Visitors Wines of the Year 2008

See also Tom’s Wines of the Year 2008


Tristan Sjoberg, London

Red: Bergstrom (USA) Bergstrom Vineyard 2004
White: Marc Colin (France) Le Montrachet 2001
Budget red: d’Angelo (Italy) Aglianico Sacravite Basilicata 2005
Budget white: Shaw & Smith (Australia) M3 Adelaide Hills 2006
Sweet: Allegrini (Italy) Recioto della Valpolicella Veneto 2005
Sparkling: Stefano (Italy) Ceretto Moscato d’Asti 2007
Fortified: Kopke (Portugal) Colheita 1985
Dud: Ch Haut Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 1998
Comment: The Bergstrom Pinot Noir from Oregon was a revelation on a recent visit with excellent typicity, personality and real class. The M3 might not be a ‘budget wine’ but is a real steal at around £16. I expected a lot more from the Haut-Brion, but it could have been that specific bottle(?).

TOM: I have to say Bergstrom was one of the real stars of Oregon – I very much enjoyed my visit there in September 2008. Other nice choices here include Shaw & Smith, who are on great form.

Kimmo Sirén, Finland

Red: Camille Giroud (France) Clos Saint Denis 1976
White: Domaine Arretxea (France) Irouléguy Hegoxuri 2005
Budget red: Couly-Dutheil (France) La Baronnie Madeleine 2001
Budget white: Cosimo Maria Masini (Italy) Annick 2006
Sweet: Château Bel-Air (France) Entre-Deux-Mers 1983
Sparkling: Dom Ruinart (France) Rosé 1973
Fortified: Mas Amiel (France) Vintage Maury 2004
Dud: Pierre Peters (France) Blanc de Blancs 2003
Thing: Wines tasted for the first time: D’Yquem, DRC Richebourg, Old Meursault
Comment: Never before have I had so feminine rosé champagne as this beautifully aged Dom Ruinart. Found Bel-Air from a store in Osaka, very cheap and lovely! My budget sweet of the year! Couldn’t find out who as the producer of a Meursault Perriéres 1983 Which would’ve been WOTY for me so didn’t post it. Found a passion for petit manseng!

TOM: What a good year of drinking you had Kimmo, with first tastes of d”Yquem and Romanée-Conti! I also agree that Petit Manseng – and the white wines of the southwest of France generally – are a real treasure trove of good things

Paolo Strada, Italy

Red: Domaine Jean Paul & Jean Luc Jamet Cote Rotie 2004
White: Cloudy Bay-Sauvignon Marloborough 2006
Budget red: Marchesi di Barolo-Barbera d’Alba Paiagal 2004
Budget white: Donnafugata-Anthilia 2006
Sweet: Montus Bouscasse-Pacherenc du Vic Bihl Cuvee Brumaire 2004
Sparkling: Mionetto-Prosecco di Valdobbadene
Thing: Dining at Hosteria della Stazione in Bronte-Catania
Comment: It was a year were I drunk some fantastic surprise and there is so much else out there to try that only thinking at this make me happy…keep an eye on Sicilian wines…from ETNA, they’re gorgeous!!!

TOM: very nice choices from both Italy and areas I love like Pacherenc du Vic Bihl. I am hoping to ger to Prosecco and Sicily this year, so some names to look out for too.

Luke Walter, UK

Red: Tim Adams (Australia) ‘The Aberfeldy’ 2005
White: Brundlmayer (Austria) Grüner Veltliner Langenloiser Berg Vogelsang 2005
Budget red: Babich (New Zealand) Winemakers Reserve Syrah 2006
Budget white: Trierer Deutschherrenberg (Germany) Riesling Kabinett, 2004
Sweet: Innocent Bystander (Australia) Moscato 2008
Sparkling: Nyetimber (England) Classic Cuvée 2001
Fortified: Graham’s Crusted Port (bottled 2001)
Dud: Cork- why still?
Thing: Getting serious with wine again…and on a student budget.
Comment: I have been impressed by several New World producers who have continued to deliever quality throughout their range. Tim Adams in the Clare Valley, and Babich in New Zealand have stood out for me. I did not have a single bottle that I was disappointed with from these two producers. Special mention needs to go out to the Peter Lehmann Semillon 2005, I had more than my fair number of bottles, and with each new bottle came a slightly different, more honeyed note.

TOM: Nice spread of Old/New World and countries in this list. I love that Moscato from Innocent Bystander, in the mould of the great Moscato d’Asti with what, about 5.5% alcohol? Glad Lehmann’s Semillon got a special mention too – fantastic Barossa Semillon that’s inexpensive yet cellars for a decade or more.

Jan-Tore Egge, Norway

Red: Ch. Lafite Rotschild (France) 1985
White: Ramonet (France) Chassagne-Montrachet Boudriotte 1999
Budget red: Jean-Paul Brun (France) Beaujolais L’Ancien 2007
Budget white: Leitz (Germany) Riesling Trocken 2007
Sweet: Isole e Olena (Italy) Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 1999
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified: Ramos Pinto (Portugal) 30 Years Old Tawny
Dud: I usually forget

TOM: I too had the 1985 Lafite during 2008 and it was very special. I think Krug vintage must take out overall Champagne prize this year – and probably this 1988 vintage.

Paul Anderson, UK

Red: Jean Raphet (Burgundy) Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 1983
White: Domaine Barmès-Buecher (Alsace) Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 2005
Budget red: Neil Ellis (South Africa) Shiraz Stellenbosch 2003
Budget white: Albert Boxler (Alsace) Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg Jeunes Vignes 2005
Sweet: Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey (Sauternes) 2003
Sparkling: Drappier (Champagne) Carte d’Or 1983
Dud: Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Bordeaux) 1992
Thing: Celtic winning the SPL title on the last day of the season having trailed Rangers by 7 points with 5 games to go.
Comment: Both 1983’s were opened to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary last year. I was surprised a Gewurz was my white of the year but B-B produces some fantastic wines and the Wintzenheim was one of 3 or 4 contenders. I had fairly modest expectations of the Mouton and it didn’t even deliver to that level. This bottle was a gift but given the price it sells at it would have been a huge disappointment. Helicopter Thursday was a fantastic evening and still a source of banter with friendly gers supporters.

TOM: It’s naughty of Paul to rub those suffering Glasgow Rangers fans noses in it – and he’s not even a Glaswegian! Fine, classic wine choices from some great and relatively unsung producers

Christiaan Jonkers, UK

Red: Mugnier (France) Musigny 2000
White: Ramonet (France) Caillerets 2002
Budget red: Corregia (Italy) Nebbiolo d’Alba 1999
Budget white: Verget (France) St Veran 2005
Sweet: d’Yquem (France) 1997
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified: Fonsecca (Port) 1963
Dud: Pintas (Portugal) Character 2005
Comment: Drank the first two over a memorable dinner with a good friend at Cru in NY, and was particularly impressed with the character of the Mugnier, having found the 2000s a little bland in the past. I chose the Pintas as a dud not because it is not a potentially good wine, but when tasted it was so dense and oaky as to make it virtually impenetrable.

TOM: regarding you dud (which I haven’t tasted) there seem to be two camps amongst producers aiming to make ‘icon wines’ at the moment: some are reining everything back and making natural, complex and harmonious wines and other are still going for the full-throttle, maximum ripeness and oak recipe, which to me is looking increasingly out of kilter with what modern fine wine enthusiasts want.

Richard W. H. Bray, UK

Red: Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (France) 1995
White: Domaine des Comtes Lafon (France) Meursault Clos de la Barre 2000
Budget red: Monasterio de las Vinas (Spain) Garnacha Old Vines 2007
Budget white: Nicolas Girard (France) Sancerre 2006
Sweet: Huet (France) Vouvray Le Clos du Bourg Moulleux 1ere Tres 1971
Sparkling: Salon (France) magnum 1990
Fortified: Barbeito (Portugal) Madeira Verdelho 1981
Dud: Jadot (France) Duc de Magenta Puligny Montrachet La Garenne 2000
Thing: Pretty amazing year – visited India for the first time, worked vintage at the fantastic Coume del Mas, started as sommelier at The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews and am living on the sea again. US election 2008, getting back into my writing with a vengeance – all sorts of things, really. Harder to decide than the wines actually.
Comment: My wine drinking has been somewhat disjointed this year, though I still managed a few stunners. The Lafite is still young, but promises real greatness while the Lafon simply stunned when I tried it. No doubt still ageworthy but so hedonistic now that I couldn’t imagine patience. The Monastario is a fiver and a red of two or three times the price. Great stuff. The Girard Sancerre is modern but never loses that brilliant underlying minerality of good, honest Sancerre. Liked it so much I put it on the wine list at the restaurant. The Huet tasted so incredibly young, fresh and vibrant, like a current ran through it. The Salon seemed quiet at first, then with a touch of food exploded on the palate – brilliant stuff with at least three more decades to go. Barbeito continue to make the finest Madeiras in the world. The Jadot I brought to France to share with friends and it was oxidised. I was deeply embarrassed. 2008 was nothing if not exciting for me. The highs were high, the lows were spent in hospital and I’m fairly excited to see what 2009 brings.

TOM: despite the premature oxidation problems, as witnessed by Richard’s ‘dud’, white Burgundy continues to do really well this year. Great to see another of Barbeito’s lovely older wines making it into the list too.

Edward Bolland, UK

Red: Brunello di Montalcino Intistieti, Soldera (Italy) 1995
White: Puligny Montrachet, Les Pucelles, Domaine Leflaive (France) 2002
Budget red: Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon, Victoria (Australia) 1999
Budget white: St Romain, Alain Gras (France) 2005
Sweet: Chateau Yquem, Sauternes (France) 1989
Sparkling: Champagne Deutz, Cuvée William Rosé (France) 1996
Dud: Jaques Selosse, Version Original (France) NV
Thing: Going to my first “off-line” event of the UK Wine Forum

TOM: I’ve just been tasting a wonderful Brunello di Montalcino from Banfi, the ‘Poggio Alle Mura’ 2003, that’s going to be in the reckoning for my wine of the month – soon to be on Majestic’s shelves around £30. And another vote for a rosé Champagne to counterbalance one of our earlier contributors, who made all rosé Champagne his ‘dud’ of the year!

