Wines to watch in 2021

No matter who you are or what you do, 2020 has been a rough one. And just to kick us while we’re down, the fires that ravaged the west coast this year left many wine producers unable or unwilling to release a 2020 vintage, especially in reds. With that in mind, 2021 holds promise—the promise of a vaccine, the promise of a looming return to normalcy, and also the promise of some exciting new wines coming into or returning to the Omaha market. Here’s a short list of some of the red wines being introduced to Omaha this year that will help make 2021 a little more enjoyable.

Arendsig “Inspirational Batch 8” Pinotage 2018

Robertson, South Africa

The label says “5400 bottles produced”: that’s 450 cases. How some of them wound up in Omaha, who knows, but be thankful: this wine will make you rethink Pinotage with its smooth drinkability.

Circumstance Cabernet Franc 2016

Stellenbosch, South Africa

A low 12.5% ABV, this wine is remarkably in-balance, with an elegance that is reminiscent of some of the best chateaux in the world.

Domaine de Chateaumar 2018

Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France

This one is still a baby, so cellar it if you have the space and patience, but if not, it’s drinking really nicely right now.

McPrice Myers “Pound for Pound” Zinfandel 2018

Paso Robles, California

Varietally correct? Probably not. Really tasty? Most definitely! Slightly hot at 15.6% ABV, it’s surprisingly smooth and easy-drinking—a crowd pleaser. 

Materra “Midnight” Red Blend 2016

Napa Valley, California

Mostly Petit Verdot, this wine is dark, smooth, yet approachable right out of the bottle—22 months on mostly new French oak will do that to a wine.

Oak Farm “Tievoli” Red Blend 2018

Lodi, California

A spicy blend of 66% Zinfandel, 18% Barbera, 8% Primitivo, and 8% Petite Sirah. The Zin vines are 50+ years, and it has an old vine nature yet offers more than most single-varietals by way of complexity.

Remhoogte “Chronicle Cape Blend” 2017

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Clearly, South Africa has got it going on right now. This blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, and Pinotage is dark, well-structured, and balances subtle barnyard (the term often used to describe the taste of brettanomyces, which is a strand of yeast that often grows in reused barrels and other places) with rich purple fruits and terrific earthy notes.

Meadowcroft Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Napa Valley, California

Tom Meadowcroft is a boss; this wine proves it.

Silverado “Geo” Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Napa Valley, California

This is the flagship Cabernet from an estate that produces astonishingly consistent, excellent fruit. A quintessential Napa Cab if ever there was.

Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Paso Robles, California

Forget any preconceived notions you might be harboring about Paso. This is big-boy Cab with a 20-month mixed-oak regiment that’s reenforced with 19% Petit Verdot.

Look for these at local retailers and restaurants in the coming months. Whatever you choose to drink, hopefully it will bring people around the table to have important conversations, kindly, and in civil tones. Cheers to the hope of a new year!

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