Each Christmas Tom Cannavan announces his Wines of the Year and invites visitors to do the same. See Tom’s 2021 awards here.
Entries for Visitors’ Wines of the Year 2021 are now closed.
Final set of entries added 08/01/2022
Alistair Ross, UK
Red: Artadi Viña El Pisón Rioja Reserva, 1994
White: Portal del Priorat Trossos Tros Blanc Montsant, 2009
Budget Red: San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico, 2011
Budget White: Valenciso Rioja Blanco, 2019
Sparkling: Krug Grande Cuvée Edition 167
Sweet: 2005 Jorge Ordoñez & Co. Málaga #1 Selección Especial Moscatel
Fortified: 1864 Solera Blandy’s Madeira (tasted at an offline)
Extra choice: Ch Fourcas Hosten, Cru Bourgeois, Moulis, 1985
Dud: Covid, Brexit (not necessarily in that order).
Thing: Fortnightly wine Zooms, which have been a lifeline through the lockdowns and beyond.
Comments: The 94 El Pison really delivered, with fabulous mature aromatics backed up by the intensity and length of a great fine wine. (A 94 Pagos Viejos earlier in the year was in similar vein, just a little less intense.) As ever, it was interesting to see where a modern-style Rioja gets to with ageing. The Tros Blancs Montsant has been my white of the year several times in recent years. A special wine from old Garnacha Blanca vines. 1985 Fourcas Hosten took me back to my discovery of fine wine, which began with the 1986 from this Chateau. Bought at auction recently, my first bottle of the 85 was out of condition. The second was in good condition and rather magical. The Krug was gifted to us and not something I’d normally have at home. It was a treat and a reminder to pay more attention to Champagne.
Nice to see a relatively modest ’85 Bordeaux holding up, as was my own WOTY nomination of the Beychevelle, but a fascinating list, strong on Iberia which is nice to see too. – Tom
Nick Chisnell, UK
Red: 1999 Comtes Lafon, Volnay, Santenots-du-Milieu
White: 2011 Trimbach Cuvee Frédéric Emile Riesling
Budget Red: 2018 Thymiopoulos Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes
Budget White: 2016 Dorogi Testvérek Furmint, Tokaji
Rosé: 2020 Selladore En Provence Rosé
Sparkling: 2008 Rare Champagne Millésime
Sweet: 2020 Brachetto d’Acqui, “Braida”
Fortified: Fonseca Terra Prima Organic Reserve Port
Extra choice: The Newt Fine Cyder 2020
Dud: Corked! – Jean Marc Burgaud Morgon Cote Du Puy 2016 (magnum)
Thing: Noble Rot’s Angela Hartnett Beaujolais Dinner
Ouch on the magnum of Cote du Puy! I presume the Champagne is the Rare from Piper-heidsieck? I had the 2002 recently and it was fabulous. I like that organic Port from Fonseca too; good value – Tom
Ben Coffman, UK
Red: 2019 Coudert Fleurie Clos de la Roilette Cuvée Tardive
White: 2006 Domaine le Soula blanc, Languedoc-Roussillon
Budget Red: 2018 JL Chave Mon Coeur Cotes du Rhone
Budget White: 2020 Rustenberg Chardonnay
Sparkling: 2016 Gusbourne Blancs de Blancs, Kent
Extra choice: South African white blends
Dud: 2018 BBR St Julien by Ch Leoville Lascases. And Covid in general.
Thing: Reuniting with my old girlfriend of 25 years ago – who has a great palate!
Comments: Nothing that grand this year: so many special occasions deferred. Honourable 2nd places to a 2003 PJA Chevalier de Sterimberg blanc that was glorious for about an hour, a 2005 Charvin Chateauneuf and a 2006 Ridge Lytton Springs. Tough competition for budget reds with 2014 CVNE GR Rioja, 2014 Ch Senejac jostling. The Coudert Fleurie was vibrant, complex and savoury; the 2006 Soula blanc the same! They demanded (and got) attention. The BBR St Julien was Bordeaux at it’s worst: clunky, monolithic, dull.
I do love those La Soula wines, and wish I’d hung onto my whites a bit longer given your WOTY, and glad to see another vote for Gusbourne – on the top of their game for sure – Tom
David Pope, UK
Red: Pichon-Baron 1990
White: McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon, 2005
Budget Red: Monthélie “Aux Founereaux” 2019, Pierrick Bouley
Budget White: Aligoté ‘On Skin’ 2017, le Grappin
Sparkling: Pinot Meunier 2018, Langham
Extra choice: Ridge, Pagani Ranch Late Picked Zinfandel 1996
Dud: Natural wines
Thing: The continuing excellent quality of red burgundy at all price levels.
Despite the restrictions on going out I still sampled some marvellous wines in 2021. The Elizabeth semillon was in a wonderful place – beautiful lemon and lime fruit and plenty of acidity and length. Well-cellared examples will outlive many of us. The Aligoté was also at its peak and went down well with non-buffs. Choosing the top red was harder. I could have chosen one of several burgundies but eventually decided I was biased and went for my top wine from a memorable wine-pages offline at Hawksmoor. There was no doubt about my bargain red. I have been impressed by many red burgs from lower appellations and this was the best. The Monthelie had wonderful fruit and I’ll be buying the 2020. I didn’t have many fizzes but the Langham PM was memorable, with excellent fruit and structure. The Ridge was superb, despite being in my spare room since 1998! I had so few rosés, fortified and sweet wines that it seems perverse to nominate one. I hope we can all get out more in 2022!
I wouldn’t recommend those storage conditions, but glad the Ridge stood up to it! Yes, i’ve enjoyed a lot of less expensive Burgundies too this year, Mercurey and other southern appellations that don’t often get the limelight – Tom
David Harvey, UK
Red: Durfort Vivens 2020, Margaux
White: Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg Spatlese 2020, Ruwer
Budget Red: Arlaud, Bourgogne Roncevie 2019, Burgundy
Budget White: Vignai da Duline Malvasia Chioma Integrale 2015, Friuli
Sparkling: Charlie Herring Chardonnay MT 2013, New Forest
Sweet: Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg Auslese 1990, Ruwer
Fortified: Niepoort 2019 Vintage Port, Douro
Extra choice: Gravner Ribolla 2012, Collio
Dud: Mousiness; TCA; bottom of the range one-piece natural corks
Thing: Family. Alive! conference by RAW wine team. DIAM Origine corks. The rise of informative back labels (eg JC Bachelet, Suertes del Marques.) Carbon consciousness.
Comments: I always enjoy reading Tom’s WOTY and thos of his readers, thinking what to choose. It’s a rare moment to stop and take stock from a year’s worth of TNs. Thanks Tom! 2021 was a year of big releases: BDM 16s, sleek Mosel 20s, Wachau 19/20s, Burg 19, Bordeaux 20s, Abe Schoener’s 20s, Alkina’s launch, the best of 17 Langhe. Spirit of the year was Green Chartreuse VEP 2005 at Little French. Surprise of the year was meeting Tim Philips of Charlie Herring, for a unique, unscalable take on domestic potential. Three MT wines joined Selosse Substance & Dagueneau Asteroide 14 in style. However. If closures (still) remain the final frontier for winemakers, farming choices are the beginning. The progress in reducing chemicals &/or soil compaction, and increase of certification, is astounding, nowhere more so than France. The next step is about building up soil, soil life, and carbon sequestration, for vine health, consistent quality, and carbon offsetting. Then working out how to communicate it all.
I haven’t had a chance to taste the classed growth 2020s from Bordeaux yet, but hope the opportunity arises this year. But very thoughtful words on soils and the sustainability and environmental considerations of vine farming, a topic that so many producers talk about now, and hopefully that’s more than lip service – Tom
Duncan McLean, Orkney, Scotland
Red: Mas Morties, Pic St. Loup ‘Jamais Content’, 2019, France
White: Daschbosch, ‘Mossiedrift Steen’, Chenin Blanc, 2020, South Africa
Budget Red: Château Laurou, Fronton Tradition, 2019, France
Budget White: Château de Plaisance, L’Anjou Blanc, 2020, France
Sweet: Chateau Laville, Sauternes, 2001, France
Fortified: Sandeman, Old Tawny Porto, 40 Years Old, Portugal
Extra choice: Hexamer, Riesling Trocken ‘Schlossbockelheimer In den Felsen’ 2018, Germany
Dud: In the grand scheme of things, nothing worth mentioning.
Thing: Toonie Void’ by Kevin Cormack. The most exciting first poetry collection to come out of these parts since George Mackay Brown’s 1954.debut.
Comments: A Francophile year, I see: no fudging of contemporaneous notes allowed to make me seem more balanced! (Though my runner-up budget wines were Montes Alpha Pinot Noir and Framingham’s Marlborough Classic Riesling.) The Riesling that did make it in is obscure but joyous, and only an ‘extra choice’ because I seem not to have taken proper notes of any of the bottles I’ve enjoyed. The Pic St Loup was the most electrifying experience of the year, though Fabien Duveau’s Saumur-Champigny, Varrains Le Bourg, 2020, was very close; both of these will clearly live for many years. My runner up for white of the year was Mas Morties’ Vin de France ‘Jamais Content’ Blanc from 2018, so Pic St Loup is obviously ticking my boxes at the moment; I loved Mas Peyrolle from there too. Slightly surprised to find the Daschbosch was my highest scoring white, but it was extremely enjoyable. All in all, an interesting wine year, though the opportunities for socialising were very limited again.
Pic St Loup – you’ve reminded me that I went through a phase of buying reds and some lovely, quite meaty rosés too. They’ve rather drifted off my radar, so I will make ammends – Tom
Andrew Stevenson, UK
Red: 2000 Chateau Musar, Lebanon
White: 2018 Gusbourne Chardonnay Guinevere, Kent, England
Budget Red: NV Domaine de Garance, A Clara Vin de France, France
Budget White: 2019 Armenia Wine Compay, Yerevan Kangun-Rkatsiteli, Armenia
Rosé: 2019 Gusbourne Pinot Noir Rosé Cherry Garden Vineyard, Kent, England
Sparkling: NV Exton Park Reserve Blen RB 23, Hampshire, England
Sweet: 2000 Albert Mann Pinot Gris Altenbourg SdGN Le Tri, Alsace
Fortified: 1991 Dow Vintage Port
Extra choice: 2017 Langham Sparkling Pinot Meunier (white), Dorset, England
Dud:Remarkably, in terms of wine, there has been nothing awful this year, so Covid
Thing: Cheating with 3 equal: Aktar At Home; online wine tastings (no worries/costs re driving/hotels etc); online cheese tastings
Comments: Slightly suprised by the absence of riesling, and the dominance of English wines this year, though not by the Exton Park rosé RB23, which really stood out from the first sip of the first (of several) bottle. The number of English wines conceals some very varied drinking this year, some from online tastings (hello Tom Cannavan’s Far Side/Brazil/Cradle tastings), some from broadening my use of smaller online wine retailers (hello in particular Bin Two and their Nayan Gowda quarantine survival case), as well as continuing 2020’s ‘better drink up some of my good stuff’ campaign.
