Visitor nominations 2023

Each Christmas Tom announces his Wines of the Year. See the 2023 awards.

Entries for Visitors’ Wines of the Year 2023 are now closed. Thank you to all who submitted their nominations.

Submission below added 07/01

Darren Band, Scotland

Red: Château Batailley 2011, France
White: Ktima Tseleops Blanc de Gris 2022, Greece
Budget Red: Two Hands ‘Tenacity’ Old Vine Shiraz 2021, Australia
Budget White: Paco & Lola Albarino 2021, Spain
Rosé: Coolhurst Lady Elizabeth Rosé 2016, England
Sparkling: Cloudy Bay Pelorus, New Zealand
Sweet: Banfi Florus, Moscadello Di Montalcino Late Harvest 2018, Italy
Extra choice: Luis XIV Vermut – amazing for my new found love of Negronis!
Dud: Chiltern Valley Winery. Visited in autumn and felt every wine I tried was bland
Thing: My kids’ football has helped keep me entertained over the last year although I’ve been told I’ve got the loudest voice on the sidelines.
Comments: Despite generally preferring reds to white, it’s been a year where most of the wines that have really stood out for me have been white which made it tricky to choose my wines of the year. Still been making the beer and wine (I’ll get the 2023 Château Bandsville to Tom once it’s labelled!) so planning on doing more of that in 2024. Been letting the guitar practice slip a bit in 2023 but hoping to get back into it this year. Already got four gigs lined up in Feb and March to inspire me again!
Fine, globe-trotting choices Daren. I don’t know either Coolhurst or Chitern Valley wines, but sounds like two names to look out for – for different reasons 🙂 – Tom

Andrew Stevenson, UK

Red: Casa de Saima Bairrada Garrafeira 2001, Portugal
White: Gusbourne Chardonnay Guinevere 2018, England
Budget Red: Hermanas Garcia Saborido Garcia de La Jara 2017, Spain
Budget White: Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese 1998, Germany
Rosé: Gusbourne Pinot Noir Rosé Cherry Garden Vineyard 2021, England
Sparkling: Exton Park Reserve Blnd RB32 Brut NV, England
Sweet: JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1996, Germany
Fortified: Vinhos Justino Henriques Boal 1964, Madeira
Extra choice: Le Vale Noglar Tenute Cadorin 2008, Italy
Dud: The Liberator Muscat Rouge à Petits Grain Worcester Sauce 2021
Thing: A slab of notably delicious Mrs Kirkham’s 12 month matured Lancashire from Courtyard Dairy finished the night before FSA ruined Mrs Kirkham’s Xmas.
Comments: Very little wine drunk out of the house (I’m drinking more beer in restaurants, because of high costs & even higher markups on btg offerings, the general meh-ness of most btg wines, & being more cautious of driving afterwards). That combined with having and continuing to buy too much wine, meant many bottles grabbed to drink have been the most accessible ones on the top of the piles. Hence, I think the number of English wines appearing. The Gusbourne Chard is world class; the rosé was actually my only rosé of the year but vg! The madeira and the Liberator were the only fortified wines of the year. Neither really merit mentioning! Much competition in both red & especially white categories. Honourable mention to the fascinating Rainer Wess Tres Companeros which was just pipped to the White title by Guinevere by an averaged ½ point.
The Favole Noglar was a gift from a local restaurateur, & a vey classy elegant merlot. Enjoyed some English pinot meuniers this yr. 1964s to be opened next…
Gusbourne is making some fantastic wines – as are Exton Park, so definnitely two in the top tier of English winemaking. Never heard of the Tenute Cadorin, so another to add to the ‘must try’ list – Tom

Jim Yorke, UK

Red: Saurwein Nom 2022, South Africa
White: Blankbottle Luuks 2021, South Africa
Budget Red: Rustenberg John X Merriman, 2017/2020, South Africa
Rosé: Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado, 2011, Spain
Sweet: Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 1988, Hungary
Extra choice: Arizcueren Solo Garnacha Rioja 2015, Spain
Dud: Château Brane-Cantenac, 2002, France
Comments: Been a fun vinous year, mostly journeying through reds with a heavy skew towards Rioja, a spell trying what Italy offer and finally towards actually getting the fuss about pinot noir, albeit a good few notches down from the elite. South Africa is a favourite but not to the extent I expected it to dominate the list here, but it has and it really does offer a wealth of variety at competitive prices. The Brane-Cantenac was a shrug and a classic example of expectation not matching reality with a side order of anniversaries not liking up with premium years. The Nom was just perfectly balanced to my taste and memorable for that, while the Rosado beat out a short list of 2 so may take a crown by close to default. For me, so much more to learn, drink and collect going forwards, ably assisted by these pages, which are a goldmine of info.
Yes, fine South African choices there Jim, from new names like Jessica Saurwein and some of the oldest like Rustenberg! Hope wine-pages continues to inspire in 2024! 🙂 – Tom

Chris Smith, UK

Red: Chateau La Fleur Petrus 1998, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
White: Ygrec 2011, Bordeaux, France
Budget Red: Montecarlo Rosso, Fattoria del Teso 2020, Tuscany, Italy
Budget White: Acinaia Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Teruzzi, 2022, Tuscany, Italy
Sparkling: Felsina Vino Spumante de Qualita Brut, Metodo Classico NV, Tuscany, Italy
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1990, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Fortified: Offley Boa Vista 1985, Douro, Portugal
Extra choice: Latour 1998
Dud: Latour 1998
Comments: Probably fewer wines drunk overall this year, but still with plenty at a very high level of quality, mostly at gatherings arranged through or as a result of wine-pages. The Fleur Petrus nosed ahead of several first growth contenders for its sheer beauty and because it was like a bolt from the blue for me – not a Chateau I have explored before, but it could become a new obsession (the 95 was also on my shortlist). Elsewhere many wines resulted from a voyage of discovery around Tuscany in the summer, with some offbeat wines particularly impressive – such as the Felsina Brut, the Montecarlo and the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. If the Yquem 90 is a predictable choice, hopefully the Offley is not, but an auction case has provided consistently marvellous drinking in a lovely state of maturity. And I’m not saying Latour 98 is a bad wine, but given the price it could have tried to give just a little pleasure…
Nice to see a mature bottle of the Ygrec (from Chateau Yquem) making dry white of the year as we have relatively few white Bordeaux, and even fewer dry wines from Sauternes in the category. And yes: a wine like Latour – £400 per bottle plus – really does need to deliver for us all to keep the faith… – Tom

