See also Tom’s Wines of the Year 2008
Richard Bray, UK
Red: Ridge Montebello 2000, Santa Cruz, USA
White: R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco 1987, Rioja, Spain
Budget red: Tramontane Wines Côtes du Roussillon 2009, Roussillon, France
Budget white: Secateurs Chenin Blanc, Badenhorst Family Wines, 2007 & 2009, South Africa
Sweet: Consolation Armistice Late Harvest Syrah 2007, Roussillon, France
Sparkling: Moët & Chandon 1961, France
Fortified: Barbeito 10yo Malvasia, Portugal
Dud: The cynicism and growing exclusivity of the fine wine market. Or Mouton 1990, which was inexcusably awful.
Thing: Opening Day, Fenway Park, Boston Massachusetts.
Comment: It’s bizarre. I’ve chronicled my tastings more than ever this year, and yet the overall impression is a sea of good wine, rather than individual bottles or glasses. The Ridge just barely pipped Leoville-Barton 2000 to the post for reds, which is odd as overall I felt remarkably disappointed by both Bordeaux and Cabernet based wines in general. But the Montebello was enormously impressive and a relative bargain. I confess to being late to the Lopez party. The Tondonia white was simply at a different level, and probably my single wine of the year. In the interest of full disclosure, I help out Andy Cook & Philippe Gard at Tramontane. It doesn’t change the fact that this is the best red I’ve had under ten pounds in the last three years. The Secateurs is great stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Adi Badenhorst’s wines on future lists. Again, Consolation’s wines are close to my heart, but I’ve never tasted anything like Armistice. Deservedly becoming legendary among those who have tasted it. The Moët was a magnum opened for the bells at Hogmanay by old friend and bubbly lunatic Pete Crawford. Generous to a fault – it was extraordinary. I’ve had the Barbeito several times this year and it’s never disappointed. The Mouton wasn’t worth its name and I would say the market is self-explanatory. Being at Fenway Park for the Red Sox first game of the season was a dream come true. Just a shame the rest of the season didn’t go as well. Looking forward to new wines in 2011
TOM: Terrific list. The Secateurs is a great representative of the fine Chenins, Syrahs and other wines coming from Swaartland in South Africa – like Leyda or Elqui in Chile, a must-watch area. Andy Cook is an ex-colleague of Richard’s and mutual friend who now makes wines in the Languedoc, including Richard’s budget red – but hey, I am fascinated by the sound of that late harvest Syrah too. One to look out for.
Raymond Tilney, UK
Red: Calera (USA) Reeds Vineyard P.Noir 1996
White: Guigal (France) Ex Voto Ermitage 2005
Budget red: No Thanks!
Budget white: Chamonix (S.Africa) Chardonnay 2008
Rosé: Jacques Selosse (France) Brut Rose N.V.
Sweet: Jacques Selosse (France) Cuvee Exquise N.V.
Sparkling: Krug (France) Vintage 1981
Fortified: Yquem (France) 1999
Dud: Musar (Lebanon) Blanc 2001
Thing: The real life occasions that stem from the UK Wine forum
Comment: Sorry to be so late Tom but we only had the 81 Krug at the weekend after a dry festive season due to various sicknesses,I just knew it would be the outright WOTY. I had loved the 98 Musar Blanc but just thought the 01 was pants, we really did not get it. The “Thing” has to be the fantastic get togethers in person. The Champagne and Christmas UK Forum ‘Wimps’ and the post CIVC do at The Ritz, joined The Pebbles Blind Challenge as really top events…. there were others.
TOM: I think this officialy makes Cape Chamonix estate in South Africa the ‘sleeper’ of the 2010 WOTY – at least three people have picked their wines in the budget category, which considering how many thousands of estates are on the wine shelves of the UK alone, is pretty remarkable. Raymond – I will let you off wiht the Yquem in the ‘fortified’ category, even though I’m sure you know it is not!
Kevin Courtney, New Zealand
Red: Clos des Papes (France) Chateauneuf du Pape 2001
White: Schoffit (France) Clos Saint-Theobald GC Rangen Tokay Pinot Gris 2002
Budget red: Borsao (Spain) Crianza seleccion 2006
Budget white: Gran Vinum Essencia Divina (Spain) Albarino 2008?
Rosé: Lafon-Veyrolles (France) Bandol Rose 2009?
Sweet: Riverby Estate (New Zealand) Noble Riesling 2008
Fortified: Morris (Australia) Old Premium Liqueur Muscat
Dud: All my oxidised 01 and 02 white burgs.
Thing: Finding international acceptance for Marlborough rieslings
Comment: I would never have thought my white wine of the year would be a pinot gris, but there you go. I am horribly biased regarding the sweet wine, but it is quite good. Of course I did try heaps of very good New Zealand wine, especially chardonnay, riesling and syrah, but because the European wines are rarer they tend to stick in the memory better. The sparkling is missing because it is a style I just don’t drink enough of.
TOM: Yes, Riesling is definitely a grape with great potential on the South Island, and could be a very useful extra string to Marlborough or Otago’s bow.
Paul Anderson, UK
Red: Meerlust (South Africa) Rubicon 2005
White: Zind-Humbrecht (France) Clos Jebsal Pinot Gris 2004 Vendanges Tardives
Budget red: Churton Winery (New Zealand) Tummil Flat Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008
Budget white: Punt Road (Australia) Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2005
Rosé: Janison et Fils (France) Rosé Champagne NV
Sweet: Lafaurie-Peyraguey (France) Sauternes 1997
Sparkling: Drappier (France) Champagne Grande Sendrée 1996
Fortified: Quinta do Noval (Portugal) Silval Port 1997
Dud: Many white Burgundies (Grrrrr)
Thing: Has to be swine flu
Comment: I’ve had a few really good wines this year so choosing he best ones was quite difficult. The Rubicon just seemed to punch well above its price mark (£17) and tasted rather sublime with lamb on Christmas Day. The Clos Jebsal (and Z-H) has stirred a bit of debate on W-P recently but this wine was superb. Drank it over three days and it just seemed to improve with each day. The Tummil Flat was my bargain find of the year at £8. Churton Winery is fully biodynamic and it really shows in the quality of this Pinot – not trying to be like Burgundy made it all the better. I was surprised I went for an Oz Chardonnay for my budget wite but if the Punt Road is a sign of what’s to come from there then I’ll be buying more. Good acidity and balance has helped it over the 5 years of ageing. Sneaked a Champagne into the Rosé category but this was the ‘Asda bargain’ flagged up here on W-P and I managed to get a case of the stuff. Superb Champagne for a tenner. The Drappier is now showing well at 14 years old with lovely strong Pinot character coming through. The Silval was about the only Port I had of any quality so it was a no-brainer. The dud has to be white Burgs and this is annoying me more and more. I just wish they’d get their act together having poured so many down the drain. My episode with swine flu was well documented on teh UK Wine Forum and I am still in recovery mode from the effects of being in ICU for 7 weeks. With it being all over the news now brings it all back and reminds me I’m one of the fortunate ones who, having suffered the worst effects of it, actually survived.
TOM: A surprising list from Paul, a stalwart of wine-pages and our UK WIne Forum, who’s list is normally comprised solely of Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne! Maybe that dreadful experience with swine flu gave you time to contemplate other areas! All the best for the continuing recovery.
Angus Duncan, UK
Red: DRC (France) Romanee St Vivant 1972
White: Bonneau du Martray (France) Corton-Charlemagne 1990
Budget red: Ampeau (France) Auxey-Duresses 1994
Budget white: Will Schaefer (Germany) Riesling 1997
Rosé: Cedric Bouchard (France) Roses de Jeanne Rose de Saignee Creux D’Enfer 2006
Sweet: Pierre Bise (France) Coteaux du Layon Chaume 2004
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified: Fonseca (Portugal) 1963
Dud: Flat tires
Thing: Mt Ventoux
Comment: A lot of my drinking has been at village and premier cru level in Burgundy with an increasing amount of champagne. Cycling has taken a bigger part in my life and Mt Ventoux now has an almost religious significance in my life with 4 separate visits there this year and many climbs (twice following Rayas 98 the night before!)
TOM: Well, I’m in need of a drink just thinking about cycling up Mt ventoux after a bottle of Chateauneuf the night before, so full of admiration!
Tim Carlisle, UK
Red: Man O’ War Vineyards Dreadnaught Syrah
White: Hans Vineyards Viognier
Budget red: Rene Rostaing Les Lezardes VdP 2005
Budget white: En La Tradition Cotes de St Mont Blanc, Plaimont
Rosé: Villa Wolf Pinot Noir
Sweet: Royal Tokaji 2005 5 Putts
Sparkling: Bollinger Grande Annee 2000
Fortified: Fonseca 1994 Vintage Port
Dud: Burgundy 08 – especially whites
Thing: Rhone Varietals
Comment: By no means a classic year but a few things stood out, a colleague spent 3 weeks in New Zealand and when it came to our Kiwi promotion the wines we bought on his recommendation blew me away, none more so that Man O’ War. I also did very well in the WSET Diploma and will visit Austria for a week next year on the back of that, and will expect South Africa to feature next year after I spend a week there in July after winning another industry award – happy days! I could easily have filled most of the holes with Kiwi wines but Bolly 2000 stood out as the current release I’d love to be able to afford and the Fonseca 94 was quite simply amazing. This website and its forum have always encouraged me to delve further into wine, and having started as a pleb looking for more interest it seems fair to pay respect to Tom now I work in the trade, know the difference between Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc and get to travel places as a result. What a great place the UK Wine forum is!
TOM: Well thank you Tim! And enjoy South Africa – if it is your first time then I am sure you will be just blown away by the beauty of the wine country there.
Anders Lind, Sweden
Red: Ch. Haut-Brion 1989
White: Chablis 1cru Montee de Tonnerre 2008, Louis Michel
Budget red: Rosso di Montepulciano, Contucci, 2004
Budget white: Parallèle 20, Vermentinu (Corse) 2009
Rosé: Camille Savès Rosé Grand Cru
Sweet: Ch. Climens 1988
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon cuvee N. F. 1996
Fortified: Taylors Vintage Port 1977
Dud: Corked bottles (Las Cases -82, among too many others…)
Thing: Spotify music !
Comment: Bought the H-B 89 early at still sensible price… fulfilled every possible expectation. Spotify streamed music site changed my life – will never play CD´s again.
TOM: A fine collection of ‘classics’ from Anders – and I wish I’d had the foresight to buy that ’89 Haut-Brion, which is still one of my all time greatest wines.
Lars Jensen, Denmark
Red: Rocca & Vinding-Diers´ Due Normanni (Sicily) 2005
White: Villa Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Riserva (Italy) 2006
Budget red: Redhead studios (Australia, Mclaren Vale) The red sedan, Shiraz 2008
Budget white: Gutsverwaltung Niederhausen SchlossBökkelheim Hermannsberg Kabinet (Nahe) Riesling 2006
Rosé: Chateau Thuerry, (France) L´exception Merlot-Grenache 2006
Sweet: D´yquem (France) 1990
Sparkling: Cristal (France) 2002
Fortified: Burmester Colheita 1937
Dud: Cantenac Brown 2003. Simply not a good wine.
Thing: Summer tastings at Chateau D´esclans in Provence. Even though that I will never pay €80 for a rose – by nice tasting it
Comment: Hurra! After several years of stand still my “local” German wine Pusher is again able to supply me with Peter Lehmanns Stonewell Shiraz. By far the best australian wine I ever tasted…
TOM: I wonder if the time is right for Verdicchio to make more of an impact on the wine-buying public? There have been a few votes for them this year, and I featured a couple as Wine of the Week and so on. They really can be wonderfully refreshing, subtle but complex wines. selection below added 07/01/2011
Ian Matte, Canada
Red: Daniel J Belda ( Spain ) CA’ Belda 2006
White: Riverby Estate ( New Zealand ) Sali’s Block Riesling 2009
Budget red: Daniel J Belda ( Spain ) Tempranillo 2005
Budget white: Vina Falernia ( Chile ) Torontel 2010
Rosé: Domaine de Cabasse Le Rose de Marie-Antoinette 2009
Sweet: Riverby Estate ( New Zealand ) Noble Riesling 2008
Sparkling: Edoardo Miroglio ( Bulgaria ) Brut Rose
Thing: QR Codes on bottles 🙂
TOM: Nice choices. Love the wines from Falernia in the unearthly Elqui Valley in Chile, and in case anyone is wondering: QR Codes are those squiggly, square barcode patterns that can be read with a smartphone and which take you to lots of information about a product.
Douglas Murray, UK
Red: Ata Rangi (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2007
White: Schloss Johannisberger (Germany) Rosalack Riesling 2007
Budget red: Terra Noble (Chile) Gran Reserva Carmenere 2007
Budget white: Pegasus Bay (New Zealand) Main Divide Riesling 2009
Sweet: Kracher (Austria) TBA No. 6 “Grand Cuvee” 2007
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Vintage Champagne 1998
Fortified: Taylor’s (Portugal) Quinta de Varagellas 2001
Dud: Chateau de Tracy (France) Pouilly Fume 1997 (kept too long)
Thing: Wine tasting visit to New Zealand last February. Marvellous wines, delicious food and charming and delightful people
Comment: There were so many excellent wines which I tasted in New Zealand that I feel I must mention a few of them. Te Whau Chardonnay 2008, Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2007, Te Mata Woodthorpe Syrah 2008, Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Merlot 2007, Muddy Water Hare’s Breath Pinot Noir 2008, and Seresin Rachel Pinot Noir 2007. For something different another red I really liked was Trapiche Single Vineyard Malbec Vina Federico Villafane 2006.
