The old adage “Hindsight is 2020” seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use as a theme for analyzing our wine sales this past year. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a quick list of our top-20 bestselling wines from 2020. This list isn’t just a compilation of critics’ choices, rather it’s our customers’ preferences and favorite wines — your picks, in other words!

Also here, is a list of Best Buys from 2020 — these are again your favorite wines priced under $40.00. We’ve also included a number of products on special. To order these write [email protected] or call 850-687-1370. Linked products can be ordered directly online.

 

The famous Brittany ponies of Château Pontet-Canet. Photo courtesy of Château Pontet-Canet

1.) 2016 Château Pontet Canet. WE-100. $142.89. 64 bottles
Our most requested wine by far. Awarded Wine Enthusiast Editor’s Choice for its “Voluptuousness…rich and fruity yet proper balanced.” Needless to say, we bought all we could of this superb biodynamic vintage.

Also available:
2006 Château Pontet-Canet. DC-95. $169.99. 3 bottles.
2008 Château Pontet-Canet. JD-96. $169.99. 3 bottles.
2010 Château Pontet-Canet. JS-100  RP-100. $229.99. 3 bottles.
2012 Château Pontet-Canet. RP-93. $159.99. 3 bottles
2015 Château Pontet-Canet. JS-98. $169.99. 10 bottles

2.) Christian Moueix Ulysses 3-Bottle Vertical in OWC. $425.00. 3 sets remaining.
Our top-selling American wine is produced by Christian Moueix, former winemaker for Château Pétrus, now proprietor of Ulysses and Dominus. This 3-bottle vertical offers serious collectors a chance to compare vintages:
2014 Ulysses: James Suckling-98 Decanter-96 Robert Parker-94
2015 Ulysses: James Suckling-96 Robert Parker-95 Jeb Dunnuck-95 Wine Enthusiast-94
2016 Ulysses: James Suckling-99 Antonio Galloni-98+ Robert Parker-95+

Also available:
2016 Christian Moueix Dominus Bordeaux Blend. RP-100. SPECIAL PRICING – $269.99. 2 bottles.

3.) 2018 Domaine Henri Boillot Volnay 1er Cru “Les Fremiets” $89.99. 21 bottles
As exceptional as 2018 was for red Burgundy, Henri Boillot himself shared with us that “Volnay was the star of the vintage.” A wine combining red and dark fruit, this Les Fremiets 1er Cru is the personification of elegance.

Also available:
2018 Boillot Volnay 1er Cru “Les Chevrets” $89.99.  4 bottles.
2018 Boillot Pommard 1er Cru Clos Blanc. $89.99. 7 bottles.

4.) Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV. JS-94. SPECIAL PRICE – $69.99. 19 bottles.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé is a luxurious Champagne, perfect for all occasions and far and away our top-selling Champagne. And as the Billecart family has shared with us on numerous occasions: “Our Brut Rosé is a Champagne Rosé and not a Rosé Champagne. The blend is generally 30% Pinot Meunier with almost 50% Chardonnay and the balance Pinot Noir. Most Rosé blends don’t include such a large percentage of Chardonnay.”

Also available:
2006 Cuvée Nicolas François. Named Decanter Wine of the Year. SPECIAL PRICE – $97.99. 12 bottles.

5.) 2015 Luce Brunello di Montalcino. JS-100. $119.99. 6 bottles.
James Suckling awarded this beauty 100 points, writing: “Full-bodied, deep and profound with fantastically strong tannins that just melt into the wine. Fantastic length and intensity. Truly great!”

Guillaume Michel, owner of Domaine Louis Michel & Fils. Photo by Marla Norman

6.) 2018 Domaine Louis Michel Chablis 1ers Crus. Special Pricing – $42.99 per bottle or $39.99 on a case price.
Guillaume Michel is a brilliant winemaker, but in 2018 his Chablis was stellar — so good we could hardly keep his wines in stock. Choose from these:
Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux. 12 bottles
Chablis 1er Cru Montmain. 36 bottles
Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre. 72 bottles

 

7.) 2016 Château Haut-Bailly in Magnum. RP-98  JD-98  JS-98. $259.99. 7 Magnums.
“Full-bodied, rich and seductive, it has layer upon layer of red, black and blue fruits intermingled with earth and mineral hints leading to a very long, perfumed finish.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

8.) 2017 Clos Apalta by Casa Lapostolle. JS-100. $115.99. 10 bottles.
We have twice sold out of this exotic Chilean beauty, featuring the carmenere varietal. We’ve just received a few more bottles, so order while you can.

Michel & Marla with Alexandre & Guillaume Thienpont during a 2019 visit to Vieux Château Certan. Photo by Tom DeGeorgio.