Donald Reid, UK

Red: Felton Road (New Zealand) Block 5 Pinot Noir ’01
White: Muderbosch (South Africa) Barrel Fermented Chardonnay ’03
Budget red: Peter Lehmann (Australia) Barossa Shiraz ’05
Budget white: Raats Family (South Africa) Chenin Blanc ’07
Sweet: Kracher (Austria) Beerenauslese ’04
Sparkling: Theophile Roederer (France) Champagne NV
Fortified: Grahams (Portugal) Port 1963
Dud: Running out of storage space for wine. Again!!
Thing: Our grandson being born in early February.
Comment: I have had some outstanding wines at UK Wine Forum offline/WIMPS events during this last year the highlight being the 1981 Lopez de Heredia Bosconia I took along, courtesy of Jamie Hutchinson, to the Rioja WIMPS. My list though comes from wines drunk at home and from our own cellar. Possibly due to the amount of time allowed for savouring the Block 5 wins out over a ’95 Eileen Hardy or an ’00 Redbank Sally’s Paddock. In truth nothing White that I drank came close to the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay for sheer class, elegance and balance. Everything else wine wise is the pick of a very thin bunch but all stood out, warranting inclusion in this list. Our grandson is a beautiful life affirming little fellow, his arrival made all of these wines taste a little more special I think. A brief note of thanks for Mr.Cannavan, the UK Wine Forum and all of those who regularly contribute and make my life a little richer as a consequence. Happy drinking all.

TOM: thanks for the thanks Don. Some of my New World favourites in this list too, including that wonderful Chenin from Raats.

Corin Vestey, UK

Red: St Julien 2000
Budget red: Ch des Maladrets (Beaujolais) 2005, Ch Bellesrives Dubois 2005
Budget white: Southbank Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (NZ)
Comment: I’m very much a new boy at this game but the St Julien 2000 is fantastic. It’s supposed to be overproduction from a rather grand estate and I can believe it, though I am in no way qualified to vouch for that. Sensational and to me a wine with its best years ahead of it.

TOM: I think the declassified St-Julien was from retailer fromvineyardsdirect, and if so, I thought it was pretty fab stuff too. They also had a parcel of ‘Margaux’ that was in fact, declassified Chateau Palmer.

Philip Shorten, UK

Red: Jean Daneel (South Africa) Shiraz 2005
White: Domaine Simon Bize (France) Puligny Montrachet La Garenne 2006
Budget red: Paolo Scavino (Italy) Rosso di Tavola 2005
Budget white: Domaine Jean Gardies (France) Cotes du Roussillon Blanc Les Glaciaires 2006
Sweet: Weingut Knebel (Germany) Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese 2006
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 1998
Fortified: Equipo Navazos (Spain) La Bota de Amontilldo No. 9
Dud: Black cab drivers
Thing: My bicycle
Comment: This is a list of the most memorable wines – those that made the greatest impression on me during the year. The Jean Daneel Shiraz would divide opinions – 15.5% ABV and 33 months in new oak – but it works! Rich and intense, but well balanced and with genuine interest. If it was a boutique Aussie wine it would be garnering points aplenty the other side of the Atantic. Bize’s Puligny La Garenne, although young, was simply irresistible – like some 2006 white Burgundies, very forward and absolutely delicious. Scavino’s Rosso di Tavola is a great wine to enjoy with Italian fare, and tastes a lot posher than it its price suggests. Jean Gardies white blend is more evidence of the interesting stuff coming from the south of France. Although young, the Auslese was remarkably complex, as good as anything tasted year, and from a lesser known part of the Mosel. Pol Roger delivers year in year out, and remains affordable thanks to a reasonable pricing policy. Lastly, the Amontillado showed just how stunning Sherry can be. All in all, a good year; very few outstanding mature wines, but my tasting/drinking experiences were skewed more to new releases/younger vintages.

TOM: if this was Room 101 I’d say ‘you can’t put black cab drivers in because….’, but as it is not, I’ll let you off with it. I guess a hatered of cab drivers kind of goes hand in hand with cycling in the capital! Nice wine choices too.

Guy Dennis, UK

Red: ’93 Corton Clos du Roi GC
White: 1993 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Pucelles’, Domaine Leflaive
Budget red: Syrah VDP des Collines Rhodaniennes 2004
Budget white: 2005 Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh
Sweet: 1988 Château Climens
Fortified: Domaine Pietri-Geraud Cuvée Méditerranée 2003 Banyuls
Thing: Etymotic ER6i canal phones

TOM: second vote for a Pietri-Geraud Banyuls which I am delighted about – they are such a nice family, making brillinat traditional wines a tiny winery right in the centre of the narrow streets of Banyuls – must be a nightmare at harvest time.

Matthew Mellor, UK

Red: Chateau Clinet (France) Pomerol 1970
White: Les Hauts de Smith (France) Pessac-Léognan 1996
Budget white: Domaine de Montels (France) Rosé, VdP des Coteaux et Terrasses de Montauban 2007
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 1981
Dud: Lots!
Comment: Sorry that it’s all French. I’m drinking through quite a lot of stuff that I’ve had for a while. And while I’ve generally made less of a note of the stuff that I have drunk over the last two and a bit traumatic years, I’ve got the bug again. The Clinet was a delicious surprise – sweet, firm and mature with none of the earthy or metallic flavours I dread with some of the older stuff. I am a sucker for Sauternes, and while I didn’t have much last year, the Rieussec would have competed against most anyway. I chose a rosé from this estate because over the years it has consistently given me a lot of pleasure at a minimal price. It’s exceedingly popular locally, and justifiably so. The Hauts de Smith 96 was a real revelation, mature waxy Sémillon fruit being absolutely delicious even at 12 years. Would love to try the grand vin. Could have been the budget white, as it cost me only €7 per bottle. Had some lovely 2000 Meursaults at college dinners. No great sparklers. Lots of decent port! Tons of disappointments, mostly through faulty or badly stored bottles. Very disappointed in Trotanoy 1979, which was shot to pieces. My wine exposure was pretty exclusively French, as can be seen from the various mentions. All the best to fellow wine-pagers for 2009 – let’s hope it’s a survivable year for everyone.

TOM: Pleased to see another white Bordeaux make WWotY – though rarely cheap, I do feel white Graves is still an underappreciated wine style/region which I love.

Mark Carrington, UK

Red: Ch Leoville Barton France 2000
White: Ch Beaucastel France Blanc VV 2005
Budget red: Dom Galuval France CdR Villages Cairanne Petit Coeur 2005
Budget white: Jacob’s Creek Australia Steingarten Riesling 2005
Sweet: Ch Coutet France Cuvée Madame 1981
Sparkling: Bollinger France Rosé NV
Fortified: Graham Portugal 1983
Dud: Jaboulet France La Chapelle 1978 + 1990
Thing: Watching TdF Col du Tourmalet
Comment: Loads of contenders for ROTY, but LB tried on 2 occasions & it was brilliant both times. Beaucastel was a salutary lesson in not serving whites too cold. Several stunning Sauternes in 2008 but Coutet tops for more than vinous reasons. WOTY Bolly was a real surprise. No meritable fortifieds until last week of the year. La Chapelles part of a tremendous vertical, both faulty. Dud thing: watching a most turgid days cricket in Hamiton, whilst receiving inumerable texts updating me as The Terras lost 6-0 at home.

TOM: Delighted to hear about the Leoville-Barton 2000 as I have a case in the cellar! That Jacob’s Creek Steingarten is a real eye opener of a serious Riesling bearing the name of a relatively bland big brand

Charlie Emberson, UK

Red: Pegau (France) Cuvee Reservee CNDP 2004
Budget red: Chateau Bel-Air-Ouy (France)-St Emilion Grand Cru 2005
Budget white: Henri Boillot (France) Bourgogne Blanc 2005
Dud: Too Many To Mention
Thing: Glasvegas
Comment: A quiet year – nothing expect the 2004 Pegau stood head and shoulders for me…a 1996 John Riddoch was magnificent and a 2001 Cedre was fabulous, 1996 Sociando Mallet is a delight, a 2003 IX Colgin at the Fat Duck was extraordinary – but the Pegau 2004 did everything extremely well. I know the 2005 Bel-Air-Ouy is not really a budget wine – but it is outrageously delicious.

TOM: Is it my imagination or have Rhône winners of the red wine title been a little thin on the ground this year? Oh no- have just noticed there are two more about the follow!

Raymond Tilney, UK

Red: Chateau Beaucastle (France) Rhone1990
White: Veuve Clicquot (France) PN/CH/PM Blend Rare Vintage 1988
Budget red: Never!!
Budget white: Guillot-Broux (France) Macon Cruzille “Les Perriers” 2002
Sweet: Chateau Yquem (France) Sauternes d’Yquem 1989
Sparkling: Krug (France) Krug Vintage Champagne 1990
Fortified: Blandys (Madeira) Bual 1958
Dud: Krug (France) Grand Cuvee Champagne (NV)
Thing: Bose Soundock Portable with Iphone
Comment: The Beaucastle and d’Yquem are the standouts of my experiences at Offliners,which were jointly my thing of the year,and a sincere thank you to the wonderful people I have met at these events. My white wine is a bit of a cheat but had to be mentioned as it was served at 11 AM on my 50th Birthday by my friends at Maison Clicquot. The Krug 90 just shaded Pol Roger’s Chardonnay 90 as the top Champagne, but both must give way to the 89 d’Yquem as WOTY, I have listed it as from France, but really it is from another planet! The Soundock/Iphone means that Civilisation can be established wherever you may be.