TOM: Nice, wide-ranging selection from Douglas and whetting my appetite for my trip to NZ in a couple of weeks. Agree too about those single vineyard Malbecs from Trapiche which can be absolutely stunning.
Edward Bolland, UK
Red: Soldera (Italy) Intistieti 1995
White: Bouchard (France) Corton Charlemagne 2002
Budget red: Gérard Mouton (France) Givry 2007
Budget white: Roulot (France) Bourgogne Blanc 2007
Rosé: Dom Perignon Rosé (France) Champagne 1996
Sweet: Raymond Lafon (France) Sauternes 1995
Sparkling: Gosset-Brabant Noirs d’Ay NV (France) Champagne
Dud: A corked Grand Puy Lacoste
Comment: I have not opened that many great bottles this year, but had some fantastic champagnes at the end of the year. My top three wines of the year were champagne, hence the cheat of sneaking in DP Rosé in the Rosé slot. Salon 90 was pretty awesome, but a touch obvious compared with the magnificence of the Gosset-Brabant Noirs d’Ay a wine which just built and built. I look forward to participating in UK Wine forum life in 2011 and enjoying the wonderful input of so many other members.
TOM: We haven’t had a huge number of corked wines being cited as ‘duds’ this year. I wonder if the problem is decreasing, or if people now just write corked bottles off as a hazard of daily wine life?
Michael Keating, UK
Red: Domaine Digioia-Royer, 1er Cru Les Groseilles 2002, Chambolle-Musigny, France
White: Eric Morgat, L’Enclos 2005, Savennieres, France
Budget red: Domaine des Rochelles, La Croix du Mission 2003, Anjou-Villages Brissac, France
Budget white: Domaine des Aubuisieres, Silex 2003, Vouvray, France
Rosé: Domaine du Sauveroy, Cabernet d’Anjou 2005, France
Sweet: Chateau Pierre-Bise, La Pierre de Coulaine, Savennieres Doux, France
Sparkling: Roederer NV, Champagne, France
Dud: Chateau Duhart-Milon 1996
Comment: I don’t drink Loire and/or French exclusively, although the above might give that impression. A Prado Enea 2001 nearly got my Red vote, a Vinalba Malbec Reserva 2006 my budget red. Bought a lot of Mosel Riesling 2008/9 during 2010 so no doubt these will feature in the future sometime.
TOM: Not excluisvely LOire, but pretty comprehensively 🙂 The Vinalba is great value – and subsequent vintages have been very good too.
Don Reid, UK
Red: Jim Barry ( Australia) The Armagh 1994
White: Aldo Conterno ( Italy) Bussiador Langhe Chardonnay 2006
Budget red: 2008 Château Maris ( France ) Vieilles Vignes Minervois Cru La Livinière
Budget white: 2009 Marqués de Riscal ( Spain ) Rueda Blanco
Rosé: 2009 Château de Sours ( France ) Bordeaux
Sweet: 1988 Château Climens ( France) Barsac
Sparkling: Vilmart ( France) Champagne Coeur de Cuvée 1990
Fortified: Turley (USA) Zinfandel Delinquent 2001
Dud: Running out of wine storage space at home.
Thing: Discovering we are to be Grandparents again, in June. Fingers crossed.
Comment: My WOTY was the exceptional Turley Delinquent, aided by its being matched with the Pave of Chocolate served as dessert at the November WIMPS lunch (a regular luch arranged through the UK Wine Forum). So many of the wines I drank this year were shared with others from this site’s Forum community that the people are as important as the wines in most of my choices. Huge, and annual, thanks to Tom Cannavan for the opportunities provided by this friendly community.
TOM: Lovely choices from Don (a stalwart of our forum community) and reminds me that I have a single bottle of that 94 Armagh in the cellar which I must liberate soon!
Mike Bartlett, UK
Red: Cheval Blanc, St Emilion, 2001
White: Mac Forbes Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2008
Budget red: Nadal, Domaine de Fondreche, 2007
Budget white: Bruno Sorg, Gewurtzaminer, Alsace, 2007
Rosé: Cabaret, Provence 2009
Sweet: Petit Vedrines, 2005
Sparkling: Pol Roger, special Cuvee, 1998
Fortified: have so enjoyed a number of Manzanillas this year
Dud: Bruno Giacosa, Barolo Falletto 2000
Thing: my 1 year old twins
Comment: The Cheval Blanc was my first experience of this wine, still youthful, but already delicious to drink. I loved Mac Forbes’ elegant and distinctly European Chardonnay. The budget red is quite incredible value and testimony to the magnificent 2007 vintage in the Southern Rhone. And the barolo, which I had been saving carefully for a special occasion, was corked… you could smell a bit of the magic, but ultimately it was undrinkable…oh well!
TOM: Is it a late surge for corked wine ‘duds’ I wonder? That Pol Roger 1998 is coming up on the rails as this year’s most nominated fizz I think.
Paolo Strada, Italy (but living in Switzerland)
Red: Tenuta delle Terre Nere (Italy-Sicily) – Etna Rosso La Vigna di Don Peppino Prephylloxera 2006
White: Emrich Schonleber(Germany) – Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Spätlese 2006
Budget red: Domaine Des Antimagnes (france) – Cotes du Rhone Les Escaravailles 2007
Budget white: Santa Caterina (Italy-Liguria) – Giuncaro 2009
Rosé: Chateau La Canorgue (france) – Cotes du Luberon Rose 2009
Sweet: Cave du l’Etat du Valais (Switzerland) – Petite Arvine Fletrie 1995
Fortified: Mas Amiel (France) – Maury Prestige 15 ans d’Age
Dud: Two Hands (australia) – Shiraz Bella’s Garden 2006
Thing: My Wedding in Provence in June!!!! And the honey moon in Turks and Caicos
TOM: COngratulations on the wedding Paulo, and for a intriguing list – the pre-Phyyoxera red included.
Matthew Bryan, UK
Red: Dujac (France) Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Aux Combottes 1998
White: Francois Cotat (France) Sancerre Les Culs de Beaujeu 2007
Budget red: AA Cos (Italy) Frappato 2008
Budget white: Jadot (France) Pouilly Fuisse 2008
Rosé: Oeil de Perdrix (France) Champagne NV
Sweet: Kracher (Austria) NV #8 Traminer 1995
Sparkling: Dom Ruinart (France) Champagne 1990
Fortified: Fernando de Castilla (Spain) Antique Oloroso
Dud: Medal winners from international wine competitions
Comment: A rather old world look to the list, I fear, though not through a lack of experimentation. New and exciting experiences have come largely from France and Italy, particularly from tastings at the Oxford offline group – thanks Mark! My favourite bottles of the year, though, are mainly ones where I have been able to experience the full journey of the wine over the course of a good meal and where I have been able to have several glasses. The ethereal nature of the burgundy in particular – perhaps the closest I’ve ever come to a ‘haunting’ wine – would have been lost on me if I’d merely had a single tasting measure. The Cos wine is far from cheap, but it is a unique and stunning wine which I have pressed onto more people than I can remember this year; the Jadot came in at just 6GBP in a sale at TEE and is more than fine for the money. The champagnes were had to celebrate the birth of our daughter in February – the rose at a party and the mesmerising Ruinart with my wife. This was incontrovertible evidence that champagne can be a serious food wine. A word in despatches too for the Sherry – my first foray into ‘serious’ examples of the type and the most mind-blowing wine of the year. The ‘dud’ is, I’m sure, more a reflection on my shortcomings than anything else, but I have become slightly disillusioned with wines that have triumphed in the IWC, DWWA etc. Too many have been bland; seemingly aiming at being generally pleasing without ever scintillating. None of the several I have bought have come close to some fabulous recommendations that I have picked up from wine-pages this year. Thanks to Tom and everyone who contributes to make this such an invaluable resource and fun place to spend time.
TOM: Congratulations on another wine-pages new-born! That Oeil de Perdrix fizz (a permanent fixture in Majestic stores) is always great value for money I think. This year I am swapping from being a judge at the IWC for these past few years to judging the DWWA (Decanter Awards). I hear the judging process is very different, so look forward to seeing how they compare.
Anthony Taylor, UK
Red: Stag’s Leap Vineyards, Cask 23 Cab Sauv 1985 , Napa Valley, California
White: Domaine Varoux Grand Cru Bougros 2002 Chablis, France
Budget red: Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cab Sauv 2005, S Australia
Budget white: Zind 1 2007, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Alsace
Rosé: Charles Melton Rose of Virginia 2008, S Australia
Sweet: Chateau Coutet 2001 Barsac, France
Sparkling: Henri Giraud En Fut Du Chene 1998, Ay, France
Fortified: Unknown Crusted Port (at least 60 yrs old)
Dud: Corked Clarendon Hills Astralis on Boxing Day
Comment: The Stag’s Leap ended up being one of the great bottles of my life, and finally convinces me of Napa’s ability to create truly great wine. A late choice as it was drunk on Christmas Day. The hardest choice of all was in the sparkling category, with equally honourable mentions to Veuve Cliquot Vintage Rare 1988, Clos De Cazals 1999, and Vilmart Coeur De Cuvee 1998. The Wynns is surely one of the great fine wine bargains in the world, it will only improve with time. The Coutet is also a Christmas day entry, being the first of an EP case. Simply delightful.
TOM: I visited Champagne grower Henri Giraud a couple of years ago and tasted his base wines from barrel, where the Chardonnay could easily have been bottled and passed off as Meursault 1er Cru, being so rich and full. selection below added 06/01/2011
Christiaan Jonkers, UK
Red: Dujac Clos de la Roche 1978
White: Coche Dury Meursault Les Chevalieres 2002
Budget red: Coudelet de Beaucastel 2007
Budget white: Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Les Setilles 2007
Rosé: Henri Billiot Rose NV
Sweet: Yquem 1989
Sparkling: Salon 1988
Fortified: Taylors 1977
Dud: Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett
Thing: Many, but England retaining the Ashes is fresh in my mind
Comment: Although not the grandest white I have had this year, the Coche merits its inclusion by being the best village wine I think I have ever had. I was struggling to find a dud, and there is nothing wrong with the Prum, but, try as I might, I just don’t get it.
TOM: That Bourgogne Les Setilles was one I really enjoyed – declassified Puligny and Meursault and good value at £12 or so. JJ Prum is one of those revered names of winemaking, so a brave choice as ‘dud’, but I like that honesty.
Phil David, UK
Red: Jaboulet (France) Hermitage La Chapelle 1979
White: JJ Prum (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 1995
Budget red: Clonakilla (Australia) Hilltops Shiraz 2004
Budget white: Steffens Kess (Germany) Rieler Goldlay Riesling 2006
Rosé: Larmandier Bernier (France) Rose de Saignee 1er Cru NV
Sweet: Mullineaux (South Africa) Straw Wine 2009
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Chardonnay 1998
Dud: Mollydooker (Australia) The Boxer Shiraz 2007
Thing: The Bordeaux Index sale
Comment: A tough one this year and nowhere more so than the reds. Calling it a shortlist would be a misnomer, for it stretched far and wide; 1999 Mascarello Barolo Monprivato, 1979 La Chapelle, 1999 Gilles Barge Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Palmers 1982 and 1996, 1985 Vina Tondonia GR and 1999 Sorrel Le Greal were all in the mix but finally the ’79 Chap wins it for the combined pleasure of wine and occasion at The Ledbury. I should say that only two of these were directly purchased by me; the rest were supplied by generous fellow diners at various offlines. Riesling certainly supplied the thick part of my white pleasures this year. By no means were they all from the Mosel but the two that made this list just happened to be, Prum’s wonderful Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spat and an equally wonderful basic effort from a slightly more obscure producer, picked at random from an organic Berlin grocery. The two Aussies are an instruction in the folly of geographical generalisation – Clonakilla’s Hilltops is reliably precise and pleasurable for the price point, the Mollydooker almost a parody of Oz Shiraz, packing 16.5% alcohol and fruit so ripe you’re swatting the flies off it. I suspect my sweet of the year would have been Climens 1990 but sadly that was just a snatched sip, while the beautifully pleasurable Straw Wine was consumed with a delightful dessert at the same table as one of its makers. My thing of the year is a salute to the sadistic sod who devised the fiendish Bordeaux Index Price Drop sale, in which participants had to gamble on the prospect of reducing prices against rapidly vanishing stock.
TOM: and as if to prove the point about JJ Prum, the very next entry received has one of his wines as the best of the year. Isn’t that what makes this hobby (obsession?) so fascinating though!
David Wainwright, UK
Red: 1967 Chateauneuf du Pape Chateau Rayas (RIP NW)
White: 1972 Montrachet DRC
Budget red: 2005 Bourgogne Rouge Anne Gros
Budget white: 2007 Oberhauser Leistenberg Kabinett Donnhoff
Rosé: 2007 Sancerre Chavignol Francois Cotat
Sweet: 1929 d’Yquem
Sparkling: 1952 Krug en magnum
Fortified: 1963 Noval Nacional
Dud: a corked 1966 Romanee-Conti DRC
Thing: my wife
Comment: Once again I find myself loving wine more than ever. The promise of drinking something special never fails to light a fire within me. I’m fortunate not only to drink some good bottles, but being able to share them with so many wonderful people, not least of all the late Nigel Williams.
