FOR TIM’S “Top 10-Wines-of-the-YEAR 2020” in the Florida Today newspaper, click below or scroll down a bit to read his Word document:
Top 10 Florida Today click below:
Our focus is…
- Quality & affordability.
- Locating brands with small production & incredible value.
- Educating the consumer with unconventional wine
- Highlighting brands with superiority & merit at our monthly wine tastings & dinners
Cruvinet Wine Bar
Enjoy a sampling of beer or a glass of wine from our Enomatic Cruvinet while you shop! The machine hosts 12 different wines with a selection of 8 whites and 4 reds! Servings are 3 oz. or 5 oz.
Through the Grapevine/ Top 10 Wines of 2020 by Tim Dwight
—Dwight is a Certified Wine Educator and Sommelier as well as proprietor of the Green Turtle Market in Indian Harbour Beach (which is quietly celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020).
This year’s Top 10 list features wines from the low $20s up through about $40 as is our tradition for this annual column. The average price point comes in just over $27 which should prove affordable when one is looking for a special occasion sort of wine.
Covid–and the covid economy–has wreaked havoc throughout the wine world as it has in our everyday lives. As the holidays have arrived I’ll posit that we could all go with a strong glass of something about now, and happily, there are still plenty of great wines being made. The following list includes offerings from Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles in California as well as a pair from Oregon. Internationally, Spain, France, Italy and Argentina round out our annual top ten. Have a happy holiday season and treat yourself to something good tonight.
#1 Wine-of-the-Year: Typesetter Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Typesetter is a relatively new operation in Napa Valley and it represents the trend towards sourcing grapes from multiple vineyard sites rather than a specific winery. There is a story about how the current 2018 cuvee was intended for a high(er) end mailing distribution that ultimately fell through, leaving an opportunity for those of us in Florida to purchase an expensive Napa cabernet for much less money. Not sure I’m buying the story but I’d nevertheless recommend snapping up the wine. At just over $30 it’s everything you’d want in a bold, higher quality Cali Cab. (Terroir Wine Imports; approximate retail $32).
#2/ Gran Moraine “Yamhill-Carlton” Pinot Noir
Pinots from the Willamette Valley in Oregon seem to hold a regular spot on my top ten list and that’s not surprising given the quick ascent of quality we’ve seen from that part of our viniferous landscape. There’s a Burgundian elegance to this 2018 red from the Yamhill-Carlton AVAs that speaks softly rather than screams for attention; too many California pinots have grown ponderous in a style not befitting the French origins of this grape. Subtle oak creates soft edges for the ethereal red fruit notes of cherries and strawberries in this stylish wine. (Southern-Glazer Wines & Spirits; retail $35)
#3/ Shaya “Habis” Verdejo, Spain
The Juan Gil family is responsible for a plethora of Spanish wines from throughout the countryside, a vast majority of which are red. This white, from the verdejo grape in Rueda, is a head-turner in its own fashion. Using more oak than is evident with wines from this grape, there’s considerable power and structure to this 2017 vintage white from Spain. Notes of ripe peaches and citrus peel in this “old vine” bottling are offset with the vanilla-oak effects of barrel aging. A perfect companion to creamy seafood or chicken at the dinner table. (Opici Wine Imports; retail $29)
#4/ Bodegas Pulenta Cabernet Franc Gran Estate XI, Argentina
The Spanish accent moves south for our next selection, a cabernet franc from the Agrelo region of Lujan de Cuyo in Mendoza. High altitude vineyards from the slope of the Andes Mountains give this Bordeaux varietal a distinctly spicy edge in the Southern Hemisphere. Cabernet franc has proven an opportunistic contributor in a country looking to expand its red wine offerings beyond the specter of malbec. The 2017 Pulenta is intense with aromas of black currants, black pepper and roasted red vegetables. Moderate oak contributes a flavorful finish. ( Winebow Imports; retail $42)
#5/ Daou “Bodyguard” Red Wine Blend
From inarguably the hottest recent winery in Paso Robles, this bottling from the brothers Daou is a combination of petite sirah and petit verdot grapes. French varietals with a Central Coast twist, this 2018 red blend is full-bodied and redolent with black plum and stone fruit notes. Tannins are ripe and voluptuous leading to a round, harmonious finish. Cab lovers should also not miss the opportunity to check out the wealth of cabernet bottlings from Daou as well. (Southern Glazer Wines & Spirits; retail $38)
#6/ Domaine des Carlines “La Vouivre” Jura, France
Okay, veteran readers of this annual top ten know there’s going to be at least one geek offering on the list. This bottling of 80% chardonnay and 20% savagnin (yes, that grape is spelled correctly) has a distinct styling that comes from the tiny-by-French-standards Jura wine region. Mountainous terrain, a cool climate and only a rumor of oak keep this mid-weight white fresh, vibrant and clean. The savagnin contributes a touch of stony minerality as well as just a hint of pleasing oxidation to this singularly styled 2017 vintage offering. (Terrior Wine Imports; retail $35)
#7/ JC Vizcarra Ribera del Duero Crianza, Spain