TOM: I’d be intrigued to know whether Krug NV as the ‘dud’ was a specific bottle, or the wine generally? If I could afford it I’d buy the vintage too (the last three – ’95, ’96 and ’98 are all superb) but I think the NV is a lovely drop

Chris Smith, UK

Red: Chateau Rayas (France) 1989
White: Mas d’En Compte (Spain) 2006
Budget red: Charvin (France) Cotes du Rhone 2000
Budget white: Perret (France) St Joseph Blanc 2007
Sweet: Tirecul La Graviere (France) Cuvee Madame 1995
Fortified: Dow (Portugal) 40yo tawny
Dud: Chave Hermitages
Thing: My football team (Cambozola FC)’s tour to the makers of Cambozola cheese in Germany
Comment: Not the first time a Rayas has been my WotY (and hopefully not the last!). Otherwise, arguably slightly too much agreement with Keith Prothero here, picking the same budget red (and even from the same vintage). I am not sure whether the Dow is actually the best fortfied wine I tasted this year but it did bring back to me the joy of aged tawnies. The Chaves will be a controversial nomination of course, and it’s not that they aren’t good, just that, on the basis of trying the 82, 85 and 89, I can’t quite see what the really major fuss is about. Finally, the football tour, which began life as a drunken post-match fantasy, turned into a truly legendary event.

TOM: Certainly a contentious view on the Chave Hermitages! I have to say a vertical of the red and white Hermitages that I had a few years back with J-L Chave was one of my tasting highlights, but that’s what makes this exercise so interesting

Steven Defour, Belgium

Red: La Bastide Saint-Dominique (France) Ch. du Pape ‘Secrets de Pignan’ VV 2006
White: Albert Mann (France) Riesling Grand Cru Furstentum 2000
Budget red: Le Mas des Flauzières (France) Côtes du Ventoux Réserve du Peyreras 2007
Budget white: Domaine Mesliand (France) Touraine Sauvignon ‘La Pindorgerie’ 2007
Sweet: Domaine Cady (France) Coteaux du Layon St. Aubin ‘Les Varennes’ 2007
Sparkling: Champalou (France) Vouvray Brut NV / Domaine de la Châtaigneraie (France) Vouvray Brut Cuvée Antique NV
Fortified: Taylor’s (Portugal) ‘ Quinta de Vargellas’ 2001
Dud: Château Lanessan (France) Haut-Médoc 2000
Thing: Resurrection of autochtone grape-varieties, Portuguese wines (white & red)
Comment: I had some difficulties for some categories to fill in just 1 wine (so I’ve filled in 2!) The Lanessan 2000 didn’t deliver what I expected (given the price). The Riesling G.C. has evolved marvellous. The ‘Secrets de Pignan’ 2006 is made from (only) very old Grenache-vines and tasted splendid (as did the Ch. du Pape white 2007 from the same domaine)

TOM: I agree with Steven that Portugal continues to provide some fascinating and ‘different’ drinking – long may they resist internationalization of their grapes and wine styles

Tim Carlisle, UK

Red: Pichon Lalande 1975
White: Latour Puligny Les Truffieres 2001
Budget red: Domaine Road Pinot Noir, Otago
Budget white: Rully Pucelles, Jacquesson
Sweet: Pillitieri Estate Riesling Icewine, Canada
Sparkling: 1998 Bollinger Grand Annee
Fortified: Barbeito 20 yo Malvasia
Dud: Rose’ Champagne
Thing: My Daughter Again!
Comment: Most is self explanatory – the Latour was drunk at their Cuverie in Aloxe, and I always love the Jacquesson Rullys. My Daughter – although not new has learned to crawl, walk etc etc which still thrills me!

TOM: Though I’ve had some excellent rosé Champagnes, I do kind of know where Tim is coming from: generally speaking, I prefer my Champagne to be ‘white’ and feel the complexity comes from the blending and ageing, and I’m not sure what adding some red grapes or wine really brings to the ultimate quality

Craig Walker, UK

Red: Vallana Spanna San Lorenzo 1958
White: Gravner Breg 1998
Budget red: Barthod Chambolle Musigny 1998
Sweet: Felsina Berardenga Vinsanto 1998
Sparkling: Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 1998
Fortified: Taylor 1980
Dud: Gemtree ‘The Phantom’ Petit Verdot 2005
Thing: The UK Wine Forum Edinburgh Offline
Comment: I never would have expected this a year ago but many of the best wines I’ve had this year were actually Italian. I have October’s Edinburgh Offline and the generosity of those in attendance to thank for this. The 1958 Spanna was very special indeed. I can taste it still. I remain a committed Burgundy drinker but my offline experience is certianly forcing me to think again. Bring on the Superbowl Tom.

TOM: oh dear – I see a long and expensive path ahead of you Craig if you’ve fallen for Burgundy 🙂 I had one disappointing bottle of Belle Epoque 1998 just before Christmas, which I didn’t write up in my fizz report because I felt the bottle wasn’t right; glad to hear it showed so well here.

Douglas Murray, UK

Red: Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2002
White: Beaune Clos de Mouches Premier Cru 2006
Budget red: Weinlaubenhof Kracher Illmitz Zweigelt 2003
Budget white: Winter Reisling Trocken 2005
Sweet: Ben Rye Donnafugata 2005
Sparkling: Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millesime 1988
Fortified: Taylor’s 40 Year Old Tawny
Thing: Scottish Munros, Still manage to go back up the occasonal one.
Comment: I would not have expected to have had the Reisling Trocken as one of my favourites but I agreed with what Jancis Robinson said about it. I went to a tasting at the Donnafugata winery with the delightful Gabriella, all the wines were lovely but the Ben Rye was superb.

TOM: Well, the only time I’ve been above 3000 feet in Scotland is in an aeroplane. Riesling Trockens have been steadily improving I think – maybe helped by the recent string of warm and sunny vintages in Germany

Kevin Heatherington, UK

Red: Cote Rotie La Landonne Guigal (Rhone) 1989
White: Riesling Kappelweg – Gassmann (Alsace) 2001
Budget red: Puech de Glen – La Sauvageonne (Languedoc) 2005
Budget white: 2007 Dry White Bordeaux (several)
Sweet: Vulcaia Apres Vino Dolce – Inama (Veneto) 2004
Sparkling: Alfred Gratien Champagne (France) 1989
Fortified: Gonzales Byass Oloroso Apostoles (Spain) 30 y.o
Dud: Allegrini La Poja (Veneto) 2001
Thing: i-phone
Comment: A year with plenty of good wines but few great ones for me. Apart from the La Landonne, Gassmann Riesling and the Vulcaia Apres only a Vieux Donjon 1990 would be ranked as great. Very impressed with the freshness and minerality in several minor 2007 dry whites from Bordeaux. Lots of sherries tried but none were better than the Apostoles which is my usual stand-by.

TOM: I tend to agree that the 2007 dry white Bordeaux are excellent by and large – the Bordelais seem to be capturing much fresher, more Loire-like Sauvignon Blanc aromas and flavours in the past few years.

Mark Henderson, New Zealand

Red: Trapet (France) Latricieres Chambertin Grand Cru 2005
White: Stonecroft (New Zealand) Gewurztraminer 1998
Budget red: D’arenberg (Australia) The Stump Jump GSM 2006
Budget white: almost any Riesling
Sweet: Domaine Baumard (France) Coteaux de Layon Clos de St Catherine 2005
Sparkling: Quartz Reef (New Zealand) Chauvet Vintage Brut 2003
Fortified: Valdespino (Spain) Inocente Fino Sherry
Dud: Brown Brothers (Australia) Shiraz 1992
Thing: Visits to Lustau and Valdespino in Jerez in June
Comment: Always hard to choose just one in any category in a year when, in the company of good friends, many really interesting wines have been shared and discussed. A friend opened the Trapet on his 40th birthday and it just continued to evolve and evolve in the glass every time you went back to it; just marvellous compexity – it pipped the Moraga 1997 (Cab blend) from California and the Argiolas Turriga 2001 from Sardinia. Stonecroft is a superlative Gewurz producer and the 1998 shone – it pipped a fascinating Domaine Arretxea Iroulegy Blanc 2006 that I picked up from Philglas & Swiggot while in London. I opened the Baumard at an Intro to Wine Course and the perfume was ethereal, with marvellous concentration on the palate – I had the Baumard Quarts du Chaume 2005 a year ago and it too is stunning wine: both these wines did major damage to my bank balance this year! Recently tried an exceptional newcomer Alluviale Anobli 2008: a Sav Blanc dessert wine lying somewhere between Sauternes & Coteaux du Layon in style made by a french winemaker in Hawkes bay in New Zealand; their Sav Blanc is also very interesting in a very non Kiwi way. Many of my most memorable wines this year have been fortifieds and the visit to the Lustau and Valdespino bodegas in June was an absolute highlight. The Lustau 1989 and 1990 Oloroso Anadas opened for friends here recently were near misses for my top pick along with a Dows Quinta da Senhora Vintage Port 2005 which was intense essence of raspberry but the combination of freshness and complexity in the Fino won the day. The cellar has seen lots of Loire Chenin, German Riesling and both southern and northern Rhones added before the NZ$ slumped against the Euro, the Pound and the US$ late in the year – it may be a leaner year for purchases in 2009?

TOM: I’ll keep an eye out for that Alluviale Anobli Sauvignon – on a trip to NZ in 2007 I was impressed by the different expressions of Sauvignon some producers were definitely aiming for in Marlborough, to break away from the ‘typical’ style

Brian Whitlock, UK

Red: Viansa Winery Sonoma (USA) Piccolo 2001
White: Macia Batle (Majorca Spain) Blanc de Blancs 2006
Budget red: Chateau Gigault (France – CdBlaye) Cuvee Viva 2002
Budget white: Jean Jaques Bardin (France) Pouilly Sur Loire 2006
Sweet: Parma Violets
Sparkling: Lanson Black Label N.V.
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Noe PX Sherry
Dud: Bojolly Nouveau
Thing: Brownsea Island – a great place to be a volunteer.
Comment: All my wines are bought on a reasonable budget. Often fron the winery – Four of the above bought on cellar visits. The Macia Batle is a stunner at 15 euros. Keep up the good work Tom, this is the only site I visit religously on a Sunday!

