Visitors Wines of the Year 2012

See also Tom’s Wines of the Year 2012

Phil Shorten, Australia

Red: Dalwhinnie (Australia) South West Rocks Shiraz 2008
White: Cullen (Australia) Chardonnay 2002
Budget red: Shobbrook Wines (Australia) Tommy Ruff 2010
Budget white: Thick as Thieves (Australia) Chardonnay 2011
Rosé Cantina Zaccagnini (Italy) Montepulciano Rose 2011
Sweet: Disznoko (Hungary) Aszu eszencia 1993
Dud: Chateau de Beaucastel (France) Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1998
Thing: My Giant Cross City bike
Comment: It’s been a year of settling back to Australian life having left to see the world and live in the country of my birth for a decade or so. Things have certainly changed a lot Down Under. For one, it’s a lot more expensive than it was a decade previous…..up there with London! The wine scene is more interesting than ever thanks to a plethora of small importers bringing in interesting and eclectic gear. On the ground, Australian wine is at an interesting stage, with the emergence of many brilliant small producers, emergence of the natural wine scene and development of new varieties. There’s a lot to like, even if the message isn\’t quite getting over in export markets. I have deliberately chosen an Australian- centric list as a reflection of what this nation is capable of. Dalwhinnie is a Pyrenees stalwart fashioning very stylish and polished wines of genuine quality. The Cullen Chardonnay (bottle d under screwcap) is a great reflection of Margaret River terroir….powerful and rich, but extremely well balance. If only I could afford it now. Tom Shobbrook, who worked for several years at Reicine in Tuscany is a star on the rise. He is a member of the natural wine movement, but also makes some quite conventional wines, such as Tommy Ruff, a wonderfully stylish, pepper and meaty Barossa Shiraz/Mourvedre blend. Other contenders are the Westend Calabria Aglianico and Whistling Eagle Sangiovese. Thick as Thieves is reflective of the ‘new’ style of Australian Chardonnay…..minimal malo, restrained use of oak. Kerri Thompson’s single vineyard Rieslings also deserve a mention. It is classy stuff, with plenty of tension. I don’t drink much rose, but the Cantina Zaccangnini is a lovely, food friendly rose with a very Italian personality. Australian roses are improving but aren’t quite there yet. The Disznoko was bought direct from the estate, and was enjoyed at about the right time. The Beaucastel has been a real mixed bag; some great bottles and others that are oxidised and best poured down the drain. I don’t know whether it’s down to the estate’s practise of thermo-vinification, but its expensive drain cleaner! In the absence of a car, my hybrid bike has been indispensable in this country which is so reliant on the automobile….a great way to get around and try and stay half fit!
TOM: Great to get this update reflecting the true scene on the ground in Australia from Phil. By coincidence I will be publishing an article on Australia’s ‘new’ Chardonnays on wine-pages tomorrow. Thought it would have been hard to argue a decade ago, “Big and over-oaked,” really is such an untrue stereotype nowadays.

Tim Jackson, UK

Red: Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco Riserva Montefico 1999
White: AFrancois Villard, Condrieu DePoncins 2010
Budget red: Jadot Chateau des Jacques Clos de Rochegres Moulin-a-Vent 2009
Budget red: St Hallett (Australia) Faith Shiraz 2010
Budget white: Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon 2010
Sweet: Chateau Laville Sauternes 2001
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000
Fortified: D’Oliveira Madeira Bastardo 1927
Dud: Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia 1991
Thing: Building my new bike, “the cleaner”, all in black: Time RXRS integrated frame, Fulcrum zeros, Dura Ace Di2 – 6.8kg & sweet as… Oh, and my new limited edition H.R.Giger designed Ibanez RG1 guitar!
Comment: 2010 is a great Condrieu vintage, and Villard’s were bang on – especially the DePoncins – my wine of the year. The Ch Laville was a surprise: a minor estate, but the greatness of the vintage showed through. It was was the ‘prize’ given to all finishers of the Marathon du Medoc: not exactly what you want after 26.2 miles, 20+ red Bordeaux, in 34 Celcius, dressed as King Arthur…but this was really great at Christmas. The trickiest selection though was Fortified, as it’s been yet another year of great Sherry, including Rey Fernando de Castilla’s Antique range – consistently good. Great to see such wines readily available in UK these days. But the ’27 Bastardo was (and is) just remarkable, and a worthy winner. As for Vina Bosconia? Meh….
TOM: Definitely the year not only of Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne 2000, but if fancy bikes! Should we be worried about this combination of fine wine and pedalling? 🙂

