This Week's Must-Try Wines from Vinous

Welcome to this week's Vinous Top Ten! Each week we compile a list of top ten wines from the Vinous database that you need to add to your wine wish list. With all the various regions, producers, and grapes, no week will be the same! All of the wines listed in this feature are available for purchase on Banquet . This week's must-try wines are from Antonio Galloni’s article, Sonoma Preview: 2021 Edition . Enjoy an excerpt from his article and his notes for this week's top ten below! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “January always means a stream of new releases from Sonoma and neighboring appellations. As we have done in the past, this year we present our Sonoma coverage in a series of installments. FIRST THINGS FIRST… Before we get into the wines, I think a few things are worth mentioning, especially given we are living through a moment in time in which the pace and shock of events can stretch the perception of time such that something that happened last month feels like it happened years ago. Sonoma has been through a brutal period over these last few years. In 2017, the Tubbs Fire was shocking in its devastation. I had never seen anything like it, from residential neighborhoods that looked like they had been carpet bombed to rural properties that smelled like burn for many, many months after. Although locals are hesitant to talk about it much, the truth is that the hospitality industry, meaning hotels and restaurants, in wine country (including Napa) never fully recovered. Just two years later, the Kincade fire threatened communities once again, forcing evacuations and closing towns for a number of days. Sadly, the worst was yet to come in 2020, when a series of wildfires caused an unprecedented amount of damage while the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. Many producers, including those Vinous readers seek out each and every year, will bottle little or no wine. Today, the fear is of a repeat event. 'We will find a way to get past 2020,' a highly respected producer told me recently. 'But if we have another year like that we might not make it.' Add to that the lack of sales in tasting rooms and the near-total closure of the restaurant sector where so many of the most coveted, small-production wines usually sold and it is easy to see that the current economic environment for wineries is just brutal. Most of the Sonoma wineries Vinous readers follow are small operations, often family-run. So many top winemakers here are young and just getting started. Their passion and enthusiasm are an integral part of what makes Sonoma such a dynamic region. These are incredibly challenging times for all of them. Regardless of what the reviews in this article say, I hope Vinous readers who are able to will heartily support Sonoma’s artisan winemakers.” --Antonio Galloni, Sonoma Preview: 2021 Edition, January 2021 --Database Additions, February 2021 --More Sonoma Additions Coming Next Week 1. 2019 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Trout Gulch 2. 2019 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Watson Ranch 3. 2018 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch 4. 2018 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard 5. 2018 Ernest Vineyards Pinot Noir The Settler Cleary Ranch Vineyard 6. 2018 Hirsch Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate San Andreas Fault 7. 2019 Limerick Lane Cellars Zinfandel Russian River Valley 8. 2019 Martinelli Zinfandel Giuseppe & Luisa 9. 2019 Rochioli Chardonnay Estate 10. 2019 Rochioli Pinot Noir Estate

Rochioli

Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2019

Delectable Wine
9.1

The 2019 Pinot Noir Estate is a very pretty, delicate wine. Lifted aromatics, bright red berry fruit and mid-weight structure make for a tasty, Russian River Pinot that will drink well right out of the gate. This is an especially floral, silky style. A dollop of whole clusters (12%) is not especially evident. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Limerick Lane

Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2019

Delectable Wine
9.2

The 2019 Zinfandel (Russian River Valley) is bright and full of energy. Ripe red/purplish berry fruit, rose petal, spice, lavender and mint are front and center in this refreshing Russian River Zinfandel. Floral notes and bright acids perk up the finish. This is such a gorgeous wine, and also a great introduction to this lineup. The Russian River Zinfandel is really a Zinfandel-based field blend from Limerick Lane and a handful of other properties, including Banfield, Collins, Sodini and Ponzo. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards

Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel 2018

Delectable Wine
9.7

The 2018 Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard is even better from bottle than it was from tank last year. What a wine! In 2018, the Carlisle Zinfandel is off the charts. Exotic floral notes, crushed red berry fruit, spice and wild flowers give the 2018 magnificent inner sweetness and perfume that just gains in intensity with time in the glass. The blend of 86% Zinfandel and 14% Mixed Blacks works so well. For readers who want to know why 2018 is so magical in the Russian River and Sonoma more broadly, the 2018 Carlisle pretty much sums it up. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Rochioli

Estate Grown Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2019

Delectable Wine
9.2

The 2019 Chardonnay Estate is a gorgeous appellation-level wine. Bright, floral and finely cut, the 2019 possesses terrific energy and cut, all in a gracious, airy style that is hugely appealing. Lemon confit, melon, dried flowers and a touch of spice linger. The Estate is a blend taken from across the property, and that complexity makes for a highly intriguing wine. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Hirsch Vineyards

San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir 2018

Delectable Wine
9.2

The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate San Andreas Fault is bright and beautifully lifted in the glass. Crushed red berry, mint and white pepper give the 2018 striking aromatics presence. Medium in body, nervy and finely delineated, the 2018 has a lot going on. I would give it a few years to soften, as the tannins are a bit fierce today. Time in the glass brings out the wine's inner perfume and a real feeling of finesse that will only grow with time. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Carlisle Winery & Vineyards

Papera Ranch Zinfandel 2018

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2018 Zinfandel Papera Ranch captures all the exuberance of Russian River Valley. Succulent dark cherry, plum, spice, new leather and cedar build in a sumptuous, creamy Zinfandel that is showing so well today. Bright red toned fruit and sweet floral notes saturate the finish effortlessly. Best of all, the 2018 will drink well with minimal cellaring. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Arnot-Roberts

Trout Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay 2019

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2019 Chardonnay Trout Gulch is fabulous. Palpable energy and tension drive a core of crushed rocks, lemon confit, mint and white flowers. Intensely saline, tense notes really bristle in this magnificent Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. The 2019 is naturally very young, but it is stellar. Dried flowers, sage, mint and dried herbs linger. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Martinelli

"Giuseppe & Luisa" Russian River Valley Zinfandel 2019

Delectable Wine
9.5

The 2019 Zinfandel Giuseppe & Luisa shows all of the intensity of the Martinelli wines, but with an extra kick of floral overtones and acid brightness to perk things up. Cinnamon, crushed red berry, wild flowers, mint and blood orange all run through this expressive, silky Zinfandel. The blend of Jackass Hill and Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel clones on four different rootstocks, which results in different ripening cycles and harvest times, all of which translates into notable complexity in the finished wine. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Ernest Vineyards

The Settler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018

Delectable Wine
9.1

The 2018 Pinot Noir The Settler Cleary Ranch Vineyard comes across as quite closed today. There is good depth, and the stems have integrated, but at the same time, the fruit is not too expressive. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Hints of dried cherry, cedar, tobacco, mint and sage add lovely aromatic intensity to this savory, earthy Pinot. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago

Arnot-Roberts

Watson Ranch Chardonnay 2019

Delectable Wine
9.4

The 2019 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is open-knit and seductive. Orchard fruit, chamomile, spice and dried herbs all meld together in a pliant Chardonnay that offers a striking mix of textural richness and energy. Watson Ranch is the southernmost vineyard in Napa Valley, a cool-climate pocket that yields a Chardonnay of real distinction. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2021)
— a year ago