See also Tom’s Wines of the Year 2011
Mahmoud Ali, Canada
Red…………: 1978 Chateau de la Gardine, Chateauneuf-du-Pape
White……….: 1992 Chateau Tahbilk Marsanne, Australia
Budget red…..: 2007 Aglianico del Vulture, Bisceglia Terre Vulcano, Basilicata
Budget white…: 2002 Marktheidenfelder Kreuzberg Rieslaner Kabinett, Staatlicher Hofkeller Wurzburg, Franken
Sweet……….: 1927 Solera PX, Alvear
Sparkling……: 1985 Charles Heidseck Brut
Fortified……: 1985 Warre’s Vintage Port
Thing……….: Gonzales Byass ‘Nutty Solera’ Oloroso
Comment……..: The de la Gardine is the oldest Chateauneuf that I’ve had and it was a relevation. It certainly makes me wish I had more old ones in the celler. I was served the Tahbilk Marsanne a long time ago and although not terribly impressed decided to cellar a bottle based on it’s reputed ability to age. The gamble was rewarded. The Aglianico is a delicious red, full of minerality, fruit and structure. A runner-up would be the 2008 ‘Pigmentium’ Cahors by Georges Vigouroux, another savoury and fruity wine. The Rieslaner was older stock gathering dust in a wine shop and it qualified over the 2005 Paxton Chardonnay as it isn’t a budget wine but rather a 4 pound bankruptcy blowout. The 1927 Solera is really a fortified but it is so sweet, rich and complex that it seems more like a sticky than anything else. Old champagne isn’t for everyone but we wine necropheliacs adore them. The ’85 Warres was still youthful but it was the best and oldest of the year. My “Thing” is Sherry, we love the stuff in our household and can never get enough. The Nutty Solera is our standby, inexpensive, off dry, and perfectly suited to start the evening and use in the cooking.
Tom: A couple of ’78 Rhône wines remain amongst my greatest red wine experiences so great to see one make the cut here, and a couple of ’85s – such a great vintage in so many places.
Anders Lind, Sweden
Red…………: Gevrey-Chambertin 1cru Corbeaux, Dom. Heresztyn 2007
White……….: Chablis 1cru Fourchaume, Dom. de Malandes 2006
Budget red…..: Cotes du Rhone, Dom. de La Janasse 2010
Budget white…: Bourgogne Blanc, Clotilde Davenne 2009/10
Rosé………..: half bottles of Deutz Rosé
Sweet……….: Sauternes Clos Haut Peyraguey 2001
Sparkling……: Camille Savés 2002
Fortified……: Lustau Palo Cortado Peninsula
Dud…………: Unwelcome “portugese terroir”; all those corked bottles …
Thing……….: My oldest daughter becoming a teenager; making me proud in new ways (including age-appropriate assertiveness)
Comment……..: Inspiring with a youngish red Burgundy that is so promising in that otherwise somewhat disappointing vintage. Fullish and would work wonders with kindney or a hare stew. The budget white is made outside of the Chablis-appellation: same style, nicer price. The C. Savès is the red-burgundy-style-Champagne; perfect “à table”. The wonderful year 2002 (my younger daughter’s birthyear) still available in Sweden at an attractive price.
Tom: Yes, mopping up 2002 vintage Champagnes is a very sound strategy – the hype for the vintage is really justified, and they are still not too difficult to find here in the UK too.
Ned Osborn, Philadelphia USA
Red…………: Clos Mogador Manyetes 2006
Budget red…..: Elk Cove Vinyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008
Budget white…: Ceretto Blange 2009
Sparkling……: Roederer Estate L’ Ermitage Brut Rose 2003
Tom: Good to see an Oregon Pinot scoop a place on Ned’s list. Reminds me of the excellent trip I had there a couple of years ago, with so many good Pinots.
Benjamin Cain, UK
Red…………: Mouton-Rothschild 1994, off vintage but rich, warm and long
White……….: Guigal La Doriane 1996
Budget red…..: Oak Knoll, Oregon, Pinot Noir 1994
Budget white…: Dr Loosen, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1990
Rosé………..: Domaine Tempier Rose 2000
Sweet……….: Wili Opitz Schliwein 1997
Sparkling……: Salon 1996
Fortified……: Quinta do Noval Nacional 1963, a rare treat, fantastic
Dud…………: Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Thing……….: Vibratosax A1S – not wine but my other passion
Comment……..: An interesting wine year. Surprising how fresh and sexy the Doriane was with goose. Oak Knoll was sublime for the price. Lets see what 2012 has to offer.
Tom: I am delighted to read that the ’94 Mouton has come round. I bought two cases of it back when 1st growths still cost only £30 a bottle, selling one and working my way through several bottles of the other. Time to raid the cellar and see what’s left. BTW, to save anyone else having to google for it – the Vibratosax A1S is the world’s first Polycarbonate saxaphone apparently!
Raymond Tilney, UK
Red…………: La Mission Haut Brion (France) Graves/P-L 1982
White……….: Leflaive (France) Burgundy Bienvenues Batard Montrachet 1999
Budget red…..: God No!!
Budget white…: Anne Gros (France) Burgundy CdN Blanc Cuvee Marine 2008
Rosé………..: Vilmart (France) Champagne Cuvee Rubis 2004
Sweet……….: Mullineux (S.Africa) Straw Wine 2008
Sparkling……: Pol Roger (France) Champagne 1979 ( Disgorged for The Royal Wedding Andrew&Sarah)
Dud…………: Jaquesson Champagnes
Thing……….: Going Back to Full Time Work
Comment……..: A fabulous year of champagnes all shared by generous forum friends, Bollinger VVF 90, Krug 81 & Mesnil 98, Vilmart CdC 90, all were perhaps superior to the 79 Pol which got the vote on emotional romantic and rarity grounds. It was the bottle I would most like to have back in stock. The Leflaive BBM 99 was my absolute WOTY and it was served blind when I asked Nigel Platts-Martin to make an informed selection from The Square’s list. Well some choice!! I finally got the top White Burg thing and understood UK Wine Forum regular Thom’s remark about Burgundy not tasting of chardonnay. I have been less able to spend time on the forum due to a challenging return to a full time post operating a Fasttrack 100 Company. I thought the capacity for hard work might have departed, what with me into my 50’s now!!!, but it really is a buzz to be day to day amongst young people. The offlines Debbi and I got along to were another highlight and I should particularly thank Don and Keith of the forum for taking the time and trouble they do which facilitates the camaraderie and generosity which is a hallmark of Wine-Pagers. You should be proud of what you continue to stimulate Tom.
Tom: I am indeed proud Raymond – proud and immensely grateful. Delighted your Champagne intake didn’t appear to slow down as you re-joined the ranks of the full-time wage slaves 🙂
Rainer Guntermann, Germany
Red…………: Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 1978
White……….: Chevalier Montrachet Leflaive 2002
Budget red…..: Chateau du Retout 2004
Budget white…: Macon Villages Faiveley 2008
Rosé………..: Billecart Samon Rose
Sweet……….: Chateau Climens 1975
Sparkling……: Pol Roger Winston Churchill 1988
Fortified……: Graham’s Vintage Port 1966
Dud…………: The growing Burgundy hype
Thing……….: Seeing our Christmas roses blossoming a point
Comment……..: Thankful to have found such a friendly home at wine-pages-com and happy for your Offline Culture. Cheers, Rainer
Tom: Wow, La Mission Haut-Brion is having a great year this year; that must be half a dozen nominations. Delighted to see Rainer enjoying wine-pages so much from continental Europe too.
Richard Ward, UK
Red…………: Ridge (USA) Monte Bello 1993
White……….: Cakebread Cellars (USA) Chardonnay 2007
Budget red…..: Georges Duboeuf (France) Fleurie 2009
Budget white…: Marques De Riscal (Spain) Rueda Blanco 2010
Rosé………..: Torres (Spain) Vina Sol Rosado 2010
Sweet……….: Chateau D’Yquem (France) Sauternes 1996
Sparkling……: Philliponnat (France) Clos De Goisses 1996
Fortified……: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Apostoles 30yo Palo Cortado
Dud…………: Taittinger NV – a noticeable decline in quality throughout the year
Thing……….: Birth of my nephew Ben
Tom: And Monte Bello has had a great showing too, named by several people. Just how good was 2009 Beaujolais too – and the growing legion of fans had extra reason to smile when the 2010 vintage turned out to be no slouch either. Great call on the Apostoles – a classic.
David Pope, UK
Red…………: Ridge (USA) Monte Bello 1990
Budget red…..: Thibault Liger-Belair (France) Moulin a Vent vielles vignes 2009
Budget white…: Cave des Vignerons de Bully-Quincerié (France) Beaujolais blanc 2008
Sweet……….: Chateau Climens (France) Barsac 1996
Sparkling……: Vilmart (France) Coeur de Cuvee champagne 1997
Fortified……: Blandy’s (Portugal) Bual Madeira 1920
Dud…………: Rugby Union World Cup
Thing……….: Tottenham’s Champions’ League campaign
Comment……..: It’s difficult to pick wines because I don’t usually keep notes of wines I’ve consumed at home. Thus I tend to forget some of them! Even so, I rememebr drinking very few whites this year and nothing has stood out. I don’t think I’ve drunk a single rosé. The Monte Bello was marginally the best wine at a vertical organised by Keith Prothero in July, just ahead of the 1981 and 1995. The two budget wines were from a beaujolais offline at the Ledbury. I must confess that the white was my own wine! And the red just beat my own red. The tasting confirmed the quality of the 2009 vintage in Beaujolais and the tremendous value in this region. The Climens was served at the Monte Bello offline and the Vilmart from a magnum at the recent tremendous champagne offline at the Fish Club. The fabulous Bual was served at the Mas de Daumas Gassac offline. A super wine that was nowhere near old. The Rugby World Cup was a disappointing tournament and the displays and behaviour of the England team were unprintable. A contrast to Tottenham’s exhilerating run to the quarter-finals of the Champions’ League. No-one expected us to get that far yet we played great football and deserved the progress. I was able to make trips to games in Milan and Madrid. I’m loking forward to next season’s campaign.
Tom: Monte Bello again – must count up to see if it or La Mission was the most popular for red wine this year. Lots of lovely choices in David’s list and some surprises too; 1997 is hardly rated as a Champagne vintage, but it shows what such a quality producer can do – especially in magnum. selection below added 17/01/2012
John A Diver, Scotland UK
Red…………: Two Hands Max’s Garden 05
White……….: Stonier chardonnay 04
Budget red…..: Saisburys Priorat 07
Budget white…: Asda Lugny 2010
Sweet……….: Rutherglen Muscat
Sparkling……: Grande Dame 08
Thing……….: Dullus’s Poetry..I’ve included a poem
Comment……..: In Vino Veritas Try this fabulous Cotes du Rhone, Joan, its nice but not fully blown,
The grapes were organically grown Joan, amongst wild flowers randomly sown
In a vineyard thats hardly well-known Joan, the terroir’s as dry as a bone,
And they use local labour, they’re kind to their neighbour,
And take case orders over the phone.
Try a glass of this vintage Lafite, Pete, I believe there’s a bouquet of meat,
Sure this wine’s such a wonderful treat, Pete, when you’ve spent the whole day on your feet;
Ah look! theres a comfortable seat Pete, sit down and enjoy your Lafite,
This wine’s so mature, can you catch the manure?..
Or, Dear God, is that sweaty feet?
Have a glass of Barossa Shiraz, Chas, take a swig of this Old Block Shiraz,
It’s a wine with amazing pzazz, Chas, not so much Indie, more Jazz.
I’ve seen kids out on the Razz, Chas, drink this stuff straight out of a vase; though
When offered to Vera, she said “No! Give me Syrah..
Barossa’s for grans and grandpas!”
Take a glass of this Dom Perignon, John, this party’s spilled onto the lawn,
The Champers will soon be all gone, John, so take a good swig of the Dom;
I saw you suppressing a yawn, John, so go dip your poor feet in the pond,
Don’t behave like big Doug who drank all the Krug..
And ended up snogging that swan! Tom: it’s not often I’m left speechless by a WoTY entry, but… Fantastic – well done John!
Simon Grant, UK
Red…………: Chateau Palmer 1983
White……….: Domaine Louis Carillon Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres 2004
Rosé………..: 2002 Pol Roger Brut Rosé
Sweet……….: Mullineaux Straw Wine 2010
Sparkling……: Selosse Blanc des Blancs NV (05 disgorgement)
Fortified……: La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 30
Dud…………: Two particular corked bottles, the only example of the wines I owned: 2000 Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet and 1990 Krug
Thing……….: New house (and cellar!)
Comment……..: The red was a tough one, with 85 LLC & Palmer and 83 & 89 Palmer all neck and neck – the 83 by the narrowest of whiskers I think, but I can’t separate them really. The sweet category was tight too, with the Mullineaux just pipping a couple of bottles of Kunstler Hochenheimer Holle Eiswein 2002 (did pegging the Mullineaux when served it blind at Marcus Waring help tip the balance?!). The Manzanilla Pasada was a stunner and the Palo Cortado 17 was pretty close on its heels. Anyway, another year with some lovely bottles – at home, abroad and at various offlines, all largely with the friends made through Wine-Pages – long may it continue. On the home front the year saw two house moves as we went from our previous old and quirky house to another one via a temporary rental. I’ll be happy not to have to relocate the cellar again for quite some time!
Tom: Excellent choices all round – I’ve just had a glass of the excellent Manzanilla ‘en rama’ from Bodegad Hidalgo which was such a refreshing wine, and there are some other bottles I’ve emjoyed recently in the list, including that fine Palmer 1983.
Matthieu Guinard, Finland
Red…………: Cal Demoura (France) L’Infidèle 1998
White……….: François Cotat (France) Grande Côte 2010
Budget red…..: Viña Ijalba (Spain) Graciano Crianza 2004
Budget white…: Domaine Dupasquier (France) Roussette de Savoie 2007
Rosé………..: Bollinger (France) La Grande Année Rosé 2004
Sweet……….: Egon Müller (Germany) Scharzhofberger Trockenbeerenauslese 1999
Sparkling……: Ruinart (France) Millésimé 1995
Dud…………: Dauvissat 1997 (Les Clos, Les Preuses)
Thing……….: The wine auction of the VDP in Trier.