Edward Bolland, UK

Red: Rene Rostaing, Côte Rôtie La Landonne 1991
Red: Penfold’s (Australia) Grange 1995
White: AArnaud Ente, Puligny-Montrachet Les Referts 1er Cru 2009
Budget red: Guigal, Côtes du Rhône 2009
Budget red: St Hallett (Australia) Faith Shiraz 2010
Budget white: Dönhoff Dry Riesling 2010
Rosé: Bollinger GA Rosé 2002
Sweet: Mullineux Straw Wine 2009
Sparkling: Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 1996
Dud: Not making many offlines
Thing: The summer of sport, particularly London 2012 and TdF
Comment: A very eventful year with many highs and more than enough lows. I have really enjoyed sampling some fully mature wines from the Rhône, a region that I had not had much experience of, it is no coincidence that both my red choices were from this region. Away from wine I have started cycling and swimming in 2012, culminating in competing in my first triathlon in September. I am hoping that my new bike will propel me to greater speeds in 2013, though that may be wishful thinking on my part.
TOM: Two of the many nice things about receiving all these WotY entries are 1) getting a glimpse of the relationaship wine-pages visitors have had with wine over the previous 12 months – in Edward’s case his ‘discovery’ of the Rhône – and 2) rather selfishly, getting tips for myself! I have the 1996 La Grande Dame in my cellar and was wondering how it was drinking 🙂

Frankie Cook, Ireland & UK

Red: Penfold’s (Australia) Grange 1995
White: Ata Rangi (NZ) Martinborough Craighall Chardonnay 2004
Budget red: St Hallett (Australia) Faith Shiraz 2010
Budget white: Domaine Bruno Sorg (France) Alsace Pinot Blanc 2010
Rosé: Réné Geoffroy (France) Rosé de Saignée NV
Sweet: Trimbach (France) Alsace Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive 2001
Sparkling: Varnier-Fanniere (France) Grand Cru Grand Vintage 2005
Fortified: Yalumba (Australia) Museum Release Muscat NV
Dud: Dog Point (NZ) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009
Thing: McGuigan City Vineyard, Dublin
Comment: A bit of a bias towards Alsace and Champagne which I visited in May, but representative of the wines I’ve been drinking this year. In my opinion, grower Champagnes can have much more character than Grandes Marques, particularly for the price. Varnier-Fanniere was a real find and Denis Varnier a sincere and passionate ambassador for RMs. Alsace has an amazing variety of wine styles on offer against the backdrop of stunning scenery. Bruno Sorg’s Pinot Blanc is amazingly full of flavour for €5. I’m a big fan of Dog Point’s wines but the 2009 SB was already fading when I had it.
TOM: Great list Frankie, New World and Old. I agree on Alsace both for wines and scenery – high time I got back there. I was disappointed not to make it over to the opening of the ‘City Vineyard’ in Dublin as I had been invited, but was going on holiday to Canada: on the same day.

Jonathan Points, UK

Red: Jasmin Cote Rotie 1978
White: DRC le Montrachet 1999
Budget red: Produtorri dell Barbaresco 1971
Budget white: Roulot Bourgogne Blanc 2010
Rosé: Cédric Bouchard Creux d’Enfer 2006
Sweet: Maximin Grunhaus Abtsberg TBA 1983
Sparkling: Pol Roger 1959 magnum
Fortified: Quinta do Sorado Madeira Malmsey 1830
Thing: My new Zag Thor skis on the Grands Montets on a deep powder day
Comment: I can’t believe my good fortune in drinking so well in 2012. But nothing compensates for the loss of a dear friend, Richard Katz, whose company so many enjoyed so much.
TOM: Indeed you drank incredibly well Jonathan. I’ve only ever tasted two vintages of DRC’s Montrachet, and both rank amongst by best ever white wine experiences…but the price! Is that 1830 Madeira our oldest wine this year? It must be… selection below added 15/01/2013

Oliver North, UK

Red: Habemus Vinis (Spain) Mallorca 2011
White: El Bandito Cortez (South Africa) Swartland 2009
Budget red: Yvon Metras Beaujolais (France) Beaujolais 2010
Budget white: Sigalas Kavaliero (Greece) Santorini 2009
Rosé: Clos de Tue Boeuf (France) Loire 2010
Sweet: Chateau de Monbazillac (France) Bordeaux 1988
Sparkling: Breton Vouvray Moustillant (France) Loire 2010
Fortified: Dow’s (Portugal) Douro 1960
Dud: Two bad bottles of Burgundy out of four on Christmas day
Thing: Burnt Enz in Hackney
Comment: All are wines I have drunk rather than ‘tasted’. So whilst none are the best wines I have had this year in their categories, they are without doubt my favourites (the two reds in particular). Burnt Enz was utterly, utterly wonderful whilst it lasted.
TOM: Fascinating to see a Mallorcan wine top Oliver’s list: I really enjoyed the wines of 4 Kilos from Mallorca in 2012 myself and one could have been a contender for my runners-up spot.