TOM: Some stunning older wines in there that will be making all readers deeply envious! Nigel Williams was one of the UK Wine Forum’s most active participants, and his sudden passing just before Christmas was a shock to the community. I’m sure he’d be delighted to be remembered in this context.
Charles Morgan, UK
Red: De Vogue Musigny VV 1989
White: Zind Humbrecht Riesling Brand VT 1990
Budget red: Syrah Les Rosiers VdP M&S Ogier 2005
Budget white: Manzone Langhe Rossesse 2008
Sweet: Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano 1991
Sparkling: Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee (vintage unremembered)
Fortified: Taylors Vintage Port 1908
Dud: Corked Ceretto Bricco Rocche 1996
Thing: Losing 30+kgs, the Highlands and winning the Prothero Blind tasting challenge
Comment: A very restrained year, apart from my first wine-pages ‘Superbowl’, no OTT events. The Musigny (out of a half kindly shared with me by Rainer Guntermann) was just sublime, what a great Grand Cru should be. The Brand still needed decanting and was supreme. The Ogier was moreish, the Manzone most refreshing and original. Having cut down on sweet things, the Avignonesi was just a rich fruit cake of a wine, while I had the Vilmart several times, it remained an excellent and very reasonable set of bubbles. The Taylors (assuming it was so) was gorgeous, just about mature. No real duds as such but after sublimely good bottles having my last Ceretto of three corked was a pain. Too many things but cutting back and losing weight keeps me on track to be realistically hedonistic, the Highlands for the first time were intoxicating, and of course, beating such luminaries as Linden Wilkie and David Wainwright for the blind tasting challenge shall live on as an example of inspired blagging.
TOM: I’m sure Charles’ winning of the blind-tasting challenge was not ‘blagging’ at all, but a highly experienced palate – as can be witnessed by this list of wines! Congratulations on the considerable weight loss too.
Mark Henderson, New Zealand
Red: Antinori (Italy) Tignanello 1989
White: J.L Chave (France) Hermitage Blanc 1996
Budget red: Domaine Puig-Parahy (France) Coteaux du Roussillon Georges 2007
Budget white: Domaine des Aubuisieres (France) Vouvray Cuvee Silex 2009
Rosé: Domaine Pregentiere (France) Rosé 2009
Sweet: Riverby Estate (New Zealand) Noble Riesling 2009
Sparkling: Quartz Reef (New Zealand) Chauvet Vintage Methode 2006
Fortified: Domaine Bernadines (France) Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2007
Dud: Domaine de la Janasse (France) Chateauneuf du Pape 2007
Thing: The birth of my first child Lena just before Xmas
Comment: I have had the good luck to have had a surfeit of lovely bottles over the course of the year and choosing only one in each category is being unkind to very, many other contenders – my choices come back to the occasion, the context in which they were enjoyed or their value for money. A gorgeous Tignanello that was enjoyed at dinner with a fellow forumite and a Chave that shone at a tasting which gave me a glimpse into what good Hermitage Blanc can become become my top two. A meaty and savoury southern French red with real structure that was ludicrously good for the price and a consistently good Chenin from the Loire give me my budget options that I have enjoyed several times. One of only two or three Rosés drunk all year so Hobson’s Choice. I have been treated to, and opened, some fabulous sweet wines this year but this one wins on sheer dollars for value. The first Quartz Reef Vintage bubbly after a three year gap is absolutely outstanding and will make a devious ringer in Champagne tastings. The fortified might fudge the rules for some but this fortified dessert wine was tried at a cave in Beaumes de Venise itself alongside the Domaine de Durban and it won me over. The Janasse is a label that I have enjoyed in the past but this bottle was (alcoholically) hot, soupy and almost verging on the unpleasant which made it a huge disappointment for me. Finally, the arrival of Lena means that you cannot wipe the smile off the face of this very proud father.
TOM: Congratulations on the new baby Mark. I enjoyed the Riverby wines too this year, with the 2008 version of the Noble Riesling one of my stars.
Kevin Heatherington, UK
Red: Cote Rotie Cote Brune (Gilles Barge) 1998
White: Bockenauer Felseneck Spatlese (Shafer Frohlich) 2008
Budget red: Barbera D’Alba (Enzo Boglietti) 2007
Budget white: Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese (von Kesselstatt) 2005
Sweet: Ch Lafaurie Peyraguey (Sauternes)2001
Sparkling: Henriot Brut Millesime 1998
Fortified: Harveys PX VORS
Thing: Two new grand daughters Freya and Katie
Comment: Alongside the usual Bordeaux and Burgundy, lots of German Risling and Barbera D’Alba/Asti this year. Nearly reached my self-imposed cellar bottle limit so I’ll be buying quality rather than quantity from now on and focusing on mature wines more than new vintages.
TOM: Lots of new young wine lovers of the future amongst wine-pages visitors this year! I like your policy on buying: I think there comes a time when you have considerbale wine in the cellar that cutting back on acquiring, or changing the focus of what you buy, is a really sensible exercise.
Mark Carrington, UK
Red: Côte Rôtie La Landonne ’94 Guigal
White: Defaix Chablis Bougros ’05
Budget red: 2007 Michel & Stéphane Ogier Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes La Rosine*
Budget white: 2008 Le Rocher des Violettes Montlouis-sur-Loire Cuvée Touche-Mitaine Sec
Rosé: 2009 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Rosé
Sweet: 2000 Gewurztrminer, SGN Hors Choix, Trimbach
Sparkling: Chandon (Green Point) Vintage Brut rosé ’04
Fortified: Dutschke 22yo Tawny
Dud: 1982 Quinta do Noval Porto Vintage Nacional**
Thing: Riding up the Tourmalet***
Comment: A year of drinking loads of thoroughly enjoyable wine at <£15 & continuing to buy far too much wine. During 2010 a series of excellent sweet & fortified wines. Honourable mentions: Ostertag Fronholz Gewurz SGN ’02; Pajzos Essencia ’93, Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Auslese ’93, Rieussec ’76 & ’03; Toro Albala Montilla-Moriles Don PX ’82; Graham ’70, Warre ’83. And a series of thoroughly enjoyable UK Wine Forum off-lines throughout the year. * WOTY; ** My 1st ever Nacional, lovely nose, drab palate. Going nowhere; *** Adelaide 7th Dec a close 2nd.
TOM: Noval Nacional as a dud is another brave choice (given it is such an iconic wine). I visited Noval and tasted a vertical of Nacionals back to 1964 earlier in the year which I thought were terrific, but then the 1982 wasn’t amongst them.
Phil Wilkins, UK
Red: Vieux Telegraph (France) Chateauneuf en magnum 1981
White: Sine Qua Non (USA) ‘Twisted and Bent’ 1997
Budget red: Fox Creek (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2001
Budget white: Donnhoff (Germany) Pinot Gris 2006
Rosé: Francois Cotat (France) Sancerre Chavignol rosé 2004
Sweet: Huet (France) Vouvray ‘Cuvee Constance’ 1989
Sparkling: Dom Pérignon (France) Rosé en magnum 1996
Fortified: Blandy (Portugal) Malvasia Velha 1862
Dud: Domaine Gauby (France) Cotes du Roussillon Villages ‘Muntada’ 1995
Thing: The kids… still!
Comment: There could have been dozens of Reds of the year but what just separated this from the pack was the occasion that it was drunk. Perhaps not the grandest bottle but it was sublime on the night, but who’s to say this couldn’t happen with any bottle. Fizz is fizz but the magnum of DP Rosé bought out when über cook, Brett Graham, received his second Michelin star all the way back in January was just stunning. But every wine drunk this year has again been a real treat. The generosity on the UK Wine forum is legendary!
TOM: A very nice, globe-trotting list this. 1862 Madeira – will that be this years oldest winner at almost 150 years!
Stewart Travers, UK
Red: Domaine Combe Blanche Minervois La Liviniere La Galine 2001
White: Domaine Treloar Le Terre Promise IGP Cotes Catalanes 2009
Budget red: Raúl Peréz Ultreia St Jacques Bierzo 2008
Budget white: La Vinyeta* Heus Blanc Emporda 2009
Rosé: Chateau de Chorey Jacques Germain Bourgogne Rose Vieilles Vignes 2009
Sweet: Mullineux Family Wines Straw Wine 2009
Sparkling: Anything I drank to toast the wee one
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass 30yr Old range
Thing: My wee girl, Eva
Comment: La Galine 2001 was a great find, thanks to Mr Stolarski. Jonathan’s LTP is really coming together style-wise, the Bierzo was hotly contested with another slightly cheaper one (but the Ultreia is just too charming), Heus Blanc is a lovely drop from a very much up and coming region (thanks JH), Ch. de Chorey Rose VV was a belter from the now very, very sadly deceased Benoit Germain whom I visted last January, Mullineux’s Straw 2009 was even more impressive than 2008’s debut, and the GB 30yr range offer such impressive value at the price it’s hard not to come back to them again and again. Cheers!
TOM: I’m assuming another new baby in the wine-pages ‘extended family’? What’s happening – is it something in the water? 🙂 Agree fully on the Gonzalez Byass range – stunning wines, relatively easy to find, and not too expensive.
Sunny Chuang, Maldives
Red: Domaine de Fontbonau (France) Cotes Du Rhone 2008
White: Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups(France) Montlouis Remus 2000
Budget red: Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot( France) Les Fontanilles Minervois 2008
Budget white: Loimer Gruner Veltliner(Austria) Spiegel Kamptal Reserve 2008
Rosé: Castello di Ama(Italy) Rosato 2009. Toscana Italy
Sweet: Domaine de la Taille Loups (France) Montlouis Romulus 2003.
Sparkling: Jacquesson (France) Degorgement Tardif Grand Vin Signature 1988, Champagne
Fortified: All Saints Estate( Australia) Museum Rutherglen Muscat NV.
Dud: No wine report for two years!!!
Thing: We found a great seafood restaurant for wine lover. Great list with great prices(i really mean great affordable). The best and freshest seafood ever tasted.
Comment: Sorry for being so Francophile with the list. This year I thought some of the best value wines and best experience I had was mostly European, in particular France. New World wines performed rather poorly. Either over-price or overtly alcoholic and/or overly oaky.
TOM: No need to apologise for an (almost) all-European list. As I said for someone else’s choice, there’s no denying that Europe still makes an astonishing diversity of truly great wines. Sunny’s reference in ‘dud’ is to the very useful little annual wine guide that Tom Stevenson published from 2004 to 2009. I know Tom would still love to find a publisher to revive the format, so who knows what the future holds! selection below added 04/01/2011
Otto Nieminen, Finland
Red: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) 2002
White: Naudin-Ferrand (France) Vin de Table Français A… Naudin 007
Budget red: Clos du Tue-Boeuf (France) Cheverny Rouillon 2009
Budget white: Domaine de la Pépière/Marc Ollivier (France) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Granite de Clisson 2007
Rosé: Jean-Marc Burgaud (France) Beaujolais-Villages Rosez! 2009
Sweet: Eric Texier (France) Condrieu Opale 2009
Sparkling: Domaine des Terres Dorées/Jean-Paul Brun (France) FRV 100 Rosé NV
Fortified: Williams & Humbert (Spain) Dos Cortados Palo Cortado NV
Dud: Errazuriz (Chile) Pinot Noir Wild Ferment 2008
Comment: The Musar might just be the most exciting young Musar I have ever had. Otherwise it is a largely French “natural” list this year. It was also fun, after a lifetime of only Classical music, to learn to enjoy jazz.
TOM: Great choices and I agree that the Musar 2002 is a beauty. It’s a shame that the only New World wine in the list was the ‘dud’, but I do think Errazuriz’s ‘Wild Ferment’ Pinot Noir is nowhere near as good as the equivalent white, their Chardonnay. It is worth trying.
Antony Moss, UK
Red: Wolf Blass (Australia) Black Label Cab/Shiraz 1998
White: Guigal (France) Condrieu ‘La Doriane’ 2007
Budget red: French Connection (France) Saumur Champigny 2008
Budget white: Penfolds (Australia) Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay 2006
Rosé: Leclerc Briant (Champagne, France) Rosé Rubis 2003
Sweet: Barboursville (Virginia, USA) Malvaxia Passito 2001
Sparkling: Mumm (Champagne, France) Champagne Cuvée R. Lalou 1998
Fortified: Campbells (Australia) Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat
Dud: E & J Gallo (USA) ‘Sycamore Canyon’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Thing: Prospect Magazine
Comment: For the first half of the year, we limited our consumption to big-volume brands, and I came away with three lessons: 1) for most people who only ever drink these wines, the whole wine thing must seem like an insane abberation. 2) most cheap new world reds have little varietal character or structure, whereas the white equivalents usually taste of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, etc, and the Penfolds and Blass Chardonnays in particular were fresh and balanced. 3) Freshness is often more important than brand, and screwcaps keep things fresher far longer than cork or plastic stoppers. With palate suitably recalibrated, it was a tremendous relief to return to drinking finer wines!
TOM: Interesting experiment! I do think we wine nuts can get out of touch occasionally with what the average supermarket shopper is buying week in, week out, which does indeed tend to be the big brands on some sort of promotional pricing. But good to see from your list that you managed some rather fine wines later in the year (and that you clearly retained an open mind about the quality of which companies like Wolf Blass and Penfolds are capable).
