Photo by Ashton Worthington / Prop styling by Brian Byrn
It’s no small feat to recap a year of tasting, especially when the Wine Enthusiast tasting panel annually reviews upward of 22,000 wines. This year, coverage of classic regions like Napa, Bordeaux, Barolo and Rioja remained a heavy focus, and our tasters reviewed hundreds of wines from regional stalwarts and winemaking legends, with many standouts worth finding.
Yet, discovery has and always will be a part of the Wine Enthusiast ethos. We left no stone unturned to find tasty bottles from unique spots like the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily, the wilderness of the Vayots Dzor province of Armenia, a burgeoning wine region in Uruguay and locales with historic vines in California’s Central Coast.
We enjoyed wines from producers both large and small—those that follow conventional winemaking practices and those that pursue low-intervention winemaking. We reveled in classically structured Brunello and geeked out over amphora-aged Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. We enjoyed the sublime ease of crisp, fruity rosé and waxed poetic about traditional-method sparklers.
Clearly, this year brought many things to be excited about. All this enthusiasm culminates in our ultimate list of the year: The Enthusiast 100.
The selections on this roster speak to the epic diversity that can be found in the wine world, with an eye toward score and price to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. At the number one spot sits a bottle of Margaux from a historic chateau that hits the trifecta of high quality, accessible price and wide availability (while stocks last). Many more gems abound, so read on to discover what bottles filled our wine-loving souls to the brim this year.
Click here for a downloadable PDF of our Enthusiast 100 of 2021.