Darren Brogden, UK

Red: Château Cos d’Estournel 1985
White: Robert Weil Kiedricher Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken Erstes Gewächs 2010
Budget red: Chateau Musar Hochar Père & Fils 2005
Budget white: Hermanuspietersfontein Sauvignon Blanc No5
Rosé: Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rosé 2011
Sweet: Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria Ben Ryé 2010
Sparkling: Pol Roger Champagne Selection Brut 2000
Fortified: Dow Vintage Port 1972
Dud: Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 1996
Thing: Superb lunch with Chris Mullineux and KP at The Ledbury
Comment: Thoroughly enjoyed my WSET Diploma prize working with UKVA and learning a great deal about English wine but relieved not to be spending every spare minute studying. Disappointed not to get to South Africa this year but should be putting that right very soon.
TOM: I am travelling to the Cape myself this year for my fourth tour there, and it is a magical place: not just scenery, people and wine, but for the restless change in the wine industry with always new regions and producers to discover.

Douglas Murray, UK

Red: Torbreck (Australia) Les Amis 2006
White: Jean- Marc Brocard (France) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2010
Budget red: Michel Gassier (France) Cercius Cotes du Rhone 2010
Budget white: St. Clair (New Zealand) Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Sweet: Dr. Loosen (Germany) Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling TBA 2009
Sparkling: Enrico Gatti (Italy) Franciacorta Brut
Fortified: Porto Messias(Portugal) Colheita 1966
Thing: Reaching 80 and still going
Comment: The Torbreck was in a tasting of Grenache from around the world and it was head and shoulders above the rest. Another red which I had hidden away and had forgotten about was Herdade Do Esporao (Portugal) Touriga National 2001 and I only wish I had more of it. The TBA was absolutely fantastic but unfortunately it’s out of reach of my pocket. Another quite different sweet wine was the Chimo (Canada) Vidal Icewine 2010 which was excellent. The Franciacorta is not in the same class as top level champagne but it is a delightful wine and very good value.
TOM: Congratulations on drinking so well and enthusiastically at 80 Douglas. More than just “still going” I think 🙂 Nice choices and nice to see another Colheita Port making the grade.

David Bueker, USA

Red: 1959 Calon Segur
White: 1990 J. J. Christoffel Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese
Budget red: 2010 Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Syrah
Budget white: 2008 Domaine William Fevre Chablis
Rosé: 2011 Arnot-Roberts Rose of Touriga Nacional
Sweet: 2011 Jakob Schneider Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling BA
Sparkling: 1995 Bollinger R.D.
Fortified: 1963 Sandeman Port
Dud: 2001 Chateau Pavie
Thing: The Canadian Rockies (for the 10th time)
Comment: Probably would make the Arnot-Roberts my wine of the year. Best rose I have ever tasted. The Pavie was drinkable but a huge letdown for thick, jammy, woody, simple flavors. I could do just as well for 1/10th the price or less.
TOM: Lovely range of aged and newer vintages here and I have to say I totally agree with your view on the Rockies: I had my first holiday there in 2012 and the scenery was just stupendous. A must for me to do again some time too.

Donald Reid, UK

Red: C.V.N.E (Spain) Gran Reserva Vina Real 1973
White: Château de Beaucastel Blanc (France) Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 2003
Budget red: G érard Bertrand (France) Grand Terroir Montpeyroux 2009
Budget white: Cuvee Pecheur (France) Vin de Pays du Comte Tolosan 2011
Rosé: Château de Sours (France) 2010
Sweet: Château Rieussec (France) Sauternes 1996
Sparkling: Paul Bara (France) Grand Cru 2002
Fortified: Equipo Navazos (Spain) Pedro Ximenex La Bota #11 NV
Dud: Pete! And, as many corked wines in one year as the previous 5 pitched together
Thing: A great lunch with great company. The one thing consistent with almost all of my choices
TOM: Many thanks Don, and great to see another wine from the sometimes overlooked South West of France being included (Comte Tolosan) where there are so many indigenous grapes and interesting local styles being made. As for your ‘dud’, the only question is who is Pete and what has he done to you? 🙂

Birger Vejrum, Denmark

Red: Crissante Alessandria ( Italy ) Barolo “La Punta” 2008
White: Filippo Gallino ( Italy ) Roero Arneis “4 luglio” 2011
Budget red: Battaglino ( Italy ) Roero 2010
Budget white: Lo Triolet ( Italy ) Pinot Gris 2011
Sweet: Les Granges ( Italy ) Nus Malvoisie Fletri 2010
Dud: Gaja ( Italy ) Barbaresco 1964
Thing: Visiting Aosta.
TOM: No surprise that Birger (a regular on the UK Wine Forum) has gone for an all-Italian list, indeed an almost all-Piemonte list. Interestingly, that’s the second wine from Gaja that’s been given the ‘Dud’ title this year – as well as a couple of “best red” titles too! selection below added 11/01/2013

