Visitors Wines of the Year 2004

See also Tom’s Wines of the Year 2004

three selections below added 12/07/2005

Eli Botzmann, Sweden
Red – Jaboulet La Chapelle 1990
White – Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese GK 2002
Budget red – Jaume Lirac Clos des Sixtes 2003
Budget white – Pauly-Bergweiler ürziger Würtzgarten Riesling Spätlese 1989
Sweet – Touchais Grande Annee 1976
Sparkling – Champagne Dom Perignon 1996
Fortified – Robertson Rebello Valente 1980
Dud – Meo-Camuzet Corton G.C. Clos Roguet 1990

My first encounter with La Chapelle 1990 – it’s just amazing, an immortal wine! The Dönnhoff is also fantastic, it’s got an enormous potential. The Lirac is packed with fruit – this is an area where you can pick up “mini-chateauneufs” at a reasonable price. The semidry spätlese from 1989 was a nice, mature wine at a very good price. The Touchais was an unique experience, could just as well have been just 10 years old. I’ve been a bit disappointed at Dom P in some of the latest vintages, but the 1996 puts it back in the spotlight – it is sooo good right now, but hands off for quite some time. The Rebello Valente is a strong effort in a not so very good vintage – bought for only £20 a few years ago! Finally the big disappointment – the VERY expensive Corton Grand Cru. I would personally estimate a value of perhaps one tenth of it’s real value – and still wouldn’t buy any more of it!

Ronald Massard, France
Red – Armand Rousseau (France) Ruchottes-Chambertin 1990
White – Château de Beaucastel (France) CdP vieilles vignes 1998
Budget red – Domaine Borie de Maurel (France) Minervois cuvée La Féline 2001
Budget white – Ch Tour des Gendres (France) Bergerac cuvée des Conti 2001
Sweet – Robert Wenzel (Austria) Furmint ausbruch 1995
Sparkling – Champagne Salon (France) 1988
Fortified – cuvée Aimé Cazes (France) Muscat de Rivesaltes 1976
Dud – Torbreck (Austrlia) The Descendant 2001
Furmint ausbruch 1995 from the friendly Robert Wenzel was already remarkable when tasting young, but complexity rises now in addition to the legendary balance. Made stays in Languedoc-Roussillon and Australia for a common assessment : most of the good wines there are just too expensive for “budget red” award, and not complex enough for “red” award. Although I crowned a consistent Minervois this year, Rhone is definitely the place for budget wines, esp. Cairanne, Rasteau and Crozes.

Steve Chin, Taipei, Taiwan
Red – Sine Qua Non (California) Just For the Love of It, 2002
White – No award
Budget red – Gracia De Chile (Chile) Cab/Carmenere Rapel Valley, 2003
Budget white – Banrock Station, Australia
Sweet – No award
Sparkling – Champagne Krug 1990
Fortified – No award
Dud – Diamond Creek (California) Gravely Meadow, 1989, Magnum
Sine Qua Non blew me away with its intense fruit yet harmonious perfection. The Budget ones are really cheap, at about US$ 7 a bottle–now, that’s a budget wine! Krug ’90 was just surreal – robust energy under a silky and seductive body. It begs your caress yet manipulate your senses… The dud was on sale for US$ 100, but boy, was it disappointing.

nine selections below added 24/02/2005

Giorghos Hadjistylianou, Cyprus
Red – Marques de Murrieta (Spain) Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva 1970
White – Willi Shafer (Germany) Riesling Auslesse 1975
Budget red – alacios Remondo (Spain) Rioja La Vandimia 2001
Budget white – Dom Gerovassiliou (Greece) “G” Malagousia 2003
Sweet – Donnafugata (Italy) Pasitto di Pandeleria 1999
Sparkling – Moet et Chandon (France) L’ Esprit de Siecle
Fortified – Bodega Toro Albala (Spain) Sherry PX Gran Reserva 1972
Dud – Boutari (Greece) Naoussa 1974
Both Riojas were stunning over roasted venison for the 1968 and roasted baby lamb for the 1970. What better way to eat foies gras with a superb vintage Riesling, that was even blind tasted and was showing mu ch younger than 29yr old Riesling. Gerovassiliou\’s Malagousia who also has 10% Assyrtiko the indiginous grape of Santorini has beautiful perfume density and richnes. Donnafugata is spectacular. I was fortunate enough to tast e this very rare bottle in a tasting this past October in Greece at the World Sommelier Competition along with 1995, 1982, 1956. The P.X.\’s richnes and density makes people say enough after a small glass, not I. I can finish a whole bottle by my self. This is a sort of wine I call Forget Your Friends, I really don’t want to share it with anyone. The Boutari was not my dud, though I was not expecting much by this wine though It was holding up quite we ll. Astonishing perfomance by a 30yr old Xynomavro and that goes to show that this grape’s (Xynomavro) potential is tremendous

Benjamin Bevan, UK
Red – Georges de Vogue (France) Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru 2000
White – Bonneau du Martray (France) Corton Charlamagne 1992
Budget red – Giovanella Fugazza (Italy) Umore Nero 2003
Budget white – Rolly Gassmann (France) Riesling 2002
Sweet – Huet (France) Vouvray Moelleux 2003
Sparkling – Pol Roger Champagne 1996
Fortified – Taylor Port 1966
Dud – Bertagna Vougeot Le Prieure 1971
I stupidly got out of the habit of writing notes in my little red book, now I can’t remember half the stuff I’ve tasted. I know I tasted an earth-shattering red from some unknown estate in Italy; I offered to import the wine there and then, now I can’t remember its name. Not exactly Robert Parker am I?

Jonathan Godfrey, UK
Red – Chateau Palmer (France) 1983
White – Feudi di San Gregorio (Italy) Fiano di Avellino 2002
Budget red – Dei (Italy) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1997
Budget white – Dr Loosen (Ger) Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett 2002
Sweet – Chateau d’Yquem (France) 1988
Sparkling – No award
Fortified – No award
Dud – Chateau Bel Air Lagrave (France) Moulis 1990
The Dei, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1997 qualifies for the budget red by 1p, but was in truth a serious contender for my red of the year. Easily the best value wine I’ve ever purchased. The dud was sadly proof that you can go wrong with 1990 Bordeaux and I sadly opened a second bottle to check.

Chris Sheppard, UK
Red – Kim Crawford (NZ) Pia 1999 –
White – Penfolds (Australia) Reserve Bin 00A Chardonnay 2000
Budget red – Sainsbury 2001 Portuguese Premium Red
Budget white – Trulli (Italy) Chardonnay both 2002 and 2003
Sweet – Chateau Grinou (France) Saussignac 2001
Sparkling – Deutz vintage champagne
Fortified – No award
Dud – Marques Monistrol (Spain) gran reserva rose cava 1997
Kim Crawford Pia is NZ meets Bordeaux, whilst Pendolds Chardonnay is cut price Yattarna. Honourable mention for NZ Pinot Noir which is really giving Burgundy something to think about. Quartz Reef 2002 (L&W) was one of the stars. Actually the Marques Monistrol 1998 is OK.

Richard Hackenburg, USA
Red – Joseph Phelps (USA) Insignia 1997
White – Far Niente (USA) Chardonnay 2002
Budget red – Hess Collection (USA) 1999
Budget white – Cakebread (USA) Chardonnay 2000
Sweet – Freemark Abby (USA) 1998 Icewine
Sparkling – No award
Fortified – No award
Dud – Beaulieu Vinyard (USA) Georges Latour Cabernet 2000
Just thought a few entries from the Colonies would be welcome. While some do not relish the New World wines, the best rule of wine I have found is “a wine that is enjoyed is a good wine.” The wines listed above were a hit at several dinner parties and complemented the food in a special way. The Insignia was particlarly wonderful with grilled loin lamb chops. The BV Latour was not so much a dud as it was a disappointment in the quality versus price race.