Charles Mutter, UK
Red: Chateau Gloria (St Julien, Bordeaux, France) 2004
White: Domaine Leflaive (France) Bourgogne Blanc 2004
Budget red: Gulf Station (Australia) Pinot Noir 2007/8
Budget white: Alfred Merkelbach (Mosel, Germany) Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese 2003
Rosé: Chateau d’Aqueria (France) Tavel 2008
Sweet: Chateau Coutet (Barsac, Bordeaux, France) 2004
Sparkling: Champagne Lahaye (France) Brut Nature NV
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass (Jerez, Spain) Matusalem Oloroso Dulce
Dud: some “local” cider from our farmers’ market that was in fact vinegar
Thing: Kindle mk 3
Comment: Gloria drunk at L’Espalier in Boston – perfect. Leflaive had been in a remover\’s warehouse for 3 years but none the worse. Both budget choices around £8, unbelievable quality/ interest/value. Coutet: liquid orange confit, from Bordeaux Gold’s Xmas offer. Champagne from Berry Bros’ “Biodynamic” mixed case offer earlier this year, most complex I’ve had since Krug! Kindle preserved my sanity throughout a 3-week concert tour of the US last month.
TOM: Very nice choices. The Gulf Station Pinot Noir from de Bortoli must be, on a ‘bangs per buck’ basis, one of the best Pinots in the world. Nice to see another vote for Matusalem too – those aged Sherries from Gonzalez Byass remain one of the wine world’s great bargains.
Charles Taylor, UK
Red: Vieux Chateau Certan (France) Pomerol 1982
White: Bell Hill (N.Z.) Waipara Chardonnay 2004
Budget red: Awaroa (N.Z.) Waiheke Syrah 2008
Budget white: Pieropan Soave 2009
Sweet: Jorge Ordonez (Spain) Molino Real 2005
Sparkling: Boulard (France) Petraea (N.V, I forget which batch)
Dud: Yquem 1990
Thing: Tierra del Fuego and the Torres del Paine.
Comment: Three weeks in the Southern tip of Sth America yielded some magical hikes, with Torres being the most spectacular scenery I can imagine.
TOM: I’ve just made a Soave from Tamellini my ‘Wine of the Week’, reminding me how good these wines can be. Thanks for the tips on South America too – having been to Chile and Argentina eight times on purely wine-focused trips we are finally off there late in 2011 on holiday. This has whetted my appetite nicely!
Ben Fawcett, UK
Red: Fontodi Flaccianello 2006
White: Domaine de Chevalier 1999
Budget red: Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2008
Budget white: Cantina Mesa Primo Bianco 2009
Sweet: Isole e Olena Vin Santo 1996
Sparkling: Gosset Celebris 1999
Fortified: Niepoort Quinta do Passadouro 2000
Dud: Pretty much all red wines sold through supermarkets
Thing: Arcade Fire
Comment: Flaccianello is on a roll at the moment, since ’98 they’ve all been magnificent and ’06 the best yet. Dom’ Chevalier is drinking so well at the moment. Thought I’d include a mention for Ch Thenac from Bergerac – almost as good and a third of the price. The Prima Bianco from Casa Mesa on Sardinia shows just what a great grape Vermentino is and celebris was hauntingly good. Please can supermarkets stop making all their reds taste the same – there is actually some good wines tying to break through the obsession with Carbonic maceration and chemical inclusion.
TOM: Fine choices. I published an article on the wonders of white Bordeaux in 2010 and still think these wines are underrated overall. I agree there’s a tendency for supermarket reds to become homogonised, but there is still variety to be found with a bit of effort as you say.
Emmanuel Barnay, France
Red: Yarra Yerring Dry Red Number 2 1994, Yarra Valley
White: Chardonnay Bell Hill 2009 (New Zealand)
Budget red: Syrah Te Whare Ra 2009 (New Zealand)
Budget white: Riesling Sons of Eden 2009 (Barossa Valley)
Rosé: Arrivo Rosato di Nebbiollo (Adelaide Hills) 2009
Sweet: Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvested 2008 (From Barrel) Pegasus Bay
Sparkling: Yarra Yering New Vineyard 1992
Fortified: Rebello Valente Port, Robertson’s 1977
Dud: Pinot Noir Dry River 2006 (No PN character whatsoever!!), harsh, oaky, sweet, overextract, a really dud!
Thing: My winemaking travels this year
Comment: So many new people met travelling around Australia and New Zealand… and some amazing new wines tasted, many very hard to find in the UK.
TOM: Emmanuel’s Antipodean travels have certainly paid off! Great to see your enthusiasm fired up by these Australian and New Zealand wines. I’m off to New Zealand for a big wine trip in just a couple of weeks, so will look out for these. Surprised the Dry River was such a let down for the reasons stated, as Neil McCallum is such a firm believer in terroir as he explained when I met him in 2009.
Natasha Hughes, UK
Red: Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru, Lavaux St Jacques, Burgundy 2007 – very young, but very, very promising
White: Viña Tondonia, Gran Reserva Blanco, Rioja 1981 – not for everyone, but wonderfully poised, complex and elegant
Budget red: Viña Leyda, Costero Syrah, Leyda Valley, Chile 2009 – a recent visit to Chile revealed that cool-climate Syrah is the country’s next big thing. This entry-level version showed huge promise
Budget white: Le Roc des Anges, Vielles Vignes Blanc, Vin de Pays des Pyrenees Orientales, 2008 – fantastic minerality and great balance
Rosé: Dom Pérignon Oenothéque Rosé 1990 – more wine than Champagne, with a layered, savoury depth
Sweet: Leitz, Rudesheimer Drachenstein Eiswein, Rheingau 2009 – already showing great complexity, despite its youth. Despite the 160g/l of residual sugar, it’s not in the least bit cloying
Fortified: Stanton & Killeen Grand Rutherglen Muscat NV – I just wish I’d had a bottle of this on Christmas day instead of Christmas pudding
Dud: The corked bottle of Brunello di Montalcino that I’d been saving for a special occasion
Thing: It’s a toss up between passing the theory part of my MW exams first time round and the blissful holiday in southern India I shared with my husband
TOM: Mouth-watering list. I am similarly enthusiastic about Chile’s cooler climates and their potential for Syrah (and Pinot Noir) – and Viña Leyda is on fire currently with its wines, which are also easy to find in the UK. Good luck with the next round of MW torture!
Matthieu Guinard, France
Red: Ernst Triebaumer (Austria) Blaufränkisch Mariental 2007
White: Willy Schaefer (Germany) Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese 1969
Budget red: Weingut Nekowitsch (Austria) Zweigelt 2006
Budget white: Reinhold Haart (Germany) Riesling Trocken 2009
Rosé: Domaine de la Monardière (France) Rosé 2007
Sweet: Hans Tschida (Austria) Chardonnay TBA 2007
Sparkling: Larmandier-Bernier (France) Terre de Vertus
Fortified: Gourt de Mautens (France) Rasteau VDN 2006
Dud: Dujac (France) Morey-Saint-Denis 1995
Thing: The first trip to Mosel (Bernkastel)
Comment: Again, it was hard to pick, especially since this year was rich (over 1000 wine tasted). The emotion of the Schaefer 1969 was all the greater since I tasted it at the estate, this wine (which tasted almost dry) is the top of this year, by far. And the trip to Mosel will be followed by many. This is such an unforgivable place! and Besides, I am a Mosel wine fan since then.
TOM: Matthieu really caught the Mosel bug this year! The Mosel is indeed a very special place, and the string of recent vintages has been so good that it is well worth any wine lover’s attention.
Jon Atkinson, UK
Red: Castelgiocondo (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 2004
White: Marqués de Murrieta (Spain) ‘Capellania’ Rioja Blanco 2004
Budget red: Bodegas Santiago (Spain) Rioja Tinto Crianza 2006
Budget white: Triade (Italy) IGT Campania Bianco 2009
Rosé: Bodegas Valduero (Spain) Ribera del Duero Rosado 2008
Sweet: Ch Filhot (France) Sauternes 2001
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Grande Année 2000
Thing: Jasper (Collie) & Elvis (Springer) – our 2 rescue dogs
Comment: Unusual for me not to have a Sherry in the fortified class, but it’s all been reliable but mainstream this year. Not having been disappointed enough to nominate a ‘dud’ is a bonus though – let’s hope that continues in 2001 – cheers!
TOM: Another vote for the Bolly 2000 which was my choice and I think that of three or four others – and on offer at Majestic currently! (no commercial connection). Jon’s list reminds me how much I enjoy those whites from Campania too – well worth trying.
Richard Greenwell, UK
Red: G Mascarallo (Italy) Barolo Monprivato 2003
White: Dom. Leflaive (France) Puligny-Monrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 1986
Budget red: Bodegas Piqueras (Spain) Almansa DO Mario Bonete Syrah 2006
Budget white: Gaec Bordenave (France) Jurançon sec La Rosée de Montesquiou 2008
Sweet: Chateau Coutet (France) Barsac 1er Cru 1971
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne 1999
Fortified: Romate (Spain) Cayetano del Fino y Cia Paolo Cortado
Thing: UK Forum Offlines
Comment: So many stunning wines to choose from this year – I could easily have chosen something else in every category. In many instances I’ve opted for the wine that surprised me most; particularly in the red categories where I had no great expectations from an 03 Barolo (even this one), and who’d have thought that a Spanish Syrah from baking hot Almansa would manage to put me in mind of the northern Rhone? A reminder to me that predjudices are dangerous. I can’t think of any wines that have been real duffers this year, selective memory perhaps, so I’ve slightly cheekily nominated snow – a car trashed in January and a holiday trashed in December. I hope you’ll let it pass this once and I’ll try to find a real horror for next year…
TOM: Terrific list and yes, good to have ones prejudices knocked for six now and again with wine! I will certainly let you away with nominating the snow for your dud of the year as it seems to have impacted you from start to finish of 2010!
Jim Fulcher, UK
Red: Penfolds (Australia) Grange Hermitage 1988
White: Domaine Rollin (France) Corton Charlemagne 2006
Budget red: Chamonix (South Africa) Rouge 2007
Budget white: Linar de Vides (Spain) Albarino 2002
Sweet: Ch Rieussec (France) 1983
Sparkling: Champagne Laetitia (France) Grand Cru NV
Fortified: Fernando De Castilla (Spain) Palo Cortado
Thing: The UK forum Edinburgh Offlines – Always a real pleasure
Comment: A lot of really good wines this year and my first steps into Burgundy thanks to some Edinburgh offliners advice and their generosity. Wine-pages’ ‘miniBowl’ in Glasgow was a great event, thanks again to those organising.
TOM: Like Jim, I was really impressed by the wines of Chamonix when I visited them in Franschhoek at the start of the year – wines of real finesse.
David Crossley, UK
Red: A slurp of Pontet-Canet 1934
White: Pav Blanc Ch Margaux 1985
Budget red: Faugères “Bancels” Dom de Cébène
Budget white: Ogier La Rosine Viognier VdP
Rosé: Alliet in a sunny Loire summer gite garden
Sweet: Montesquiou JuranÃ§on Grappe d’Or
Sparkling: Bereche Reflet d’Antan
Fortified: Eq Navazos Bota de Manzanilla 16
Dud: Awful party wines this last fortnight
Thing: Champagne with food from a Riedel Riesling/Sangiovese glass
Comment: This is, I hope, a heart-felt selection. My red, white and sparkler were all flawed in some tiny way but were my WOTY on account of the generosity of those who supplied them. The P-C is the oldest claret I’ve tasted, the Reflets a special act of generosity (a wine I love but can never get). The duds of the past fortnight made my wife comment on how lucky we are in what we serve ourselves. As for my “thing”, you should try it!
TOM: Apart from the top two, another list that celebrates some of the less well-trodden corners of France which is always fascinating – and makes me realise how impossible it is to really stay on top of the whole world of wine. I’ll try that Champagne and Riedel tip – and have noticed a couple of posh restaurants, including the Greenhouse in London last month, offer the choice of Champagne flutes or big, Bordeaux-style glasses when ordering a decent bottle of Champagne.
Ive Marx, Belgium
Red: Pichon Lalande ’82 (magnum)
White: DRC Montrachet 2000
Budget red: CdR ’07
Budget white: M-S-R ’09
Rosé: Canon La Gaffelière ’09
Sweet: Gillette CdT ’59
Sparkling: Dom P ’90
Fortified: something 19th C
Dud: Belgian Pinot
Thing: corked cork
TOM: I think Ive must work in a top-secret cryptography laboratory deep within a Belgian mountain (?). A terse but fascinating list!
Bob Parsons, Canada
Red: Weinert Gran Vino, Mendoza 2003
White: Prado Rey Real Sitio de Ventosilla 3 Barricas, R del Duero
Budget red: Muscadet Ch l’Oiseliniere de la Ramee ’07 C-Carre
Budget white: Prazo de Roriz Douro 2006
Rosé: Lancyre Rose Languedoc 2008
Sweet: Bauyuls Robert Doutres 1988
Sparkling: NV Chartagne-Taillet Brut Millesieme
Fortified: Fonseca VP 1985
Dud: Riesling Reserve Leon Beyer Alsace 2005
Comment: I am very fortunate to be able to help out at one of Canada`s best wine stores so I get the chance to attend many tastings along with meeting up with some good reps! I also have an extensive cellar here in Edmonton and as a result of some careful buying, I have quite a few gems available (plus some duds too).