Comment……..: This year again was rich in tasting and wine trips. There are so many memories… but the most important is the going on discovery of german wines, and more specifically of the Mittlemosel region. I spent a few weeks there this year and I will definitely visit again. Each time is full of surprises and great encounters. It is so sad that they will harm the region with an ugly bridge and a useless highway!
Tom: Very nice to have a list where the choices came from great experiences visiting the wine region in question. Matthieu refers to the Mosel bridge, to which Dr Loosen amonst many other producers objected strongly, but which has gone ahead.
Phil David, UK
Red…………: La Mission Haut Brion (France) 1982
White……….: Drouhin (France) Beaune Blanc Clos des Mouches 1996
Budget red…..: Cecchi (Italy) Vino Nobile de Montepulciano 2004
Budget white…: Zind Humbrecht (France) Riesling Gueberschwir 2005
Rosé………..: Dom Perignon (France) 2000 Rosé
Sweet……….: Huet (France) Vouvray Le Mont 1er Trie 1997
Sparkling……: Bollinger (France) Grande Année 1999
Fortified……: Mystery Port, suspected 1960s vintage
Dud…………: Matassa (France) Cuvee Romanissa 2004
Thing……….: Queen’s Park Rangers’ promotion to the Premier League (however short-lived).
Comment……..: Thanks to the largesse of fellow offliners I tasted some magnificent wines, but in 2011 for the first time my own humble cellar stepped up to supply several of my wines of the year. Perhaps the first among these was the majestic Bollinger Grande Annee 1999, a wonderful example of the house style and drinking beautifully; somehow it transcended the raft of Champagnes a few of us enjoyed at a ridiculously decadent offline at the Fish Club in Wandsworth. That evening also supplied my rosé of the year, the Dom 2000. We were suitably impressed that the bottle’s bling factor was enhanced by displaying the name of its donor, Jamie Goode. The Clos des Mouches wasn’t too shabby, either, a perfect specimen that thumbed its nose at premature oxidation and a reminder of just how satisfying white Burgundy can be when it negotiates age successfully. Sadly, Dan Bailey’s extraordinary premox open house event in the summer, at which numerous cases of suspect wines were disrobed, demonstrated the amplitude of the problem as pulled cork after pulled cork revealed varying levels of oxygenated disappointment. The red wasn’t that tough a call, though I should give honourable mentions to a Jaboulet La Chapelle 1985, a Voerzio Barolo Cerequio 2000 and a quite lovely Bernard Chave Hermitage 1999 that wouldn’t have dismayed had it been JL Chave. But the Mission Haut Brion, part of the line-up at one of Keith Prothero’s charity blind tastings, has it. Some felt it fell apart after 30 minutes, but I couldn’t comment, my pour was just a memory by then. Huet was the big discovery of 2011 for me. I have tried some of their wines before, but a sequence of Le Mont Sec 2007, Clos de Bourg Sec 1993 and my sweet wine of the year, Le Mont Premier Trie 1997 puts the doyen of Vouvray in the acquisitions bulls-eye. Sweet reds of all types are my blind spot, I’m coming to realise, but that didn’t stop me appreciating a mystery label-less Port of unknown provenance brought by a dining companion one evening. The dud wasn’t faulty that I’m aware, it was just unbalanced, acidic, tannic and bereft of charm.
Tom: we’ve had quite a few unknbown/mystery wines win a WotY title this year which is lovely: it really is exciting to open any old wine, but even better when it retains its mystery and turns out to be a winner.
Nick Kernoghan, UK
Red…………: Paul Jaboulet-Aine (France) Hermitage La Chapelle 1983
White……….: Francois Chidaine (France) Montlouis Les Bornais Sec 2007
Budget red…..: Chateau Sainte-Eulalie (France) La Cantilene 2008 (Minervois La Livinere)
Budget white…: Morgenhof Estate (South Africa) Chenin Blanc 2010
Rosé………..: Chateau D’Esclans (France) Whispering Angel 2010
Sweet……….: Chateau Pierre Bize (France) L’Anclaire Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu 2005
Sparkling……: Tarlant (France) Cuvee Louis Brut NV
Fortified……: Seppeltsfield (Australia) 10 Year Old Grand Tawny
Dud…………: Chave (France) Hermitage 1983
Thing……….: Limited edition white Gibson SG electric guitar
Comment……..: Most of the choices were quite easy to make, although there was a lot of competition for the top red slot mainly from the Northern Rhone, Pomerol and St-Emilion. Over the years we have been lucky enough to buy the top white, budget red, sweet and champagne choices directly from their producers whilst on wine lead holidays, an activity I recommend to all wine lovers who have yet to try it. The Tarlant Cuvee Louis in question was a blend of 1996 and 1997; so complex, lingering and delicious that it was perhaps the best wine of the year, perhaps just shaded by the fabulous and still improving Montlouis. All the wines, except the rose, will drink well for another few years, but the Hermitage La Chapelle, Montlouis and Coteaux du Layon will just go on and on. The dud Chave Hermitage was all brett and tannins. It was just a single bottle so I can’t say whether it is typical, but it was certainly a contrast to our wonderful case of La Chapelle from the same year! Over 2011 we also made quite a dent in our stocks of 1999, 2000 and 2001 1er Cru white burgundies and luckily did not encounter as many oxidised examples as I feared, typically 1 to 2 bottles per case. The guitar was a self indulgent purchase, but a much better buy than the over-priced 2010 Bordeaux I was considering until I heard it calling to me!
Tom: Great choices (though shame the ’83 Hermitage La Chapelle excelled where the Chave did not) but love the thing too – I relived my youth a bit a couple of years ago buying exactly the same model and colour of Fender Stratocaster that I had many years ago. Great fun.
David Harvey, UK
Red…………: Henri Bonneau, Les Celestins 1990, Chateauneuf du Pape
White……….: Casa Pardet, Chardonnay Reserva 2007, Costres del Segre (ex-cuve)
Budget red…..: any entry level Chauvet method Beaujolais
Budget white…: Edi Kante Bianco nv09, Carso (Vitovska base)
Sparkling……: Casa Pardet, Cava 2005, Costres del Segre
Fortified……: Clot de L’Origine, Maury 2010
Dud…………: Chateau Margaux 1986, Margaux
Thing……….: birth of baby boy Blas
Comment……..: Tom, where is the orange wine category? Might be slimmer range than rose, but infinitely more wine-y… As a wine merchant I considered again trying to list only wines I do not work with. However, on the whole they are the highlights. In red I was lucky enough to have Rayas 88 and Celestins 90 in succession in splendid company. The Celestins was the dream. It could also have been a Cornelissen Magma of which I tasted over two dozen bottles this year, a Soldera Brunello, a Roagna Barbaresco Crichet Paje. An a point Lignier Clos de La Roche 97 from mag reminded me of the ethereal Rene Engels of the same year. White – this has not been bottled, may never be bottled. But gosh. Entry red – I believe that in the hands of purist farmers, gamay is one of the greatest red grapes. Many of my preferred red Burgundies are farmed on granite, not limestone. Sweet wine – I am not partial to residual sugar and the almost inevitable intervention and sulphites involved. Likewise rose, which could be said to be a blanc de noirs that got a little bit too excited. Dud. The Margaux was compelling, had 86’s structure, but was lacking density, matter, complexity. Like a leading lady given just one line? A victim of clonal planting, high yields? At best, it resembled a wannabe barriqued Bourgeuil. Better the real thing anyday, like a PJ Druet. Fortified – could have been anything Barbeito, but this Maury stays in mind like a Nacional or Niepoort… The thing is THE thing. He is bigger than wine, and thankfully so! Thanks for the site, Tom.
Tom: David’s a huge proponent of organic, biodynamic and natural wines, hence his tongue in cheek request for an ‘orange wine’ category. Congratulations on the new baby (it’s been a bumper year for this too I think) and for continuing to champion some very interesting wines and producers.
Leon Markham, UK
Red…………: Ridge (USA) Monte Bello 1999 (could have been many others though)
White……….: Fontaine-Gagnard (France) Batard-Montrachet 04
Budget red…..: Domain Treloar (France) Tahi 2006
Budget white…: Domaine Treloar (France) Terre Promise 2009
Sparkling……: Boizel (France) Joie de France 88
Dud…………: Pech d’Estournel (France) Perpetuelle de Pech d’Estournel
Thing……….: Family holidays…
Comment……..: Lots of great wine at UK Wine Forum offlines this year – feels like I really managed to get to a lot of them and got a huge amount out of it. Peoples generosity – with both wine and knowledge – at these things is truly humbling. I could have chosen a completely different set of wines (except for the bubbles) and not been able to argue – lots of lovely, lovely stuff. 2011 has really been in two parts for me – the first half was terrible – several family illnesses, stress, feeling utterly broken at points, and then in the summer things started to pick up and really I’m starting 2012 with a sunnier outlook than I think I’ve ever had.
Tom: I hope 2012 is a good one for you Leon, and interesting to see a couple of wines from Jonathan Hesford at Domaine Treloar, who helped me compile the 20 common wine questions and answers feature last year, that many people have found useful.
Mark Henderson, New Zealand
Red…………: Donnafugata (Italy) Mille e Una Notte Nero d’Avola 2002
White……….: J. J. Prum (Germany) Wehlener Sonneuhr Riesling Auslese 1990
Budget red…..: Domaine l’Ameillaud (France) Vin de Pays Vaucluse 2010
Budget white…: Domaine de la Croix des Vainquers (France) Vouvray Le Bouchet Sec 2008
Sweet……….: Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 1988
Sparkling……: Rockford (Australia) Black Shiraz 2002 disgorgement
Fortified……: Dows (Portugal) Vintage Port 1980
Dud…………: Still too many corked and oxidized bottles
Thing……….: Nobilo (New Zealand) Huapai Cabernet Sauvignon Classic Claret 1972
Comment……..: The red choice was my toughest decision as there were several contenders this year. I plumped for the Donnafugata as I have only had cheap and cheerful Nero d’Avola before as that is what tends to sell in this country. This bottle was Revelations, Chapter 4, Verses 3-6 for myself and a number of friends in showing what this grape can be capable of. Some fabulous wines at Schloss Lieser in the Mosel this year put up a sturdy fight for the sweet spot but the Rieussec was just delight in a glass. Incredibly complex, long, long on the finish, simply sensational. I’ll avoid the trend towards champagne as I have a soft spot for Australian sparkling shiraz and particularly Rockford (even though they do have a bad track record for leaky corks – although the wines usually open well regardless). 7-10 years in bottle seems to be my sweet spot for these wines and this was very fine. My thing for this year was an absolute surprize package. I had been given this bottle by a friend who had bought it on release and cellared it well. The ullage was excellent and the colour looked good but a near 30 year old Kiwi wine should be deceased so this was opened as a curio. WOW! This wine utterly belied its age and was vibrant, complex and a pleasure to drink. A piece of New Zealand winemaking history and a great old bottle.
Tom: there have been a few votes for sparkling Shiraz this year, but I have to say all from Antipodeans I think. It seems to be a style really appreciated down under, though I do have a good friend who always starts Easter Sunday off with a few glasses of it with his chocolate eggs and swears by the combination 🙂 selection below added 12/01/2012
Edward Bolland, UK
Red…………: Unico, Vega Sicilia (Spain) 1967
White……….: Coche-Dury, Mersault 2004
Budget red…..: Chateau Tahbilk, Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia) 1999
Budget white…: Donhoff Dry Riesling 2009
Rosé………..: Bollinger Grand Anée Rosé, Champagne 2002
Sweet……….: Balbach, Riesling Eiswein (Germany) 2002
Sparkling……: Gosset-Brabant, Noirs d’Ay, Champagne NV
Fortified……: Taylors, Port 1955
Thing……….: Getting my kids into running / triathlon, I will hopefully have some training partners in a few years!
Comment……..: The Unico gets my vote as it is one of the more memorable wines that I have had from my birth year. I have probably had better wines during the year but this one sticks in the mind. My pick for best white was my first Coche, how I wish I had an unlimited wine budget, this was just awesome. The Gosset-Brabant was a gift from a fellow wine-pages ‘forumite’ which I opened without any idea of what to expect, but it was simply sublime, like the Coche it was all about balance and finesse. My choices for Rosé and Sweet were rather by default due to a very limited intake this year. My absolute wine of the year was probably the Taylor’s 55, courtesy of Berrys, my first experience of this, but how I wish that I had a cellar full!
Tom: 1967 is a significant birthday in my household too and it is not that easy to buy wine for – the Yquem is meant to be great, but price is now astronomical, but it is a poor year in many other classic regions so great to hear this provided so much pleasure – context is very important in creating great wine experiences.
Craig Dennis, UK
Red…………: Faively (France) Gevrey Chambertin Clos De Beze 1992
White……….: J.M Boillot (France) Batard Montrachet 2002
Budget red…..: Rustenberg (South Africa) John X Merriman 2009
Budget white…: Cave de Lugny (France) Macon Lugny Les Charmes 2008
Sweet……….: Donnhoff (Germany) Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel Niederhauser Hermannshohle 2002
Sparkling……: Charles Heidseck (France) Blanc Des Millenaires 1995
Fortified……: Campbells (Australia) NV Muscat Rare Merchant Prince
Dud…………: Dom Perignon (France) 1990
Thing……….: WIMPS Lunches though wine-pages UK Wine Forum
Comment……..: An Amazing year for tasting fabulous wines. As a member of the Wine-Pages Wine Forum the majority of my memorable wines have come through the generosity of others at Offline lunches and through help in sourcing particular wines. A brilliant vibrant community of wine geeks like myself, always incredibly informative and fun. What another great year thanks Tom for providing the place for us all to gather. My dud of the year a special bottle kept for a special occassion and then corked when opened.