Ricardo Florence, Brazil
Red – Chateau La Nerthe (France) Cuvée des Cadettes 1998
White – Herdade do Esporão (Portugal) Private Selection 2002
Budget red – Nieto Senetiner (Argentina) Malbec Reserva 2003
Budget white – Villard (chile) Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Sweet – Grgich Hills (USA) Violetta Late Harvest 1994
Sparkling – Chandon (Brazil) Excellence Brut
Fortified – Niepoort Colheita Port 1976
Dud – Kumeu River (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2003
My choice of sparkling wine is to introduce you a sample of what Brazil begins to present…

Marco Roccarino, Italy
Red – Baglio Hopps (Sicilia) Incantari 2000
White – Zind Humbrecht (Alsace) Riesling Clos Hauserer 1996
Budget red – Firriato (Sicilia) Santagostino 2000
Budget white – Unterortl (Alto Adige) Riesling Castel Juval 2000
Sweet – La Vis (Trentino) Mandolaia 2000
Sparkling – Ruinart (Champagne) Dom Ruinart 1993
Fortified – No award
Dud – Gaja (Piemonte) Rossj Bass 2002

Marc Feussner, Germany
Red – d’Arenberg (Australia) Dead Arm Shiraz 1997
White – Dönnhoff (Ger) Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese 2001
Budget red – Baltsar Gracian (Spain) San Alejandro Calatyud 2001
Budget white – Casaldi Serra (Italy) Umani Ronchi Verdiccio 2001
Sweet – Didinger (Germany) Bopparder Hamm Feuerlay Eiswein
Sparkling – Segura Viudas (Spain) Brut Reserva Heredad
Fortified – Niepoort (Portugal) Vintage 1997
Dud – Aldo Conterno (Italy) Barolo “Bussia” Piemont 1997
Inspite of the graet “hassle” around Conterno’s Barolo, the wine was nothing more then average…not more!

Andrew Paddock, UK
Red – Leoville Las Cases (France) 1994
White – No award
Budget red – Concho y Toro (Chile) Merlot 2002
Budget white – Bert Simon (Germany) Riesling Kabinett 1990
Sweet – Chateau Guiraud (France) Sauternes 1990
Sparkling – Delbeck 1996 Champagne
Fortified – Krohn L.B.V 1987 Port
Dud – Chateau Lafite Rothschild (France) Pauillac 1988
Having had several vintages of Clos du Marquis, this was my first experience of the Grand Vin which did not disappoint, unlike the Lafite which was very pleasant but I expected more. The Delbeck 1996 being pinot dominated was still youthful but very impressive.

six selections below added 08/02/2005

Stephen Pickles, UK
Red – Vieux Telegraphe (France) CNdP 1989
White – H. Boillot (France) Puligny Montrachet 1961
Budget red – Trenel (France) Chiroubles 2002
Budget white – Mesmer (Germany) Muskateller kabinet 2003
Sweet – Montilla Moriles (Spain) Electrico 1972
Sparkling – Champagne Boulard (France) Brut tradition NV
Fortified – Valdespino (Spain) Amontillado Coliseo Sherry NV
Dud – Champagne Dom Perignon (France) 1993
An all round excellent year largely thanks to this community. Several of these wines were at offlines. the Boillot was amazing stuuf – it lasted about 20 minutes , but was fantastic and complex. The Mesmer a surprise – I would love to see this as a ringer in an alsace tasting. Francis Boulard’s Brut tradition is just excellent especially wih a few years in bottle. my last bottle of Electrico was waved farewell at the SB – I have found every one fascinating. Coliseo is mind boggling stuff ,amazing depth. DP 93 wasn’t a dud so much as a dissapointment, my first DP and I just found it a bit soft- it must be me right??

Daniel Lopez Roca, Argentina
Red – Terrazas de los Andes (Argentina) Afincado Malbec 2001
White – No award
Budget red – Altos Las Hormigas Malbec (Argentina) Malbec 2001
Budget white – No award
Sweet – Weinert Cosecha de Otoño (Argentina) n/v
Sparkling – Nieto Senetiner (Argentina) Pinot/Chardonnay Brut n/v
Fortified – No award
Dud – No award
I tasted the Altos Las Hormigas in Argentina last year and thought it was a great Malbec too for the price – Tom.

Gary Clark, UK
Red – Henschke (Australia) Hill of Grace 1996
White – Dogpoint Vineyards (NZ) Section 94 Sauvignon 2002
Budget red – No award
Budget white – No award
Sweet – Chateau d’Yquem (France) 1969
Sparkling – Champagne Krug (France) 1990
Fortified – Weisse & Krohn (Portugal) 1965 Colhieta
Dud – Champagne Krug (France) 1990 Clos de Mesnil
Can’t really narrow the budget ones down to one red and one white, there have been so many good ones tried recently. How fortunate that my job allows me the oportunity to try some really great wines.

John Holmes, UK (but living in Texas)
Red – Phelps (USA) Innesfree 2002 $29
White – No award
Budget red – Wild Horse (USA) Pinot Noir 2001 $18
Budget white – Nobillo Icon Sauvignon Blanc 2002 $18
Sweet – Klein Constantia Vin de Constance (SA) 1993
Sparkling – Champagn Veuve Cliquot (France) 993
Fortified – Lustau Jarana Fino Sherry $20
Dud – Graham’s Port 1997
Sorry to say my taste has once again swung toward the wines that are avaialble in the USA. The Innesfree was a great find. only produced in exceptional years and this production fully meets that description. It was superbly balanced, great fruit and excellent structure. Will (IMHO) last quite a few more years yet. The Vin de Constance was predictably superb, it is almost a shame to share it !Budget Sherry was quite surprsing and very good with a winter soup. Tom, another great wine year in Texas but I do so miss my French based cellar !!!.

Tom De Vecchi, UK
Red – No award
White – Aldo Conterno (Italy) ‘Bussiador’ Langhe Chardonnay 1999
Budget red – Señorio de los Llanos (Spain) Valdepeñas Gran Reserva 1997
Budget white – Olivier Leflaive (France) Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles, 2003
Sweet – Colosi (Italy), Malvasia del Lipari, Passito 1997
Sparkling – Champagne Billecart-Salmon (France) Rose NV
Fortified – Grahams (Portugal) Vintage Port, 1970
Dud – Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc, 2003
The Old World has done well this year – this isn’t an ideological choice – just happenstance, I assure you. Difficult – lots didn’t make it in. For Red: some were very good but no greats – even a 1994 Latour and an Almaviva didn’t do it for me, and lots of Red Burgundy Premier Cru was good but not fantastic. For White: Conterno does world-beating Barolo but i loved this too, in a fabulous restaurant in Turin (‘Vintage 1997’). Lots of runners up – Planeta Chardonnay in the great Italian white stakes, and Chartron et Trebuchet Puligny-Montrachet Les Folatieres 2001 also second. The budget section is the only banker: the Los Llanos bargainous new- Rioja-style at a cut price. Leflaive’s masterpiece a mini-meursault and puligny at less than a tenner (just, at the moment) – very happy drinking. Will return next year to stock up on both of these. The Malvasia was rather unusual, from the small volcanic island of Lipari – with cantuccini dipped in was heaven. B-S Rose NV is a perennial favourite of mine – any vaguely special occasion merits it (birthdays, driving tests…). The Grahams made my nose and throat slip into bliss. And as for the Cloudy Bay – happened to taste it alongside a 2002 and it was a lame effort in comparison.

Pete McMillen, New Zealand
Red – Leoville Barton (France) St Julien 1985
White – Trimbach Clos St Hune (France) Alsace 2000
Budget red – Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache (Australia) 2002
Budget white – Disznoko Dry Furmint (Hungary) 2002
Sweet – Disznoko Tokaji Eszencia (Hungary) 1988
Sparkling – Gosset Brut Millesime (France) 1996
Fortified – No award
Dud – Yalumba Virgilius Viognier (Australia) 2001
With much anticipation I opened Yalumba Virgilius and was so underwhelmed I let my partner drink the rest (she liked it). For NZ$45 I expected a significantly more complex & interesting affair. However (at least to me) it was flabby, overly unctuous, and one-dimensional. Yes, it had those apricot tones on the nose but that was about it. On the palate, not much at all save for an oiliness I didn’t enjoy. Very dull wine.

six selections below added 21/01/2005

Duncan Fawthrop, UK
Red – Louis Latour (France) Romanee St Vivant Les Quatres Journaux 1995
White – Kappel (Germany) Enkircher Zeppwingert Riesling Kabinett 1975
Budget red – Terrazas de los Andes (Argentina) Malbec Reserva 2000
Budget white – Geller-Steffen (Ger) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 03
Sweet – No award
Sparkling – No award
Fortified – Quinta do Noval (Portugal) LBV 1996
Dud – No award
I was really impressed with loads of the wines I tried in the Mosel, which was a real eye-opener for me, and the Enkircher had aged beautifully and gracefully. The burgundy was exceptional – I had high expectations, and they were more than met. The Malbec beat a Chateau Montus 94 by a whisker in the budget category – both very impressive. An extra award: Rosé: Francois Chidaine (France) Touraine Rosé 2003. Passed the holiday wine test with flying colours – as delicious in my back garden in Nottingham as sat on a terrace beside the Loire.

