Food & DrinkJK Wine

Local Wine Connoisseurs Pick Their Go-To Wine Selections from 2023

Wine playlist ... wrapped

In this column, Jerry and Kara ask a few local wine connoisseurs their favorite picks of 2023 and choose their own. Pictured: a portion of the assortment at Assorted Table Wine & Shop. (Photo courtesy of Assort Table)

A quick housekeeping note: We’re changing! Kara is stepping down from the column to travel through U.S. wine regions for the next year, and Jerry is taking over as your trusty Charlotte wine correspondent. This has been a great year and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our collaborative wine stories as much as we’ve enjoyed writing them. There’s still lots to talk about, so on that note…

It’s that time of the year — ’tis the season to share with your friends those songs you listened to again and again. Perhaps you’re reminded of the memories that truly sucked, or the time you fell in love, even if for a fleeting moment. Regardless, music was warranted and, we’d argue, so was wine. 

In the spirit of remembering the things we played ad nauseam, we’ve asked a few local Charlotte wine professionals to share with us the bottles that they had on repeat throughout 2023. Here’s our year in wine … wrapped. 

Brion Cephus holds a glass of white wine up standing in front of a shelf full of wine bottles
Wine connoisseur #1: Brion Cephus, events manager at Assorted Table Wine & Shop. (Photo courtesy of Assorted Table)

2021 Baw Baw Shire Chardonnay

Brion Cephus of @certifiedwino and Assorted Table & Wine Shop

Brion’s pick is a well-balanced chardonnay made by Patrick Sullivan from West Gippsland, Australia. Made on volcanic soils, a quality that got a ton of buzz in 2023, this is a wine with hips and a satin dress.

2021 Montepeloso A Quo

Matt Cooper of Advintage Distribution

Montepoloso grows their wine on the hillsides of Suvereto in Tuscany, Italy. The wine is a bold blend of sangiovese, marselan, and alicante, and is aged in neutral oak — a smart move that allows the grapes’ flavors to shine. The wine showcases dramatic fruit, balsamic, and a woodsy finish.

Kadijah Jordan sits in an outdoor setting posing for a photo with a glass of white wine in hand
Wine connoisseur #12: Kadijah Jordan, assistant general manager at Foxcroft Wine Co.’s Dilworth location. (Photo courtesy of Foxworth Wine Co.)

2020 Far Niente Chardonnay

Kadijah Jordan of Foxcroft Wine Co.

Coming from Combsville in the Napa Valley, Far Niente has established itself as a leading producer of Napa chardonnay. Juicy and creamy — you can expect more oaky flavors from this bottle than the Baw Baw Shire, and you’ll also get some classic buttery, creamy notes. 

2022 Flores Picpoul de Pinet 

Picked by Jerry Chandler of JK Wine

Picpoul makes a white wine so bright with acidity that it translates to “sting the lips”. Grown in the Southern French wine region of Languedoc near the Mediterranean Sea, it was once used as an ancient trade route for the Romans. A sip pulls you into the presence of a salty breeze.

2021 Christophe Avi Agenais Rosé

Picked by Kara Daly of @wineisconfusing and JK Wine

Christophe Avi, in the Lot-et-Garonne region of southwest France, is passionate about biodynamics. His rosé is crafted from native cabernet sauvignon and cabernet Franc, and gives us lime pith, kiwi, strawberry and salinity. 

Why we think these wines are great go-tos 

What makes these wines worthy of pressing repeat, again and again? In 2023, people were really loving their white wine, and this list might suggest that chardonnay was a people’s choice.

It’s cool to see, however, that while people are still appreciating a buttery chardonnay, they’re also excited about the lean mineral-driven styles that this grape is also capable of. 

We also saw a growing love for wines with high acidity. About A Quo, Matt Cooper said, “It’s very fresh with bright acidity,” also noting how easy it is to enjoy it both with food and on its own. Brion Cephus also cited this as one of the reasons he chose the Baw Baw Shire, saying, “I’ve taken it to every good dinner party and found it to be a crowd pleaser on its own and with food”. 

As for us, Kara’s love for rosé only grew this year. She admits she didn’t like rosé until she started studying wine. Whereas before she considered it to be the pumpkin spice latte of the wine world, she now loves it for its ancient history and ability to pair with food. 

Jerry’s love for picpoul also goes back several years. That it’s still heavy in rotation in 2023 is a testament to how this delicious wine flies under the radar of affordability.

Here’s to 2023; may your next year be full of newly found favorites and more tried-and-true bottles. We know ours will be.

Read more of Jerry and Kara’s writing on wine in Charlotte here

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