It’s tempting to drink your comforting wine, but with spring coming like a storm, we recommend that you tickle your taste buds with new varieties of wine to start from scratch. Or maybe, try your hand at making wine in an instant pot. Your call.
But for this story, we’re focused on selecting well-made, uplifting wines that simply won’t disappoint. No matter what 2021 brings, we know it will pair with good wine. Here’s a list of the best wines you should keep in your stock, ranging from white and pink to orange and red, along with a few outliers, just for good measure.
Best Champagne: Krug Grand Cuvée 168th Edition
It’s not cheap but the best, authentic champagne is not. This option always manages to over-deliver, offering great complexity and neat notes of biscuit and dried fruit.
Read more: The best champagne under $ 100
Best Pinot Gris: Acrobat 2019 Pinot Gris
A reliable Oregon Pinot Gris workhorse that’s extremely user-friendly, the Acrobat tends to outperform at its modest price.
Best Chardonnay: Gary Farrell 2017 Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay
This Russian River Valley Chardonnay is elegant of all kinds, showing off bright peach, wild honey and firm acidity.
Best Riesling: Empire Estate 2017 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling
It’s hard not to trust a wine crafted by a sommelier, like this dry, toned and lasting offering from New York’s Finger Lakes appellation.
Best Albariño: Palacio de Fefinanes 2018 Albariño
A Spanish white, Albariño deserves your attention, especially this take from his home country. Bright, playful and full of energy, this is a downright invigorating wine.
Read more: The best Albariño wines available
Best Sauvignon Blanc: Maori Moana 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Of course, there are excellent French and American Sauv Blancs. But New Zealand may be the grape’s new master, especially when it comes to cheap wines like this.
Read more: The best Sauvignon Blancs to try right now
Best Rosé: Tenuta di Fessina 2018 Erse Etna Rosato
Made from grapes grown in the foothills of Mount Etna, this volcano wine has a lot more depth than your typical rose wine, with a kiss of sea salt and pomegranate.
From Wine Finder
Read more: The best rosé wines to try right now
Best orange wine: Kakheti pheasant tears
You can’t go wrong with anything coming out of this esteemed producer from the Republic of Georgia. Expect wonderful, slightly oxidized texture, tannins and flavors.
Read more: The best orange wines to try right now
Best Traditional Pinot Noir: McCollum Heritage ’91 2018 Pinot Noir
Most celebrity-backed brands lack heart, but this effort by pro hoop star CJ McCollum is both a bona fide side project and one hell of a good Pinot. Expect an increase in production of this wine in small batches in the vintages to come.
Read more: The best Pinot Noir wines to try right now
Best Alternative Pinot Noir: Root & Rubble 2018 Pinot Noir
This wine is made by carbonic maceration and should be fresh and resonant in the glass, showing lots of fruit and lots of sparkling sparkle.
Best Syrah: Delmas SJR Vineyard 2018 Syrah
You haven’t tasted Syrah wine until you’ve tried Delmas’ vibrant offering, which draws exquisite fruit from the famous SJR vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley.
Best GSM mix: Jean-Luc Colombo Les Abeilles 2017 Rogue
This wine behaves like something three to four times its price, with deceptive complexity, inviting accessibility, and a clear balance of fruit flavors.
Read more: The best GSM mixes to try right now
Best Merlot: Nickel & Nickel Merlot 2016 Harris Vineyard Merlot
Merlot is back and better than ever. This designated wine from a single vineyard shows that a bigger red can also have a lot of finesse and detail.
Read more: The best Merlot wines to try right now
Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Escudo Rojo 2018 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
This Chilean wine backed by the famous Rothschild family of winemakers is a bit sweeter than your traditional Cab, showing herbal and green pepper qualities in addition to earth and good acid support.
Best Chianti: Castello de Brolio 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione
There is no shortage of great Chianti, but this expression is one of a kind. Decant it and enjoy the magical places it takes you, preferably with a side of bolognese.
Read more: The best Chianti wines to try right now
Best Dark Red: Ashbourne 2018 Pinotage-Cinsault
This South African find is flavorful and full of earth, with detectable savagery that is reminiscent of a trek through a rainforest.
Best red blend: Macari Vineyards 2015 Bergen Road
There are some fantastic and relatively unknown wines from the North Fork region of New York, like this homogeneous red made from several Bordeaux grape varieties.
Best Sparkling Rosé: Alma Negra Brut Nature
This Argentinian sparkling wine is made from Pinot Noir and Malbec grown at high altitudes, giving a lively and extremely pleasant wine.
Best Sherry: Nectar Gonzalez Byass Pedro Ximénez Sherry
A decadent offering perfect for the winter to come, this sherry is a sweet and layered creature, with notes of raisin, malt and toasted nuts.
Read more: The best sherry wines to try right now