Tom: Well thanks for the kind word Craig, and for the list. A fine list but what a disappointment that Dom Perignon must have been, from an excellent year too.
Simon Myerson, UK
Red…………: Kays (Australia) Amery Hillside Shiraz 2001
White……….: Vieux Telegraphe (France) CNDP La Crau 2003
Budget red…..: Carmel Winery (Israel) Kayoumi Shiraz 2006
Budget white…: Jeff Carrel (France) VDP De L’Aude Morillon Blanc 2006
Rosé………..: Les Quatre Tours (France) Vin de Provence Signature 2010
Sweet……….: Chateau La Bertrande (France) Cadillac Summum 2001
Fortified……: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Oloroso Dulce Matúsalem
Dud…………: Mouton Cadet
Thing……….: My Eurocave
Comment……..: Drink loads more red than white and struck by the fact that, although I buy EP, I’ve plumped for the Kays and the Kayoumi. A message there perhaps. The Kays is lovely – lifted, precise and intense on the finish. The Kayoumi is a great glug. The Vieux Telegraphe is ageing beautifully and I think it’s got another 10 years in it at least. Just turning a bit nutty. The Morillon is extraordinary – almost fully sweet attack and then slightly oxidised to my taste (might be the age) but fully rounded and long. The Cadillac is really sweet but with enough acidity to stand it up and stop it being cloying. Better than Sauternes unless someone’s offering to swap Yquem. The sherry is Christmas pudding in a glass, with nuts to follow. Pound for pound this has to be better value than a 1st growth. The dud? Aarrgghhh – should know better. Bought a bottle by a guest (they meant well) I should have recirculated it promptly. Instead I wondered if had improved since I was a student. Big Mistake – the vinous equivalent of a boy band – so bland it makes you want orange squash instead. The thing is something I haven’t got but this time next year…
Tom: Well, I like the idea of a ‘thing’ of the year being a dream of what you’ll have in the future: maybe next year you can list it again as a reality 🙂 It is amazing how Mouton-Rothschild has managaed to somehow give the Mouton-Cadet brand an association with the its Grand Vin, without seeming to tarnish the name through a pretty bland, mass market product, but they more or less manage it.
Paul Anderson, Scotland, UK
Red…………: Domaine Maume (France) Gevrey-Chambertin 2001
White……….: Domaine Rapet (France) Corton-Charlemagne 2005
Budget red…..: Olivara (Spain) M.O. de Olivara 2006
Budget white…: Barmès-Buecher (France) Pinot-Gris Herrenweg 2004
Sweet……….: Rolly-Gassmann (France) Gewurztraminer Brandhurst de Bergheim SdGN 1997
Sparkling……: Drappier Carte d’Or NV Champagne
Dud…………: A few more white Burgundies
Thing……….: My son turned 16 last year and it was a bit of a shock to the system that he’s no longer my ‘wee boy’ as he towers over me. His national insurance number arrived and we’re no longer allowed to make doctor appointments for him. Yet another sign of me growing older.
Comment……..: No surprises here with my tastes firmly in Burgundy and Alsace. The Gevrey-Chambertin was just in perfect nick at 10 years old and beautifully balanced with all the elements in harmony but still individually evident. The Corton-Charlemagne a bit young but still excellent and too risky to hang on to for much longer. The Olivara was superb for a £9 wine, albeit on discount from Winedeal. The Pinot Gris from a great producer and showed beautiful balance between richness and a very dry finish. Rolly-Gassmann makes some amazing wines from numerous grapes from many vineyards and everything from bone dry to luscious sweetness. The SdGN falls into the latter category but is never cloying with that essential acidity for mopping up.
Tom: and very nice to have a vote for Barmès-Buecher. Their wines are superb and deserving of the plaudits, but as François Barmès was stragically killed in an accident in 2011, it is also a fitting tribute to a great and passionate winemaker.
Daron Fincham, UK
Red…………: Chateau La Roche Gaby (France) Canon-Fronsac 1990
White……….: Vereinigte Hospitien (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenhur Riesling Spatlese 1990
Budget red…..: Montes (Chile) Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
Budget white…: Whitehaven (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Rosé………..: Berringer (USA) Sparkling Rose NV
Sweet……….: Hardy’s (Australia) Nottage Hill Dessert Shiraz NV
Sparkling……: Joseph Perrier (France) Champagne Brut NV
Fortified……: Graham’s (Portugal) Malvedos Centenary Vintage Port 1990
Dud…………: Bollinger (France) Grande Annee 1992
Comment……..: My daughter’s 21st and graduation led to me drinking lots of 1990’s this year. The La Roche is her namesake and birth year – an iodine treat. Great vineyard, lowly producer but a gold medalist MSR for peanuts from Majestic. I drink tons of the Montes and at ten quid its a bargain. Ditto the NZ SB – still a well kept secret. The sweeetie I had with David Riach just before Xmas and got so pissed I fell over in the street. Great times! The Charlie is just about affordable for me with a big dollop of Pinot Meunier. The port was a joy – and with a fancy label to celebrate 100 year of Malvedos. The Bolly was a “dead” disappointment opened to celebrate my son’s (birthyear) triple A rating at A-Level. A busy year – looking forward to relaxing at the best place in the world again on Crete …
Tom: But Daron, did Gaby the wine or Gaby the daughter come first? Very nice choices and Australian stickies continuing to have an excellent year. Sorry the Bolly didn’t live up to your son’s sparkling performance.
William Douglas Murray, Scotland, UK
Red…………: Verite La Joie (California) Sonoma Valley 2004
White……….: Vasse Felix (Margaret River) Heytesbury Chardonnay 2009
Budget red…..: Ixsir (Lebanon) Grande Reserve Red 2009
Budget white…: A.A. Badenhorst (S.Africa) “Papegaii” Rousanne Chenin Blanc 2010
Rosé………..: Rosado de Silos (Ribero del Ribero) 2010
Sweet……….: Cavit (Trentino) Arele Vino Santo 1998
Sparkling……: Pol Roger (France) Vintage 1998
Fortified……: Lustau (Spain) Dry Amontillado Los Arcos
Dud…………: Lidl Cimarosa Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Decanter Gold)
Thing……….: Wine tasting trip to Lebanon
Comment……..: I tasted the Verite at a Californian tasting at Harrods and there were 3 or 4 other reds which could easily have taken its place. The trip to Lebanon was fabulous and the wine makers were so enthusiastic and welcoming. A number of other wines were in the running including Caiarossa (Tuscany) 2007, Pinot Nero Georgio Odero(Lombardy) 2007, Peregrine Pinot Gris(Central Otago)2010, and Schlumberger (Alsace) Gewurtztraminer Grand Cru Kessler 2005.
Tom: Great choices from William, and a few I have enjoyed myself recently. The Heytesbury Chardonnay shows Australia can do real finesse with this variety, and Badenhorst’s wines are always stars. Lebanon is on my ‘to do’ list, so this whets the appetite further.
Bryan Collins, UK
Red…………: Montevertine (Italy) Le Pergole Torte 1988
White……….: Ramonet (France) Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 1988
Budget red…..: Vajra (Italy) Barbera d’Alba 2008
Budget white…: Egon Muller (Germany) Scharzhof Riesling QbA 2009
Rosé………..: Taittinger (France) Comtes de Champagne Rosé 2002
Sweet……….: JJ Prum (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Lange Goldkap 2001
Sparkling……: Vilmart (France) Cuvee Creation 1999
Thing……….: The arrival of my second daughter, Philippa Anne.
Comment……..: Wines of the year are necessarily subjective, particularly from someone like me who never scores wines. My favourites are usually those that, while tremendously good, have also been consumed in convivial circumstances – in other words, context matters. The Montevertine was a double-magnum that I’d been looking for an excuse to open for a few years, and a barbecue at the end of a wine-pages cycling event proved the perfect opportunity. A very large format, mature wine in perfect condition with a decent group of like-minded, tired but happy people – the ideal day. The Taittinger was, I think, also my rose of the year last year – although I don’t drink much rose, that’s not a reflection on this wine, which I suspect would have won hands-down if I’d had a rose every week. It’s a completely brilliant Champagne of which I sadly have only one bottle left, and the current market price is such that I don’t suppose I’ll ever have another. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great Champagnes in 2011, including a couple of bottles of Krug’s amazing 1988, and even a sip of their 1998 Clos de Mesnil, but the Vilmart, while not objectively up to those standards, was singing on three separate occasions and I had to run out and pick up what little extra stock I could find. Things of the year – Pippa wins obviously, but an honourable second and third place go to the not-unrelated new bicycle, and loss of 32kg during the year. Just another 13kg to go…
Tom: Congratulations on gaining a daughter and losing a remarkable 32kg Bryan – I’m sure I wouldn’t recognise you in the street! Fine, classic wine selections.
Travis Webb, Australia
Red…………: McWilliam’s Mount Pleasant Wines (1988) Hunter Valley Maurice O’Shea Shiraz
White……….: Leo Buring (1997) Leonay Riesling
Budget red…..: Te-Aro Estate (2006) Williamstown, Grenache
Budget white…: Tamar Ridge (2001) Tasmania, Riesling
Rosé………..: By Farr, Farr Rising (2006) Geelong, Pinot Noir
Sparkling……: Joseph, Sparkling Red (NV) Adelaide, Shiraz
Dud…………: Petaluma’s corks
Thing……….: Leaving the UK to return to Australia
Comment……..: Having left Old Blighty back in March 2011 after 13 wonderful years, to return home to Australia, I have decided to only include Aussie wines in my WOTY form as an attempt to forget about all of those wonderful wines we drank, and had access to, in the UK. Best Red – A wonderful old, savoury Hunter Shiraz. Low alcohol, elegant and delicate. Best White – An Aussie icon, and somewhat forgotten due to the (recent-ish) Rieslings by Grosset. Let’s not overlook what has always been a classic Aussie white. Budget Red – A moreish, well balanced Grenache from long established vineyards in the Barossa/Adelaide Hills meeting zone. A $20 bargain. Budget White – Another Riesling, this one from Tassie. $15 when bought 9 years ago, but a wonderful, fine, still youthful wine. Worth paying $40 for today. Rosé – An aged beast of a wine by Gazza Farr. A haunting nose which was so good that the wine in the glass was almost room temp by the time I took the first sip. Sparkling – I don’t care what (some of) you bastards say, this is a classic. Complex, partly aged/partly youthful, luscious and yet drying, delicate on the palate yet with powerful fruit flavours, this wine was a rip-snorter on Christmas Day. Dud – I’m sick of opening ten year old oxidised Petaluma Rieslings, while all those around it are fine. Grrrrrrr. Thing – We left the UK to return back home to Australia. It was one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. England is a wonderful country (as is Scotland! Sorry Tom) and we had a brilliant time, but as the England cricket team gained form and the Aussies lost it, we realised our days were numbered. Thanks to Tom and the wonderful wine-pages, we have our life-line back into the heart of the UK. Not just the wine reviews and buying advice, not just the off-lines in London and around the country (jealous!), but also through all of the NWR threads about sport, music, book, pubs, holiday advice… even compact cameras, these give us a smell and taste of our former life back in England and it s what sets wine-pages apart from any other forum on the net. Thanks Tom and thanks to all of the forum posters from around the world. Here’s to good drinking in 2012. Cheers!
Tom: What lovely and heartfelt words Travis, and greatly appreciated (though I’m not used to be called a ‘bastard’ in Wines of the Year entries – but you are Australian I suppose). I’ve just been tasting the latest crop of Tamar Ridge wines and have been impressed, so nice to see them get a mention for a good old riesling. selection below added 10/01/2012
Chris Hambleton, UK
Red…………: Corton 1952 Maison Sichel
White……….: Puligny montrachet 1er Cru 1982 Louis Jadot
Budget red…..: Lagunilla Casa Del Comendor 2004 Reserva Rioja
Budget white…: Jackson Estate Stich Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, NZ
Rosé………..: Champagne de Bruyne NV rose
Sweet……….: an unknown, ancient, but amazing sauternes!
Sparkling……: Jaquesson Grand Vin Signature Magnum 1990
Fortified……: Carcavelos Quinta da bela Vista Licoroso – A.O.C
Dud…………: 1964 moet et Chandon
Thing……….: Walking down the beach with my son watching the sun come up in Sandbanks on September 30th
Comment……..: 2011 was a great year for me personally with lots of highlights (many of which involving a glass of wine or six over lunch or dinner with members of the wine-pages forums). In january I fished out an auction purchase that had no label, was in a hand-blown bottle and ‘looked like’ Sauternes to spring on the local wine club that I sometimes run. It was sauternes (or very similar), it was ancient and it was delicious! The Corton had no right to be any good really, but it was absiolutely amazing. No room to write a note and I wish I had more bottles. The Puligny was also a risky one, but a cheapish auction wine and turned out to be the most complex white of the year, although not far behind an array of Tondonias. Fortified took a lot of thinking as I have shared some amazing La Botas this year with both Manzanilla and Palo Cortado versions being up there, but it was a small taste of Nayan’s Carcavelos back in May that stuck in the memory the most. The Jaquesson was superb, better than the 93 and at present streets ahead of the 88 which all went south this year. The 64 Moet was a real shame as this ranks amongst the finest wines I have ever tried, but both bottles opened were past it. The budget wines are only ‘budget’ because they were bought on offer, so i hope that’s OK, but at six quid each they are both really good examples of type. The pink fizz was a bin-end with about 4 years bottle age – delicious! Lots of other fascinating wines tasted over the course of 2011 both for work and play, 2012 has got a lot to live up to. Cheers Tom and thanks for Wine-Pages!
Tom: and thank you Chris for the support. Nice to see a white Burgundy providing such pleasure (as it does with a number of entries below) when the famous ‘premox’ problem has cast a bit of a shadow in recent years.