TOM: But Brian, what about Monday-Saturday? :-). Great to see some less expensive wines so carefully chosen

Brent Fraser, Canada

Red: Vieux Telegraph (France) CdP1985
White: Leeuwin (Australia) Art Series Chardonnay 1998
Budget red: Santa Rita (Chile) Reserva Pinot Noir 2007
Budget white: Tantalus (Canada) Riesling 2006
Sweet: Gunderloch (Germany) Nachenheim Rothenberg TBA 2001
Sparkling: Jacquesson Signature Brut 1990
Fortified: Graham’s 1977
Comment: Attended the US version of Le Paulee in San Francisco and was in awe of the 40 + wines at our dinner table. e.g 69 Leroy Echezeaux, 90 Raveneau Montee de Tonnere, 89 Jadot Corton-Charlemagne and a 78 Domaine Fonelle Bonnes Mares, made by Christophe Roumier’s grandfather which was magical. My top choices however reflect a year’s worth of drinking with good friends and good food.

TOM: Given the stellar line-up of wines at your SF dinner, the ones that actually made the grade must be quite something! I can vouch for a few of them, but Tantalus is a new Canadian name for me.

Ronald Massard, Thailand

Red: La Grange des Peres 1999 (France, VdP Herault)
White: Henry Marionnet, Provignage 2002 (France, VdP Jardin de la France)
Budget red: MontGras, Carmenere reserva 2005 (Chile, Colchagua)
Budget white: E. Knoll, Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Loibenberg 1999 (Wachau, Austria)
Sweet: Vinia, Grasa 1962 (Cotnari, Romania)
Sparkling: Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame 1990 (France, Champagne)
Fortified: Emilio Lustau, Amontillado Jose Luis Obregon (Spain, Jerez)
Dud: Cims de Porrera 2001 (Spain, Priorat)
Thing: Trekking the Golden Triangle in December + dining scene in Catalunya
Comment: Wining in Bangkok requires wealth … The 400%+ taxes applied on wines make the cheap ones on par with the price of a bottle of Black Label ! This does not encourage the rising of a real wine scene as in Singapore or Shanghai. But some excellent bottles can be found, though. Great emotions with the 150-year old small romorantin acreage revived by ex-bulk wine moghul Henry Marionnet ; also with a fantastic bottle of Cotnari 1962, still bright, mineral and floral, dangling above mushroomy taste and oxydation. Conundrum, the incredibly sexy white blend by Caymus was very close to the list. Many thanks to Catalans to shake the world of wine and cuisine as Dali and Miro did with pictural arts decades ago : that was badly needed. But please chaps, don’t overdo !…

TOM: Comisserations on the prices in Thailand Ronald, but you had a pretty good year of drinking. I had the 1990 Grande Dame on Christmas eve, and it was superb – having gained a lot of weight and richness since I first tasted it a decade ago.

Chris Piper, UK

Red: Casanova di Neri (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Neri” 1999
White: Jean-Marc Morey (France) Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru les Chenevottes 2005
Budget red: Philippe Verzier (France) St. Joseph “Chante Perdrix” 2006
Budget white: Jackson Estate (New Zealand) “Green Lip” Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem (France) Sauternes 1988
Sparkling: Champagne Veuve Fourny (France) Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Fortified: Hidalgo (Spain) Jerez Cortado Muy Viejo
Dud: Champagne Louis Roederer (France) Cristal 1999
Thing: Eldest son’s 60+ runs for Devon Under 21’s at Seaton….
Comment: As a trade buyer I have a opportunity to taste a huge range of wines. However, these are winess that I have drunk with friends and family over the year and have given exceptional pleasure. As for the Cristal, it never ceases to amaze me how people will pay so much for something so souless. John Stichbury’s Green Lip has been a house staple over the year and has given consistent smiles – and I’m not a great exponent of Sauvignon.

TOM: Great to hear the ’88 Yquem is on form, as I have a little mini-vertical of 88-90 from the days before it got just too expensive for me.

David Harvey, UK

Red: Frank Cornelissen (Italy) MunJebel Rosso No.3 2005
White: Mendall (Spain) Macamiau Blanc 2005
Budget red: Claude Courtois (France) Les Etourneaux 2005
Budget white: House (Spain) from Fonts des Angels restaurant, Montblanc
Sparkling: Larmandier-Bernier (France) Terre de Vertus non-dose
Fortified: Valdespino (Spain) Inocente Fino
Dud: Pommery Brut Royal
Thing: An old steel MTB frame rebuilt for XC riding
Comment: Wonderful to see those who work more or less naturally rewarded in peoplesâ´lists, e.g. Barbeito, Barmes Buecher, Barral (decant it), Beaucastel, Brundlmeyer, Chave, DRC, P.Morey, Musar, Ostertag, Selosse, ZH, etc. For if, as Nicholas Joly says, â´before a wine can be good, it must be trueâ´contains any truth, then only producers whose philosophy is start to finish respect for natural process AND non-intervention, are going to deliver something worthy of consideration in the glass. Otherwise.. there are the big names, (with cloned vines, temperature control, selected yeast, systematic sulphiting, ammended structure and/or new oak behind the label) e.g. Margaux, Dom Perignon, Yquem, Catena. This breed create wine, by any means necessary, that may massage the palate and ego, like a cola, but which can never satisfy the intellect and conscience. This status quo will persist until people question BEFORE tasting, until labelling ingredients is permitted/required, and more professionals and amateurs embrace natural producers, reject artifice. I put my money where my mouth is – I work with some of these producers.

TOM: I agree with David of course, that the lists already submitted have some beautifully chosen, very intelligent choices from dedicated small producers who don’t make a song and dance about their wines. But then I’ve had some fantastic wines from Margaux, DP, Yquem and Catena, and personally think they may be ‘big’ but can still be beautiful…

Alex Jagger, UK

Red: Chateau Leoville Barton 1863
White: Pavillon Blanc 04
Budget red: Il Macchione Vino de Nobile Montepulciano 03
Budget white: Vincent Dureil Janthiel Rully ‘Mazieres’ 05
Sweet: Doisy Daene 04
Sparkling: Krug N.V
Fortified: Paul Jaboulet Aine ‘Duo’ 05
Dud: Pichon Lalande 82 (corked)
Thing: Getting engaged just 2 weeks ago overlooking the Giralda in Seville.
Comment: The word of the year for me is ‘privilege’ as having the opportunity to taste some venerable old vintages is exactly that with the LB 1863 the top of that pile. VDJ’s wines seem fantastic value to me. The duds could have been the corked ’78 AND ’90 La Chapelle but it was an astonishing first offline in both quality of wines and company(and forumites generosity.) I had to get a wine in somehow the experimental ‘Duo’ is La Lagune fortified with La Chapelle old style!(cheating i know!) Last mention goes to the small thing of getting engaged just a few weeks ago in Seville on our Suite terrace with a stunning moonlit view, glass of Krug in hand…

TOM: Congratulations on the engagement Alex. Well, I doubt if anyone will top (or ‘bottom’?) an 1863 claret – what an expreinece that must have been. A real bummer on the corked Pichon – one of the great 1982s

David Ludlow, UK

Red: Chateau du Beaucastel 2005
White: Dr Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese 2005
Budget red: Los Vascos Grande Reserva 2005
Budget white: Inama Soave Classico 2006
Sweet: Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 1995
Sparkling: Pol Roger Brut 1996
Fortified: Lustau East India Solera Sherry
Dud: Penfolds Grange 1996
Thing: Birth of my second son, Jude
Comment: Have tasted some wonderful wines this year. Beaucastel was tasted in a vertical tasting and just pipped the ’98, simply because of its stunning potential. Also tasted Sassicaia 2001 and Cepparello 2001 which were excellent. Also tried Pierre Gimmonet’s 2002 Champagne which was an excellent example of what a small producer can achieve. The Grange was selected as a dud simply because after 12 years it was completely closed and showed no development at all! The question was when if ever would it develop complexity? The Tokaji was superlative and beat an Ice wine from Nahe, and Canada and a Sauternes and Quarts du chaume on the night.

TOM: Sometimes Grange can be totally monolithic and take ages to develop any tertiary appeal, so I wouldn’t give up hope. I was lucky enough to visit Disznoko a couple of months ago, and the wines were fantastic.

Malcolm Forster, UK

Red: Barolo 1985, Pio Cesare
White: Coulee de Serrant 1976, Savennieres, Loire.
Budget red: Cape Elephant, Ruby Cabernet 2005 (£3.33) S.A
Budget white: Tapiwey Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Chile. Tesco Finest.
Sweet: Ch Lafourie-Peyraguey 1985 Sauternes
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon Cuvée NFB 1998
Fortified: Taylor’s 1983 Vintage Port.
Dud: Sainsbury 2006 Vintage Cava. Awful.
Thing: Computer/Internet. Where would we be without them?
Comment: The Barolo only just pipped Ch Chasse-Spleen 1986. Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Pioneer Block No3 was our second white (puts Cloudy Bay to shame) Hon mention to Jurancon 2005 Uroulat-Charles Hours in the sweet catagory.

TOM: I’m a huge dan of the 1985 vintage so nice to see a couple of contenders here. Also a huge fan of the wines of Juranc¸on, sweet and dry, so nice to see one get an honorable mention.

