Visitor nominations 2020

Each Christmas Tom Cannavan announces his Wines of the Year and invites visitors to do the same. See Tom’s 2020 awards here.

Entries for Visitors’ Wines of the Year 2020 are now closed.

Entries below added 11/01/2021

Mahmoud Ali, Canada

Red: 1978 Chateau Gloria / 1992 d’Arenberg D’Arry’s Original
White: 1995 Tyrrell’s Vat 47 ‘Pinot Chardonnay’, Hunter Valley
Budget Rosé: 2016 Santa Rita Limited Release Rose, Chile
Budget White: 2015 Altavins ‘Almodi Petit’, Terre Alta, Spain
Rosé: 2012 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc, Oeil de Pedrix, Sonoma
Sparkling: 2008 Benjamin Bridge Brut Reserve, Nova Scotia
Sweet: 2000 Patricius Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos, Hungary
Fortified: 1988 Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port
Extra choice: 1998 Hamilton ‘Marion Vineyard’ Grenache Shiraz, Adelaide
Comments: Not much reason to pop Champagne this year but the Benjamin Bridge on New Year’s Eve beat out the Christmas Day’s aged NV Roederer. Amazing structure and poise in the Benjamin Bridge and still very youthful, the winery itself suggesting a drinking window between 2020 and 2030. It’s hard to beat a fine old mature Bordeaux and 1978 Gloria at 42 years was delightful. Two Australians, d’Arenberg and Hamilton’s, though not as old, and both Shiraz/Grenache blends, showed that with proper age they can shine. The Hamilton gets an honourable mention because not only was in contention but is unique in that the vineyard lies within the City of Adelaide in the suburb of Marion. Tyrrell’s Vat 47 was a pioneer in Australian Chardonnay and this bottle was a testament to how it should be made. Belle Glos’ Pinot Noir is notoriously big and over ripe but their single vineyard rose Oeil de Pedrix may be the gem in their portfolio. We don’t drink enough Tokaji and Port and the 2000 Patricius and 1988 Guimaraens were a reminder of why we should drink more.
I had a couple of press trips to Canada about a decade ago (or more) and discovered so many excellent wines. What a shame we see so few over here – a sparkling wine from Nova Scotia would be fascinating – Tom

Charles Muttar, UK

Red: Moulin-à-Vent, Jean-Paul Brun 2009
White: Chateau Musar, 1998
Budget Red: Givry, Domaine des Moirots (Christophe Denizot), 2010
Budget White: Sainsbury’s TtD Grüner Veltliner Traisental, Markus Huber, 2013
Sparkling: Gusborne Estate Blanc des Blancs, 2014
Sweet: Chateau Suduiraut, 1999
Fortified: M&S Rare Cream Sherry (Lustau)
Dud: Moa Ridge Pinot Noir, 2013
Thing: Learning to record myself at home
Comments: Red: JpB MaV un-fancy but always SO consistently satisfying. White: it’s taken me 20yrs to appreciate white Musar but boy, the journey was worth it. The 1998 was sublime. Budget red: yes, there’s still great value in Burgundy. Budget white: I’m sure this GV wasn’t designed to age but it’s really filled out beautifully. Rosé: I’m sure I must have had some nice ones… Sparkling: finally some proper competition for my beloved Breaky Bottom, this actually reminded me of a Kumeu River Hunting Hill. Sweet: thanks to Davy Strange for serving me this and the Gusbourne during a brief window of opportunity earlier this year, it was so subtle and balanced. Fortified: since there wasn’t a category for “budget brown”… Dud: I bought 6 of these, each one has been a crushing disappointment. No interest whatsoever, not faulty, just bland beyond belief. Thanks to Tom, and all wine-pages forumites, for providing much-needed diversion, interest and amusement over the last year!
Absolutely agree that the wine-pages forum has been a wonderful diversion (more than that!) during lockdowns. I think that’s the 3rd or 4th nomination for the Gusbourne (including from me) and all in all, English wine has definitely had it’s best showing ever this year – Tom

Richard Greenwell, UK

Red: Marc Sorrel, Hermitage 2009
White: Jean Noel Gagnard, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets, 2011
Budget Red: Olivier Merlin, Moulin a Vent La Rochelle, 2009
Budget White: Eva Fricke, Rheingau Trocken, 2019
Sparkling: Araldica, Brachetto d’Acqui 2018
Sweet: Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese GoldKapsel 2009
Fortified: Quinta de Noval 10yo tawny
Extra choice: Peter Lauer Fass 8 Kupp Kabinet 2013
Dud: Chateau La Conseillante 2008
Thing: Dishwasher
Comments: The 1st time after a few difficult years where I’ve really been able to properly enjoy wine again. I seem to have had a few memorable whites but really struggled to find standout reds. My white of the year could easily have been half a dozen others: Tondonia Gran Reserva, any number of Mosel Kabinetts, & the Eva Fricke, bought on a “It’s got to be worth a punt at £60/6 IB” whim, deserves far better than to be Budget white. Unlike a six-pack of Jobard Poruzots, the state of which may have favorably influenced my opinion of the J-N Gagnard, the Conseillante wasn’t faulty, just gangly and all over the place – fingers crossed the rest of the case will eventually settle down into something less awkward. My sparkler, introduced to me in one of Tom’s zoom tastings is possibly the most fun, frivolous wine I can remember tasting! Finally, how did I cope all these years washing dishes by hand?
Welcome to the 21st century with that dishwasher Richard! 🙂 yes, the Brachetto is a wine guaranteed to put a smile on your face: a sweet, frothy, delicious mouthful of sweet berries – Tom

Ronald Massard, Thailand

Red: Domaine de Vogüé (France), vieilles vignes Musigny 1997
White: Clos Rougeard (France), Brézé Saumur 2011
Budget Red: Alexis Hudon (France), Groseille vin de France 2019
Budget White: Niepoort’s (Portugal), Dialogo branco Douro 2019
Rosé: Gentle Folks (Australia), Vin de Sofa Adelaide Hills 2018
Sparkling: Gimonnet (France) Cuis 1er cru Champagne NV
Sweet: Alois Kracher (Austria), TBA Zwischen den Seen no.2 1996
Fortified: Equipo Navazos (Spain), Casa del Inca PX Montilla-Moriles 2015
Extra choice: Charles Melton (Australia), Nine Popes Barossa Valley 1998
Dud: Franz Keller (Germany), Schlossberg Grauburgunder 2016
Thing: Staying in Thailand the whole year !
Comments: Local wine shops have progressed, especially this year, in offering diverse, delicious, affordable, organic / biodynamic / natural wines. But not the fabulous, never ending Musigny, obviously…
Well, if local wine shops supplied that lot (minus the de Vogue) then you’ve had a great choice during your year in Thailand. I only owned one bottle of the de Vogue Vieilles Vignes, the 1995, drunk around 2015, and it was magnificent – Tom

Edward Bolland UK

Red: 1987 Dominus, Napa Valley, USA
White: 2000 Domaine Bouchard Le Montrachet, Burgundy, France
Budget Red: 2013, Les Cruzelles, Bordeaux, France
Budget White: 2019 No.1 Astrolabe Awatere Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, NZ
Rosé: 2003 Dom Perignon Rosé, Champagne, France
Sparkling: 2004 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, Champagne, France
Sweet: 1996 Chateau Yquem, Bordeaux, France
Fortified: 1997 Taylor’s Vintage Port, Portugal
Extra choice: 2009 Arnaud Ente, Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts, Burgundy, France
Dud: Lack of eating out
Thing: I have found a renewed enthusiasm for walking, I have to do something with all this time on my hands.
Comments: The choice of red was probably the hardest as I drank pretty well during the first lockdown, the Dominus just about eclipsed all else though including the first growths of the left bank. The DP Rosé was an absolute revelation, one of the greatest champagnes to have come my way. The fortified and sweet choices were pretty much self selecting due to a small sample size. Away from wine I managed to fit in a couple of autumn triathlons and a shiny new bike always puts some gloss on the year.
Well, I’ve done a lot more walking during lockdown too – even some light jogging – but triathlons? 🙂 I remember buying a whole case of Dominus 1991 after Robert Parker scored it 99/100 and the price was very affordable. All gone, but every bottle gave immense pleasure – Tom

B Dean, Scotland

White: Moët & Chandon Coteaux Champenois Saran Nature Blanc de Blancs NV
Budget White: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Vintage 2012
Rosé: Moët & Chandon Champagne Brut Imperial Rosé 1982
Sparkling: Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut 2008
Sweet: Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling ‘Rotlay’ 2010
Extra choice: Laurent-Perrier Champagne Grand Siècle “La Cuvée” NV
Thing: Swimming
Comments: I spent a little more on wine than planned in 2020, as there were far fewer other outlays with travel and events cancelled. The Rotlay is my WOTY, one of the best wines of any kind I’ve ever had. The Saran was fascinating – my first white Coteaux Champenois, maybe 35 years old, perfectly preserved. Cristal ’08 lives up to the hype, and VCP ’12 is a budget choice being relatively affordable and really sings. The Moët was the best of a bunch of older champagnes I found at bargain prices – special mention too to Boizel Joyau de Chardonnay ’89, which was also great. Necessity meant also trying a lot of sub-£20 supermarket own brand champagnes, and the level of quality was reassuringly good. Finally, the Laurent-Perrier was just a delicious older wine, probably 1990s, but a lack of vintage or disgorgement info is frustrating! When pools were open, learning to swim confidently was a revelation and really helped balance some of the bad stuff last year. Old dogs can learn new tricks!
Well done on gaining your water wings. I like a man with a single minded approach, but am just disappointed you didn’t pick a sweet Champagne for the sweet category 🙂 – Tom