Ben Coffman, UK
Red – Ch. la Voulte-Gasparets (France) Corbières, Cuvee Romain Pauc 2001
White – Fairview (S. Africa) Chardonnay Akkerbos 2000
Budget red – Señorio de los Llanos (Spain) Valdepeñas Gran Reserva 1997
Budget white – Rene Michel (France) Vire Clesse 1997
Sweet – No award
Sparkling – Champagne Krug 1988
Fortified – No award
Dud – Thevenot Machal (France) Puligny Montrachet Les Charmes 2000
The Voulte Gasparets was my first introduction to serious Languedoc wines. Brilliant with food. I adore this “high end” Fairview, despite it low cost and bought the last bottles from Oddbins. The Valdepenas is an obvious choice. The Vire Clesse was exactly what I want from burgundy – complexity with zip and lightness – but rarely find, irrespective of price. The Krug was almost my dud. Perhaps I just don’t “get” champagne? The Puligny was nothing the Vire Clesse was: dull and flabby with nothing to write home about.

Charles Taylor, UK
Red – Clos de l’Obac (Spain) 2001 Priorat
White – Kumeu River (NZ) Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay 2000
Budget red – No award
Budget white – Girardin (France) Rully 1er Cru 2002
Sweet – Disznoko (Hungary) Tokaji 6 Puttonyos 1993
Sparkling – Champagne Veuve Cliquot 1996
Fortified – No award
Dud – Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2002
There are three red wines that really impressed me: this one for it’s purity and elegance; Artadi Pagos Viejos 1999, and a Taurasi whose details have been deleted from my memory bank. Whites came a poor second, but the KR was long, clean and refreshing. The Rully is only budget because I bought 5 cases for a party. Great wine. The Tockai was my favourite wine of the year. I don’t drink much fizz, but the VC, a wine-pages wine of the week, stood out. The Cloudy Bay, as someone once said in the Forum tasted of oak juice.

Jakub Kalinowski, Poland
Red – Bodegas Lan (Spain) Culmen de Lan 1995
White – Jäger (Austria) Riesling Smaragd Ried Achleiten 2002
Budget red – Bodegas Castaño (Spain) Hecula 2001
Budget white – Georg Breuer (Germany) Riesling Sauvage 2003
Sweet – Oremus (Hungary) Tokaji Furmint Late Harvest 2000
Sparkling – No award
Fortified – Calem (Portugal) Late Bottled Vintage 1997
Dud – No award
If I were to choose just one, it would be Culmen – a really fabulous wine from Rioja. The budget red – something more fruity from Yecla (south of Spain). I believe Tom recommended it somewhere in the past. As for the whites – I’m a big fan of Austrian and German Rieslings – and both of the above mentioned were lovely. The Tokaji Late Harvest proved to be better than some of the Aszu I’ve had. And finally and most fortunately, no duds last year.

Brian Whitlock, UK
Red – Shafer Vineyards (USA) Merlot 2001
White – Brokenwood (Australia, Hunter Valley) Semillon 1996
Budget red – Ch. Anglade-Bellevue (France, Blaye) Cuvee Prestige 2000
Budget white – Ch. La Rose Bellevue (France, Blaye) Cuvee Prestige 2002
Sweet – St Gisbertus (Germany) Beerenauslese 2002
Sparkling – Gloria Ferrer (USA) Royal Cuvee 1996
Fortified – Gonzales Byass (Spain) Old Solera Noe
Dud – They went down the sink!! Including some Chablis
A trip to the USA gave me the chance to sample some of the better wines in the Napa region. My best cellar visit ever was provided this year by Gonzalez Byass one August evening. Hence the Noe, the visit started at 8.30pm and finished at 1am. A couple of visits to Blaye gave us two very drinkable budget wines at about 7 euros. The sweet wine comes courtesy of Tom’s wine of the week.

Boris Politi, France
Red – Prieuré saint jean de Bebian (France) Coteaux du Languedoc 2001
White – Coulée de Serrant (France) Savenniere coulee de serrant 2001
Budget red – Domaine de la Croix Senaillet (France) Macon 2003
Budget white – Ch. Clos de Vaulicheres (France) Bourgogne Tonnerre 2000
Sweet – Cru Barrejats (France) Sauternes Barsac 1996
Sparkling – Champagne Krug Rosé
Fortified – No award
Dud – all the wines from Errazuriz (Chile)
My best wine of the year are strangely both from 2001 (quite young for these winemakers) and both made by grower with a temper. Cru Barrejats 96 is quite different and wonderful, depending on the weeks it is either suronde’s 99 of Barrejats 96 both are made by friends….actually all but Krug & Errazuriz are made by friends… so I guess that friendship makes them better!

six selections below added 18/01/2005

Liam Tait, UK
Red – Chateau Boucasse (France) Madiran 1996
White – Tissot (France, Jura) Chardonnay Arbois 2002
Budget red – Kangarilla Road (Australia) Shiraz Viognier 2002
Budget white – Landau du Val (South Africa) Semillon 2003
Sweet – Hidalgo (Spain) Pedro Ximenez 1974
Sparkling – Perrier Jouet (France) Champagne Belle Epoque 1988
Fortified – Delaforce (Portugal) Quinta da Corte 1978
Dud – Chateau La Patache (Pomerol) 1997
Decided to go a little less mainstream with some impressive wines from some less well known areas. The Boucasse was sublime with dark fruit riddled with spice. The Chardonnay from tissot was a real find with a nose not unlike champagne, rich fruits and a touch of yeast. Kangarilla Road, full with no harsh edges and a superb nose of blackcurrant and apricot. A 98 year old vine semillon, great richness and body but will be better with time! A 30 year solera aged sherry that was sublimely rich. PJ 1988, perfectly ready, im delighted I still have 3 left! The Delaforce was great but the Pomerol, I’m afraid im still looking for the fruit… Also great, Cordier wines from the Macconais, Barbera 00 and Barolo 99 from Aldo Conterno, Hermitage 90 from Bernard Chave and Isabel Pinot Noir 01.

Stefan Reynolds, UK
Red – Chateau Gruard Larose (France) St Julien 1961
White – Eradus (NZ) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Budget red – Val de Trono (Italy) Aglianico del Vulture 2000
Budget white – La Combe de Grinou (France) Bergerac 2003
Sweet – Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey (France) Suaternes 1970
Sparkling – G Gruet et Fils (France) Blanc de Blanc Brut Millesime 1998
Fortified – Warre Vintage Port 1970
Dud – No award

Alan Stewart, Canada
Red – Thornhaven Estates (BC Canada) Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir 2001
White – Mission Hill (BC Canada) Reserve Pinot Gris 2003
Budget red – Finca Los Primos (Argentina) Malbec 2001
Budget white – Santa Rita (Chile) Limited edition Sauvignon Blanc 2000
Sweet – Sumac Ridge (BC Canada) Pinot Blanc Icewine 2000
Sparkling – No award
Fortified – No award
Dud – No award

Paul Redfern, UK
Red – Haut-Brion (France) 1990
White – Domaine Leflaive (France) Chevalier Montrachet 1993
Budget red – Rustenberg (South Africa) John X Merriman 2001
Budget white – Tim Adams (Australia) Riesling 2001
Sweet – Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 1983
Sparkling – Champagne Krug 1985
Fortified – Sandemans Vintage Port 1955
Dud – Haut-Brion (France) 1959
The red is always difficult as I drink far more red wine than anything else but this just pipped Rouget Cros Parentoux 1991 and Haut Brion 1989. The John X Merriman may not quite be budget but at around £9 is fantastic value. Tim Adams was a bargain from Tescos binend Xmas stock from last year. The Rieussec was a clear winner and the Krug 1985 just pipped the 1988 which I had just a couple of weeks later.The dud was simply because the cost of the bottle was enormous for an Haut Brion vertical and this bottle was past it.

