Renegade Wines Top 21 Wines of 2021 Newsletter
a Top 21 Wine List; favorites of
ours and our customers from the
previous year. 2023 proved to be
full of excellent and exciting wines
from nearly every corner of the wine
making world. There was a wonderful
Moschofilero from Greece, a Pecorino
from Abruzzo, a delightful Carignon
from the South of France. As much as
we liked these three, we liked our
Top 21 even more.
begin with our #21 and proceed down to
The Top 10 will be out by week's end.
In the meantime, read, relax, and
Lieu Dit Melon (Santa Maria
A Fond Farewell.
2023 saw the last of this incredible
wine as the Melon de Bourgogne vines
were removed from the vineyard in
Santa Maria to be replaced by what
we can only guess will be a more
profitable varietal. This Melon from
Lieu Dit was our best selling local
white wine for two years in a row
and our customers loved it (as did
we). Our last two bottles left
Renegade on December 8, 2023. We
will miss this wine greatly.
Late Breaking News: Hold the
presses. We just heard a rumor that
this wine may be back this Spring;
new vintage of course. Stay Tuned…
Collestefano Verdicchio di
(Italy, Marche) $22.50
When Ian d’Agata calls
Collestefano’s Verdicchio, “possibly
Italy’s greatest white wine buy” we
stood up and took notice. We sampled
the 2022 vintage over the course of
three days without the wine becoming
tired. In fact on day three the wine
was still fresh and alive. On day
one we wrote “brisk and saline”.
24 hours later: “emerging citrus”.
And then it was Saturday: “seductive
This was wonderful with grilled
oysters and seared albacore.
Meyer-Näkel Blue Slate
One of the best Pinot Noirs of 2023
and it comes from the tiny
appellation of Ahr where two sisters
are crafting some of the BEST Pinot
Noirs in Europe (bold statement, we
We purchased this wine and many of
their others after reading a
heartbreaking story about a 2021
flood, the devastation at their
winery, and about a community that
came together (you
can read about it here). When
the wines arrived we broke open the
Rose first and immediately knew
these sisters are very special
people. We waiting a few weeks
before opening the 2018 Blue Slate
Pinot Noir. Once we did the room
filled with incredible aromas of
black and blue fruit, red currant,
black cherry. The first sips were
super vibrant, elegant, lasting.
Since that moment we’ve enjoyed many
of their other wines and have never
Domaine Alain Normand Mâcon La
(France, Burgundy, Mâconnais) $26.50
What we remember about our first sip
was that the purity of this
Chardonnay was extraordinary. And
that the finish lasted some time.
There’s the immediate sensation of
stony minerality that you find in
Chablis, and a lemon zest / seashell
mid-palate that’s enticing. The
texture of the wine caresses the
palate, lingering after the glass
has been drained. All this adds up
to one amazing White Burgundy that
should cost a whole lot more.
Bruno Zanasi Lambrusco Grasparossa
(Italy, Emilia-Romagna) $22
Chalk this up to ‘You Never Know Until
You Taste’. We had not enjoyed a great
Lambrusco in years; not even a really
good one. They have been either thin
and unattractive or syrup-like with a
sweet-tart edge. Sometime last Spring
one of our regulars asked if we could
order a specific bottle of wine; this
wine from Bruno Zanasi. We brought in
a case and sold one bottle. Weeks went
by and there the wine sat on the shelf
until we finally summoned the courage
to taste it.
Lightbulbs! It was magnificent; a
masterpiece that had all the groovy
class and balance. A fresh,
enchanting, dry red sparkler, with
aromas of violets, strawberries, fresh
plums, black cherries plus hints of
beautiful garden soil. Perfectly
balanced and worthy of a charcuterie
spread or of course Pepperoni Pizza.
Needless to say after our lightbulb
moment this bottle was highly
recommended to all (and still is).
Pauillac by Château
(France, Bordeaux, Médoc,
This is the second label from 5th
growth producer Grand-Puy-Lacoste.