Andrew Stevenson, UK

Red: Mas de la Dame, Coin Caché 1999, France
White: Tardieu-Laurent, St. Péray Blanc Vieilles Vignes, 2008, Rhone, France
Budget Red: Hermanas García Saborido, Garcia de la Jara, 2017, Andalucia, Spain
Budget White: Marcel Deiss, Pinot Gris Bergheim 1995, Alsace
Rosé: Gusbourne, Pinot Noir Rosé Cherry Garden Vineyard 2019, England
Sparkling: Olivier Horiot, 5 Sens Les Riceys, 2013, Champagne, France
Sweet: Albert Mann, Pinot Gris Altenbourg SdGN Le Tri, 2000, Alsa
Fortified: Gonzalez-Byass, Tio Pepe Tres Palmas Fino, 2018, Andalucia, Spain
Extra choice: Domaine de la Garance A Clara Vin de France, NV, Southern France
Dud: Apart from 2020? Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes-Hermitage Les Jalets 1997, Rhone
Thing: Making it through to the start of lockdown 3 seems an achievement. Food deliveries (both restaurants and ingredients) have been a source of pleasure.
Comments: The Deiss PG actually out-scored the Tardieu-Laurent, but at only FF45 ex cave in 1998, it had to go in the budget category. The Garcia de la Jara and the Garance à Clara red are a pair of really interesting reds, the former a blend of tannat, petit verdot & merlot made by the sea in Sanlucar de Barrameda and with a hint of manzanilla to it! The latter a fascinating, and really enjoyable grenache-pinot noir blend. Very little fortified this year: the Tres Palmas was good, but definitely didn’t live up to expectations (and price). The Jaboulet Jalets was the last of my magnums of this and so far over the hill that it had dug its own grave and laid down in it. Let’s hope that these vaccines mean that by the time we’re doing the 2021 WOTY things are all a bit more normal.
Yes, surely December 2021 will feel very different from 2020… Some intriguing choices with wines I have not tasted – like the sound of the two red blends you single out. And after a few disappointing older bottles myself recently, my resolution is to drink the wines from my cellar a little younger – Tom

Entries below added 08/01/2021

Chris Piper, UK

Red: Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva 2004
White: Ballot-Millot Meursault, 1er Cru les Charmes, 2011
Budget Red: Henri Fuchs Pinot Noir “Rouge Come Renard” 2018 – Alsace
Budget White: Hudelot-Baillet Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2017
Rosé: Menetou-Salon Rosé 2018 – Domaine Georges Chavet
Sparkling: Champagne Gremillet Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Sweet: Château Climens 2005
Fortified: Fonseca 1970
Extra choice: Chinon “Cuisine de Ma Mère” 2018 – Domaine Grosbois
Dud: Tarima Hill – Monastrell – Bodegas Volver, Alicante, Spain
Thing: Not being able to make wine in Beaujolais for the first time since 1976 (44 years!) and not spending incredibly valuable times with my friends in the region.
Comments: The departure of the UK from Europe has upset me far more than I ever imagined. I suspect that we have left our children a horrible mess to sort out in later years.
The Alsace Pinot reminds me that the first Pinot Noir I tasted where I thought ‘wow!’ was from Trimbach. This was way back in the 80s, but I had tasted Burgundies and a few other Pinots before then. Yes, I too deeply regret the UK leaving the EU, which feels a bit like we are drifting further apart from continental Europe, but that’s a discussion for another day! – Tom

Simon Wheeler, UK

Red: Lafarge Clos de Chenes 1990
White: Fontaine-Gagnard Criots-Batard-Montrachet 2010
Budget Red: ARPEPE Rosso de Valtellina 2016
Budget White: PYCM Bourgogne Blanc 2014/5/6
Rosé: Tondonia Rosado Gran Riserva 2008
Sparkling: Westwell Ortega Petulant Nature 2018
Sweet: Oremus Tokaji 5 Puttonyos 1993
Fortified: Equipo Navazos La Bota 100 Manzanilla Pasada Bota ‘NO’
Extra choice: Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill 2002
Dud: Aside from the year, Premox still
Thing: My brothers 50th in early March at Villa Mas, Costa Brava
Comments: Spending more time at home than I have done for well over a decade it’s been a chance to enjoy the cellar, and get it more organised, so I’ve drank far more and far better from my cellar that I would do otherwise. The Lafarge was a treat shared by Howard Ripley at what would be our last lunch at the Ledbury in February, the Fontaine-Gagnard the first of a case and my only Grand Cru white burgundy purchase EP, mainly due to premox which reared its head far too often this year. My thing was a last trip before Covid for my brothers 50th in Spain with friends and family and the centre piece was a fabulous lunch at Villa Mas where we made use of their excellently priced list of burgundy, we were reading about the initial spread in Spain that weekend, little did we know what was coming and that would be our last trip for some time.
Lovely selection and someone else for whom the Covid situation has led to some re-evaluation of our relationship to wine and to our cellars I think – a bit of a ‘carpe diem’ reminder 🙂 – Tom

Duncan Watt, Hong Kong

Red: Rene Rostaing Côte-Rôtie La Landonne 2005
White: Caroline Morey Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chaumées 2015
Budget Red: Julien Sunier Fleurie 2015
Budget White: Savage Wines White Blend Western Cape 2015
Sparkling: Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brut La Grande Dame 2006
Sweet: Château Climens 2009
Fortified: Taylor’s 1997
Thing: Family
Comments: What a strange year. Hong Kong ducked in and out of Covid restrictions and we enjoyed some very fine dining when we were able to – Amber, Ecriture, Epure, Mono and Ronin are all worth a visit when travel to Hong Kong is possible again. However, the main thing has definitely been family. My brother was married at the very end of 2019 and his first child was born in September. A day later I became engaged myself. 2021 will hopefully see the newly expanded family reunited!
Well congratulations on the personal level Duncan. 20 years since I was last in Hong Kong, but when the world is back to (near) normal I would love to return. I recall some fabulous meals and experiences – Tom

Kris Kubiena, UK

Red: Yarra Yering Dry Red No. 1 2005
White: Domaine Saint Prefert Cuvee Speciale Vielles Clairettes 2013
Budget Red: David & Nadia Pinotage 2017
Budget White: Aligote Aligato 2018 Domaine de la Soufrandiere
Rosé: Chateau Simone 2017
Sparkling: Dom Ruinart 2002
Sweet: Chateau de Fargues 2001
Fortified: Taylor’s Very Old Single Harvest Port 1965
Extra choice: Powell & Son Roussanne Marsanne 2016
Dud: The lack of availability of half bottles.
Thing: Moving to a house with a cellar.
Comments: A year of good wines shared with close family helped make up for the the obvious challenges. Particular highlights were the Dom Ruinart which was a great example of 2002. The Powell & Son Marsanne Roussanne could almost have been budget wine of the year based on outperforming a number of significantly more expensive whites from Hermitage.
Yes, I have tasted that Dom Ruinart once and it was fabulous – 97 points from me. I haven’t really kept up with Dave Powell’s wines since he left Torbreck, but must make amends – Tom

Rainer Guntermann, Germany

Red: 1978 La Mission Haut Brion
White: 1990 Le Montrachet 1/2 Jadot
Budget Red: 2004 Chateau Lanessan
Budget White: 2018 Grüner Veltliner Loimer
Rosé: 2016 Whispering Angel my only Rose in 2020
Sparkling: 1988 Pol Roger Cuvee Winston Churchill
Sweet: Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese 1997 Fritz Haag
Fortified: 1966 Fonseca Vintage Port
Dud: No wine-pages forum London Offline in 2020
Thing: Avoiding Covid 19 in 2020 and keeping our business running without losses for all our employees and ourselves.
Comments: 2020 was a difficult year which hopefully will be a stand alone experience for the years to come. At least Wine-Pages provided a reliable ambience to get a little bit of relaxation. Therefore thanks Tom and all making this happen and a happy, healthy 2021
And to you Gunter, and I know a lot of people got a lot from the site, especially the community that revolves around its forum, in 2020. Have just received the latest 2020 release of the Whispering Angel to taste – a wine I have followed for years, from an absolute star domaine for rosé wine – Tom

