Sunday, November 14, 2021

Top 7 Wines 2021

I've just returned from nearly two months in Europe where I tasted several hundred wines.  My travels took me to Croatia, Greece, Spain and Italy.  I've narrowed down my list to my favorite seven that are available in the US (I know they are available, as I just ordered at least a case of each).  Availability aside, each one of these is an excellent wine.  Many are bargains, but all are worthy of every penny regardless of their price point.  An added bonus is that most are made from grapes we don't have in the US, so they present an opportunity for wine lovers to explore unknown varietals.

Best Quality /Price:  Black Horse Winery's Mega Vieta, 2020 (Croatia)

                                                       Mega Vieta is a "Major Victory"

This gorgeously crafted white wine is from the Croatian island of Korcula.  It's made from their indigenous Posip grape, a variety rarely seen outside of the Dalmatian Coast.  This highly aromatic wine is complex with citrus and stone fruit flavors.  It is balanced and offers a quite good finish.  I found the wine online at at <$19 per bottle, including shipping and tax.  In my book, that's a steal for the quality of this wine.

Best Rose
There are actually two stunners in this category:  one from Greece's Santorini Island, the other from Spain's Rioja.

                                             Gaia's Rose would please even Dionysus

  • Gaia 14-18 Agiorgitiko Rose, 2020 (Greece).   I know and love this producer.  In fact, we have visited Gaia three times with groups of Wine-Knows on Santorini.  When I saw their Rose in a Greek wine shop, I grabbed a bottle.  It was so good that I immediately went back for two more bottles.  The grape, Agiorgitoko, is one we don't have in the US.  I ordered a case online from  The cost was another amazing bargain ringing it at $18 per bottle, including tax and shipping.

  • Muga Rose, 2020 (Spain):  I had this wine at a restaurant in Spain overlooking Gibraltar:  on my left was the Mediterranean, on my right the Atlantic, and 9 miles in front of me Morocco.  I'm a great fan of Muga (have visited this Rioja producer with too many groups of Wine-Knows to count).  The Rose was so good that we returned twice to the same restaurant and re-ordered it each time.  The 2019 is available at multiple shops on for $15 per bottle (plus shipping & tax).  I'm waiting for that gorgeous 2020.

Best Summer White: Valle dell'Acate Grillo Zagra, 2020 (Sicily)

Getting Wine-Knows to this remote winery was a challenge, but their quality wines were worth the trek

This gem is a great taste of Italy on a warm summer's day.  Made from the Grillo grape (mostly unknown outside of Sicily), think of this variety as the Mediterranean's Sauv Blanc.
Stainless steel fermented, it boasts a lemon & apple profile.  Several stores on have it for about $20 per bottle (plus tax & shipping).  

Best of the Best
These wines were my three favorites out of hundred of wines, regardless of whether they were imported.  Luckily, all are!   They range in price from $30-70.  When considering their complexity, all are great buys.

                       This wine was served at a Wine-Knows private dinner held at the Planeta Estate

  • Planeta Cometa Fiano 2019 (Sicily).   Planeta is one of the premier producers in Sicily.  The moment this wine hit my mouth I was smitten....actually, it was more like I was completely seduced.  This serious white wine is a complex bomb of apricots, nectarines and peaches, laced with back-notes of flowers and herbs.  Expect to pay $50 a bottle for this the real-deal sip of Italy.   I ordered the last 18 bottles from Saratoga Wines in New York, however, has it available at multiple locations.  Don't miss.
                             Unfortunately this magnum was empty & only for display 
  • Nounat by Binigrau (Mallorca).  I've been in amor with this white wine for the last 5 years.  A combination of Chardonnay & the island's native grape Prensal Blanc, Nounat is simply one of those wines one cannot forget.  The problem is that everyone loves it and it's very difficult to find.  Currently, the 2015 is the only vintage available online in the US, but I think it's a little over the hill.  I'm watching for the 2021 to arrive and so should you.  It's about $30 per bottle, but I would pay a lot more for it.
                              Passopisciaro's grapes are grown at 3,000 ft on Mt Etna

  • Contrada G by Passopisciaro, 2019 (Sicily).  Grown on the slopes of an active volcano, these grapes make a deep, rich, complex red that is sure to cause the earth to move under your feet.  Made from a native variety only grown on Mt. Etna (Nerello Mascalese), this wine is most expensive on my list of favorites.   It's $70 a bottle.   

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