Counting down the top 10 wines of 2017
Don’t call it a comeback. Wine’s been here for years. In this article we’re going to review the top 10 wines of the year.
The ancient beverage has been enjoyed in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Sicily, and even though it’s always been a favorite, wine is now seeing a resurgence in popularity – especially among Millienials. That’s because good wine is easier to come by than ever, so if you’re wondering how to choose a good wine, do we have the list for you!
The fine folks at Wine Spectator magazine blind taste-test 15,000 wines each year so you don’t have to – it’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it.
The magazine just released their list of the top wines of 2017, and each one scored a 95 or higher out of a possible 100. So, forget that other New Year’s Eve countdown – let’s all grab a glass of our favorite vintage and count down the top 10 wines of the year…
#10 – Booker Oublié Paso Robles 2014
Ever dream of quitting your job and starting a winery? That’s what Eric Jensen did when he left his brokerage firm to grow grapes. Now, his Booker label turns out some of the best wines California has to offer.
Kicking off the Top 10 Wines of 2017 is Booker’s Oublié, a Rhone-style red that Wine Spectator calls “expressive” and “impressively structured.” You’ll find aromas of blackberry, rosemary and thyme alongside flavors of espresso, currant, and pepper.
At $80 a bottle, pair it with beef, salmon, lamb, or poultry… or just enjoy a glass by itself.
#9 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley 2015
Coming in at number nine on the list of the Top 10 Wines of 2017 is a California Chardonnay from another vintner who switched careers.
Former lawyer Jason Pahlmeyer now produces grapes that are grown at a high elevation, then fermented and aged in new French oak, resulting in a white wine that’s rich and buttery with a flavor of tropical fruit, pineapple, melon, and pear. At $75 a bottle, Wine Spectator calls it, “Sunshine in a glass.”
Looking for the perfect pairing? Try this recipe for herb-grilled Wild Striped Bass.
#8 Meyer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2014
Yet another California wine lands at number eight on the Top 10 Wines of 2017, but this one isn’t made in Napa.
The Meyer label has its vineyard in nearby Gordon Valley, and Wine Spectator says the choice of location gives this Cabernet a “more elegant” flavor than most Napa Cabs.
At $70 a bottle, you’ll find tastes of dark berries, licorice, anise, and crushed rock in this supple red. And if that sounds too hoity-toity for you, the magazine calls the wine simply “yummy.”
Try it with any of these recipes.
#7 Château Canon-La Gaffelière St.-Emilion 2014
The first French wine to make the list of Top 10 Wines of 2017 is this organically-grown red from the Bordeaux region.
Senior editor James Molesworth says this wine debuted with little hype, and as a result, it’s a great bargain at $61 per bottle. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, this elegant Bordeaux has flavors of red cherry and plum with “tobacco and warm ganache notes leading the way.”
Molesworth recommends letting it age, but if you simply have to drink it now, decant it and serve with a large meal.
#6 Domaine Huët Vouvray Demi-Sec Le Mont 2016
Tropical fruit flavors like white peach, yellow apple, and creamed pear mark the first French white to land on the list of Top 10 Wines of 2017.
Vouvray comes from the Loire Valley, and Domaine’s biodynamically farmed, off-dry white wine is not as sweet as others of this style.
It comes at only $44 a bottle, and you can drink it now or let it age for up to twenty years—but definitely try it with this recipe for Goat’s Milk Pavé with Eucalyptus Honey Gelée.
#5 Château de St.-Cosme Gigondas 2015
Looking for a dark, muscular French red? No, I’m not talking about your new boyfriend. Check out #5 on the list of Top 10 Wines of 2017.
Made from grapes grown in the Rhone Valley, it’s a wine that senior editor James Molesworth calls “brawny” and “energetic,” but “not overly rustic”—meaning it has less of a barnyard odor than other heavy reds. (Yes, that’s a thing.)
At $43 a bottle, this versatile, basic wine goes great with something as simple as a cheesesteak sandwich, or you can pair it with something fancier, like Lamb Kebabs with Israeli Couscous Salad.
#4 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2012
Our first Italian wine on the list of Top 10 Wines of 2017 is a vibrant red from Tuscany. Made from dark Sangiovese grapes, Brunello di Montalcino is an elegant and high quality wine that’s one of the most famous in the country.
Casanova di Neri has produced their “White Label” since 1978. Raspberry and cherry flavors mix with tobacco and mineral, producing a flavor that the magazine calls “well-structured” with a “sinewy finish.”
At $65 per bottle, you can drink it now, or save it for later—this wine will only get better with age.
#3 Château Coutet Barsac 2014
We return to Bordeaux for number three on our list of Top 10Wines of 2017. This sweet white wine combines flavors of pineapple, yellow apple and white ginger with finishing notes of orange blossom and honeysuckle.
The name “Coutet” derives from a French word for “knife,” and it’s given to this wine for its “crisp, lively impression.” At $37 a bottle, the 2014 vintage is what the magazine calls a “Goldilocks Vintage”—meaning the price and style are “just right.”
It pairs well with dessert, but Senior Editor James Molesworth says try it with chilled seafood, like shrimp, lobster and oysters.
#2 K Syrah Walla Walla Valley Powerline Estate 2014
Washington is a relatively new player in the world of wine, but this excellent Syrah from K lands at number two on the list of Top 10 Wines of 2017.
Former rock’n’roll manager Charles Smith planted his vineyard just south of Walla Walla in an ancient riverbed, and Wine Spectator calls this red wine “a knockout” that’s “explosive with personality.”
Dark plum, pepper, and licorice flavors combine with the aroma of roasted meat and blackberry. Serve with beef, fish, or poultry.
At $45 a bottle, you’ll be singing, “K Syrah, Syrah.”
#1 Duckhorn Merlot Napa Valley Three Palms Vineyard 2014
Don’t tell Paul Giamatti, but the number one wine on Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of 2017 is a merlot.
Founded in Napa Valley in 1976, Duckhorn Vineyards has always specialized in merlot. Because Duckhorn’s merlot grows in warmer conditions than normal, they produce smaller batches than other vineyards. The result is what Senior Editor Kim Marcus calls, “a powerful and elegant wine.”
You’ll find tastes of boysenberry, cherry, and red plum, layered with spices and minerals, as well as a cardamon finish. At $98 a bottle, it’s one of the more expensive wines on the list, but the price is well worth it if you’re looking to splurge.
Merlot pairs well with most foods because it falls right in the middle of the spectrum of red wine, but is traditionally served with chicken or other light meats.
There you have it! Ten top wines to start your New Year off right. If that’s not enough for you, check out the remaining 90 bottles on their list… or you can spend the year blind-tasting 15,000 wines yourself. Just watch out for that hangover…
Happy New Year!