Vin Madden, UK

Red: 2011 Pintas, Wine and Soul, Douro, Portugal
White: 2013 Kumeu River, Hunting Hill, NZ
Budget Red: 2015 Ch des Chapelains, les Temps Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux
Budget White: 2019 Reyneke Organic Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, SA
Rosé: 2015 Dom Tempier, Bandol
Sparkling: 2014 Gusbourne, Blanc de Blanc
Sweet: Mullineux, Olerasay No 1, SA
Fortified: Mouchao Vinho Licorosa 2009
Extra choice: 2018 Kit’s Coty Bacchus
Dud: Too many disappointing red Burgundies
Thing: Missing out on our annual trip to the Cape Winelands in 2021
Comments: With my local wine friends we enjoy varied drinking at our regular blind tastings. Portugal figures strongly and hence the two I highlight but there were so many others from Mouchao and Niepoort that impressed. The Kumeu River was drunk over Christmas and demonstrated the value from that Estate, given a few years of maturity. The budget red 90% Merlot came from a visit to the region in 2019 and cost £12 locally whereas the white is a favourite I buy from Waitrose when on offer at under £10. I’ve been trying the 2015 Tempier Rosé from a case annually, they are still improving! A visit to Gusbourne in September impressed, hence their 2014 BdB. A visit to Chapel Down gave the opportunity to try the Kit’s Coty Bacchus, the best English still wine I’ve had to date. We have been to SA for many years and always include a visit to Mullineux in Franschhoek. Their straw wines are always impressive, hence the Olerasay and the Mouchao Licoroso reminds me of a visit there in 2001.
A list with many of my favourites on it I must say, and nice to see a Portuguese wine take the big ‘red of the year’ spot, though they often make it in the budget category. Like you, my planned trip to the Cape has been cancelled, so fingers firmly crossed for 2021 – Tom

Entries below added 06/01/2021

Tom Lewis, UK

(Cambridge Wine Blogger)
Red: Domaine de Fontbonau, Cotes du Rhone 2012
White: La Pelerine Bordeaux Blanc, 2019
Budget Red: MOLA Portuguese Touro Blend
Budget White: 18 Botte de Conti Pecorino Terre di Chieti
Rosé: Domaine Haut Gléon, Vallée Du Paradis, 2019
Sparkling: Crémant de Bourgogne Brut P100 BdN Simonnet Febvre NV
Sweet: Dom Brial Rivesaltes 1969
Fortified: Barbadillo ‘Principe’ Amontillado VORS
Extra choice: M&S Rare Cream Sherry
Dud: Mum’s Laithwaites wines – overextracted, overpriced, oversold Big Reds. Just no.
Thing: Zoom – for virtual press trips and drinks with friends, neighbours and relatives
Comments: It’ll get worse before it gets better – brace, brace.
A couple of favourites in there: I used to buy the Haut-Gleon white especially, but also the red, by the case, then the domaine was sold (maybe 15 years ago?) to a big Co-op and I felt the wines lost quality, so great to hear if they are back on form – Tom

Duncan McLean, Scotland

Red: Plantagenet, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1999, Australia
White: Henri Guinand, Château-Chalon, 1979, France
Budget Red: Château de Camarsac, Bordeaux Superieur ‘Cuvée Prince Noir’, 2018
Budget White: Hexamer, Grauburgunder trocken vom Porphyr, 2017, Germany
Sparkling: Domaine Vendange, Cremant de Savoie, Grande Reserve Brut, NV, France
Sweet: Horst Sauer, Escherndorfer Lump Silvaner Auslese, 2017, Germany
Extra choice: Wildeberg, Franschhoek Valley Sémillon, 2018, South Africa
Thing: Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’, five dramas on BBC1 (‘Lovers Rock’ was my favourite.] Great writing, great acting, great film-making. A revelation.
Comments: I had the impression I hadn’t tasted many outstanding wines this year. A trawl through my notes reveals the opposite: there have been dozens of great bottles, including – in the Chateau Chalon – what I believe is the single greatest wine I’ve ever encountered. (Bought in Nantes about 20 years ago for 15e – astonishing.) Lots of good reds, too, including a (for me) unusual scattering of excellent Bordeaux, some of it predictably good (Château Batailley, 1990), others less so (Château Tour du Roch-Milon, 1969.) Having said that, my reserve champion red was the same Plantagenet from the 1994 vintage. Stunning. Social events have been very few and far between, sadly – maybe why I have few vivid memories of actually drinking these wines. And only one vineyard trip, to central Germany in March (hence a couple of my choices above. Everything by Hexamer was great.) I could have listed a dozen things for my extra choice, but the Wildeberg was so joyous I plumped for that.
Some fine things here Duncan, mixing the classics with the faintly exotic. Very envious of the Chateau Chalon (the famous vin jaune) experience – and I’ll look out for the Small Axe series on iPlayer as a lockdown distraction – Tom

Gavin Davies, Scotland

Red: Vosne-Romanée Aux Réas Mathias Parent 2011
White: Albert Boxler Pinot Blanc Reserve 2017
Budget Red: Alfa Spiga O. Fournier, Ribera del Duero 2005
Budget White: Bat Gara Uno Txakolina 2018
Rosé: l’Astemia Pentita Adorabile, Nebbiolo Rosé 2016
Sparkling: Alfred Gratien Brut 2007, Champagne
Fortified: Faustino Gonzalez Cruz Vieja Oloroso En Rama
Extra choice: Chateau de Pez, St Estephe 2000
Dud: Lack of travel
Thing: Moving back to the countryside after 15 years of city life
Comments: A year drinking more modest wines and less at the premium end. Interestingly, we have struggled to recall more than half a dozen whites opened this year with red having most definitely been of preference. I’m feeling optimistic this year will provide lots of opportunity for tasting and eventually foreign travel! All the best for 2021
And to you Gavin. Sherry really is dominating the fortified category this year, especially the more esoteric styles. I presume ‘ordinary people’ (as opposed to us wine geeks) still drink plenty of Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Croft Original? I wonder! – Tom

Mark Carrington, UK

Red: Clos de Tart 1999
White: Michel Bouzereau et Fils Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières 2017
Budget Red: Benjamin Passot Juliénas Vayolette VV 2017
Budget White: CEO Godello Monterrei Monterrei
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé 2019
Sparkling: Black Chalk 2015
Sweet: Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2004
Fortified: Graham 1994
Extra choice: Domaine du Pelican Savagnin Arbois Grand Curoulet 2018
Dud: Domaine Macle Château-Chalon 2010
Thing: Harvesting in Burgundy
Comments: If tasted only, not selected. Some might consider me to have a Burgundy fixation currently. Guilty. I wanted a grand wine for my birthday (a special awaits a proper gathering) & sometimes only Burgundy will do. A first ever Genevrières, chosen from the decent list at Au Fil du Clos. MB now added to our cellar. Value red probably a repeat of last year. The Godello was the result of of TC’s Lidl’s recommendation. They are worth following. Dud: Particularly looked forward to trying as I’m a big fan of Macle & knew it was time to retry C-C, having avoided it for a decade +. It proved one thing, I still don’t like Château-Chalon. At all. The Curoulet was purchased (resistance was futile) after yet another outstanding 67PM virtual tasting. They’ve been a morale booster. A stunning wine from 3YO vines. Thing. I helped (hindered? We’ll see if either welcome me back) in Burgundy last harvest. Picking was good for the the soul & working in the caveau insightful.
Proving what an interesting thing this love of wine is, it’s funny to see your ‘dud’ being Duncan’s wine of the year 🙂 Yes, a Burgundy fixation is an unfortunate affliction and I’ve caught yet another bout of it too! When it is good, really very little can touch it – Tom

Peter Wood, Scotland

Red: Chateau La Louviere 1978 in Double Magnum
White: Vincent Girardin Corton Charlemagne 2015
Budget Red: Chateau Cailloux de By 2016
Budget White: Giuliana Vicini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2019
Rosé: Cathartic Wines By any other name Rose 2019
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1996
Sweet: Chateau Sigalas Rabaud 2001
Fortified: Calem Colheita 1961 bottled 2017
Extra choice: Chateau de Montifaud 50 Year Old Cognac
Dud: Dupuytren’s contracture resulting in broken bottles
Thing: My new Morris Minor delivery van!
Comments: At the start of the year I owned a wine shop and a B&B – now it is just the wine shop but that is a REALLY good thing! Re-evaluating my life, selling the B&B, renovating my shop , buying my new (50 year old) delivery van and a new (150 year old) cottage and my wife getting a new book deal has meant we are coming out of this year happier and refocused. I’ve not had as many opportunities to try great wine this year, but a few have managed to be opened. The unfortunate thing is that my Dupuytrens contracture is getting worse which means I don’t have full control over my right hand anymore and has resulted in several bottles of wine being dropped, including a bottle of 1990 Vouvray! I’m also really thrilled that my friend Richard has started a business as a wine importer and is bringing in some awesome stuff including my favourite Rose and budget white of the year.
Well commiserations on the hand condition Peter, but sounds like life is on the right track otherwise. I had the 1996 Dom Perignon this year too, but took it to a dinner where I didn’t take notes, otherwise it would surely have been my sparkling choice too – Tom

