What to Drink Every Week of the Year: 52 Wines for 2016

Hand-picked wines for each week of the year

What to Drink Every Week of the Year: 52 Wines for 2016

For many people, the New Year represents a new beginning. That could mean a different diet, a new hobby, or a change in your morning routine. For others, the turning of the calendar page means a whole new 12 months’ worth of wines to try. Here at the Daily Meal, we’re serious about our wine, so creating a weekly calendar of wine for the third year in a row is a task we were more than willing to take on.  (You'll note that our recommendations start in early  January; we wanted to give you a full catalogue of wines for 2016, and though the month is almost gone, the wines are still around.)

To compile our list, we asked our best sources — wine experts, authors, and contributors — to weigh in on wines they felt were worthy of this year’s line-up.

The list you are about to read is the web-based equivalent of your own personal sommelier, directing you through 52 weeks of tastings. This year’s list includes wines from producers all over the world, from 2013 Stony Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay from California to White Knight Prosecco from Italywith wines from Texas and Michigan making appearances as well.

This list includes wines in a wide range of prices, too. While there are inevitably some special bottles that only true connoisseurs will want to spend the money on, there are also wines on the list that won’t break the bank — ones that cost less than $20 a bottle. In short, there’s a wine here for everyone.

Editorial Note: Wine prices may vary.

January 4

A.R. Lenoble Brut Intense NV ($39)

You drank Champagne on New Year's Eve because you had to. Now drink some because you want to. This creamy, concentrated, bone-dry sparkler, a classic chardonnay/pinot noir/pinot meunier blend, offers an almost floral aroma, a tight, crisp mousse, and a racy richness full of ripe fruit — all at about half what it ought to cost.

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

January 11

Fritz 2013 Estate Malbec Dry Creek Valley, California ($45)

Blueberry, violet, and black plum aromas light up the nose here. Red and black cherry flavors are evident on the palate along with blackberry and continued bits of blueberry. The long finish shows off earth and chicory notes galore as well as black pepper spice. This malbec is a great wine to pair with a wintery post-holiday dish like cassoulet. Fritz is a family run winery with a more than 40-year history in Dry Creek Valley. This take on Argentina’s signature red grape is a tiny window into the delicious things the family is doing.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

January 18

Descendientes de J. Palacios Corullón 2012 ($47)

Just in time for the feast day of St. Vincent de Saragossa, the patron saint of wine growers, on January 22, this wine is one for the ages. Stylistically, the Corullón wines produced by Alvaro Palacios in Spain's Bierzo region are mencia-based doppelgangers for some of the stellar Grand Cru wines from the Côte d’Or in Burgundy. This wine is what I like to call the “velvet hammer.” Powerful, yet elegant, ripe with fruit, yet balanced on the acidity — it’s soft and intense at the same time. Rich notes of dark chocolate covered cherries pas de deux with earthy notes and a dark berry perfume. And don’t worry about obnoxious tannins; this is French oak all the way. Try it paired with roasted lamb for an unforgettable dining experience.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

January 25

Gustafson Mountain Cuvée Dry Creek Valley 2012 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley California ($24)

Chocolate and black plum aromas are in evidence on the nose here. The rich, dense, layered palate is studded with jam-laden fruits such as black cherry, blackberry, and cassis. All of these flavors continue on the long lush finish alongside bits of raspberry and sweet chocolate sauce. Whether you’re sipping wine by a fire or pairing it with a rich stew, Gustafason’s zin will get the job done in style.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

February 1

2013 Donnafugata “Sedàra” Sicilia Rosso ($16)

Remember Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? This wine from Western Sicily  is my groundhog wine — one I could gladly drink every day. Mainly from nero d’avola grapes, it is very full, very spicy red with balancing dry herbal notes — quite satisfying.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

February 8

Cast 2013 Grey Palm Estate Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley California ($56)