I’lll definitely let you off with three ‘things’ of the year, since the list includes wine from my own online tastings :). And another vote for d”drinking up’ the good stuff too. I like the English estates you have chosen too: all three mentioned would be in my top half dozen. – Tom
Ben Cain, England
Red: Ridge, Monte Bello 1996, USA
White: Newton unfiltered chardonnay 1993, USA
Budget Red: Cune, Rioja Reserva 2015, Spain
Budget White: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018, New Zealand
Rosé: Mirabeau Sparkling Rose, France
Sparkling: Dom Pérignon Oenotheque 1996, France
Sweet: Willi Opitz Goldamsel Beerenauslese, Austria
Fortified: Fonseca 1991 Vintage port
Extra choice: Chateau Chalon 1962
Dud: Chateau Gloria 1990
Thing: Passing my PhD upgrade from MPhil
Comments: I have not tried many different wines this year but I have decided to drink those I have been hanging on to because life is too short for those special occasions. I have had family illnesses and life and the enjoyment of it should not always come on occasions. I am now a 2nd year PhD mature student at Exeter University and loving it. I have begun further undertakings with the WSET and want to further my wine and spirit knowledge.
Congratulations and best of luck with the PhD Ben. I *so* agree with the sentiment about drinking your best bottles and not putting them off for a ‘spaceial occasion’. Special occasions are wonderful, but often the wine is taking second place the occasion anyway! – Tom
Entries below added 06/01/2022
Mark Carrington, UK
Red: J-L Chave Hermitage 2005
White: Ponsot Morey St. Denis 1er Cru Clos des Monts Luisants VV 2015
Budget Red: Y Amirault Bourgueil La Petite Cave 2010
Budget White: Morrisons Soave 2020
Rosé: Louis Roederer Champagne Vintage Brut Rosé 2013
Sparkling: Serge Mathieu cuvée? en magnum
Sweet: JJ Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2010
Fortified: Dutschke Muscat NV
Extra choice: Comm. G.B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero 2015
Dud: Taltarni sparkling shiraz 2018
Thing: Lunch at Lameloise
Comments: The Chave was drunk New Years Day 2021 & held top spot all year. Ponsot: despite being ‘only’ Aligoté it was compelling. I have my eye on the new release. Loire Cab Franc consistently over delivers. The Soave is available for £4.35. The 92 point sticker is laughable but it does merit 87+. JJP remains a most profound wine producer. Two fizz! An alternative Provence rosé (Tibouren ’19) fell foul of my ‘no tasting wines’ criteria. There’s now some purchased bottles hereabouts. The Serge Mathieu finally convinced me of the merits of fizz from magnum – other bottle formats on the day were a pale shadow. Dutschke was from cellar door but the fortifieds are now in UK. Burlotto – I now believe the hype. Thing – being able to visit France & stay for a while, combined with the opportunity to eat out (& in UK). Only 1 trip during past 18 months. Hopefully for more this year.
Yes, fingers crossed for more and easier travel in the coming year. A fine list with a blend of the familiar (and famous) and less well-known appellations and wines. The Roederer 2013 Blanc de Blancs was one of my ‘runners-up’, but I have yet to taste the pink version – Tom
Paul Jaines, UK
Red: 2018 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Feudo di Mezzo Il Quadro delle Rose
White: 2007 Droin Chablis Les Clos
Budget Red: 2019 Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Grands Cras
Budget White: 2019 Radford Dale Vinum Chenin Blanc
Sparkling: Moet 2012 (probably the ONLY bottle of champagne I had this year)
Sweet: Suidiraut 2007
Extra choice: Any of the Bordeaux superieur I’ve been slurping down this year – great value
Dud: 2011 Gazin Pomerol
Thing: My wife bagging a stupendous job after 16 years out raising children. Bosh – an absolutely amazing job which she starts in January.
Comments: This year I took a conscious decision to really scale down on the prices of wines I was drinking. So, accordingly I have been really getting stuck into Bordeaux Superieur and Beaujolais. The quality is stupendous and I am finding more fun and pleasure in those places that I have for many years. The quality in Beaujolais has been a real eye opener for me – for 15 quid and below there are wines of terroir, quality and longevity. More modest Bordeaux again, I am really enjoying as they tend towards more freshness and less oak and density – such good value in a region that is unfairly maligned for being expensive. We have coped well with COVID, ensured our kids are not too impacted – but of course the dreaded B-word casts a miserable spell on this family. Those French passports we have are coming in very useful.
Nice idea to drink more modestly for a year and discover – or perhaps rediscover – the quality that can be found in moderately priced wines. I had that Moet 2012 just last week, and a fine bottle it was too – Tom
Saina Nieminen, Finland
Red: Domaine Pattes Loup (Thomas Pico) Gamay – Pinot Noir 2018, France
White: Domaine des Carlines, “En Beaumont” Savagnin Côtes du Jura 2016, France
Budget Red: Domaine Albert, Bichot Mr NO Sulfite Beaujolais 2020, France
Budget White: Santomè, Tai Bianco Friulano “Parcel #368” 2013, Italy
Rosé: Meinklang, Pet Nat, Austria
Sparkling: Alta Alella, Mirgin Reserva Cava Brut Nature 2017, Spain
Sweet: Antica Formula Vermouth, Italy
Extra choice: Ch. Musar 2014, Lebanon
Dud: Ever Bordeaux I tried this year.
Thing: Teerenpeli Kulo, Single malt, Finland
Comments: Both reds are glou glou natural wine but so much fun. The whites are both intense with the Savagnin being old style oxidative Jura and the Friulano being aged 68 months on lees. Strange but amazing wines full of personality. Bordeaux continues to bore me – it should be spelled Bored-eaux. I couldn’t fit Musar anywhere so I’ll cheat and put it as my extra choice – it would not look like my list without a Musar somewhere. This year’s surprise was how good Finnish Single Malt can be!
I must come and share some natural wines with you some time Saina! Those two whites in particular sound absolutely intriguing. As a Scot I was going to delete you choice of a Finnish single malt, but I’ll let you off with it 🙂 – Tom
Brian Guinan, Italy
Red: Lu Sureddi Cannonau Romangia 2017, Antiche Vigneti Manca
White: Drouhin Puligny Montrachet les Folatieres 2019
Budget Red: Tenuta Guinan no. 1 2021
Budget White: La Valle Del Sole pecorino Offida
Rosé: None come to mind, cheating I’ll say the ethereal reds of Tenerife
Sparkling: Grignolino monferrato spumante 2020, Cantina Gasparda
Sweet: Vigna del Volta Malvasia di candia aromatica passito 2007, la Stoppa
Fortified: Dow’s vintage 1994
Extra choice: Pedro Parra imaginador cinsault 2018, Itata Chile
Dud: DRC Grands Echezeaux 1991. Knew it would be shot so couldn’t flog, ’twas
Thing: Making some potable wine and buying a winery, the five hectares attached is half forest, half vineyard, but the dream is almost reality
Comments: Covid at least made me ignore my itchy feet and I feel I’ve finally settled in the Colli Piacentini and slowly becoming native. Met so many wonderful Italian winemakers, the best of which are the Manca sisters of North Sardinia, only three vintages so far but each is an individual revelation, the Vermentino magic too. Finally making a wine from pruning to malo was a torturous delight, and my budget wine is free from now on! Only topped by getting home to Ireland for the first Christmas in three years and showing it off to the family, quite a shock to be drinking supermarket wine again after immersion in the Italian lutte raisonee world. It was great to read offline reports again, missed out on my first Wimps in November but determined to make one this year, certainly have an oddity or two up my sleeve.
Well congratulations on the nascent wine career Brian – how exciting. Your red is from Sardinia, and I have to say I have been really impressed by a couple of dozen Sardian wines (mostly Cannonau) that I’ve been lucky enough to taste this year – Tom
Mahmoud Ali, Canada
Red: 1978 Marques de Caceres Reserva
White: Czech Gruner Veltliners and 2014 Kliment Cidre Extra Brut
Budget Red: 2018 Domaine de Pallhaut Red – (£6.50)
Budget White: 2018 Domaine de Pellehaut Blanc – (£6.50)
Rosé: N/V Lanson Brut Rose
Sparkling: N/V Billecart-Salmon
Sweet: 1980 Messias Colheita
Fortified: 1977 Warre’s
Extra choice: 2013 Mogenster Italian Collection ‘Nabucco’ Nebbiolo
Dud: 1989 Drouhin Chassagne-Montrachet
Thing: Three glorious weeks in Prague
Comments: A visit to Prague was like a ray of sunshine, a Dubcek Prague Spring if you will. Gruner Veltliners were the highlights of the trip along with the best cider I’ve ever had and some singularly unique vintage and single orchard Slivovitz. The Caceres Reserva was popped and decanted as a backup wine to a very tired Burgundy. The nose rose from the glass in the form of a ripe, feral, earthy spiral of aromatics. It was one of those wines with a nose so intriguing that one hesitated to take a sip and it piped the Bordeaux look-a-like 1978 Spring Mountain Cabernet. The Lanson Rose was at least six years old and it showed depth and character. The Billecart-Salmon was also an older bottle that a friend found on a store shelf and was it was lovely, somewhat aged, rich, and complex. Both the ’77 Warre’s and ’80 Messias were, in their own way, delicate and filigreed, and thoroughly enjoyable. The Morgenster was my first South African Nebbiolo-deep & structured and very nice if still young.
Sounds like a couple of those were ‘lucky finds’ or surprises, which is always a delight with wine. And roll-on the day when we can all travel freely again! – Tom
B Dean, Scotland
Red: Claus Preisinger Puszta Libre 2020
White: Champagne de Castellane 1975
Budget Red: Villa Bonaga Lambrusco di Modena Vino Frizzante Rosso Amabile 2019
Budget White: Claude Carré et Fils Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs 2007
Rosé: Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé 2012
Sparkling: Veuve Clicquot Dry 1955
Sweet: Schloss Lieser Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2017
Extra choice: Lucas & André Rieffel Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé Mister Pink 2018
Dud: Several bottles of 30-40 yr old Irroy NV, all totally flat.
Thing: The return of in-person events!
Comments: A continuation of 2020 in wine terms – lots of obscure old champagnes bought at auction (many sadly, but unsurprisingly, past their best), plus the most intriguing bottles I saw in local specialists, and plenty from supermarkets. The Bollinger rosé (my runner up WOTY) is sublime – all cherries – and hasn’t ballooned in price like its white equivalent (yet!). The VCP ’55 (WOTY) was extraordinary and thankfully well preserved. The lambrusco is superb value (under a fiver!) from Lidl, currently my top chain for cheap and interesting wines. Claude Carré punches well above its weight for £25 (Sainsbury’s!), but although champagne continues to be my first love, no wine brings me as much joy as good Kabinett, which although harder to come by, is always better value.