TOM: Nice globe-trotting list this, and nice to see Argentina, Muscadet and a Douro white all get a vote.
Ray Abercromby, UK
Red: Henschke (Australia) Hill of Grace 1990
White: Domaine Leflaive (France) Puligny Montrachet Clos de la Pucelles, 1999
Budget red: Chamonix (South Africa) Red 2007
Budget white: Domaine Treloar (France) La Terre Promise 2006
Sweet: Pazjos (Hungary) Eszencia 1993
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified: Dows (Portugal) 1908
Dud: Haut Brion (France) 1988
Thing: Pebbles bike ride
Comment: This has been a superb year of wine drinking. The Leflaive is one of my top 3 white wines of all time, drunk at a fabulous restaurant near Hull. The Henschke was my first HoG, and what a way to start with the 1990! The Eszencia is as unctuous as you would expect, and the 1908 Dows, courtesy of feelow UK Wine Forum member Mr Wainwright, was a belter. At the same lunch, the HB88 was curiously flat – a real disappointment. Finally, one of the great memories of the year (and my goodness, there have been many) had to be the Pebbles bike ride. I’ll never forget that. I was very lucky to be involved, and the level of generosity shown by all was humbling. It helped us get over the line.
TOM: Another vote for a Chamonix wine, and great to see that Ray enjoyed his bike ride in aid of The Pebbles Project charity so much, as along with wine-pages visitor Keith Prothero I know he is one of its main UK-based volunteers.
Matthew Hemming, UK
Red: Clos de Tart 1945
White: Corton Charlemagne 2000 Bonneau du Matray
Budget red: Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2006 Meo Camuzet
Budget white: Bourgogne Blanc 2006 Roulot
Rosé: Bollinger 2002
Sweet: Pinot Gris Clos Jesbel SGN 2007 Zind Humbrecht
Sparkling: Bollinger 1999
Fortified: Merchant Prince Rutherglen Muscat
Dud: POX and my (now deceased) car
Comment: Perhaps a boringly predictable list? Neither budget wine was particularly ‘budget’ but they stand out as wines I bought in case quantities at prices at which I was happy to open them in reckless abandon at my 30th birthday lunch. The Bahans HB 2001 I used at the same lunch would also count as it was an auction bargain (~£180/cs!) but the Meo was just nicer. Oeno 1996 competes with the Bolly 1999. The 99 was the last of Mentzendorff’s UK stock and the last disgorgement prior to moving to the 2000. I got mags for the birthday and it was totally delicious.
TOM: Boringly predictable – if that means 1945 Clos du Tart, Grand Cru white Burgundy and rare Champagnes and sweet whites I’ll have some boring predictability too!
Chris Hewson, UK
Red: Bovin (Macedonia) Alexandar, Tikves, 2008
White: Rolly Gassmann Gewurztraminer (France) Alsace, 2007
Budget red: Paulie Heins Cabernet-Merlot (South Africa) Single Vineyard, 2006
Budget white: Bodegas Naia (Spain) K-Naia, Castilla y LeÃ³n, 2008
Sweet: Argyros Vinsanto (Greece), Santorini, 1989
Sparkling: Le Mesnil (France) Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, 2002
Fortified: Grahams 1980
Dud: Andean Vineyards (Argentina), Condor Peak Mendoza, 2006
Thing: The realisation that 2011 is going to be… interesting
Comment: The Bovin was a real eye opener, and the QPR had me reeling to the extent I bought 2 cases on the spot. The Paulie Heins was an inconseqential bottle, bought some time ago from Virgin for little over a fiver – took it to a party, and wished I’d kept it for myself (and in the end virtually did). I could also have mentioned any number of Santorini whites… and their Vinsanto’s are vastly underpriced, albeit the one mentioned is c.£60, most are in the £20’s.
TOM: The Bovin wines are unknown to me, but I will try to rectify that. I like the strikingly modern wines of Bodegas Naia too – alwayd beautifully made.
David Ludlow, UK
Red: Chateau Haut Brion 2000
White: Vergelegen The White 2006
Budget red: Terrasses de Maynard Saint Chinian – Roquebrun 2007
Budget white: Domaine Magellan Grenache Blanc 2007
Rosé: Domaine Ott 2009
Sweet: Chateau Doisey-Daene 1989
Sparkling: Ridgeview Merret Fitzrovia Rose 2004
Fortified: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Amontillado
Thing: Enjoying the late Autumn sunshine in Crete
Comment: The Haut Brion 2000 was a fantastic wine, even if I was drinking it several years too young. It pipped a Flacionella 1997 for wine of the year. The white from Vergelegen was one of the white hghlights of the year together with Hamilton Russel Chardonnay 2008, Planeta Cometa 2008 (100% Fiano) and also Pieropan La Rocca Soave 2007. The Amontillado is excellent and has shown up how good the Taste the Difference range can be.
TOM: Château Haut-Brion and its sibling La Mission Haut-Brion are getting a huge number of mentions so far this year – much more than any of the other Bordeaux first growths. As one of my favourite, and I think comparatively under-appreciated estates, I am delighted with that.
Tom Hewson, UK
Red: Escoda-Sanahuja (DO Conca de Barbara, Spain) ‘Les Paradetes’ 2006
White: Ascheri (Piedmont, Italy) Montelupa Viognier 2005
Budget red: Bodegas Carchelo (Jumilla, Spain) ‘Carchelo’ 2008
Budget white: Sartarelli (Marche, Italy) Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi ‘Tralivio’ 2008
Rosé: Nicodemi (Montepulciano, Italy) Ceruasolo 2008
Sweet: Stefano Mancinelli Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi ‘Goti’ 2007
Sparkling: Paul Bara 2000
Fortified: Romate Amontillado ‘NPU’
Dud: Henri Giraud Code Noir NV
Thing: Preservino wine preserving doo-da
Comment: This has been a year of Italian discovery for me. Verdicchio surely has the potential to be one of Europe’s greatest white grapes. Mancinelli’s late-harvest ‘Goti’ was one of the wine experiences of the year for me; mad but brilliant. Ascheri’s Viognier is a slap in the face to all those that say the grape doesn’t age well – if Italian merchant Bat and Bottle still have some, buy it (even if it’s a bit late for Christmas lunch this year). Extraordinary stuff. Lastly, the blanc de noirs ‘Code Noir’ from Giraud was burly, coarse and awkward for the price. Oak fermented blanc de noirs champagne is obviously a difficult act to pull off…. some more scribblings at www.tomhewson.com/foodwine
TOM: Another interesting list exploring Spain and Italy. I do agree that the Verdicchio wines of Castelli di Jesi rarely disappoint, and at around £6 or £7 for really good examples in stores like Majestic and Waitrose, there are wines well worth trying.
Benjamin Cain, UK
Red: Beringer, Cab Sauv Reserve, 1994
White: Clos de la Coulee de Serrant, 1990
Budget red: Torbreck, The Juveniles, 2001
Budget white:Henksche, Tilly’s Vineyard, 2008
Rosé: Dom Perignon Rose, 1986
Sweet: Willi Opitz, Opitz 1, 1997
Sparkling: Dom Perignon, 1990 Magnum
Fortified: Gonzales Byass, Noe
Dud: Damargi, Gaja, 1994
Thing: A free holiday in L.A courtesy of winning it on Classic FM (UK)
Comment: A mixed year wine wise but one where keeping fizz and having the strength not to drink it early has paid off with some glorious bottles.
TOM: We had the pleasure of Torbreck’s owner/winemaker Dave Powell at wine-pages Glasgow ‘miniBOWL’ event in May and the wines went down a storm. Congratulations on the free holiday in California too! We also holidayed there in the summer, but sadly not as prize winners 🙂 selection below added 30/12/2010
Graham Tigg, UK and France
Red: Domaine Moncalmes (France, Languedoc) 2001
White: Domaine de Clovallon (France, Languedoc) Les Aires Viognier 2006
Budget red: Mas Gabriel (France, Languedoc) Les Trois Terrasses Carignan 2009
Budget white: Chateau Malautié (France, Languedoc) Vermentino 2009
Rosé: Domaine La Croix Chaptal (France, Languedoc) 2009
Sweet: Mas de Daumas Gassac (France, Languedoc) Vin de Laurence 2007
Sparkling: ChÃ¢teau Rives-Blanques (France, Roussillon, Limoux) Cuvée de l’Odyssée 2009
Fortified: Mas Jullien (France, Languedoc) Clairette Beudelle 1996
Dud: Mas de Daumas Gassac (France, Languedoc) Rouge 1996
Thing: Last season at Le Mimosa restaurant
Comment: Yes these are all LR wines but that pretty much 90%+ what I drink!
TOM: yes, given that much of Graham’s time is spent in the Languedoc/Roussillon area then the very narrow focus of this (very good) selection is not surprising!
David Matzdorf, UK
Red: Caiarossa Rosso Toscana IGT 2004
White: De Bortoli (Victoria) Reserve Release Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2004
Budget red: Martinborough Vineyard Te Tera Pinot Noir 2009
Budget white: Macon-Villages Domaine de la Bongran Jean Thévenet Cuvée Tradition 2005
Sweet: Ãœrziger WÃ¼rzgarten Jos. Christoffel Jr. Riesling Auslese 2 star 2005
Fortified: Graham’s Vintage Port 1977
Dud: Chablis grand cru Preuses William Fèvre 2004
Thing: Having an article on my garden published in “The Garden”
Comment: The Preuses 2004 may come good eventually, but the score so far is: 1 bottle very reduced, 1 bottle prematurely oxidised, 1 bottle slightly corked and 1 bottle OK, but extremely tight. Having to open 4 bottles just to see if the wine is progressing seems rather unfortunate. The Caiarossa is the best modern Tuscan wine I have ever tried, with balance, depth, length and complexity – and acquired for scarcely more than half its usual price in BBR’s sale. The Ãœrziger WÃ¼rzgarten is the most absorbing/tingling so far of a variety of German 2005s that I have waiting for me. I am a serial consumer of Thévenet\’s wines over 2 decades and the 2005 is the best-balanced vintage he has done in many years, although it strains to qualify as a “budget white”. The De Bortoli has genuine complexity and finesse, as well as another few years of development – an achievement in Australian Chardonnay.
TOM: Oh yes, the Caiarossa is really terrific stuff, and I have been very impressed by it on a couple of occasions. Great to see a vote for Martinborough Vineyard’s PInot too – one of New Zealand’s original Pinot specialists.
Cameron Clark, The Netherlands
Red: 1997 Turley Hayne Zinfandel
White: 1966 Clos du Petit Demi-Sec, Applias Pere et Fils
Budget red: 1998 Peninsula Estate Hauraki, NZ
Budget white: 1966 Vie-Vie Murfatler Chardonnay, Romanie
Sweet: 1937 Massandra White Muscat
Sparkling: 1996 Mailly Cuvee Les Echansons
Dud: Young Left Bank Red Bordeaux
Comment: Stand out wine was the desert wine at a recent Xmas meal – the 1937 Massandra White Muscat. Dark brown, caramel and a finish that did not stop. Best wines of the year though were the Murfatlers that were picked up at auction for 10-12 Euro a go. The Tokaj like Chardonnay was the pick of the 3, but I’ve had great bottles of the 64 Pinot Gris and the 66 Mucat. Red wine of the year was a Turley Zin, which astounded a group of us with a finish that also went on for ages. Auctions seen to be where I but most of my interesting wine at the moment and as well as supplying the 2 budget wines and the sweet wine, it also supplied the White wine of the year. Actually bought it but mistake (distracted by Trudi), but its a wonderfully complex wine. Started the year with some good drinking Bordeaux reds (right bank), but finished with a few duff left bank reds for Xmas. I know the summers are getting warmer there, but they’ll never have that wonderful accessability that the New World has.
TOM: Nicely obscure bits amnd pieces in here, and someone else including an aged Romanian white as one of their choices. What’s going on here! 🙂
Jonathan Hesford, UK
Red: Mas du Soleilla, Les Bartelles 2007
White: Riesling Auslese Zeltinger Himmelreich, Molitor 2003
Budget red: Les Jablieres Saint Joseph 2007
Budget white: Marti Fabre, Verd Albera 2009, Emporda
Sweet: Domaine Laforgue Rivesaltes Ambre 2004
Sparkling: Timmy Taylor’s Landlord
Fortified: Treloar Muscat Rancio (private collection)
Dud: Many but Clos de l’Origine stands out
Thing: 4OD, Dominion card game
TOM: Another fascinating list full of interesting wines from less exalted regions, and yes, I will just let you off with choosing a beer for your sparkler of the year!
Mike Grammer, Canada
Red: 1999 Taupenot-Merme Clos des Lambrays
White: 1999 Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc
Budget red: 2007 Black Kite Angel Hawk Pinot Noir
Budget white: 2004 Francois Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnes
Sweet: 2001 Chateau La Tour Blanche
TOM: Delighted to see the Tour Blanche 2001 is on song as I have some in my cellar. Had to look the Angel Hawk up, but I see it’s a Californian Pinot.