Cast is one of the newest producers in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. It already has several impressive wines in its lineup and this petite sirah is the best of the bunch. The deep, dark, and brooding nose is studded with toast, violets, and ripe black plum aromas. The dense palate is loaded with dark fruit flavors such as blackberry, plum, and blueberry. The long finish continues the parade of dark fruits along with plum pudding spices. Big chewy tannins and firm acid provide terrific structure. This big, bold wine will keep you warm on the coldest days of winter. It’ll pair with rich savory dishes as easily as dusty dark chocolate.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

February 15

Matanzas Creek Merlot 2012 ($28)

The Matanzas Creek estate may have once been a dairy farm, but this exceptional winery’s liquid commodity is now red and white wine, specifically sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and merlot. When Jackson Family Wines bought the property 40 years ago, the goal was to produce sustainable wines that articulated cooler sites in the Bennett Valley terroir and lived up to the Jackson Family standard of excellence. Judging from this merlot, it has exceeded its goals. This merlot is sourced from grapes planted on rolling green hillsides among fields of lavender in three appellations: Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, and Knights Valley. Sweet scents of cherry and raspberry float up from the glass and envelope your senses with aromas of cocoa powder and sage; with nary a hint of oak. Velvet tannins and focused acidity make this an elegant wine for easy entertaining. Oh, by the way, stock up because February 18 is National Drink Wine Day.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

February 22

Hito Tempranillo Ribera del Duero 2014 ($13)

A good example of unoaked or lightly oaked tempranillo. Smoky flavors. Chewy tannins. A bit of sweetness from ripe fruit. Good value.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

February 29

Denner Vineyards Paso Robles Ditch Digger 2013 ($70)

Need something to blast you out of the winter doldrums? Look no further than this heady blend of grenache, mourvédre, syrah, cinsault, and counoise from lauded winemaker Anthony Yount. This is a complex, rich, aromatic wine, with dark fruit, elegant structure, and a silky tannin finish. A beautiful blue-red in the glass, and priced far beyond its namesake’s means. It will transport you to warmer climes.

Anne Black Montgomery, freelance food, travel, and wine writer, contributor to The Daily Meal.

March 7

2013 Stony Hill Napa Valley Chardonnay, California ($44)

Let’s rush spring by breaking out this delightful, Burgundy-style chardonnay from one of Napa Valley’s oldest — and most respected — family wineries. It’s a very lively pour with flavors of both apple flesh and skin, but also lots of savory, dried herbal and mineral notes — quite rich without being a big wine.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

 

March 14

Inconceivable Rosso 2012 Terre Siciliane IGT “Terremoto ‘68” Sicily, Italy ($25)

This Sicilian red blends together nero d’avola (50 percent), nerello mascalese (30 percent), and frappato (20 percent). The nose is littered with an array of red fruit aromas such as cherry and raspberry. Bits of sage are in play as well. The rich palate is stuffed with red raspberry, red plum, and white pepper spice. Savory herbs, earth, and bits of dark chocolate are evident on the finish. Make some sauce, boil some pasta, invite the family over, and open this bottle. Everyone will be happy.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

March 21

Cambria Estate Winery Tepusquet Viognier 2014 ($22)

This family-owned estate has been making wine for 25 years, and for 20 of those years winemaker Denise Shurtleff has produced evocative wines that are as timeless as the myth behind the winery’s name. Cambria, which is the Anglicized name of the ancient Welsh kingdom of Cymru, is a winery that exemplifies top notch, cool climate California wines. Planted at 400 feet above sea level, Cambria Estate’s viognier is 100 percent estate-grown and offers concentrated floral notes tempered by crisp acidity. The wine’s silky body caresses your palate and tempts you to take sip after sip. Bright citrus notes of lemon, grapefruit, and orange zest flavors are complemented by eight months of aging French oak.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

March 28

Vineyard of Pasterick 2011 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, California ($48)

