Renegade Wines Top 21 Wines of 2020 Newsletter


2019 Antonella Corda Cannonau di Sardegna (Italy, Sardinia) $20.50
When wine is in your blood it’s difficult to ignore its pulse – at least for Antonella Corda, granddaughter of Antonio Argiolas (late patriarch of Argiolas). Her wines are sensual without being overt. They're beguiling from the beginning, and as you finish you know you’ll be hooked for good.
Cherry, raspberry, blackberry, rose and a delicate spicy note of white pepper. It’s a wine we gravitate to again and again.



2018 Danilo Thomain Enfer d'Arvier (Italy, Valle d'Aosta, Enfer d'Arvier) $38.50
From what amounts to a backyard garden in the foothills of Mont Blanc, this rustic/refined red is a one-of-a-kind wine experience.
Enfer d’Arvier is the kind of wine which, under normal circumstances, would only be found in a few places in its remote region of origin and at the “cellar door” itself. The fact that any amount of this wine makes it to Renegade Wines  (only 500-700 cases are produced) is a small miracle.
This ethereal mountain red, based on the native Petit Rouge grape grown in some of the highest-elevation vineyards in Europe, is not only straight-up delicious but truly like nothing else in wine. Certainly a ‘Do Not Miss’ and one of our years favorite treasures.

2018 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Gavi (Italy, Piedmont, Gavi) $24
Francesco Rinaldi and Bruno Giacosa have two things in common: they produce outstanding Barolos and each produces a single, charming white wine. For Giacosa it his Arneis which has graced our Top 21 list in years past. For Rinaldi it's his outstanding wine from Gavi made with the Cortese varietal. This is a wine that is fresh, aromatic and fruity, with a bracing minerality and citrus on the finish. We drink this with almost everything. We’ve even ordered this wine with burgers at Original Joe’s in San Francisco. Why not? It’s so good!

2019 Lieu Dit Melon de Bourgogne (Santa Maria Valley) $24
It’s rare to see Melon – the French grape of Muscadet – in California, but there are some old plantings scattered around the state. For a rarely-heard of grape this was one of our best selling white wines last year. Light and fresh, with racy acidity. There’s a gentle fruitiness, with aromas of green apples, as well as a subtle, creamy lees influence and a stony, steely texture. Very much a wine to be drunk with oysters. Thirst-quenching and absolutely delicious.

2018 Samuel Billaud Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre (France, Burgundy, Chablis) $60
We’ve said this time and again: Samuel Billaud is the hardest working winemaker in Chablis. And he’s such a gentleman. We thoroughly enjoyed out visit with him in 2019 and continue to be amazed at his Chardonnays vintage after vintage. If you caught us after a long day we would admit this: Montee de Tonnerre is our favorite vineyard in Chablis, and this is our favorite wine. Notes of pear, citrus, orange zest, white peach, Japanese yuzu, chalk, steely minerality and awesome salinity. In a warm vintage Samuel has produced a very classic bottle of Chablis.

2019 La Staffa Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico (Italy, Marche, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico) $20
You may recall that La Staffa's young owner and enologist Riccardo Baldi poured at one of our tastings a few years back and the magic of his wines may still come to mind. You’ve heard us say this before: this is the (white) wine we take home the most. And it’s true. We are always delighted with the brightness and minerality, the balance of fruit and acid, the friendliness of its approach and its gentle goodbye.
Organically grown at high altitude and fermented in stainless steel and cement tanks. The resulting wine is fresh and mouth-watering, with notes of citrus and herbs. Drink as an aperitif or pair with anything from the sea; also shines with roast chicken (Julia Child’s recipe of course).

2019 Chateau de la Liquiere Faugeres L'Ampoule (France, Languedoc Roussillon) $18.50
Hands down our biggest selling ‘chillable red wine’ in 2020. And it was a wine that almost never was. Due to the events in 2020 we were not tasting wines with Sales Reps. But with a little innovation our Garber and Co. Import rep dropped off a series of wine samples in 4oz glass jars. What we discovered in jar #3 was this fantastic Cinsault made from vines over 100 years old. We could not believe it! We shouted from the rooftops (ok…from our newsletter and signage in the store). Cin-Sault-So-Good was one of the tag lines. If you have not tasted this wine, please do. It’s light and spicey and has good subtle savory components from start to the long intriguing finish.

Agrapart & Fils Champagne Grand Cru Terroirs Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut (Champagne Grand Cru) $76
Agrapart's trademark is a combination of tension, energy and clarity. This bottle is one of the most riveting and terroir expressive Champagnes we found in 2020. It’s flat out awesome and drinks well above its pricepoint.
This wine is vibrant and finely sculpted, with tons of citrus and mineral-infused nuances that open up effortlessly in the glass. Light on its feet, tense and wiry, the Terroirs is a great example of the Agrapart house style. A whole range of saline-infused notes bring out the chiseled electricity of this Grand Cru Chardonnay.

2018 Bibi Graetz Testamatta Toscana IGT (Italy, Tuscany) $99 (reg 118)
We’ve loved this wine for many vintages. 2010 was epic, 2013 outstanding, so when we arrived at the 2018 Testamatta we were out of verbiage to describe the wine. Closing your eyes you can imagine everything proper about a dreamy Tuscan evening. Perfect billowy skies, vines as far as the eye can see, a castle off in the distance… Someone somewhere (ok, Decanter Magazine), reviewed this wine and placed a perfect 100 point score on it.

2018 Anne Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Labourons (France, Burgundy, Beaujolais) $42
We ‘discovered’ this wine almost as an afterthought.  It was a cuvee we had not had from Anne Sophie before but we reasoned that while her other wines were outstanding, and this was said to ‘be her best’ what did we have to lose? So far we’ve enjoyed four bottles of this elegant beauty. It is a truly remarkable wine. Here are some details:
Anne Sophie Dubois is one of the most exciting new generation of vigneron cropping up in Beaujolais.  Dubois farms her eight hectares in Fleurie all organically and uses a hands-off approach in the winery (organic farming, native yeast fermentations, etc.). Anne Sophie prefers to employ Burgundian fermentations in many of her wines eschewing carbonic macerations and fermenting in used 228L barrels. Les Labourons is a selection of the best fruit from the oldest vines she farms and is a remarkable bottling of Fleurie.  There is vibrant florality paired with rich black fruit and spice in this wonderfully balanced Beaujolais. Simply Outstanding.

Thank you for your support.
Renegade Wines
417 Santa Barbara Street Suite A-6
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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