B Dean, Scotland

Red: Bosman Dolce Primitivo 2017 (S Africa)
White: Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett 2003 (Germany)
Budget Red: Notos Nebbiolo 2020 (Uruguay)
Budget White: Weingut zur Römerkelter Maring-Noviander Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2020 (Ger)
Rosé: Lahèrte Champagne Rosé Meunier Extra Brut NV (France)
Sparkling: Pommery Champagne Cuvée Louise Brut 1981 (France)
Sweet: Lyrarakis Liastos Sun Dried Wine 2019 (Greece)
Extra choice: Vault City Bruichladdich Barrel Aged Whisky Sour
Thing: Beer (sorry)
Comments: 2023 was a year when beer exclipsed wine for me, I tasted well over a thousand of the former, but reviewing my notes I still managed to fit in some fine wines too. Thank goodness for wine fairs!
Hopefully my extra choice is not too cheeky – there are beers that are the equal of fine wines, many produced right here, and I want to reflect that. As for wine, good champagne and riesling Kabinett are undying loves, and auctions still the best way to obtain nicely aged examples at a fair price. Sweet wines – a style I thought I had fallen out of love with – excelled, and Szolo Dolce (Hungary) and Altandon Dulce Enero Icewine (Spain) deserve honourable mentions.
Absolutely no need to apologise for a love of beer around here! I used to publish, inspired by my own love of the world of beers, particularly the diversity of styles and countries that makes it so fascinating. But you did OK on the wine (and whisky) front too 🙂 – Tom

Submissions below added 04/01

Nick Amis, UK

Red: Cappellano Barolo 1967, Italy
White: Kongsgaard Chardonnay 2017, USA
Budget Red: Idda Etna Rosso 2020, Italy
Budget White: Lismore Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Fermented 2015, South Africa
Rosé: Thymiopoulos Rosé de Xinomavro 2013, Greece
Sparkling: Louis Brochet Champagne Premier Cru Cuvée HBH 1996, France
Sweet: Didier Dagueneau Les Jardins de Babylone Moelleux 2009, France
Fortified: Equipo Navazos La Bota de Amontillado “Bota Punta” No.109 NV, Spain
Extra choice: François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre 2007, France
Dud: Fontaine-Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Caillerets 2011, France
Thing: Generous wine-lovers sharing delicious wines
Comments: Another great year in vinous terms, with some super lunches and dinners. Slightly surprised that France didn’t feature in my first five responses, but it does seem to reign supreme in sparkling and dessert wines, and my ‘extra choice’ was only just pipped to the post as the year’s best white. Sadly white Burg also provided the dud, namely a catastrophically poxed wine I’d bought specifically for a 2011 dinner. A large proportion of this year’s best wines were bottles generously shared by others (many met through Wine-Pages), so my thanks and compliments to them once again; there was no space above to mention Giacosa 2001, Mouton 1996, Margaux 1983, Rare 1998, Conseillante 2010, Musar 1983, Prum 2001, LLC 1985 or Huet 1989, but I loved each and every one of them – and plenty of other wines besides.
Great list Nick, and a great sentiment on the sharing and generosity front. It’s a while since the dreaded ‘premox’ as reported, and I suspect there are still some people avoiding white Burgundy because of it 🙁 – Tom

Craig Dennis, UK

Red: 2005 Armand Rousseau Grand Cru Clos de la Roche
White: 2014 Pierre Yves Colin Morey Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru La Maltroie
Budget Red: 2019 JL Chave Selection Mon Coeur Cotes du Rhone
Budget White: 2021 Kumeu River Village Chardonnay
Rosé: 2022 Chateau Puech-Haut, Argali Rose
Sparkling: 2002 Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart
Sweet: 2006 JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Riesling
Fortified: Equipos Navazos La Bota 74 de Oloroso Montilla
Dud: Self Serving Politics & Politicians
Thing: UK wine forum ‘WIMPS’ Lunches & Theatre
Comments: In what has been an interesting year personally, the real highlights in 2023 were provided by wine-pages’ forum’s WIMPS lunches with the generosity (see red wine of the year!) and friendship that this invariably bring and along with wine education and experience. Long may that continue. Other highlights have also been provided by attending some amazing theatre productions in 2023, the opportunity for escapism and immersion has provided some joyous relief. Another year of fabulous wines, really hard to pick out the highlights with such a plethora of vinous experiences.
Indeed, if there are any visitors to wine-pages holding back from joining one of our very regular offline lunches and dinners I’d urge them to take the plunge – special occassions. Kumeu River doing well again. Possibly the most consistently quoted NZ winery in Wines of the Year I think – Tom

Rainer Guntermann – Germany

Red: 1979 Chateau Latour
White: 1992 Puligny Montrachet Clavoillon Leflaive
Budget Red: 2011 Chateau Petite Eglise
Budget White: 2021 Weissburgunder Chardonnay trocken Keller
Rosé: Billecart Salmon Rose
Sparkling: 2008 Winston Churchill Pol Roger
Sweet: 1976 Graacher Himmelreich Auslese GoldCap J.J. Prüm
Fortified: 1985 Graham’s Port half bottle
Extra choice: 2021 Bönnigheimer Sonnenberg Chardonnay trocken Dautel
Dud: Again no WIMPS lunches
Thing: Wedding of our daughter Anabel in beautifull sunshine end of September
Comments: An intense year with lots of work and the sense that many things are rolling in the wrong direction, Additional the feeling that wine wise the great days are gone and most probably won’t come back.
A bit of a sad comment to end on there Rainer, though I guess with the ever-escalting prices for top wines from all over the world it has a ring of truth. Still, you managed some Latour and top Burgundy in there, and plenty of local drinking too – Tom

Lisa Harlow, UK

Red: Raats, Eden Cabernet Franc 2020, South Africa
White: Alheit Vineyards, Huilkrans 2019, South Africa
Budget Red: Stellenrust, Manor Cinsault 2021, South Africa
Budget White: Fledge and Co, Vagabond 2017, South Africa
Rosé: Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia Rose Gran Reserva 2011, Spain
Sparkling: Krug 2006, France
Sweet: Mullineux, Olerasay No. 3, South Africa
Fortified: Thelema, Gargantua Muscadel 2000, South Africa
Extra choice: Naude Wines, Soutbos White 2023, South Africa
Dud: Azores Wine Company, Verdelho o Original 2019, Portugal
Thing: Discovering the great value, sweet wines of Monbazillac on holiday in the Dordogne
Comments: It’s been a very vinous year with two holidays to South Africa and a week in the Dordogne and lots of wine meet up with friends. Always a privilege to discover new wines and have personal tastings with winemakers.
Fab selection of South African wines in that list Lisa, and many personal favourites of mine. A few votes now for the various releases of Olerasay – though for that unusual Tondonia pink too – Tom

Scott Friar, UK

Red: 1973 Marques de Murrieta Reserva
White: 2011 Rafael Palacios Sorte O Soro
Budget Red: 2021 Riverby Estate Pinot Noir
Budget White: 2016 Nanclares A Grana
Rosé: 2017 Francois Cotat
Sparkling: 1998 Dom Perignon
Sweet: 1975 Chateau Gilette Sauternes
Fortified: 2022 Lustau Fino El Puerto En Rama
Extra choice: 2008 Christophe Mignon Brut Nature
Thing: Galicia. Wine, food and La Coruna
My only professional wine trip to Galicia remains very vivid in my memory for scenery, food and of course wines. And nice to see another vote for the underrated Riverby Estate – Tom