The fruit for this wine comes from their estate vineyard which sits on two distinct hillsides in the heart of Dry Creek Valley. There are a handful of producers in Sonoma County doing an outstanding job with syrah and Pasterick is among their number. Bits of earth and kirsch liqueur light up the welcoming nose. The palate is filled with blackberry and boysenberry flavors as well as hints of leather and spice. Smoked meat elements, touches of roasted espresso, and continued dark fruit flavors mark the long finish. If you love great syrah, this is one of the very best California has to offer; grab it before it’s gone. You won’t find a better wine to pair with your Easter ham.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

April 4

Ruffino Gran Selezione Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico 2010 ($35)

The pinnacle designation of wine quality of the famed Chianti Classico area in the Italian region of Tuscany is Gran Selezione. It means estate-grown grapes, longer aging (30 months rather than the standard 24), and slightly higher levels of alcohol and extract than plain Chianti Classico Riserva. It was approved in 2014.

This wine was made in 2010, but the standards of Ruffino are such that it already qualified for the Gran Selezione designation. One taste instantly convinces one of its pedigree. The nose is intense and tightly wound. A mixture of tar, smoke, black cherries, and oak. In the mouth, powerful fruit needs ageing time to fully resolve but the tannins are soft enough to drink it now. This wine will improve with age. A ‘super Chiantian (sic)’ that is excellent value.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

April 11

Yangarra Estate Old Vine McLaren Vale Grenache 2013 ($34)

Winemaker Peter Fraser is a man whose fierce dedication to quality earned his winery, Yangarra Estate, recognition as International Winery of the Year from Wine & Spirits in 2005 and 2006 and one taste of this fantastic grenache confirms why. He is rightly proud of this perfumed vintage and its balance of floral aromas and bright red fruit. Classic cherry unfolds on the nose and palate and is deftly combined with controlled tannins and acidity. The winery’s unique sandy soils and moonscape appearance belie the wine’s sensuous body and finish. Estate grown from Kangarilla, this is neutral-French oak-aged and ready to drink with your favorite food.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

April 18

2012 Va La Vineyards “Cedar,” Chester County, Pennsylvania ($48)

It’s spring, and we all know that means it’s time for a road trip — in our case to Va La Vineyards west of Philadelphia, about the only place you can buy this iconic wine. Cedar is an unusual blend of the grapes that go into Italy's barolo and amarone, and the result is a tangy, tightly wound glassful of tart cherry, elderberry, dried herbs, and smoke/road tar flavors, perfect for a stew of spring lamb.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

April 25

White Knight Prosecco D.O.C. Veneto, Italy ($15)

Stone and orchard fruit as well as white flower aromas are evident on the nose. Yellow fruit flavors of various stripes inform the juicy palate. Zippy acid and white pepper mark the crisp, refreshing finish. Prosecco runs the gamut from bone dry to quite sweet. This offering is fruity with gentle hints of pleasing sweetness. Those characteristics make it a perfect choice to serve as a welcome wine or with light foods during the early part of spring when the weather is mercifully warming up.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

May 2

Giornato Luna Matta Vineyard Nebbiolo 2012 ($45)

Just in time for Mother’s Day, this lovely, food-friendly nebbiolo is a gem. Lusher than the boutique winery’s 2011 version, it is a bright wine that speaks of fruit and earth — light cherry red in the glass and with ripe cherry repeating in the nose and on the palate, layered with dark mineral and spice notes and a notable tannin finish, it owes much to its distinctive terroir and the passion and skill of boutique winemakers Brian and Steffi Terrizzi.

Anne Black Montgomery, freelance food, travel, and wine writer, contributor to The Daily Meal.