Uillaim Tait, UK
Red: Domaine Dujac (France) Clos St Denis, 1990
White: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) Bekaa Valley, 1995
Budget red: Chateau de Campuget (France) Costieres de Nimes, 2007
Budget white: St Hallet (Australia) Poachers Blend, 2008
Sweet: Isabel Estate (New Zealand) Noble Sauvage, 2000
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Special Cuvee, N/V
Fortified: David Franz (Australia) Very Old Barossa Tawny
Comment: The Dujac stands out as perhaps the most memorable wine of the year but not far behind was the mind bogglingly complex 95 Musar Blanc. The Campuget has grit and character for under a fiver whilst also under a fiver the St Hallet has been our house white all year. Whilst I have tasted many far grander champagnes this year the basic Bolly N/V gets it for being so consistent throughout the whole year, I have tasted it perhaps twenty times this year and on each occasion it has been quite splendid. Two new discoveries, the Isabel sweetie was excellent whilst the Barossa Tawny from David Franz was exceptional.
TOM: A fine list, and that’s the second vote for the white Musar this year – a wine that ususally splits the jury in my experience. Agree on the consistent excellence of the Bolly.
Garry Clark, UK
Red: La Mission-Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 2005
White: Larrivet-Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 2007
Budget red: La Chapelle du Marin (France), Cotes de Rhone 2008
Budget white: Ant Moore (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc, Malborough 2010
Rosé: Charles Melton (Australia) Rose of Virginia, Barossa 2009
Sparkling: Ruinart (France) Dom Ruinart Rose 1990
Fortified: Madeira Bual 1935 (producer unknown)
Dud: Failing my Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Exams
Thing: Turning some major corners in my life and being stronger and happier in my achievements.
Comment: I can’t believe we are back to the end of the year again. The red was kind of hard to pick again, but i chose the La Mission because it shows such amazing potential, yet is accessable and breathtaking. The Larrivet Haut Brion is one of my wiser purchases en primeur, we bought an awful lot of it, but its drinking sublimely just now and again shows amazing potential. Both my budget wines are Boutinot wines and as our supplier they have come up trumps this year, every wine they have brought for us to look at has been a winner, and many of them at the budget end of the market too. My Rose is possibly my favourite, after all these years Charlies wines are still wowing me, this seems to get darker with each passing year, i almost expect a red soon. I’m not a big fan of the sweeties, so struggle to fill this one in. The fizzy was a toss up between the Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rose and the Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, but the rose had the edge due to the added maturity. Stunning. Dud was my failing the Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced Exams. I was woefully underprepared on the theory paper and it flumoxed me. Im pleased that I passed the practical paper though as I was nervous as hell. And my thing this year was just seeming to get my life back on track. I think that last year I was in a bit of a rut, both with work and my personal life, and it all seems to have come together nicely this year. Im fast approaching my seventh year here at the Chester Grosvenor and things are going from strength to strength. Hopefully January will give us some good news on the Michelin front and then we will see where the rest of 2011 takes us. I plan to resit my Court of Master Sommelier exams, having done a lot more studying on Germany!!! Then who knows, maybe I might give the MS a go.
TOM: A fine, postive round-up of your year Garry, and as always some enviable drinking too! La Mission 2005 was a star for me (96-points) in the extraordinary vertical tasting of 50 vintages back to 1929 that I attended a couple of years ago. Good luck on the exam and Michelin fronts for the Chester Grosvenor too – I am long overdue a return visit there.
Jeremy Holmes, Australia
Red: E.Pira e Figli Barolo 1971
White: Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet 2009
Budget red: Claude et Catherine Marechale Bourgogne ‘Gravel’ 2008
Budget white: Tribut Chablis ‘Beauroy’ 2008
Rosé: Arrivo Rosato di Nebbiolo 2009
Sweet: Yquem 1996
Sparkling: Krug 1988
Fortified: Sandeman 1945
Dud: Corked botts at a Jayer dinner
Comment: Disclaimer: I have sold a couple of these wines and bought plenty for our personal cellar.
TOM: Cracking Euro-centric, indeed euro-classic selection from down under.
John Lamond, UK
Red: Chateau Leoville Barton ((France), St. Julien 1989
White: Le Clos Blanc de Vougeot (France), Vougeot 2001
Budget red: Palataia Pinot Noir (Germany), Pfalz 2009
Budget white: Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling (Australia) Clare, 2007
Rosé: Cellier des Esperides (France), Cotes de Provence 2009
Sweet: Torcolato (Italy), Veneto 2003
Sparkling: Bollinger Grande Annee (France), Champagne, 2000
Fortified: Guimaraens (Portugal) Port 1996
Dud: Robert Skalli Syrah (France) Languedoc 2008(?)
Thing: The sunroom
Comment: Discovery of the year was the vast improvement in the quality of M&S’s wine offering
TOM: I had the 2000 vintage of the Leoville-Barton just a couple of evenings ago and it was my Christmas highlight. Agree on the improved quality of the M&S wine range over the past couple of years, and John probably knows his budget red is made by one of the wine buyers responsible for that, who as since left M&S to make wines in the Pfalz.
Richard Zambuni, UK and USA
Red: Allemand (France) Cornas Reynard 1991
White: Jadot (France) Le Montrachet 2004
Budget red: Barruol (France) Gigondas St Cosme 2001
Budget white: Leitz (Germany) Rideshiemer Klosterlay Riesling Kabinett 2007
Rosé: Domaine de Chevalier (France) rose 2009
Sweet: Huet (France) Vouvray Le Mont moelleux 1950
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Vintage Champagne 1998
Fortified: La Gitana (Spain) Manzanilla nv
Dud: Chateau de Beaucastel (France) Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998
Thing: My two back-to-back Cornas offline dinners at 28-50
Comment: I know, I know – these are all European wines. I do drink the occasional NZ, Australian, American, Chliean wine etc. but they nearly always seem to not be worth the effort or expense compared to the elegance and completeness of the the terroir-driven wines of Europe. I will keep trying other wines, but I always come back to Europe. Cornas is one of my very favourite wines, and it was a great year for drinking Cornas both from my cellar and at offlines. When I offered to organize an offline centred on Cornas I was overwhlemed by the response and ended up running two back-to-back dinners at 28-50 where we tasted the great and the good of Cornas back to 1983 with most wines being a very great pleasure to drink. The Allemand Reynard from 1991, 1994 and 2001 were highlights, but there were another ten wines of great stature and more importantly of pure pleasure in that line-up – you just have to give these wines time. I have picked out the Allemand Reynard 1991 as my red of the year – it was superb. There\’s always a danger that wines like Le Montrachet are over-rated on the basis of their appellation alone, but the Jadot 2004 was stunning – perhaps the best dry white wine I have ever drunk (thank you David W). Apart from some of these grand wines, I got much pleasure from some that are very affordable and very available. La Gitana is always a delicious aperitif, and the Domaine de Chevalier rose, while a little recherche, was all you could ask for in a simple, fresh rose wine. On the sweet front, there were many potential contenders this year. One of the good things about offlines is that we often end on a glass of something sweet and this gives me a chance to try more sweet wines than I do at home where consuming a whole bottle (or even half bottle) between two is more of a challenge. Thinking of challenges, it was at Neil Holland\’s vintage pairs event that I got to taste the Huet Le Mont moelleux 1950 – what nectar. I love old chenin blanc wines. Finally to the dud – my Ch de Beaucastel 1998 was a soupy mess at the Beaucastel vertical early in the year. Very disappointing. Chapoutier’s Chante-Alouette Hermitage blanc 1999 has also been a serial failure when pulled from a case bought en primeur and stored impeccably. Finally, I jsut want to say how much of a pleasure it has been to meet, drink and eat with so many generous and engaging friends from the UK Wine Forum over 2010. It wouldn’t have been the same without them. Here’s to a great 2011 on the wine front.
TOM: If that rosé is from the Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Légnan I confess I did not know it existed, let alone know what it tastes like! No need to apologise for a Euro-centric list here, as despite plenty of New World brilliance, surely nobody could deny that Europe is still responsible for so many of the world’s finest expressions of grape and place? selection below added 29/12/2010
Red: Jaboulet-Aine (France) Crozes Hermitage Thalabert 1990
White: Domaine Huet (France) Loire Le Mont Demi Sec 2002
Budget red: Catena / Domaines Baron Rothschild – Lafite (Argentina) Amancaya 2008
Budget white: Tomas Cusine (Spain) Auzells 2008
Rosé: Henri Bonnaud (France) Provennce Palettes 2007
Sweet: Chateau de Fargues (France) Sauternes 1990
Sparkling: Philipponnat (France) Clos des Goises 1996
Fortified: Lustau (Spain) Murillo PX NV
Dud: K Vintners (USA) All!
TOM: This is the third vote in for the Philipponnat Clos des Goises 1996 Champagne – makes me even more certain I committed vinous infantacide when I served both of my bottles at a dinner around four years ago…
Ronald Massard, Thailand
Red: Domaine Peyre-Rose (France) Clos des Cistes, Coteaux du Languedoc 1998
White: Chateau La Nerthe (France) Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2000
Budget red: Domaine du Vissoux (France) Coeur de Vendanges, Beaujolais 2008
Budget white: Ten Minutes by Tractor (Australia) 10X Chardonnay, Mornington 2007
Rosé: Horiot (France) Rose des Riceys 2006
Sweet: Bernard Plageoles (France) Vin d’Autan, Gaillac 1997
Sparkling: Chateau Le Roc (France) Vin Turbulent, vin de table NV
Fortified: Seppelt (Australia) GR 113 Rare Rutherglen Muscat, Rutherglen NV
Dud: Domaine Germain (France) red Saint Romain 2008
Thing: Ex aequo : a mushroom year and young chefs in Paris : Gagnaire-trained Guillaume Delage at Jadis (XVth) and the stellar Petter Nilsson at La Gazzetta (XIIth) – try his “pied de cochon et oursin, oignon doux des Cevennes”. (pig trotter and sea urchin, sweet onion)
Comment: At the end of an endless rugged track, I finally saw Marlene Soria’s kingdom at Peyre-Rose : a windy plateau surrounded with odorant bush. She captures the soil austerity and the garrigue scents, controls the alchemy for a number of years (1998 released in 2005). The result reveals natural environment and winemaker’s character : frank and austere, yet delicate and expressive. The 10-year-old white La Nerthe was at its best : powerful and vertical, with a miraculously mineral backbone and profound complexity. No real hit in bubblies this year, so I chose the funny negrette-mauzac frizzante from one of the forefront Fronton (near Toulouse) producers, just ahead of Plageoles’ Mauzac Nature (a delight on strawberries in summer).
TOM: Lovely evocative selection and fascinating to see so many wines from less well-trodden wine roads of France. As I spent some time in the Southwest around Gaillac last year and will do the same again this Spring, I have some new names to look out for.
Linden Wilkie, Hong Kong and UK
Red: Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (France) Pauillac 1870
White: Trimbach ‘Clos Ste Hune’ (France) Alsace 1976
Budget red: Penfolds ‘St Henri’ (Australia) 2004
Budget white: Domaine Roulot (France) Bourgogne Blanc 2007
Rosé: Sacha Lichine’s Chateau d’Esclans (France)
Sweet: Chateau Suduiraut (France) Sauternes 1929
Sparkling: Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’ (France) Champagne 1979
Fortified: ABLE shipwreck ‘Madeira’ (Portugal) c1800
Dud: Domaine Roumier (France) Corton Charlemagne 2003
Thing: My son – now 3 months old
Comment: A lot of changes in 2010 – the arrival of my first child in September, and a move to Hong Kong in June, while commuting back and forth to the UK (which will continue). Not the best wine of the year, but the most interesting was the circa 1800 ‘Madeira’ I served at an event in December. It sunk with the Able off the Georgia coast in 1840 and was salvaged in 1979, sold at auction in 1980 and then bought by me this year at auction. Still deliciously sweet and fragrant. I’m stretching things a little to say Penfold’s St Henri is a ‘budget red’, but they made such great 2004s and it’s one of the exuberant but superbly balanced wines that is great now, but will age and intrigue for decades I suspect (the ’71 is still going strong).
TOM: As always, an eye-popping list from Linden (who’s job does entail sourcing some of the world’s rarest wine!). In June 2002 that CLos Ste Hune was my Wine of the Month, when it stood out in a vertical tasting of the wine.
Richard Manley, UK
Red: La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 1995
White: Karthauserhofberg Auslese 1991 Magnum
Budget red: Potensac 2002 or 2004 both excellent
Budget white: Karthauserhofberg Kabinett 2001
Rosé: Moondah Brook 2004
Sweet: Vendanges Tardives Gewurztraminer
Sparkling: Pol Roger NV Magnum at a friends wedding occasion just made it
Dud: A few Burgundy reds
Thing: Eldest joining the Army. Proud but also Worried
Comment: Tom, As per 2009 notes another testing year. Jake has joined the Army so very proud and also worried at the same time. We have had some illness in the family but glad to say all on the road to recovery. Congratulations on the TV show and Wine Gang ventures !! Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year.
TOM: Many thanks Richard, for the thoughtful words but also for a list of wines I enjoyed: it is so easy to overlook classic wines like the Gran Reserva 904 Rioja, when much sexier new wines come along. Wishing you and your family all the best in 2011 too.
Guy Dennis, UK
Red: 1981 Beaucastel
White: 1997 Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes
Budget red: 2007 Domaine Mas Theo, Coteaux du Tricastin
Budget white: 2008 Dr L German riesling from Loosen Bros
Rosé: 2008 Tempier Bandol – the only rose I’ve had this year!