9.) 2016 La Gravette de Vieux Château Certan. RP-95. $73.99. 30 bottles.
In our opinion, there is not a better second wine — a testimony to the winemaking brilliance of Alexandre & Guillaume Thienpont. The father & son team are both down-to-earth, unpretentious and dedicated to the family winemaking and their exceptional property. Guillaume describes his job as “keeping the vineyards as untouched as possible. At VCC we have exceptional terroir and old vines. We respect what we have here. I don’t want anything to be spoiled because of something I do. On the other hand, we always strive to improve the precise vineyard management by gathering accurate information that helps with the decision-making.”

Also Available:
2017 Gravette de Certan. JS 97-98  RP 96-98. $77.99. 16 bottles.

Daniel & Florence Cathiard. Photo courtesy of the Cathiard Family.

10.) 2016 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Rouge. DC-98  RP-98  AG-98. $118.99. 46 bottles.
One of the most personable couples in Bordeaux are ex-ski champions, Florence and Daniel Cathiard. Their beautifully distinctive wines at Château Smith Haut Lafitte reflect both their competitive style and their joie de vivre. The 2016 SHL Rouge received top ratings. Decanter’s Jane Anson wrote: “A brilliant wine, one of the best ever at this property. Straight from the first nose you feel an added dimension and aromatic complexity to this bottle.”

Also available:
2009 Château Smith Haut Lafitte. RP-100.  $279.99. 10 bottles.
2014 Château Smith Haut Lafitte. JS-96  WE-96. $79.99. 49 bottles
2015 Château Smith Haut Lafitte. JS-99. $119.99. 12 bottles.
2018 Château Smith Haut Lafitte. JD 97-100. $107.99. 15 bottles

11.) 2014 Hyde de Villaine Belle Cousine. JS-93. $75.99. 12 bottles
Our 2nd top-selling American wine, an equal-blend of Merlot & Cabernet, scored 93 points from James Suckling. Of course, one would assume that Aubert de Villaine, owner of none-other-than Domaine de la Romanée-Conti would produce an extraordinary Napa wine. Best of all, this DRC cousin is MUCH more affordable!

Also available:
2012 Hyde de Villaine Belle Cousine. $73.99. 8 bottles
2012 Hyde de Villaine Carneros Chardonnay. JS-95. $49.99. 6 bottles.
2015 Hyde de Villaine Carneros Chardonnay. JS-96. $59.99. 6 bottles.

12.) 2017 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle in Magnum. JD-99  JS-98. $388.99. 2 bottles left!
Caroline Frey, took over the legendary Jaboulet Aîné properties in 2006 and converted the cultivation to biodynamic principles. As a result of her efforts, the iconic La Chapelle, as well as the entire lineup of Jaboulet Aîné wines, are even more sought-after and represent the standard for Syrah in the Northern Rhône.

13.) 2018 Domaine Henri Boillot Meursault 1er Cru “Les Charmes”  $89.99. 18 bottles
A stunning example of Boillot’s white Burgundies. Powerful but not heavy on the palate – full of energy and freshness, fine complexity and excellent minerality.

Also available:
2018 Boillot Meursault 1er Cru “Les Genevrières” $109.99. 3 bottles.

 

Ronan Laborde and Monique Bailly at Château Clinet. Photo courtesy of Monique Bailly.

14.) 2014 Château Clinet. AG-94+. $78.99. 31 bottles
Another of our favorite Bordelais couples — Ronan Laborde and Monique Bailly produce refined, award-winning wines at their Pomerol estate, Château Clinet. Many of you have had the pleasure of meeting the two in person, while enjoying their great vintages — all of which explains why we constantly sell out of their wines.

Also available:
2009 Château Clinet. RP-100. $339.99. 6 bottles.
2013 Château Clinet. WE-94. $79.99. 13 bottles.
2014 Château Clinet. AG-94+ $78.99. 31 bottles.
2015 Château Clinet. JS-99. $129.99. 15 bottles.
2018 Château Clinet. JD 96-99. $88.99. 18 bottles.
2016 Fleur de Clinet. JS-92. $44.99. 6 bottles
2016 Pomerol by Clinet. $39.99. 12 bottles

15.) 2016  Domaine Thibault Ligier Belair Chambolle-Musigny. $109.99. 36 bottles.
One of the top producers in Burgundy, Thibault Liger-Belair creates wines prized for their concentrated flavors, structure and density, with stem inclusion for added minerality and aromatic freshness. Allan Meadows (Burghound) describes the 2016 Chambolle-Musigny-Musigny as “pretty and airy, with notes of red cherry, dark raspberry, spice and a hint of violet…and fine intensity to the highly energetic middle weight flavors.”