Surprised you didn’t try to sneak a Champagne into the fortified category too! 🙂 Having just acquired a few bottles of that Bollinger pink 2012, delighted that you think so highly of it – Tom
Kevin Courtney, New Zealand
Red: Craggy Range Le Sol 2019 Hawkes Bay
White: Trinity Hill 125 Chardonnay 2019 Hawkes Bay
Budget Red: Te Mata Awatea 2019 Hawkes Bay
Budget White: Dry River Lovat Gewurztraminer 2020 Martinborough (relatively budget)
Rosé: Domain Road Pinot Rose 2021 Bannockburn
Sparkling: Hunters Miru Miru 2016 Marlborough
Sweet: Forrest Noble Riesling 2018 Marlborough
Fortified: Morris Old Premium Muscat
Extra choice: Trinity Hill “The Gimblett” 2019 Hawkes Bay
Dud: German Rieslings from the early 2000s, if only they had used screwcaps
Thing: History making 3 great vintages in a row in NZ, 19, 20, 21. Especially HB and Marlborough, not certain about the other regions.
Comments: So many great wines tried on several wine tasting trips around the country from the great and unprecedented recent vintages. Red of the year was a toss up between The Quarry and Prison Block (both cab savs) until I discovered Le Sol. Unbelievable Chardonnays from all over and at various price points, mostly great value. I did win the trophy for Marlborough’s best Rose, which was a bit of a highlight, and surprise, but thought I had better not list my own wine. Thanks to Tom for hosting this amazing community, it obviously takes a lot of time and effort on his part. And thanks to those who have managed to find and try my wines in the UK.
For those who don’t know him, Kevin runs the excellent Riverby Estate in Marlborough, one of whose wines made my Wines of the Year this year. And another reminder of my wonderful trip around the country just before the first lockdown 🙁 – Tom
David White, Australia
Red: Vega Sicilia, Unico 2006
White: Sebastien Dampt, Côte de Léchet Chablis 1er Cru 2018
Budget Red: Kanonkop, Kadette Pinotage 2018
Budget White: Knappstein, Clare Valley Riesling 2019
Rosé: Creation, Rose 2018 Walker Bay South Africa
Sparkling: Barossa Valley Estate E & E Sparkling Shiraz NV
Sweet: Chambers Grand Rutherglen Muscat
Fortified: Galway Pipe 12 Year Old Grand Tawny
Extra choice: Felton Road, Bannockburn Pinot Noir Central Otago NZ
Dud: Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe 1986 Cork crumbled – do not wait too long
Thing: Georgian Qvevri Wines
Comments: A great year of drinking – no space to mention SA Hahndorf Gruners, South African Bordeaux Blends and Chenins (KF FMC a standout), Argentinian Malbec as well as Tasmanian Pinot Noirs giving NZ and Burgundy a run for their money. There is a fabulous diversity of wines available and many are not expensive. Bought a terrific Watervale Riesling for a tenner the other day.
A very fine list that spans the globe rather nicely, and great to see a couple more of Australia’s fabulous aged fortified wines being celebrated – still an underrated style over here I think – Tom
Entries below added 03/01/2022
Adrian Burgess, England
Red: Clos Rougeard, Saumur-Champigny, Les Clos, 2003
White: Domaine Huet, Vouvray Franc de Pied Le Haut-Lieu, 2007
Budget Red: Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Le Clos Guillot, 2018
Budget White: Viña Muriel Reserva Blanco, 2013
Rosé: R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado, 2010
Sparkling: Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut, Loire, France, 2010
Sweet: Chateau Suduiraut, 2010
Extra choice: Domaine Marc Sorrel Hermitage, 2013
Dud: Ochota Barrels Mourvèdre From the North, 2018
Thing: The Durand (I bought myself one for Xmas & although it pained me to spend so much on a corkscrew it has positively changed my relationship with old bottles)
Comments: A fantastic wine drinking year for me & any one of the choices given could have equally been replaced by several other magical bottles. The Clos Rougeard, (bought at a very reasonable price on wine-pages ‘Vin-exchange’) just edges it as my wine of the year. As someone who has loved Loire Cab Franc for some time but had yet to try Rougeard, I was expecting to be disappointed – especially given the vintage – but it was beautiful, gorgeous, remarkably elegant and full of hidden corners of interest. The Clos Guillot is the most remarkable wine, so open and generous at such a young age….I have no idea how it will age, but it’s so good now I hardly care – It deserves more than ‘budget wine’ status, but I’m happy that it remains so affordable! I’d set out this year to try and make friends with Syrah as it was a glaring ‘blind spot’ for me and I’ve had a lot of fun falling in love with the various regions of the Northern Rhone and the odd high altitude Californian Syrah too.
I honestly couldn’t agree more on the Durand (it’s a simple but ingenious tool for removing very old, crumbly corks that would defeat all other corkscrews). It seems crazy to pay £100+ for a couple of pieces of metal, but it works so well and takes the stress out of opening older wines, that it is worth that for sure – Tom
Craig Thomson, New Zealand
Red: Te Mata Estate ‘Coleraine’ 1982, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
White: Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc 2020, Marlborough, New Zealand
Budget Red: Craggy Range ‘Gimblett Gravels’ Syrah, 2019, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Budget White: Church Road ‘Grand Reserve’ Chardonnay, 2019, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 2008, Champagne, France
Sweet: Akarua ‘Alchemy’ Ice Wine, 2019, Central Otago, New Zealand
Extra choice: Ridge Vineyards ‘Montebello’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz, USA
Dud: Covid related wine event cancellations
Thing: NZ 2019 Whites and 2020 Reds
Comments: It is a great time to shop for kiwi wines at the moment being mid way through releases from the great 2019 and 2020 vintages. A highlight was a tour of the Hawkes Bay back in February experiencing the stellar releases from many wineries notably Te Mata Estate with exceptionally strong Coleraine and Bullnose leading the charge. Shopping $20-30 Syrah has been an absolute delight. Also a shout out to some great tasting Sauvignon Blanc from the 2020 vintage, so much so I decided to whack one in as my White of the Year even though there are so many amazing Chardonnays around currently! I have tried enough international sweet wines in my day to assure you the Alchemy is world class, just such an exciting wine still a bit under the radar. One of the biggest treats of the year was trying a set of extremely rare Te Mata wines donated to my wine group. It doesn’t get more legendary than 82 Coleraine and Awatea, the add the 91 Coleraine and Awatea and a 95 Coloeraine. True history drinking!
This list makes me envious and a little bit sad! A glorious 10-day tour of New Zealand in February 2020 was my last wine trip before Covid closed almost all travel down, and visits to Te Mata, Saint Clair and Craggy Range produced stunning wines – several of which made my WOTY in 2020 of course – Tom
Paul Anderson, Scotland
Red: Fontanafredda, Barolo “Vigna La Delizia”, 1982, Italy
White: Pernand-Vergelesses 2018, Mischief & Mayhem, Burgundy, France
Budget Red: Chateau Cissac 2015, Cru Bourgeois, Haut Medoc, France
Budget White: Domaine de Villaine, Bouzeron, 2018, Burgundy, France
Rosé: Domaine Tempier, Rosé, 2019, Bandol, France
Sparkling: Gaston Chiquet Blanc des Blancs d’Äy NV (magnum), Champagne, France
Sweet: Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2001, Sauternes, France
Fortified: Various M&S Sherries from Lustau.
Extra choice: Beaune Greves 1er Cru 2002, Tollot-Beaut, Burgundy, France
Dud: Puligny-Montrachet 2016, Doudet-Naudin, Burgundy, France (Poxed)
Thing: Arrival of 2nd grandson in April and 1st grandson (6) becoming football and birdwatching mad. He’s often my companion on trips to Luvian’s wine shop too.
Comments: Quite surprised how my wine taste is still so firmly rooted in France, in spite of doing a lot of exploring over the past 2 years. The Barolo was an absolute stunner though and also proof that my ‘cellar’ conditions are capable of seeing wines develop with grace (this had been there since it was built in 2003). I’m slowly dipping my toe back into the white Burgundy waters again and both the main and budget versions were a delight. Sadly, my dud was still depressing proof that poxed wines are still coming out of Burgundy after 20+ years. The Cissac was great value from TWS. Just had the Champagne over 3 days at Christmas and it was stunning. Disgorged in 2017 and lay sleeping for 4 years. Its now time I kept quiet about Gaston-Chiquet so they don’t become unaffordable when everyone catches on!! The M&S sherries were often bought for 3 or 4 quid a half.
Glad your grandson is acting as your wine guide now Paul – bound to improve your drinking! 🙂 Italy does seem to be on a bit of a role this year, with lots of votes for ‘Red of the Year’ from contributors. I had a lovely white Burgundy from 2015 just yesterday, and have come across very few oxidised wines from recent vintages, but so disappointing when the ‘pox’ rears its ugly head – Tom
Nick Amis, UK
Red: 2016 Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero
White: 2015 Sadie Family Chenin Blanc Skurfberg
Budget Red: 2001 Bodegas Valsardo Ribera del Duero Valdeyuso (£10 from L&W this year!)
Budget White: 2016 Holger Koch Weissburgunder ***
Rosé: NV Benoît Lahaye Champagne Rose de Maceration
Sparkling: NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Les Crayères
Sweet: 1972 Château Rieussec
Fortified: 1975 Cossart Gordon Madeira Terrantez (from 18l)
Extra choice: 1999 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot
Dud: Lots of 1990s Burgundies
Thing: Getting more nerdy about Champagne
Comments: Another good year, at least in vinous terms – despite the various curtailments, I still managed to drink around 750 wines (not including walkaround tastings), many of which will live long in the memory – and most of those were drunk with people I met through Wine-Pages. Cheers to you all, and here’s to 2022!
And cheers to you Nick. Yes, when you get the nerdy Champagne bug it is hard to shake off. So much Champagne is downed without much thought at parties, weddings, etc., which is entirely understandable, but once you pour it into a proper big glass and appreciate it as a wine… – Tom
Melvin Yeo, Singapore
Red: 2006 Soldera
White: 2018 Franz Hirtzberger Singerriedel
Budget Red: 2014 Puffeney Poulsard M
Budget White: 2017 Jolie-Laide Melon de Bourgogne Rodnick Farm
Rosé: 2019 Domaine de l’Anglore Tavel
Sparkling: 2014 Ulysse Collin Les Roises 60 mois
Sweet: 2019 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Spätlese #5
Extra choice: 1999 Palmer
Dud: 2018 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas Vineyard
Comments: When compiling my list of WOTY, I was quite surprised to find that the list for reds was the most densely populated – a testament to some great wines shared by generous friends who prefer their reds. The Soldera was truly a life-changing wine – I remember leaving it in the glass for almost half an hour because I couldn’t bear to drink it after smelling it. Might be the best wine that I have tasted in my life. The 1999 Palmer was a birthday treat for myself and boy it didn’t disappoint. Strong year for champagnes. Plumped for the Collin but could have easily gone to a Krug 04 or a Cedric Bouchard LHL. For the absolute best of the class, dare I say that these remain relatively affordable, with the only issue being the lack of quantity for some of the top quality growers. A special mention to a Fallet-Gourron BdB that was quite memorable – a back-to-basics, staunchly traditionalist champagne that was not perfect by any means but somehow it all came together.