Sweet: 2003 Domaine Pietri-Geraud Cuvée Méditerranée Banyuls
Sparkling: 1990 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee
Thing: Gore bib shorts
Comment: What a year – so much amazing fine wine. Filling this form in was a lot easier a few years ago when there was less to choose between.
TOM: Good choices: I raved about the Mas Theo in a report on Oddbins and agree on its value, and if you only tasted one rosé, well at least it was a particlularly good one.
Chris Hambleton, UK
Red: Bouchard Pere et Fils (France) Volnay 1er Cru Les Caillerets Ancienne Cuvee Carnot 1985
White: Louis Jadot (France) Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses 1998, France
Budget red: Sogrape (Portugal) Pena de Pato 2007 Dão
Budget white: Marques de riscal (Spain) Rueda 2009
Rosé: Heidsieck Monopole (France) vintage 1985 Champagne rose
Sweet: Mullineux (South Africa) Straw wine 2008
Sparkling: Andre Jacquart (France) 2004 vintage Blanc de blancs Champagne
Fortified: Warre’s (Portugal) 1977 vintage Port
Dud: A really old bottle of Bollinger NV – Dead as the proverbial parrot
Thing: Taking my son to see his first rugby match – we lost but it was a glorious day and he enjoyed it!
Comment: 2010 has been a very good year for us overall and many a good bottle shared with friends old and new. I’m surprised to be putting 2 Burgundies down as top wines given the variety of stuff I get through for work and play, but these two were outstanding when I took them along to my Dad\’s birthday lunch – both did everything you could possibly have wanted of them, delicious and all the better for sharing with the family. The Rueda is an old favourite that I had not had for 3 years or so – stunning stuff for the money if you like lemony crisp whites. Not had much rose this year and certainly nothing to inspire except the bubbly version (sorry Tom, but it IS pink!), this seemingly venerable old thing was delicious, really toasty and complex and a bargain to boot! Plenty has been written about the Straw wine on wine-pages and it’s all true, lovely, lovely wine. The Andre Jacquart is there because it really sticks in the mind as the best fizz I tasted at the CIVC tastings, I have probably had better fizz this year, but this one really stood out. The Warre’s is in a great place right now, drinking superbly. The less said about the bolly the better, although if anyone was in any doubt about what oxidation looked, smelled and tasted like (some brave souls did try it) all doubts have now been banished. My son (4) came up to me in January and said he was worried about the birds not getting enough food so could we make a bird-table? I finally found a use for all those box-ends that I had been keeping for reasons unknown even to me. It’s been great to meet so many people from the UK wine forum at the events I’ve been to this year, lots of good food, good fun and good company. Here’s to an even better 2011. Cheers!
TOM: Sounds like you had a great year in many ways Chris, and indeed there are several wines in your list that could easiy have been in my selection, including the very characterful little budget red from Portugal, and Chris and Andrea Mullineaux’s Straw Wine, which I had again just last week! selection below added 27/12/2010
Red: Vieux Telegraphe Southern Rhone Mag 1981
White: Sarda Mallet L’insouciant Languedoc 2009
Budget red: Mugneret Gibourg Bourgogne Rouge 2003/4
Budget white: Pierre Yves Colin-Morey Bourgogne Blanc 2007
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose Provence 2007
Sweet: Doisy Daene Sauternes 2005
Sparkling: Pol Roger NV
Fortified: Warre Porto Vintage 1983
Dud: Hosanna Pomerol 1999
Thing: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Comment: Lots of great wine – bought too much which means I’ll have to drink too much…
TOM: Why is buying wine even easier than drinking it? How many of us buy too much, or find it hard to keep up with our expanding cellars!
Red: Parker Coonawarra Estate (Australia) Terra Rossa First Growth 1990
White: Chapoutier (France) Ermitage Blanc Le Meal 2007
Budget red: Joseph Burrier (France) Saint-Amour Cote de Besset 2007
Budget white: Marof (Slovenia) Chardonnay Breg 2008
Rosé: Tondonia (Spain) Crianza Rosado Rioja 2000
Sweet: Chateau de Fargues (France) 2003
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) La Grande Annee 1999
Fortified: Orlando (Australia) Vintage Port 1947
Dud: Dow (Portugal) Midnight Port NV
Thing: My new 9 day old son
TOM: Well, many congratulations on the new baby and I hope you are getting some sleep! A few lovely wines there to toast the baby with, and 2010 looking like a fine vintage tolay down some wine too!
Simon McCulloch, UK
Red: Chateau Le Gay (France) Pomerol 1982
White: Manni Nossing (Italy) Alto Adige Kerner 2008
Budget red: Domaine Charvin (France) Cotes du Rhone 2006
Budget white: Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon (France) Macon 2007
Rosé: Chateau du Galoupet (France) Cotes de Provence 2008
Sweet: Chateau Pajzos Esszencia (Hungary) Tokaji 1993
Sparkling: Moet et Chandon (France) Cuvee Dom Perignon 1995
Fortified: Niepoort (Portugal) LBV Port 1996
Dud: Fromm Winery (New Zealand) La Strada Dry Riesling 2007
Thing: Getting married 🙂
Comment: 2010 was a big year for Alex and I – we got engaged in April, we both changed our jobs and got married in December, so many of my choices for WotY are influenced by those events and by celebration. There were others that I would have liked to mention and some great restaurant bottles too. Going to my first UK Wine Forum ‘offline’ is a definite resolution for 2011. Wishing all other forumites and their families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
TOM: And more congraulations obviously due here Simon. Another fine selection – pity the Fromm Riesling didn’t perform, as I think there is good drinking to be had in New Zealand Riesling, though I confess quite a few of them are ‘good’ without being great.
Phil Marshall, UK
Red: Ch Figeac 95
White: Bonneau du Martray – Corton-Charlemagne 1994
Budget red: 1998 Domaine de l’Hortus
Budget white: Concha y Toro Winemakers Lot No.33T Casablanca Viognier 2008
Sweet: Pergole Vece, 2005 Recioto della Valpolicella DOC Classico, Le Salette
Sparkling: Bollinger Grand Annee 2000
Fortified: Gould Campbell 1977
Dud: 1989 d’Yquem
Thing: Becoming 50
TOM: Delighted to see the Bolly 2000 which was my choice too, but disappointed to see the ’89 d’Yquem as ‘dud’ as I still have a few half bottles tucked away. My fingers are crossed that my experience will be better! Congratulations on the big birthday too.
Ian Springett, UK
Red: Cheval Blanc 1982
White: Laville Haut Brion Blanc 1962
Budget red: Domaine de la Fourmente Visan, Cotes du Rhone “Nature” 2009
Budget white: 2009 Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez Godello Gabo do Xil Valdeorras
Rosé: Domaine Perdiguier Cuvee d’en Auger 2007
Sweet: Climens 1988
Sparkling: Clos des Goisses 1996, Philipponat
Fortified: Graham 1966
Dud: Vieux Telegraphe 1998
TOM: Nice Cross-section of French wines there (with a token Portuguese – wot, no Banyuls :-)).
Thomas De Waen, UK
Red: Bachelet Charmes Chambertin 1990
White: Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres 2000
Budget red: Carruades: you bought it as a bugdet wine and can turn it into Roumier GC!
Budget white: 2004 Dauvissat Chablis la Forest
Sweet: Suduiraut 2009 cask sample
Sparkling: Cristal 1990
Fortified: Oliveiras Madeira Valdeiro Reserva 1905
Dud: 2001 Ramonet Batard Montrachet (corked)
Thing: A baby
TOM: I like the cheeky choice of budget red – this is the second wine of Chateau Lafite that cost little more than a tenner a few years ago, but demand from the far east has pushed the price to eye-watering levels.
Stewart Hunter, UK
Red: Cos Pithos (Italy) Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2008
White: Some Young Punks (Australia) Monsters Monsters Attack Riesling 2009
Budget red: Paul Jaboulet AÃ®né (France) Côtes du Ventoux L’Echapée 2009
Budget white: Château Roquette-Sur-Mer (France) La Clape, Arpège 2009
Rosé: Domaine de Villargeau (France) Coteaux du Giennois 2009
Sweet: Inniskillen (Canada) Cabernet Franc Icewine 2008
Sparkling: Reichsrat von Buhl (Germany) Spätburgunder Rosé Sekt 2008
Fortified: Lustau (Spain) East India Solera
Dud: Potel (France) Vosne-Romanee Vieilles Vignes 2005
Comment: Some Young Punks really took my fancy this year, as much for the artwork on their labels as for the very good quality of their wines. The Potel was a huge disappointment, remaining completely closed three days after opening.
TOM: A couple of wines here I have not come across, inlcuding the punks which I will look out for. That crazy Cab Franc icewine is terrific stuff though.
Paul Benbow, UK
Red: Gramercy Cellars (USA) Walla Walla Syrah Washington 2007
White: Domaine Drouhin (USA) Arthur Chardonnay 2007
Budget red: Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent (Lebanon) 2007
Budget white: Wine Society (Germany) Saar Reisling 2008
Rosé: Weingut Wieninger (Austria) Pinot Noir 2008
Sweet: Serriger Vogelsang (Germany) trockenbeernauslese reisling 1976
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne 1999
Dud: Domaine Pichard (France) Madiran 2003
Thing: Ice Wine. All of them so far!
Comment: Two USA wines topping my list is very surprising & nothing from New Zealand equally so.
TOM: I wondered if perhaps you’d been to Washington and Oregon this year (the homes of the two top wines), as I visited a couple of years ago and loved the wine regions of both states, and discovered some great wines.
Bryan Collins, UK
Red: Noël Verset (France) Cornas 1988
White: Domaine Leflaive (France) Chevalier-Montrachet 1997
Budget red: Ghislaine Barthod (France) Bourgogne Rouge 2006
Budget white: Dönnhoff (Germany) OberhÃ¤user Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 2007
Rosé: Taittinger (France) Comtes de Champagne Rosé 2002
Sweet: Maximin Grünhauser (Germany) Abtsberg Riesling Eiswein #191 2001
Sparkling: Moët & Chandon (France) Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon Oenothèque 1995
Fortified: Valdespino (Spain) Moscatel ViejÃsimo Toneles
Thing: New house – with a real cellar!
Comment: If you’d told me at the start of the year than my red WOTY would be a Cornas, I would have been surprised. Not that I don’t love Cornas, but the best of the year? Well, I don’t know if it really was the best of the year, but it was the most memorable, in terms of being my favourite wine at the best UK Wine Forum offline of the year – the first Rhone offline at 28-50. One of those nights where just about everything was in perfect condition. The Leflaive was from Bobby’s offline at The Fish Club, although the 1985 Combettes could have got the nod. The 1995 Oenotheque was also from that night and I liked it enough to go out and buy some – ahead of the 1996, for me. Other than that, odd not to see any Italian wines in the list – just funny how things worked out.
TOM: Lovely list, and greay when a relatively (emphasis on the relatively) moderst wine like the Cornas can be the most memorable. And one of every wine lover’s dreams, to have a proper cellar at home.
Ian Crawford Amstad, UK but living in USA
Red: Chateau La Conseillante (France) Pomerol
White: Coche Dury Meursault (France) 1996
Budget red: Vietti Perbacco (Italy) Piedmont 2007
Budget white: Gavi di Gavi, many producers (Italy)
Rosé: Chateau Minuty (France) Provence
Sweet: Chateau D’Yquem (France) Sauternes 1970
Sparkling: Champagne Billiot (France) 2002
Dud: 2010 – not a great year
Thing: Volvo XC60
Comment: I mainly content myself drinking Bordeaux, burgundy and Piedmont these days. As for vinous highlights La Conseillante is my wine of the year and I enjoyed three examples: 1989 (‘won’ our vertical in April), 1982 (much better in August) and 1990 (my wotn in a 1990 horizontal in Dec). The most mesmerising wine was certainly La Tache 1985, and from Bordeaux Mouton 1995 ‘won’ our ‘Paris ’76 Revisited’ event ‘beating’ Harlan and Bryant. Leoville Barton 2001 is as good as it gets at a reasonable price point. Lots of good barolos and barbarescos too, the stand out being Giacosa’s Rabaja Riserva 2001, it will turn out to be really something in 15-20 years. Cappellano remains my ‘go to’ producer, however.
TOM: Lot’s of terrific wines in Ian’s year obviously, so the Conseillant and Molitor did very well to win! Funnily enough 2010 was a year when Gavi really won me over too – many of them much brighter and more zingy than I’d often found. selection below added 24/12/2010
Keith Prothero, UK and South Africa
Red: Palmer 1961
White: Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles” 1985
Budget red: Vincent Paris St Joseph 2007
Budget white: Musar 2001
Sweet: Yquem 1950
Sparkling: Vilmart Cuvée Creation 1999
Fortified: Leacock Solera 1808
Dud: Beaucastel 1998
Thing: Pebbles now looking after over 600 children
Comment: Another brilliant year of UK Wine Forum ‘offlines’, with my highlight being the Charity Dinner for Pebbles with Jancis Robinson. At this dinner we were fortunate to taste some great bottles with the Palmer 61, Yquem 50 and Leacock Solera 1808 being absolutely sensational. Love the wines of Vincent Paris and the St Joseph is excellent value for money, especially as I bought three cases at the cellar door for less than E10 a bottle. The 2001 Musar blanc is a truly outstanding wine, and an absolute steal at under £15. Many thanks as always to Tom for the Forum and to everyone who contributed their time, money, company, and/or bottles for various Pebbles fund raising events in the year.