16.) 2014 Elvio Cogno Barolo Ravera. JS-95. $69.99. 15 bottles.
“The Ravera cru of Novello is quietly growing in prestige and consistency. It is becoming one of the latest additions to an elite list of grand cru sites in the Barolo appellation. That quality is demonstrated in a difficult vintage such as this. The 2014 Barolo Ravera is a tight and polished expression with a glossy and gleaming personality. The fruit is fine-tuned and small in range, but it hits the senses with pinpoint precision. The wine shows the taut tightness of its youth and will flesh out with a few more years of cellar aging.” (Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate)

Also available:
2013 Elvio Cogno Barolo Cascina Nuova. $42.99. 16 bottles

17.) 2017 Vieux Château Certan. WS-98  JS-98. $215.99. 29 bottles.
Again, we can’t say enough about the winemaking genius of Alexandre & Guillaume Thienpont. Proof of their ability is clear in this VCC 2017 vintage, a challenging year in Bordeaux, and yet the Thienponts produced what many critics consider to be the “Wine of the Vintage”  — a Wine Enthusiast Cellar Selection and Wine Spectator Collectible.

Also available:
2013 Vieux Château Certan. WE-94. $164.99. 10 bottles.
2016 Vieux Château Certan. JD-100  RP-100  AG-100  NM-100. $299.99. 10 bottles.

18.) 2012 Chêne Bleu Abélard. $73.99. 6 bottles
A blend of Grenache and Syrah, this biodynamically produced wine is aged 18 months in barrel. Big, ripe, layered and hedonistic, with tons of sweet Grenache blackberry and black cherry fruits, melted licorice and roasted herb aromas and flavors. Wine critic Michel Bettane writes that Chene Bleu is “the birth of a Grand Gru.”

Also available:
2012 Chêne Bleu Héloïse. JD-96. $77.99. 6 bottles.

19.) 2018 Château Larcis Ducasse. JS 97-98. $69.99. 23 bottles.
Over the past three years, we’ve been impressed with production at Château Larcis Ducasse, and 2018 was especially good. Jeb Dunnuck writes: “It’s deep and thrillingly pure, with fine tannins and a beautiful finish. This is an incredible terroir, and the estate has been firing on all cylinders thanks to the talents of Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire. ”

Also available:
2014 Château Larcis Ducasse. $52.99. 22 bottles.

20.) 2018 Domaine Leflaive Auxey-Duresses. $88.99. 8 bottles.
Domaine Leflaive claims some of the most precious terroir in all of Burgundy — which is saying a lot! Careful management and biodynamic practices have produced unparalleled wines. The 2018 vintage is citrus-driven with notes of green apples and white flowers. There is a backbone of minerality that holds out through the wine to a dry finish. A high quality Auxey-Duresses.

Also available:
2018 Domaine Leflaive Estate Bourgogne Blanc. $80.99. 3 bottles.
2018 Domaine Leflaive 1er Cru Clavoillon Puligny-Montrachet. $229.99. 2 bottles.

Tied for #20:
2017 Louis Barruol Côte-Rôtie “La Boisselée”  $98.99. Only a few bottles left!
Louis Barruol, a 14th generation vigneron, is one of the finest producers in the Rhône Valley, with  properties consisting of 30-50 year-old Syrah vines. Barruol benefits from his association with Kermit Lynch, who is always personally involved in the production of the wines he brings in, and this La Boisselée is exceptional — 100% hand-harvested, with concentrated fruit and smokey black olive aromas.

Also available:
2017 Louis Barruol Côte-Rôtie “Neve” $98.99
2017 Louis Barruol Hermitage “La Pierrelle” $88.99
2017 Louis Barruol Hermitage Blanc “La Pierrelle” $98.99
2017 Louis Barruol Crozes Hermitage “Tiercerolles” $38.99

BEST BUYS
2015 Le Petit Haut Lafitte Rouge de Château Smith Haut Lafitte. AG-92+ $35.99. 21 bottles.
2015 Château Poesia. JD-93. $39.99. 77 bottles
2015 Château des Laurets – Edmund de Rothschild. $33.99. 31 bottles. Also available in Magnum. $79.99. 6 bottles
2015 Château Haut-Brisson. JS-95. $29.99. 104 bottles
2016 Domaine Thibault Ligier-Belair Moulin a Vent Vieilles Vignes. SPECIAL PRICE – $35.99. 12 bottles.
2017 Perrin Vinsobres, Rhone. SPECIAL PRICE – $19.99. 36 bottles
2017 Château Tour Saint-Christophe. JD-95. $28.99. 60 bottles.
2018 Louis Michel Chablis Village. $26.99. 29 bottles.
2018 Carillon Bourgogne Aligote. SPECIAL PRICE – $23.99. 24 bottles

 

Cheers! Best wishes again for a happy, healthy much-improved 2021!!!