Matthew Edgeller, UK
Red – Club Batonnage (Austria) 2001
White – Zind Humbrecht (France) Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl VT 2001
Budget red – Musella (Italy) Valpolicella Superiore 1998
Budget white – Nicolas Catena (Argentina) Chardonnay 2002
Sweet – Horst Sauer (Germany) Riesling TBA 2002
Sparkling – Seppelt (Australia) Show Reserve Sparkling Shiraz 1990
Fortified – Fonseca (Portugal) Vintage Port 1963
Dud – Beaux Freres (USA) Beaux Freres Vineyard Pinot Noir 1999
Club Batonnage – a blend of old vine Cabernet, Blaufrankisch & Merlot. 576 bottle production. 15.5% alc. A true Parker behemoth. The budget red was one of Tom’s WOTW (and great stuff), and the Catena Chardonnay is surely one of the best under a tenner. My first experience of ‘vintage’ port did not disappoint. If the Beaux Freres were a Burgundy, I suspect it would be going through a closed phase. However, with it’s extracted, bitter, tarry flavours, and at over fifty pounds a bottle – this was filth.
The Musella (from Oddbins) was a cracking value wine which I’d quite forgotten about – thank’s for the reminder! – Tom

John Clark, UK
Red – Rousseau (France) Ruchottes-Chambertin 1989
White – Kuentz- Bas (France) Riesling Pfersisberg 1999
Budget red – Madfish range (Western Australia)
Budget white – Madfish range (Western Australia)
Sweet – Ch d’Yquem (France) 1967
Sparkling – Billecart Salmon (France) Champagne NV
Fortified – No award
Dud – Hermitage La Chapelle (France) 1978
Very disappointed with all vintages tasted this year of Jaboulet wines. The Yquem was a truly special wine to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday
When I tasted the 1978 La Chapelle about 6 years ago it was absolutely brilliant, and in fact was my red wine of the year for 1999. The same generous friends who shared that bottle with me brought another to dinner in my house this year, in August, and it was not nearly so good; a bit dry and awkward. I know they have one bottle left which – if I’m very lucky – they might share with me once again, and maybe a clearer picture will emerge on this wine – Tom

six selections below added 13/01/2005

Mark Carrington, UK
Red – Château Margaux (France) 1983
White – Zind Humbrecht (France) Pinot Gris Clos Jesbal 1996
Budget red – Domaine des Pins (France) St Amour 2003
Budget white – Ca’ dei Frati (Italy) Lugana 2003
Sweet – Château Rieussec (France) 1983
Sparkling – No award
Fortified – Warre Vintage Port 1983
Dud – Chateau d’Yquem (Sauternes) 1989
Margaux 1983: as good as its reputation Unfortunately Decanter has just given the St Amour 5 stars Riuessec & Warre’s ’83 have been consistently fine.
Mark doesn’t give a reason for the Yquem being dud of the year: for me 1989 is one of the all-time great vintages, so I am presuming this was a faulty bottle – or perhaps just too expensive for what it delivered? – Tom

Toby Shillito, UK
Red – Borie de Maurel (France) La Feline 2002
White – No award
Budget red – Academia del Sole (Italy) Tunisian Carignan 1999
Budget white – Flagstone (South Africa) Noon Gun
Sweet – Klein Constantia (South Africa) Vin de Constance 1996
Sparkling – Nytimber (UK) Classic Cuvee 1996
Fortified – Oloroso from Wine Society
Dud – Penfold’s (Australia) Grange 1996
Visited Borie de Maurel after blindly selecting at lunch nearby – La Feline is meaty, full and complete also loved Cuvee Sylla for top of range ripe syrah. Can’t choose top white. Tunisian Carignan at £5 from Sainsbury’s excelled expectations (but not so sure if more recent 2000 is so concentrated), winemaker Brian Fletcher is regular contributer to wine pages. Flagstone lead the world in gluggers of all types! Bought Napoleon’s favourite sweetie in SA 2 years ago – imperfect due to cellaring and travel, but great with Christmas foie gras. I’m not keen on sparkling generally, but the leesy creamy richness from Nytimber hooked me. Pure chocolatey syrup from Portugal – great on Green and Black’s vanilla ice cream. Dud is Grange for over-oak, marketing hype and pseudo-typicity, terroir it ain’t.

Keith Protheroe, UK and South Africa
Red – Clinet (France)Pomerol 1990
White – Vergelegen (South Africa) Semillion/SB 2000
Budget red – Webersburg (South Africa) Cabernet 1999
Budget white – Chateau de Cruzeau Blanc (France) 2001
Sweet – Klein Constantia (South Africa) Vin de Constance 1989
Sparkling – Twee Jorge Gezellen (South Africa) Borealis 1993
Fortified – Martinez (Portugal) vintage Port 1985
Dud – Many corked wines – mainly French it has to be said.
My daughter has married into a wealthy Yorkshire family,and one of the benefits for me,is the opportunity to taste wine from father-in laws 3000 bottle cellar. The Clinet was the pick of a number of fine wines tasted and I am looking forward to the christening of our daughters second child in May,when I anticipate the opportunity to get stuck into his stock of Haut-Brion and Lafite!! The Webersburg is a real bargain.Ernie Els sourced wine from this estate for his Rust en Vrede produced wine rated 93 points by WS.He has now bought Webersburg,so expect the price to at least triple,for essentially the same quality of wine. I still maintain that the TWG Borealis is one of the best champagne style wines around and even the great Palmer, Pritchard and dare I state Stevenson may be fooled into thinking this is a great champagne.

Nathan King, UK
Red – Celler de Cap¸anes (Spain) Cal Siscon 2000
White – Domaine Tremblay Bouchard (France) Chablis 2000
Budget red – Wynn’s (Australia) Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
Budget white – Sierra Los Andes (Chile) Gewurtztraminer 2002/3 (M&S)
Sweet – Waitrose Moscatel de Valencia (Spain)
Sparkling – Laurent Perrier (France) Brut 1995
Fortified – Warres Otima 10 Year Old Tawny
Dud – Just about any white rioja – Caceres especially
The Cal Siscon, for the money (£13) was my top wine and was most readily enjoyable. A more refined version of Mas Collet with merlot instead of CS in the blend. Sadly, the only bottle I have been able to find. Unaccustomed to expensive white the Chablis, in my back garden pre-BBQ was the standout. The Wynn’s, on offer at Majestic for £8 was blinding, not quite ready but would beat many Bordeauxs. The Gewurtz is apparently on offer for £3 at the moment, perfect summer/aperitif drinking for a neglible price. The sweet was the only one I had all year – liquid marmalade and great with bluies. The L-P fizz was easily the best I’ve tried this year – as a non-champagne fan – I’d like a mature version to try. The port was no brainer, between Warres and the Dow LBV on offer before Xmas for a fiver. I now know that I hate white rioja, the Caceres assailed my olfactory glands with blue cheese, plastic and vomit – which I almost did. Seeing as most of my wine is red budget then I must say the following have given me pleasure: Guigal CdR 2001, M&S Perrin Rasteau 2001, Barbera d’Alba Sucule 2001 (Majestic), Pedro do Montes 2000 (Portugal). Cheeky albums of the year Kanye West – College Dropout and Franz Ferdinand.

Mark Temple, UK
Red – Fattorie Le Terrazze (Italy) Sassi Neri 1999
White – Henry Pellé (France) Menetou-Salon Clos du Ratier 2001
Budget red – Dominio de Tares (Spain) Cepas Viejas 2001
Budget white – Torres Viña Sol, or a Majestic Riesling
Sweet – Tokaji (the one at Oddbins at about 20 quid)
Sparkling – One of the Jacquesson ones at Decanter tasting
Fortified – Gonzales-Byass (Spain) Matusalém
Dud – Antinori (Italy) Chianti Classico Riserva 2000
OK, mine are cheaper than everyone else’s 🙁 I may well have tried even better ones at tastings, but I can’t really trust my judgement on the basis of a few sips in between so many others. Sassi Neri, produced at Fattorie Le Terrazze in the Marche was bought at the cellar a couple of years back – fabulous, ineffably gorgeous wine. The Menetou is lovely too, minerally, even honeyed tho quite dry of course, and blows any Sancerre I’ve ever tried out of the water. One my Dad brought back from the cave. The only real competitor was a Jurancon 2000, Chant des Vignes from Domaine Cauhapé. The Tares, one of many great wines I bought in Spain last year is possibly the best wine available in Spain under £10 (tho only just), but faced stiff competition from a number of Sicilian Nero d’Avolas. Haven’t drunk half as many great sherries as I should have done… I feel a trip to Jérez in the offing… The Antinori wine was a big disappointment, given their usual high standards.