May 9

Fall Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($12)

Humble sauvignon blanc got an uptick when New Zealand winemakers defined their own style for this chameleon grape. Now a Chilean winemaker, Sergio Cuadra, may be doing the same for the grape in Texas. Imagine a sauvignon blanc less acidic than New Zealand’s, more viscous than Sancerre, more mineral than the Napa version, and you have the idea. Its fine, fruit-acid balance makes it pleasant for quaffing. Its edge makes it suitable to accompany white fish, chicken, or turkey.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

May 16

Fall Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2015 ($12)

Humble sauvignon blanc got an uptick when New Zealand winemakers defined their own style for this chameleon grape. Now a Chilean winemaker, Sergio Cuadra, may be doing the same for the grape in Texas. Imagine a sauvignon blanc less acidic than New Zealand’s, more viscous than Sancerre, more mineral than the Napa version, and you have the idea. Its fine, fruit-acid balance makes it pleasant for quaffing. Its edge makes it suitable to accompany white fish, chicken, or turkey.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

May 23

Biggio Hamina Caroline Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($90)

May is Oregon Wine Month, so the amazing wines of the state are a natural choice. What is so amazing about so many of the wines from Oregon is their depth, range of styles, and affordability. Todd Hamina is crazy about pinot noir, especially old school types like those made by Claude Dugat in Burgundy's Gevrey-Chambertin. Hamina is the winemaker and founder of Biggio Hamina Cellars, and from the start, his wines have been terroir-driven, single-vineyard beauties that express the virtuosity of the prestigious Chehalem Mountain, Dundee Hills, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, and Yamhill-Carlton AVAs in the North Willamette Valley. Todd Hamina is a romantic and this wine, named for his wife Caroline, is his love poem to her. It’s a wine whose sensuous aromas, silky body, and lingering finish capture your heart. Gorgeous pigeon’s blood ruby red color is the overture to heady aromas of dark cherry and hints of violet, while on the palate dark raspberry vies for top billing with the Morello cherry, hints of cinnamon, and gentle tannins. Smooth and keen with acidity, the finish keeps bringing you back to see what other secrets may be revealed. Monsieur Dugat would be impressed.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

May 30

32 Winds 2012 Lucky Well Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, California  ($59)

All of the fruit for this wine comes from the namesake vineyard located just north of Occidental. It’s entirely pinot noir. Gentle bits of tar emerge on the nose here along with a bevy of Bing cherry and raspberry aromas. The palate is stuffed with red fruits tinged with bits of black cherry. Tons of spices are present as well and carry through the long finish along with mineral elements and berry pie crust. Zippy acid keeps things in focus. This is a lovely expression of pinot noir from Sonoma County. It’s the perfect wine for your Memorial Day BBQ. Bold enough to stand up to grilled foods, light enough for a warm day.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

June 6

Kim Crawford 2009 Fizz Methode Traditionnelle, New Zealand ($35)

Many of the world’s great winemaking regions have a sparkling wine tradition of one sort or another. Some are just jumping onboard since, at its best, sparkling wine is delicious and versatile. This offering from stalwart New Zealand producer Kim Crawford is a blend of traditional varieties chardonnay (40 percent) and pinot noir (60 percent). Citrus and stone fruit aromas emerge from the nose. The palate is layered with white peach, green apple, lemon zest, and bits of flaky biscuit. The long, firm finish shows off a hint of pastry crust, crème fraîche, and sour yellow fruits. Put together a picnic for someone you love and bring this wine, the results will be divine.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

June 13

Bonobo Winery Barrel Reserve Chardonnay 2013 ($40)

Nose of pineapple and ripe peach, taste of sweet pineapple and cream soda and some French oak. Medium body and acid. New World character. I thought that this was a California wine until I read the label. Astonishing how the Michigan fruit conceals its northern origins. Impressive, and one of the most surprising wines drunk in 2015.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

June 20

Scribe 2014 Skin Fermented Chardonnay Sonoma County, California ($38)

This estate wine was fermented using a variety of vessels and had three months of skin contact. It’s a white wine with the body and mouth weight of a red wine. On the first day of summer, you’ll want something refreshing that will pair well with your food. This wine has all of that. Bits of lemon zest and green apple appear on the nose. The palate is layered and intense with even keeled fruit flavors. The long finish shows off subtle fruit, minerals, and bits of spice. Pour this wine blind for your friends and defy them to name the grape; you’ll likely stump them with this delicious and unique offering — a fun wine game to welcome summer.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

