Favorite 50 Wines in 2020

Favorite 50 Wines in 2020Happy New Year! As we begin 2021, it would normally be time for our annual 50 Favorite Washington Wineries List for the previous year. But 2020 was far from normal. Firstly, thanks to COVID, we attended our last wine event on Feb. 29. Secondly, we had to cancel our planned trips to wineries in Walla Walla, Woodinville, Lake Chelan, B.C. and Oregon. As a result, we decided to highlight our favorite 50 wines instead of wineries in 2020. These are the wines we enjoyed at home or with members of our pod on socially-distanced outdoor patios. In addition, we expanded the list to include wines from Oregon, California, B.C., Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Spain, Chile and Argentina. Read on for our favorite 50 wines in 2020.
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Liberty Lake Wine Cellars

Liberty Lake Wine CellarLocated near Spokane, Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is a  boutique Washington state winery focusing on bold reds from Red Mountain. Our kind of wines, right? Right! As background, original owners Doug and Shelly Smith released the first 2005 vintage in 2007. Fast-forward to 2016. Mark and Sarah Lathrop took over the Liberty Lake operation, moving to a larger tasting room and production facility. They also created a second label, TAHIJA, for non-Red Mountain reds and whites.

Mark recently sent us samples of four bottles of Liberty Lake wine. First, we tasted 2018 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which won’t be released until next year. Second, we tried three releases coming out later this month: 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2018 Zinfandel and 2018 TAHIJA Sangiovese. Read on for details.

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Don Sebastiani Delicious

Don Sebastiani & Sons Pinot Noir has always graced our wine collection, so we were delighted to find out about how this California winery has expanded its portfolio to 14 brands with Big Smooth wines — a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon and a lush Old Vine Zinfandel packaged in a bottle with a velvet label.

“Big Smooth is inspired by the understanding that wine itself is an experience,” said Donny Sebastiani, CEO of Don Sebastiani & Sons. “Our vision for Big Smooth is to deliver big, mouth-filling wines that are not only smooth and sensual to drink, but extend that feeling all the way from first glance on the shelf to the last sip from your glass.”

The Sonoma-based winery also reinvigorated The Crusher wine series, with a new label design and new California label designation. The Crusher line-up: Merlot, Red Blend, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and the debut of Unoaked Chardonnay.

We recently enjoyed these samples, kindly provided by the winery.
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Wine & Halloween Candy, Oh My!

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 3.32.47 PMVivino’s popular guide to decide which wines to pair with Halloween candy has been updated this year — what a fun initiative. And c’mon, who hasn’t thought about a glass of wine while handing out treats or going to a Halloween party?

According to Vivino: “The most important things in a Halloween Survival Kit for adults are wine, candy, and more wine.”

In this year’s “Halloween Candy and Wine Match Maker” list, there are tasting notes on pairings, too, for those who want to “really nerd out.”

screen-shot-2016-10-30-at-9-42-42-amFor example, this is from the notes about the pairing of Whoppers and Cabernet Sauvignon: “The huge malty character of whoppers needs a wine with backbone and depth to keep from being overpowered by the malt and chocolate.”

For Hershey Kisses and Zinfandel: “The best wine contrasts creamy milk chocolate with ripe berry flavors. America’s sweetheart, Zinfandel, turns every bite into a raspberry cordial on the palate.”

These notes are just a taste (pun intended) of the fun pairings you can find in the guide. Have a look before, during and after Halloween!

Vivino’s Ultimate Guide to Pairing Wine with Halloween Candy

Yes, we are major fans of Vivino, and back in February, recommended downloading the free Vivino Wine App. We use Vivino to help us find details about wines before we purchase them — either online, from a retail outlet or in a restaurant. We also use the premium feature to organize our wine cellar. Love it!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave