Favorite White Wines of 2020

by artfuldiner on December 31, 2020

in Artful Diner Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine

I certainly sampled an interesting variety of wines in 2020 – including five days of glorious tastings in South Arica – most of which were quite reasonably priced. Listed immediately below, however, are the 5+ white wines that are particularly recommended (favorite red wines will be noted in a forthcoming post).

Please note that prices are approximate, depending upon where the wines are purchased; and, of course, are subject to change. Prices in states other than Pennsylvania can vary significantly from retailer to retailer. Therefore, it would certainly be to your advantage to spend some time surfing for the best possible deals.

 A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines - 2016 White Blend2016 A.A. Badenhorst Kalmoesfontein White Blend (South Africa): The description of this vintage in the wine mags was positively glowing, as it garnered a whopping 94 points from both the Wine Spectator and Wine & Spirits. A blend of Chenin Blanc, Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, Sémillon, Viognier, and Colombard, the 2016 is positively opulent, filled with exotic flavors and a marvelous acidic backbone that holds its complex elements in perfect harmony. Similar in structure to the DeMorgenzon Maestro – another highly-regarded South African blend that I highly recommend – the Badenhorst exhibits a bit more body and depth… and also carries a highly price tag. Listed at $43.00, according to the Wine Spectator, it is currently available online at Connecticut’s International Wine Shop for $29.89 per bottle.

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 20172018 DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc (South Africa): The wineries of South Africa are the most beautiful in the world; and there are many who believe – this writer among them – that DeMorgenzon is the most beautiful of them all. Today, this estate is not only celebrated for its majestic beauty, but also for crafting some of South Africa’s most exciting and original wines. And it is the DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc that has captured the attention of critics and connoisseurs alike. During my trip, I sampled their 2018 Chenin Blanc,and it is nothing short of spectacular. Once again, this excellent vintage is available online through the International Wine Shop for $31.80 per bottle. If you consider the price a bit steep, be sure to try the Ken Forrester 2018 Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc, which is available online through Wine Chateau at $14.97. Sampled at Helena’s Restaurant in Stellenbosch, this is a lovely wine, golden-hued and full bodied, with a perfect balance of fruit and delicate oak/vanilla flavors. An excellent wine at an excellent price point. 

Greenhill Winery & Vineyards2019 Greenhill Vineyards Viognier (Virginia): Wonderfully picturesque, Greenhill Vineyards reminded us of several wineries we had visited in South Africa. Of particular note is their 2019 Viognier, which was sampled both at the winery and during our dinner at the Red Fox Inn. I am usually not a fan of viognier, but this is simply a lovely wine in every respect. Aged in stainless steel, it offers up a distinctive floral bouquet. Crisp and clean, it beguiles the palate with notes of stone fruit and mandarin, leading to a lively and expressive finish. Though a bit pricey at $39.00, it is still, in my opinion, worth a shot. And, conveniently, it may be ordered directly from the Greenhill Vineyards’ website and shipped directly to Pennsylvania.

Loveblock - Pinot Gris 20182018 Loveblock Pinot Gris, Marlborough (New Zealand): Owned by winemaker Kim Crawford and his wife, Erica, Loveblock wines are both sophisticated and complex. Pinot Gris (Grigio) has a number of different styles. The wines produced in Italy tend to be light-bodied and on the acidic side. Those hailing from Oregon, the other hand, are fuller bodied and more rounded. The organic Pinot Gris from Loveblock, however, goes its own way… It is decidedly “elegant” – a word not generally associated with Pinot Gris – supple and as smooth as silk. Garnering 92 points and designated an “Editors’ Choice” by the Wine Enthusiast, this is, as Decanter magazine noted, a Pinot Gris “to sink into.” Currently on sale at Pennsylvania State Stores for $15.99

Trefethen Chardonnay 20182018 Trefethen Oak Knoll District Chardonnay (California): The estate’s history can be traced back to the Eschol Winery, which was commissioned by James and George Goodman and constructed in 1886 by a Scottish sea captain named Hamden McIntyre. The winery is now owned by John & Janet Trefethen, withtheir son-in-law, Brian Kays, doing a fabulous job as winemaker. Signature wines include Dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Dragon’s Tooth, a Bordeaux-like blend. The 2018 Oak Knoll District Chardonnay, which received 93 points from the Wine Enthusiast, is both elegant and classically-styled. It is beautifully structured, displaying just the lightest touch of ripe fruit. Low in oak, but engagingly supple of texture with 13.3% alcohol, it also possesses a refreshing acidity that keeps all its elements in perfect balance. You will find the price tag quite refreshing as well. The list price is $38.00, but numerous sites online are running specials in the mid-$20.00 range. The really good news, however, is that Pennsylvania State Stores currently have it on sale for $19.99.


Be Safe & Stay Well


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