Jonathan Mitchell, Scotland

Red: Chateau Figeac 1983 France
White: Riverby Semilion/Sauvignon 2013 New Zealand
Budget Red: Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese 2019 Italy
Budget White: Triade Bianco 2021 Italy
Rosé: Chateau Musar 2017 Lebanon
Sparkling: Cremant De Bourgogne Blanc De Blancs France
Sweet: Cockburn Vintage Port 1963 Portugal
Fortified: Croft Vintage Port 1963 Portugal
Extra choice: Grande Fine Champagne Cognac 1963 France
Dud: Anything spoken by the Tories
Thing: Chelsea spending a billion on players and still being rubbish
Comments: Hitting 60 in 2023 influenced my wine choices, hence putting a port into the sweet category. Both were excellent and will still go on for years. I have drunk much more Cremant this year, many excellent. The one listed is the last one I drank.
Campofiorin is another fabulous value red that I used to buy a lot but had somewhat forgotten about, so nice choice. Two Ports from your birth year is certainly allowed! – Tom

Submissions below added 03/01

Duncan McLean, Scotland

Red: Queirón El Arca, Viñedo Singular Rioja, 2018, Spain
White: Mas Morties, Jamais Content, Vin de France, 2018, France
Budget Red: Debajo, Dry Farmed Carignan, 2021, Chile
Budget White: Château de Plaisance, L’ Anjou Blanc, Anjou, 2021, France
Rosé: Charles Melton, Rose of Virginia, Barossa, 2021, Australia
Sparkling: Cantina di Solera, Il Trovador Metodo Ancestrale Lambrusco di Sorbara, NV, Italy
Sweet: Donnafugata, Kabir, Moscato di Pantelleria, 2018, Italy
Fortified: Hutcheson, Colheita, Porto, 1977, Portugal
Extra choice: Queirón de Gabriel, Viñedos Familiares Rioja Reserva, 2011, Spain
Dud: Cork weevils in 2 bottles of 1985 Plantagenet Riesling. The 1990 was beautiful
Thing: I had a slice of Isle of Mull cheddar recently, and thought, ‘That’s the best thing I’ve tasted all year.’
Comments: The two Riojas were a sublime discovery on a trip to Logroño in June. For me the Queirón range took the subtlety of Rioja to a new level. My budget red is – at an RRP of under £10 – a miracle of value for money. I don’t remember seeing Lambrusco often in WOTY lists, but if there was one bottle that summed up the sheer joy of wine this year, it was Il Trovador: a dancer! After drafting my choices, I looked back out of curiosity at previous years’ submissions, and found I have nominated my White, Budget White and Rose at least once before. This surprised me, as I don’t return often to favourite wines, but try and search out new experiences. That these three should reappear is an insight into the persistence of subconscious preference.
Lambrusco makes the occasionally grab for the limelight on wine-pages, the new generation of more carefully made, dare I say, ‘artisan’ wines a far cry from the plonk of the 70s. Yes, subconscious preference indeed and names like the Charles Melton where once firm favourites of mine, but you do tend to just forget about some wines too. Cork weevil! I have never encountered this problem (the traditional reason there was foil round the cork in a bottle), which does sound rather Dickensian! – Tom

Edward Bolland, UK

Red: 2005 Domaine Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche
White: 2021 Riverby Estate Chardonnay
Budget Red: 2021 Luca Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba
Budget White: 2021 Stefano Zoli Verdicchio
Rosé: Krug Rosé 25eme Edition
Sparkling: 1999 Champagne Pol Roger
Sweet: 1984 de Bortoli Noble One
Fortified: 1955 Taylor Vintage Port
Extra choice: 2012 Domaine Comte Lafon Meursault Porousots
Dud: 2002 Champagne Dom Perignon
Thing: WIMPS, the wine-pages’ forum offline lunches …AGAIN!!
Comments: Lots of lovely wines this year, but nothing that really stood out above anything else, so a lot of consideration here. The Riverby and Pol stood out because they far exceeded my expectations. The ‘55 Taylor merely met my expectations, but that in itself was some feat. My dud, DP 02, just hasn’t delivered for me, despite having persevered. My thing was WIMPS again, just such a fabulous institution.
That Zoli Verdicchio picking up lots of votes this year. I’ve had the odd older bottle of the Noble One, sometimes an alarmingly dark brown colour, but always delivering. I have four bottles of the DP 2002 remaining from a case of six. I enjoyed the first two, but tey didn’t knock my socks off. I wonder what anther few years of ageing will do for it? – Tom

Adam Ventress, UK

Red: Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino Selezione Madonna delle Grazie 2006, Italy
White: Benanti Etna Bianco Superiore Contrada Rinazzo 2021, Italy
Budget Red: Amoterra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2022, Italy
Budget White: Palliser Estate Riesling 2021, New Zealand
Sparkling: Davenport Limney Estate Sparkling 2018, UK
Sweet: Chateau Petit Vedrines Sauternes 2016, France
Extra choice: (Orange) Vino di Anna Palmento Bianco 2021, Italy
Thing: The love of family and friends making my 50th birthday a very special occasion.
Comments: A year notable for turning 50 in April, a 4th year in business for our little indie wine shop, my youngest starting school, a great family holiday in Puglia in May and a long weekend in Rome with my son in October. The shop and family keep me pretty busy so I don’t get as much time as I would like to spend on the wie-pages’ forum. Wine wise, the Il Marroneto Brunello was the highlight of a 50th get-together with friends, opening some Brunellos from the cellar. I had been hanging onto this for 10 years and it was glorious. It also brings back great memories of a visit to Il Marroneto in 2013, still my favourite ever winery visit to this day. The Benanti Contrada Rinazzo is a wonderful example of Carricante from this unique terroir. As ever with Benanti, it’s all elegance, finesse, balance and nuance, nothing heavy handed. The Palliser Riesling has accompanied many a meal with Asian flavours this year. The Amoterra Montepulciano offers delicious juicy fruit for a bargain price. HNY to all!
And happy new year to you to Adam. Davenport is an English producer I do not know (there are lots of them now!) so I must seek it out. And congratulations on the big 5-0; I remember mine well! – Tom

Mark Carrington, UK

Red: Chateau Musar 1979
White: Joseph Colin Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Vide Bourse 2017
Budget Red: Azienda Agricola Elvio Cogno Barbera d’Alba Bricco dei Merli 2018
Budget White: Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese 2013
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé 2019
Sparkling: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Triple Zero NV
Sweet: Peter Lauer Kupp Riesling Spätlese Faß 7 2017
Fortified: D’Oliveiras Madeira Terrantez 1988
Extra choice: Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne 2018
Dud: Domaine La Bouïssiere Gigondas La Font de Tonin 2010
Thing: Our French builder
Comments: We have had some equally as good Reds (Burlotto, San Leonardo) but this likely to be my final ’79 Musar. It has provided innumerable, consistent thrills for nigh on 40 year. 2023 great year for white Burgundy – 8 outperforming any reds. King Cogno – my current fave for red Italian. Eitelsbacher bought during a visit – until recently also bargain in UK. Lauer ’17s are top – GG is as good. Tempier rosé always top 3. An indifferent fizz year, but Triple Zéro overs delivers – Jacky was a sad loss this year. We have a top restaurant 15 mins from our other place – the BdM was BTG. A Forumite flagged Wilks re-opened in Bath, James had returned from his odyssey – Terrantez BTG (no rush for my remaining one). The Gigondas sums up the current issues with Southern Rhône. Monstrous. After 5 years we finally have a builder (reliable & approachable) for our place in Burgundy. Phew
A builder, “reliable & approachable”? Wonders will never cease :). That’s at least the second nomination for a red Rhone wine this year as ‘dud’. I guess the problem is over extraction and too much alcohol? It’s a curse of some southern Rhone wines I must say and (whisper it) a bit of a blind spot for me other than a few Clos du Pape and Beaucastel still in my cellar – Tom