Will Cashman, Ireland

Red: Domaine Trapet Chambertin 2003
White: Coche Dury Meursault 2002
Budget red: Domaine De La Croix Bourgogne Rouge 2005
Budget white: Philippe Chavy Puligny Montrachet2 005
Sparkling: Krug Vintage 1996
Dud: Leflaive Puligny Clavaillon 1er 2005
Thing: Wine Tastings. I’ve atttended a good number this year, many more than in the past, and they’ve provided excellent chances to taste some great wine
Comment: The choices for red and white were both pretty easy although I’ve had the good fortune to drink some excellent wine this year. The value red Croix wine is probably the wine I have drunk most this year and is a great bargain. I struggled for a budget white but the Chavy Puligny was only €20 ex domaine so I decided this was just about a budget white (and amazing value at this price). Toss up between the 96 Krug / 98 Vilmart Coeur / Selosse Initiale for the sparkling but the smile the Krug put on my face probably shaded that for me. The Leflaive was shipped from overseas but unfortunatly arrived horribly corked.

TOM: An exclusively French list from Will, and almost exlusively Burgundy. I think someone’s got the bug badly!

David Lole, Australia

Red: Penfolds (Australia) Bin 7 Cabernet Shiraz (Coonawarra/Kalimna) 1967
White: Fritz Haag (Germany) Juffer-Sonnenuhr Auslese Riesling Gold Capsule 1983
Budget white: Any of the two hundred bottles of (Australian) Riesling in my cellar
Sweet: S.A.Prum (Germany) Wehlener-Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese Gold Capsule 1976
Sparkling: Moet & Chandon (France) Dom Perignon 1996
Fortified: Lindeman’s (Australia) Vintage Port Bin 3642 Classic Release 1967
Dud: Wynns John Riddoch 1991 (surely an errant bottle)
Thing: Getting back to relatively good health in the last few months

TOM: First, very best wishes for continued good health David. Some lovely older bottles of Australian wine in this selection, which would probably surprise many Old World fans who have never had a chance to taste them.

Lionel Nierop, UK

Red: Chateau Beaucastel Rouge (France) Rhone 1981
White: Pazo de Senorans (Spain) Rias Baixas ‘Seleccion Anada’ 2002
Sweet: Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr GK 1996
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Brut 1998
Dud: Ch Cantermerle 1989
Thing: www.bidforwine.co.uk
Comment: -The Beaucastel was the absolute highlight of a year where I’ve been fortunate to drink some stupendous bottles. It had an incredibly complex, multifacetted and ever changing character that I’ve rarely seen before. -The Pazo de Senorans shines as a beacon of excellence for Albarino. An hugely long and powerful yet elegant wine I enjoyed as part of a mini-marathon of Albarino back in October. Fritz Haag’s ’96 BBJ GK managed to silence a whole room of people. Painfully mineral – like drinking a razor – and brilliantly made. -The Cantermerle ’89 was served by a friend for lunch. It was corked. Such as shame as underneath was clearly a beautiful, elegant claret! -My ‘thing’ has been the dominant part of my life for the past 9 months and seems to have absorbed almost all my time so what could be a more fitting choice…?

TOM: I have some of that 1989 Cantemerle in my own cellar, so hoping for better luck when I open one! Agree on the Pazo de Senorans – Albariño doesn’t always shine, but when it is good it is fabulous stuff.

Charles Taylor, UK

Red: Schlossgut Diel (Germany) Cuvee Caroline Spatburgunder 2005
White: Benjamin Romeo (Spain) Que Bonito Cacareaba 2005
Budget red: Robert Arnoux (France) Bourgogne Rouge 2005
Budget white: Dr Loosen (Germany) Ursulas Wurtzgarten Kabinett 2007
Dud: Fonsalette Blanc 2004
Thing: Family life, most of the time.

TOM: Germany has made a really strong showing this year so far, in both dry and sweet categories. Most of those have been white of course, so nice to see this Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) getting the nod – German examples are increasingly convincing – global warming perhaps?

Keith Prothero, UK and South Africa

Red: Jaboulet (France) La Chapelle 1961
White: Lopez de Heredia (Spain) Tondonia Gran Reserva 1970
Budget red: Charvin (France) CdR 2000
Budget white: Klein Zalze (South Africa) Bush Vines chenin 2005
Sweet: D’Yquem (France) Sauternes 1967
Sparkling: Pardon!!
Fortified: Bredell (South Africa) Cape Vintage Port 1991
Thing: WIMPS lunches–great food and service at the Ledbury
Comment: The highlight of a fantastic wine drinking year for me,was undoubtably the 61 La Chapelle offline for the Pebbles charity. Not one wine was faulty, and the four northern rhones we tasted were in my top five reds of the year, with only the magnificent 81 Beaucastel splitting them. The Tondonia was stunning, because it was so unexpected having been ordered off a wine list in a lovely restaurant in Wiltshire. The Yquem was simply the best sweet wine I have ever tasted and was a gift froma relative’s cellar. Am now a Yquem fan !! The Charvin is great value for money and the Klein Zalze is unbelievable value in South Africa, being available at the cellar door for about 2 pounds a bottle. Finally that Bredell is a really special vintage and was given to me by Anton Bredell himself, for the Wine Gang dinner. A great year and many,many thanks as always to Tom for the wine-pages’ forum and all it represents.

TOM: Pebbles is a childrens’ charity for which Keith does a power of work, so how nice that his best wine experience of the year should be associated with it. Nice way to discover the joys of Yquem too, with the legendary 1967

Georgios Hadjistylianou, Cyprus

Red: Ch Margaux (France) 1990
White: Hirsch (Austria) Gru-Ve Lamm Alte Reben Kamptal 2001
Budget red: Palacios Remondo (Spain) Rioja La Vendimia
Budget white: Leitz (Germany) Dragonstone Riesling 2007
Sweet: Argyros (Greece) Vin Santo Santorini 1988
Sparkling: Villmart & Cie (France) Grand Cellier d’OR 2000
Dud: Hans Reisetbauers Eau de Vie Line
Thing: Biodinamic Wines
Comment: Keep an eye on the Villmart, its trully big champagne with a lot of finesse. Movia’s Puro was superb. Hans is a magician when it comes to schnapps, very impressive with rowanberry & ginger been my favorite. Hirsch Lamm Alte Reben, is a white for meat. Some oher whites that really stood out were Nikolaihof (Austria) Gruner Veltliner Vinothek 1991, it’s trully magical……… Honestly I haven’t had much fortified this year and I can’t remember one that stood out.

TOM: A fascinating list. The Leitz is a perfect fusion of tradition and modern german wine, and I visited Movia in Slovenia last year and the Puro – a sparkling wine that is sold un-disgorged, with instructions on how to disgorge at home – is a truly remarkable wine from an idiosyncratic but excellent Biodynamic estate.

Otto Nieminen, Finland

Red: Overnoy-Houillon (France) Arbois Pupillin Poulsard 2002
White: Čotar (Slovenia) Malvazia 2003
Budget red: Eric Texier (France) St. Gervais Vieilles Vignes des Cadinières 2005
Budget white: D. de l’Ecu (France) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Expression de Gneiss 2002
Sweet: Dönnhoff (Germany) Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Beerenauslese 2006
Sparkling: René Geoffroy (France) Champagne Volupté 2004
Fortified: (d.) de Blanes (France) Maury 2006
Dud: Casa Lapostolle (Chile) Cuvée Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Comment: The energy and liveliness of these wines made me choose largely ‘natural’ wines this year – though they are all quite young. Dud? I just couldn’t imagine that ‘wine’ (can it be called that) could be made so disgusting: it was nasty and brutish but sadly not short.

TOM: Some lovely choices from Otto, and I have to say I know what he means about the Casa Lapostolle Apalta – it is definitely a love it or loathe it wine, with masses of everything, except, perhaps subtlety…

Garry Cark, Glasgow by way of Chester

Red: Lealtanza (Spain) Artistas Espanoles, Dali, Rioja Reserva 2004
White: DRC (France) Le Montrachet 2001
Budget white: Baigorri (spain) Rioja Blanco 2007
Sweet: Innocent Bystander (Australia) Moscato 2008
Sparkling: Krug Clos de Mesnil 1998
Fortified: Croft (Portugal) 1960
Dud: many many white burgundies from the late 80 to mid nineties that have just been prematurely overoxidised.
Thing: Winning Hotel Catey award! and Visiting Krug
Comment: Each year I say that Im going to keep notes for next years list, and each year when this comes around, I struggle to pick out certain wines to fill the selection. Ive had a pretty good year, tasted some great wines, got to visit Rioja and Krug within the space of a month!! Won the regional final of Sommelier of the Year competition, competed in the final, won a hotel catey for food and wine service, seen the restaurant refurbished and gain its forth AA rosette, fingers crossed in Jan when the michelin comes out!! The Dali Rioja is a standout red – intense, concentrated and a mixture of feelings – they chose the artist well for this bottling! DRC montrachet, costs an arm a leg, your left kidney, 1/3rd of your liver and pretty much all the money in your bank account, but it has an intensity that seems to defy description. A flavour that grows on the palate and lingers long afterwards. I doubt that I will ever taste that vintage again, it suspect it will be a long time before I get the chance to taste another. The Innocent Bystander Moscato is a gem of a wine, lightly sparking, pink and fruity sweet this has been a big hit with our customers since we listed it back in march (2007 vintage). Perfect summer sipping, it has gone down a treat with sorbets, floating islands and raspberry based desserts all across the summer. I was fortunate enough to visit Krug over the summer break as we closed for five weeks for a refurbishment. After hassling our poor guide all day long we eventually got to see the outside of Clos d’Ambonnay before heading off to lunch at Clos de Mesnil. We were greeted with a glass of the as yet unreleased 98 CdM as we wandered around the tiny vineyard marvelling at its size. A few years back i listed the Krug Clos de Mesnil as my dud of the year as it had failed to live up to my elevated expectations. Im happy to say that I have changed my opinion of the wine slightly (it is still excruciatingly expensive!! but hell Clos d’Ambonnay is way worse!)

TOM: Hard to argue with a list that contains one of the best wines I’ve ever tasted (that Montrachet from Romanée-Conti) and the same sparkling wine that I chose myself this year.

