list roughly represents the top 5.5% 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 holiday and that your New Year be prosperous, meaningful and find you in good health.



$50 and less

20163 Steve’sCarmenere
2018AcquiescePicpoul Blanc
2018Acquiesce“Ingenue”, Blend
2019AcquiesceClariette Blanche
2017, 2018Acre WinesZinfandel
2018Acre WinesMerlot
2015AlyrisChardonnay, The Audition
2017BorjonPetite Sirah
2019Cellar 13Chardonnay
2017Cuda RidgeCabernet Franc
2019Cuda RidgeCarmenere
2019Dave’s Porch WineSauvignon Blanc
2017Dracaena WinesCabernet Franc, Reserve
2017HindsightCabernet Sauvignon, 20/20
2020HindsightSauvignon Blanc
2018Iron HubChardonnay
2018Lavender RidgeRoussanne
2016MadoroMSauvignon Blanc
2016Mineral WinesMeritage
2019Prospect 772“Black Tie Charlie”, Blend
2017Rosa Fierro CellarsPrimitivo
2016Tobin JamesNebbiolo
2016Tobin JamesLegrein, Silver Reserve
2016Twisted OakMourvedre, River of Skulls
2016Twisted OakGraciano
2018Wood Family“Against the Grain” Blend
2018Wood FamilyMalbec
2019, 2020Wood FamilyChardonnay

Add 2015, Shale Canyon, Cabernet Franc to Below $50.

$51 and up

2014ArkenstoneCabernet Sauvignon, NVD
2018Austin HopeCabernet Sauvignon
2013Barnett VineyardsMerlot
2014BlackbirdContrarian, Blend
2016, 2018BreconCabernet Franc
2016Calla Lily EstateCabernet Sauvignon
2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015Crocker & StarrCabernet Sauvignon, Stone Place
2014, 2015Crocker & StarrCabernet Franc
2011Detert FamilyCabernet Franc
2013DuckhornCabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mtn
2017DuckhornMerlot, 3 Palms
2017Hawk & HorseCabernet Sauvignon, Block Three
2017Hawk & HorsePetit Verdot
2010HewittCabernet Sauvignon
2015HindsightCabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mtn
2011, 2017Justin VineyardsIsoceles, Blend
2009KeenanCabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mtn
2013KeenanCabernet Franc
2017L’Autre CoteCabernet Franc, Sachau
2008, 2017LineageBordeaux Blend
2016MadoroMCabernet Sauvignon
2018MaritanaChardonnay, La Riviere
2014Meyer VineyardsCabernet Sauvignon
2010Nickel & NickelChardonnay, Branding Iron
2008Oakville EastCabernet Sauvignon, Exposure
2007, 2011O’ShaughnessyCabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder
2010OutpostCabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mtn
2012OutpostCabernet Sauvignon, True Vineyards
2013Peter MichaelChardonnay, Mon Plaisir
2009ProgenyCabernet Franc, Mt Veeder
2016PrueCruCabernet Franc
2010Robert MondaviCabernet Sauvignon, Private
2012SarockaCabernet Sauvignon
2005, 2006Silver OakCabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2010SkipstoneCabernet Sauvignon, Faultline
2018Smith-MadroneCabernet Sauvignon
2017Summit LakeCabernet Sauvignon,” Emily Kestrel”
2012Tate WinesCabernet Sauvignon, Mt Veeder
2015Tate WinesMerlot, Spring Mtn
2019Titus VineyardsCabernet Franc
2019Titus VineyardsCabernet Sauvignon
2012Trespass VineyardsCabernet Sauvignon, Rendezvous
2013Villa VallecitoSagrantino
2010Vineyard 29Cabernet Sauvignon
2018VinoceCabernet Franc
2017VJB CellarsAglianico, Estate

Also $51 and up are:

2017 Diamond Mountain, Cabernet Franc

2016 Palazzo Wine, Cabernet Franc

2017 Shadybrook Estate, Cabernet Franc


3 thoughts on “Best Wines Tasted in 2021

    Shags said:
    December 15, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    Again, thanks so much for your great newsletter!!




    Exploring the Wine Glass said:
    December 16, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Thank you for including Dracaena Wines in your list! We are honored!


    Rhonda Wood said:
    December 20, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Love this list especially coming out before the holidays and thank you 💕🍷


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