Really interesting list Melvin, with some names with which I am not familiar, perhaps because importers in Singapore have different lines from those in the UK. Yes, the 2006 Soldera is absolutely beautiful. I scored it 96/100 but that was probably conservative as it was in a vertical line-up of four vintages, all brilliant – Tom
Darren Band, Scotland
Red: Ernie Els Big Easy
White: Chapel Down Kits Coty Bacchus 2018
Budget Red: Porta 6 – might have picked this last year too. Love the stuff
Budget White: Aldi’s Specially Selected Alsace Pinot Gris 2020
Rosé: Coolhurst Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020
Sparkling: Coolhurst Demi-Sec Rosé Vintage 2016 – delicious stuff!
Sweet: Pillitteri Estate Vidal Icewine 2018
Extra choice: Château Bandsville Sparkling Scottish Chardonnay/Black Hamburgh 2021
Dud: Gary Barlow’s new wines – stick to the music!
Thing: Starting our Bandsville Brewing hobby
Comments: Despite being gutted once again that the wine festivals were cancelled, your online tastings have been a great source of entertainment and chance to try lots of interesting wines. Also went on my first wine tour of England in the motorhome, hence the couple of Coolhurst choices. Sitting under a tree in their vineyard in scorching heat with their owner and some wine was a brilliant experience, especially after hearing we were their first Scottish visitors. Excited to have made our first home grown and home made Scottish sparkling wine, surprisingly decent I thought although I may have been tipsy when I tried it! Pleased to have done WSET Level 2 this month, still waiting on my result. Here’s to next year being better and allowing us to get out enjoying more wines, and Restricted Code gigs!
🙂 Fab Darren – you and your twin brother David (see below) have been great supporters of my festivals, now my online tastings, and my band Restricted Code! I can return the compliment by saying that Scottish sparkling wine was not at all bad: a really lemony and fresh traditional method wine, and if you have any left it might be worth laying down a couple to see how they look after a year or two – Tom
David Band, UK
Red: Frescobaldi, Tenuta Perano, Chianti Classico Riserva 2016
White: Domaine Kirrenbourg Schlossberg Grand Cru Gewurztraminer 2018
Budget Red: Feuerheerd’s Anchor Wine Reserva Douro
Budget White: M&S Found Feteasca Regala 2020
Rosé: Ken Forrester Petit Rosé 2019
Sparkling: Coolhurst Lady Elizabeth Rosé 2016
Sweet: UWCS Samos Grand Cru Muscat 2019
Fortified: Penfolds Grandfather 20yo Tawny
Extra choice: Bandsville Space Cadet IPA (Our best homebrew beer so far!)
Thing: Garden – with Covid restrictions, it’s nice to be able to grow grapes, hops, apples, and watch blue-tits nesting in my tree!
Comments: Despite Covid, we still managed to visit some English wineries and breweries, go on another whisky trip to Speyside, and study the WSET Level 2 course (still waiting on the exam result, but feeling confident!)
And yet another Italian red of the year, but a fine list with some adventurous drinking too; I haven’t tasted many, but that M&S range ‘Found’ range of unusual varities and regions has been receiving lots of positive reviews. I also have a couple of your Bandsville brews to try, which I am looking forward to! – Tom
Adam Ventress UK
Red: Benanti Etna Rosso Rovittello 2014 Sicily, Italy
White: Filippi Castelcerino Soave Colli Scaligeri 2013 Veneto, Italy
Budget Red: Villa Le Corti Chianti Classico 2018 Tuscany, Italy
Budget White: onte del Fra Ca’ del Magro Custoza Superiore 2018 Veneto, Italy
Rosé: Kamara Estate Blooming Island Pet Net Rose 2020 Thessaloniki, Greece
Sparkling: Ancre Hill Estates Blanc de Noirs NV Monmouthshire, Wales
Sweet: Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria 2018 Sicly, Italy
Extra choice: Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Rosso 2020 Sicily, Italy
Dud: I fear I might be falling out of love with Nebbiolo!
Thing: Family… and a second thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding year in business with the wine shop, despite the ongoing challenges.
Comments: I haven’t been on wine-pages’ forum much this year, just a shortage of spare time! I am still grateful for its existence though, and still check in when I can. Favourite wines can often coincide with favourite occasions, and my red of the year was from a special Etna tasting evening in the shop which I had been planning to do about 18 months before it was possible. The Benanti Rovittello was the highlight of the evening in a very strong field, just stunningly beautiful, elegant, balanced, complex, and long. The Filippi Soave has long been a favourite, but the 2013 was a cellar discovery that I ‘accidentally’ aged, and it was just gorgeous, confirming that we should age quality whites more often. For my extra choice: I have been a huge fan of the COS wines for many years, but early this year was the first time I had tasted the wines of Arianna Occhipinti, and the mouthwateringly juicy and delicious SP68 Rosso ended up being the wine I returned to most often during the year.
Brings back lots of happy memories of my one visit to the Sicily ‘en primeurs’ a few years ago, and spending several days really deeply understanding the wines of the island. And I wouldn’t worry too much about the Nebbiolo: sounds like you have plenty of Italian varieties to take its place! – Tom
Entries below added 31/12/2021
Neil Holland, UK
Red: Château Léoville Las Cases 1989
White: Kumeu River, Hunting Hill 2007
Budget Red: Franck Balthazar Côtes du Rhône 2018
Budget White: Henri Perrusset, Macon Fargues, 2019
Rosé: Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Rosé, 2013
Sparkling: Champagne Vilmart, Coeur de Cuvee, 2006
Sweet: Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese, 1997
Fortified: d’Oliveira Bual. 1968
Extra choice: Château Palmer, 1989
Dud: COVID intervening & preventing me getting to France for the second year running
Thing: Welding supplies… Argon cyclinder allowed virutal tastings with my local group in the sping when it was the only way we could taste together
Comments: A rough year personally with me losing my father in the summer and my beloved mother-in-law less than 3 months later. Wine-wise, once lockdown restrictions were lifted managed some lovely dinners. There were a number of other outstanding wines that could have made the above list including Lynch Bages ’89, LLC ’96, and ’82. Also some lovely Northern Rhônes Le Gréal Hermitage ’98 & Clape Cornas ’98 spring to mind. Great to have many of these poured by very generous friends. Looking forwards to a better 2022 although my Argon rig can be de-mothballed if required should there be another confinement.
My sympathies on your losses Neil. Sounds like you had a great year of very classic drinking, especially those 1989 Bordeaux. I now have a lovely image of you in full welding protective gear, half shipyard worker, half mad scientest, making up those tasting samples 🙂 – Tom
Anders Lind, Sweden
Red: J. Grivot Chambolle-Musigny La Combe d’Orveau 2012
White: Pierre Matrot, Meursault 1cru Perrières 2007
Budget Red: Ch. Fourcas Dupré Listrac 2015
Budget White: Maison Skyaasen Pernand-Vergelesses 2020
Rosé: ‘Rosé de Charmes’ – see Comment
Sparkling: Paul Bara 2002, from magnum
Sweet: Ch. Rieussec 2005
Fortified: Quinta do Noval 10 year Tawny
Extra choice: J Carillon 2019, les Puligny 1cru Perrières & Champ Canet
Thing: Our annual tasting trip to Bourgogne, peaking chez Jacques Carillon with awesome 2019 Puligny 1crus
Comments: The Carillon Champ Canet already has floral complexity; stony taste, dense fruit, echoes of hazelnut. Suspect the Perrières will end up even better; for now a closed bouquet, cool and minerally. Long taste, so lovely balanced with that proverbial Puligny steeliness. Aftertaste reveals a growing vigor/puissance. Jacques generously showed us village Puligny and three 1crus in both 2019 and 2020. Tasting ended with impressive, brooding Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 2020. The Rosé was a mystery bottle chez Maison Harbour. Made from leftover grapes after they picked their Charmes Chambertin vineyard 2017. Never labeled, never sold, but very charming: Round, almondy, like a PN Champagne without bubbles, a hint of truffles. Top red just a village Chambolle? Well, it’s magician Grivot, fine vintage now in blossom. The vineyard adjoins Echézeaux, just south of Musigny. Folded out it’s peacock tail with lunch at Lameloise in Chagny. For more gory details, see moreyanders @Instagram
Fabulous descriptions of wines that obviously evoke happy memories of occasions and people as much as aromas and flavours. I love that 10-year-old Noval too – the perfect blend of complexity and freshness – Tom
Edward Bolland, UK
Red: Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2002, France
White: Tantaka Txakoli 2019, Spain
Budget Red: Coriole Molly’s Garden Shiraz/ Sangiovese 2019, Australia
Budget White: Tanners Gascony, 2019, France
Rosé: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé 2004, France
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2004, France
Sweet: Chateau de Fargues 1985, France
Fortified: Dow Vintage Port 1977, Portugal
Extra choice: Soldera Intistieta Riserva 1995, Italy
Dud: A poxed Krug 1998
Thing: My soil group which continues to enlighten and educate me.
Comments: Some categories pretty much chose themselves but nonetheless were worthy wines. My top red was probably the hardest for me to choose and my runner-up got a mention as my extra wine. Ordinarily the Soldera might have stolen the honours, but the nose on the Mouton was so compelling that it could not be overlooked.
A couple of happy memories invoked for me in this list – lovely visit and a lunch at Coriole, and a tasting with Mauro Soldera, just months after his legendary father passed. Could there be any disappointment greater than opening a bottle of Krug to find it undrinkable! – Tom
David Ludlow, UK
Red: Eben Sadie Columella 2004, RSA
White: Clos des Papes Blanc 2011, France
Budget Red: Emiliana Salvaje Syrah 2018, Chile
Budget White: Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc 2019, RSA
Rosé: Ch Pibarnon 2020, France
Sparkling: Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle “La Cuvee”, France
Sweet: Ch Climens 2001, France
Fortified: Krohn Colheita 1966, Portugal
Extra choice: Ch Musar Blanc 2010
Thing: Son starting uni at St Andrews
Comments: What a strange year again with lockdowns, working from home, etc. Some great wines tasted during the year including the Ken Forrester tasting, a Musar vertical tasting hosted by Ch Musar. Many fine reds drunk, but the Columella pipped it. Climens 2001 was outstanding and just got the vote from an awesome Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2005. Some really incredible wines from Blank Bottle in S Africa – his Little William Syrah redefined my views of this grape variety from the New World. Many new grape varieties tasted – wonderful world we live in! Here’s to a more normal 2022, but keep up the online tastings.
Fab David, and so many great names of South Africa there in your choices and comments. David attended my online tasting (online-tastings.co.uk) which Ken Forrester co-hosted, and it really was a terrific event, the wines showing beautifully and Ken as entertaining as always – Tom
Alistair Scott, UK
Red: 1985 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904
White: Naude Old Vines Chenin 2013
Budget Red: El Mago Organic Garnacha 2018, Franck Massard
Budget White: Leflaive Setilles Bourgogne Blanc 2017
Rosé: Tempier Bandol Rose 2017
Sparkling: Westwell Pelegrim NV
Sweet: Mullineux Olerasay
Fortified: Fino Vina Corrales Pago Balbaina
Extra choice: CWG Beeslaar 2008 Kanonkop Pinotage
Dud: Christmas 2021 Family/Parents’ 90th birthday get-together torpedoed by Omicrom
Thing: Streaming services and an endless supply of thrillers/crime novels, not all of them respectable!