Ben Fawcett, UK

Red: Falchini Campora Rosso Toscana 1996
White: Tabarrini AdArmando 2021
Budget Red: Stefano Oreste Langhe Nebbiolo 2018
Budget White: Domaine Ray-Jane Bandol Blanc 2022
Rosé: Niepoort Rose Douro 2022
Sparkling: Krug 171 edition
Sweet: Brudlymayer Gruner Veltliner Lagenloiser Alte Reben Auslese 2018
Fortified: Niepoort Vintage Port 2000
Dud: Our various governments of the UK
Thing: To learn not to type disrespectful comments on public forums, however in jest they may be. Apologies all round.
Comments: Krug continues to astound in both texture and depth. Campora is an utterly under appreciated gem of a wine, the vineyards for which were identified by the late legend Giacomo Tachis. Giampaolo Tabarrini’s AdArmando is rapidly becoming one of Italy’s finest white wines. It does make one sit up and take notice of the prices of wines from more estemmed regions of other countries with the eyebrows running out of room to raise.
A few I don’t know in this list. The AdArmando sounds a little like what Stefano Zoli is doing in Matelica so worth seeking out. I wish I’d bought a lot more Krug when it was sub-£100 not so long ago – Tom

Macky Edmundson, Australia

Red: Te Mata Coleraine 2019
White: Tyrells Vat 1 Semillion 2014
Budget Red: SC Pannell Basso Grenache 2020
Budget White: Rene Dopff Pinot Gris 2019
Rosé: Charles Melton Rose of Virginia
Sparkling: Perrier Jouet Belle Epoch 2012
Sweet: Mt Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2017
Fortified: Stanton & Killeen Classic Rutherglen 12 Year Old Muscat
Extra choice: Artomana Alava Txakoli ‘ Xarmant’
Dud: Rabbit Ranch Pinot Gris Pinot Gris 2018 (Too Sweet!)
Thing: Mencia – Love it / Hate it.
Comments: Some really good deals around with the import issues to China and oversupply but you need to hunt.
Some brilliant reminders of wines I’ve always loved in this list, like the Cordon Cut and Coleraine, and who’d have thought it: another vote for the Charles Melton pink 🙂 Sweetness in cheaper, supposedly ‘dry’ wines is a real problem – a big brand Australian Shiraz I was tasting only yesterday was basically undrinkable for me – tutti frutti confectionery is not what I want from Shiraz! – Tom

Submissions below added 29/12

Peter Wood, UK

Red: Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou 1970, Saint-Julien, Bordeaux
White: Pousse d’Or Puligny Montrachet Le Cailleret 2004, Burgundy, France
Budget Red: Chateau de Lussac 2006, Bordeaux, France
Sparkling: Delouvin Bis Repetita 2009 Magnum, Champagne, France
Sweet: Chateau Filhot 1978, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Fortified: Grahams Vintage Port 1963, Douro, Portugal
Extra choice: Armand Rousseaux Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazatieres 2001, Burgundy, France
Dud: Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2007, Rhone, France
Thing: The cancelling of the Deposit Return Scheme which would have devastated the wine ranges of all of Scotland’s great independent wine shops.
Comments: I’ve tried various first growths this year and still nothing comes close to the 1970 Ducru for enjoyment, but my wine of the year has to be the 1963 Grahams which was donated by my friend and former colleague Ben at a dinner in September. This is simply, for me, the perfect port AND it was still fresh and young. Fortunately I have one bottle remaining and it will stay in the cellar for at least another decade!
Hooked on classics for sure Peter! 🙂 Some wonderful wines in there, but a really great, properly mature Port is such a beautiful thing – Tom

Derek Salmon, Australia

Red: Henschke Hill of Grace 2018
White: Henschke Hill of Peace 2018
Budget Red: Chris Ringland north Barossa Shiraz 2017
Budget White: Domaine Sophie Claire Riesling 2021
Rosé: Rockford Alicante bouchet 2023
Sparkling: Pol Roger 2015 rose
Sweet: Chateau d’yquem 2013
Fortified: Rockford 2018 VP
Dud: Irvine grand merlot 2005 (too aged for my taste)
Thing: Trying Henschke’s single vineyard releases when released
Comments: Been a fantastic year trying different wines and visiting and spending time in the Coonawarra and Mclaren vale and finally visiting Clare
It must be fabulous to be living in one of the world’s great wine producing regions and having the chance to taste so widely – many of the labels unavailable in the UK as far as I know – Tom

Peter Webb, UK

Red: Kanonkop, Paul Sauer, 2006, South Africa
White: David & Nadia Sadie, Skaliekop,2014, South Africa
Budget Red: Le Grappin, Beaujolais Nuvo, 2023, France
Budget White: Aldi, Cambala Sauvignon Blanc, 2022, South Africa
Rosé: Kintonis, Moschofilero Roditis Agiorgitiko Rosé, 2022, Greece
Sparkling: Piper-Heidsieck, Cuvee Rare, 1998, France
Sweet: Mullineux, Olerasay Number 1, NV, South Africa
Fortified: Equipo Navazos, La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 100 “Bota NO”, NV, Spain
Extra choice: Roger Sabon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve, 2004 France
I know that, like me, Peter is a huge fan of South African wine and some great choices here – the Aldi one I will have to investigate! I had a taste of that #1 edition of Mullineux’s Olerasay just before Christmas and it was indeed superb – Tom

Paul Jaines, UK

Red: 2017 Domaine de Pallus Chinon Les Pensées de Pallus (last minute choice)
White: 2014 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly Blanc
Budget Red: Château de Pennautier 2020 – Cabardès – always great value. Rhone meets Bdx
Budget White: Arinto, M&S Found Range – just a lovely midweeker
Sparkling: 2004 Tarlant Champagne Cuvée Louis
Fortified: Nierpoort Colheita 2004 – beautiful appearance, nose and palate. Woof!
Extra choice: The random Aldi Pinot my son served to me blind that I loved…. damn it!! £4.49
Dud: A lot of wines from my cellar that are just not delivering after 20 yrs of age
Thing: Starting an invigorating, challenging new job in a small company – working with really good people and challenging myself day after day is exhausting but fun
Comments: I’ve really changed my relationship with wine over the past 2-3 years. I posted about it on the forum, but I’m bored of chasing the dragon and refuse to spend the increasingly silly money to buy marginal gains in the quality of the experience. I enjoy wine, the culture of wine and the “nerdism” that goes with it. But I just dont have the interest to fully engage with it day on day. The quality of wine world-wide these days means that it makes no sense for me to spend bonkers money on wines (Burgundy mainly) that needs 15 years to be sometimes underwhelming. My priorities are paying for my kids education, and paying for more more important stuff than wine. I will, of course, drink any Grand Cru or First Growth you stick in front me though. I also desperately hope for a much better 2024 – I am full of hope. The last 8 years have been a horror show. The kind people on the wine-pages’ discussion forum help smooth out the rough.
It is a thought-provoking post Paul, as you are of course right that the quality increase between a £9.99 bottle and a £199.99 bottle is often not 20x like the price. Indeed, there’s lots that’s a bit illogical about this love of wine – like thos lovingly cellared 20-year-old wines that don’t live up to expectations. I guess it’s the same for many other passions, when viewed coolly and calmly, the logic is tenuous!- Tom

