This year, I wrote up about twenty wines for TerroirSense Wine Review. They ranged from a $30 Oregon Chardonnay to a $1500 red Burgundy. Price per se is never a criterion in my judging a wine. Market demand for limited production wines from certain iconic estates in Burgundy, Napa Valley, Bolgheri and Barolo has driven prices to what many of us consider nose bleed levels. Price is a reflection of demand, of the desire for ownership. Of course, like any rational wine taster, I love outstanding wines that are reasonably priced. Fortunately, they exist in surprisingly abundant amounts. Below are my five favorites from 2021. I begin with the reds then move on to the whites.
- 2016 E. Pira Barolo Mosconi
The three Chiara Boschis Barolos are first rate. The Mosconi has a depth and soulfulness which I find irresistible. The Mosconi wines are praised by most experts their dense and ample texture. Ms. Boschis’s 2016 pulled me right down into the soil. Essence of Barolo!
- 2009 Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1er cru
A Grand Cru Burgundy in quality from first sniff to final taste. Ample, rich, dense and luscious with a perfect balance of blood, iron and dark cherries. Lingers in the memory forever.
- 2019 Morgen Long Marine Chardonnay Willamette Valley Oregon
Seth Morgen Long is a specialist in Chardonnay working towards ten different expressions of the grape. The individualism and intensity of this wines is remarkable. The Marine is made from vineyards with ocean sedimentary rock foundation. This is a study in how minerality permeates fruit and acidity. I predict that his Chardonnays will achieve cult status in a decade or less.
- 2004 Raveneau Chablis Butteaux 1er Cru
Quite possibly the most exciting white wine I have tasted in several years. After being open for an hour the bouquet developed into a veritable oyster bed of minerals and salinity brightened by fresh apple and citrus notes. A magical wine.
- 2020 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett
Willi Schaefer and his son Christoph make some of the most beautiful, elegant and joyful Rieslings out in the Mosel. In the cool 2020 vintage, true Kabinetts became possible. The wine does a veritable ballet on the palate finishing with a long citrus drenched coating balancing the perfect touch of natural sweetness.