David Bennett, UK

Red: Pichon Comtesse de Lalande 1982/JLChave 88
White: Ch. Estoublon 06
Budget red: Cave de Mancy ‘Les essentielles’ Bourgogne Rouge 05
Budget white: Cave de Mancy ‘Les essentielles’ Bourgogne Blanc 06
Sweet: La Sylvetica Moscato di Asti
Sparkling: 99 Vilmart Champagne
Fortified: 03 Banyuls Pietri-Giruad
Dud: Lots of poor quality Chablis
Thing: Mikasa ‘Open up’ wine Glasses
Comment: I really cannot decide between the Chave and the Comtesse. Both vastly different wines but the purity and elegance of the fruit in Both of these wines was stunning. The White Estoublon is a real discovery for me and make no bones, Leon Stolarski has found a great Chateau to import. This stuff makes Le Soula look like a basic vin de table. The Estoublon has elegent fruit married with such complexity and buckets of lovely balance acidity that it just cries out to be investigated more and more with each sip – a great wine young and i have no doubt will age stupendously.. The Budget wines are easy – Mancy Cooperative is a cracker -great fruit easy to knock back but with a depth that I have yet to find in another basic Boorgogne. The Moscato sweetie , slightly sparkling was the disovery of the salone del Gusto in turin with Andy Leslie. Never before has a moscato pushed all the right buttons more than Ciarolo’s ‘Niovle’. La Sylbetica did by a country mile! The Sparkler was simple the Vilmart 99 was super, although the Bolly ’28 and ’29 tasted earlier in the year were brilliant for wines of their age!! I make no apologies for another of leons wines appearing – the Banyuls (please excuse the spelling!) It’s another Leon Stolarski special and it will knock spots of ANY port in a blind tasting. There is no burn, just beautiful clear sweet fortified fruit – Lovely. Chablis has disappointed again. Only one bottle from the region I used to love and admire has switched my buttons this year from Dauvissat. But boy is it expensive! The wine glasses are unbreakable…er…ok I’ve broken one by deliberately smashing it HARD against a tap. oops. otherwise the design and function has been formed into a beautful looking piece of stemware. I love them for tasting young Burg. vintages. I think they are avilable in the UK although mine were bought in France. For the future? – I’m going natural wine as much as possible!

TOM: A lot of names in this list for which I have great fondness, and from estates I’ve visited too. I’d certainly be willing to argue the toss on David’s description of the white from Chateau d’Estoublon making Le Soula look ‘basic’ – I visited the fascinating Biodynamic estate of d’Estoublon a few years ago, where Eloi Durbach of Domaine de Trevallon is consultant, and whilst I agree it is excellent, I also enjoyed a vertical tasting recently of every vintage of Le Soula which was totally convincing too – it is another great wine from the south of France.

Mike Bartlett, UK

Red: Talenti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1999
White: (Rose) Chateau Pibarnon (France) Bandol 2006
Budget red: Vinas de Gain, (Spain) Artadi, Rioja 2005
Budget white: Ken Forrester (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2007
Fortified: Lustau Oloroso
Dud: San Leonardo (Italy) ‘Vallagerina’ 1999
Thing: Our new puppy, Delilah…she’s priceless!
Comment: The Brunello may have years ahead of it, but it’s gorgeous now with some air time. The Rioja is just fantastic value…real depth and complexity. The same of which cannot be said for the San Leonardo which was very lacklustre. The Bandol was the best non-red wine i had all year! And can I recommend Cardigan Corgi puppies to everyone for the new year?

TOM: well, I may not be quite ready for a Corgi pup, but plenty of choices here I would agree with, especially the two ‘budget’ wines from two great producers.

 

David Crossley, UK

Red: Chave Hermitage 1989
White: Gewurztraminer GC Hengst 2001, Barmès-Buecher
Budget red: Cerasuolo di Vittoria ‘Pithos’ 05/06, Cos
Budget white: Bourgogne Chardonnay 2006, Arnaud Ente
Sweet: Recioto di Soave ‘Vigna Marogne’ Tamellini 2003
Sparkling: Pol Roger 1998
Fortified: Solera Riserva ‘San Emilio’ PX, Lustau
Dud: just about everything I’ve had in ’08 under £7.99, sadly
Thing: Japan or The Sampler, both inspiring places
Comment: Like everyone else this is an impossible task. I feel boring putting one of two ‘unready’ Chave vintages down as I’ve had some other fantastic, but less obvious, wines (and all these were drunk as opposed to tasted). Ente nearly got the budget red as well (for his tiny production Grand Ordinaire). I had many other lovely Alsaces and there was massive competition for the sweet (the Tamellini pipped Oremus, just). Japan continues to be the focus of my affection outside of the world of wine. For 2009 – buy more mature(ish) claret and drink more Champagne

TOM: Japan remains high on my ‘must do’ list, so deeply envious. Nice to see the Barmès-Buecher in their – excellent biodynamic wines and a lovely, down to earth couple who run it.

Roberto Rockmann, Brazil

Red: Clos de Tart (France) 1998
White: Catena (Argentine) Catena Alta Chardonnay 2002
Budget red: Poderi Aldo Conterno (Italy) Dolcetto Masante 2006
Budget white: Domaine Guy Roulot (France)Bourgogne blanc 2004
Sweet: Wilhem Brundlmayer (Austria) GrUner Veltliner Tocken 2000
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Bollinger RD 1990
Fortified: Noval (Portugal) Noval Colheita 1964
Dud: R. Rostaing Cote R̫tie C̫te Blonde 1999 Рcorked

TOM: Lovely choices – and reminds me I picked up half a case of the Catena Alta Chardonnay myself in a sale two years ago, so delighted it is drinking so well!

Christopher Prain, UK

Red: Louis Jadot (France) Clos de Vougeot 1998
White: H Donnhoff (Germany) Oberhauser Brucke Spatlese 2005
Budget red: Henri Gouges (France) Nuits St Georges Les Pruliers 1998
Budget white: Domaine des Comtes Lafon (France) Macon Milly Lamartine Clos du Four 2005
Fortified: Quinta de Noval (Portugal) 1966
Dud: 03 Red Burgundy
Thing: riedel stemless wine glasses
Comment: The Jadot Clos de Vougeot is from an underated vintage and is nigh on perfect: crushed violets, rich fruit, an iron fist in a velvet glove. The Gouges from the same vintage and a budget choice as it was bought at auction for a song. Burgundy 2003 may come good but for the meantime its a little too cooked for my liking.

TOM: Very fine, classic selections – and that Donnhoff is exhilarating stuff. I’m very taken with a couple of Riedel ‘Tyrol’ glasses that I have – not quite stemless as they have a small ‘foot’ rather than a stem, but lovely to drink from

Linden Wilkie, UK

Red: DRC (France) La Romanée Conti 1971
White: Egon Müller (Germany) Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese Long Goldcap Auction 1983
Budget red: Chateau Bourgneuf (France) Pomerol 1998 (£14 at auction)
Budget white: Billaud-Simon (France) Chablis 1er Cru ‘Mont du Milieu’ 2004
Sweet: Egon Müller (Germany) Scharzhofberger TBA Auction 1997
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Vieilles Vignes Français 1996
Fortified: Quinta do Noval (Portugal) Nacional 1963
Dud: Chateau Lynch Bages (France) 1974
Thing: BBC’s iPlayer
Comment: A really great year for wine drinking and discoveries. Is it just me or have the range, frequency and quality of offlines taken a notch up in 2008? The Ledbury WIMPs lunches organised through the UK Wine Forum came close to being my ‘thing’ of 2008 – but it can’t ALL be about debauchery, can it? The wine-pages online and offline community is something that gives me so much pleasure, and my wish for 2009 is that the ‘lurkers’ get involved!

TOM: Yes, the ‘real life’ community that has built up through the wine-pages’ forum is astonishing, and they organise some extraordinary wine events!

Ian Amstad, UK

Red: Chateau Margaux (France) 1986
White: Domaine Bouchard Montrachet (France) 1995
Budget red: Henri Villamont Savigny-Les-Beaune (France) 1998
Budget white: Simon Bize Bourgogne Les Perriers (France) 2005
Sweet: Chateau D’Yquem (France) 1986
Sparkling: Champage Henriot Rosé 2002
Dud: D’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz (Australia) 2004
Thing: JL Chave Blanc and JJPrum
Comment: Chateau Margaux was my star of our ’86 Bordeaux horizontal – others chose Mouton and Lafite but the Margaux is an immortal masterpiece. Running it close was Giacomo Conterno Monfortino 1990 a quintessentially perfect Barolo, also still an adolescent. Other highlights included two fully mature desert island wines – DRC La Tache 1980 was ethereal and complex despite terrible provenance and Petrus 1978 with dream-like tertiary nuances. Other stars in the ’86 tasting were Ducru Beaucaillou, Cos D’Estournel, and Gruaud Larose. Still in Bordeaux some brilliant examples from the similar though more user friendly 1996 vintage: Leoville-Lascases, Lagrange and Cos D’Estournel. In Italy other memorable wines were Gaja Costa Russi 1982, which still needed 5-10 more years (I wish I had known!), Aldo Conterno Barolo 1990, Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco Rocche 1982, Feyles Barolo Riserva 1989 and Caparzo Brunello Di Montalcino La Casa 1985. Among the whites it was a close call between the exotic and delicious JL Chave Blanc 1997, Domaine Bouchard Montrachet 1995, a fabulously restrained medium-bodied example, and an incredibly vibrant 1991 Raveneau Blanchots. The Bize was the best of a superb collection of generic Bourgogne blancs from 05 and 06 – most offered stunning QPR. On the reds the Villamont was only $18 and a remarkably good fully mature burgundy…what a bargain. The Chaves Blanc were a revelation – and the 1997 outclassed weightier and more lauded examples at a tasting. Likewise, I belatedly discovered JJ Prum and committed the cardinal sin of drinking lots of Spatlese and Auslese from the 06 vintage – the pick being the Graacher Himmelreich Auslese. But among the sweeties it was an easy choice: Chateau d’Yquem 1986 just gets better and better. The bad news is that I am almost out of it; the good news is that I have cases of the 1988 and 1990.