June 27

2011 S.A. Prüm Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett ($27)

Riesling with barbecue? Yes. When I tasted this lightly sweet white wine with winemaker Raimund Prüm, he said, “This is no longer for seafood, this is for lamb, deer, or wild boar!” We’ll settle for pairing it with chicken in a honeyed barbecue sauce to balance out the wine’s light sweetness, apricot flavors, and great acidity.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

July 4

Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay, Brut NV ($27)

For Independence Day, serve the ultimate vinous expression of Americana — Thibaut-Janisson’s sparkling chardonnay from Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of Monticello. Two native sons of France's Champagne region, Claude Thibaut and Manuel Janisson are making wine not far from where Thomas Jefferson first introduced the Vitas vinifera grape to America in the 1700s. This wine has all the attributes of a world-class bubbly. Made with 100 percent chardonnay, it is refreshingly crisp with hints of brioche and apple on the nose. Soft, tiny bubbles help enhance yeasty flavors that reveal poached pear, crisp apple, and hints of kumquat. The acidity is bright and lively and the finish combines hints of fruit and minerality that make it perfect for toasting and pairing with a celebratory meal.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

July 11

Zuani Riserva Collio 2013 Bianco, Friuli-Venezia, Italy  ($37)

It’s a blend of friulano, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio. Gentle bits of toast and linseed oil are prominent on the nose of this wine. The palate is loaded with apple flavors as well as Bartlett pear and gentle grapefruit elements. Lemon zest, spices, honeydew melon, and tart green apple characteristics are all in play on the lengthy finish. This wine is delicious by itself, but truly excels when paired with food. Break your friends and yourself out of the generic white wine rut with this delicious, refreshing, and precise Italian blend.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

July 18

Smith-Madrone Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($48)

Lauded as The Daily Meal’s Winemakers of the Year in 2014, Stuart and Charles Smith continue to produce some of the best-value wines in the region, and this cabernet is no exception. A lush combination of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc grapes, this complex wine is a carefully calibrated powerhouse of dark fruit, tobacco, and spice, with a soft, round mouthfeel and a long tannin finish. Lovely.

Anne Black Montgomery, freelance food, travel, and wine writer, contributor to The Daily Meal.

July 25

Pine Ridge Vineyards “Le Petit Clos” Stag’s Leap District Chardonnay 2013 ($75)

Simply the best chardonnay that I tasted in 2015. Pale straw in color, this wine presents a nose filled with citrus blossom, Meyer lemon, and honey suckle. Truly delightful, truly delicious.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

August 1

2013 Bernard Defaix “Côte de Lechet” Chablis Premier Cru ($27)

We can’t let summer slip away without having a decent Chablis and a plate of oysters on the half shell. The Defaix is a bargain and a delicious one with juicy apple flavors followed by notes of brioche and cornmeal. The acidity will balance the fattest of the bivalves.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

August 8

Davis Bynum 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Jane’s Vineyard Russian River Valley, California ($25)

Davis Bynum produced the Russian River Valley’s first single-vineyard pinot noir, so it’s no surprise they now produce one of the region’s best single-vineyard sauvignon blancs. Citrus, orchard fruit, and bits of tropical fruit such as papaya and pineapple are part of the welcoming nose. The flavors are deep and rich with pear dominating along with hints of crème fraîche. The signature characteristic of this wine is an absolutely luxurious mouthfeel which leads into a long, memorable finish. This has more weight and depth than many sauvignon blancs in the price category. Pour this for your friends that love crisp, zippy wines as well as those that prefer richer, denser whites as Jane’s Vineyard sauvignon blanc bridges the gap of those styles.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

August 15

Elena Walch Beyond the Clouds Grand Cuvée Alto Adige Bianco ($51)

