2019 Ridgecrest Estate Grüner Veltliner 93 points
The 50 Best Wines of 2020
2020 has been a year like no other at VinePair, in wine country, and beyond. But despite, or perhaps because of, the uncertainty this year has brought, the VinePair team has tasted thousands of wines over the last 12 months.
To help our readers discover wonderful new wines to help ring in the all-too-welcome new year, we’re sharing the 50 best wines we’ve tasted in 2020.
From screw-capped bottles for easy opening at socially distanced picnics, to high-end wines that can be delivered to our doors, these selections have met the unexpected needs of our newfound Covid-19 lifestyles.
As travel has been restricted during the majority of this year, we’ve taken the opportunity to explore the world through wine. We traveled through Europe, stopping in Spain, Greece, Austria, France, and, most notably, Italy. In fact, three of our top 10 wines this year are from Sicily, a region that impressed us more than any other this year.
South Africa also impressed us with its offerings in 2020, with three wines from the nation making it onto our list. This comes after South African wine country was been hit particularly hard by the ongoing pandemic, and strict lockdown measures meant bans on the sale and distribution of alcohol. The bans have since been lifted, meaning that alcohol, including wine, can now once again be sold, but it is going to take some wineries a long time to recover.
Fires yet again devastated parts of California wine country in 2020. The immense impact this had on its wine regions and communities emphasizes that drinking wines from the state to enjoy and support its winemaking regions is tantamount. We’ve consumed some lovely bottles from the Golden State, from Merlot (sorry, “Sideways”), to Petite Sirah, to Zinfandel and Chardonnay. These selections show just how diverse and delicious California wine country can be.
We also continued to explore the diversity of America’s less heralded wine regions, and were consistently impressed by Finger Lakes, Oregon, and particularly, Virginia offerings.
All wines on this list have been tasted and reviewed by VinePair’s tasting panel. We compiled an exhaustive list of our favorite wines this year, then whittled it down to 50 based on quality, value, and availability in the U.S.
Though our wine reviews helped guide our initial list of contenders, the selections here encompass multiple rounds of socially distanced sampling, concluding with a final tasting and ranking at the VinePair HQ.
The Willamette Valley is so much more than a Pinot Noir region, and this Grüner Veltliner is proof of that. It has a subtle depth and lovely acidity, with aromas of citrus and pear. It has a creamy mouthfeel and just the right grip on the palate. If you love Riesling, give this bottle a try.