These Are the Best Wines to Be Drinking Now–Broken Down by Varietal

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Whether you prefer chardonnay, rosé, cabernet, or zinfandel, these are the best bottles of wine to be drinking now.

We may not be able to physically travel to different wine regions at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t explore the world by drinking some truly excellent wine this year. We spoke to a few expert sommeliers to get their recommendations, and they all had some interesting thoughts about what to look for this year at a variety of price points, from classic releases to new vintages, along with some words about what makes each wine special. In addition to that, there are some picks here that we can verify are worth looking out for as well.

As far as wine trends for 2020, sommelier Belinda Chang had some thoughts to share. “More than ever, we are living our best wine drinking lives (that are possible under the circumstances) at home and on digital platforms with colleagues, friends and family,” she said. “And sometimes with strangers, too.” She recommends drinking some bubbly to help ease the tension of these difficult times. “Champagne is the wine that has taken humankind through the best of times and also the worst… It is the beverage of celebration of epic moments like the Oscars and also for many, of small moments, like making it through the day.” She also thinks that now is the perfect time to open any special occasion bottles you’ve been saving through the years. “Need a bright moment? Open that decadent bottle,” she said. “Serve it to yourself in the fanciest glass that you own—you don’t have any friends over to break the good crystal! And savor.”

Related: The Best Red Wines to Be Drinking Now

The good news is that many wineries are now offering direct shipping, so you can visit their websites, take a virtual tour, order a couple of bottles that you’d like to try, and in some cases even do a virtual tasting. So here’s to drinking good wine this year, and every year, no matter what variety you choose.

Rosé

J Vineyards 2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir


Courtesy J Vineyards

This wine from J Vineyards was formerly known as Vin Gris, but while the name may have changed the flavors are still consistently vibrant. Look for a beautiful light pink color and notes of summer berry and citrus, with a bit of acidity underneath. $28

Stinson Vineyards Rosé of Mourvèdre 2019


Courtesy Stinson Vineyards

Virginia has been making a name for itself in recent years with the excellent wines produced there. Stinson Vineyards, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, focuses on wines with a French flair. According to the tasting notes, there are flavors of sweet peach and yellow watermelon along with a bit of floral rose. $21

Frog's Leap, La Grenouille Rouganté

“[Frog’s Leap] in Napa was one of the first to start winemaking with an emphasis on healthy vineyard practices (it became organic in the late ‘80s), and started making rosé before it became so well-received from a then (and somewhat still) unknown grape called Valdiguié. The wine is fresh and bright and I find it so important in terms of where we are now with rosé and winemaking,” said Amy Racine, Beverage Director at JF Restaurants. $20

Pinot Noir

2016 Hirsch Vineyards "San Andreas Fault" Estate Pinot Noir

Hirsch is one of the great vineyards and wines for Pinot Noir in all of California. Grown in the cool climate a short distance from the Pacific Ocean, this versatile wine can be enjoyed with just about anything on your table,” said Jason Smith, MGM Resorts Executive Director of Beverage and Master Sommelier. $60

2015 Soliste Cellars “Narcisse” Pinot Noir

“[Co-founder] Claude Koeberle makes killer new world Pinot. I hate saying wines from America are Burgundian, but he comes damn close to it with wines of subtlety and power. A great winemaker making quaffable Pinots. A good dude to boot,” said Andy Myers, Wine Director for José Andrés' ThinkFoodGroup. $28

Gary Farrell 2016 McDonald Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir


Courtesy Gary Farrell

This wine is part of Gary Farrell’s single vineyard collection, each focusing on different “neighborhoods” within the Russian River Valley. The climate in which these grapes are grown is cool and windy, resulting in a lovely, bright wine with deep dark fruit flavors, a touch of acidity, and just a hint of eucalyptus leaves on the nose. $70

Cabernet Sauvignon

Favia Cabernet Blend "Carbone" 2016

“Winemaker Andy Erickson [of Favia] crafts this extraordinary Cabernet blend from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and a splash of Petit Verdot. It is powerful without being overbearing and thoroughly delicious while maintaining complexity,” said Smith. $80

Heitz Cellar 2012 Martha’s Vineyard

“[Heitz Cellar] is one of the most iconic wineries in Napa Valley. Martha’s has a distinct minty/menthol flavor that really sets it apart from the pack and identifies it as a true rebel in a field of homogeneity,” said Myers. $200

Chardonnay

2015 Louis Michel 1er Cru “Montee de Tonnerre” Chablis

“Chardonnay is boring. That’s a scientific fact. You either have to make it great or you have to grow it in Chablis. This wine [from Louis Michel & FIls] is brilliant. Crisp acidity, gorgeous minerality and perfect balance,” said Myers. $50

Antica Terra 2017 Aequorin Chardonnay

This wine from Antica Terra was named after one of the two photo-proteins that are responsible for bioluminescence. While the wine itself doesn’t actually glow, the flavors certainly shine in this limited release from a truly unique Oregon winery located in the Willamette Valley. $125