Julia Child was born 104 years ago today, and her passion for food and wine is mirrored by another visionary and influential woman who has significantly impacted the world of wine, namely Elena Walch. Trained as an architect, Elena Walch married into an old winemaking family in Alto Adige in northern Italy and what began as a desire to produce wine for a more modern palate, turned into a lifelong pursuit of fine wine. With this wine, the Elena Walch winery has created a cuvée that’s a blend of mostly chardonnay and other superior white grapes, with verve, style, and loads of terroir-driven minerality. It has a tightly orchestrated profile that offers deeply rich notes of soft woody apple, wet stone, and a bit of toasted almond. Complex, individual, and fuller-bodied, this is a wine for contemplation.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

August 22

2013 Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Cartizze ($43)

If you’re going to drink prosecco, at least drink the good stuff to celebrate the end of summer.  Cartizze is a “cru,” or special vineyard, on a hillside looking south toward Venice, and this bubbly is as dazzling as that glittering city. It is elegant yet assertive with aromas of wild flowers and flavors of fruits such as pear, peaches and golden apples.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

August 29

Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay 2014 ($35)

Rombauer affirms its reputation as a reliable supplier of classic rich, oaky chardonnay aged in a mixture of American and French oak barrels, one-third new. Soft and ripe, quaff this angular expression of America’s most popular grape alone or pair it with lobster in rich creamy sauce.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

September 5

Arrowood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($35)

If you love Sonoma County reds, Arrowood Vineyard’s cabernet-based Bordeaux-style blend (87 percent cabernet sauvignon, eight percent merlot, three percent petit verdot, and two percent malbec) will become your next go-to red for fall. Produced with grapes sourced from the Sonoma, Knights, and Alexander Valleys, this is a wine with intense dark cherry and red plum aromatics that reveal shades of what’s to come on the palate. Rich blueberry jam notes are complemented by violet, pepper, and licorice flavors that are balanced with soft tannins and a languid red fruit finish. Aged 24 months in 84 percent French oak (20 percent new) and 16 percent American oak (six percent new), the wine lets the wood act as subplot to the action.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

September 12

Cecchi​ 2012 Chianti Classico Tuscany, Italy ($22)

September is still prime grilling season, so fire your grill up, grill some pizzas, invite your friends over, and pour them this delicious chianti. Red cherry and leather aromas fill the nose. The palate is stuffed with wild strawberry, cherry, and red plum flavors. Black pepper, bits of earth, and more fruit round out the finish. This perfectly dry red is tasty all by itself but gets about 10 times more delicious when paired with something slathered in a classic red sauce. Pizza topped with mushroom will be simply perfect.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

September 19

2013 Three Sticks “Gap’s Crown” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($68)

Autumn is the ideal time for pinot noir, the most moody and melancholy of wines. This is one for savoring as the leaves turn to red and gold — lots of firm, dark-cherry flavors and notes of red vermouth and sassafras root with good texture, lean body, and hints of tannins.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

September 26

Sans Liege “The Transcendentalist” Red Blend NV ($28)

A blend of 46 percent syrah, 41 percent grenache, 13 percent mourvèdre from three different vintages. Dark blackberry opaque mass in the glass with an intense nose of cassis. In the mouth, chocolate, mocha, hints of bacon, licorice, all mouth filling. Soft tannins, and a long finish. An idiosyncratic wine, in the best sense of that term, in which the winemaker took his own road without deference to convention or market taste and succeeded magnificently.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

October 3

Nederburg The Motorcycle Marvel 2013 ($28)

Just in time for chilly weather, this bold South African Rhône-style blend of carignan, grenache, shiraz, and mourvédre is spicy and peppery, with red fruit underlying complex notes of cedar, oak, and tobacco. With its bone-dry, strong tannin finish, this is not a wine for the faint of heart, but should appeal to red meat- and spicy-food-lovers.

Anne Black Montgomery, freelance food, travel, and wine writer, contributor to The Daily Meal.