Conor Twomey, Ireland
Red…………: Avignonesi (Italy) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva Grandi Annate 2003
White……….: Henri Boillot (France) Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Perrières 2005
Budget red…..: Domaine les Grandes Bois (France) Cuvée Maximilien Cairanne 2010
Budget white…: Château Bauduc (France) Bordeaux Blanc 2009
Sweet……….: Château Doisy-Védrines (France) Barsac/Sauternes 2001
Sparkling……: Krug (France) Champagne Grande Cuvée Brut NV
Dud…………: LCB storage price increases
Thing……….: The birth of my son Daithí in June
Comment……..: 2011 was a year where we were looking for better value in the wines that we drank at home. Too often in the past there were lots of wine in the house but nothing ready to drink. The two wines I selected for the Budget Red and White were crackers for their prices, with the les Grandes Bois better than some Chateauneuf-du-Papes twice and three times its price.
Tom: congratulations Conor and nice choices. The Château Bauduc is a terrific white for the money I agree – one I always enjoy.
James Edley, UK
Red…………: Paul Jaboulet Aîné Cornas Les Grandes Terrasses 2004
White……….: Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca 2008
Budget red…..: Descendientes de José Palacios Bierzo Pétalos 2009
Budget white…: Tahbilk Marsanne 2008
Rosé………..: Dominio Dostares, Castilla y Leon, Tombu Rose 2010
Sweet……….: Bodegas Bentomiz Málaga Ariyanas Dulce 2007
Sparkling……: Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rose Brut 2009
Fortified……: Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls Rimage 2007
Dud…………: Wine tasting trip to Alsace with a pregnant wife who wasn’t ‘appreciating’ alcohol (not even a sniff…)
Thing……….: Samuel James (born 6th August 2011)
Comment……..: Whilst consumption has been a little down this year, primarily due to my good lady wife being off the juice (carrying and subsequently feeding our new arrival) I have endeavoured to keep up the pace and enjoyed some lovely wines in 2011. Whilst my budget doesn’t often extend to Grand Crus these wines have all given me pleasure and stood out in my memory as being special. Mostly, this is due to a combination of the wine, occasion and company. Thanks to all those that have shared in these moments.
Tom: and another addition to the ranks of wine-pages’ audience! 🙂 I have to say, many people would think a tasting trip to Alsace with a pregant wife (assuming she has a driving licence) has its advantages!
Damien Cabanis, UK
Red…………: St Joseph “Parcel de Jean” 2007, Dom. de La Ferme du Mont, Stephane Vedeau
White……….: 7 Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Africa
Budget red…..: Château Millegrand Non Fut 2009, Minervois France
Budget white…: Viognier 2011, Henri de Richemer, Languedoc
Rosé………..: Château La Verrerie Rosé 2011, Luberon France
Sweet……….: Châteauneuf du Pape, Vendange d’octobre 2007, Dom. de la Ferme du Mont
Sparkling……: Champagne Gardet, Cuvée Selected Reserve N.V.
Fortified……: Whytingham’s port Vintage 2003
Tom: The Seven Spings Sauvignon was a wine of the week for me and a brilliant first effort from Englishman Tim Pearson’s new estate in Stellenbosch, so a nice choice.
Mike Bartlett, UK
Red…………: Arnaldo Caprai 25 anni 1999 Sagrantino (Italy)
White……….: Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia (Greece) 2009
Budget red…..: Percheron old vine Cinsault (South Africa) 2010
Budget white…: Carmen Stevens Angels reserve Chenin (SA) 2010
Rosé………..: Circustance Cape Coral Mourvedre (SA) 2010
Sweet……….: Isole e Olena Vin Santo (Italy) 2003
Sparkling……: Dom Perignon 1999
Fortified……: La Bota de Fino number 27 (Spain)
Dud…………: the Euro
Thing……….: my 2 year old twins (again!)
Comment……..: The Sagrantino would not be to everyone’s tastes, but to me it sums up why I drink wine…long, complex and fascinating. Am bored with sauvignon blanc and was delighted by the Malagousia. The Old Vine Cinsault is a steal, and the Dom Perignon (even from a poor year) very memorable. The sherry was expensive (for sherry) but amazing value nonetheless. And my twins continue to delight on every level!
Tom: glad the twins are maturing well. I think that trend to look for fresh and punchy white wine alternatives to the ubiquitous Sauvignon Blanc does continue – and Greece as well as countries like Slovenia and Croatia are providing some interesting choices.
Clan Tabernario, Spain
Red…………: Domain Bizot Echezeaux Grand Cru 2004
White……….: Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva 1970
Budget red…..: Ultreia de Valtuille 2008
Budget white…: Fino Inocente
Sweet……….: La Bota de Pedro Ximenez nº 12 – Saca February 2008
Sparkling……: Jacques Selosse ‘Les Carelles’
Fortified……: Bodegas Tradicion Palo Cortado VORS
Comment……..: Impossible not to mention Jayer-Gilles Echezeaux Grand Cru 2006 or Chateu Rayas 1999 among the reds, and Burklin Wolf Kirchenstuck 2002, or Condrieu Vernay L’Enfer 2007 among the whites.
Tom: Slipping in two Sherries is a noble effort too boost Jerez to the top of this year’s nominations! And a sweetie from nearby Montilla-Moriles, which we don’t see too often.
Tom Blach, UK
Red…………: De Vogue Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses1998
White……….: Albert Pic Chablis Valmur 1982
Budget red…..: De Courcel Bourgogne Rouge 2004
Fortified……: Tesco Finest Amontillado, Barbadillo
Dud…………: Bordeaux in general, always a real chore to drink
Thing……….: East London Steak Company
Comment……..: Four categories left blank-though I have drunk some good ones nothing sticks in my mind as more than mildly diverting and I increasingly dislike sweet wines. OTOH I’ve had about 40 red Burgundies in the same class as the amazing Vogue, almost a random though glorious choice. The Tesco wine of course doesn’t aspire to greatness but has been a wonderful friend. Elsco do not put a foot wrong ever, stunning meat, butchery and service.
Tom: I’ve drunk quite a few older Chablis from my cellar this year, ranging from 1990 to 2000 vintages, and though they have been a little variable, the best were fabulous so interesing to see a 29-year old wine get Tom’s nod. I wouldn’t call drinking the best Bordeaux wines ‘a chore’ by any stretch of the imagination personally, but an interesing viewpoint as there is a lot of chaff amongst the wheat. Good vote for the excellent East London Steak Company too – sponsors of wine-pages because our forum members are such great customers!
Richard W. H. Bray, UK and USA
Red…………: A. Rousseau (France) Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 1995
White……….: Domaine Leflaive (France) Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clavoillon 2002
Budget red…..: Moric (Austria) Blaufrankisch Burgenland 2009
Budget white…: AA Badenhorst (South Africa) Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2009/2010
Rosé………..: Consolation (France) Barrique Mouvedre Rosé 2010
Sweet……….: Quinta do Ameal (Portugal) Special Harvest 2007
Sparkling……: Salon (France) 1990
Fortified……: Barbeito (Portugal) Malvasia 20yo
Dud…………: Laguiche (France) Montrachet 1996
Comment……..: Not going to fib, I’m quite happy to see the end of 2011 and the beginning of a new year. That said, I’ve once again been lucky to try some fantastic wines. I picked the Rousseau as my red of the year in February, daring anything to top it and nothing did. Drinking beautifully it was everything fine red Burgundy should be and more. The Leflaive was a quiet reminder of why certain things are held in such high regard. Balance, understatement and simply glorious. Tasted at a lovely lunch with old friends. The Moric is cheating somewhat as it’s closer to £20 than £10, but what an extraordinary wine. Opened my eyes to Austrian reds. Adi Badenhorst continues to rock the Swartland and those lucky enough to try his wines. The rosé is cheating as it was last year’s choice (different vintage) and I helped make it, but it’s still the greatest rosé wine in the world, so there (no, really, it is). Tom, you were kind enough to introduce me to the sweetie at your Portuguese tasting (exceptional). What a year for Champagne – DP & Bolly ’02, Pol Roger BdeB ’59, DP ’96, Salon ’79, Clos du Mesnil ’79… and yet Salon 1990 came out on top. Barbeito prove once again they’re just one of the best wine producers in the world. Yet another oxidised Montrachet. Heart-breaking. As for the thing, well, I can’t really disclose as of yet, but it involves books, wine and writing.
Tom: lots of class in this list, and some of my favourite producers. I’m glad another of my 50 Great Portuguese wines made Richard’s list, but then Consolation, Badenhorst and Barbeito are all long term favourites of mine too. I have a bottle of that 1995 Clos de la Roche in my cellar, so one to broach this year I think.
Robbie Ward, UK
Red…………: Ridge (USA) Lytton Springs 2000
White……….: By Farr (Australia) Chardonnay 2008
Budget red…..: Chateau Valcombe (France) Cote de Ventoux 2008
Budget white…: Tesco Finest (Australia) Tingleup Riesling 2010
Sweet……….: Inniskillin (Canada) Vidal Icewine 2006
Sparkling……: Ruinart (France) Rosé NV
Fortified……: Masia Pairal Can Carreras (Spain) Garnatxa de L’emporda
Thing……….: Elegant and restrained Australian wines
Tom: I really like Robbie’s choice of Australian wines and his ‘Thing’ of the year comment: it is such a stereotype to say all Australian wines are ‘big’ or obvious, as the whole industry has moved more and more towards elegance in the past decade and there are so many very refined wines now.
Simon McCulloch, UK
Red…………: Federico Paternina Rioja Gran Reserva 1964 (Spain)
White……….: Shaw & Smith M3 Vineyard Chardonnay 2008 (Australia)
Budget red…..: Enzo Boglietti Barbera D’Alba 2009 (Italy)
Budget white…: Domaine Saint Ferreol VdP d’Oc Viognier 2007 (France)
Rosé………..: Domaine Tempier Rose 2008 (France)
Sweet……….: Tenuta Olim Bauda Moscato d’Asti Centive 2010 (Italy)
Sparkling……: Bollinger Special Cuvee NV (France)
Fortified……: Bodegas Tradición Jerez-Xérès-Sherry 20 Años (Spain)
Dud…………: My father in law’s double-mag of Barolo that was opened on Christmas day – it had been dead for many years!
Thing……….: An epic 3,000 mile European road trip for our honeymoon
Comment……..: Went to my first offlines in 2011 and enjoyed them tremendously. Looking forward to more of these in 2012 and to expanding my areas of interest, in particular more Italian and regional Spanish wines. Happy New Year to you Tom and to all wine-pages forum members!
Tom: Happy New Year and congratulations on your marriage too Simon. I’ll count it all up at the end of the nominations, but 2011 really is shaping up as Sherry’s year. Delighted to see the first vote for a Moscato d’Asti – often delightful and under-appreciated dessert wine. selection below added 06/01/2012
Duncan McLean, Scotland UK
Red…………: Château Haut-Brion (France) Graves 1971
White……….: Keith Tulloch (Australia) Hunter Valley Semillon 2010
Budget red…..: Vesevo (Italy) Aglianico Beneventano 2008
Budget white…: Valentin Bianchi (Argentina) Finca los Primos Torrontes 2010
Sweet……….: Selvapiana (Italy) Vin Santo del Chinati Rufina 2004
Sparkling……: Nyetimber (England) Blanc de Blancs 2001
Fortified……: Ascension (New Zealand) Fortitude Old Tawny Port NV
Dud…………: Too many bottles of mediocre Bordeaux
Thing……….: Orkney Fine Wine Festival
Comment……..: Thanks to Wullie F for sharing the extraordinary Haut-Brion; runner up in that category was Cullen’s Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot. Surprised to find from my notes that the Tulloch Semillon was my favourite white of the year: a wine of great character, and could have been in the budget category too, but maybe I didn’t have any truly great whites in 2011. The Ascension sneaked in during the last days of December: I hadn’t known that New Zealand made ports, let alone ones as good as this! Almost as good and unexpected: Dandelion’s 30 year Old Pedro Ximenez from the Barossa. If I could only take one bottle to the desert island, Tom? I think it would be the transcendental Selvapiana Vin Santo.
TOM: Thanks to Duncan for enlightening me that there is an Orkney Fine Wine Festival – I confess I did not know that. Some serious wines being consumed up in Orkney obviously, and I presume abit of Antipodean travelling too?
Adam Ventress, UK
Red…………: La Luna Del Rospo (Italy) ‘Gli Storni’ Monferrato Rosso 2001
White……….: Millton Vineyard (NZ) Clos de Ste Anne Chardonnay 2007
Budget red…..: Mocavero (Italy) Salice Salentino 2008
Budget white…: Millton Vineyard (NZ) Opou Riesling 2009
Sweet……….: Donnafugata (Italy) Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria 2006
Fortified……: Graham’s 1980 Vintage Port
Dud…………: Emiliana (Chile) Coyam 2007
Thing……….: well attended Wine Tasting Evenings at the restaurant, something we started on a monthly basis in June.
Comment……..: Very tough choice for the reds. From a shortlist of 5, I chose the Monferrato Rosso, one of the very first wines I tasted in 2011, not necessarily because it was ‘the best’ but because of its influential impact on the rest of the year. It basically led me into a fixation with Piemonte wines and Nebbiolo in particular, and it’s also a wine I have drunk several times during the year, and I believe it is drinking at its peak. Another very close contender from a very small organic Italian producer was the superb San Polino 2003 Brunello, which may get better still with a little more age. Umberto Fracassi’s 2005 Barolo, and the 2004 Sassicaia (would’ve been a too predictable choice) were also in the running. The Millton wines, which I tasted the full range of at a tasting in Manchester in the summer, were so impressive, I have tasted no better whites all year, in either category. The aim for 2012 is to taste more mature wines, and attend some UK Wine Forum offlines.
TOM: I agree with the choice of Milton Vineyards – a biodynamic estate doing some terrific things, for me especially with their whites. I’ve enjoyed the Coyam from Bodegas Emiliana in several vintages, so I wonder if it was ‘off’ or just not to your taste Adam?