Craig Thomson, New Zealand

Red: Puriri Hills, Pope, 2013, New Zealand
White: Cloudy Bay, Te Koko, Sauvignon Blanc, 2020, New Zealand
Budget Red: Villa Maria, Reserve, Cabernet Merlot, 2020, New Zealand
Budget White: Fromm, Spatlese, Riesling 2023, New Zealand
Rosé: Wairau River, Rose, 2023, New Zealand
Sparkling: Moet Chandon, Dom Perignon, 2010, France
Sweet: Framingham, F-SERIES Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, 2022, New Zealand
Extra choice: Bell Hill, Limeworks, Chardonnay, 2016, New Zealand
Comments: An interesting year where I was able to try a number of very rare high end kiwi wines including the famed Bell Hill Limeworks, Destiny Bay Magna Pramea, the awesome newly released 2020 Puriri Hills Pope which only just was edged out as my pick by a stunning older vintage with the benefit of age. Some winos may snigger at my pick for top white. Sauvignon Blanc? Wow I just can’t get over how amazing the 2020 Te Koko was over several tastings of it. It of course edged out a flood of good Chardonnay that could probably equally taken the spot but a special mention to the rare 2014 and 2016 Vidal 1888 bottlings which are in stellar form.
Great list Craig – at least for the ones I have tasted, which doesn’t include the real rarities like the Puriri Hills. Interesting that the only non-NZ wine is the Champagne. It’s an interesting reflection that although there are some great sparkling wines from around the world made from the same grapes with the same method, from Sussex to Tasmania, there is still something magical about Champagne – Tom

Submissions below added 27/12

Ian Hampstead, UK

Red: Chateau Petrus 1975, double magnum
White: Raveneau, Chablis Valmur 1996
Budget Red: Gian Luca Colombo, Nebbiolo d’Alba
Budget White: Stefano Zoli, Verdicchio di Matellica 2021
Rosé: Riverby, Rosé 2023
Sparkling: Champagne Vilmart, Cuvée Creation 1999
Sweet: Chateau du Surande, Quarts de Chaume 2001
Extra choice: Cheval Blanc – wine estate of the year
Dud: American foreign policy
Thing: Porsche 911 ST ’63’ 60th anniversary model
Comments: Another action-packed year marked by what was lost rather than what was gained. I achieved my goal of cycling 100 miles around Lake Taupō in late November. Meeting Kevin, and enjoying his spontaneous hospitality, was also a highlight. The following week in Adelaide was just as enjoyable including a reunion with old Uni friends and cycling in the Adelaide Hills. The vinous highlights were the American Bordeaux enthusiasts tour I hosted in London in March, Chris’s Cheval Blanc dinner in April and my four differently-themed birthday dinners in May/June – La-Las, Bordeaux, Piedmont and Burgundy, in that order. Cheval Blanc was my estate of the year: the extraordinary 64 and 66 vintages will linger long in the memory. This remarkably civilised forum is a treasure trove of vinous knowledge, perspicacity and convivilality, woven into the fabric of our lives as wine enthusiasts from disparate backgrounds. I wish you all a healthy, happy, prosperous and peaceful 2024.
Some delightful choices here, including meeting Kevin Courtney which I’ve also done on his family estate in Marlborough. That Zoli budget white was my choice last year, and the 2022 made my select group of ‘runners up’ this year – Tom

Charlie Davie, UK

Red: Chateau Haut-Brion Pessac-Léognan 1998
White: Louis Jadot Montrachet Grand Cru 2009
Budget Red: Ch des Jacques, Morgon Cote du Py 2015 en magnum
Budget White: Botanica Mary Delaney Collection Chenin Blanc Citrusdal Mountain 2021
Rosé: Vilmart et Cie Cuvée Rubis Rosé NV
Sparkling: Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle No 24 MV
Sweet: Château d’Yquem Sauternes Bordeaux 2001 from 375ml
Extra choice: Sherry across the spectrum
Fortified: Croft Vintage Port 1963
Thing: A wonderful long weekend in Rome and seeing the remarkable Bernini sculptures at The Borghese Gallery in the flesh so to speak.
Comments: I have been very privileged to share some great wines (several mentioned above) and company with new friends from the wine-pages’ forum over the last 12 months.
Bordeaux continues its charge so far as the crowd favourite in the red wine category 🙂 Agree on Sherry – how often do we have to say ‘under-appreciated’? – Tom

Neil Holland, UK

Red: 1989 Mouton Rothschild
White: 2009 Louis Jadot Montrachet
Budget Red: 2010 Francois Gay Chorey les Beaune
Budget White: 2014 The Wine Society Saint-Aubin The Society’s Exhibition
Rosé: NV Charlier et Fils Champagne Prestige Rosé – Rosé de Saignée
Sparkling: 2002 Pierre Péters Champagne Grand Cru Cuvée Speciale BdB Les Chetil
Sweet: 2009 Suduiraut
Extra choice: 2017 Dirler-Cade Riesling Belzbrunnen
Fortified: 1970 Warre
Dud: 2003s in general. Clarets and Northern Rhones generally poor
Thing: Getting to visit and taste and more off the beaten track producers in Champagne and Burgundy
Comments: A very busy year professionally. Good to taste some gems at various offlines and dinners as well the Bromley Wine Circles. Hope all have a good time over the Christmas period and many nice wines are enjoyed.
Indeed Neil, I hope your Christmas and Christmas drinking is excellent too. I’ve been introduced to the Pierre Péters a couple of times by a friend who’s a big fan, and am very pleased to have discovered the wines too – Tom

David White, Australia

Red: Parent Pommard Les Chaponnieres 2014 Pinot France
White: Mullineux Old Vines White 2017 Chenin Blend South Africa
Budget Red: Warwick Estate Cabernet Franc 2015 South Africa
Budget White: Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling 2018 Australia
Sparkling: Plan B Riesling 2022 (Zing and Zang rather than bubbles) Western Australia
Sweet: Stanton & Killeen Classic Muscat 12 yr old Australia
Extra choice: Chateaux La Grange 2018 Bordeaux France
Fortified: Galway Pipe 12 Year Old Grand Tawny Australia
Dud: After Covid airline travel is a chore and wines served invariably dull and dud.
Thing: Cabernet Franc resurgence, there is even a Cab Franc Icewine
Comments: It’s getting more difficult to find decent international wines locally in OZ the dominant groups are cutting back on good names and replacing with generic labels. discounting by the conglomerates (Treasury, Accolade etc) is great in the short term but with excellent local wines being sacrificed it seems silly to splurge on imports that are increasing in price. hopefully the industry will come back into balance soon. NZ and South African wines are good alternatives to European ones, only Rhone still seems to offer value here.
To be honest, most of our UK supermarkets are stacking the shelves with fantasy labels disguising the giant producers behind them and own label products – it’s clearly a global phenomenon, as genuine estate-produced wines are certainly decreasing as a percentage :(- Tom