The Ribera del Duero region is the main competitor for Rioja in Spain, a bit smaller and less traditional perhaps but still with a reputation built on the heralded tempranillo grape. In fact, Spain’s two most expensive wines (Pingus, Vega Sicilia) both come from Ribera del Duero and yet the appellation hosts a variety of well-priced offerings as well. JC Vizcarra’s 2016 Crianza bottling holds up to the competition very nicely, soft red berry tones with dried herbal edges and a whiff of saddle leather. Paella, anyone? (Augustin Wine Imports, retail $35)
#8/ Archery Summit Oregon Chardonnay
One of Oregon’s original wineries (dating back near 30 years), Archery Summit has managed to exhibit sustainable growth while serving as a role model for many who have come since. Located in the town of Dayton in the Dundee Hills appellation, Archery Summit has long progressed beyond its original mission to make high quality pinot noir. Chardonnay, not surprisingly, has come to the forefront of quality bottlings for whites. This bottling of 2017 is rich with creamy floral notes of jasmine and curry leaves on the bouquet; solid lemon and stone fruit flavors on the palate. Pair with seafood, chicken or veal. (Republic-National Wines; retail $30)
#9/ Hartford Winery Old Vine Zinfandel
Don Hartford founded this Sonoma winery with support from his father-in-law Jess Jackson back in the early 90s’. During the preceding years, it’s gone from strength to strength particularly with chards, pinots and old vine zinfandels. Some of the single-vineyard offerings go for top dollar (and garner astronomical scores) but there’s always an affordable Russian River version that combines grape sources. Well–balanced and not a bit over the top, this 2018 zin is luxuriant with notes of plums, blackberries and a light vanilla toast. (Southern Glazer Wines & Spirits; retail $30)
#10/ Masseria Li Veli Susumaniello, Italy
From “the heel of the Italian boot” in southern Apulia, the Masseria winery has resuscitated the reputation of some historical varietals that were nearly extinct. Susumaniello is one such grape and it’s flavor profile is bold and bombastic with deep red and black fruit flavors. Somewhat akin to an California zin or Sicilian Nero d’Avola perhaps, but for the price this tasty treat goes a long way as a palate pleaser. Serve this recently released 2019 bottling with everything from roasted meats to dark chocolate desserts. (Winebow Imports, retail $22)
Green Turtle’s Wine Department is led by Certified Wine Educator Tim Dwight along with staff including Ms. Dominique Haas, formerly of Lausanne, Switzerland and Ms. Shirley Jacobus from New York State. Our staff brings great passion as well as many years of wine experience and travels throughout the wine producing areas of both Old and New World countries.
We share a love of new and unusual wines along with an appreciation for the classics of Napa, France and Italy. Monthly Wine Dinners hosted in our beautiful Grapevine Café feature guests from international wineries as well as wine Educators and Master Sommeliers. Executive Chef Dennis Lott prepares gourmet 6-course dinners to go along with an appropriate—and exciting—selection of matching wines, and our events are always sure to sell out quickly.
We have recently begun a series of casual, inexpensive Green Turtle Wine School Classes. Once every several weeks on Wednesday evening from 6:30 until 8:00 pm we offer an in-depth exploration of differing wine topics. Recent classes have featured Rose Wines, Beaujolais, Tuscany and Champagne, supported by video presentations as well as tastings and discussion.
Our wine selection at Green Turtle is extensive and ever-changing, featuring over 1,200 different wines from throughout the world. France is represented by a choice selection of Bordeaux and Burgundies with great additions from Southern France, the Rhone and Loire.
Our staff spent time June ’18 visiting and discovering the fabulous wines of Piemonte in Northern Italy, focusing on classic Barolos, Barbarescos and Barberas as well as regional white wines as well. Tuscany, in particular Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti are favorites also and you can always be assured of tracking down some high scoring labels at the Green Turtle.
Our back room Spanish wine collection is a great source of value priced treasures and we’ve got top labels of Tempranillo from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Priorat and Montsant are well-represented with dramatic, full-bodied reds from Garnacha and Monastrell.
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile and Argentina make up a good portion of our New World wines although we are most proud of our USA wineries.
Pinot Noirs, Chards and Pinot Gris from Oregon are plentiful as are Cabs, Syrahs, and Merlots from the Columbia Valley and Washington State. California commands the lion’s share of our shelf space and you can be assured of finding great value, everyday drinkers along with legendary Cabernet classics such as Caymus, Stag’s Leap, Pahlmeyer, Paul Hobbs, Ramey, and Shafer.
Periodically, we’ve got hard-to-find cult classics as well from Sine Qua Non, Cayuse, Andy Erickson, Colgin and Harlan Vineyards; please inquire if you don’t see what you’re looking for, many of our treasures are locked away in our 55 degree temperature controlled wine cabinets.
We invite you to come out and explore our shelves, get to know the staff and sample some great bottles—wine is our passion here at the Green Turtle!
BECOME A WINE CLUB MEMBER
We make it easy for those with a discerning palate to enjoy quality wines every month
Plus, all members get:
10% discount on all in-store wines
Invitation to free bi-monthly tasting events, featuring wines & specialty cheeses
(Optional) Cheese-of-the-month selection for 15% off the retail price