David Matzdorf, UK
Red…………: Caiarossa (Italy), Rosso Toscana IGT, 2005
White……….: Egon Müller (Germany) Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett, 1985
Budget red…..: Mas Coutelou (France) “Ouest”, VdP des Côteaux de Murviel, 2001
Budget white…: Hatzidakis (Greece) Assyrtiko, Santorini, 2010
Sweet……….: Domaine des Forges (France), Côteaux de Layon Chaume, 1997
Fortified……: Graham’s (Portugal) Port 1977
Dud…………: Thelema (South Africa) Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, 2001
Thing……….: Watching Tottenham playing in the Champions League at White Hart Lane
Comment……..: I think I chose Caiarossa 2004 as my red of 2010. For my palate, this is a world class wine, with balance, structure, complexity and a sense of place. The 2005 is richer than the 2004, without sacrificing balance. I discovered a lone bottle of the 1985 Scharzhofberger that I had forgotten about and drank it over three days, during which time it flowered from “a bit too old” to “complex floral and stony/slaty/steely aromas, even a bit of sous-bois or perhaps moss, something powerfully herbal and slightly medicinal; quite cleansing, with a long, slightly waxy finish.” Apparently immortal. Mas Coutelou is the discovery of the year and this is by far the best wine of theirs that I have tried. The Hatzidakis Assyrtiko is also full of character and power and I agree with whoever it was who called this the “world’s cheapest world class white”. As for the Thelema, I was given two bottles of this wine by a visiting South African friend in 2003. After keeping them patiently for 7-8 years, both turned out to be corked.
TOM: The wines of Hatzidakis really are fantastic and great value for the quality. The Assyrtiko (from Waitrose) is a real favourite of mine, and of The Wine Gang who give it top marks vintage after vintage.
Ronald Massard, Thailand
Red…………: Chateau Kirwan (France) Margaux 1986
White……….: Roc d’Anglade (France) VdP Gard 2006
Budget red…..: Nino Negri (Italy) Sfursat di Valtellina 2004
Budget white…: Bret Brothers (France) Pouilly-Vinzelles 2007
Rosé………..: Chateau de Ligre (France) Chinon 2009
Sweet……….: Kogl (Slovenia) Sipon Izbor 1997
Sparkling……: Salon (France) Champagne 1985
Fortified……: Jose-Maria Fonseca (Portugal) Moscatel de Setubal 1965
Dud…………: Alain Graillot (France) Crozes-Hermitage La Guiraude 2006
Thing……….: The overwhelmingly polite, down-playing attitude of the Thais during the worst floodings the kingdom has faced in decades. A lesson in solidarity and human values…
Comment……..: Went through wines of very consistent quality throughout 2011 : extracting an award list was so hard! Stickies, Austrians Wenzel and Feiler-Artinger, or Chapoutier’s Les Coufis straw wine all deserved the title. Reds: after having enjoyed Hamilton Russell pinot noir in SA, I dug into my 1980’s Bordeaux and found ravishing bottles (Pavie ’85, Brane ’88, Rauzan-Segla ’90). But Kirwan had was so decried at once that I felt compelled to crown that subtle ’86. Budget reds were also a dilemma between the Sfursat, the delightful Charlopin Marsannay En Montchenevoy ’01, an amazing Torres Cordillera Carignan from Chile … and Alain Graillot Crozes ’05. His Guiraude ’06 dubbed as a dud? Graillot’s wines are so irritating (yet fragile!) : 2 jewels, 1 dud, and so forth…
TOM: Fascinating report from Thailand Ronald and best wishes to all after such a terrible natural disaster. Very nice list with many unusual/more obscure choices and good to see a little Chateau like Kirwan getting a shout over some big names.
Red…………: Domaine Serene, Yamhill Cuvée Pinot noir, 2000
White……….: Michel Picard Montrachet Grand Cru, 2004
Budget red…..: Chateau de la Negly, Le Grand Vin, 2007
Budget white…: Domaine de Lauriers VDP d’Oc, Rolle, 2010
Rosé………..: Domaine Gardies Rosé, 2010
Sweet……….: Domaine Danjou-Banessy, Rancio, 1935
Fortified……: Moscatel de Setubal, Bacalhoa, 2004
Dud…………: Turkish Wines tasted at IWC
Thing……….: Sicilian Nero d’Avola
Comment……..: This year has been the year of Natural wines and I’ve tasted a lot that claim to be. My overwhelming conclusion is that the louder the producer cries “Natural”, the more likely the wine is to be utter rubbish but I’ve had some pleasurable, funky, crunchy little numbers along the way. Not sure about VFM though.
TOM: Despite my own red wine of the year being from the “natural” camp, I understand perfectly what Johnathan is saying and have had more poor examples than great ones. And another Setubal sweetie taking the fortified award too!
Mark Carrington, UK
Red…………: Sassicaia ’97 White……….: Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Altenbourg Cuvée Laurence 2005
Budget red…..: Marcarini Dolcetto d’Alba Fontanazza 2009
Budget white…: Domaine des Herbauges VdP Val de Loire Grolleau Gris Collection Plaisir 2010
Rosé………..: rd Baudry Chinon Rose ’09
Sweet……….: Rieussec ’01
Sparkling……: Domaine de la Taille aux Loups Montlouis-sur-Loire Triple Zero NV
Fortified……: Bodegas Toro Albala Montilla-Moriles Don PX 1982
Dud…………: Blossom Hill Blush Zinfandel
Thing……….: Riding down The Galibier
Comment……..: Wines selected from bottles drunk (not tasted/offlines). Thus Sassicaia saw off L’Envangile, HoG & Gros Richbourg. 2011 a better year for whites – plenty of superb Burgundies, dry B ordeaux & German (honourable mention to JJP WS Auslese ’95) & Oz Riesling but Faller came up trumps & overcame my instinctive dislike of Gewuuz. The Dolcetto was a favourite of ours throughout the year so preferred over the to-be- legendary Ardanza ’01. The Grolleau was a tip frpm a local merchant – their Muscadets are excellent, too. The Rieussec ’01 was kindly brought to an off-line by another Forumite. My first taste – fully lived up to its reputation. Sparkling Chenin – no conversion yet, but now on a side road to Damascus. PX – this is a true bargain & I suspect immortal. The Blush? Words can not expressed how abhorrent it was. And the 15 minutes cycling down the Galibier was the reward for the hours of training, previous 90 minutes & what was next.
TOM: II have a mixed case of ’01 Sauternes including the Rieussec in the cellar, so must broach one soon. Distressingly enough, I had occasion to taste the Blossom Hill Blush Zin too this year!
Lionel Nierop, UK
Red…………: Unknown Claret – believed 1870
White……….: Passagem Branco 2010, Douro
Budget red…..: Chat en Oeuf Blanc 2010
Budget white…: Chat en Oeuf Rouge 2010
Rosé………..: Tempier Bandol Rose 2010
Sweet……….: Chapoutier Vin de Passerillage 1982
Sparkling……: Roederer Cristal 2004
Fortified……: Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla \’En Rama\’
Dud…………: Sparkling Vino Verde
Thing……….: Grape Treading in the Douro
Comment……..: An interesting year wine wise. Neither my top red or white are ‘classic’ I suppose but both made a mark. The claret (from the cellar of a Scottish client) was not only alive, it was delicious and gained weight and complexity in the glass for a couple of hours. Four of us drank it and were loathe to pour one another refills… The Passagem Branco was a real surprise – a beautiful, minerally white from one of the hottest past of the Douro. Dinner on the terrace at Quinta de La Rosa may have helped but I think that objectively it really was a great wine and I look forward to further bottles. The 2 Chat en Oeufs (made by Boutinot) were a pleasant surprise after a desperate bid to find something drinkable <£5 from a supermarket (Waitrose’s sale) and give interest and complexity for their price. The Chapoutier – a real rarity originating from the cellar of the late, great Nigel Williams. Served blind it outfoxed an MW and a great expert on the N. Rhone. Remarkably the little wine which wasn\t drunk failed to change even after being opened for 4 weeks. The Roederer – a great, but very young, wine drunk to celebrate a great acheivement by a dear friend. Selecting Hidalgo La Gitana ‘En Rama’ as my fortified is pure self indulgence but reflects the fact that I spent much of 2011 getting the project from idea to table. The results are definitely worth it and hopefully the Bodegas will continue to produce this wine in coming years. My dud – a satisfactory wine which fell flat like the proposal it accompanied. One to try again in more propitious circumstances. Thanks Tom for another year in which Wine-Pages has brought pleasure to all of us who use it.
TOM: many thanks for the kind words Lionel. I would have loved to try that 1870 claret – tasting such historic wines in good condition just adds so many more layers of enjoyment than drinking youthful wines in fantastic condition, and yet opening old bottles is always such a gamble. But when it comes off…
Uillaim Tait, UK
Red…………: Mungeret-Gibourg, Echezeaux, 1990
White……….: Chateau Haut-Brion, Pessac-Leognan, 2006
Budget red…..: Michel Gros, Hautes Cotes de Nuits, 2009
Budget white…: Cullen Estate, Margaret River, Sauvignon Blanc / Semillon, 2010
Sweet……….: De Bortoli, Noble One, 2002
Sparkling……: Bollinger, Vieilles Vignes Francaises, 1996
Fortified……: David Franz (Australia) Very Old Barossa Tawny
TOM: Lovely little list with some of my favourite producers (in fact, all of them are favourites!). Would love to have some of the Blanc Haut-Brion in my cellar, but it is now just so expensive (though I console myself by having a few vintages of the red :-)). And the march of the Australian stickies continues. selection below added 04/01/2012
Don Reid, UK
Red…………: Paul Jaboulet Aîné (France) La Chapelle Hermitage 1978
White……….: M. Chapoutier (France) Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette 1992
Budget red…..: Gérard Bertrand ( France) Minervois Syrah-Carignan 2008
Budget white…: Cuvée Pêcheur (France) Vin de Pays Comté Tolosan 2010
Rosé………..: Château de Sours Rosé (France) Bordeaux 2010
Sweet……….: J.J Prüm (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese Gold Kapsel 1997
Sparkling……: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin (France) Champagne Brut La Grande Dame 1993
Fortified……: N.V. Campbells (Australia) Muscat Rare Merchant Prince
Dud…………: Greenock Creek (Australia) Seven Acres Shiraz, a badly corked bottle
Thing……….: Fuji x100
Comment……..: A great start to the year with Red, White, and Sparkling WOTY entries all coming at one January Off-line lunch. The absolutely outstanding, to more than just me at the table, Grande Dame was declared faulty by some, as I posted at the time \”If that\’s the case I\’ll buy all of the faulty \’93 GD you can find.\” It\’s funny old World. The budget Red, White and Rose are all excellent VFM, and good to drink. The excellent Prum came at the December WIMPS (UK Forum offline) lunch and the Campbells Muscat at the January lunch. I was so looking forward to the Dud, even more so when two other attendees at the same lunch told me of outstanding recent ecounters wth the same wine, only for to appear to have been cellared with a considerable amount of cardboard in it. Going out on a high, and other than the birth of a second Grandson- we tend to avoid referring to him as a ‘Thing’- the Fuji x100 is a delight to use it captures stunning images and is so discrete. As always huge thanks to Tom Cannavan for this site, and its Forum. His diplomatic skills in managing the assembled rabble are miraculous, I think. Thanks for everything, Tom.
TOM: Ah… that ’78 La Chapelle. One of my all-time great wine experiences, and I know the friends who poured it have another bottle or two in the cellar still. Are you listening D & S? :-). Australian stickies are doing rather well this year too I must say – over-delivering on value terms I think. Many thanks for the kind words Don.
Maureen Kerr, UK
Red…………: Chave, Hermitage 1990
White……….: Chateau Grillet, 2005
Budget red…..: Domaine de la Chevalerie Bourgueil, 2009
Budget white…: Clos du Gravaillas L’Intendu Minervois, 2008
Rosé………..: El Coto Rioja Rosado, 2007
Sweet……….: Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Premiere Trie, Loire 1996
Sparkling……: Philipponnat Cuvee 1522, 2000
Fortified……: Gonzalez Byass, Apostoles Palo Cartado VORS
Dud…………: Gaja Barbaresco “Sori Tildin”, 1982
Thing……….: Standing-up, sodden, blissfully amused, facing the cross-winds of Hurricane Irene!
Comment……..: A bally good and special year 2011, said not only for the reason that I supped a whole bunch of glorious wines, that I did so in the company of some terrific folks. Granted a seat at a special table and bowled over by Latour’s ’66 and ’71 Pauillac: fresh, liberal on the palate, replete by their elegance, backbone, power and substance. Notwithstanding this unwavering, levitating and memorable event, it was edged sideways – not toppled – by the eminent Chave Hermitage 1990. The sublime, wildfowl, leathery, spiciness of the ’90 shared with the most affable soulmate. Returning to such other glorious moments: Gloria ’90 and a nose of decaying fruits, leather, tobacco, coffee and a smidgen of dustiness; the complex and aged Lopez de Heredia ’54 and ’47 Vina Bosconia Gran Reserva and Jasper’s “the right got it right, 1998” event: complete, smokey, spicy Vieux Chateaux Certan and soft lingering, layered, chocolatey and deep Cheval Blanc. My white wine discovery of the year was 2006 Taburnum, VDP, Collines Rhodanienes Domaine Vins De Vienne: highly aromatic, peaches, melon and honeysuckle with hints of beeswax and a subtle mineral and warming finish. One hundred percent Viognier and produced by the combined efforts of the Masters, Messrs Cuilleron, Villard and Gaillard.
TOM: Well, after surviving Irene anything would taste good… Nice line-up, Sherry holding its own strongly this year still and this list reminds me to drink more Rhône
Tim Jackson, UK
Red…………: Ridge (USA) Geyserville Zinfandel blend 1999
White……….: Zind-Humbrecht (France) GC Brand Vieilles Vignes Riesling Alsace 2007
Budget red…..: D’Angelo (Italy) Caselle Aglianico del Vulture Riserva 2003
Budget white…: Dom Jean Vullien (France) Chignin-Bergeron Vin de Savoie 2009
Rosé………..: Denbies (England) Chalk Ridge Rose 2010
Sweet……….: Chateau Jolys (France) Jurancon Vendanges Tardives 2001
Sparkling……: Jacquesson (France) 733 NV (78% 2005)
Fortified……: Bodegas Sanchez Romate (Spain) Sacristia de Romate Oloroso VORS NV
Dud…………: Tyrell’s (Australia) Vat 1 Hunter Valley Semillon 2002
Thing……….: My (company’s) TV ad – “Tablecloth” starring Mat Ricardo, who can pull a tablecloth out from under things….then put it back again! Amazing. And real.