October 10

2013 La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi ($40)

Columbus Day is a good time to discover this wine made not far from Genoa, Columbus’ home port. The grape is cortese, but it’s also called Gavi in honor of the town where it makes the best wine. It has the acidity of a sauvignon blanc and the apple flavors and mild cheese notes of a chardonnay. If you’re the patient sort, stow away a few bottles — it will age well for years.

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

October 17

Château Haut-Bergey Pessac-Leognan 2008 ($35)

This elegant Bordeaux, perfect for drinking now and into hunting season, is rich with dark cherry, earth, smoke, and damp fern. Deep red in the glass with an iridescent ruby rim, it is velvety with medium body, balanced structure and a light tannin finish. It displays the distinctive game-friendly terroir of its aristocratic neighbors at a very gentle price.

Anne Black Montgomery, freelance food, travel, and wine writer, contributor to The Daily Meal.

October 24

Prova d’Autore 2012 ($16)

This red table wine is a blend of 40 percent sagrantino, 30 percent sangiovese, and 30 percent montepulciano. It comes from Umbria, the only one of Italy’s that has neither a coast nor an international border. It has complex earthy and fruit (cherry and blackberry) notes in the nose and the powerful fruit of Umbria’s signature red grape sagrantino. Made in a modern style, it emphasizes effusive fruit in the mouth and has a sturdy acid level that makes it not only more enjoyable with that red sauce pasta dish you were planning, but a compelling match with the acid in the tomato. This property’s winemaking has improved leaps and bounds with the result that Umbria IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica, the appellation ranking just down from Denominazione di Origine Controllata) is now producing world-class wine and reasonable prices.

Andrew Chalk writes about wine, spirits, beer, food, restaurants, wineries and destinations all over the world for The Daily Meal, John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, Somm Journal, Wine-Searcher.com, Palate Press, Modern Lifestyles (and Modern Lifestyles TV). In addition, he holds the WSET Level 3 certification in wines and spirits.

October 31

ACORN 2011 ACORN Hill Healdsburg, California ($48)

This offering is a field blend of syrah (49 percent), sangiovese (48 percent), viognier (1 percent), mammolo (0.5 percent), and canialo (.05). This offering from one of the best producers in the Russian River Valley tips its hat to the super Tuscan style. Blueberry aromas along with hints of blackberry and spice inform the nose. Deep and rich red and black fruit flavors dominate the firm palate which will soften nicely with a bit of air. Bits of chocolate, earth, and continued red fruit flavors lead the long finish. Make a bit pot of polenta, pour it in a platter, and top it with a medley of mushrooms sautéed with white wine. Then pair it with this wine; now you’re ready for the cool fall air to arrive when the trick or treaters leave.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

November 7

Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 ($59)

We're firmly into autumn now, and the season calls for something warm and meaty. This beautifully balanced, richly flavored red, 70 percent old-vines grenache (with syrah and mourvèdre filling in the rest) may not be estate-bottled, but it's a delicious mouthful that would complement a simple roast chicken or a complex ragout with equal finesse.

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal

November 14

Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($18)

If you are the kind of discerning wine-lover who looks for stellar boutique wines that offer value, be sure to explore the entire portfolio of acclaimed import firm Broadbent Selections. It's headed by Bartholomew Broadbent, a man with an encyclopedic knowledge of wine and a laser-focused palate, who has an unerring sense of good taste that makes his wines a sure bet every time. He specializes in representing wines that are as unique as the people that made them, and Spy Valley’s sauvignon blanc is one example. Owned and operated by Bryan and Jan Johnson since 1993, Spy Valley released its first vintage in 2000, and it has been winning accolades ever since. The winery gets its name from a nearby U.S. government spy post, in what back then was a remote unheard-of wine sub-region. This wine doesn't have the grapefruit-soda flavor profile typical of the grape and instead has heady aromas of stone fruit laced with tropical mango and kiwi with a crisp backbone of acidity and minerality. The palate is rich and medium-bodied with refreshing lime on the finish.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