But what exactly is a ‘second
label’? Generally it’s a wine
produced from younger vines, using
less oak in a shorter amount of
time. It’s a wine that will show you
the style of the winery at a
fraction of the price of their
number one wine. It won’t age as
well as Grand-Puy-Lacoste but you
can thoroughly enjoy it today.
Last Summer when the BBQs were
burning hot weekend after weekend
this was the favorite Bordeaux for
those in the know. Medium to full
body with vibrant black and red
fruit, rose petals and graphite, all
very engaging with supple acid and a
long, stirring finish. Energized and
is the forgotten grape of Burgundy
where Chardonnay receives all the
attention. That is, until now. Nicolas
has created something special here;
taking Aligote in to the realm of
premier-cru-worthy praise. It’s a wine
we suggested to many patrons in 2023
always accompanied by this advice:
give it a little time to open up in
the glass. Most everyone returned for
another bottle or two.
(France, Burgundy) $42
Vine age is a factor here, planted in
1933 as is Nicolas’s decision to age
in barrel with a small portion of new
oak. It adds a mighty texture to the
wine and a depth not achieved even by
Villaine’s Aligoté from Bouzeron.
We enjoyed this wine with grilled
swordfish, roast chicken, really great
French fries (yes!), and the last time
we sipped on a glass it was with a
selection of cheeses that Santa
Barbara's best, The
Cheese Shop recommended.
Xarmant Arabako Txakolina
(Spain, País Vasco, Arabako
We admit it. The label is what drew us
to this wine in the first place.
Colorful, festive, lively. Then we
sampled the wine inside and were
hooked. Where tradition in Txakolina
is for white wines to have a slight
spritz to them, this white wine is
completely still by choice of the
winery. They are aiming for a slightly
more serious wine with depth,
structure, and pose, but with a
whimsical flair at the same time. They
succeeded in spades.
Dragonette Cellars Chardonnay Rita's
(Sta. Rita Hills) $65
Sometimes luck is on your side. Like
when Brandon (from Dragonette) and
Daniel (everyone knows Daniel)
strolled through the door with this
bottle in their bag. With a minimal
exchange of words they poured, we
sipped. Marvelous came to mind,
exotic, structure, balance,
mind-numbing too. We joked, ’97 points
at least’. Daniel replied, “97 points
exactly; Galloni’s rating was just
Here’s Galloni’s review:
“The 2021 Chardonnay Rita's Crown
Vineyard is magnificent. Soaring
aromatics and fine, sculpted fruit are
among the signatures of this superb,
pedigreed Chardonnay. The purity of
the flavors is just striking.
Deceptively medium in body, with tons
of intensity, the Rita's Crown is one
of the most compelling wines from
Santa Barbara I tasted this year.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
& Richard Crémant de Bourgogne
(France, Burgundy, Crémant de
first discovered this sparkling
sensation on a rainy afternoon at
Les Deux Magots in Paris years ago.
We learned from the
Parigot & Richard is based in
Savigny-lès-Beaune, in Burgundy’s
Côte de Beaune, and sources fruit
from vineyards in the Côte de Nuits
as well as Savigny-lès-Beaune. After
the first glass we nearly forgot
about that other sparkling region.
hear it for Sparkling Burgundy!
A fantastic bottle of bubbles that
approaches the quality of good
Champagne without the price tag.
Cantina Terlan Sauvignon Terlano
(Italy, Trentino-Alto Adig) $42
If you’ve drunk your fill of
Sancerre why not try our #11 WOTY?
Not only is Terlano widely
considered the best white wine
producer in Italy, it’s one of our
favorite Sauvignon. A
mouthwatering white, with
vivacious acidity, juicy notes of
apricot, mandarin and passion
fruit, lots of good mineralized
energy, and a beautiful aromatic
your preferences | Opt
out using TrueRemove®
Got this as a forward? Sign
up to receive our
View this email online.
email was sent to [% member:email
Continue receiving our emails,
add us to your address book.