Comment……..: This year has been a veritable odyssey of Sherry, including Equipo Navazos 22, 18, 21 23 & 25, rare ranges from Fernando de Castilla and Osborne, almacenistas from Lustau and Romate, plus unusual bottlings from the big brands: Botaina and Tio Pepe En Rama. So Fortified was bound to be sherry. Between Domecq Sibarita and Sacristia de Romate, it was Romate that won out. Contrastingly, Denbies was the only rose contender… This year, overall, was also one for exploring more whites, and though the Z-H Brand VV was head & shoulders, their Calcaire Pinot Gris 07 and Windsbuhl 03 both had good shouts, not to mention Marc Colin’s 06 Vide Bourses Ch-Mont. Red was less challenging, but 2 separate bottles in US & UK of Geyserville showed its class, beating the youthful Vina Ardanza 2001 Reserva Especial and Chateau Montus Prestige Madiran 2001. Some good budget reds included Clos des Andes 2005 Malbec and the unusual Hatzidakis’ Mavrotragano Santorini 2005. Sparkling too had some competition from Nyetimber 2003, Ridgeview Cavendish 2009 rose and Pol Roger 1999. But 733, drunk a few days ago with the 2nd Ridge 99, was just sublime. And that brings me to the dud. A proper dud. Unbalanced acidity made this just not very drinkable. And I don’t care how many points, medals and critics’ acclaims it has received; it simply isn’t good. At least right now. Maybe in 20 years. But at least we made an entertaining TV ad….!
TOM: Oh this one hurts as I am yet another fan of the Tyrell’s Vat 1 I must say, and have this and other vintages cellared. I can definitely see it is not everyone’s cup of tea and only recently someone else told me they couldn’t stand the stuff! Great call on that Jaquesson Champagne, though it was a great year for English sparkling wine with me too – loved the Coates & Seely.
Ive Marx, Belgium
Red…………: Stephane Ogier, Cote-Rotie Belle Helene 1999
White……….: Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, Chevalier-Montrachet 2005
Budget red…..: Clos de la Roilette , Fleurie Cuvee Tardive 2009
Budget white…: Peter Jacob Kuhn, Quartzit 2010
Rosé………..: St Andrieu (Varois), 2010
Sweet……….: Climens 2001
Dud…………: Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Pucelles 2002 (all 7)
TOM: And the Rhône is starting to come up on the rails for sure. I am guessing the reason for the ‘dud’ is the dreaded premature oxidation striking again?
Phil Marshall, UK
Red…………: Ridge Monte Bello 1988
White……….: Ramonet Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet 1988
Budget red…..: Castello del Terriccio – Tassinaia 1997 (Toscana, Italy)
Budget white…: Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot Casablanca Gewürztraminer, 2008 (Chile)
Rosé………..: Le Petit Diable CdProvence Sainte Victoire Domaine des Diables, France 2010
Sweet……….: Yquem 1999
Sparkling……: Dom Perignon 1990
Fortified……: Warres 1960
Dud…………: Montrose 82 – so badly corked
Thing……….: Reading glasses; I now need them to read the menu in dimly lit restaurants
TOM: Classy list and several wines I too have enjoyed recently and totally concur on. Great to see MOnte Bello up there too. The reading glasses? It comes to us all!
Peter Wood, Scotland UK
Red…………: Paul Jaboulet Aine (Rhone) La Chapelle, 1972
White……….: Schloss Johannisberg (Germany) Grunlack Spatlese, 1975
Budget red…..: Tramontane (France) Cotes du Roussillon, 2009
Budget white…: Raza (Portugal) Vinho Verde, 2010
Sweet……….: Quinta do Ameal (Portugal) Special Harvest, 2007
Sparkling……: Salon (Champagne) 1990
Fortified……: Grahams (Portugal) Vintage Port 1963
Dud…………: Krug (Champagne) Clos du Mesnil, 1979
Thing……….: Getting Robert Parker to answer 6 questions on my wine blog
Comment……..: This year has seen my wine blog (www.thetastingnote.com) explode with readers, partly due to the fact that Robert Parker granted me an interview, and partly due to the fact that I’ve kept the content coming thick and fast – and that has meant trying more wines and that has made selecting my top wines of the year all the more tricky! My top red was easy, simply because this old Rhone over delivered, and my dud of the year was because the Krug Clos du Mesnil ’79 massively under delivered. A masterclass with Christian Witte of Schloss Johannisberg enabled me to try a selection of wonderful German wines, and my white of the year, and my favourite Sparkling and Fortified were due to decedent dinners with my old drinking buddies Pete Crawford and Richard Bray. Tom’s fantastic Portuguese tasting in Edinburgh enabled me to try my sweet wine of the year, the low production Quinta do Ameal Special Harvest, and a sample bottle from one of the suppliers there showed me my budget wine of the year, simple, but delicious.
TOM: Delighted my Portuguese 50 Great provided one of peter’s highlights and good to see one of Andy Cook’s wines (Tramontane) in the frame again – as it should be.
Tom Hewson, UK
Red…………: Giacomo Borgogno (Italy) Barolo Riserva 1982
White……….: Yves Cuilleron (France) Marsanne 2010
Budget red…..: Boscarelli (Italy) ‘De Ferrari’ 2006
Budget white…: Rustenberg (South Africa) Charonnay 2010 – with xmas dinner
Rosé………..: I’m afraid to say…my inaugural vintage of rosé from Kent!
Sweet……….: Tamellini (Italy) Recioto di Soave ‘Vigna Marogne’ 2004
Sparkling……: Gusbourne Estate (England) Brut Reserve 2006
Fortified……: Barbadillo (Spain) Manzanilla Solear’
Dud…………: My red from 2010 from the same vines in Kent..
Thing……….: Brawn, Columbia Road (East London)
Comment……..: A fairly economical list this year, with the exception of the Borgogno which was tasted at a Nebbiolo evening at Bottle Apostle in Hackney. Wonderful. I made some wine from vines my dad planted in Kent (purely on an amateur basis) – the rosé was positively pleasant, but the red is struggling to hide the damp and cool 2010 growing season. The likes of Gusbourne don’t have anything to fear from me as yet – what a great first release from them. The Boscarelli is just beautiful, and the Cuilleron quite humble for a wine of the year – 2011 was a little light on the white side but this one really did stand out. Rustenberg was a crowd pleaser, which is what you want at Christmas. The Tamellini is stellar stuff, and the Barbadillo is ridiculously good value. Brawn in London was the scene of my favourite meal in the city since moving here in 2007. Must go back and drink more of their amazing cloudy Chenin from Benoit Courault.
TOM: Well Tom, I am delighted you are beind so honest about your own wines – one dud and one trophy! Sherry powering through as this year’s fortified favourite again.
Ben Fawcett, Scotland UK
Red…………: Chateau La Grave a Pomerol 2005
White……….: Cellar Pinol Grenache Gris 2009
Budget red…..: Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico 2007
Budget white…: Domaine de Provenquiere Vermentino 2010
Rosé………..: Proprieta Sperino Coste della Sesia Rosato “Rosa del Rosa” 2010
Sweet……….: Selvapiana Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina 2004
Sparkling……: Pol Roger Brut NV
Fortified……: Warres 1991
Comment……..: Il Pino di Biserno 2006 almost should be my wine of the year. So, so good – is Lodovico Antinori that gifted or is it just he can finance a team to find wine nirvana a second time around? La Grave a Pomerol 2005 is textbook Pomerol – rich, creamy, soft, elegant and perfectly balanced a truly beautiful wine at such a reasonable price. Cellar Pinol Grenache Gris for the simple reason it floored me, such complexity from the most unexpected region and country – in context of the grape and colour of wine. The Provenquiere Vermentino is a wee stunner and at £8 (Villeneuve) stunning value, smartly presented and utterly correct in all aspects it deserves wider attention. Based where I am indies are a 45min drive away at best so supermarkets do play a role in my wine choices this year. Tesco should be so much better but Villa Cafaggio from the Co-op @ £10.99 is almost too good. Given that the base price for top notch Chianti Classico is £15 it has to be one of the best buys in the country. Selvapiana make simply wonderful wines and their Vin santo is all about subtleties. NV Pol is singing at the moment, dances across the palate. Warres ’91 so good bought my best pal a bottle for christmas. Is Burgundy pricing itself into obscurity – in particular white between £15 and £40? I think so because Chardonnay wines from Italy, Australia, New Zealand, California and dare I say it deliver (on the whole) far more flavour, depth, complexity and most of all consistency.
TOM: Funnily enough I poured that same Chianti Classico on my radio slot a couple of weeks ago on BBC Scotland, and it went down extremely well. Lovely to see the Pol Roger white foil get the nod too, ahead of more exotic Champagnes – it is lovely stuff.
Derek Salmon, Australia
Red…………: Torbreck (Australia) The loon 2010
White……….: Peter Lehmann Wigan Eden Valley Riesling
Budget red…..: Rymill (Australia) The yearling Cab Sav
Budget white…: D’arenberg (australia) Dry Dam Riesling
Sweet……….: Yalumba (Australia) FSW8B 2009
Fortified……: Torbreck (Australia) Highland Fling 2010
Dud…………: Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1991
Thing……….: Birth of first Child
Comment……..: Great wines tasted in 2011 mostly through work and living so close to the barossa valley. Looking forward to 2012 bringing more wines to be tasted and learning more from great cellar door staff and wine makers.
TOM: Dave Powell of Torbreck makes great wines and is a fascinating character, so nice to see Derek enjoying so many of those. Pity about the Grange however. Congratulations on the happy event though.
Jonathan Beagle, UK, Japan, Hong Kong & France
Red…………: 1974 Barolo “Marcenasco”; Renato Ratti, Italy
White……….: 2008 Meursault “Tete des Murgers”; Patrick Javillier, France
Budget red…..: 2009 La Nouvelle Memoire, 100% Mollard, Domaine Petit Août, France
Budget white…: 2010 Yalumba, Y series, Voignier, Eden Valley Australia
Rosé………..: 2010 Cotes de Provence, Domaine Jas d’Esclans, France
Sweet……….: 1998 Chateau Guiraud, Sauternes, France
Sparkling……: 1985 Krug, Champagne, France
Fortified……: 1994 Fonseca, Portugal
Dud…………: Prices for 2010 Bordeaux!!
Thing……….: Spending large amounts of time tasting in Burgundy over the summer, including being there during harvest
Comment……..: 2011 was a difficult year for a number of reasons but more from a mental/emotional point of view. Whilst there was plenty of wine, it wasn’t always a joyful time with being caught up in Japan during the earthquake and tsunami, being stuck in France and with plenty of deaths to the relatives of friends and friends themselves. However, wine was drunk, enjoyed and devoured but perhaps not to the heights of what was for me a momentous 2010. Good wines were had as can be seen above and making some great new friends and discovering new producers in Burgundy, Champagne and the Alps was great fun and my time in France has certainly helped with both my work and wine education, if little else… To a much less emotional and laid back, and vinious 2012. Happy New Year.
TOM: Globe-trotting Jonathan has a surprisingly classic list, but some fabulous wines. I had the second last of my ’85 Krug’s early in the year and it was holding up really well. Hope 2012 brings a less difficult time for you. selection below added 03/01/2012
Birger Vejrum, Denmark
Red…………: Rocche dei Manzoni ( Italy ) Barolo Big N ´Big 2001
White……….: Pelter Winery ( Israel ) Unwooded Chardonnay 2010
Budget red…..: Fabrizio Battaglino ( Italy ) Nebbiolo d´Alba Colla 2007
Budget white…: Fabrizio Battaglino ( Italy ) Roero Arneis 2010
Sweet……….: Fabrizio Battaglino ( Italy ) Bric Bastia
TOM: A fascinating Italian-dominated list and clearly Piedmont is a passion for Birger. I do not know Israeli wines very well I must say, but would love to get out there and taste.
Kevin Heatherington, UK
Red…………: Cote Rotie (Emile Champet) 1983
White……….: Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Spatlese 303 (Spreitzer) 2010
Budget red…..: Chinon Cuvee de la Cure (Joguet) 2005
Budget white…: Hochherimer Kirchenstuck Riesling Kabinett Trocken (Kunstler) 2009
Sweet……….: Westhofener Morstein Riesling Auslese (Keller) 2010
Sparkling……: Champagne Extra Brut NV Egly-Ouriet
Fortified……: Sanchez Romate Miguel Fontadez Single Butt Oloroso
TOM: Germany is doing very well this year best white I must say, and another vote for Egly-Ouriet and for the iPad2. I’ve yet to succumb, but having seen some wonderful apps demonstrated over the holidays by a friend, might be tempted…
Keith Prothero, UK and South Africa
Red…………: Haut Brion 1989
White……….: Coche-Dury Meursault 1996
Budget red…..: Kloof Street(South Africa) 2009
Budget white…: Egon Muller Kabinett 2007
Sweet……….: Yquem 1942
Sparkling……: Krug 1961
Fortified……: Boal Solera Blandy 1826
Dud…………: Mouton 1982 – corked
Thing……….: La Trompette – superb venue for initimate Monday lunches
Comment……..: Another superb drinking year. Especially enjoyed some of the smaller burgundy offlines at La Trompette and an outstanding Lopez De Heredia vertical dinner organised by Ken Lamb. Must declare an interest in the Kloof Street made by Mullineux – all the other wines I think speak for themselves. Thanks as always to Tom and the Wine-Pages community for their continued support of the Pebbles Project; we now look after over 700 children
TOM: Some lovely wines here. That 1989 Haut-Brion remains possibly the best wine I have ever drunk, and how fantastic to taste such nice old wines too – though 1826 is about 80 years older than anything I’ve ever tasted. Thanks for the kind words on wine-pages, and more power to the very worthwhile Pebbles Project charity.