TOM: another strictly classic collection (and a bit cruel, giving ‘dud’ to the only non-European wine!) but what fab drinking. It was obviously a good year for Ian!

Matthew Hemming, UK

Red: De Vogue (France) Chambolle 1er Cru Amoureuses 1964
White: Chateau Haut Brion Blanc (France) Graves 2005
Budget red: Penfolds (Australia) Bin 406 Cabernet 1995
Budget white: Willows Vineyard (Australia) Barossa Semillon 2002
Sweet: 1975 Sauternes in general
Sparkling: Billecart Salmon (France) Vintage Champagne 1966
Dud: Restaurant with shockingly awful food but incredible wine
Thing: West Country Life
Comment: The budgets and fizz are recently drunk wines, rather than favourites from throughout the year. My mind went blank thinking about these, then I remembered the Willows from the night before and a few other times in the year – delicious stuff. Ditto the Penfolds. The Champers – believe it or not – was passed around the office yesterday afternoon and was an absolute revelation. Rich, alive and magnificent. The dud was a huge disappointment…we drank well priced Coche Dury and Meo Camuzet, yet the kitchen served spectacularly poor food that was so bad as to be almost funny. Had a handful of ’75 Sauternes in the year and they’ve all been memorable. I prefer them to the ’76’s and whilst it’s certainly not something I’ve had a lot, the ones we’ve drunk have really stood out. West Country Life is not a country sports magazine, but my appreciation of Bristol, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and generally living out this direction.

TOM: That white Haut-Brion 2005 is a simply extraordinary wine. I just wish I could afford to buy some now as it is super-expensive. Good to see a few non-European wines getting a look in too

selections added 24th December

Nicholas Larsen, UK

Red: Chateau du Beaucastel (France) CdP 1998
White: Domaine Gauby (France) Le Soula Blanc 2005
Budget red: Zenato (Italy) Ripassa 2005
Budget white: Domaine des Martinelles (France) Crozes Hermitage Blanc 2006
Sweet: Bisol (Italy) Passito Duca Di Dolle
Sparkling: Bisol (Italy) Crede Prosecco di Valdobbiadene
Fortified: Talijancich (Australia) Julian James Reserve Muscat Blend #5, 1961 Solero
Dud: Tamar Ridge (Australia) Pinot Noir 2005
Thing: Getting married
Comment: We had the Beaucastel along side a Penfolds St Henri ’96 and at the end of the night the CdP was the winner – it’s a wine I’d always go back for more of. The St Henri was a bit of a bruiser and a little disappointing given that I rate the St Henri and this one was from a great year. The Zenato Ripassa is reasonably priced at their cellar door (and at the old Euro exchange rate) so sneaks in as the budget red. It went down a storm with our wedding guests. One of the highlights of the year was a tour and tasting at Bisol; lovely wines.

TOM: Agree on Bisol, and the ‘Crede’ is my favourite cuvée of theirs. I also attended a vertical tasting of the wines of La Soula from the south of France, and the whites are really terrific

James Orme, UK

White: Becker Alsace Grand Cru Froehn Muscat 2005
Budget red: Teulier/Domaine du Cros Marcillac Lo Sang del Pais 2006
Budget white: Deletang Montlouis Batisses Sec 2002
Sweet: Prince Poniatowski Vouvray Clos Baudoin Moelleux 1990
Sparkling: Taille aux Loups Montlouis Brut Tradition NV
Comment: Haven’t had a red wine that really stood out. Some red contenders including Mabileau 2005 Bourgueils and TWS Pauillac 2000. The muscat was excellent with local vale asparagus and salmon.

TOM: a singularly regional French list from James. The Vouvray comes, I suspect, from a special parcel released by the estate which I bought too – and could very nearly have been ‘budget white’ of the year too!

Uillaim Tait, UK

Red: Domaine Comte de Vogüé (France) Musigny, Vieilles Vignes 1990
White: Kumeu River (New Zealand) Chardonnay, Matés Vineyard 2005
Budget red: Domaine Canet-Valette (France) St-Chinian, Mille Nuits, 2005
Budget white: Kumkani (South Africa) Coastal, Sauvignon Blanc, 2008
Sweet: Franz Haas (Italy) Alto Adige, Moscato Rosa, 2006
Sparkling: Phillipponnat (France) Champagne, Clos des Goisses, 1996
Dud: Chateau Montrose (France) St-Estephe, 1990

TOM: evokes a nice memory for me, as I started the year in Australia as international judge at the Royal Sydney Show. At the judges’ dinner I took along the Clos des Goisses which was voted one of the wines of the night.

Conor Twomey, Ireland

Red: Aldo Conterno (Italy) Barolo Bussia Soprana 2000
White: Vieux Telegraphe (France) Blanc 2006
Budget red: Chateau Castaing (France) Cotes des Bourg 2005
Budget white: Olivier Leflaive (France) Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre 2005
Sweet: Clos des Portail (France) Graves Superieures 2005
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Grand Anne 1999
Dud: Louis Latour (France) Corton-Charlemagne 2002

TOM: the Bollinger is another fantastic Champagne and one of my contenders in 2008 too

Tom Hewson, UK

Red: Valdipiatta (Italy) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1999
White: Domaine Ostertag (France) Gewurztraminer ‘d’E’ 2007
Budget red: Fondreche (France) O’Sud 2006
Budget white: Nicolas Potel (France) for M&S St-Romain 2005
Sweet: Domaine Klipfel (France) Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Kirchberg SGN 1988
Sparkling: ASDA Vintage Champagne 2002
Dud: Laurent Perrier Vintage Champagne 1996 – cooked under supermarket lights I think!
Comment: A good year for whites, and interesting how, even though I consider myself a fairly broad drinker, 6 out of 7 are French! Not had fantastically expensive wine this year but I chose the Valdipiatta as it is a great food wine, even if I may have had more individually striking reds.

TOM: there does seem to be a bit of a ‘classic’ theme to the lists so far, with France and Italy dominating. I loved the ASDA 2002 fizz too – at £17 a little bargain.

Chris Hambleton, UK

Red: Chateau Lagrange 1978
White: Remelluri 2006 white Rioja
Budget red: Step Road Shiraz 2005, Langhorne Creek, Oz
Budget white: Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco (Alko, Finland)
Sweet: Brown Bros Noble Riesling 1999
Sparkling: Champagne Drappier 1978
Fortified: Blandy’s Boal 1954 Madeira
Dud: Pesquera 1988
Thing: Spending so much time outdoors
Comment: The 78’s were a real surprise – bought for my birthday bash and the Lagrange was everything it should be, but the drappier was incredibly good for a fizz that by rights should have been shot. By contrast I was hoping fr great things from the 88 pesquera, but it is now well past it. The vergelegen is a superb wine for the money – well up there with the more famous and expensve Bordeaux versions. If you have never had vintage madeira it is a must – but you’ll still be tasting it the next morning! Most of the year spent in Finland gave me a lot of time outside – walks, fishing, playing with my kids, and drinking some great wine with all the visitors we had. I can recommend Champagne fishing and also midnight Champagne golf using the baltic as a driving range. Finland is expensive for wine, so the budget white is a ‘relative’ bargain and the Step road remains a personal favourite from the firm I used to work for. Cheers! Chris.

TOM: Fantastic experiences as well as wines Chris. I have very fond memories of a Drappier tasting from a few years ago that provided some stunning older wines

Barry Dean, UK

Red: Domaine Maillard Père et Fils (France) Aloxe-Corton 2005
White: Wither Hills (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc Clocktower 2007
Budget red: Matahiwi Estate (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2006
Budget white: F-W Gymnasium (Germany) Falkensteiner Hofberg Riesling Spätlese 2001
Sweet: Château Jolys (France) Jurançon Cuvée Jean 2004
Sparkling: Duval-Leroy (France) Femme de Champagne 1996
Dud: Moët & Chandon (France) Champagne Brut Impérial N.V.
Thing: Manly, NSW
Comment: Shame I couldn’t put a couple more sparklers in there – Charles Heidsieck rosé 96 and Pol Roger Late Disgorged 95 stand out (actually, make that a half dozen – I could go on!).

TOM: Purely as an aside – noticed Tesco had a Malrborough Sauvignon Blanc called ‘Curious Cove’, but with Wither Hills names prominently displayed on the label, on the shelves this morning, supposedly down from £9.99 to £4.99.

Jonathan Warwick-Godfrey, UK

Red: Spice Route Pinotage 2006
White: Spice Route Viognier 2006
Budget red: Domaine Maories Madiran 2004
Budget white: Sieur D’Arques – Quatre Clochers 2005
Sweet: Groot Constantia Muscat de Frontignan 2006
Sparkling: Sieur D’Arques – Cremant de Limoux 2003
Dud: Beyerskloof Pinotage Reserve 2006
Thing: Cape Town
Comment: Trips to Gascony and South Africa this year. Tasted 18 wines at Fairview, good range but the Spice Route’s really stand out. Could probably just about qualify for the Budget category in the UK but definitely fine wines. I really like the standard Beyerskloof Pinotage and I know the Reserve was tasted very young but was hard to imagine the overpowering sweet oak could be anything else – unbalanced and disappointing. Quatre Clochers pips some of the Gaillac and Jurancon tasted in France (though a close run thing). A bonafide Tesco bargain! Tasted a few very tasty reds from Madiran and surrounds, 2004 seems a decent year. Airside shop at Pau airport is also pretty handy with fair prices and a good local range.

TOM: Clearly you’ve been smitten by the Cape Jonathan, though too bad about the Beyerskloof, whose Pinotages are usually good. Adree that Spice Route make some excellent wines.