Comments: Many of these wines were not necessarily the very best but gave great pleasure at the time – the Westwell on a food and wine focused trip to Kent after wife ended chemo/radio treatment; the Beeslaar the first Pinotage I’ve really enjoyed, drunk at a SAffer off-line while freezing beside the Thames – indeed, going a little deeper into SA was very rewarding this year. The Leflaive, not a name normally associated with ‘budget’, was less than a tenner a bottle EP not long ago. My red choice is unoriginal (same as Will’s choice, above) but is also a tip of the cap to Chris and many other generous sharers at Wimps and offlines. The Tempier rose went well with Christmas lunch lamb after a trip north was cancelled as we all caught plague and couldn’t quite handle a full red. Thirst and appetite now back in full working order. Once out of this chaos, I’m sure we are all ready to let rip in 2022.
Many thanks Alistair, and best wishes to your wife for a speedy convalesence. I had a Pinotage tasting a few months ago, and the Beeslar (a more recent vintage) was a star I have to say, but some of my favourites elsewhere in the list too, like the 904 Rioja and Naude Chenin – Tom
Jonathan Mitchell Scotland
Red: Chateau Beychevelle 1959
White: Artelium White Pinot
Budget Red: Masi Campofiorin 2018
Budget White: Ara Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Rosé: Tondonia Rosado 2009
Sparkling: Waitrose Blanc de Noir Brut NV
Sweet: So (Bastor namontage)
Fortified: Grahams 1963 Vintage Port
Dud: Wild Hog Zinfandel. Just not to my taste.
Thing: Finally summiting my 282nd Munro, 18 months after I should have.
Comments: Another bizarre year. After months of doing very little, September was a riot with gigs, two festivals and a weekend in Mull. Business was good throughout. The only reliable constant after the family was wine and the community that it brings through groups like this.
Again, choices that really resonate with me – we had the ’85 Beychevelle on Christmas day which was glorious, but a few years back I spent the night at the Chateau and had an amazing tasting with wines back to 1955, and I also visited Ara in New Zealand – an astonishing project. Congrats on the Munro bagging too Jonathan – Tom
Ian Amstad, UK
Red: Le Pin 1990
White: Louis Latour Corton Charlemagne 1991
Budget Red: Andre Perret, St-Joseph, 2013
Budget White: Chateau De Meursault, Meursault 1992
Rosé: I don’t recall ever drinking rose in 2021
Sparkling: Piper Rare 2002
Sweet: Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Schlossberg BA GK 2006
Fortified: Dow’s 1977
Extra choice: Canonica Barolo Paiagallo 2010 and 2011
Dud: The subversion of the principles of public life and the pillars of our democracy
Thing: We never drank better than in the last three months, during which we had some epic forum events, and a memorable trip to Bordeaux. My top 100 wines of the year is unashamedly Bordeaux-centric: https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/2149043089038204799/3948692267319788104
Comments: My budget white was an auction purchase working out at £12.50 a bottle, and was an absolute stalwart. Old fashioned buttery Meursault, with plenty of life left as it approaches its 30th birthday. Dry January looms and will be a welcome reset. Let’s hope omicron is the last salvo for the virus. Here’s wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022.
Some serious bottles in there, and the few I know like the ‘Rare’ Champagne and Dow ’77 are worthy choices for sure. I am going for a ‘less wet January, rather than a totally ‘dry’ one 🙂 – Tom
Alex Hills, UK
Red: 1999 Bruno Giocosa Barolo La Rocche del Falletto
White: 2004 Roulot Meursault Vireuls
Budget Red: 2008 Produttori Barbaresco Normale
Budget White: Domaine des Cavarodes Chardonnay Guille-Bouton Arbois
Fortified: 1988 Barbieto Madiera Sercial Frasqueira
Extra choice: 2015 Ganevat Cote du Jura Chardonnay Chamois du Paradis
Dud: Not enough opportunity for real social eating and drinking
Thing: Complicated blind tastings using the coravin
Comments: Looking at this I managed to drink some very decent wine despite the circumstances, but the absence of sparkling and sweet wines is rather the product of not having long meals with lots of people very much… There was good competition in the best red and white categories, with the Ganevat the clear standout of a blind horizontal of Jura Chardonnay. 2008 Produttori was a go to all year for me – holds well under the coravin and a glass with dinner was one of the few civilising moments of lockdown – and I’ve exhausted my supply.
Yes, a compact but cracking list. I must drink more Jura: I do a bit, but every time I have a Jura wine from a good producer I say the same thing: “I must try harder!” – Tom
Entries below added 27/12/2021
Rainer Guntermann, Germany
Red: 1983 Chateau Latour
White: 1996 Batard Montrachet Leflaive
Budget Red: 2009 Chateau Villars Fronsac
Budget White: 2019 Grüner Veltliner LoimerRosé
Rosé: 2015 Gusbourne Rose
Sparkling: 2004 Comte de Champagne Taittinger
Sweet: 1971 Kanzemer Altenberg Beerenauslese Othegraven
Fortified: 1955 Fonseca Vintage Port
Extra choice: 2004 Vosne Romanee Suchots Gerard Mugneret
Dud: No London Offline for me in 2021 due to Covid
Thing: Our daughter getting awarded her law Ph.D. in November
Comments: In a certain way Covid is making everything more difficult and therefore posting at the friendly forum of this web-site was less frequent. Nevertheless thanks Tom for giving us this home and merry Christmas and hopefully a more pleasant 2022.
Amen to that Rainer. I do appreciate the expert input of all of the overseas members of the UK Wine Forum here on wine-pages.com – it gives a different perspective and is often a great source of more local knowledge of wines and winemakers. And congratulation to you and your daughter: you must be very proud – Tom
David McDowall, UK
Red: Mouton Rothschild 1999, France
White: Au Bon Climat, Nuits Blanche Au Bouge Chardonnay 2017, USA
Budget Red: Olivier Merlin, Bourgogne Rouge “Les Cras” 2015, France
Budget White: TWS, Bin #010 Godello-Albariño-Treixadura, Ribeira Sacra 2020, Spain
Rosé: Ingrid Groiss, Hasenhaide, Rose 2019, Austria
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1996
Sweet: Mullineux, Chenin Blanc Olerasay No 1, South Africa
Fortified: Croft 1963, Portugal
Extra choice: Il Poggione, Brunello di Montalcino 2006, Italy
Dud: Domaines Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon 2009, France
Thing: My children being “set free” in the summer to sail, surf and ride after months of confinement and on-line learning.
Comments: An interesting year, to say the least. My 60th birthday accounts for the Mouton, DP and Croft. I couldn’t find my ’61 Petrus – it seemed to vanish when that Rudy chap came to stay a few years back! Anyway it was great to share the Mouton (magnum) with the friends who gifted it to me for being their Best Man nearly 20 years ago. My business took a hell of a “shoeing” in 2020 and early 2021 but bounced back to such an extent that we are closing the books on our best year ever! Thank you to all the wonderful guests who decided to choose the glorious East Neuk of Fife for their holiday. I haven’t had a day off since late July but still managed to find time for some super wines and the family have all stayed healthy. Result.
Result indeed David. Well you celebrated the big 6-0 in some style obviously, and a pity Rudy was otherwise engaged :). Those whites from Galicia like your budget choice are so good, and I hope people who have begun to drink Albariño from the region give other varieties a go – as well as Alvarinho from Portugal – Tom
Robert “Bobby” Frank
Red: 1988 JL Chave Hermitage
White: 1990 Maximum Grunhauser Abtsberg Auslese Trocken
Budget Red: Forge Cellars 2018 Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes, owned by Louis Barruol
Budget White: 2012 Sybille Kuntz Lieser Niederberg-Helden Spatlese Trocken
Rosé: 2018 Eugene Carroll Savoie (80% Gamay 20% Mondeuse)
Sparkling: 2013 Sekt Maximum Grunhauser
Sweet: 1983 Chateau Doisy Daene
Fortified: Valdespino Innocente Fino sherry
Extra choice: 1960 Hunt vintage Port
Dud: Most, but not all, zero sulphur natural wines
Thing: Backyard and back porch themed wine tastings with friends. Such as Fer Servadou (Gaillac, Marcillac and Fronton); Alsace and German Rieslings; Savoie; N. Rhone
Comments: I have sorely missed not being able to visit France and explore her wine country. I love to center myself in a wine region and spend 4-10 days exploring in depth. Without car, by foot, so I can truly explore and learn in depth. In 2019, I did Vouvray, Pauillac and Saumur in this style. Typically visiting two estates per day. By walking, I move slowly, and can see the differences in viticulture between different grapes and different producer. In late season I can taste the grapes, look at the color of the pips, see if they have done leaf cropping or green harvest. I can observe how two adjacent vines look so differently from each other and attempt to ascertain why they do so. I try to have my lodging very near or within the local vineyards. Walking hours daily amongst the vineyards, I feel Im getting closer to the heart and soul of the region. If at the end of the day, I am quite far from my lodging, I have had very good luck hitchhiking back to my place. Being 70y.o. sad missing out
Fine list of both classics and more off-the-beaten track choices Bobby. You don’t say where you are from, but I am guessing the US, so those walking excursions in the vineyards are even more of a committment – well done on that. I also think the word limit on comments cut you off at the end there – apologies! – Tom
Derek Salmon, Australia
Red: Grant Burge Meshach 1993 (Barossa Valley, South Australia)
White: 1994 Bannockburn Chardonnay (Victoria, Australia)
Budget Red: Chris Ringland North Barossa Shiraz 2017
Budget White: David Franz Long Gully Semillon 2019 (Barossa, South Australia)
Rosé: Rockford Alicante Bouchet 2021 (Barossa, South Australia)
Sparkling: Jenke Sparkling Shiraz 1998 Disgorgment (Barossa, South Australia)
Fortified: 1921 Seppeltsfield Tawny
Thing: Tasting of Grant Burger Meshach 1993, 2003, 2013 and Barrel tasting of 2021 parcels
Comments: Been and interesting year with borders closing and opening then closing again. Having the chance to see some of South Australia was a definite highlight. Working with some wineries on dinners and events with matching dishes to current release and back vintage to the same dish. Grant Burge dinner for tasting Australia (food and wine festival in SA) was a stand-out, being able to taste 4 different vintages of Meshach from 4 different decades and 3 vintages of Shadrach will be remembered for a long time to come. But overall being fortunate that myself and family remained healthy and abile to work when so many people haven’t been is the best thing this year.
Great that you are so fully involved in the local food and wine scene Derek. I’m a fan of that Semillon from David Franz, and those old tawnies are just a delight, and rare too – Tom
Tom King, UK
Red: 2013 Mullineux Syrah Schist
White: 2016 Sadie Family Palladius
Budget Red: 2019 Lukas van Loggerenberg Cinsault Geronimo
Budget White: 2017 Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse
Sparkling: 2004 Dom Pérignon Champagne
Sweet: 2007 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
Extra choice: 1990 Ravenswood Zinfandel Dickerson
Comments: A notable shift to SA from my usual francophile leanings. Managed to discover some old CA Zinfandels from Ravenswood which were quite eye-opening in what they can become. My list isn’t as grand as others on here though!