Martin Zwick, Germany

Red: 2018 Keller ‘Reserve du Fils’ Späburgunder (Rheinhessen, Germany)
White: 2015 Rings ‘Saumagen’ Riesling GG (Pfalz, Germany)
Budget Red: 2021 Rinaldi Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont, Italy)
Budget White: 2021 Pieropan ‘Calvarino’ Soave (Veneto, Italy)
Sparkling: 2010 Bamberger DECADE Brut Nature (Nahe, Germany)
Sweet: 1970 Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach ‘Rauenthaler Gehrn’ Cabinet Riesling
Extra choice: 2022 Keller ‘vom Austernfels’ Sylvaner (Rheinhessen, Germany)
Dud: 2021 Gaja ‘Site Moresco’ Langhe Piedmont, Italy)
Thing: The world is going mad.
Comments: Tasting the new release of sparkling wines and Chardonnay by Felix Keller at the estate in March. Felix, the son of Julia & KP Keller, is the new star on the German wine sky.
Fabulous to have this on-the-ground report from you Martin. Keller’s wines have always impressed me, so looking forward to tasting from the new generation – Tom

Chris Piper, UK & France

Red: Casanova di Neri, Brunello di Montalcino, Cerretalto 2007, Italy
White: Domaine Françoise André, Corton-Charlemagne 2019, France
Budget Red: Quinta do Casal Monteiro, Forma de Arte Touriga Nacional 2020, Portugal
Budget White: Jordan Wine Estate, Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2021, South Africa
Rosé: Domaine Bruno Clair, Marsannay Rosé 2020, France
Sparkling: Champagne Veuve Fourny, Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Brut NV, France
Sweet: Chateau de Myrat 2005, 2eme Cru Classé Barsac, France
Extra choice: Peter Franus, Mourvedre ‘Red Hills’ 2018, Lake County, California
Fortified: Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 1966, Portugal
Dud: Baron de Ley, Rioja Blanco 2022, Spain
Thing: Watching my eldest son, Tim, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, playing premiership cricket (opening bat and wicket keeper!), with a colostomy bag.
Nice balance here Chris, Europe and a couple of classics from South Africa and USA. I don’t know Domaine Françoise André, so another Burgundy name to look out for. And a wonderful ‘thing’ – you must be overjoyed – Tom

Submissions below added 24/12

David Ludlow, UK

Red: Chateau Latour 1996, France
White: Clos du Pape 2011, France
Budget Red: Bosman Family Vineyards Twyfeling Cinsault 2020, S Africa
Budget White: Gedeelte Brakkuil Barren Sands BS Palomino 2018, S Africa
Rosé: Vina Todonia Rosado 2012, Spain
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon Nicolas Francois 2002, France
Sweet: Chateau Filhot 1978, France
Fortified: Warre’s Late Bottled Vintage Unfiltered 2009, Portugal
Extra choice: Domaine St Pierre Arbois Vin Jaune 2000, France
Dud: Some very old wines!
Thing: Holiday in Puglia
Comments:Interesting that my wines have ended up being mainly French. The Latour 96 was tasted with Haut Brion 08, Angelus 08, Mouton 01, Bahans HB 05, Le Petit Mouton 05. Also tried some expensive, but totally new wines to me like Weingut Hipping, Clos Rougeard, and Gangloff. The budget wines were from your excellent SA online tasting. SA Palomino is quite a revelation. The Vin Jaune was drunk the same evening as the 78 Filhot at St Andrews Wine Co with owner Peter, his student staff and my son. Excellent evening with these 2 as standouts. The Vina Todonia Rosada was out of this world – so different to the various roses I normally drink. My sparkling choice is from one of my fav Champagne houses. Also tried many old wines, including some 20+ yo white Graves, and Sauternes with a 1958 Monbazilliac one of the highlights. As tastings go enjoyed some incredible tastings including Ridge vertical, and Quintarelli. Puglia -def worth going to. Enjoy Xmas and New Year. Trust 2024 will be equally good.
And best wishes for 2024 to you too. Delighted that both budget wines came from my online-tasting of South Africa’s ‘new wave’ – and excellent choices too. Otherwise, not only a mainly French list, but a classic one. The outlier – in every sense – being the aged Rosado from Tondona, such a fascinating wine – Tom

Dave Dewhurst, Australia

Red: Schiavenza Barolo Ceretta 2009
White: Jacob’s Creek Steingarten Riesling 2003
Budget Red: Larchargo Tempranillo 2021
Budget White: Rabl Gruner Veltliner Langenlois 2021
Rosé: Taittinger Brut Rose NV
Sparkling: Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Grand Cru Bouzy
Sweet: Doisy Vedrines 2011
Fortified: Alvear Pedro Ximinez de Sacristia 2004
Extra choice: Wynns John Riddoch 1996
Dud: Carpe Diem L’Attimo Riserva Speciale Cab Sav 2015
Thing: Really enjoyed a bit of fishing this year with a glass of riesling in hand on occasion
Comments: A few honorable mentions would include Lafleur Gazin 2009, Brown Hill Bill Bailey Shiraz Cab 2012, Tondonia Reserva 2010, Leo Buring Leonay 2008, Doisy Daene 2015, Suduiraut 2007 and Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado. I feel fortunate to have been able to share most of these with family or great friends. Indeed, three of my top wines all came from the same day with some mates over east, the Steingarten, the Schavenza and the John Riddoch, and the Suduiraut as a runner up also featured that day.
Great blending of northern and southern hemispheres there Dave. I recently scored the 2020 John Riddoch 95/100 – as i did for the 2019 – but having a nicely mature one is a treat – Tom

Cameron Clark, Australia

Red: 1982 Lafite
White: 2004 Drumborg Riesling, Seppelt
Budget Red: 2020 Derro, Phase Three, Barossa
Budget White: 1997 Watervale Riesling, Richmond Grove
Sparkling: 2012 Dom Perignon
Sweet: 1962 Porphyry Sauternes Bin3080, Lindemans
Fortified: 30 Year Old Tawny, Talijancich, Swan Valley
Thing: Middle Age Australian Riesling
Comments:Through a friend in Melbourne I have had access to some incredible wines this year. The highlight was probably a tasting of Rousseau and a few 1982 First Growths, but there were others featuring some great bottles of old Aus wine – the 1962 Porphyry was such a different wine to any European sweeties. Style wise, I have discovered old Aus Riesling this year – 20 year +. The screw cap versions are like time capsules, while the cork versions offer great QPR. Kudos to the Seppelt, which pipped an 04 Granite Hills from earlier in the year. Best wine of them all though was the Talijancich – Aus fortifieds really are top drawer.
Great to be able to taste these aged Australian wines. I did a vertical of Pewsey Vale Riesling about 15 years ago that went back to the 1969 and all of them were on top form – Tom