TOM: Keith’s fund-raising work for the South African charity The Pebbles Project is tireless, so I am glad he at least gets to drink some half-decent plonk!
Derek Salmon, Australia
Red: Bethany LE Shiraz
White: Peter Lehmann Wigan Eden Valley Riesling
Budget red: Pikes Eastside Cab Sav 2008
Budget white: Yalumba Pewsey Vale Riesling 2010
Sweet: D’arenberg The Mud Pie
Sparkling: Krug Rosé
Fortified: Seppeltsfield Paramount Collection Tokay
Dud: Henschke Hill of Grace 2006
Thing: Expecting First child / First Head Chefs Posistion
Comment: Some great wines tasted and wine dinners attended. Mclaren Vale grenache 2009 looking great. Mclaren Vale ‘bushing king’ lunch is a must do experience.
TOM: I judged the McLaren Vale wine show a couple of years ago and had a great time, though unfortunately I had to come home just as they were about to crown the ‘bushing king’. Congratulations on the imminent baby – and job!
Jonathan Beagle, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong
Red: 1985 La Tache, Domaine de la Romanee Conti, France
White: 1991 Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco, Lopez de Heredia, Spain
Budget red: 2006 Roero ‘Sergentin’, Fabrizio Battaglino, Italy
Budget white: 2009 Colori del Sud, IGT Sicilia, Fuedo Montoni, Italy
Rosé: 2008 Rosae di Nebbiolo, Nada Giuseppe, Italy
Sweet: 1950 Chateau d’Yquem
Sparkling: 1996 Clos de Goisses, Philipponat, (2006 Disgorgement)
Fortified: 1985 Fonseca Vintage Port, Douro, Portugal
Dud: 1990 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, France
Thing: Unknown Piemonte Producers making great wine at good prices.
Comment: Another fun year of interesting and eclectic wines, and some real treats with good friends and good memories of the vinious year, which brought a new start and moving to working on my own and for myself!
TOM: Two from the fab 1985 vintage (so many of these 25-year-old wines still showing so well, from almost every corner of the globe). I have tasted that 1990 Mouton a couple of times, but not for eight years I see from my records. I noted it was a bit dilute and did not seem to have the balance for ageing, so maybe that predicition was true… Surprised you get time to drink anything with all that globe-trotting though Jonathan 🙂
Jamie Hutchinson, UK
Red: Henri Jayer (France) Vosne Romanee 1993
White: Chateau Grillet (France) Cuvee Renaissance 1970
Budget red: Bilbainas (Spain) Vina Pomal Crianza 1978
Budget white: Charles Hours (France) Clos Urolat Jurancon Sec 2005
Rosé: Chateau d’Esclans (France) Garrus 2008
Sweet: Coutet (France) Barsac 1971
Sparkling: Roses de Jeanne (France) Creux d’Enfer 2006 Rosé
Fortified: Equipo Navazos (Spain) La Bota de Manz Pasada No 20
Dud: Charvin (France) Chateauneuf-du-pape 2007
Thing: Hardy (England) featherlight 3-weight fly reel, timeless.
Comment: It’s been a pretty hectic year, but happily I’ve managed to slip in some decent wine along the way. The top red was the hardest – early highlights included my favourite totally unready wine, with a barrel sample of Chateau Margaux 2009, and finished with some lovely wines like Cos 1929 and Palmer 1961, but it was the Jayer, drank at Michel Bras over a wonderful dinner that really made the biggest imprint. It didn’t last long, but for 30 minutes that wine soared from the glass, in my imagination oozing its aromas over the lip of the glass and covering the entire table. Another very notable wine was the Charvin 07 – never have I had such filth in a glass. Everything about the winemaking and intentions I like the sound of, but the result was sickly beyond redemption. Must try it again at some point in the future. I’ve also been a convert to drag-less fly reels. When I rarely catch anything, and when I do its tiny, whats the point of titanium-carbon braking systems that weigh a tonne and make a racket when you can use your thumb instead.
TOM: A very classic selection there, and all European – but at least that includes the ‘dud’ 🙂 I haven’t tasted the Charvin ’07, but know it has something of jury-splitter, with some finding the sweetness and oak overdone.
Jem Netley, UK
Red: Cahuil Single Vineyard Pinot Noir (Chile) Leyda Valley, 2008
White: Viognier Roussane, Romaneaux Destezet (France) 2007
Budget red: Château de Caraguilhes Rouge (France), Corbières, 2006
Budget white: The Naked Grape Riesling (Germany) Pfalz, 2008
Rosé: Chateau d’Esclans (France) Garrus 2008
Dud: Originel, Clos de la Bruyere (France) Courtois
Comment: The Originel wasn’t so much a dud, as not what I was expecting. Definitely an acquired taste but I have two bottles still to go.
TOM: The Wine Gang also picked the Cahuil Single Vineyard Pinot Noir as our ‘Great Value Red Wine of the Year’, and at a reasonable £14.99 it’s a great choice here.
Leon P E Markham, UK
Red: Haut Brion 1988
White: Domaine Dujac Morey St Denis 2002
Budget red: Domaine David Clark Bourgogne Rouge 2007
Budget white: Domaine Treloar Terre Promise 2007 (I think? served at a winemakers’ dinner)
Rosé: Bollinger NV Rosé
Sweet: Climens 2005
Sparkling: Pol Roger 1999
Fortified: M&S Dry Oloroso by Lustau
Thing: My son Alex
Comment: Lots of travel chaos through the year – hugely disappointing not to be able to see loved ones at important times – but good for the soul I think to be reminded that all of us, rich or poor, are subject to the whims of nature and circumstance…
TOM: Congratulations on Alex (whom I presume is a new addition!) and on a lovely list: I have yet to taste the Burgundies of Scotsman David Clark, but really must correct that.
Jelle Schutte, The Netherlands
Red: Comtes Vogue, Musigny Veilles Vignes (France) Burgundy 2000
White: Marquis de Laguiche, Montrachet (France) Burgundy 1995
Budget red: Fubbiano Colline Lucchesi (Italy) Toscana 2004
Budget white: Murfatlar, Pinot Gris (Rumania) 1964
Rosé: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé (France) Champagne 1998
Sweet: Chateau Yquem (France) Sauternes 1990
Sparkling: Krug, Grande Cuvee N.V. (France) Champagne
Fortified: Massandra Muscat (Georgia) 1935
Dud: Comtes Lafon, Meursault Charmes (France) Burgundy 1988
Thing: Comment: Wineheaven: tasting Screaming Eagle 99 against Mouton Rothschild 86 and not being able to choose
TOM: I have the Musigny and the Yquem in my cellar, so delighted to see them make Jelle’s list, but what about that 1964 Romanian white! That I would have loved to taste!
Ewan Murray, UK
Red: Bodegas Muga (Rioja, Spain) Seleccion Especial Reserva 2005
White: Egon Müller (Germany) Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 1999
Budget red: Masseria Monaci (Puglia, Italy) Copertino Eloquenzia 2006
Budget white: Three Choirs (England) Midsummer Hill 2009
Rosé: Clos Colombu (Corsica, France) Corse Calvi Rosé 2009
Sweet: La Tour Blanche (Sauternes, France), 1912
Sparkling: Alfred Gratien (Champagne, France) Brut Vintage 1998
Fortified: Tio Pepe (Jerez, Spain) Fino ‘en Rama’ 5
Dud: Montana (Marlborough, New Zealand) Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Thing: The lovely snow that had bookended this year.
TOM: Nice to see someone taking our current snow-bound conditions in such a spirit! The 1912 Tour Blanche sounds intriguing: I remember asking a number of winemakers in Sauternes what wine they would drink if not their own, and La Tour Blanche came up more often than any other.
Julian Seers-Martin, UK
Red: Chateau Haut Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 1989
White: Chateau Haut Brion Blanc (France) Pessac-Leognan 1985
Budget red: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) Hochar Pere et Fils 2003
Budget white: Olivier Leflaive (France) Les Setilles 2008
Rosé: Chateau Miraval (France) “Pink Floyd” Cotes de Provence 2009
Sweet: Chateau La Tour Blanche (France) Sauternes 1995
Sparkling: Vincent Perseval (France) Brut Reserve 2002
Fortified: Orlando (Australia) Vintage Port 1945
Dud: Chateau Cheval Blanc (France) St. Emilion 1983
Thing: Peddling for Pebbles Charity Lunch.
TOM: A clean sweep for Haut-Brion at the top of the list, but I am fortunate enough to have drunk both of those wines and they are amongst my best ever wine experiences. I also enjoyed the ‘Pink Floyd’ rosé this year, made in a Château where the band recorded at least some of ‘The Wall’.
Will Cashman, Ireland
Red: DRC Grands Echezeaux 1991
White: Vincent Dancer Chevalier Montrachet 2007
Budget red: Roumier Chambolle 2004
Budget white: Emrich Schoenleber Monzinger Riesling ‘Mineral’ 2007
Rosé: NV Billecart Salmon Rosé (Magnum)
Sweet: Selosse Champagne Exquise NV
Sparkling: 2004 Diebolt Vallois Fleur Du Passion
Fortified: N.V. Emilio Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos Solera Reserva
Dud: Mayer Nakal Spatburgunder
Thing: UK Forum Offlines in Ireland!
Comment: It was another great year for wine. I attended a few, really fun offlines and was delighted that we had 3 in Ireland this year (1 in Belfast and 2 in Dublin). Hopefully we’ll be able to have more next year. I travelled to Germany (Mosel/Nahe) for the first time and have really started to enjoy their rieslings, although Spatburgunder remains a mystery to me. I’ll certainly be back there sooner rather than later. The Emrich Schoeleber Riesling was one of the first bottles I tasted over in the Nahe and I was blown away by the pure deliciousness that the wine presented. There were lots of great wines this year and it was tough coming up with the final selections. The DRC stood tall at a burgundy offline, the Dancer Chevalier was shared with a good friend and the Diebolt Vallois Fleur shone against many more prestigious wines. The Selosse Exquise was brilliant at the Burgundy offline but wasn’t half as good in December, once again proving that there are only great bottles not great wines. I bought the Roumier Chambolle cheaply a few years ago and it has showed really on a couple of occasions this year, thankfully free from green ladybird notes. Hopefully next year will be another great year for wine!
TOM: Sneaking in three Champagnes, eh? It is great to see UK Wine Forum members like Will keeping up the ‘offlines’ (occasions when people who meet on the forum actually get together to drink some wine) outside of London.
Oliver North, UK
Red: AN2 2007, VdT Mallorca
Budget red: Papa Luna 2007, Calatayud
Budget white: Dr L Riesling 2009
Sweet: Seifried Sweet Agnes Riesling 2009, NZ
Fortified: Lustau Palo Cortado
Dud: Chateau Musar 2002
Thing: The Canton Arms, Stockwell
TOM: The Siefried was a ‘Wine of the Week’ for me and it is great to be able to buy NZ’s sweet wines in the UK now after a trading embargo was lifted. Lustau is doing very well in the fortified category so far this year.
Andrew Stevenson, UK
Red: Plantagenet (Australia) Shiraz 1999
White: Poggio Argentiera (Italy) Alture, IGT Maremma Toscana 2007
Budget red: União das Adegas Cooperativas do Dão (Portugal), Adro da Sé Reserva, 2001
Budget white: Antech (France) Crémant de Limoux, Cuvée St Laurent 2008
Rosé: Ch. de Blaceret-Roy (France) I love you Gamay Aromatique Méthode Ancestrale NV
Sweet: Moët & Chandon (France) Grand Cru Les Vignes de Saran NV
Sparkling: 2004 Diebolt Vallois Fleur Du Passion
Fortified: Gonzalez-Byass (Spain, Sherry) Tio Pepe ‘En Rama’ NV
Dud: Volcano Winery (USA, Hawaii), Macadamia Nut Honey Wine NV
Thing: PDANet by junefabrics.com
Comment: It’s been a bit of a quiet year wine-wise, largely reflecting personal circumstances. There were lots of ties for each of the categories, except fortified, where the Tio Pepe was an easy standout though from a very limited field. Whites and particularly sweeties were the most difficult from which to choose a winner. The Alture just pips it from a very strong field by being a bit different: a Tuscan sauvignon blanc! The number of sparkling wines in my selection surprises me. There were actually a couple of better rosés, including a Beaujolais Rosé from the same producer as my final choice, but the “I Love You” stands out from simply being such fun. Not a serious wine at all, but just brings a smile to the face when drinking it. The Antech Cuvée St Laurent comes from The Wine Society and is great value for £7.50 a bottle (dozen price), but when you take into account the quality, it’s amazing. The dud was at one of the few UK forum offlines I’ve managed to attend this year. Bizarre and seriously unpleasant drinking. Fortunately it didn’t take the edge off a fantastic evening. For thing of the year, I was tossing up between two new London restaurants: Gauthier Soho (and particularly Alexis Gauthier’s truffle risotto) and Koffman’s. But then I realised that I’m using PDANet to post this, and in terms of the most useful thing I’ve bought this year, it wins hands down.
TOM: Andrew’s vote fro that Antech Crémant reminds me that different vintages of their Cuvée Exception were wines of the month for me a couple of years back – I must taste them again soon. Macademia Nut Honey Wine, eh? Mmmm…