Grandness is in the eye of the beholder Tom! You have nominated some of the absolute cream of the brilliant South African wine scene, so no sure you could have done much better even if spending considerably more on classics from France! – Tom
Daniel Bayfield, UK
Red: Domaine des Lambrays, MSD Les Loups 1er Cru, 2010
White: Domaine Bonneau du Martray, Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2002
Budget Red: Fontodi, Chianti Classico, 2016
Budget White: Lukas Van Loggerenberg, Kamaraderie, 2019
Rosé: Domaine de Triennes, 2020
Sparkling: Harrow & Hope, Blanc de Blancs, 2015
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem, 1998
Extra choice: Raul Perez, ‘La Vitoriana’, Lomas de Valtuille, 2018
Dud: Domaine des Lambrays, MSD Les Loups 1er Cru, 2010
Thing: Podcasts and walks on Hampstead Heath – culminating with a fresh juice at Artichoke
Comments: Yes, my favourite red was also my dud. I have had 5 of my 6 bottles of the Les Loups 2010 and the first 4 left me disappointed. Why it is that the fifth bottle was singing is a mystery to me. It was opened at Noize, served by Matthieu alongside fabulous food, and enjoyed with a good friend, after a magnificent bottle of 2002 Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemagne, all of which would have helped – but Burgundy continues to tease, baffle and delight me in equal measure. The price hikes of recent years leave me despairing and wishing I had bought more earlier. I thoroughly enjoyed my first WIMPS on Thanksgiving (Wine-pages’ regular offline lunch – thanks to Don and those on my table) and am chuffed to have been there for Chris H’s dud. I hope to make it to more WIMPS events in 2022 and wish everyone well. Tom, yours is a great website. Thank you.
Well thanks for the kind words Daniel – it means a lot. Yes, “tease, baffle and delight” should come as a promise/warning on every bottle of Burgundy I think 🙂 – and it sounds mad, but it is part of the hook that gets under your skin, trying to understand it and the sheer brilliance of when it is good. Agree on the pricing, which makes some producers now completely unobtainable for most of us – Tom
Entries below added 24/12/2021
Cameron Clark, Australia
Red: 2013 Old Vine 1850 Grenache, Cirillo
White: NV Yellow, Between Five Bells, Victoria
Budget Red: 2002 Cabernet, Studley Park, Melbourne
Budget White: 2008 Gouais, Chambers
Sparkling: 2005 Late Disgorged, Bream Creek
Sweet: 2012 Bloom, Brash Higgens
Fortified: Chambers Rare Muscat and Muscadelle
Extra choice: 1969 Vernaccia di Oristano
Thing: Old Australian wines
Comments: I rated the 76 St Henri higher than the Cirilo, but it was part of a mega tasting that I cant remember much about. Plenty to remember about the Cirilo, made from the oldest Grenache Vines in the world. I have three Vin Jaune style wines in the list. The best and my wine of the year, was the Between Five Bells. Some Savignin kept in a solera and topped up each year with some chardonnay. Lots of power and real funk. The Bloom was kept in barrel for seven years and really is a great Auz version. The Vernaccia was the weirdest and most memorable. Orange meets Sherry meets Jura. Hard to love, but gosh it has personality. I started picking up old Auz reds and ports this years. Minor houses, with reasonable fills. The Tawnys and Muscats are the best, but I find them all interesting. None come close to Chambers top two though. Classy stuff with a finish that never ends.
What a cracking celebration of Oz’s (mostly) unsung heroes. What a bonus to be able to pick up some mature examples too, and interesting that the Vin Jaune style has taken off with some producers (essentially wines that are not fortified, but are vinified under ‘flor’, a bit like Sherry) – Tom
Chris Smith, UK
Red: Chateau Lafite, 1996 (France)
White: Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, Francois Carillon, 2013 (France)
Budget Red: Rioja Vendimia Seleccionada, 2018 (Spain)
Budget White: Solosole Vermentino, Poggio al Tesoro 2016 (Italy)
Sparkling: Henriot Les Enchanteleurs, 1995 (France)
Sweet: Chateau La Tour Blanche, 2001 (France)
Fortified: Offley Boa Vista, 1985 (Portugal)
Extra choice: Vosne-Romanee Les Beaux Monts, Domaine Leroy 1993 (France)
Dud: No award – these days we have to focus on the positives…
Thing: The price of Chateau Rayas
Comments: Many of these wines, and any list of runners-up, come from an astonishing series of dinners with other members of wine-pages between mid-Oct and early Dec. It was like we were trying to cram a year’s drinking and sharing into 7 weeks, with some incredibly generous contributions. The greatest reds were all mature Bordeaux – Lafite 96 topping the lot and reminding us why Lafite is first of the firsts, but Margaux putting up a strong showing the form of the 85, 83 and 96 which would probably be my numbers 2-4. The Leroy was also an unrepeatable treat at a jaw-dropping price. In the budget wines, the Muriel Rioja is from the co-op and is regularly available at £6.50 on promotion – although it never lasts long at our local! This year the world seemed to wake up to my favourite wine, Chateau Rayas – OK it was never cheap, but prices seem to have trebled in the last year. This is welcome as I still have a few, but does present the (first world) problem that it is far to expensive to drink…
I wondered why the sky high price of Chateau Rayas (a ‘cult’ Chateauneuf-du-Pape) was your ‘Thing’ of the year until I read your explanation! I used to buy it occasionally in the 1990s, and am shocked that is now £2k per bottle! That would buy a lot of £6.50 Rioja 🙂 – Tom
Ben Fawcett, Scotland
Red: Case Basse di Soldera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004
White: Henri Boillot Meursault 2015
Budget Red: Chateau Clos Fontaine 1er Vin Francs Cote de Bordeaux 2015
Budget White: Pichler Krutzler Pinto Blanc Klostersatz 2018
Rosé: Cantina Gungui Berteru En Rose 2020
Sparkling: Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2011
Sweet: Tardieu Laurent Hermitage Vin de Paille 2006
Fortified: Warres Port 1983
Extra choice: Casale Falchini Campora 1998
Comments: The Soldera ‘04 Riserva is simply off the scale. I’ve enjoyed Boillot’s Meursault ‘15 a number of times this year & it’s weight, purity & depth never fails to impress. Right bank Bordeaux form outwith the “big 2” appellations offers remarkable value currently. It had to be a good Rose to topple Tempier and this one from eastern Sardinia is delicate purity in a glass. Love Pols BdB ‘11, simple gorgeous. Tardieu Laurent’s Hermitage Vin de Paille is simply the best dessert wine I have had in eons. Campora, Falchini’s Super Tuscan that’s not super in price is an underrated gem. Compliments of the season to everyone and all the best for 2022, stay safe & healthy.
I was lucky enough to attend a vertical tasting of the Soldera Riserva in 2019, including that 2004, which I scored 97/100 – a remarkably high score from me! Having recently tasted quite a few Sardinian wines I have been really impressed, so thanks for the tip on Cantina Gungui – Tom
Keith Prothero. UK and South Africa
Red: La Mission Haut Brion, Graves, France 1989
White: Eben Sadie Mev Kirsten Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch, South Africa 2014
Budget Red: Emmanuel Darnaud Les Trois Chenes, Crozes Hermitage, France 2015
Budget White: Ridgeback Viognier, Paarl, South Africa 2017
Rosé: Vine Venom Shining, Carignan Touriga Nacional, Paardeberg, South Africa NV
Sweet: Mullineux Olerasey No 2, Solera Straw wine, Swartland, South Africa
Extra choice: Noel Verset Cornas, N Rhône, France 1999
Dud: A number of poxed burgundies but special mention to Lafon Clos de la Barre!
Thing: Son and family now very happily settled on the same estate as us in Somerset West, South Africa.
Comments: I invested in a few cases of 1989 Bordeaux many years ago, and one was fortunately the unbelievably amazing La Mission Haut Brion, which I think is actually drinking better than the Haut Brion. This first bottle of a case was shared with my oenophile urologist/surgeon, based in Hampshire, which hopefully will ensure that the expected operation next year will get his undivided attention 🙂 Special mention to a newcomer Samantha Suddons who makes a terrific range of wine, including an exceptional Chenin Flor NV under the Vine Venom label. Very fortunate to have access to many brilliant South African wines, which I believe offer the best value for money in the world.
Again, I was lucky enough to attend 50-vintage vertical of La Mission several years ago, and the 1989 was my joint top scoring wine with 97/100 – at a time before point inflation :). I do agree that South Africa not only presents outstanding value, but some of the world’s most interesting, high-quality wines. Best of luck for the operation, and might be worth another bottle of 1989 for your surgeon – Tom
Red: Caroline Morey, 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet (magnum)
White: Erbaluce did Caluso, Favaro ‘Tredecimesi’ (and countless brilliant White Burgs!)
Budget Red: Cave de Vignerons ve Buxy, Le Levraut 2020 BRAVO TWS!
Budget White: Cave de Vignerons de Buxy – aligote Bag in Box
Rosé: Patricia Ortelli Provence (Pierre Houlier wines)
Sparkling: Harrow and Hope ESW
Sweet: 1983 Orvieto Berberani
Extra choice: Xinamavro from Thimiopolos. The Genius of Greek red wines…
Dud: Most Bordeaux. Just dull.
Thing: I’m still here!
Now David: I am sure you have not tasted ‘most Bordeaux’ so I must discount your comment 🙂 Lovely list of course, and nice to see and English sparkler – we have not had many nominations so far this year, unlike last – Tom
Simon Reilly, England
Red: La pergole torte 2006
White: Vincent Dauvissat, Le Sechet Chablis 1er Cru 2012
Budget Red: Ktima Foundi, Xinomavro, Naoussa 2016
Budget White: Weingut Knewitz, Chardonnay Holzfass 2016
Rosé: Tenute di Carleone, Rosato, 2019
Sparkling: Bruno Paillard, BdB, 2004
Sweet: 1985 Rieussec
Fortified: 1985 Fonseca
Extra choice: Eben Sadie, Palladius 2017
Dud: Benedicte et Stephane Tissot, Singulier, Trousseau, 2017
Thing: I continue the trend towards white wines being more memorable and singular for me than reds as a general rule, despite the fact I drink more reds.
Comments: Like others I’m sure most of these wines were drunk with friends in restaurants when we got the chance to this year. Linked to my “thing” comment is a bug bear of mine that unless a specific white wine offline gathering of the UK Wine Forum, the vast majority of people list red wines, so I invariably bring a white so I am guaranteed to at least drink one white! Something I will try to lobby fellow UK Wine Forumites on in 2022. cheers, Simon
I can sympathise with your comments on white wines: I think these days we drink 55/45 in favour of white over red, which wasn’t the case in the past, but perhaps it’s what we eat (much less red meat) or changing tastes, but I do sometimes long for a few extra whites when there’s a table or tasting full of reds! – Tom
Entries below added 23/12/2021
Leon Markham, UK
Red: 1993 Domaine Leroy Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts – such a treat!
White: 1994 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia – what a wine!