Nick Amis, UK

Red: 2016 Chateau Montrose
White: 1989 Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ-Canet
Budget Red: 2007 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône Baron Louis
Budget White: 2015 Gunderloch Riesling “Als wär’s ein Stück von mir”
Rosé: 2004 Bollinger Champagne La Grande Année Rosé
Sparkling: 2008 Cédric Bouchard Champagne Blanc de Blancs La Haute-Lemblé
Sweet: 2001 Château Rieussec
Fortified: 1963 Taylor
Extra choice: 2003 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel
Dud: 1989 Gaja Barbaresco Sorì Tildìn (Madeirized – gutted)
Thing: 67 Pall Mall tasting kits
Comments: My main wine resolution for 2020 was to drink widely in order to establish better what I really like (vintages/producers/vineyards etc). Of course I could not have predicted 12 months ago how much of the year would be spent at home, with restaurants closed and wine tastings cancelled, but I still managed, thanks to the dedication of various Wine-pagers and the ingenuity of 67PM, to attend 13 offlines and 56 tastings over Zoom; the bleakness of Lockdown 1 was much ameliorated not only by the stunning weather but also the regular occurrence of Ronan cheerfully introducing Jasper for another escapist 75 minutes with some excellent Burgundies. That said, wine is about more than education – roll on 2021 and hopefully managing to open plenty of magnums in good company!
Some cracking things in that list for sure (the 2001 Riesussec was also my sweet wine of the year) and yes, the various formats of online tasting opportunities have been a real godsend – and might continue to be for at least a couple of months! – Tom

Entries below added 04/01/2021

Peter F. May, UK

Red: 2016 Beyerskloof Pinotage Winemakers Reserve (South Africa)
White: 2018 Delheim Chenin Blanc Wild Ferment (South Africa)
Budget Red: 2018 Kanonkop Cape Blend Kadette (South Africa)
Budget White: 2020 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc Private Bin Early Release (New Zealand)
Sparkling: Domi Moreau Champagne Cuvée d’Argent (France)
Fortified: Blandy’s Madeira Bual 10 Years (Portugal)
Extra choice: 2017 Antech Blanquette de Limoux Réserve Brut (France)
Dud: corked wines
Thing: Finding new countryside walks
Comments: My favourite wine is, as always, the next one. I cannot ever drink the same wine I’ve had in the past. Beyerskloof Winemakers Reserve is available only at winery. Our son and his partner joined us in the Cape in February and so we have good memories of the wine with meals and their company. The Budget wines both came from supermarket 25% off offers, and Kanonkop’s Cape Blend is excellent, especially when paying £6.75 instead of usual £12. Without hosting dinners this year we haven’t had dessert wines, but a glass of Madeira helps in the evening. We’ve been drinking a lot of fizz, and the Antech is lovely and reasonably priced from The Wine Society. Not one rose wine has passed my lips this year. Having to cancel holidays, not seeing relatives, not going to restaurants or shops and relying on deliveries marks this year, but we are still healthy and looking forward to our vaccinations and normality.
Peter has been a huge supporter of Pinotage and South African wine in general over the decades, so great to see you sticking to your first love. As you say, here’s to more normality in 2021 – Tom

David Band, Scotland

Red: Chateau Lamothe-Bergeron 2012
White: Camel Valley Bacchus 2018
Budget Red: Wirra Wirra Church Block Syrah 2018
Budget White: Ara Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Rosé: Araldica Brachetto d’Acqui 2018
Sparkling: Chapel Down Kits Coty Blanc de Blancs 2015
Sweet: De Bortoli Noble One 2014
Fortified: Tio Pepe Fino en Rama 2019
Extra choice: Ovenstone 109 Terra Nova – not a wine, but it’s nice to support a local producer
Dud: Chateau Bandsville 2020 harvest! Dad’s vines were a write-off.
Thing: Whisky tasting trip to Speyside
Comments: Really enjoyed the online tastings, although not quite the same as meeting face to face – severely limiting the number of wines to choose from this year with Tom’s festivals being cancelled. It was good to have a few days away in Aberlour whisky tasting, although a trip abroad would have been nice. Learned that there’s no point saving bottles for a special occasion – enjoy them whenever you get the chance!
Agree 100% with your last point David, and some really nice choices in there; that Kit’s Coty is a cracking English sparkling wine. Tough luck that your own ‘hone brew’ didn’t make the grade this year 🙂 – Tom

Darren Band, Scotland

Red: The Society’s Ribera Del Duero 2016
White: Prum Solitar Riesling Trocken 2017
Budget Red: Il Pumo San Marzano Primitivo 2018
Budget White: Three Choirs Payford Bridge 2018
Rosé: Chapel Down English Rose 2018
Sparkling: Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs 2015
Sweet: Château Jolys 2012
Fortified: Taste The Difference Vintage Port 2003
Extra choice: Sainsbury’s Rosé Brut Cava
Dud: Château Bandsville Elderflower 2020 – No idea who the producers were; tasteless!
Thing: Stuck between the motorhome, running trainers or the Fender Telecaster I got myself for a lockdown treat!
Comments: Difficult to choose this year without Tom’s festivals! The Kit’s Coty is incredibly fine bubbles! Delicious. And memories of drinking a whole 75cl bottle of Chateau Jolys in Paris, while the Cava made our day, sunny with friends in the garden. A mixed year, disappointments including cancelled events including Restricted Code, Bond, Book of Mormon, Weezer/Green Day, Katie Melua and the Markinch Wine Gallery closing for good during lockdown. Positives have been lots of online tastings. I really enjoyed them and gave me something to focus on. Been doing a lot of wine reading this year. I have also taken up running. Been a tough year for a number of reasons and did over 750km this year in all weathers. Also had more time to play guitar. Love the new Telecaster. I’m still holding you to a wine and jam night!
Darren and his brother are two of Fife’s most highly-regarded winemakers, so what a shame the harvest was poor in 2020. And that jam session – a promise or a threat! 🙂 – Tom

Russ Sainty, UK

Red: Simon Bize Latricières-Chambertin 1996
White: R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia 2004
Budget Red: Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes, Thymiopoulos 2019
Budget White: Radford Dale ‘Vinum’ Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch 2018
Rosé: Can’t remember isn’t that the point of them?
Sparkling: Champagne Moët 2012
Sweet: Château Rieussec Sauternes 2003
Fortified: Pedro Ximénez Bodegas Gutiérrez Colosia
Dud: So many. The problem with drinking through my collection.
Thing: Staying home
Comments: What a year, obviously Covid dominated, but this stay at home year has widen my drinking. I’ve concentrated on drinking my cellar, bringing out wines I’ve overlooked for too long. Yet my two top wines were drunk at one of wine-pages’ WIMPS events. The Bize was a dud at last year’s Burgundy wimps, but super on Christmas Day; the white Tondonia top at the Iberian Wimps in January, so the community has been a godsend even in lockdown. Zoom is my friend. Let’s get through this and hit the wine scene hard in 2021.
Sherry picking up lots of votes in the fortitied category this year, lot’s of it from the less mainstream producers. Wholeheartedly agree that the year of Covid has helped my resolve to get on and drink bottles from my cellar rather than save them ‘for a rainy day’… Tom

Peter Webb, UK

Red: Crystallum Peter Max 2009
White: Cotton-Charlmagne Bonneau du Martray 2006
Budget Red: Julienas Collin-Bourisset cru de Beaujolais 2018
Budget White: CEO Godello
Rosé: Lucas van Loggerenberg Break A Leg cinsault 2019
Sparkling: Pierre Paillard La Grande Rue Recolte 2006
Sweet: Podere il Palazzino Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2001
Fortified: Equipo Navazos La Bota de Amontillado No 73 Bota Anniversario
Extra choice: Bodegas Muga Rioja Seleccion Especiale 2001
Dud: Having to watch my daughter’s wedding in SA via YouTube rather than being there
Thing: Food deliveries from Warrens on the Pass, Courtyard, Peskyfish, Aktar and Northcote
Comments: A strange year with a succession of cancelled gigs, dinners & holidays with the consolation that some might come around again, with biggest regrets being unable to travel to SA to be part of my daughter’s wedding and not being able to have one last lunch at the Harrow. The plethora of delivered food this year has been very welcome and partially compensated for the lack of open restaurants and a late trip to L’Enclume pre-Christmas was cherry on top. The wine surprise has been the welcome consistency of the Lidl wine tours which complemented good wines ex-cellar. The final plus from 2020 has been getting to know better the North West forumites through our fortnightly zoom catch-ups. It just makes offlines even more desirable.
Lovely and eclectic list of wines, and a couple of those Lidl cheap and cheerfuls were truly great value by and standards. Yes, Zoom has been a boon for me both professionally and personally, and as someone who doesn’t *have* to use it every day, a godsend! – Tom