November 21

Achaval-Ferrer 2012 Quimera Mendoza, Argentina ($34.99)

Quimera is a blend of malbec (50 percent), cabernet sauvignon (24 percent), merlot (sixteen percent) cabernet franc (eight percent), and petit verdot (two percent). The 2012 is a fine example of Quimera and offers far more value than the price might indicate. The malbec really boosts the nose with dark fruit aromas. The palate is filled with fleshy, juicy dark fruit flavors such as blackberry and cherry. Minerals, earth, and dark chocolate notes all emerge on the persistent finish. This is an impeccably balanced wine with terrific structure. It’s a delicious wine now, but will become more unified and resolved with some bottle age. Quimera is a perfect and well-priced wine for Thanksgiving’s broad array of flavors.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

November 28

Opaque Zinfandel 2013 ($30)

The Riboli family, one of the oldest winemaking families in the Paso Robles area, has managed to produce yet another great-value winner. Inky-dark in the glass, this wine explodes with aromas and flavors of ripe blackberry, plum with a bit of dark chocolate, pepper, and spice in the smooth tannin finish. The lush fruit is balanced by the calcareous minerality for which the area is famous.

Anne Black Montgomery, freelance food, travel, and wine writer, contributor to The Daily Meal.

December 5

2014 Domäne Wachau “Terrassen” Grüner Veltliner Federspiel ($16)

Now that we’re getting into winter with visions of ski lodges and fireplaces dancing in your head, this white wine from vineyards overlooking the Danube will be the perfect accompaniment for cheese fondue or even raclette, with its fresh apple flavors, a hint of spritz, and good acidity

Roger Morris, Wine and Food Writer, The Daily Meal, Wine Enthusiast, Beverage Media, and Sommelier Journal; Co-Author of The Brandywine Book of Seasons

December 12

Smith Madrone 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California ($48)

Year after year this is one of the very best cabernet sauvignons in Napa Valley at any price. Hints of cigar box, red cherry, and black pepper notes show up on the engaging nose. The palate is rich and layered with proportionate fruit flavors. Cherry and bits of cassis are of note. Earth, savory herbs, and a host of spice join continued red fruits on the long, persistent finish. You could pour this wine for any special occasion; it’s so good everyone will think you splurged. But for the incredibly reasonable price, why wait? Drink it on a Monday night with leftovers and treat yourself to this outstanding wine.

Gabe Sasso, Wine & Spirits Writer, The Daily Meal, Snooth, GabesView, Bullz-Eye

December 19

Secateurs Red Blend Swartland 2012 ($16)

Fun, quirky, gregarious. These are all terms you could use to describe Adi Badenhorst, one of the owners, along with his cousin Heid Badenhorst, of A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines. Producers in the Paardeberg area of the Swartland region of South Africa, the Badenhorst boys make easily drinkable wines filled with character that belie their prices. Sustainably created, this red is a must for everyday and pairs easily with a range of cuisines. This blend combines cinsault, shiraz, grenache, mourvèdre, and pinotage to create a refreshing alternative to single varietal pinotage wines. Ripe plums and dark berry dominate the aromas and are followed by similar notes on the palate with hints of date or prune. The balanced acidity keeps the wine lively without being too heavy. Light enough to serve alone at parties or complex enough for a meal, this is the perfect wine for holiday entertaining.

Summer Whitford is the D.C. Editor at The Daily Meal and also writes about food, drink, and travel. Follow her on Twitter @FoodandWineDiva, on Instagram at thefoodandwinediva, and read more of her stories here.

December 26

Müller-Catoir Haardt Riesling Trocken 2013 ($30)

Christmas is over, and it's time to breathe a sigh of relief and sit back and sip something tasty and cool. This "village" wine from the Germany's Pfalz region (also called the Palatinate) — an area whose wines are far too little-known and underappreciated — is what I think of as a winter white, dense and festive with cascades of luscious fruit.

Colman Andrews, Editorial Director, The Daily Meal