Budget Red: 2016 Domaine Treloar Motus – maybe not quite “budget” but – what value!
Budget White: 2019 Reyneke Chenin Blanc Organic – 8 quid in the Waitrose sale!
Rosé: 2013 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Rosé
Sparkling: 1985 Dom Pérignon (with an honourable mention to the 2003 P2)
Sweet: 1988 Château Climens
Fortified: 1901 Malmsey – what an honour to taste such history!
Extra choice: 1996 Ridge Monte Bello
Dud: Drinking things too young. Or too old
Thing: Cocktails! In the past year I’ve gone from poo-poohing cocktails as “drinks for children”, to owning not one but three shakers, and several books on the topic.
Comments: Some combination of getting older, the absence of business travel, and the continued apocalypse has left me incredibly grateful for the friendships I’ve built and maintained over the past year. School friends, local friends, and the wonderful nerds of the global wine community have brought such joy and sanity in these troubling times. When I look at my wines listed above – the occasionally plutocratic nature of my drinking has only been facilitated by the incredibly generous (with their wines, food, and opinions) members of wine-pages happy band of wine aficionados.
Fabulous Leon – and a lot of us have had time to step back and think about life, friends and priorities during the past two years. Another vote for that fabulous white Rioja, and tasting a 1901! I had a few sips of an 1864 Solera from Blandy’s thanks to the Scottish wine-pages crowd at a dinner. Wow – Tom
Chris Piper, UK and France
Red: Lytton Springs, 2009 – Ridge Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, California (USA)
White: Bâtard-Montrachet 2013 – Domaine Jean-Marc Morey (France)
Budget Red: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ”Tre Saggi” 2017 – Talamonti, Abruzzo (Italy)
Budget White: Chardonnay 2019 – Paul Cluver Estate, Elgin (South Africa)
Rosé: Menetou-Salon Rosé 2020 – Domaine Chavet (France)
Sparkling: Clos Rocher 2013, Champagne Gremillet (France)
Sweet: Vouvray Moelleux ‘Collection’ 1990 – Domaine Pichot (France)
Fortified: Fonseca Vintage Port 1977 (Portugal)
Extra choice: Beaune Blanc, 1er Cru Bellisand 2018 – Domaine Françoise André (France)
Dud: Semillon, 2012 – Brokenwood, Hunter Valley, NSW (Australia)
Thing: Being able to go to Beaujolais to make my wines for the first time since 2019. 2020 was made by zoom, e-mail and telephone. Not at all the same thing!
Comments: Also, eventually upgrading from a Nokia ‘drug-dealers’ mobile to an iPhone 12. A bit like being selected for England, having only played village cricket! By the way, Jean-Marc Morey’s 2013 Batard-Montrachet was my last bottle of his wine in my cellar. Such a wonderful winemaker, friend and character.
Great list of French classics mixed with some New World elite. Lovely that the Jean-Marc Morey was enjoyed in such a personal context, and nice to see a few regions like Menetou-Salon and Abruzzo get the nod, which they don’t always in these rarified selections – Tom
Simon Wheeler, UK
Red: 2009 Cècile Tremblay, Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Feusselottes
White: 1993 Michel Colin-Deléger et Fils Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Demoiselles
Budget Red: 2019 Thymiopolous, Xinomavro jeunes vignes
Budget White: 2014 Pierre Yves Colin-Morey, Bourgogne Blanc
Rosé: 2008 Lopez de Heredia, Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva
Sparkling: 1999 Pol Roger, Sir Winston Churchill
Sweet: 1997 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese
Fortified: Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Palo Cortado Nº 34 ‘Pata de Gallina’
Extra choice: 2010 Raveneau, Chablis 1er Montée de Tonerre
Dud: Brexit, Covid and Boris
Thing: WIMPS (UK Wine Forum lunches) @ La Trompette
Comments: A number of vinous highlights this year, some via generous UK Forumites at wimps and the fantastic list at Chez Bruce. I think they stood out not only for being superb wines, but enjoying them with great company in a quality restaurant felt more special than usual this year. Putting PYCM in the budget white category (again) is based on release pricing of well under £20 in case anyone is wondering, bargain burgundy indeed.
Burgundy does seem to be flavour of the year doesn’t it? Loads of them so far, but then a lot of votes for Lopez de Heredia too, possibly making them ‘producer of the year’ so far – with Raveneau not far behind 🙂 – Tom
Will Devize, UK
Red: 1985 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904
White: 2016 Domaine Buisson-Battault Meursault 1er Cru Les Genevrières
Budget Red: 2015 Sellari Franceschini Morellino di Scansano
Budget White: 2019 Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse
Rosé: Les Clos de Tue-Boeuf 2019 Vin de France Tutti Frutti
Sparkling: NV Bérêche et Fils Champagne Reflet d’Antan (2014 d/g)
Sweet: 2005 J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkapsel
Fortified: Domaine des Soulanes Hors d’Age Solera Vin Doux Naturel Maury 1998/2003
Extra choice: Markus Altenburger White Sparkling
Dud: Peppa Pig World
Thing: Doorly’s 12 Year Old Rum
Comments: From the bagnum I took to the park on the first day out of lockdown to a moment of glorious rapture with a Bereche during a magical summer lunch at Chez Bruce, it’s been another tidy year of glugging. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have attended some excellent WIMPS lunches with the UK Forum community, where the generosity has been a privilege to enjoy and hopefully to reciprocate, indeed my red of the year was Chris H’s offering at Christmas WIMPS – a truly spellbinding 1985 Rioja Alta 904. I would like to thank all of my fellow dining companions and especially Don for his tireless cat-herding/mountain-moving, without which these events simply wouldn’t happen. I know I speak on behalf of many in saying that we are truly grateful. My profound thanks to Tom C for his masterful cultivation of what must be the most wonderfully civilised corner of the web. Cheers Tom!. Food-wise: I have finally mastered polenta.
And cheers Will! Isn’t La Rioja Alta just a fabulous producer? The 890 and 904 Gran Reservas are not cheap, but offer outstanding value for money; I had the 2011 edition of the 890 a couple of weeks ago and it was glorious. Sorry that Peppa Pig did not deliver to Prime Ministerial standards for you, but huge congratulations on mastering polenta – getting some flavour into it is always a real challenge! – Tom
Gareth Germain, UK
Red: Domaine Leroy Vosne 1er Beaux Monts 1993
White: Georges Vernay Condrieu Coteau de Vernon 2010
Budget Red: Sociando Mallet 1996 en magnum
Budget White: BSixTwelve English Pinot Blanc 2018
Rosé: Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne Rose de Saignee 2012
Sparkling: Roederer Cristal 1996
Sweet: Egon Muller Schrazhofberger Auslese Auction 1999
Fortified: Graham’s Porto 1960
Extra choice: Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin VV 1993
Dud: Georges-Mugnaret Ruchottes-Chambertin 96 (sorry Dan)
Thing: Bergamot Gin Sours – yummy!!!
Comments: It’s hard to get past red if the year when you have a Leroy. It may not have been the best wine I’ve ever had. But the sheer generosity of sharing it and the pleasure it gave was enough.
Vernay is the tip top of the tree for Condrieu and this wine was simply gorgeous. Think Montrachet with hints of Rhone. Budget-wise, Sociando 96 in magnum is so pleasurable. Plush. Gentleman’s claret (possibly means I should give it to someone else on the UK Wine Forum who better fits that description). BSixTwelve is an English Pinot Blanc made by a lovely lady in Worcestershire. This was her first vintage. It won’t rock your world but is solid and delicious for what it is. I have no idea how she did it having no background in wine. But fab to see someone living their dream and thriving. Rose is a cheat but, hey, Cedric doesn’t like bubbles so I guess it can count. Chris Hambleton does it again with his Cristal 96 not just firing on all cylinders but positively thrilling and seductive.
What a mouth-watering list. Having a posh Burgundy as your ‘dud’ is hugely disappointing of course, but does redress the balance of the Burgundy dominance somewhat :). Also nice to see a Condrieu make the top white spot – when it’s good, it’s very (very) good… – Tom
Daniel Collins, UK
Red: Frank Cornelissen, Munjebel ‘MC’, 2016
White: Koehler-Ruprecht, Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Auslese Trocken RR, 2007
Budget Red: Claude Riffault, Sancerre ‘La Noue’ Rouge, 2018
Budget White: Bodegas Cota 45, Ube de Uberrima Miraflores, 2019
Rosé: Jolie-Laide, Trousseau Gris Fanucchi Vineyard, 2017
Sparkling: Bereche et Fils, Le Cran Ludes Premier Cru, 2010
Sweet: Domaine de Souch, Cuvee Marie Kattalin, 2004
Fortified: Alvear, Pedro Ximenez Solera 1910
Extra choice: Envinate, Taganan ‘Campanario’ 2018
Dud: Hospitality bearing the brunt of covid with very little support
Thing: Discovering Wine-Pages!
OK, given your ‘Thing’ of the year, this is my favourite list of 2021 :). Seriously, that is a great compliment, and what a nice list with plenty of ‘off the beaten track’ choices at the more natural wine end of the spectrum – Tom
Mike Holiday, UK
Red: Chateau Margaux 1996
White: Marc Colin et fils Montrachet 2013
Budget Red: Paul Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Clos St Jean Rouge 2012
Budget White: Clos Floridene 2016
Rosé: Tondonia gran reserva 2008
Sparkling: Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Blanc de Blancs NV
Sweet: Ch Coutet 1906
Fortified: Rutherford and Miles 1901 Malmsey
Extra choice: Jean Grivot Echezeaux 2001
Dud: Croft V P 1977
Comments: There have been more great wines than might have been expected given the limited opportunities for sharing, but although the Margaux was most memorable there have been some wonderful Bordeaux – 1996 Lafita and Mouton, as well as 1982 and 1996 Leoville las Cases; Burgundy has possibly not been quite as great as last year but that would be quite difficult considering the burgundies I tried in 2020… Croft 1977 is not that bad a vintage Port, but for a well regarded vintage and a well-known producer this was just a bit meh – I’ve had far better.
Fabulous and enviable list as always from Mike. Obviously a few of those bottles were shared with other denizens of the Wine-pages community as they have appeared in their lists too, which has it’s own kind of magic I think :). Good to see a vote for the delicious and always reliable Clos Floridene too. It’s made me remember that I had a fabulous 1967 white Bordeaux from Jacques Lurton that should probably have made my list, but I did not write a tasting note on it so forgot to include it – Tom
Chris Hambleton, UK
Red: 1993 Martinborough Vineyard Pinot Noir, New Zealand
White: Ossian Capitel 2016, Rueda, Spain
Budget Red: Selvapiana Bucerchiale 2016, Chianti Rufina, Italy
Budget White: Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre, Les Terrasses de la Cantrie 2015
Rosé: Champagne Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elizabeth Salmon 2007, France
Sparkling: Champagne Dom Perignon 1998, France
Sweet: Rivesaltes 1974, Chapoutier, France
Fortified: Cavendish Vin de Liqueur 1949
Extra choice: Guilty pleasure – Whispering Angel rose 2020
Dud: 1997 Sanford Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
Thing: Being with other people/Deerbox/my smartwatch without which I might have been in serious trouble!