Bill Nanson, Switzerland
Red – Joseph Drouhin (France) Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Petits Monts 1999
White – Romanée-Conti (France) Montrachet 2001
Budget red – Mont du Toit (South Africa) Mont du Toit 2000
Budget white – Guy Roulot (France) Bourgogne Blanc 1999
Sweet – Mondavi (USA) Napa Valley Botrytis Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Sparkling – the ‘funny’ grape one at Ali’s before the Ubiquitous Chip!
Fortified – No award
Dud – Mouton Rothschild (France) 1994
The Petits Monts is probably better than many a negociant Rchebourg, young but gorgeous – I just bought the remaining 8 I could find. The Montrachet finish continued for 15 minutes making the following DRC ’01 Echezeaux untasteable! The MdT just made the price on a special offer – it’s probably worth £20! Roulot continues to offer a steal of a wine from this vintage. The Mondavi is concentrated marmalady unctuousness. Probably not the ideal environment but the walkround tasting at superbowl left the Mouton struggling in the wake of £10 wines… And what was that unusual champagne at Ali’s?

six selections below added 11/01/2005

Henning Bakken, Norway
Red – Le Machioche (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 1993
White – Michel Juillot (France) Corton Charlemagne 2002
Budget red – Fattoria di Rietine (Italy) Chianti Classico 2001
Budget white – La Chablisienne (France) Chablis Cuvee LC 2000
Sweet – Altesino (Italy) Vin Santo 1997
Sparkling – Guy Charlemagne (France) Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Fortified – Gould Campbell Vintage Port 1977
Dud – Biondi-Santi (Italy) Rosso di Montalcino 1999
The Brunello was enjoyed at a small trattoria inside the city walls of Montalcino, the surroundings probably had something to do with the impression..The Corton is young but great. I haven`t had that many Champagne, but this one I enjoyed. Probably taste more in the year to come. The Rosso is ok, but at twice the price than everybody else it is silly.

Tristan Sjoberg, UK
Red – Ch. Margaux (France, Margaux) 2000
White – Beaucastel Roussanne V.V. (C’neuf du Pape) 1999
Budget red – Bonassia Estate (Morocco, Meknes) Cab Sauv 2002
Budget white – La Chiara (Italy, Gavi) 2002
Sweet – Ch de la Chartreuse (France, Sauternes) 1995
Sparkling – Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut (France, Champagne) NV
Fortified – Taylor’s Vintage Port (Portugal, Douro) 2000
Dud – Le Pin (France, Pomerol) 1995
The Margaux was not just the highlight of the year, but probably the highlight of my winetasting life to date. Simply the best wine I have ever had the plesure to taste. Shame it’s £300 a bottle! The Bonassia Estate produces some great value reds, especially the Cab Sauv and Syrah. I had high hopes for the ’95 Le Pin but it was a let-down of gargantuan proportions. Thin, dilute and lacking any finish to speak of.

Matthew Mellor, UK
Red – Château Gruaud-Larose (St-Julien, France) 1982
White – Zind-Humbrecht (Alsace, France) Clos Windsbuhl Pinot Gris 1996
Budget red – A. Coche-Bizouard (France) Bourgogne Pinot Noir 1999
Budget white – Tim Adams (Australia) Clare Valley Riesling 2003
Sweet – Château Guiraud (Sauternes, France) 1990
Sparkling – Joseph Perrier (Champagne, France) Brut 1979
Fortified – Marks & Spencer Fino (Spain) Sherry
Dud – R Engel (Burgundy, France) Vosne-Romanée 1996
Once again, I have the Cambridge offline’s generous donors to thank for many of the wines in this list. Glad to say that we’ve now agreed to meet quarterly! Didn’t venture out much this year, so choice was more limited than last, but still, some good wines.

Ben Hopkins, UK
Red – Ch. Langoa Barton (France) 1996
White – Dom Leflaive (France) Chevalier Montrachet 1995
Budget red – Castello Vicchiomaggio (Italy) Ripa delle Mandorle 1993
Budget white – Penfolds (Australia) Yattarna 1999
Sweet – No award
Sparkling – Krug (France) 1985
Fortified – No award
Dud – No award
The Langoa Barton, Chevalier Montrachet and the Krug 1985 were all served at a friends 30th at Pied a Terre early last year, and I don’t think I tasted or drank better all year in combination with fantastic food and company, which for me is very important. The Yattarna I got for £6ish due to Tesco’s strange pricing errors, but if I’d paid £40 I would have been tempted to put it in the “dud” column. But one hell of a wine for £6. The Italian “budget” red I really like, elegant, mature, sour cherryish fruit. About a tenner if you buy a case.

Mark Robertson, France
Red – Olga Raffault (France) Chinon Les Picasses 1985
White – Didier Dagueneau (France) Pouilly-Fume Cuvee Silex 2000
Budget red – H. Marionnet (France) Touraine Premier Vendange 2001
Budget white – L. Truet (France) Touraine-Amboise Chenin Blanc 2002
Sweet – Domaine Ogereau (France) Coteaux du Layon Cuvee Prestige 1997
Sparkling – Jackie Blot (France) Montlouis (MT) Sans Dosage NV
Fortified – No award
Dud – Antinori (Italy) Tignanello 1995
Another unashamedly Loire centric list. Raffault – superb mature Cab. Franc – musky & spicy ; Dagueneau – minerality in a bottle – who says SB is a 2nd division grape ? ; Marionnet – 100% Gamay – no sulphur used – like eating super ripe grapes off the vine ; Truet – Gold medal wine from Angers a steal at €5.50 ; Ogereau – layers of honey, pineapple and refreshing lemon-zest acidity ; Blot – simply the best Methode Traditionelle I’ve ever had ; Antinori – disappointingly “international” in style. I’ve got another 10 as well as a case of the 1997 so I’m hoping they’ll gain some individuality with further aging.

Eddie Tsang, Hong Kong
Red – Chateau La Conseillante (Pomerol) 1990
White – Domiane de Chevalier Blanc (Graves) 2001
Budget red – Argento Malbec Mendoza (Argentina) 2003
Budget white – Dr Loosen Villa Loosen Riesling (Germany) 2003
Sweet – Chateau d’Yquem (Sauternes) 1989
Sparkling – Dom Ruinart Rosé (Champagne) 1988
Fortified – Fonseca Vintage (Port) 1994
Dud – Pesquera Janus Reserva (Spain) 1995
What a year with lots of great wine! 90 La Conseillante was simply gorgeous and unbeatable. 89 d’Yquem was so young that my friends and I really felt guilty to kill such a lovely baby! 95 Janus just not meet the standard of 94.