Charles Mutter, UK
Red…………: Lopez de Heredia Tondonia 1991
White……….: J.-F. Coche-Dury Meursault 2004
Budget red…..: Beaujolais-Villages 2008 VV, Eric Lapalu
Budget white…: various Gemischter Satz in Vienna
Sweet……….: Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris SDGN 2005
Sparkling……: Waris et Filles NV
Fortified……: Tio Pepe Fino “En Rama”
Dud…………: Mouton-Rothschild 1994
Thing……….: Dahon µ SL
Comment……..: Red and sweet courtesy of a well-known shop that offers extraordinary tasting opportunities. If “whole bottles” were a stipulation, it would be Domaine de Chevalier 2003 and Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese** 2009. Meursault was only just ahead of Dom. Leflaive BB of the same year, not to mention numerous delicious German offerings. Beaujolais: you’ll have to go to St-étienne-la-Varenne and ask, but well worth the effort. Typical sad Beaujolais story: wine is now only a sideline for the family, they’re having to diversify. Beautiful wine – who’s going to write the book that really puts the whole of this region (not just the superstars) on the map? Mouton: drinkable by about the third day, but total mouth/trousers disparity. Champagne: unfancy but delicious and satisfying. Dahon is my 9kg folding bike!
TOM: I recently rated the Tondonia Reserva 1987 with 95/100 making it one of my top scoring wines of 2011, and one which could easily have taken my white WotY title. I’ll be tasting the latest release of the En Rama (an unfiltered, fresh Sherry) soon and am really looking forward to it.
Richard Manley, UK
Red…………: Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1988
White……….: Magnum Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese 1994
Budget red…..: Masia Terra Alta 1989
Budget white…: Raymond Barlet et Fils Jacquère Vin de Savoie 2010
Rosé………..: Musar 1995
Sweet……….: Vendanges Tardives Gewurztraminer 2007
Sparkling……: Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Champagne Gold Top Brut 1996
Dud…………: Cloudy Bay old vintages well past their best
Thing……….: Life is short so enjoy it now!! visting Bordeaux for the first time.
Comment……..: I selected the Brunello ahead of a few other reds due to discovering this region via Wines Pages. (always helpful reading others notes / thoughts). Another challenging year passes!! Jake our eldest is now in the army after passing all his training and will get posted abroad in Aug/Sept 2012. Engage more with my charties in 2012 is on my list of things to do. On a selfish note I would like to attend more wine events around the UK and to visit the Mosel. Wishing you and your family good health in 2012. TOM: Lots of nice obscurities in here as well as bigger names like Brunello. I’ve yet to be convinced of the merits of cellaring any Sauvignon Blanc I must say – I’ve had some good five year old bottles, but most are best drunk fresh and young I think.
Ray Abercromby, UK
Red…………: Chave (France) Hermitage 1990
White……….: Domaine Leflaive (France) Batard Montrachet 2000
Budget red…..: Rustenberg (South Africa) John X Merriman 2008
Budget white…: Rustenberg (South Africa) Barrel Ferment Chardonnay 2010
Rosé………..: Taittinger (France) Comtes de Champagne rosé 2002
Sweet……….: Mullineux (South Africa) Straw Wine 2008
Sparkling……: Vilmart (France) Coeur de Cuvée 1990
Dud…………: Ducru Beaucaillou (France) St Julien 1967 / FRW
Thing……….: Memories of wine friends and gatherings together.
Comment……..: A quieter year for wine this year, with no wine-pages SuperBOWL for example. The Chave was sublime, beating the 83 (which in turn was beaten by an 83 Grange). Leflaive are remarkably consistent, while the Vilmart – my last bottle – was drunk on the day of my engagement, sitting outside a cottage in Scotland in the setting sun. Wonderful. The Ducru was corked, and was not replaced by FRW, so that’s them off my supplier list. Lastly, I treasure the time I have spent with fellow enthusiasts – many have become close friends. Whether it was at home, on a boat, at offlines or in a bar, the memory remains, especially of those no longer with us.
TOM: Congratulations on the engagement Ray, and on a fine list – great to see South Africa doing so well, and another vote for Vilmart. Very classy fizz.
Brian Howells, Wales, UK
Red…………: Chateau PlainPont (France) Fronsac Bordeaux 2006 £14.99
White……….: Michel Picard (France) Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Demoiselles, 2005, £59.99
Budget red…..: Domaine du Verdier (France)Saint Chinian 2009 £6.99
Budget white…: Los Picos Chardonnay (Chile)Central Valley 2010 £5.99
Rosé………..: Valle Perdido (Argentina) Malbec Rose Patagonia 2010 £7.99
Sweet……….: Chateau des Mailles (France) St Croix du Mont, Bordeaux 2005 £6.99 per half
Sparkling……: Chartogne Taillet (France)Cuvee Fiacre, Champagne NV £39.99
Fortified……: Hidalgo PX Triana (Spain) nv £10.99 for 50cl
Dud…………: Marques de Riscal Reserva (Spain) Rioja 2006
Thing……….: Sparkling Torrontes from Argentina – the next Prosecco?
TOM: Interesting comment on the Torrontes from Brian, as I holidayed in Argentina this year and whilst I did not come across sparkling versions, enjoyed Torrontes on so many occasions – a variety I think has great potential too.
David Ludlow, UK
Red…………: Rustenberg Peter Barlow 1999 (S Africa)
White……….: F E Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling 2001 (France)
Budget red…..: Chateau de Judes 2009 (France)
Budget white…: Wither Hills Pinot Gris 2011 (NZ)
Rosé………..: Ridgeview Merret Fitzrovia Rose 2008
Sweet……….: Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2000 (S Africa)
Sparkling……: Moet & Chandon 2002
Fortified……: Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage 2001
Thing……….: Beaujolais Cru 2009 and Torrontes
Comment……..: It has been a pretty good year and have drunk some excellent wines. The Rustenberg was superb and highlighted that SA wines can age. Drank also a Meerlust Rubicon 2000 and De Toren Fusion V 2001 on same night and all were excellent. The Frederic Emile is the epitome of fine Riesling and has reintroduced me to the delights of the Alsace. The budget red showed that Bordeaux can do cheap excellent wines and also highlighted how good 2009 will be. Rose choice is perhaps a bit cheeky as it is a sparkler, but English sparkling wine is excellent and this wine knocked spots of numerous Rose Champagnes. Excellent website – keep up the good work
TOM: And more support for Torrontes – interesting. I recently tipped the 2002 Moet in a publication I write for too – a fine vintage Champagne from this enormous house. selection below added 31/12/2011
Ian Amstad, London
Red…………: Jasmin Cote Rotie 1984 and Chateau Belair 1998 (St-Emilion)
White……….: Ceritas Porter Bass Chardonnay 2007 (Sonoma)
Budget red…..: Mark Haisma Bourgogne Rouge 2009
Budget white…: M&S Domaines Brocard Organic Chablis 2008
Sweet……….: Haart Goldtropfchen Auslese 1994
Sparkling……: Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle
Fortified……: Grahams 1966
Dud…………: Life in Stamford, CT
Thing……….: 1961s and the my one and only WIMPs lunch on the day of the royal wedding
Comment……..: Two thousand and eleven had its ups and downs, but was a memorable year for drinking fine wine. There were several candidates for red wine of the year. From Piedmont a pair of 1961s, Rinaldi and Cappellano, diaphanous and perfectly ‘a point’ aged 50; from the Northern Rhone my first encounter with Chave’s legendary 1990 Hermitage – it was like an abattoir and made mincemeat of a La Mouline 1987 – and some perfectly resolved and dextrous Jasmin Cote Roties from the 1980s; from burgundy a trio of breathtaking Rousseaus, Clos St-Jacques 1989, Clos De Beze 1995 and Chambertin 1996; and from Bordeaux, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1985 and 1995. The 1985, from a half bottle, is not the most powerful wine, but has gravitas, is perfectly balanced and triumphantly restrained…the 1995, brooding yet kaleidoscopic, has a remarkable future. Close behind was Chateau Margaux 1986, which in my experience has never come off second best toe-to-toe (latest victim: LMHB ’89). Other contenders from Bordeaux include Chateau Petrus 2001, a Dali-esque experience and a legend in the making, Chateau Latour 1990, now drop dead delicious and Cheval Blanc 1985, as timeless as it is seamless. At a more affordable level Chateau Belair 1998 was the ideal glass of St-Emilion. For the whites, the 1988 Ramonet Bienvenues Batard-Montrachet, green-hued and resplendent, was astonishing, and Leflaive’s BB-M 2002, for once not over-oaked, was not far behind. However, the Ceritas Porter Bass Chardonnay 2007, from Sonoma, whilst not quite in the same league, left the most indelible impression: uncharacteristically lean, nuanced and complex it is my white wine of the year. On my blog is a list of my top 50 wines of 2011. comteflaneur.blogspot.com
TOM: From Ian’s “almost made it” list I had the ’85 Lafite in half bottle too this year and really enjoyed it – as Ian says, not a powerful or rich wine, but a beautiful one.
Tim Carlisle, UK
Red…………: Chateau Durfort Vivens 1996
White……….: Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2007
Budget red…..: Hans Igler Blaufrankisch ‘Birii’ 2002
Budget white…: Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer 2010
Rosé………..: Guardian Peak Rosé 2010
Sweet……….: Mullineux Straw Wine 2010
Sparkling……: Veuve Fourny Clos Faubourg Notre Dame 2002
Fortified……: Niepoort Colheita 2001
Dud…………: Nederbergs 5 Platter Star Wines
Thing……….: Isaac – aged 3 weeks
Comment……..: All pretty straightforward. The Igler Blaufrankisch is by far the best Austrian red I’ve tasted (also tasted the 2009 which is also a lot better than anything else). I seriously considered putting that as the overall best despite costing around £13. Shame that you can’t buy more in the UK! Plenty of SA wines from my trip, including the DUD – just can’t fathom how Nederberg got so many 5* awards last year – the wines were fine, but very correct and a bit frankenstein like – made in the factory and not the vineyard. Isaac despite being three weeks old, has has a major impact on this year significantly reducing the number of wines I’ve drunk (if slightly increasing the volume!)
TOM: Congratulations on your ‘thing’ of 2011 Tim, and glad South Africa and its wines made such an impression – a very exciting wine country with its finest wines still to come I suspect.
Paul Benbow, UK
Red…………: Craggy Range (New Zealand) Sophia Merlot 2005
White……….: Trimbach (France) Cuvee Frediric Emile Riesling 2001
Budget red…..: Crozes Hermitage (France) Asda 2008
Budget white…: Guardiolo Falanghina (Italy) Janare 2010
Rosé………..: Chateau Bauduc (France) Bordeaux 2010
Sweet……….: Mount Horrocks (Australia) Cordon Cut Clare Valley 2009
Sparkling……: Taittinger (France) Comte de Champagne Champagne 1998
Dud…………: Gazin (France) Pomerol 2000
Thing……….: Isle of Skye in September. What a place.
TOM: Great to see an appearance by the Mount Horrocks sweetie; an all-time and amazingly consistent beauty of a wine. I spent a fair bit of time on the Scottish west coast and islands too in spring and summer, and am delighted Paul loved it so much.
David Crossley, UK
Red…………: Charmes-Chambertin 1978, Camus
White……….: Porter Bass Chardonnay, Russian River, Ceritas
Budget red…..: Ultreia, Raul Perez, Bierzo
Budget white…: Muscadet, Clos des Allées VV, Luneau-Papin
Rosé………..: Cédric Bouchard Rosé de Saignée Creux d’Enfer Brut
Sweet……….: Campbells Muscat Rare Merchant Prince, Rutherglen
Sparkling……: Krug Clos du Mesnil 1998
Fortified……: EN Manzanilla Passada Bota 30
Thing……….: Oslo – first taste of Scandinavia
Comment……..: My WsOTY were not necessarily the “best” I drank, but those which moved me. The Charmes was courtesy of Nicos and we may even have drank one or two better wines that night, but old Burgundy of this quality from an unlikely source brings tears to the eyes. The Californian was introduced to me by Ian A. It\’s the first Cali-Chard I’ve really dropped my jaw to in years. The Mesnil beat a sublime 1981 Krug (and a good twenty more world class Champagnes over 2011) probably as much for the rarity of opportunity for me to taste it. Bouchard’s rosé Champagne has that haunting, ethereal quality of Bars fruit at its Riceys-ish best. I drank many wonderful wines from EN this past year and the Bota 30 is the one which comes to mind as a truly “world class” wine, up there with the very best, yet affordable. The Rutherglen was my second try in two years, a truly under rated style. The two budget wines I’ve had a good few times and still want to buy more, both bottles you can reach for with confidence. But this task is so so hard with such heavenly experiences left unmentioned and so many wonderful friends responsible for those wines. Why Waitrose as a dud? I am worried that this unique supermarket is moving away from doubling up as a fantastic wine merchant. I hope I’m wrong. Oslo and its environs made a big impression, all good until some nutter nearly blew up my kids on our last day. Sweden next, I think.
TOM: Lovely list and I like David’s approach to choosing the finalists. I was shocked to see Waitrose as the ‘dud’ I must say, as for me it is still head and shoulders above the other national supermarkets in the UK in terms of its wine, beer and spirits range, but I see it is more a warning shot over their bows. Perhaps there are one or two more big brands on the wine aisles, but I wouldn’t write them off just yet.
Simon Martin, UK
Red…………: Emile Champet Côte-Rôtie 1983
White……….: Coche Dury Puligny Enseigneres 1998
Budget red…..: Rene Rostaing Les Lezardes 2006
Budget white…: Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Willi Schaefer (any vintage!)