Comments: So many superb wines to choose from that I have been lucky enough to have poured by friends – thank you for your generosity – but all of these are here not only for the wines they are but the occasion on which they were shared. The Martinborough just so delicious, even as the last wine of the night in my kitchen after a brilliant meal out with friends at The Glasshouse. The Ossian a really serious white from a region most have never rated. Bucerchiale a stretch for ‘budget’ but find me a better wine for the money paid (which was about £18 I think) and the centrepiece of many a meal this year. The Muscadet a reminder of how good these are with proper seafood, friends and sunshine. The champagnes a pleasure to share with people who truly enjoy and understand them. The whispering angel the catalyst for ‘outdoor gatherings’. The dud is even worse than usual because the previous bottle I had could easily of been wine of the year. Cheers Tom and thanks for this wonderful community.
Again, context and people: two of the essential ingredients in a great wine :). I am so please the Martinborough Vineyard Pinot got your vote Chris – I was an ‘early adopter’ of their superb wines and used to use up a lot of my weekly ‘rant quota’ telling people that when Central Otago started to steal all the limelight. I still have a soft spot for Martinborough and MV in particular. And don’t feel guilty about choosing Whispering Angel: it’s a lovely example of the style and another favourite of mine! – Tom
Entries below added 22/12/2021
Fintan Kerr, Spain
Red: Stella di Campalto, Rosso di Montalcino 2013, Italy
White: Raveneau, Chablis Montee de Tonnerre 2014, France
Budget Red: Envinate, Albahra 2019, Spain
Budget White: Adega Fulcro, Finca a Pedreira 2019, Spain
Rosé: Bereche & Fils, Campania Remensis 2016, France
Sparkling: Cedric Bouchard, Haut Lemble 2016, France
Sweet: Franz Haas, Moscato Rosa 2017, Italy
Fortified: Lustau, VORS Amontillado, Spain
Extra choice: Ulysse Collin, Les Maillons NV
Dud: Prieure Roch, Nuits Saints Georges 1er 2015, France
Thing: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Comments: When COVID hit in 2020, both myself and my wife worked in hospitality and in my case, eno-tourism, in our recently purchased first house with a 2 year old and no family in the city. To say the last 18 months haven´t been fun would be something of an understatement, but the 2nd half of this year has given us reason to hope. My wife is working again and I have managed to get to France twice to conduct wine trips with guests. I’m writing again and I finally feel reconnected with wine in a way I completely lost in 2020. Some have had it much worse and I feel for them, but our own personal nightmare seems to be getting less and less with the passing months. Celebrating our 10 year anniversary together in Rome’s September sunshine was particularly symbolic of this, and it’s a trip I won´t soon forget. Roll on 2022!
Lovely comments Fintan and I am so glad that things are looking up after a tough time. For those of us who are self-employed it has been a matter of buckling down and getting through it, but at least you had some lovely drinking to help! I’ve only ever tasted Raveneau’s Premier Crus a handful of times and each has been profound – Tom
Andy Leslie, UK
Red: N. Potel, Romanee St Vivant 2001
White: Beaucastel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Roussanne VV 2002
Budget Red: The Whole Shebang, XIII, Bedrock. Sonoma County, California
Budget White: Bachelet-Monnot, Bourgogne Blanc 2018
Sparkling: Pol Roger, Champagne Cuvee Winston Churchill 2012
Sweet: Braida, Moscato d’Asti Vigne Senza Nome 2020
Dud: GB Burlotto Barolo Acclivi 2011
Comments: I’ve drunk posher red Burgs than the Potel this year, but that was one of those memorable bottles opened at a perfect point. The 2002 Beaucastel Blanc is a tip of the hat to the pleasures of WIMPS lunches (gatherings organised on the UK Wine Fourm), where this wine shone. The 2012 Winston, a wine I’ve never had before from any vintage, was opened by generous friends and it confounded my expectations by being notably more delicious than expected. We drink loads of Moscato d’Asti in the summer and the Braida was particularly good this year. A Burlotto wine being the dud is a surprise to me, but evidence of the challenges of the heat of the 2011 vintage – this is a hot stewed mess – I sold the remainder. Finally, after a career in intensive care for newborn infants, going back to work to vaccinate adults, mostly elderly, was far more fun than I expected.
Well first of all, thank you for your work in being a vaccinator Andy – that UK-wide effort has been extraordinary. Nice that so many of your choices are framed by the context in which you drank them; for me often the key that turns a brilliant bottle into a truly memorable one – Tom
Tom Lewis, UK
Red: Chateau de France, Pessac-Léognan, 2015
White: Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker Riesling Spatlese 1983
Budget Red: Bodegas Pirineos, Moristel Principio, 2019
Budget White: Edouard Delaunay, Septembre Chardonnay 2020
Rosé: Château de Berne Or, Cotes de Provence 2020
Sparkling: Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs Brut 2017, Sussex
Sweet: Domaine Cabidos, Petit Manseng Doux, Jurancon 2015
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass, Amontillado Vina AB
Extra choice: Copper Crew, Limited Edition Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Dud: Laithwaites, Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Thing: Parties that are not parties
Comments: The Spatlese was dug out from a friend’s cellar – totally Madeirised but fascinating and really delicious. Moristel is one of the world’s rarest grapes – and it’s made by Jesus. Yes, canned wine can be good on its own terms – worth trying. http://cambridgewineblogger.blogspot.com
It’s the sign of a true wine geek that pleasure – genuine pleasure – can still be found in old wines even when they are not in prime condition. Others might consider it madness, but unless totally D.O.A. they always provoke thought and discussion – Tom
Mark Priestly, UK
Red: La Palazzina, Bramaterra 2010 Piedmont, Italy
White: De Moor, Chablis L’Humeur du Temps 2018 Burgundy, France
Budget Red: Cascina Tavijn, “Ottavio” 2019 Piedmont, Italy
Budget White: Azores Wine Company, “Branco Vulcanico” 2018, Portugal
Rosé: Chateau de Pibarnon, Bandol Rose “Nuances” Provence, France
Sparkling: Alberic Duvat, Brut Prestige Tete de Cuvee 2016 Champagne, France
Sweet: Isole e Olena, Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2009 Tuscany, Italy
Fortified: Curatolo Arini Marsala Vergine Riserva 1995 Sicily, Italy
Extra choice: Chateau Fontvert “Le Collet” 2018 Provence, France
Thing: Summer Road trip across France
Comments: Some really great wines enjoyed this year, with many of the choices from a Family Road trip across France taking in Burgundy, Beaujolais and a first trip to Provence. The Chateau Fontvert “Le Collet” (Cotes de Luberon) was a brilliant sommelier recommendation at a restaurant called Le Mas just outside Gordes; 95% old vine Syrah with 5% Grenache. It was just the perfect wine for a wonderful lunch (just one of those times where everything was in harmony). Loved our visit to Bandol and we had some great visits to Domaine Tour de la Bon and Chateau de Pibarnon. The “Nuances” Bandol Rose from Pibarnon was a very exciting find; reasonably new to the range and limited production. Two wines from Piedmont in this list; a region that has much to offer beyond Barolo/Barbaresco. The 2010 Bramaterra from Magnum was very exciting and great to share with fellow UK Wine forumites at a casual Piedmont offline. The Ottavio (Grignolino); a wine to drink not think. Fun.
Lovely list with some of my favourites, but also some I do not know. I always regret the offer of a press trip to the Azores during my tenure as Portuguese wine writer of the year which I couldn’t fit it. Having just tasted many terrific wines from the volcanic soils of Lanzarote, the Branco Vulcanico would be fascinating I’m sure – Tom
Richard Zambuni, UK
Red: Noel Verset, Cornas 1999
White: Vina Tondonia Lopez de Heredia, Rioja Gran Reserva Blanco 1994
Budget Red: Franck Balthazar, Cotes-du-Rhone 2018
Budget White: Domaine Billard, Saint Romain La Combe Bazin 2018
Sparkling: Champagne Vilmart, Coeur de Cuvee 2006
Sweet: Maximin Grunhauser, Abstberg Auslese Fuder no.42 2010
Fortified: Dow, Vintage Port 1991
Extra choice: Allemand, Cornas Reynard 1999
Dud: Gilles Barge, Saint Joseph Clos des Martinets 2001
Thing: Getting my son back to ‘real’ university at last
Comments: There was a lot of competition for best red this year; LLC 1985, Chateau Palmer 1989, St Joseph Vignes de L’Hospice Grippat 1996 and many, many more although surprisingly no red burgundies made the cut even though I drank some lovely glasses and bottles. There was less competition for best white but a Faurie Hermitage blanc 2006 and Raveneau Montee de Tonnerre 2014 got a look in. Other potential bargain wine winners were Migliarina Chenin Blanc 2015 and LdH’s Gravonia 2005. On the sweet front Climens 1988 was awesome. The other potential dud was catching covid in August and losing my sense of smell and taste for too long, although they have now largely recovered. As ever, I get so much joy from sharing good wine with UK Wine Forumites at various offlines and dinners. There is nothing better than good company, good food, and good wine. Thanks for making it all possible Tom. I wish everyone a happy New Year and a plague-free one if at all possible.
Terrific sentiments there Richard, with which I totally agree. You drank well given your list and your ‘almost made its’. White Tondonia is such a standby for me if I see it on any restaurant list at a reasonable price; got so bad in Glasgow’s Cail Bruich that they had a chilled bottle on the table waiting whenever I booked 🙂 – Tom
Dave Dewhurst, Australia
Red: Leoville Barton 2004 (Bordeaux, France)
White: Duke’s, Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling 2010 (Porongurup, Western Australia)
Budget Red: Frankland Estate, Isolation Ridge Shiraz 2004 (Frankland River, Westn Australia)
Budget White: Poachers Ridge, Riesling 2005 (Great Southern, Western Australia)
Rosé: Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia Rosado 2000 (Rioja, Spain)
Sparkling: Taittiger, Comtes de Champagne 2007 (Champagne, France)
Sweet: Gunderloch, Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Auslese 2009 (Rheinhessen, Germany)
Fortified: Fernando de Castilla Antique Fino (Jerez, Spain)
Extra choice: Muga Prado Enea 2000 (Rioja, Spain)
Dud: Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut
Thing: BBQing on the Weber, wine matching and fresh salad from the garden
Comments: Has been a privileged year of drinking for sure and especially being able to share these with friends and family. Best I can tell in terms of total at current day Aussie prices is $1235 for the whole list including the dud, with two wines (Taittinger CdC and Leoville Barton) comprising two thirds of that total. Certainly a few great and interesting wines which didn’t make the list too, probably more by whim on the day, such as Olivi Pugnitello 2009, Doisy Vedrines 2011, Vasse Felix Heytesbury Chardonnay 2014 and Andre Clouet Grand Reserve Grand Cru Bouzy NV.
A few of the Australian choices here would easily make my list too (in fact a Heyesbury Chardonnay was in at one point, but had to be squeezed out), and nice to see a vote for the pink partner of the Tondonia white chosen by Richard above – an equally compelling wine that marches to a different beat from other rosés – Tom
Entries for Wines of the Year 2019 are now closed.