six selections below added Thusday 6th January

Paul Howard, UK
Red – Torres (Spain) Grans Muralles Penedes DO 1997
White – Nicolas Joly (France) Savennières Clos de Coulée de Serrant 1990
Budget red – Domaine Boyar (Bulgaria) Blue Ridge Merlot 2001
Budget white – J Ginglinger (France) Alsace Gewurtztraminer 1999
Sweet – Domaine Huet (France) Vouvray Moelleux Le Mont 1er Trie 2003
Sparkling Jacques Selosse (France) Champagne “Substance” Solera aged
Fortified – Fernando de Castilla (Spain) Dry Antique Oloroso Sherry
Dud – Turley (California) Zinfandel Dogtown 2001
A plea for Rosé: Rosé d’Un Jour VdT. Mark Angeli. Groslot Demi-Sec, Biodynamic. 2003. Thouarcé, Loire, France. Also (inexpensive): Rosat. Cellier de Capcanes Rosado. Montsant DO, Spain. The Muralles and Savennières are both perfect now. The Merlot: £2.99! Gewurtztraminer bought at the property. Vouvray won’t be ready for 20 years but is going to be fantastic. Selosse takes it for a totally individual take on Champagne. The Old Oloroso I kept buying all year. The dud: I love Zin, but this was a spirity 16%: stupid wine making. And a year of some wonderful red and white burgundy too!
Good idea – we’ll include Rosé as a category next year for sure. Wines 2, 4, 5 and 6 in Paul’s list are biodynamically produced – Tom
Mark Palmer, UK
Red – Ch Palmer (France) Margaux 1990
White – Fontaine-Gagnard (France) Criots Batard Montrachet 1996
Budget red – Lesec (France) Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Rubis 2001
Budget white – Domaine de l’Hortus (France) Bergerie de l’Hortus 2002
Sweet – Ch Climens (France) Barsac 1988
Sparkling – Salon (France) Champagne 1988
Fortified – Fonseca (Portugal) Vintage Port 1994
Dud – Marquis d’Angerville (France) Volnay Taillepieds 1994
Franz Ferdinand or Nick Cave, for Album of the Year? It would certainly have been Rough Trade compilation received with my subscription to their Album club, had it not been an anthology of 2003 – Joy Zipper’s Check Out My New Jesus the standout track for me…. Wine? oh yeah…. a very late entry by Palmer 1990. A perfect illustration of latent power rumbling under a serene surface, only the very reserved nose holding it back from near perfection. Another 5 years in bottle should sort that out though. I like the restrained F-G style and this just kept revealing its secrets one at a time until the bottle was finally finished. It probably had still more to tell. Cases 4 and 5 of the Cuvee Rubis will be going into the Palmer cellar in January. For all of its faults this is just brilliant budget drinking. I’ve voted with my feet on this one. The l’Hortus worked brilliantly with every type of food thrown at it this summer, exactly what I want from my budget whites. The Climens and Fonseca were memorably paired with a ripe Stilton and both lived up to the numerous plaudits that they have been given by the various critics. The Salon was written up at the time and discussed to death, so I have nothing more to add…. …and finally the dud. Out of 8 offliners, including probably the best blind taster you’ll ever meet, nobody even put it in the right country, let alone pin it down as Volnay. Oh dear.

Paul Anderson, UK
Red – Jean Raphet (Burgundy), Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, 1983
White – Domaine Rapet (Burgundy), Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, 2001
Budget red – Concha y Toro (Chile), Explorer Pinot Noir, 2003
Budget white – René Michel (Burgundy), Viré-Clessé Quintaine, 2001
Sweet – Zind-Humbrecht (Alsace), Tokay Pinot Gris Rotenberg, 1997
Sparkling – Chapel Down (England), Brut NV
Fortified – Quinta do Noval (Portugal), Silval, 1997
Dud – Henri Brunier (Rhône), Telegramme, 2002
The Clos de Vougeot was at it’s peak and excellent. Tasted with Jean Raphet in Morey-Saint-Denis in the Summer and he ‘allowed’ me to buy a couple of bottles as well. 2001 is under-rated as a white wine vintage and the Corton-Charlemagne is beautifully balanced. The CyT Pinot is a regular house red and no-one has betean René Michel to become our house white. The Rotenberg was not technically a VT but it was a big rich, sweet-ish wine. The Chapel Down was a surprise for me and tasted like a good Champagne at 2 or 3 times its price (about £8). The Silval was one of the few Ports I had all year but was the result of being wrongly priced, which made it even better vfm. The Telgramme 2002 was pretty awful and it wasn’t even cheap, given that its de-classified Vieux-Telegraphe.

Simon Rummens, UK
Red – Weinert (Argentina) cabernet sauvignon 1997
White – Dr Loosen (germany) Erdener Pralat Auslese 1996
Budget red – Chasson (France) Guillaume de Caberstan 2001
Budget white – No award
Sweet – Dom Patrick Baudouin (France) Coteaux du Layon 1998
Sparkling – Billecart-Salmon (france) Brut reserve
Fortified – No award
Dud – Bollinger (france) 1990
The Weinert wine was a gift and was so unexpectedly good – I have never tasted anything remotely as good from South America before. My only bottle of Bollinger 1990 had sat in my cellar for several years until this christmas day: oxidised but not undrinkable

Ian Russell UK
Red – Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1983
White – Zind Humbrecht (France) Riesling Brand 1996
Budget red – Castell del Remei (Spain) Gotim Bru 2001
Budget white – Bargain Germans from Majestic (apols for plagiarism M titley!)
Sweet – ?? (Germany) Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Beerenauslese 1971
Sparkling – Dom Perignon (France) Champagne Oenotheque 1973
Fortified – No award
Dud – Carruades de Lafite 1990
The hardest category for me is the sparkling wines. I really enjoyed the Krug ’85 as well and Rockford Black always outstanding, most recently the ’93 disgorgement. DP ’73 gets the vote however, as I opened this when I got engaged!

Neal Martin, UK
Red – Chateau Latour (France) 1924
White – Weingut St. Johanishof (Ger) Bernkastel Kurfurstlay Auslese 1971
Budget red – Domaine Grande Veneur (France) Lirac Clos de Sixte 2003
Budget white – Gunderloch (Ger) Nackenheim Rothenberg Sptatlese 2002
Sweet – Chateau d`Yquem (France) Sauternes 1971
Sparkling – Dom Perignon (France) Champagne 1970
Fortified – Cockburns Port 1927
Dud – Domaine de la Romanée-Cont (France) Romanee St. Vivant 1974
There were several candidates for red wine of the year. I should mention David Pope bringing round Henri Bonneau`s Reserve de Celestin 88 unaware of its rarity and price. It meant we could all enjoy the wine for what it is, rather than what it`s worth. The RSV DRC 74 was undrinkable, with half the imperial thrown down the sink after the tasting had finished. So far, my only tasting note using the four-letter word (with an “-ing” on the end.)

six selections below added Tuesday 4th January

Richard Bray, UK
Red – Ch Ducru Beaucaillou (France, Bordeaux) 1962
White – Louis Jadot (France, Burgundy) Corton Charlemagne 1991
Budget red – Tedeschi (Italy, Veneto) Capitel San Rocco 2000
Budget white – O. Leflaive (France, Burgundy), Les Seteilles 2002/3
Sweet – Crown Estates (Hungary) Tokaji Aszú 6 Puts 1940
Sparkling Pol Roger (France, Champagne) Vintage 1979
Fortified – Grahams (Port) Vintage 1970
Dud – Pascal Jolivet (France, Loire) Sancerre Grand Cuvee 2001
It’s been a good year. The Ducru was from a friend’s cellar and was so complete in terms of what great, aged claret should be like. Almost Burgundian in elegance. The Corton was drunk with lunch at Jadot’s winery in Beaune, showing off brilliant honeyed citrus notes. Tedeschi represent great value and this Ripasso style wine has never disappointed at £7.99. Cheating a bit with the white, but for the first half of 2004 it was £8.99 (that’s when I was drinking it). Gone up to £10.99 in the last couple of months but still brilliant value white Burgundy. The Tokaji was simply incredible, vibrant and was the oldest tasted in a comprehensive vertical of Crown Estates wines. Will go on forever. Pol Roger’s 79 stands out in a year of great Champagne (96 Dom is the best young Champagne I’ve tried but needs time) – beautifully toasty, rich but still with some youth: lucky enough to have this 3 times over the last 12 months. Grahams 1970 was my choice last year and further bottles this year have maintained its position. The Sancerre was just not right.
Phil Wilkins, UK
Red – Domaine Leroy (France) Chapelle Chambertan 1966
White – Knoll (Austria) Loibner Grüner Veltliner Smaragd ‘Vinothekfüllung’ 2001
Budget red – Rockford (Australia) Basket Press 1992
Budget white – Vina Sol (Spain) – any recent vintage
Sweet – Kracher (Austria) #9 Scheurebe ZDS TBA 1999
Sparkling – Moet & Chandon (France) Cuvee Dom Perignon 1996
Fortified – Taylor (Portugal) Vintage Port 1970
Dud – Sine Qua Non (USA) – Pinot #6 2001
Well who’d have thought my red of the year would be a Burg? An unreal experience though. All in all a good wine drinking year!