Mike Bartlett, UK

Red: Chateau Cheval Blanc, 2001
White: Gerovassilou Malagousia 2018
Budget Red: Jeunes Vignes, Xinomavro, Thimiopoulos, 2018
Budget White: Pazo da Maga 2018 Karma do Sil Godello
Rosé: Chateau Minuty 2019 Provence
Sparkling: SUGRUE, The Trouble with Dreams 2014 English sparkling wine
Sweet: Henriques and Henriques Sercial, 10 years old Madeira
Fortified: Lustau Almacenista, Jose Luis Gonzalez Obregon, Amontillado del Puerto
Extra choice: Barros 20 year old Tawny Port
Dud: COVID spoiling so many people’s lives this year.
Thing: A seventeen (!) day holiday in Greece that we managed to squeeze in between lockdowns was glorious. We continue to feed off it
Comments: My penultimate bottle of Cheval Blanc (probably ever, let’s face it) and it was marvellous on my birthday…we drank some wonderful Greek wines this year and the Xinomavro is a proper steal at just over a tenner. It really is a cross between nebbiolo and pinot noir and is a great crowd pleaser (oh how it cried out this year for a crowd). The sparkling wine was a great treat on Christmas day…the bubbles even sounded classy as they hit the glasses! The Godello has real poise and noticeably makes everyone that tries it instantly sit up a bit straighter, as if in the presence of a lady! That Madeira is a wonderful wine and the sherry is one of those drinks you need to sit quietly in a decent armchair and just ease yourself into… Happy new year to you Tom and to all Wine Pages readers! Let’s hope for a slightly more normal 2021 and to another year of enjoying delicious wines from all over the world.
Great description Mike – very evocative – and interesting that sherry (as previously mentioned) and Greek wines are bits of mini-themes this year – Tom

Entries below added 02/01/2021

Melvin Yeo, Singapore

Red: 2001 Denis Bachelet Gevrey VV
White: 2012 Pierre Morey Meursault Perrieres
Budget Red: 2017 J.L. Chave Sélection Côtes du Rhône Mon Coeur
Budget White: 2014 Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Bourgogne Blanc
Rosé: Champagne Egly-Ouriet Rosé
Sparkling: 2004 Taittinger Champagne Comtes de Champagne
Sweet: 1995 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Auslese
Extra choice: 1992 Louis Carillon Referts
Dud: Farnese Edizione Cinque Autoctoni
Comments: First serious year of drinking and collecting, lucky enough to have met many generous friends, as well as learning from everyone online here and offline. Making this list was a tough choice but all the wines list were epiphany wines, having a perfectly stored birth year wine was a biblical experience but the genius of Pierre Morey made it my white wine of the year. May 2021 be a better year for all, cheers!
And Amen to that Melvin. What a nice list of wines, and several nicely mature examples, so your first year of ‘serious’ drinking and collecting got off to a flying start! – Tom

Oliver Coleman-Green, UK

Red: 1999 Bruno Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto
White: 1994 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva
Budget Red: 2019 Mauro Sebaste Freisa
Budget White: 2018 PYCM Bourgogne Aligote
Rosé: 2019 Boniperti Rosadisera
Sparkling: 2008 Champagne Roederer Cristal
Sweet: 2007 Chateau Coutet Sauternes
Fortified: Equipo Navazos La Bota 58 Amontillado
Extra choice: 2015 Cesare Bussolo Barolo Fossati
Thing: 2016 Barolo
Comments: I resolved to actually make my WOTY submission this year. hat a year! Despite the raging pandemic we have been happy, healthy, employed and welcomed our second son ahead of schedule so have a lot to be thankful for.
Several bottles were drunk and shared at the very few offline events I have managed to attend here in London. The Giacosa was generously provided by another participant and the first time I have had the pleasure to drink at what I would consider it’s peak. Tondonia Blanco, especially the GR, has long been a favourite of mine and this showed wonderfully. Unfortunately the low production and recent high interest have made this very difficult to acquire now. Alto Piedmont was a contender for my “thing” as I have spent some time exploring these wines further this year, including the stonking Boniperti rosè (100% nebbiolo). In the end I went for 2016 Barolo as we were lucky enough to have a short holiday in the Langhe in September where I could visit a few producers.
Glad you submitted Oliver, and a fine list. I don’t know that rosé I confess, but from what I have tasted, the 2016 Barolos are definitely worthy of being your ‘thing’ of the year – fabulous vintage though the top wines pretty eye-watering in price now – Tom

Richard Rotti, UK

Red: Beaune 2007 Michel Gaunoux
White: Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg 2011 Knoll
Budget Red: Riverside GMS 2016 Dave Powell, Barossa
Budget White: Vernaccia di S.Gimignano, Falchini
Rosé: Cerasuolo 2018 Praesidium
Sparkling: Lambrusco Picol Ross 2017 La Piccola
Sweet: Aleatico Passito 2013 La Chiusa, Elba Island
Fortified: Bodegas Tradición Fino
Extra choice: Verduno Pelaverga 2015 Alessandria
Dud: Missing the Eastbourne tennis/picnic of coronation chicken & Fritz Haag
Thing: Lunch at La Petit Maison (LPM) in July and feeling, once more, the crispness of starched white table cloths, I felt like a king at a feast.
Comments: In a thoroughly uncomfortable year, often feeling like prisoners in our own homes, we at least had the great comfort of wine. I’m looking forward to the end of Zoom meetings, to feeling the warmth of the late Mediterranean sun on my skin, eating figs off the tree, a good frito misto, and a year end visit to the sunny peaks of the Dolomites. Thankfully, enough vinous moments reminded me of these places and the pleasures to come in 2021. A very Happy New Year to one and all.
You paint an alluring picture of a post-Covid world Richard! A few very nice and unusual choices in there: I don’t think I have ever tasted a wine from the island of Elba, and good to see a quality Lambrusco getting a shout out – Tom

Ben Fawcett, Edinburgh, Scotland

Red: Baricci Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Nonno Nello 2010
White: Domaine Henri Boillot Meursault
Budget Red: Barbacan Rosso di Valtellina 2017
Budget White: Tenuta La Chiusa Vermentino Elba 2017
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé 2019
Sparkling: Champagne Krug Grande Cuvée
Sweet: Chateau Tirecul La Graviere Monbazillac 1994
Fortified: Niepoort Colheita 1999
Extra choice: Tardieu Laurent Saint Peray 2018
Dud: Lockdown shutdown Covid
Thing: Burgundy 2019
Comments: I hope everyone remains safe, healthy and sane in 2021, take care people. The Baricci Brunello was enjoyed in the summer during one of our many oootside dinners. It was epic, just ready and a total delight. Boillot’s Meursault from the warm 2015 vintage is a total triumph, buttery, broad and big – just how I like my Meursault. Tough choice for whites this year. Budget red is a Chiavennesca convivial beauty from the Sega brothers. The Vermentino is an object lesson in lemony thurst quenching freshness. Krug’s 168th NV release is sublime and pipped one or two other, arguably more interesting bottles. The Rose, what can I say, my ususal choice. Thing – Burgundy 2019. One bonus for me of lockdown is my boss having all our Burgundy producers send cask samples to us. I’ve tasted from well over 20 producers up and down Burgundy; both geographically and qualitative it is a vintage for us wine lovers not to be missed. Happy New Year Tom x and everyone x
And a big HNY to you too Ben. Good tip on the 2019 Burgundies which do seem to be something a bit special. I have only tasted a couple of samples, but extremely impressive. And another wine from Elba! Italy seems to be doing rather well this year, at both budget and more expensive levels – Tom

Brian Guinan, Italy

Red: Aglianico del Vulture Pian del Moro 2011, Musto Carmelitano
White: Offida Pecorino 2018/2010, Valle del Sole, Marche
Budget Red: Rosso Filarole 2018, Emilia Romagna
Budget White: Fatto Coi Piedi 2019, Emilia Romagna
Rosé: Tondonia 2010, Lopez de Heredia, Rioja
Sparkling: Champagne Ayala brut N.V. 1982?
Sweet: Santino Luca Greco di Bianco 2011
Fortified: Kopke Colheita 1979
Extra choice: Musar 1999, first wine of the year on hogmanay, rarely bettered
Dud: Dominus 2007. Was tense complex, almost peacock-tailed yet ultimately soulless
Thing: Guanciale
Comments: The year I finally, since no other options seemed palatable, got stuck in, moved to Italy and made some wine. All my choices were shared at table over wonderful dinners and lunches with my adoptive Italian family, while the chosen bottles were not remotely the grandest tasted over the year the setting made them sing, and made me realise, as an Irishman who got into the juice by a long and expensive route, how wine is best to be enjoyed. The Aglianico was the ideal wine in the perfect moment, the first meal my Italian mentor and I shared alone, broken English and Italian conversation exchanged, after a day tootling about the upper Appenines in search of the divinest cured pork and calves liver. Said liver, onions and an absolutely a point bottle that sang of place and devotion in its elaboration. The Pecorino is just marvellous, great winemaking with the lightest touch of skin contact, I feel certain this varietal will come into fashion soon, like Chenin grown in Soave. Cheers to ’21
Well congratulations on the move – and change of lifestyle by the sound of things Brian. I have been tasting a few white wines from the Marche and Abruzzo regions which epitomise that ‘lemony thrust’ referred to by Ben above – wonderfully invigorating – Tom

