As we wind down 2021, we’d like to reflect on a year that, while unpredictable, was not without its bright spots. We are thankful for a relatively calm harvest season that yielded high-quality fruit, followed by the return of seasonal rains, and we are excited about the recent addition of Chateau St. Jean to our family of acclaimed estate wineries.
Throughout 2021, our wineries released some truly wonderful wines spanning regions, varieties and vintages that are worth adding to your collection or for raising a glass to the new year.
Below is our “must-have” list of the 15 top rated wines of 2021 from across our Foley Food & Wine Society portfolio, including the Chalk Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, which earned a spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2021.
Cheers to the New Year with wishes for good happiness, good health, and good wine!
2018 LANCASTER CABERNET SAUVIGNON ALEXANDER VALLEY
94 points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate…has a medium ruby color and pretty scents of red and black cherries, cast iron, exotic spices, dried herbs and floral hints. The palate is gorgeous, with Goldilocks ripeness, very finely grained tannins and bursts of freshness, finishing very long and layered. This deserves another 2-3 years in bottle and will age well in the cellar.”
2018 MERUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON COOMBSVILLE
94 points, Wine Spectator
“Dark and alluring, with a deep well of açaí berry, blueberry and fig reduction notes that drive along, inlaid with graphite and alder and ending with echoes of smoldering tobacco, menthol and licorice root. Best from 2022 through 2036. 940 cases made.” — JM
2019 CHALONE CHARDONNAY
93 points, Wine Enthusiast
“Recent vintages mark a return to grace for this historic property…This bottling begins with a tight citrus-peel element on the nose as well as crushed sea shell. The texture is very rocky in a pleasant way, carrying fresh flavors of yuzu peel, jicama and Asian pear. (Editors’ Choice)” -M.K.
2019 CHALONE PINOT NOIR
93 points, Wine Enthusiast
“Tight aromas of boysenberry and black raspberry meet with a wet soil minerality, red flowers and a touch of mace on the nose of this bottling. Tart cherry and cranberry flavors are fresh on the palate, where mixed dried herbs and a light vanilla finish make for a complex experience.” -M.K.
2018 FOLEY JOHNSON CABERNET SAUVIGNON RUTHERFORD NAPA VALLEY
92 points, Wine & Spirits, Year’s Best US Cabernet Sauvignon & Bordeaux Style blends
“Out of the darkness, smoky wood esters emerge first, then a scent of red currants, sweet and soft. Come back to the wine a day later, and the flavors have clarified around those currants, light and lithe. This is a gentle cabernet that may not appear to need aging, but it will reward those who allow it some time.” —J.G.
2019 CHALK HILL CHARDONNAY CHALK HILL ESTATE
92 points, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
“The 2019 Chardonnay Estate is bold and ripe, with creamy, toasty character that will have wide appeal. The nose opens with savory tones of charcuterie and graphite over a core of baked apples and lemon cream. Medium-bodied, the palate is lushly fruited, ripe, creamy and long, with a streak of freshness carrying the honeyed finish. 10,500 cases produced.” -E. B.
2020 BANSHEE SAUVIGNON BLANC SONOMA COUNTY
91 points, Wine Enthusiast
“This stainless-steel fermented white is perfumed and floral, with impressive length, weight and balanced acidity. Flavors of green apple and lemon persist around hints of lemongrass and wet stone.” -Virginie Boone
2018 FERRARI-CARANO RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON, ALEXANDER VALLEY
91 points, Wine & Spirits
“There’s an effortless feel to this cherry-red cabernet, its fruit-forward style bringing notes of violets and purple grape gentleness. Touched by the caramelized sweetness of oak and smooth, cherry-pit tannins, this is a quiet wine for steak.” —J.G
2019 CHALK HILL CHARDONNAY CHALK HILL SONOMA COAST
91 points, Wine Spectator (#84 Wine Spectator Top 100 2021)
“Well-integrated flavors of Gala apple and ripe Bosc pear are swathed with creamy richness in this broad-textured style, with cooking spice accents lingering on the mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2024.” -Kim Marcus
2019 BANSHEE CHARDONNAY SONOMA COAST
91 points, Wine Spectator
“Ripe apple and pear flavors show lots of custardy notes, filled with creamy richness. Pastry accents fill the open-textured finish.”
2019 FERRARI-CARANO CHARDONNAY SONOMA COUNTY
91 points, James Suckling
“A perfumed nose of yellow apples, melted butter and baked lemons. Medium-to full-bodied with mellow acidity. Notes of honeysuckle, vanilla and beeswax on the palate. Well balanced. Drink now.”
2019 FERRARI-CARANO TRÉ TERRE CHARDONNAY RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
91 points, Jeb Dunnuck
“A smaller production cuvée from the Russian River Valley, the 2019 Chardonnay Tre Terre brings a touch more richness and depth in its caramelized orchard and citrus fruits as well as toasty oak and brioche aromas and flavors… It’s another ripe, round, yet still pure and elegant Chardonnay from the vintage that has loads to love.”
2019 ACROBAT 2019 PINOT GRIS OREGON
90 points, Wine Enthusiast
“This wine is sappy and ripe, with tart and tangy flavors of citrus, white melon and apple. Fermented entirely in stainless steel, it gives you fruit all the way through the finish—it’s clean, fresh and lively. (Best Buy)” -P.G.
ACROBAT 2019 PINOT NOIR OREGON
90 points, Wine Enthusiast
“This Pinot is fragrant and spicy, with ripe berry fruit. There’s an earthy stiffness that comes up with the tannins. That said, the balance overall works and the wine, though chewy, will knock it out of the park with salmon. (Editors’ Choice)” -P.G.
2018 FERRARI-CARANO SIENA SONOMA COUNTY
90 points, Wine Spectator
“A bright, fresh mix of chocolate-covered cherry, dried raspberry and plum notes show clove, toffee and espresso accents, with thick, appealing tannins pulling everything into focus.” -MaryAnn Worobiec