Ray Abercromby, UK
Red – Leoville Poyferre (France) 1982
White – Henri Boillot (France) Puligny Montrachet 1961
Budget red – Plan Pegau (France) Cote du Rhone 2001
Budget white – Curious Grape (England) Bacchus Reserve
Sweet – Disznoko (Hungary) 1993 Tokaji 6 puttonyos
Sparkling – Billecart Salmon (France) Cuvee Nicholas Francois 1990
Fortified – No award
Dud – Mouton Rothschild (France) 1994
What a year! Neal Martins Bordeaux olympics provide best red and white (although a 1989 Zind Humbrecht Gewurz Herrenweg came close). The Pegau is lovely – I have lots – and the Bacchus reserve has great fruit. The Billecart edges the DP1996 (a stunning wine), and the Mouton was fine at £20; hopeless at c.£100.
Three in a row voting for, or mentioning Dom Perignon 1996 as WoTY contender. Must get me some of that! – Tom

John Thomson, UK
Red – Mouton Rothschild (France) 1986
White – Zind Humbrecht (France) Clos Windsbuhl. Gewtz. 1998
Budget red – Falesco (Italy) Vitiano 2002
Budget white – No award
Sweet – Ch Climens (France) Barsac 1938
Sparkling – Raymond Boulard (France) Champagne Mailly NV
Fortified – Niepoort 20 year old Tawny Port
Dud – Mouton Rothschild (France) 1990
Having been in exile in London (on my own) I’ve been to every tasting I could in 2004. The 86 Mouton is an amazing wine run close by 1990 Montrose which will probably be better when mature but is still in it’s infancy. The ZH Gewurtz is completely different from anything else I’ve ever tasted and hence sticks in the memory. I don\’t believe that you can get better value than the Vitiano (it’s about 7 quid a bottle for heavens sake) and is so reliable year on year. 1938 was supposedly a poor year for Barsac but the ’38 Climens was a delight and has donkeys years of life ahead of it. It’s also nice to have a bit of history in a glass-the wine was vinified during the beginning of WW2 which makes the fact it is still around in 2004 even more remarkable. Peter May showed the Boulard champagne at a central London tasting – it’s blindingly good for a NV champagne. Despite having had a number of serious vintage ports the Niepoort tawny sticks in the mind because I drank the whole bottle myself over a fortnight and enjoyed every last drop. So mellow and easy going, like sticking on an old pair of slippers at the end of the night! I’ve no idea why the 1990 Mouton is so poor but it is.

David Bennett, UK
Red – Chave (France) Hemitage 1988
White – Boudin (France) Chablis L\’homme Mort 1999
Budget red – Mas Baril (Spain) Priorato 1988
Budget white – Potel (France) Bourgogne Blanc (vv)
Sweet – Baumard (France) Quartes de Chaume 1988
Sparkling – F.Boulard (France) Petrea
Fortified – Madeira. Bual ?1860 ?Maker
Dud – No award
There are so so many possibilites here that I could really have made 6 or so lists out easily!. The Chave was a wine I could have smelt all night, taken to bed and would still have stunk of screaming white lilies the next morning. It was fabulous and had all the acidity to boot. Close call though with that Fabulous Countacc at SuperBowl 04. The Boudin Chablis goes back to “me first love” Chablis. How can anyone fail to get excited and seduced by this wine? it is all classic Chablis and more. Boudin is a genious in the appelation Fourchaume L’homme Mort. The Mas Baril i brought to SuperBowl 04. Bought for a mere fiver at auction – it’s a cracker and weighs in at a cool 16% non fortified of course! Potel’s basic cuvee is a delight, all the lovely forward ripe fruit in the 02 vintage and the acidity to balance. Gauntley’s ex cellars 60 quid a case. The Baumard was tasted last week and was the most balanced sweetie ever. it was close call between this and the chandonnay beerenauslese that Ali brought to SB – then there was that BA brought by the dear Wilson Logan that was tasted late on at the SB 04 (again!) Fizzy congrats to Francis for his Petrea…hands off my allocation next time. As I generally don’t do fortified, very often, The maderia was brought by a close friend of the wine Circle and was quite extraordinary. Dud’s? – Poured them all away, dead and forgotten. No point crying over spilt milk!
Francis Boulard is a regular contributor to the wine-pages UK Wine Forum, and his Champagnes have built a deserved following – in fact I had his Grand Cru non-vintage on New Year’s day, with about 18 months age in my cellar, and it was gorgeous – Tom

Francesco Pessolano, Netherlands
Red – E&E (Australia) Black Pepper Shiraz 1998
White – Philipponnat (France) Champagne Clos de Goisses 1991
Budget red – Torre del Pagus (Italy) Impeto Aglianico 2001
Budget white – Corte Normanna (Italy) Palombaia Falanghina 2002
Sweet – Dom. Deletang (France) Montluis Le Batisses 1997
Sparkling – Philipponnat (France) Champagne Clos de Goisses 1991
Fortified – Graham Port 1975
Dud – Villa Russiz (Italy) Sauvignon de la Tour 2002
My life won’t be the same after trying the Clos de Goisses. It is not just a champagne, but the best white wine of the year (at least).

six selections below added Thursday 30th December

Toby Bailey, UK
Red – Haut-Bailly (France) Graves 1964
White – Zind-Humbrecht (France) Gewurztraminer Hengst 1983
Budget red – various Gramenon wines
Budget white – a couple of Pieropan Soaves
Sweet – Huet (France) Vouvray Le Mont 1er Trie 1959
Sparkling Champagne Krug (France) 1979 and 1985
Fortified – Valdespino (Spain) Oloroso Sherry Su Majestad
Dud – Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1993
Justine Henriques Verdelho 34 a close runner-up for Fortified. I really loved the Haut Bailly but there were some other perhaps objectively “better” reds like Rouget’s 91 Cros Parentoux
I was recently very impressed indeed by a vertical tasting of Haut-Bailly, and funnily enough, had a delightful bottle of Pieropan Soave with lunch in Glasgow’s Etain restuarant only yesterday – a great buy at £23 on a posh restaurant’s list – Tom

Gareth Welch, UK
Red – Clos des Lambrays (France) Morey St Denis 1er Cru 2001
White – Michel Colin Deleger (France) St Aubin 1er Cru En Charmois 2000
Budget red – Buckleys (Australia) GSM 1998
Budget white – Nugan Estate (Australia) Chardonnay 2001
Sweet – no award
Sparkling – no award
Fortified – no award
Dud – Nicholas Potel Volnay VV 2002
well despite more than a few disappointments with Burgs this year, the two most memorable wines were from there, the St Aubin in particular puching well above it level. The Buckleys showed just how good a modest wine from a decent producer in a good year with a bit of ageing can be. The Nugan was the surprise of the year. I’ve had three bottles of the Potel now and can’t really find a lot to like in it, I’ve got the strong feeling that this just can’t be the same wine I tasted back in January.

Roderick Hopkins, Sweden
Red – Guigal (France) Cote-Rotie La Landonne 1999
White – Edi Simcic (Slovenia) Sauvignon 2001
Budget red – Dom Villeneuve (France) Pic St Loup, Vielles Vignes 2001
Budget white – W Schaefer (Ger) Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese 2003
Sweet – Lens Moser (Austria) Riesling/Sylvaner, TBA 1976
Sparkling – Bollinger (France) RD Champagne 1990
Fortified – Fonseca (Portugal) Vintage Port 1985
Dud – Chapoutier (France) Cuvee de l´Oree 1994
The La Landonne was way too young but it is very obvious that this will be an outstanding wine in 15-20 years. Tasted alongside La Mouline and La Turque also from 99. The Landonne outshines the others because of the enormous power. My choice of white is probably not the best white this year, but it was a major surprise and also mistaken for a world class chardonnay (?!). Try to find a bottle and give me your thoughts. Pic St Loup is my new favourite district and the 2003 Mosels are delicious, so the budget wines was not a difficult choice. The Champagne and the Port was not really world class, but I realised that 2004 has been a misery when it comes to champagne and port. I hope that 2005 will be better. The dud is not a bad wine at approx 85 points. But I would have expected more from a Parker 99p with some age. It might be too young still.