Adam Ventress, UK

Red: Lisini Brunello di Montalcino 2006, Tuscany, Italy
White: Al-Cantara Etna Bianco Luci Luci 2018, Sicily, Italy
Budget Red: Monte del Fra Valpolicella Classico Lena di Mezzo 2019, Veneto, Italy
Budget White: Produttori del Gavi Il Forte Gavi 2019, Piemonte, Italy
Rosé: Craven Pinot Gris 2018, Stellenbosch SA
Sparkling: Oxney Estate Organic English Sparkling Wine, East Sussex
Sweet: Monteraponi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2006, Tuscany, Italy
Extra choice: Monteraponi Chianti Classico 2016, Tuscany, Italy
Dud: Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2017, Stellenbosch, SA
Thing: If I am allowed to say so, finally opening my own wine shop in Lancaster, Chapel Street Wines. If not allowed, then simply family.
Comments: My rosé was more of an orange wine, but delicious. The Mulderbosch was listless, flabby, oaky jam. My first love/obsession in wine was Tuscan Sangiovese, and while that has never disappeared, my wine discoveries have taken my focus a little more elsewhere in recent years. However, both my Red of the Year Lisini and Extra Choice Monteraponi were opened on the same day for a Tuscan themed zoom tasting with wine-pages forum members, and both reconfirmed that nothing else brings joy and satisfaction to my palate quite like a really good Tuscan Sangiovese. The Monteraponi is a joyously vibrant, juicy and pure example of Chianti at its best, and nearly took first place for the year, but the Lisini 06 was just more multifaceted, complex and long whilst retaining freshness and elegance. I have missed many things in 2020: seeing my older children regularly enough, overseas travel, in-person tastings, gigs, visits to Manchester and London, but it has also brought more family time at home and the opportunity to conduct lots of great online tastings, many directly with producers, which has been fantastic.
Congratulations on the wine shop Adam; I hope that goes well. Funny that I should mention a few lists above that it seems to be a year for Italy, and every list since has majored on Italian wines. Good to see the Craven there too – very nice people – Tom

Entries below added 29/12/2020

Leon Marks, UK

Red: 1986 Chateau Haut Brion
White: 1990 Bonneau de Martray Corton Charlemagne
Budget Red: 2010 David Clark Bourgogne Rouge
Rosé: 1996 Dom Perignon Rosé
Sparkling: 1998 Krug Clos de Mesnil
Sweet: 2007 Chateau d’Yquem
Fortified: 1970 Warre Vintage Port
Extra choice: 1996 Chateau Duhart Milon – on the basis that I keep drinking them
Thing: Choice between one of my lockdown guitars, my bike trailer or my crazy warm Patagonia parka – just the thing for al fresco socialising
Comments: Well what a year. We all know about the crapness – and some personal loss too. My father passed away, as did my wife’s grandfather – an unedifying amount of family drama and sadness all round. With that said – some great blessings. Although wine events have been drastically curtailed, those we have had have distinguished themselves with an incredible spirit of generosity and conviviality. I have drunk better wines this year than any in the past, and the average offline quality – in terms of company, wine and food – has been higher than ever. The availability of top notch produce has brought a great deal of joy, as has the growth of outdoor entertaining. I also really appreciated getting to know some members of wine-pages forum a little better through the zoom offlines we did in the first lockdown. Always a great craic and a privilege as always to learn from such knowledgeable folk. Hope to have a slightly less interesting 2021!
Cracking selection, and nice to see one of David Clark’s bottles turn up (had a great tasting with him in Glasgow in 2011) and such a shame he gave-up. So sorry to hear about your losses, but great that wine and the UK Wine Forum brought so much joy too – Tom

Richard Ward, UK

Red: Muga Prado Enea 2006
White: JL Chave Hermitage Blanc 2002
Budget Red: San Felice Chianti Classico Riserva Il Grigio 2015
Budget White: Pulenta Estate Chardonnay 2017
Rosé: Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth 1999
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes De Champagne 2006
Sweet: Massandra Collection Muscat 1938
Fortified: Graham’s 30 Year Old Tawny Port
Dud: No live sport to attend
Thing: Some outstanding restaurant visits in between the various lockdowns – L’Enclume, Moor Hall, Pollen Street Social, Sketch.
Some real old favourites of mine in this list Richard, and makes me think that it is ages since I bought any Muga, which I must correct at some point soon. We ate out with religious fervour during the intial relaxation of lockdown. All seems very long ago… – Tom

Mike Holliday UK

Red: Clos de la Roche – Domaine Rousseau 1990
White: Corton Charlemagne – Domaine Bonneau de Martray 1990
Budget Red: Bourgueueil Les Racines – Frederic Mabileau 2016
Budget White: Bourgogne Aligoté – Paul Pillot 2017
Rosé: Vina Tondonia Rioja Gran Reserva – Lopez de Heredia 2008
Sparkling: Cedric Bouchard, Roses de Jeanne Haute-Lemblée 2008
Fortified: Taylors 66
Extra choice: Sandeman Very Dry Old Oloroso (70’s bottling, I think)
Dud: Grands Echezeaux – DRC 1959 (Significant ullage – over the hill)
Comments: 2020 started off so well – 2008 GM Champagnes, Lionel’s sherry offline… Fortunately I have escaped most of the real pain (unlike a friend who’s had five friends die of the coronavirus) though I am looking forward to being able to do a few of the things I couldn’t do this year (like getting my mother’s house sold…) in 2021
Some cracking wines in there too – don’t know if you shared that Bonneau de Matray with Leon, but envious either way! Yes, here’s to a happier and more normal 2021 – Tom

Julian Seers-Martin, UK

Red: Chateau Leoville Barton 1996, France
White: Pierre Yves Colin-Morey, Meursault 1er Cru Les Charmes 2009, France
Budget Red: Franck Balthazar, Cotes du Rhone 2018, France
Budget White: Julian Haart, Piesporter Riesling 2013, Germany
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000, France
Extra choice: Marc Hebrart Special Club 2013, France
Dud: Chateau Ausone 1982, France
Thing: Self isolation stay in a friend’s Cornish cottage upon arriving back in the UK.
Comments: Hard to know what to say about this year. I was (and still am!) lucky enough to become engaged to my wonderful partner, but beyond that I struggle to think of anything positive to say – 2020 was otherwise unilaterally bleak. I commited a lot of vinous infanticide this year during our move back to the UK – selling up a collection in the space of 2 weeks or so during a pandemic was predictably challenging, so I drank many things at ages I never intended on doing so. It gave me a lesson on maturity, that’s for sure, but also means my lasting memory of wine this year is not one of a huge amount of pleasure – despite there being some gems in the rough. 1982 Ausone was tragically disappointing, good provenance but faded within 30 minutes. Hebrart deserves a mention for an unbelievably good SC 2013 on two occasions. I would say roll on 2021 but I think 2022 is probably more accurate!
Commiserations Julian, one of my big disappointments of the year being my cancelled holiday to California where we’d everything arranged to meet up for dinner while you were based there. Might just have to be London now… though possibly 2022 as you say! – Tom

Alex Hills, UK

Red: Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero 2007
White: Domaine des Cavarodes Cotes de Jura Ostrea Virgula Savignan 2017
Rosé: Valentini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2015
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1996
Sweet: Schaefer-Frohlich Bockenauer Felseneck Spatlese Goldkap 2009
Fortified: Equipo Navazos Paolo Cortado No. 52
Extra choice: Jean-Marc Brignot Tresors d’Aiglepierre 2005
Dud: A few too many oxidized burgundies going into the risotto instead of a glass
Thing: The Coravin
Comments: Hadn’t rated the 2007 vintage in Barolo before but, WOW – the Burlotto. The Valentini Cerasuolo was my only Rosé this year but worthy any year, while the Dom Perignon was also nearly the only sparkling wine I drank in 2020. A Coravin bought 2 days before the first lockdown transformed my drinking and made me unafraid of drinking good stuff in small doses at home on my own, which had always been a taboo. I also enjoyed the way it let me get to know bottles of wine gradually (the Cavarodes white benefitted enormously from this). Nonetheless, nearly all of these bottles have been enjoyed in company even this challenging year, which is what it should be.
I still don’t own a Coravin, though I definitely think how you have used it would be its essential selling point for me – being able to compare and contrast a few fine wines without opening three or four bottles at the same time – Tom