Rosé………..: Domaine du Clos d’Alari Provence Rose 2009
Sweet……….: Domaine des Forges Coteaux du Layon Chaume Les Onnis 1996
Sparkling……: Egly Ouriet Tradition Brut NV
Dud…………: Louis Jadot Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques 1997
Thing……….: Visiting Vineyards!
Comment……..: My red of the year was a tough call as had so many great reds, but this wins from the perspective that I was not expecting much, and it was as enjoyed by the others I shared it with. It just pipped a Robert Michel Geynale 1991 and Fourrier Combe aux Moines 2000. The Coche as provided by a very generous friend and it genuinely was thrilling. A great year of wines visiting the vineyards has had such a profound change on the drinking experience. getting to see the vineyards and meet the makers is a real game changer for me.
TOM: Egly Ouriet is another of my big favourites, and this is an altogether fine list of European classics. Pity about the Jadot; these wines are often painfully slow to develop and blossom, and I wonder if this was too young?
Richard Zambuni, UK
Red…………: Chateau Palmer 1966 (France)
White……….: Jadot (France) Le Montrachet 2004
Budget red…..: Vincent Girardin (France) Santenay 1er cru Gravieres 2000
Budget white…: JJ Christoffel (Germany) Urziger Wurzgarten Kabinett 2001
Sweet……….: Chateau Rieussec 1999
Sparkling……: Louis Roederer (France) Vintage Champagne 1985
Fortified……: Talylor’s (Portugal) Vintage Port 1955
Dud…………: Too many of my middle-aged and old Cornas bottles have been corked
Thing……….: Three days with the family at Albergo Nerina in the Trentino’s Val di Non
Comment……..: A great year for drinking wine was 2011 – the wonder of offlines continues and helps me to learn about wines I’d never have bought myself. These offlines have opened my eyes to burgundy – although too late to afford to buy much really. A few comments on my choices above; the Palmer stands out because they don’t make ’em like that any more. Lean yet subtle and worth the wait – sublime claret (thank you Ian Springett). The Girardin is my guilty secret – I bought a lot of this cheaply and while this is not everyone’s idea of good burgundy even at the cheap end of the spectrum, it gives me pleasure when I want something simple and straightforward. I was really impressed by the Louis Roederer 1985 – I’m not a champagne connoisseur but this was effortlessly classy and fresh enough for my simple palate to enjoy. And if anyone’s ever off the beaten track in the Val di Non they could do a lot worse than stop by and visit this simple albergo where the di Nuzzo family serve local food with great pride, and they will even open your eyes to the joys of the local Trentino wines from a Casetta to Gropello di Revo, both wines I had never drunk before in my life.
TOM: Good to see a Bordeaux take Richard’s red title (we actually see relatively few of them for some reason) and to see the gorgeous ’85 vintage taking another plaudit (still one of the most delightful wine vintages practically across the globe in my opinion). selection below added 29/12/2011
Julian Seers-Martin, UK
Red…………: Petrus (France) Pomerol 1973
White……….: Laville Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 1983
Budget white…: Leeuwin Estate (Australia) Margret River Art Series Riesling 2005
Sparkling……: Moet et Chandon (France) Cuvee Dom Perignon 1989
Fortified……: Seppeltsfield (Australia) Grand Tawny 2000
Dud…………: Domaine de Chevalier Blanc (France) Pessac-Leognan 1986
Thing……….: My new Honda VFR-800 VTEC….
Comment……..: Another extraordinary year with wine-pages UK Wine Forum, some offlines I shall never forget, and some wines I certainly will! The Petrus was a good wine, but not a great wine, the experience was certainly worth the red WOTY award though as it was about the most nervous cork pulling I have ever endured! I urge everyone to try the Leeuwin art series Riesling from 05 though, walks all over Steingarten and easily dances with Polish Hill. The DDC blanc dud is perhaps not too worrying on it’s own, but going through two bottles of 96 Carbonnieux that were oxidised before getting to ordering this for an offline as a result, only to find it was corked, was truly gutting! The 2000 Grand Tawny from Seppeltsfield surely had a shout for budget red/rose(!) as well.
TOM: Fine choices. I’m a big fan of all of Leeuwin’s wines, but the Chardonnay and Cabernet get most of the attention, so nice to see the excellent Riesling getting a shout. Agree on that little Seppeltsfield which was a Wine of the Month for me last year.
Will Cashman, Ireland
Red…………: Armand Rousseau (France) Gevrey Chambertin 1er ‘Clos Saint Jacques’ 1997
White……….: Domaine Louis Carillon (France) Puligny Montrachet 1er ‘Perrieres’, 2002
Budget red…..: 2006 Renato Ratti (Italy) Barolo Marcenasco
Budget white…: 2010 Willi Schaefer (Germany) Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett
Rosé………..: NV Vilmart (NV) Cuvee Rubis
Sweet……….: 1999 Egon Mueller (Germany) Scharzhofberger Trockenbeerenauslese
Sparkling……: 1990 Vilmart (France) Coeur De Cuvee
Fortified……: NV Grahams (Portugal) 20 Year Old Tawny
Dud…………: Not getting to any WIMPs lunches this year
Thing……….: Wine trips (Rioja & Mosel, Nahe) this year
TOM: Will’s list reminds me of how much I’ve enjoyed the Champagnes of Vilmart in the past (and what good value they are) – something I must bear in mind as a new year resolution.
Otto Nieminen, Finland
Red…………: Domaine Tempier (France) Bandol Cabassaou 1993
White……….: Domaine de la Sénéchalière (France) Nuitage 2009
Budget red…..: Domaine des Terres/J-P Brun Dorées (France) Fleurie 2008
Budget white…: Domaine Pattes Loup (France) Chablis Vent d’Ange 2009
Rosé………..: Yannick Amirault (France) Bourgueil Rosé d’Equinoxe 2010
Sweet……….: éric Texier (France) Condrieu Opâle 2010
Sparkling……: Čotar (Slovenia) Teran Črna Penina klasična metoda ekstra brut 2006
Fortified……: D’Oliveiras (Portugal) Madeira Sercial Reserva 1971
Dud…………: Trapiche (Argentina) Viña Fausto Orellana De Escobar Malbec 2007
Thing……….: Mollenhauer Denner recorders
Comment……..: The red was a lovely, young Bandol. The white is the strangest “Muscadet” (classified Vin de Table) I’ve had with a short carbonic maceration – but it was mineral and electric and moreish. Brun’s wines are always a delight. Pattes Loup Chablis was incredibly pure despite the vintage yet showed layers and complexity that I thought a straight Chablis could never have. Texier’s Opale is his hommage to Mosel Kabinett: low alcohol of c.7% abv and plenty of sugar might not sound like what would work with Viognier, but it does work beautifully. The Čotar is red sparkling wine from Teran (Refosco) and was outstanding in its refreshing sourness. It is the first sparkling red I have truly loved. The Trapiche was loathsome and repugnant in its boring oak aromas – it never ceases to amaze me how some seem to find it a virtue to make something so unvinous from grapes. The “Thing” is a set of pearwood recorders (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), hand made models after 17th Century Denner instruments. We’ve been having great fun playing Baroque music on them – those who think of the recorder as a toy instrument for children need to listen to proper music on proper instruments!
TOM: Makes me think that I need to do more investigation into Slovenian wines – I visited Cotar a few years ago and loved the wines, but haven’t tasted them since. I’ve really enjoyed Traphiche’s single vineyard Malbecs in the past I must say, though I don’t know the particualr wine that caused Otto such pain…
Jamie Hutchinson, UK
Red…………: DRC (France) Romanee St Vivant 1976
White……….: Coche Dury (France) Meursault 1996
Budget red…..: Pra (Italy) Valpolicella 2009
Budget white…: Dauvissat (France) Petit Chablis 1999
Rosé………..: Dujac (France) Rosé 2009
Sweet……….: Egon Muller (Germany) Sharzhofberger Auslese 1959 number 73
Sparkling……: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified……: La Bota (Spain) Manzanilla Pasada 20 (only one bottle left, arghh)
Dud…………: Lafite (France) 1996
Thing……….: Sedge fishing in the lake district
Comment……..: Lots of contenders for red of the year, with Hudelot Noellat’s Clos Vougeot 1993 almost getting there, and Marques de Murrietta Ygay 1942 making a strong case for itself, but in the end its the DRC that I keep thinking about. Other than this, I feel like I had fewer stand out wines this year than the during the previous few years, something which will need to be addressed with urgency! The rosé was an interesting bottle which a friend had received from Jacques Seysses. Not released commercially as far as I know, but really very good. My dud was simply due to a corked bottle at a tasting – its a great bottle of wine and was meant to be the highlight of a 1996 horizontal tasting. We had even opened and decanted in advance to check against tca, but on pouring a couple of hours later, there was little doubt about it. Ouch. In case you were wondering, which you probably weren’t, sedge fishing is fishing with caddis fly imitations, not fishing for sedges.
TOM: As always Jamie (who run The Sampler wine shops) still has time to cram in some mouth-watering drinking. I tasted that Krug ’88 recently and it is truly outstanding. To find a bottle like 1996 Lafite (current price £1,200)) ruined by a bad 50p cork…
Tom Worthing, UK
Red…………: 1983 mouton rothschild
White……….: Krug 1996
Budget red…..: chateau musar 2001 (from half bottle)
Budget white…: some young punks – monsters attack
Rosé………..: D’Esclans Garrus 2008
Sweet……….: royal tokaji Mezes Maly 6 Puttonyos
Sparkling……: dom perignon 1990
Fortified……: Taylor’s 1980
Dud…………: 1990 veuve cliquot rose
Thing……….: the sampler wine shops
Comment……..: Krug are very keen on their wine being considered a great white wine rather than a champagne, so I’ve assigned it accordingly! I’ve been very lucky with dud bottles this year, only encountering one so it ‘won’.
TOM: I was duly impressed by the rosés of D’Esclans in Provence on a trip there recently, even though they are some of the world’s most expensive pink wines (almost £80 for the cuvée nominated by Tom). Krug ’96 is fantastic, as is ’95.
Tai-Ran Niew, Washington, D.C. USA
Red…………: Isole e Olena (Italy) Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
White……….: Bird In Hand (Australia) Nest Egg Chardonnay 2009
Budget red…..: Pittacum (Spain) Mencia 2007
Budget white…: Bloomer Creek (USA) Tanzen Dame Finger Lakes 2009
Sweet……….: Yalumba (Australia) Tawny Port 1968
Sparkling……: Bollinger (France) La Grande Annee 2000
Fortified……: Hildago La Gitana (Spain) Manzanilla Pastrana NV
Dud…………: Luxurious Napa Cab
TOM: That Bolly was my sparkling wine of the year last year, so glad it is still drinking so well (especially as I still have a few bottles). Could this be dry Sherry’s year? As a category it has really taken off, and that’s two Manzanillas out of four fortified wine of the year so far…
Andrew Stevenson, UK
Red…………: Peter Franus (USA, California, Napa Valley) Cabernet Sauvignon 1999
White……….: Château de Schengen (Luxembourg) Riesling Fût 702 2003
Budget red…..: Masi (Argentina, Mendoza) Tupungato Passo Doble La Arboleda 2002
Budget white…: Poggio Argentiera (Italy, Tuscany) Guazza 2007
Rosé………..: Aliança (Portugal, Vinho Regional Beiras) Vista TR 2010
Sweet……….: Delheim (South Africa, Stellenbosch) Riesling Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest 2010
Fortified……: Gutierrez Colosia (Spain) Palo Cortado Viejisimo N.V.
Thing……….: L’Enclume and the Parkers Arms at Newton in Bowland for gastronomic experiences, in their own unique styles
Comment……..: An unusual year of mainly drinking what’s in stock and few tastings/offlines. Many thanks to Cellartracker for sorting the best-scoring for me. Interestingly, the white/red and budget white/red could easily be swapped, showing that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money for 92+ point wines. In fact one of the disappointments (but not so much as to be a dud) was a rather underwhelming bottle of Vega Sicilia NV Reserva Especial, which was absolutely “fine” just lacking any real wow factor. It’s a surprise looking back at Cellartracker to see not only a 2003 riesling, but also a wine from Luxembourg taking the top spot (by quite a margin) for white wine of the year. I guess it was just in a good place at the time. Even more surprising is that a pinotage (Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2010) was only just pipped to the post for rosé of the year by the Alianca. Though I wouldn’t rush to buy either.
TOM: lots of nice quirks and left-field choices here. I was very impressed by some Luxembourg Rieslings when I visited a few years ago, but from the sound of this one (“Fût” presumbaly indicating barrel ageing) it is an unusal style of Riesling wine.
Sean Hardon, Northern Ireland
Red…………: La Mission Haut Brion 1996
White……….: Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues Batard Montrachet 1999
Budget red…..: Domaine Mas de Lavail Cuvée Tradition 2008 Côtes du Roussillon Villages
Budget white…: Domaine Treloar La Terre Promis 2009 IGP Côtes Catalanes
Rosé………..: Mourgues Du Gres Galets Roses 2010
Sweet……….: 2005 Alois Kracher #9 Scheurebe Tba Zwischen Den Seen
Sparkling……: Champagne Mumm Rene Lalou 1998
Fortified……: Domaine Treloar MO2
Dud…………: Being in retailing, tough times. Got through another year with a smile on my face!
Thing……….: 1. Ferme Du Ruchotte. 2. Son’s Air Hockey table. 3. Nespresso machine
Comment……..: Did’t get too many UK Wine Forum offlines this year, fear this will not be righted this following year. Two lovely trips to France. Firstly to the Roussillon, where I had the opportunity to help out Jonathan Hesford of Dom Treloar bring in his harvest. You will note a few of his wines appearing in my list this year. The second trip of note was my birthday trip to Burgundy which I absolutely loved. Wine pages as per usual has been a font of wisdom and a welcome respite from the rigours of everyday life, and I am very glad to see it growing from strength to strength.
TOM: Many thanks for the kind words on wine-pages Sean. Very classic European list, and a few wines which I have tasted and which I think are great choices – the vote for La Mission instantly takes me back to the extraordinary 50-vintage vertical I attended in 2008.