Top 5 Trending Wines to Explore in 2020

Most Americans tend to ignore wines that come from the less celebrated regions - here are Top 5 you should explore this year. Live a little!

The new year is a great time to discover wines from across the globe. You may even be sweep you off your feet by exploring! Here are the top 5 to add to your carts this year. Go on, expand your horizons and explore the global wine scene!

2016 Barolos

Barolos hail from the Piedmont region of Italy. They are among the finest and most collectible reds to explore this year. The wines from Piedmont are made from Nebbiolo, a small and thin-skinned variety with rich levels of tannins and acidity. The sharp flavors of this late harvest variety have an exceptional taste profile with an impeccable base. The red wines of the region are full body and colored with a gorgeous touch of brick garnet pigments.

The bright acidity of a nice Barolo complements the dried herbs, tar, and rose flower aroma that is part of every sip. The wines are regulated to contain at least 13 percent alcohol content and go through aging for at least two years in oak and one year in bottle before being released to the public. The luscious reds make a fine pairing with mushroom risotto, truffles, and smoked barbeque. These wines are a great accompaniment to your collection as well as your everyday dinner.

The crisp taste of Crémant de Limoux Rosé

There’s a refreshing selection of rosé this year from a region that is among the oldest and best in South West France. Prepared from a perfect winemaking method mastered over centuries, this sparkling wine shows a promising palette of flavors to cherish. The term Crémant refers to sparkling wines that are made with the techniques used in the Champagne region but are from outside the region of Champagne.

This is a classy choice of bubbly that promises to light up your brunch with a ton of delicious flavors. The wines originate from Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc grapes with Mauzec and Pinot Noir as blending grapes. The varieties present a smoothly formed palate due to the cooler temperatures in the higher-altitude regions. Crémant is one of the most unique varieties, like je t’aime that will help you expand your horizons of sparkling. These wines are an excellent match with seafood appetizers and fruit tart, as they carry exquisite flavors and texture. 

Rhone-style blends

This could be the year for old souls who love Old World blends such as Rhone. These wines could make be a staple to enrich your summer brunches with vibrant flavors of apple, melon and stone fruit, coupled with a rich and creamy texture. The Rhone varieties originate in the Rhone Valley in the south of France. It is the only region where the makers enjoy mixing the reds and whites to create a fresh, new palate. The northern varieties mostly derive from Syrah and Viognier blends that introduce a rich floral fragrance and a healthy spike of acidity, with a soft texture and a rustic red wine color.

These wines are full bodied and aged in oak to create a luscious flavor. The southern Rhone brings a lot more grape varieties to the bottle, about 18 to be precise. Southern red Rhones have a warm fruit flavor with a herbal, earthy scent of lavender, juniper, rosemary and bay. Most bottles from the south are blends due to the region’s hotter temperature. The flavor profile of the wines is bold and spicy, with a touch of elegant floral overtones.

Drive through napa valley
“This book is an answer to dry guidebooks and stiff informational publications that pervade the wine industry.” – L.A. Times

A unique white grape from Greece

The Assyrtiko grape hails from the ancient land of Greece. It’s a prominent and iconic grape variety from the region. The fresh, mineral-rich white wines from here accommodate a broad taste profile that could consist of one or many flavors: passion fruit, flint, lime, apple, pear, citrus blossoms, fig, coffee, chocolate, saline; all are richly acidic. They can go with many foods, from appetizers to elegant desserts.

The reason for such versatility from this region is the nature of the grape variety. The local winemakers leverage the easy oxidation properties of the variety to create a spectacular range of sweet wines. And by holding a little control over the levels and introducing a few ingredients, they can create darker flavors. Do not forget the dry wines with high acidity that can be a beautifully age-able collectible for your home. Coming from some of the oldest vines of the Santorini region, these wines carry a complex taste profile. Whether you would like the perfect companion for your tomato feta salad or a gorgeous texture to match your heavy red meats and rich seafood, this is the go-to wine for it all.

#5 on our Top 5: Mencia varieties

The wines created with this relatively obscure grape variety from the Bierzo region in Spain have exquisite tones of fruity, earthy flavors complemented by smooth tannins. They are medium-bodied reds and can age gracefully. The dominant flavor profile includes black licorice, blackberry, pomegranate, sour cherry, and a peppery touch. The subtle tones of crushed gravel or granite-like mineral add an enriching flavor. It is a perfect wine to go with cheese adventures, and recipes brimming with the flavors of spices and herbs. The red wines with the bitter tannins from these varieties are worth a try this year.

Take a chance (explore & create your own Top 5 list for 2020)

Most Americans tend to ignore wines that come from the less celebrated regions of France, Italy, Germany and Spain. That’s a shame, because some of today’s most surprisingly enjoyable wines (and best Euro-bargains) come from off the beaten track. Whether it’s a lesser-known variety of grape, or a region you’ve never heard of, take the plunge and try something new this year. You might just discover some new favorites at prices that will tempt you to buy a case instead of a bottle.


Contributing author Harold Camaya: harold.camaya@chocowinery.com

Here is another post on trending wines for 2020!