Kevin Courtney NZ

Red: Clos des Papes 2001
White: Trinity Hill 125 Gimblett Chardonnay 2018
Budget Red: J L Chave Cotes du Rhone Mon Coeur 2018
Budget White: Esk Valley Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay HB 2019
Rosé: Lawsons Dry Hills Pink 2020
Sparkling: Pommery Brut Royal NV
Sweet: Suduiraut Sauternes 2001
Fortified: Lustau Pedro Ximenez San Emilio
Extra choice: Taudieu Laurent Hermitage 2017
Dud: Missing out on Tom’s Wine Festivals
Thing: Two highlights; Tom visiting our vineyard in January, and my wine zoom, facilitated by Tom, attended by many delightful wine forum members.
Comments: I originally wasn’t going to bother participating in this as I couldn’t really recall all the wines I had tasted and which were the highlights, but the more I thought about it the more I started to recall many lovely wines. In some categories of course, notable Rosé and Sparkling, my range of options was very limited. In this difficult year we have been lucky to have the wine-pages forum. As it has turned out our area of interest (ie wine and food) has proven to be much more suitable for zooming and social media than those poor unfortunates who are into mountain biking or rock climbing.
Indeed a highlight for me too, visiting Kevin’s lovely Riverby Estate in Marlborough in January 2020 as well as an enjoyable dinner in his local pub. It is true that Zoom has been a godsend for many this year, but it really does work well in the world of wine where sharing bottles and experiences isn’t really impeded by the technology – Tom

Entries below added 27/12/2020

Fintan Kerr, Spain

Red: Stella di Campalto Brunello di Montalcino 2013
White: Bernard-Bonin Meursault 2017
Budget Red: Gaba do Xil Mencia 2017
Budget White: Finca a Pedreira Albarino 2019
Rosé: Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cuvée Prestige Caroline 2017
Sparkling: Raphaël & Vincent Bérêche Champagne Grand Cru Côte 2005
Sweet: Chateau Coutet 2011
Extra choice: Radikon Slatnik 2016
Dud: Various older Priorats, with noticeable alcohol starting to dominate. A real shame.
Thing: Not a single visit to London during the entire of 2020. Argh!
Comments: So. 2020. The lack of travel and tasting opportunities has hit particularly hard, so I don´t have the same dilemma I normally have in most years; the best wines stood out in a much lighter field, comparatively. Roll on 2021!
Roll on indeed. Nice to see our first out and out natural/orange wine of this year’s selections. I wonder how many there will be by close of play? – Tom

Ben Cain, UK

Red: Screaming Eagle 2015 USA
White: Clos de la Coule de Serrant 1990 France
Budget Red: Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2015 France
Budget White: Von Voxlem Slate Riesling 2019 Germany
Rosé: Domaine OTT Clos Mireille 2019 France
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1990 (Magnum) France
Sweet: Kracher No2 2008 Austria
Fortified: Vin De Constance 2006 South Africa
Extra choice: Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes 2013 France
Dud: Etienne Sauzet Blanc La Tufera 2018 France
Thing: Kemper profiling amp – wow
Comments: A bit of a mixed year for wine. Some great red and white have kept us going during the lockdown. I have also begun a PhD after completing my MA in Education. The absolute wine highlight was the Screaming Eagle – just superb to my palate but closely followed by the Clos de Coulee.
Screaming Eagle is one of the Californian ‘legends’ that I have never tasted, so envious of that in a very nice list. Having been brought up on valve amps (Fender twin reverb, etc) I bought a profiling amp last year – amazing tech (for the uninitiated, guitar amplifiers that can mimick the sound produced by a whole range of classic amplifier and/or trademark musicians’ sounds) – Tom

Ian Amstad, UK

Red: Gaja Barbaresco Sori San Lorenzo 1985
White: Pierre-Yves Colin Morey Corton Charlemagne 2011
Budget Red: De Forville Barbera 2018 & Chave CdR Mon Coeur 2017
Budget White: Pierre Boisson Bourgogne Blanc 2017
Rosé: Bollinger NV
Sparkling: Lanson ‘Extra Age’ Blanc De Blancs
Sweet: Vouvray Huet Cuvee Constance 1989
Fortified: Dow’s Port 1983
Extra choice: Anything from Roagna – producer of the year
Dud: The normalisation of extremism (in spite of Covid)
Thing: Holiday in France in July
Comments: Being able to get away to France in the middle two weeks of July for a wining, dining and cycling holiday to celebrate a significant milestone for my significant other was a highlight of this tumultuous year – seasons greetings and best wishes for a happier and healthier 2021 to one and all.
And to you Ian. Nice to see white Burgundy holding its own at both ends of the price spectrum (sort of). That Lanson Black Reserve, which I think replaces the Extra Age, was a 94-point wine for me and just narrowly missed my list – Tom

Anders Lind, Sweden

Red: Beaune Prévolles, Les Horées 2019
White: Marthe Henry Boillot Meursault 1cru Porusots 2017
Budget Red: Arnaud et Sophie Vosne-Romanée Les Barreaux 2016
Budget White: Pierre Girardin Eclat de Calcaire 2017/18/19
Rosé: Lallier á Aÿ, Grand Rosé
Sparkling: Nicolas Maillart, Les Jolivettes 2015
Sweet: Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas 1991
Fortified: Sangre y Trabajadero, Gutiérrez Colosia Oloroso
Extra choice: Joseph Colin Chevalier-Montrachet 2019
Thing: A week in Beaune, tasting Bourgogne 2019 from barrels (in total, close to 200 wines). Favorite visits were chez Joseph Colin, Maison Harbour, Pierre Girardin, Camille Giroud and coming star: Les Horées. And new generations are really improving things at Yvon Clerget and JJ Confuron. 2019 promise be a high-quality vintage for both red & white Bourgogne. I expect early enjoyment from the Reds, still with the balance for cellaring a decade or two.
Comments: My #1 White was a crystal clear, thoroughly mineral wine, savoured in it’s village of origin at restaurant Le Soufflot, famous for rare, great wines at (below) retail prices. On top, the food was marvellous. ”Budget Red” has a higher price than #1 Red, still cheap for top quality Vosne-R, the vineyard bordering 1 crus Petit Monts & Cros Parantoux. With young genius Pierre Girardin we tasted great 1er & GC, and entry level white (still available at 20€) is top quality, all 3 first harvests – the guy made his 2017s at age 21! This debut vintage of Jolivettes (and the Montchenot cuvée) makes Nicolas Maillart a top grower in Champagne.
Mouthwatering list and descriptions Anders. A daily dose of Burgundy? yes, I could live with that 🙂 – Tom

Craig Thomson, NZ

Red: Stonyridge Larose 2014, New Zealand
White: Kumeu River Mates Chardonnay 2019, New Zealand
Budget Red: Craggy Range Gimblett Gravels Syrah 2019, New Zealand
Budget White: Church Road Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2019, New Zealand
Sparkling: Ulysse Collin Les Maillons Extra Brut NV, Champagne
Sweet: Akarua Alchemy Ice Wine, 2018, Champagne
Thing: Wifi plug for my espresso machine. Life changing
Comments: I am feeling a warm NZ embrace. The great (and yes still young) 2013 and 2014 reds from the cellar and the superb Chardonnay’s from 2019 coming online now (which I rate the best Chardonnay vintage in a generation), combined with the promise of a stellar 2020. The Ulysse what a stunner. I drank this next to 08 Cristal, 08 Pol SWC and 12 Bolly GA and it pipped them all.
The Akarua is pure world class sticky. So precise and light on its feet. The texture and balance wow. KR Mates is a masterclass in precision and heads a list of very impressive 2019 chards so far. The Larose just is so epic, one of the very greatest of this lauded label and I’ve tried nearly every vintage. Stunning.
Amazing list Craig. I am a very lucky chap as I have just received a case of the top 2019 Hawkes Bay Chardonnays to review, and have watched as Chardonnay from the region has gotten better and better over recent years. Sometimes this job has its compensations! 🙂 – Tom

David Ludlow UK

Red: Penfolds Magill Estate Shiraz 2004
White: 2010 Riesling Ried Loibenberg Smaragd, Weingut Emmerich Knoll
Budget Red: Douloufakis, Liatiko 2017
Budget White: Armas Voskehat 2018
Rosé: Allegra de Beronia Rose 2019
Sparkling: House of Arras Brut Elite NV
Sweet: Château Lafaurie – Peyraguey 2001
Fortified: Bodegas Barbadillo Manzanilla Pasada En Rama Pastora
Extra choice: Chateau Musar Blanc 201?
Thing: House Renovation completed (despite COVID-19)
Comments: What a strange year. Been working from home since early March. We kicked off a major renovation project in Feb involving knocking 1/2 house down which seemed like a crazy idea in mid-March. Fortunately it all ended well. The enforced home work somehow meant I did more tastings! I took the opportunity to drink some of my nice wines and the Magill deserved it simply because I had waited to see what Aussie wine with a bit of age tasted like. The budget red and white are from your online wine tastings. The Armenian wine was a standout! Also got into dry sherry for the 1st time which was superb with a fish curry. The Musar blanc was a revelation and I have bought the 91 to really appreciate how it ages. I hope 2021 will be different and everyone remain safe until the world gets back to normal.
Yes, those two wines from Armenia and Crete were brilliant examples of how interesting it can be to step off the beaten track. Well done on the major renovations too – I kind of think it wasn’t a bad year to tackle something like that, even though I am sure it presented some extra challenges – Tom