Craig Thomson, New Zealand
Red – Penfolds (Australia) 1994 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon
White – Dry River (New Zealand) 2002 Arapoff Gewurztraminer
Budget red – Saltrams (Australia) 2001 Mamre Brook Shiraz
Budget white – Main Divide (New Zealand) 2003 Riesling
Sweet – Coopers Creek (New Zealand) 2002 Noble Riesling
Sparkling – Moet Chandon (France) Dom Perignon 1988
Fortified – no award
Dud – Terrace Road (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2002
Another regular’s entry into wines of the year. Thanks Tom – your site is great. Bit light on the tasting scene this year, most of top wines I drunk were from my own cellar with friends – the best way. Dry river GW — how many times do I have to say it, it is just a special wine that is spellbinding at its best. The 707 is just starting to open up now, solid masculine and iconic style of wine. Main Divide 03 Riesling is just divine at the moment $15NZ a bottle. Dom 88 from a magnum started off our 10th wedding anniversary party – I got a glass (just)
One glass from a magnum of DP 1988? You should have invited fewer people! – Tom

Andy Leslie, UK
Red – Wendouree (Australia), Shiraz Mataro 2000
White – Graf Hardegg (Austria) V Viognier 2000
Budget red – Ch d’Or et de Gueules (Fr) Costieres de Nimes “Les Cimels” 2001
Budget white – Ch d’Or et de Gueules (Fr) Costieres de Nimes “Trassegum” 03
Sweet – Nigl (Austria) Gruner Veltliner TBA 1995
Sparkling – no award
Fortified – Mas Amiel (France) Cuvee Special 10ans d’age
Dud – Chapoutier (France) Banyuls “Terra Vinya” 2000
Album: First album by new band formed by Kristin Hersch (ex-Throwing Muses). The band have the unfortunate (in the light of this weeks unbelievable events in the Indian Ocean) of Fifty Foot Wave – but it’s a great record. Gig: British Sea Power at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. I know the Wendouree was infanticide, but it was still superb! Regional France has given me great drinking this year – my non-budget red of the year was nearly the “Bolida” cuvee from Ch d’Or et de Gueules, 2002 – miraculous wine, grapes harvested individually after the rains. The Graf Hardegg garnered the comment “as good as white wine can be” from my other half. Nigl TBA was superbly balanced with great length. The Chapoutier and the Mas Amiel were both bought for similar rich dessert matching – the Mas A. worked, the Chapoutier was lifeless in comparison.
Oi! – since when do we vote for album and gig of the year? Shoorly some mistake? – Tom

Jan-Tore Egge, Norway
Red – Giuseppe Mascarello (Italy) Barolo Monprivato 1990
White – Trimbach (France) Riesling Cuvée Frédéric émile 1990
Budget red – Felsina (Italy) Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi 2001
Budget white – W Erben (Ger) Forster Pechstein Riesling Kabinett Trocken 98
Sweet – Fontodi (Italy) Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 1995
Sparkling – Bollinger (France) Champagne Grande Année 1990
Fortified – Niepoort (Portugal) Vintage Port 1970
Dud – Kuentz-Bas (France) Riesling Grand Cru Eichberg 1998
What is there to say? Quite a few candidates, especially for budget wines, offering good VFM, but not necessarily being head and shoulders above the rest. By the way, am I alone in finding the Kuentz-Bas Riesling Eichberg 1998 less than stunning? IMO, this wine does not merit Grand Cru status – unless I had a duff bottle, of course.

six selections below added Tuesday 28th December

Phil Shorten, UK
Red – Ch. Rayas (France) Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1994
White – Domaine Gauby (France) Le Soula Blanc 2001
Budget red – Ch. Brulesecaille (France) Cotes de Bourg 2000
Budget white – Mt. Pleasant (Australia) Elizabeth Semillon 1993
Sweet – Maculan (Italy) Acininobili 1999
Sparkling – Pol Roger (France) 1990
Fortified – Buller (Australia) Calliope Rare Tokay
Dud – Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1993
The Rayas was a beautifully perfumed, elegant wine that showed Grenache at its best. From the same neck of the woods, 1998 Beaucastel is also a stunner, but still very young. Le Soula is one of the most interesting wines on the market and right in the slot for my palate. The budget red was a harder choice. There’s been numerous good value wines from southern France, but I’m going to go for the very good Cotes de Bourg from Chateau Brulesecaille. If Bordeaux could churn out wine of this quality on a regular basis it wouldn’t be in the mess its in now. The Mt Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon is Australia’s best wine bargain, unoaked, relatively low alcohol and ageworthy. This wine cost me under AUD10 a bottle 5 or so years ago and is just starting to hit its straps. The Maculan is a delicious wine with a long future ahead. Pol Roger beats out Krug Grand Cuvee and Rockford Black Shiraz (1998 Disgorgement). The Buller Tokay is a wine that delivers – elegance, finesse, balance and complexity – great stuff. No real duds this year. The 1993 Grange gets the gong simply because it was so dominated by American oak on the nose that it almost fell into the DPIM category.

Mike Bartlett, UK
Red – Arnaldo Caprai (Italy) Sagrantino di Montelfalco 1997
White – La Rudera (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2003
Budget red – John Armit Italian Red 2001
Budget white – Three Gables (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Sweet – Isole e Olena (Italy) Vin Santo 1996
Sparkling – Blin NV Champagne
Fortified – no award
Dud – no award
An unusual list in that both of my whites are from South Africa (La Rudera is a stunner), whilst my main red is the very tannic but immensely complex Sagrantino which clearly has a long life ahead of it still. The budget red is the poor man’s Brunello di Montalcino and the Vin Santo is expensive but is liquid gold. My sparkling choice is simply the best value quality champagne on the market. Here’s to 2005

Andrew McClenaghan, UK
Red – Ch. Lynch Bages (France) 1985
White – no award
Budget red – Ancien Comte (France) Corbieres Reserve 2001
Budget white – Domaine Cauhape (France) Chant des Vignes 2002
Sweet – Tokaji (Hungary) Azsu 5 putts 1993
Sparkling – Dom Perignon (France) 1996
Fortified – Lustau (Spain) Old Oloroso
Dud – Ch. Mouton Rothschild (France) 1975
The Lynch Bages outclassed Lafite and Mouton of the same vintage. Mouton 75 just tasted old. Ancien Comte Corbieres Reserve was a find: proper wine for £3.49!
Ancien Comte comes from the ultra-reliable Mont Tauch Co-op and is fantastic value – Tom

Linden Wilkie, UK
Red – Château Pétrus (France) Pomerol 1998
White – Trimbach (France) Riesling ‘Clos St Hune’, Alsace
Budget red – Geroges Duboeuf (France) Juliénas 2003
Budget white – Dr Loosen (Germany) Riesling Bernkasteler Lay 2002
Sweet – Gaston Huët (France) Vouvray moelleux ‘Le Haut Lieu’ 1er Trie 1947
Sparkling – Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Perignon 1996
Fortified – La Coume dy Roy (France) Maury Maurydoré 1948
Dud – Taylor’s Vintage Port 1977
I’ve been lucky to try a number of fantastic wines in 2004, some at the generosity of ‘offliners’ – thank you. I think the 2003 Beaujolias are about the best I can ever remember tasting, and the prices have remained modest considering the big jump in quality. My second choice valu red would be the many great quality Portugese reds that have superb QPR. Crisp Mosel riesling remains my value choice for whites, though I agree with Jancis that 2002 Chablis are also good across the board.

Marcus titley, UK
Red – Chateau Cheval Blanc (France) St Emilion 1964
White – Dauvissat (France) Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru 1929
Budget red – E Rouget (france) Bourgogne Rouge 1997
Budget white – The cheap Germans from Majestic
Sweet – no award
Sparkling – Champagne Dom Perignon 1982
Fortified – no award
Dud – Pousse D’Or (France) Volnay 1993

George Egglestone, UK
Red – Chateau de Beaucastel (France) Chateauneuf du Pape 1989
White -Grosset (Australia) Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2003
Budget red – Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemaker’s Lot 32 Malbec 2002
Budget white – Saumur Blanc (France) ‘Les Andides’ Chenin Blanc 2003
Sweet – Quady (USA) Elysium Black Muscat 2003
Sparkling – Cloudy Bay Vineyards (New Zealand) Pelorus Brut 1999
Fortified – Gonzales Byass (Spain) Oloroso Dulce Matuselem
Dud – Château Musar (Lebanon) 1994
I was lucky enough to taste the 1989 Chateauneuf du Pape at a Perrin Wine Tasting Dinner at The Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden in October. The wine accompanied some loin of venison. WOW! What a combination! Big power and flavours all round! What made it even more special was…the dinner was tutored by Pierre Perrin! Grosset Sauv / Sem….At last, a sauvignon blanc with a bit of body! Winemaker’s Lot 32…can’t get enough of this stuff. Saumur Blanc….producer’s name was too small to read. A Waitrose gem! Quady Muscat….a wine that tastes of sweet red grapes. Have it instead of a pudding if you’re too full to eat any more! Pelorus….I love it! So does everyone else! Matuselem….Little bottle! Big, warming taste! Chateau Musar….I thought this was going to be such a good bottle. It was so sour!

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