The Best Red Wines to Drink This Year

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From Cabernet Sauvignon to Malbec to red blends, these are the reds we're excited about for 2021.

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We are all ready for 2020 to end by now, a year that has been challenging in ways we could not have imagined. Many of us are looking to the new year to bring some hope and relief that has been so elusive over the past 12 months. If a glass of red wine sounds like it might be what you need right about now, you’re in luck as there is plenty to choose from, hailing from all of the best regions of the world—California, Italy, Chile, Spain, and France, among others. Red wine is especially coveted during these cold winter months, the perfect pairing for rich, hearty food like stew, meat, cheese, and roasted vegetables. Here are 15 fantastic red wines that you should consider drinking this winter, and all year long.

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Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses 2018 Pinot Noir


Courtesy Cotes Des Roses

Gérard Bertrand’s Cote des Roses collection features affordable high-quality wines produced in the South of France. The 2018 vintage of the pinot noir is a breath of fresh Mediterranean air, with notes of cherry, raspberry, and soft tannins. The bottle is a piece of art as well, with a rose-shaped bottom that really stands out. 

To buy: $18, vivino.com

Nicolás Catena Zapata 2016


Courtesy Wine.com

According to the winery, this Argentinian wine from Catena Zapata is supposed to recreate the “Original Bordeaux Blend” of the 18th and 19th centuries when malbec was more in vogue. To that end, the blend here consists of 61% cabernet sauvignon, 31% malbec, and 8% cabernet franc, revealing juicy notes of ripe blackberries, herbal hints of violet, and a subtle minerality. Hold onto this one for a few years, or drink now with a nice steak.

To buy: $105, wine.com

2016 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon


Courtesy Chateau Montelena

This wine is the flagship offering from California’s Chateau Montelena, and this vintage stands out in particular. According to the winemaker Matt Crafton, a mild summer allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. The resulting wine opens with a floral nose, proceeds into flavors of plum and marzipan on the palate, ending with a coffee and caramel soft sweetness on the finish.

To buy: $175, montelena.com

Escudo Rojo 2018 Gran Reserva


Courtesy Escudo Rojo Gran Reserva

This affordable wine comes from Chile’s Escudo Rojo, and is made up of a blend of cabernet sauvignon, carmenere, syrah, and just a bit of cabernet franc. The palate is bold with ripe stone fruit, cherry, black pepper, and a nice bit of tannin. This would be a good red wine to pair with a rich meat course to complement its complexity.

To buy: $20, wine.com

2017 Pinea


Courtesy PINEA

This Spanish wine from Pinea is a luxury in both flavor and price. It’s made of 100% tempranillo grapes from the Ribera del Duero estate, and matured for two years in new French oak barrels. Tasting notes include a fruity, woody nose, with abundant tannin, a bit of black pepper, and blackberries on the palate. This would be a good wine to cellar for a few years before opening.

To buy: $150, winesmithco.com

Chamisal Vineyards 2019 San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir


Courtesy Chamisal Vineyards 

This is a brand-new vintage from California’s Chamisal Vineyards, located in the Edna Valley near San Luis Obispo. It’s 100% pinot noir grown during a season that had a particularly rainy winter. The wine was aged half in French oak and half in stainless steel, and has a deep ruby red color with notes of cinnamon and summer berries on the palate with a light, fresh finish.

To buy: $22, chamisalvineyards.com

Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2017


Courtesy Vivino

Italy’s Tormaresca is found in the beautiful Puglia region of the country, where it produces wines that are affordable but rich with flavor. This 2017 vintage is made from 100% primitivo grapes, and aged in French and Hungarian oak barriques. The reddish-purple wine opens with berry and stone fruit aromas, before evolving into chocolate, plum, and candied cherry on the palate. 

To buy: $20, vivino.com

Hahn SLH Pinot Noir


Courtesy Hahn

The SLH in this Hahn Estate wine stands for Santa Lucia Highlands where vineyards experience long and dry growing seasons, according to the winery. The 2018 vintage is 100% pinot noir, aged for 11 months in a combination of new French oak and neutral oak. Berries and oak are evident on the nose, which expands into herbs, white pepper, and balanced tannins on the palate.

To buy: $25, wine.com

Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2018


Courtesy Sonoma-Cutrer 

Tradition and innovation define the process at Sonoma-Cutrer in northern California just north of San Francisco. The 2018 vintage of the pinot noir comes from the Russian River Valley appellation. A bit of acid is balanced and doesn’t overwhelm notes of spice, creamy vanilla, ripe berry, and a hint of tobacco on the palate.

To buy: $35, sonomacutrer.com

2016 Brion Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon


Courtesy BRION

This single vineyard 100% cabernet sauvignon from Brion comes from Napa’s Oakville Ranch vineyard. A long finish is preceded by big, ripe berries, mingled chocolate and vanilla, and bright flashes of citrus. This winery is a relatively new endeavor making bold moves early on.

To buy: $225, bwisevineyards.com

Neyen 2015


Courtesy Neyen

This wine from Chile’s Neyen is a blend of 55% cabernet sauvignon and 45% carmenere, which the winemakers refer to as “Bordeaux’s lost variety.” The result is a blend of bold and soft flavors, with leather, fresh berry, and vanilla notes that pop with each sip. There are many vintages to try, but the 2015 vintage is a very good place to start.

To buy: $71, saratogawine.com

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Gaja Sito Moresco 2016


Courtesy GAJA

This red blend from Gaja comes from the Barbaresco and Barolo appellations in Italy, and consists of four varieties—35% Nebbiolo, 25% merlot, 25% Barbera, and 15% cabernet sauvignon. Tasting notes for this deep purple wine include hints of herbs like thyme and marjoram, ripened sun-kissed berries, and even a bit of juicy blood orange, followed by a slightly smoky finish.

To buy: $70, wine.com

La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva 2015


Courtesy La Rioja Alta Vina

There is so much good Spanish wine to choose from, but this inexpensive 2015 vintage from Vina Alberdi is as good a place to start as any. It’s made from 100% tempranillo grapes and aged for two years in American oak barrels, both new and used. The palate is not heavy at all, with notes of baking spice, vanilla, and ripe berries underscored by a crisp freshness throughout.

To buy: $22, wine.com

Tank Garage Winery Middle Finger


Courtesy Tank Garage Winery

This brand-new wine from Tank Garage is the perfect way to end this terrible year and ring in one that hopefully will be a lot better. The blend is 95% barbera, 3% primitivo, and 2% graciano, all of which develop into flavors of strawberry, toasted vanilla, and in a unique tasting note from the winery, blue Icee. The kicker to this limited edition wine is the label, created by Italian artist Alessandro Paglia to immediately catch your attention.

To buy: $75, tankgaragewinery.com

2017 Stone Cairn Cabernet Sauvignon


Courtesy Andrew Januik Wines

Winemaker Andrew Januik selected grapes from the Red Mountain AVA in Washington state for this 100% cabernet sauvignon aged for 22 months in barrels. The vineyards he tapped were Obelisco, Quintessence and Ciel du Cheval, which he believes best express the terroir there. Look for notes of cassis, cocoa, pepper, and a nice balance of tannin and acid.

To buy: $40, noveltyhilljanuik.com