Entries below added 24/12/2020

Paul Jaines, UK

Red: 2013 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
White: 2015 Philippe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Vergers
Budget Red: 2018/19 Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes, Thymiopoulos
Budget White: Château de la Pierre Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu Sur Lie
Rosé: 2008 R. López de Heredia Rioja Rosado Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia
Sweet: Vin de Constance 2015
Fortified: NV Niepoort Porto Tawny Dee
Extra choice: 2015 Jacques Antoine Toublanc Bourgueil
Dud: Covid and B****t. Not being able to go into the office. I miss my daily commute!
Thing: Taking my kids out to an amazing Ramen restaurant post-first-lockdown… just being out and having food served to us was brilliant.
Comments: The Montepulciano was a wonderful waltz across the palate – recommended by a fellow Wine-Pages forum member. When wines like my White Burgundy are on-form they can’t be beaten. Nuanced, complex. The Thymiopoulos is a consistent purchase from TWS while the Muscadet is banging quality for a tenner, almost Chablis-like. The Viña Tondonia isn’t really a rosé by the usual definition, but it was certainly memorable, while the Niepoort is a vibrant, fresher style that disappeared far too quickly on multiple occasions. The Bourgueil popped up out of nowhere – the cellarmaster at Clos Rougeard makes this. Sublime. I’ve really scaled down my average price per bottle this year so have been drinking at the shallower end of the pool. However, this approach has reignited my enthusiasm for Bordeaux – there are so many enjoyable wines down there…approachable, fresh, no excessive oak. This year I also had 3 months off the booze which was a very positive experience, but I’m not sure lockdown and abstinence is a long term viable life-choice. Dreading 2021, but hoping my French nationality application is successful! Vive La France.
I think a lot of people would envy the possibility of European passport at this stage Paul. Nice choices and quirky too – that Tondonia Rosado really does defy all text-book descriptions of rosé wine – Tom

Richard Zambuni, UK

Red: Clos de la Roche grand cru Domaine Rousseau 1990
White: Corton-Charlemagne grand cru Domaine Bonneau de Martray 1990
Budget Red: Beaune 1er cru Clos du Roi Daudet-Naudin 1969
Budget White: Soave Vigneti del Foscarino Inama 2017
Rosé: Rioja Rosado Gran Reserva Vina Tondonia Lopez De Heredia 2008
Sparkling: Cristal Champagne Brut Louis Roerderer 2008
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1997
Fortified: Dow Vintage Port 1991
Extra choice: Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 1971 Shipped by James Richards London
Dud: Chateau Latour-Martillac blanc Pessac-Leognan 2015
Thing: My son getting into Bocconi University in Milan
Comments: Well, it’s been a strange and challenging year, but remarkably I did manage to drink some very, very good wines by fitting in a few dinners (some very creatively) when the plague allowed. I make no apologies for this being mostly a selection of classic wines. They’re classic for a reason. On a personal front we’ve had a lot of headwinds this year including the death of my father, my son having to come home from university, being unable to see family and friends as usual, and of course a massive curtailing of wine events. Sadly, I think we have plenty more challenges to come. Anyway, may I take this opportunity to send seasonal greetings and heartfelt thanks to Tom and to the whole Wine-Pages Forum community whose company I miss so much.
I am sure a lot of people will recognise and agree with your feelings about 2020 Richard, but great that there were highlights too, including some superb wines. Classics as you say, but I think the whole Covid situation made many people approach their wine cellars and what to drink in a different way this year – Tom

Derek Salmon, Australia

Red: Henschke Hill of Grace 2015
White: Bannockburn Vineyards Chardonnay, Geelong 1994 (magnum)
Budget Red: Tomfoolery Black & Blue Shiraz 2019
Budget White: 2018 Long Gully Road Semillon
Rosé: Charles Melton There Is a Rose In Spanish Harlem (Rosado)
Sparkling: Bollinger PH VZ15
Fortified: Seppeltsfield 1945 Para Tawny
Extra choice: Rockford Basket Press
Dud: 2020
Thing: Queuing up for Rockford basket press on day of release
Comments: With restrictions in place having to sit at cellar doors was a much more personalised experience. Working in the Barossa, seeing the whole region coming together to get through such a crap part of the year and coming out stronger on the other side.
A fine all-Australian collection – apart, that is, from the Champagne. Is it possible – or at least arguable – that Champagne is the only French region that is truly without equal elsewhere in the world? I know some will argue for Burgundy, maybe Alsace or even Bordeaux, but though the world produces many, many superb traditional method sparkling wines, somehow Champagne still seems to operate (almost) in a league of its own? – Tom

Steve Pritchard, UK

Red: Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Gran Selezione 2010, Italy
White: Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2017, New Zealand
Budget Red: The Foundry Shiraz 2012, South Africa
Rosé: Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Millesime 2010 (magnum), France
Sparkling: Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2008, France
Extra choice: Champagne Jean Lallement et Fils Jean Lallement Brut 2013, France
Thing: The sheer joy of spending so much time (enforced) with my young daughter during lockdown
Comments: A strange year indeed, and one where I did not imbibe greatly. But some real highs: Louis Roederer 2010 Rosé in magnum was utterly mind-boggling, the best LR Rosé (ex Cristal) I’ve tasted and such taut, precise fruit with dazzling acidity make from a rather poor Pinot Noir vintage. Cristal 2008 was exceptional, certainly my top wine from 2008, I cannot wait for the magnums (I am on a bit of a LR kick at the moment). Honourable mention to Jean-Lallement (Verzenay and Verzy) for their toasty, linear vintage wine (2013). One of the smallest producers in Champagne, and almost impossible to get an allocation of (but there are some positives to the C19 world of 2020). Nice to be able to reflect upon the many positives.
Nice to have a memory evoked of my tasting and lunch with the Brajkovich family from my only trip of 2020, to Zealand in January, where the 2018 edition of the Hunting Hill Chardonnay was a highlight of thier superb portfolio. I have a few bottles of the 2002 Cristal, but might be tempted by the 2008 if I see any at an attractive price – Tom

Mark Priestley, UK

Red: Domaine Borie de Maurel Minervois la Liviniere ‘Maxime’ 2016, France
White: Suertes del Marques “Trenzado” 2017, Tenerife, Spain
Budget Red: Domaine Remi Jalliet ‘Fleurettes aux Vents’ 2019, Languedoc, France
Budget White: Baroni di Pianogrillo Grecanico 2018, Sicily, Italy
Rosé: Chateau Lancyre ‘Y’ Pic Saint Loup 2019, Languedoc, France
Sparkling: Paltrinieri Lambrusco di Sorbara “LaRiserva” 2015, Emilia Romagna, Italy
Sweet: De Trafford Straw Wine 2012, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fortified: Curatolo Arini Marsala Superiore Riserva Secco 2012, Sicily, Italy
Extra choice: Domaine Gauby “Jasse” 2018, Roussillon, France
Thing: Summer Road trip across France
Comments: Tricky year drinking-wise with numerous cancellations of planned vineyard trips to Etna/Canary Islands/Tuscany, Vinitaly/Le Contrade dell’Etna wine festivals and UK offlines. Still even allowing for all that got to taste some pretty interesting things. Highlight was the Summer Holiday to Beaujolais and the Languedoc Rousillon although two weeks was not enough. Wine wise the Languedoc Rousillon is such a fascinating area and four of my choices above were from this trip. The Fleurettes aux Vents (blend of Carignan and Cinsault) was a great find from a small wine shop called Cave des Oliviers (run by a Brit) up in a hilltop village called Montolieu (near Carcassonne). Really good chilled, about 7 euros a bottle, 12% alcohol and reminded me of a quality Beaujolais. The Jasse from Gauby is a Muscat blend with a few days of skin contact; aromatic, textured and utterly delicious. A big thanks to all the helpful LR suggestions must go to my fellow forumites from the UK Wine Forum; certainly made for a better trip.
Shocked to see a list not full of Italian choices Mark! But all is explained in your text 🙂 I agree there’s so much of interest in corners of the Languedoc Roussillon region, maybe a bit overshadowed by the volume of inexpensive Pays d’Oc wines we see – Tom

Jonathan Points, UK

Red: Amon Ra 2005
White: Cloudy Bay 2018
Budget Red: D’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz
Budget White: Riesling, Mosel, Dr.Loosen 2018
Rosé: Whispering Angel – Château d’Esclans
Sparkling: PS Pétillant Rosé NV
Sweet: Tesco Finest Pedro Ximenez
Fortified: QC Cream British Fortified Wine
Dud: Burgundy
Thing: Panasonic SD-2500WXC Rapid Bake Bread Maker
Comments: 2020 has been a strange year but one of the pleasures has been sharing good wine with good friends and re-discovering how much joy there is out there on supermarket shelves, and in off the beaten track wines.
Another example of the 2020 turmoil allowing us, or sometimes forcing us, to rediscover and rethink our wine drinking – a bit of a theme for this year – Tom

Go to Tom’s Wines of the Year 2020

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