Top 21 Wines of 2017 from Renegade Wines
Renegade Wines: Retail, Storage, Events

2017 was a exciting year for wines. We discovered some absolute gems.
As we re-read our tasting notes for the year we came up with 102 wines that were simply outstanding, from a 2002 Nebbiolo to a Petit Sirah from Italy. There were epic Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, stellar wines from Mount Etna, breathtaking Riojas, and dozens of new wineries emerging on the Santa Barbara Scene.
From these 102 over-achievers we compiled our favorite 21 wines, with some difficulty we must say.
The wines below reflects both great quality and great value, and sometimes a nice bit of both.

Most are available for purchase. Enjoy the reviews.

2015 Peake Ranch Pinot Noir
(Sta, Rita Hills) $40
Ah, Paul Lato. Does he make a bad wine? Not that we've ever come across. This is the second vintage for the newcomer Peake Ranch with Paul Lato installed as head winemaker.
This 2015 Pinot Noir was made from 100% John Sebastiano fruit, so it is an appellation-level wine in name only. Given its origin, it is no surprise that the 2015 packs a serious punch. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and menthol infuse a creamy, voluptuous wine built on texture and depth. All the elements come together in a rich, sumptuous Pinot that overdelivers, big time.

2016 Brander Cabernet Sauvignon Vino Joven
(Los Olivos District) $24
Fred stopped by mid-Summer to try us on his new 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The first sip was sensational. Juicy, bright, plump. A delicious wine that's savory, with notes of black cherry, plum, tobacco, grilled herbs, menthol and licorice. A lovely long finish at a tremendous price.

We took the rest of the bottle home to enjoy with a grilled New York.

2016 Envinate Garnacha Tintorera Albahra
(Spain, Vino de Mesa) $24
Four friends began this project back in 2005. Their wines, this one included, are profoundly pure with a clear expression of terrior. Now don't turn your nose when we tell you this is a 'natural wine'. It's not orange, it doesn't smell funny at all. In fact the aromatics are insane. Great earthy dark fruit and spice, juicy texture, with a cult-like following. A great wine to pair with savory dishes, like roasted meats, sausages, mushrooms, and rice dishes, like paella or arroz negro. 

2015 Domaine de Colette Regnie Vieilles Vignes (France, Beaujolais) $20
2015 (and 2016) have put Beaujolais back on top. Superb vintages that drink well now, and will age for quite a long time. This bottle of Gamay from 50+ year old vines has a beautiful, seductive nose of fresh berry fruit, with a rich core of dark plum & raspberry. A lively wine that will redefine your thinking about this appellation.

2009 Vignalta Agno Tinto (Italy, Veneto, Colli Euganei) $26
Our visit to Vignalta winery last May was a treat. Lucio Gomiero in Colli Euganei (the Venetian Hills) was our host. His wife cooked us lunch at their home. We spent 5 hours at the winery walking and tasting, and after about 10 different Bordeaux blends from current and past vintages, we were full, and ready to throw in the towel.
Then Lucio asked if we would like to try a Petit Sirah. A what? From where?
"I am the only winery in all of Italy to produce Petit Sirah", he replied.
So we did. And kept drinking. And finished the bottle.
A refined wine with fine-grained tannins, balanced with good acidity, and sleek berry fruit.
Pairs well with roasted chicken or rabbit.

2014 Girolamo Russo Etna San Lorenzo (Sicily, Etna DOC) $56
From the high-altitude vineyard San Lorenzo with its 60-100 year old Nerello Mascalese vines.
Girolamo has created wonderfully expressive wines in this glorious 2014 vintage.
No fining or filtration and only native yeasts.
This is a wine with impressive delicacy, yet with a backbone of power. This is wine we want to drink everyday, and wine we want try again in 20 years (because we bet it will go the distance). Production? 200 cases, only 20 imported.

2015 Etienne Sauzet Bourgogne Blanc (France, Burgundy) $40
A simple Bourgogne, yet it's not that simple after all. Blind tasting this wine you'd think you are tasting someone's Puligny-Montrachet. It's that good. A few days ago a customer came back and said that he opened the wine but was a little diappointed; that it wasn't very showy -more minerals and such. We mentioned how great it would become on day 3 to which he replied, "Well I LOVED it on day 3!"

2015 Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage (France, Northern Rhone) $34
You've heard about the epic Northern Rhone vintage of 2015 and Alain Graillot does not disappoint.
Deep garnet color. Aromatic with deep and dark secondary notes- melted iron, mesquite smoke, pressed violets, red currant fruit, eastern spices. Gorgeously layered on the palate, showing open black fruits backed with sanguine earth, floral and spice depth. Seamless silky texture, medium-bodied, with well-laid acidity and fine tannins. Good depth and a long finish.

N.V. Gosset Champagne Brut Excellence (France, Champagne) $38 -still on sale! Reg 48
1584 was a landmark year in Champagne. Besides the fact that Sir Walter Raleigh was granted a patent to colonize Virginia, the House of Gosset came into existence, now the oldest winery in Champagne.
About a bazillion people told us how much they loved this bottles of bubbles last year. Some weren't wild about Champagne to begin with, others loved Champagne completely. We were smitten with it on our first sip. It's still in stock, and still on sale!

2015 Olivier Riviere Rioja Ganko (Spain, La Rioja Alta) $45
Ganko is a nickname that Olivier has acquired but this one came from his Japanese importer. It means “stubborn”, which is a useful trait for any outsider, especially one making wine his own way in Rioja. Ganko comes from a site at 600 meters in elevation near the village of Cárdenas in Rioja Alta. Here Olivier farms 60–90 year old Garnacha and Mazuelo in sandy and ferrous, red clay soils, with biodynamic practices.
Wild berry and peppery plum! Yum Yum!

2014 Chateau Lynch-Bages (Bordeaux, Pauillac) $108
One of our favorite Pauillac producers. And while this is a baby, after decanting for 5 hours we could scribble some decent tasting notes:
Aromas of currants, blackberries and with hints of chocolate and spices. This is a full bodied wine after five hours in the decanter (it was very shy when the cork first was removed), with firm and silky tannins and a long and juicy finish. Perfect to take to your favorite steak house.
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