Brian Guinan, Switzerland

Red: Leon Barrel Faugeres Valiniere 2006
White: Hauksson Weine Fungal Attack Weiss, Aargau CH
Budget Red: Ondarre rioja reserva 2018
Budget White: Montes Sauvignon Blanc reserva 2016
Rosé: Onda d’Urto Croatina, Filarole, colli piacentini
Sparkling: Döttinger schaumwein Jubilaumsbrut, Aargau CH
Extra choice: Swiss Pinot noir
Dud: Swiss blanc de noir
Thing: Declan Rice
Comments:The Barral finally delivered what my previous bottles had always promised, a meditative wine with all faults singing in chorus. The Hauksson was made by a pioneering local Icelandic winemaker, trying to make natural wine surrounded by uber-protected swiss growers. All of his white grapes from two years ago went into 700 bottles of this nectar, the most complex young wine I’ve ever tasted. Some guy, all of his is top notch. The Montes was the most expectation-confounding experience of my vinous life, rich and broad and deep with a sense of place, who knew? The big thing this year has been taking up my first proper winemaking job in Switzerland and exploring a region that’s been almost completely alien to me, working with Pinot noir vines and juice at last. There is potential here in Aargau, a continuation of Baden really, but the same problems of over oaking, over concentration and over technically safe winemaking mar too many of the wines. Hoping to work on that next vintage haha!
Exciting to be working in wine in Switzerland Brian! And to have a couple of local wines in your line-up; the Hauksson sounds intriguing, but I love the idea of you red of the year being a wine with “all faults singing in chorus”! – Tom

Dan Vyvyan, UK

Red: Bodegas Aalto, PS Pagos Seleccionadas 2010, Spain
White: Tyrrell’s, Vat 1 Semillon 1992, Australia
Budget Red: Domaine Marcel Lapierre, Morgon 2021, France
Budget White: Inama, ‘Vigneti di Foscarino’ Soave Classico 2019, Italy
Rosé: Château d’Esclans, ‘Garrus’ Rosé 2017, France
Sparkling: Deutz, Cuvee William Deutz 2000, France
Sweet: Didier Dagueneau, ‘Les Jardins de Babylone’ Jurançon Moulleux 2009, France
Fortified: Pedro’s, Palo Cortado, Spain
Extra choice: Nightingale Cider Company, Songbird No 3, England
Dud: Co-op Cava Rosado Brut NV, Spain
Thing: Septology by Jon Fosse
Comments: 2023 was the year the pandemic just about began to recede in the rear view mirror, in wine terms less celebrated regions of France Italy and Spain in particular rewarded study with lots of pleasure and excitement, and I had the privilege of attending many memorable and exceptionally convivial offlines. There were quite a few candidates for “thing”. My choice is a novel, a cathedral in words, a stunning slow prose meditation on art, light and the divine. Life-affirming.
Lovel, thoughtful list. Great to see the VAT 1 take the crown – though price has risen a fair bit, still one of the wine world’s great bargains for an always excellent and near immortal white wine – Tom

Ole Udsen, Denmark

Red: Château Haut Brion 1986
White: Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 2010, Domaine Leflaive
Budget Red: Cannonau di Sardegna Zimò, Cantina Canneddu
Budget White: Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2019, Koehler-Ruprecht
Rosé: Il Marinetto 2022, Sergio Arcuri
Sparkling: Champagne Cristal 2000, Louis Roederer
Sweet: Moscato Passito di Pantelleria Bukkuram Padre della Vigna 2019, Marco de Bartoli
Fortified: Vintage Port 1985, Gould Campbell
Extra choice: Vernaccia di Oristano Riserva Antico Gregori 1979, Còntini
Dud: Barolo La Serra 2004, Roberto Voerzio
Thing: My blog article on sustainability
Comments:Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. May 2024 be the year in which wine writers wake up to the difficult complexities of real sustainability rather than knee-jerk repetitions of organic and / or biodynamic.
The classics – particularly red Bordeaux – showing strongly so far; five of the first 12 ‘Red Wines of the Year’. In terms of sustainabilty, I hear more and more winemakers who are seeking to farm regeneratively, both organic and non-organic farmers. I guess that’s a more holistic and possibly realistic approach to redressing the balance than a simple switch to organic farming. I read one study that suggested if the whole world was to farm organically (not just vines) we’d need 25% more land to produce the same output, which is clearly problematic in itself – Tom

Submissions below added 21/12

Mark Priestley, UK

Red: Podere Santa Felicita Sempremai Sorte Abrostine 2012 (Tuscany, Italy)
White: Keller Kirchspiel Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 (Rheinhessen, Germany)
Budget Red: Luccarelli Negroamaro 2021 (Puglia, Italy)
Budget White: Chateau Picque Caillou Pessac Leognan Blanc 2014 (Bordeaux, France)
Rosé: Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cru Classe 2018 (Provence, France)
Sparkling: Caillez Lemaire Chardonnay de la Vallée Brut Nature 2016 (Champagne)
Sweet: Capanna Moscadello di Montalcino Vendemmia Tardiva 2015 (Tuscany, Italy)
Extra choice: Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso “Guardiola” 2012 (Sicily, Italy)
Dud: Azienda Agricola Montevertine 2007 (Tuscany, Italy)
Thing: Boat ride/Day in the sun/sea at Loutro, Crete
Comments: Some fun wines consumed this year, particularly those from varietals more off the beaten track. My Red of the year was a 100% Abrostine (a very rare variety) from the wilds of Eastern Tuscany. Tasted from Magnum at Tuscan WIMPs (the regular lunches for members of wine-pages UK Wine Forum) this was absolutely brilliant, complex, full of personality and belying it’s 11.5% alcohol! French supermarkets seem to be a great source for great value bottles of White Bordeaux with age and the 2014 Picque Caillou Blanc was no exception to that; think this came in around €13 a bottle. I would like to give a “shout out” to Lidl this year who have impressed with some great value offerings. Pick for me, and my budget Red was a Puglian Negroamaro coming in at £8.49; black fruited, spicy but with bags of freshness (not easy to achieve in this part of Italy). The annual Bandol offline dinner goes from strength to strength, and I’m very much looking forward to 2024’s edition, for which a long weekend road trip down to Provence has been mooted.
I don’t know how many times I’ve talked about Italy’s strength in depth of indigenous varieties, but of course there are a couple of dozen that are basically all we see in the UK, so great that the obscure Abrostine proved such a hit. If that Provence offline comes together I could definitely be interested! – Tom

