It’s the end of the year which means it’s time to take stock and reflect. For us at SOMM TV, that means we get to reminisce about the epic, once-in-a-lifetime wines that crossed our tables. We know by now that the most memorable wines don’t need to have high point scores and aren’t always decades old. It’s the companionship with whom we’re drinking and the wave of inspiration or knowledge we gain by taking a mere sip.
For some, moments where we’re fortunate to experience these bottles are reason enough to get into the industry. For others, it’s simply a perk of the gig. No matter the reason, our team at SOMM TV got to partake in some rather exceptional bottles this year.
Read ahead to discover some of our most memorable wines of 2021.
I was lucky enough to drink some incredible wines this year. I think the most memorable glass was a 1997 Smith-Madrone Riesling; the dusty bottle had never left the domaine’s cellar. We drank it on the top of their property while filming sweeping views of Napa Valley and listening to the story of its origin from the winemakers. —Jackson Myers, senior VP Production
Tough one! Domaine Roulot Meursault ‘À mon plaisir’ Close du Haut Tesson 2016. I also discovered the Vitkin Grenache Blanc 2018 and shared it with wine friends several times. It’s delicious and very food-friendly. —Maryam Ahmed, SOMM TV cast member
Come on. You know that this is an impossible request. It’s not fair nor reasonable for you to ask me to (a) remember all the wines I had this year or (b) be able to rank them! But, one does come to mind. February. Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa. 1970 Souverain Mountain Zinfandel 375ml was made by one of my winemaking heroes Lee Stewart. The wine was lively, fruited, textured, and managed to evolve and grow after uncorking for at least 45 minutes. Quite a feat for a half-bottle. —Jonah Beer, SOMM TV cast member
For me, it’s a bottle of 2010 Bouchard Roses de Jeanne “Les Ursules” Rosé Champagne. I got it to celebrate the birthday of a loved one, and it was stunning! Like with any memorable bottle, it was special because of who I was sharing it with and the occasion. It was an amazing night, and that spectacular bottle added to the evening. —Claire Coppi, SOMM TV cast member
I was lucky to drink the first vintage (1982) of Spottswoode Cabernet with Beth Novak Millikin and her sister Lindy Novak who were raised on the incredible property. We filmed their episode of Behind the Glass in January of 2021 for SOMM TV. This stunning bottle and its story of a determined family dedicated to quality and respect for the environment stayed with me all year. It still had an incredible balance of fruit, acid, and soft aged tannins. There are only a few bottles left, but hopefully, I get to try it again because I know it can age a lot longer. —Jason Wise, chief creative officer
Persephone Wines Pét-Nat 2020, coming in at 11.5% ABV and made by rockstar winemaker and writer Rachel Signer in Basket Range, Australia. Also, make sure you check out her new book You Had Me At Pét-Nat. —Matthew Kaner, SOMM TV cast member
This wine blew me away. It’s an ancestral method sparkling Zinfandel from Covert Farms Family Estate in the Okanagan Valley. Did it overflow all over my counter? Yes. Was it delicious? Also yes. Organically grown and bursting with character. —Nicole MacKay, managing editor
2002 Cristal. —Shakera Jones, SOMM TV cast member
At the start of the year, I had a 2011 Monte Bello that stayed at the top of the list. More recently, I enjoyed a 2016 Chateau Palmer that proved, yet again, why that wine deserves its praise. And, just last week, I was lucky enough to share the 1994 Bonny Doon estate Syrah with Randall Grahm himself. It was the last vintage of his original home vineyard before it died of Pierce’s disease. The wine was one of the best California Syrahs I’ve had, and it was special to drink it with Randall. —Elaine Chukan Brown, SOMM TV cast member
The most memorable wine of 2021 was a 1970 Lafite Rothschild. It was the day we wrapped the last episode of SPARKLERS, and we met up for dinner with a dear friend in Sonoma. Our friend knew I hadn’t been able to travel to France for our Lafite Rothschild film, so as a surprise, he brought this 1970 bottle and blind tasted me on it. It was such a wonderful moment filled with so much joy and excitement, not to mention a terrific wine with history. —Nadine Nettmann, director of creative development
Some of the most memorable wines for me this year were some pretty impressive old Napa Cabs and Champagnes. But perhaps one of the best bottles was a 2002 Armand Rousseau Grand Cru Clos de la Roche that my friend opened for me on my birthday. It was a bucket list wine for me, so very thoughtful of him to share it. —Meghan Zobeck, SOMM TV cast member