Bill Nanson

Red: Rousseau (France) Clos de Bèze 2005
White: Bouchard Père et Fils (France) Chevalier-Montrachet 1947
Budget red: Potel-Aviron (France) Morgon Côte du Py 2005
Budget white: Alex Gambal (France) Bourgogne Chardonnay 2006
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) 1998 Magnum
Dud: Leflaive (France) Bienvenues-Bâtard Montrachet 2006
Comment: If the Rousseau was stunning, the orange coloured Chevalier was spellbinding – not a hint of oxidation even next morning from the dregs. Superb Morgon and I’m sure the case cost less than €100. There was a stunning Tokaji earlier this year, but I couldn’t spell it then and can’t remember it now. The Pol was understatedly beautiful and (unfortunately) the Leflaive was flabby with no energy.

TOM: a lack of ‘energy’ really is a crime for any top white Burgundy – though increasingly I find it’s that lack of vitality in the mouth that’s the cause for many of my disappointing wine experiences

Richard Manley, UK

Red: Chateau Segur 1970
White: Karthäuserhof 1991 Magnum (Tyrel Germany)
Budget red: Croix Du Mayne 2001 (Cahors)
Budget white: Singing Gruner Veltliner 2006 (Austria)
Sweet: Still cant get into sweeties had a couple which were ok but didnt record them
Sparkling: Moutard Rose (forgot vintage)
Dud: Wine my sons bought me for my Birthday !!
Thing: Good Health only required nothing material to shallow
Comment: Keep the good work up Tom, the forum has been a real help over the past 6 months or so since I joined. Met some really knowledge friendly people on my trips to some offliners. Hoping that 2009 isnt such a struggle as we read for everyone. Rhone is next on my hit list and I am going to a tasting in Manchester in February 09. Wishing you and family/friends a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

TOM: And a very merry Christmas to you too Richard. I do like Moutard’s Champagnes, which I reviewed last year – look out for their cuvée made from all six permitted grapes in Champagne

Charles Morgan, UK

Red: Hermitage La Chapelle Jaboulet 1961 – a legend.
White: Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos 2002 – young but stunning
Budget red: Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape 1999 – utterly delicious
Budget white: Combe Blanche Le Blanc 2000 – marvellous & characterful white for a steal
Sweet: Yquem 1983 – just pipped the 86
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1988 from magnum. Sublimely good.
Fortified: Croft 1945 – almost up there with Quinta do Noval 1931
Dud: Army and Navy Chambertin 1947 – for a second, divine, but yuck when I poured mine
Thing: Doing Trailwalker with Linden, Bryan and Peter, plus all our support. A wonderful experience that I hope never to repeat!
Comment: An impossibly good year of wines, with some stunning Burgundies that were just edged out by the La Chapelle 61. My producer of the year would be Chave though after an impeccable 1988 from magnum, just pipping JJ Prum.

TOM: Yes, some mouthwatering stuff there. Despite the controversy over premature oxidation, it’s interesting to see how many white Burgundies are still picking up White Wine of the Year in people’s lists

John Dickinson, UK

Red: Ch Palmer (France) 1966
White: Ch Musar (Lebanon) 2001
Budget red: Domaine Wardy (Lebanon) Syrah 2003
Budget white: Ch Musar (Lebanon) 2001
Sweet: Joseph Renou (France) Quarts de Chaume 1990
Sparkling: Jacques Selosse (Fance) BdB GC Brut Avize
Fortified: D’Olivieras Boal Madeira (Portugal) 1958
Dud: Most pub wines – why do they do it?!!
Thing: WinePeak
Comment: I don’t usually complete this because I can never decide on my favourites but this year was easy and, not surprisingly, 5 of my choices were tasted over the same weekend. Truly suberb wines enjoyed in perfect company. I really do believe that the occasion can contribute (or detract) so much to the enjoyment of wine. The Musar was a real eye opener, my first experience of their white wine. As a result I am currently drinking my way through 35 different Lebanese wines. Best wishes for 2009.

TOM: Madeira continues its onward march this year, but lovely to see the selection of Lebanese wines getting the vote in seveeral categories. I wonder if the Musar rosé would have made it had we had a Pink category (maybe next year?) – it is one of the most singularly unusual wines I’ve ever tasted – oxidsed and funky rosé is an acquired taste!

 

Phil Wilkins, UK

Red: Jaboulet (France) Hermitage La Chapelle 1961
White: Joh. Jos. Prum (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1990
Budget red: Bosquet des Papes (France) ‘A la Gloire de mon Grandpere’ CdP 2001
Budget white: Raats (South Africa) Original Chenin Blanc 2006
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem (France) 1986
Sparkling: Riva dei Frati (Italy) Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Frizzante NV
Fortified: Croft (Portugal) Vintage Port 1945
Dud: Vieux Telegraph (France) Blanc 2003
Thing: The kids… still!
Comment: There could have been a few red WOTY… the Beaucastel 81, Chave 90 & 03, La Chapelle 78 & 90 but the crown was taken by the 1961 La Chapelle, my Holy Grail wine which thankfully matched its billing. The sweet was taken by the generosity of another BB member here just 2 days ago. The A la Gloire de mon Grandpere just snuck in as a budget red being only £125/12 this summer! The 06 Raats drunk in January just beat the £3.31 Laurenz and Sophie Singing GV 2006 only as the GV was my budget WOTY last year. Fizz… TWS Prosecco was such a fun fizz and gave many lovely memories as a stunning summer drink, and although hardly a ‘serious’ fizz I had to list it. With the 1990 Prum, I obviously had a great bottle as other bottles posted here have sounded substandard. The Croft VP 1945 utterly amazing and the best VP I have every tried! A great year of wine tasting too, and with thanks to many others here for offering some amazing wines at off-lines.

TOM: I attended an amazing La Chapelle once with the ’78 and ’90 in the line-up, and the ’78 remains one of the best wines I have ever tasted. Maybe one day I’ll get to try the ’61…

Sam Goth, California USA

Red: Fucci (Italy) Titolo 2003
White: Regis Cruchet (France) Vouvray Demi-Sec 1996
Budget red: R Winery (Australia) Green Lion Merlot
Budget white: Alhambra Valley (USA) Pinot Gris 2007 (homemade)
Sweet: Diel (Germany) Burgberg Eiswein 1999
Sparkling: Deutz (France) Champagne NV
Fortified: Fonseca (Portugal) Vintage Port 2003
Dud: A badly corked bottle of homemade Chardonnay! Ack!
Thing: MacBook Pro
Comment: First year getting back into wines since we had the kids, and a pretty good one it was at that.

TOM: Good to see you returning to wine Sam. My fortified choice was a 2003 Port too – from the couple I’ve tasted it seems the extra ripeness and fruit sweetness of this vintage is making some really delicious young wines.

Robert Hodge, UK

Red: Domaine de la Janasse (France) Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes 1995
White: Louis Latour (France) Corton-Charlemagne 2000
Budget red: Domaine du Meteore (France) Faugères Les Leonides 2005
Budget white: Domaine de l’Ecu (Fr) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Expression de Granit 2005
Sweet: Baudouin (France) Coteaux du Layon Maria Juby 1997
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1990
Fortified: Barbeito (Portugal) Madeira Malvazia 20 Years Old Special Reserve (Lote 4122)
Dud: Domaine Léon Barral (France) Faugères Jadis 2004

TOM: These special lots of single-cask Madeiras from Barbeito are really something. I’ve visited them twice on the island, and there’s always experimental stuff going on which is nice in such a traditional wine.

Michael Keating, UK

Red: Ridge (USA) Montebello 1981
White: Pierre Morey (France) Meursault Perrieres 1992
Budget red: Slowine (S.Africa) Cab Sauvignon 2004
Budget white: Pierre-Bise (France) Haut de la Garde 2006
Sweet: Aubuisieres (France) Cuvée Alexandre 1990
Sparkling: Philippe Foreau (France) Brut Réserve 2002
Dud: Marques de Murrieta (Spain) Gran Reserva 2001
Thing: Capt K avoided the bullets in Afghanistan and produced a grandson

TOM: I’ve really enjoyed the ‘Slowine’ range from Paul Cluver in South Africa too this year. I’ll also be stocking up on some 2002 vintage Champagnes, as it looks to be a terrific year.

Shon Williams, Wales

Red: Chateau Pichon-Baron (France) Pauillac 1995
White: Isole e Olena (Italy) Chardonnay IGT Toscana 2005
Budget red: Rustenberg (South Africa) John X Merriman Stellenbosch 2005
Budget white: Zind Humbrecht (France) ‘Zind’ 2006
Sweet: Ch. Suidiraut (France) Sauternes 2002
Sparkling: NV Billecart-Salmon (France)
Fortified: Lustau East India Solera Sherry (Spain)
Dud: Ch Mouton-Rothschild (France) 1979 – corked!
Thing: My new house – I love it!
Comment: Could have been an entirely different list, to be honest – I’ve had a pretty good year tasting and, better still, sharing. Special mention to the Zind – allegedly entry level stuff but subtly complex which I reckon will age very nicely over 3 to 5 years.

TOM: John X Merriman is such a consistently excellent wine – and on offer in Majestic currently for under a tenner.

Sean Hardon, UK

Red: Haut Brion 2004 (France)
White: Donnhoff Oberhauser Bruche Spatlese 2002 (Germany)
Budget red: Cairranne Perrin et Fils CDRV 2005 (France)
Budget white: Cave de Vire Vire Clesse Cuvee Especial 2005 (France)
Sweet: La Tour Blanche 1997 (France)
Sparkling: Billecart Salmon BDB NV (France)
Fortified: Cossart and Gordon 15 yr old Bual (Portugal)
Dud: Mondavi Woodbridge Zinfandel 2006 (USA)
Comment: I have tried to view this from wines I have bought rather than be coloured by wines at Dinners etc.

TOM: Another cracking Madeira that Cossart & Gordon, and I’m a big fan of the Haut-Brion too.

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