Merlot

2012 RdV Vineyards “Rendezvous”

“Yep. Virginia. I said it. This wine [from RdV] is one of the great American wines. Powerful yet balanced, earthy yet full of fruit, diabolical yet flirty. I love this wine, this winery and these people. Get over the Virginia thing already,” said Myers. $80

Mayacamas 2016 Merlot


Courtesy Mayacamas 

According to Mayacamas winemaker Braiden Albrecht, this Merlot was heavily influenced by briny breezes coming off of the San Pablo Bay. The resulting wine combines notes of ripe dark fruit, black tea, tannins, and even some hints of savory. Albrecht predicts a 20-year drinking window for the wine. $65

Riesling

Pewsey Vale “The Contours” 2006

“My wife stole my heart with this wine the day I met her. [This wine from Australia’s Pewsey Vale] is bone dry, mineral as hell and as sharp as her wit. It pairs with happiness. Stop thinking all Rieslings are sweet. You know what? Go ahead and avoid Rieslings; that just means more for me,” said Myers. $40

Ostertag 'Les Jardins’ Riesling 2018

“Alsatian Rieslings are amongst the most versatile and interesting wines on the planet. They are unadulterated by new oak flavors, can be found in a broad spectrum of different styles, and can be used to pair with an extraordinary variety of cuisine, or as a tasty and refreshing everyday wine to be enjoyed without food. If you like a lean, crisp and racy style of wine, look for some 2016's. If you like a softer, riper, fruitier style, snap up some 2018's,” said Josh Nadel, Beverage Director for NoHo Hospitality. $30

Domäne Wachau Riesling Smaragd Ried Achleiten 2016


Courtesy Domäne Wachau

The Wachau region in Austria is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and produces some truly world-class wines. This Riesling from Domäne Wachau comes from the Achleiten vineyard, and brings tropical fruit and white pepper notes to the palate with some bright acidity to counteract the sweetness. $50

Sauvignon Blanc

Grounded Sauvignon Blanc 2019


Courtesy Grounded

“It is starting to get warmer and that's when I start to open up light and crisp, thirst-quenching Sauvignon Blancs. Grounded's version from California checks all of those boxes and always leaves me reaching to pour another glass,” said Smith. $15

2017 “Lune et Soleil” Sauvignon Blanc

“Doubling up on Claude’s wines here. Everyone in California seems to go out of their way to make Sauvignon Blanc taste like anything except Sauvignon Blanc. Claude gets that the grassy, grapefruit notes of Sauvignon Blanc are actually delicious and he coaxes the best out of the grape in the northern climate of Lake county. Deeeeee-licious,” said Myers. $22

Shiraz

2016 Rene Rostaing, Cote-Rotie

“No offense to the Aussies, but I like that northern Rhone Valley is able to find the brightness and acidity in Syrah. This wine is like Lawrence Taylor as a ballerina; powerful as hell, but quick, light and nimble,” said Myers. $33

Jean-Louis Chave Saint-Joseph 2016

“The magic of Syrah lies in its ability to be both delicious and approachable in its youth and delicate and haunting as it ages… The King of Hermitage, Jean-Louis’ epic wines are covetable and hard to obtain without making your rent check bounce. His lesser-known but deeply delicious Saint-Joseph, however, is a perfect opportunity to experience expert winemaking at a fraction of the price,” said Alexandra Karosis, Assistant Wine Director at Legacy Records. $70

Malbec

2016 Catena Zapata


Courtesy Catena

“Malbec tastes more like every red wine than any red wine. This [Argentinian wine], however, is a very straightforward, classic example of what the grape has to offer: black and blue fruit, moderate tannins and mouth-watering acidity. I don’t drink Malbec often, but when I do it’s always Catena,” said Myers. $20

Colomé Auténtico 2018


Courtesy Colomé

This Argentinian wine comes from the Colome Winery, which is one of the oldest in the country having been around for nearly two centuries. It’s a 100 percent Malbec that was made from grapes grown in the Calchaquí Valleys vineyards, and has notes of fig, blackberries, and blackcurrant cassis. $30

Zinfandel

2018 8 Years in the Desert


Courtesy 8 Years in the Desert

This is the second release of Dave Phinney’s 8 Years in the Desert Zinfandel blend. The millionaire winemaker and force behind Orin Swift and The Prisoner is now running a Bay Area distillery, but his wine continues to impress. Look for a mix of flavors like blueberries, fresh herbs, and a bit of ash. $45 

2017 Home Ranch Zinfandel


Courtesy Home Ranch

Seghesio Family Vineyards has an impressive array of Zinfandel to choose from at various price points. This particular wine comes from the Home Ranch vineyard, which is notably absent of the maritime influence that plays an important part in other areas. A sip reveals notes of dark chocolate, nutmeg, and some freshly picked berries. $60