2014 was a good year for wines.
I have no idea if 2014 was actually good for wines on the whole, but I am 11100% sure it was a really good year for wines and me, so yes, 2014 was a good year. A fucking fantastic year, in fact. This was the first year I decided to take my relationship with wine more seriously, and it yielded quite the memorable vintage. I drank so many delicious wines, visited so many beautiful wineries, met so many incredible people. I learned so much and will always remember 2014 very fondly.
I will never make a list of "Best" wines. Just the thought is preposterous. But I will tell you about my favorite wines of the year.
2014 was the year of Beaujolais-Gamay for me. I had one bottle of weird-ass French shit and it was game over. I couldn't stop drinking it. I don't think I've gone through such a heavy wine phase since I first started drinking wine and refused to have anything but Cabs because I was twenty-two and an idiot.
Still kind of an idiot, but now I'm twenty-five. [wiiiiiink]
#10 MUNICIPAL Bright White Dry Riesling
($24) A couple months ago, I was belly to the bar at Silverlake Wine at a Monday Tasting, as I tend to do. I generally go alone, as to focus on wine. On this particular night, the gentleman next to me and I started shooting the shit. Turned out he was an importer and he set me up to visit Municipal Wines the following weekend. I had never had any of Municipal's wines, and after my visit, I was in love. One of my favorite things about their Riesling-- besides it being a confident dry white with an energized palate of grapefruit and awesome minerality-- is that it can be served at room temperature and it's still insanely refreshing. Municipal's Bright White Dry Riesling is one of the best Rieslings I've ever had, and it makes sense that when I revisited just yesterday, they were completely sold out of this shit. If you can buy it, DO IT. YOU WON'T REGRET IT.
#9 Čotar Teran
($27.99) I served this Slovenian gem at my Halloween tasting at my house. I was surprised to find that it was a crowd favorite, considering I chose this wine to represent blood in the tasting. But that's the crazy thing about trying new wines, you might actually like something even if you swear you only drink Pinot Noir. Anyway, this wine is pretty weird but really good. It's really intense, from bouquet to mouth. Warm, dry, with lots of cherry and high tannins. And, in my personal opinion, a bit of blood.
#8 Cane & Fable Cabernet Sauvignon
($19.99) I was hesitant to buy this wine because I do not like bugs and the label has a huge fucking bug on it. But it kept getting recommended to me, so I finally gave in. And I'm so glad I did. It's a classic, bold Paso Cabernet, but it's so smooth and drinkable with big notes of plum, cedar and blueberry. Truly a great wine that everyone likes. Seriously everyone fucking loves it. This is a perfect go-to wine if you don't know what your host is into it. It's the new Malbec.
#7 Le Cantine Di Indie Vino Rosso Del Popolo
($13) I described this as "A Good 'N Plenty wrapped in cashmere and raspberries" and I still stand by that assessment. Also, I said it was "the best $13 you'll ever spend on wine" and I still stand by that assessment as well because I have yet to find a $13 wine that tastes this freaking good. I DON'T EVEN LIKE GOOD 'N PLENTY CANDY. THAT CANDY IS THE FUCKING WORST. I HATE BLACK LICORICE. And yet, here I am. Adoring an Italian red that has a good punch of anise. This is my favorite wine for comparing and contrasting wine store wines versus grocery store wines. There's a good chance you spend $13 on wine at the grocery store and I bet it tastes like a barrel of sugar was poured into it right before bottling. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DRINK THAT SHIT. MAKE AN EXTRA STOP AT YOUR WINE STORE AND SPEND THE SAME $13 ON SOMETHING AWESOME.
#6 Le TelQuel
($17.50) Le TelQuel is a French Gamay with what looks like a dachshund on the label. Behind the label though, is a delightfully bright natural wine that is an absolute must if you love either Gamays or natural wines. It smells like cranberry juice and tastes like a flat, sour cherry beer. It's phenomenal. Definitely on the wackier side of wine drinking, although this was another I served at a tasting and found it to be a favorite.
#5 La Boutanche Gamay
($16.99) If based purely on the volume of wine purchased in 2014, the La Boutanche would be number one on this list. I don't think I've gone a week without replacing this and then immediately drinking it only to buy another bottle, and again, just drink the shit out of it. First of all, it's an awesome Gamay that is still light and sour, but much more approachable than some of the other Gamays on this list. This is a great introductory Gamay. It's highly drinkable, and it comes IN A LITER. SO MUCH BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. This is my go-to every time I entertain now because duh, extra delicious wine.
#4 Angiolino Maule Masieri
($19) I first had this wine while I was in Venice-- Italy, not the beach-- over the summer and fell in love with it. I was so happy to find it at DomaineLA. Another natural, bright wine with big lemon notes and some really wacky earthiness. Also shares that "sour beer" taste that the other natural wines on this list share. It's just really fun and different, and pairs really well with two of my favorite things-- pasta and seafood.
#3 Broc Cellars Valdigué
(Valdiguié, $23.99) There used to be over 6,000 acres of California devoted to Valdiguié, and now there's only about 300. This rare California varietal is now a personal favorite. It is a really interesting, lighter red with great layers of strawberries and raspberries, and finer floral notes like jasmine and even a hint of roses. This wine is complex but so juicy that it's a really easy drink that pairs well with basically anything you would put out at a dinner party. This is for sure my dinner party wine. It's impressive without being a dick, which is my favorite.
(R-13, $20) This shit is the shit. I fucking love it. It is the weirdest wine, and it is what started me on this whole crazy Gamay trip I've been on it. It legit smells like manure on wet redwood, but tastes like, you guessed it, a sour beer. It is so tart and funky, I can't even really explain it. I will tell you, this is a very polarizing wine. People either love it or hate it, so be careful who you serve it to. It turns out some people are not interested in wines that smell like shit and then taste like heaven but whatever, more for us.
#1 Scribe Cabernet Sauvignon
($65) And then you have the daddy of all daddies, the king of my heart and master of my palate, the Scribe Cabernet Sauvignon. This bold beast is smooth but poppy, and reminds me of drinking in a warm summer night full of blackberry brambles sunk in subtle soil, with fireworks in the dark distance. It has everything you love about classic California Cabernets but with a soft brightness that sits in your soul for the rest of your life until you somehow can afford to just be drinking $65 bottle of wines whenever you damn well please, which unfortunately for me, is not today. Aficionados and amateurs alike cream their pants over this shit. It's just the best. That's it. Nearly everything Scribe touches is perfection. Along with this Cab, I have to say, they make the best Chardonnay I've ever had (it's unskinned and a fucking miracle in a bottle). And they have the most beautiful winery, so if you're ever in Sonoma, do not miss it.