Russell Gammon, UK

Red: Chateau Haut Brion, 1998, France
White: Coche-Drury, Borgogne Blanc 2014, France
Budget Red: Domaine Jean Fournier, Bourgogne Rouge Le Chapitre VV 2017, France
Budget White: Kumeu River, Chardonnay Estate, 2014, New Zealand
Rosé: Lopez de Heredia, Tondonia Rosado, 2008
Sparkling: Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus, 2015, France
Sweet: Chateau Y’quem, 1998, France
Extra choice: Guffens-Heynen, Macon Pierreclos 1er Jus de Chavigne, 2019, France
Thing: Generative AI (chatGPT)
Comments: It’s been a year of vinious highs for me – an amazing 98 first growth dinner as well as a dinner at NR earlier in the year as highlights. A red burg features in my list, which I wouldn’t expect as that’s a slippery and expensive slope im currently generally avoiding! Roll on 2024 where I might even broach a UK Wine Forum WIMPS lunch…
I’d encourage everyone to give the UK Wine Forum lunches and dinners a go – such a friendly and welcoming bunch of people. Great drinking here, and classic too – Tom

Richard Zambuni, UK

Red: Château Haut-Brion 1978 from double magnum
White: Lucien Boillot Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Clos de la Mouchère 2017
Budget Red: Francois Gay Chorey-lès-Beaune 2017
Budget White: Dirler-Cadé Alsace Edelzwicker 2018
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Bandol rosé 2013 from magnum
Sweet: Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes 2001
Fortified: Dow Vintage Port 1991
Extra choice: Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche 1998
Dud: 2003 Northern Rhône wines in general
Thing: Finding a gigantic hen of the woods on Wandsworth Common (my first one ever and it turns up on my doorstep!) and serving it up to the Bromley Wine Circle
Comments: As ever, it has been a good year for wine. Thank you again Tom for enabling this community which is now woven into my life. There were many contenders for red wine of the year; Château Lynch-Bages 1985 and Cornas Clape 1990 among them, but the Haut-Brion 1978 takes the laurel crown. It was a leaner year for top notch dry whites as it was for sparkling wine. I drank many very good champagnes but none jumped out as worthy of being WOTY. Normally, I leave the rosé category blank, but this year we drank a fabulously fresh and outstanding Bandol Tempier 2013. On the dud front, N. Rhône 2003 easily takes the honours – the wines drunk at Ariana II were dull to undrinkably bad. The growers failed to handle the hot year well. As for my thing, it relates to one of my hobbies – foraging. A simple pleasure, but one that can deliver real excitement.
I have tasted that ’78 Haut-Brion from bottle a couple of times and it was fabulous – but isn’t 1985 Bordeaux such as your Lynch-Bages holding up so well? 2003 proved such a difficult year with the sheer heat, following the deluge of 2002 in the south of France, both a real challenge – Tom

Alec Frusher, UK

Red: Lopez de Heredia, Bosconia, 2004, Spain
White: Mark Haisma, Chassagne-Monrachet 2020, France
Budget Red: Alta Mora, Etna Rosso 2019, Italy
Budget White: Kumeu, Estate Chardonnay 2020, New Zealand
Rosé: A A Badenhorst, Rosé 2020, South Africa
Sparkling: Wiston, South Downs 2017, England
Sweet: Villa Esposto, Muscat 2021, South Africa
Dud: Every Bordeaux I’ve been made to try…
Comments: Interestingly it took me a while to think of many impressive reds I have particularly enjoyed this year. A 05 Felton Road at WIMPs UK Wine Forum offline almost made it but I haven’t had the opportunity to drink Bosconia before and it was in a lovely place and distinctive from their other wines. White was more tricky as lots of options (telling?) and I was between some Riesling, having visited the Mosel, and this white Burgundy. Ultimately the Haisma wine was one I thought I would be opening too early but was remarkably open for business whilst retaining the Monrachet trademarks. For budget I went around the £20 mark and selected one producer, in Kumeu, that gets a lot of press already but consistently delivers for me at this price point. The budget red was more difficult but I gave the nod to Alta Mora and highlighting a region I have explored over the year. At the more “premium” end in Etna I haven’t found anything that gives me much more enjoyment than this and I think it’s incredibly versatile.
Agree on Kumeu, who’s Auckland wines really deliver. I’ve yet to be convinced that their new vineyards further south in Hawkes Bay reach the same standard, but it is early days for those – Tom

Leon M, UK

Red: 2002 Domaine Dujac Echezeaux – served from mag
White: 2007 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile
Budget Red: 2016 Domaine Treloar Le Rescapé
Budget White: 2021 Riverby Estate OVB Old Vines White Blend
Rosé: 2012 Louis Roederer Champagne Vintage Brut Rosé
Sparkling: NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 164eme
Extra choice: 1983 Guy de Barjac Cornas, OR 1991 Noël Verset Cornas
Dud: 2014 Gusbourne Fifty One Degrees North
Thing: This nerdy wine-pages community, and friends in general
Comments: A tough year in many ways, especially towards the beginning, with family health challenges among other things. It has been no small comfort to be a part of this very special wine-nerd community – enjoying great wine and conviviality. It’s been particularly lovely to look back through my notes for the purposes of this exercise, and remember the many fantastic UK Wine Forum offlines. On the wine front – been learning more about Champagne, to my great pleasure, and managed to have some wonderful Northern Rhone experiences. Found myself drinking a little younger – partly evolving tastes, partly the older stuff is becoming rarer and less reliable.
Yes, I have noted that my WOTY are all younger wines (oldest from 2010) which is quite unusual. I think I am craving fresher styles – white, red and sparkling – more and more these days. Great to hear that the wine-pages community has been you rock through a difficult time – Tom

Garry Clark, Wales

Red: Hebron Vineyards “Amphora” Rondo, 2021 Preselli Hills, Wales
White: Gusbourne Winemakers edition Pinot Noir Blanc 2022, England
Budget Red: Sixteen Ridges “Nouveau” Pinot Noir 2022 England
Rosé: Simpsons Estate Railway Hill Pinot Noir Rose 2022, England Simpsons Estate Railway Hill Pinot Noir Rose 2022, England
Sparkling: Lost in a field “Frolic” Pet-Nat, 2021 England (magnum)
Sweet: Bodegas Fallabrino “Alcyone” Tannat NV , Cannalones, Uruguay
Fortrified: de la Riva “Miraflores Baja” Manzanilla Fina, Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain
Extra choice: exclusive Pale Hall single cask Penderyn whisky – fino sherry blood tub
Dud: Cost of living crisis and lack of government support for hospitality industry
Thing: Winning the AA Wine list of the year for Wales
Comments: its been a challenging year but some really nice highs – finding some amazing English and Welsh producers to focus on, producing our own exclusive cask whisky with Penderyn and working on a couple of other bespoke spirits with welsh producers. Highlight was being recognised by the AA for our wine list by winning the Wine List of the Year – Wales. Were continuing to build on that and hope to further expand our domestic wine selection next year.
I’ve known Garry for many years, including his time as sommelier at the sadly departed Arkle restaurant in the Chester Grosvenor. Nice to see all that hard work paying off with the awards, and to see a deep dive into English wines in the list. The choice of the Alcyone also brought a smile to my face: I used it in one of my online-tastings this year, a weird but wonderful fortified Tannat infused with botanicals – Tom

See Tom’s own 2023 awards.

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