Anders Lind, Sweden

Red: Jamet Cote Rotie 1999
White: Bonneau du Martray Corton Charlemange 2002
Budget red: Shelter Spätburgunder Baden 2010
Budget white: Feuillat-Juillot Montagny Les Crets 2010
Rosé: Camille Savès Rosé
Sweet: Ch. Coutet 2007, Barsac
Sparkling: Gimonnet Collection 1996 (magnum)
Fortified: Krohns Colheita 1991
Dud: Over-extracted young reds from Bordeaux and the southern Rhone
Thing: Inspiration from young professionals at my work.
Comment: Have drunk a lot of high rank mature Médocs during the year (Gruaud -82 and such stuff) but for some reason they don’t move me the same way anymore. The Cote Rotie with barbecue in the summer was more emotional. Even though red Burgundy is my major focus now, none made it here this year (Heresztyn Bourgogne Rouge 2009 is a marvellous wine, but don’t tell anyone). The Montagny is lika a Maconnais freshened up with a dollop of chablis – if that sounds awkward, I guess you have to find out for yourself… Aged Colheita-ports are better than Vintage to my taste, with the added advantage of the producer making the cellaring, not me.
TOM: A nice list and a nice addition of a Colheita Port: I’ve enjoyed a little string of these so much myself recently, from Niepoort, Noval and Porto Pocas amongst others (Colheitas are Ports from a single vintage, but unlike Vintage Ports which are bottled after a short period in barrels, they are aged for a decade or more in wood and ready to drink on bottling).

Matthieu Guinard, Finland

Red: La Grange des Pères (France) 2005
White: François Cotat (France) La Grande Côte 1997
Budget red: Nekowitsch (Austria) Zweiglet 2011
Budget white: Karl Erbes (Germany) Erdener Treppchen Spätlese 1987
Rosé: François Cotat (France) Sancerre Rosé 2010
Sweet: Ernst Triebaumer (Austria) Ruster Ausbruch 1998
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) La Grande Année Rosé 2004
Fortified: Fonseca (Portugal) Vintage 2007
Dud: Clos Mogador (Spain) 1989
Thing: Wine tasting trip to Mittlemosel and visit of JJ Prüm, Willi Schaefer, Sofia Thanisch…
Comment: 2012 was another great wine tasting vintage for me, though it might have been more challenging for the wine (especially in France but we will see that in Spring). The highlight of the year have been two trips, to Mosel (again) and to Austria. Mosel becomes slowly one of my favourite region and it will not get better as I managed to get wines from Willi Schaefer as well as JJ Prüm. However, it is the trip to Austria that will be commenting on. It has been almost 4 years since I last visited the vineyard (actually I have been to tasting events but that is not the same). I was very eager to see how things had developed. We visited many a wine estate : Rudi Pichler, Proidl, Markowitsch, Kollwentz, Umathum… I was stunned by the level reached by the wines. The red especially are stratospheric… just great wines. The wines were so perfect that I could not drink anything else when I came back : I was just disappointed. They manage to get everything : the fruit, the pleasure and the structure, even in young wines. The top of the week has probably been the Blaufränkisch Mariental 2009 by Triebaumer, definitely too young but a wine that I hesitated to pick as my wine of the year… And I will end by a comment on my dud. It is actually a visit to a restaurant in Stockholm. It was extremely good as for food but very very long and the wines… first was an oxidised Fevre Grand Cru Vaudésir 1999 and then a fantastic Clos Mogador 1989 that has been decanted and left at room temperature for over 3 hours. The wine was great indeed but it was so warm that I could only guess how great it was… temperature management is really something sommelier could pay a bit more attention to! Happy new year to the wine-pages team and to you Tom!
TOM: And a very happy new year to you Matthieu. I had the 2004 pink from Bollinger just before Christmas and it was fantastic, and nice to see an Austrian wine make the list: by coincidence I am taking a bottle of 1999 Smaragd from Pichler to dinner tonight and am a huge fan of certain producers, though sadly I’ve not yet made it to the Austrian vineyards.

David McDowall, UK

Red: Chateau Montrose (France) 1989
White: Bonneau du Martray (France) Corton Charlemagne 2006
Budget red: Graci (Italy) Etna Rosso 2010
Budget white: J J Prum (Germany) Riesling Kabinett 2009
Rosé: Billecart Salmon (France) NV
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (France) 2001
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) 1996
Fortified: Taylor’s (Portugal) 1970
Dud: None – clearly not opening enough bottles!
Thing: Andy Murray’s 2012 – It’s a Scottish thing!!
Comment: Another shockingly bad business year but away from work a year of many memorable wines enjoyed with great friends over marvellous food.
TOM: Yes, I think we’re allowed to say Andy Murray is a ‘Scottish thing’ David :-). Sorry to hear business has been tough, but it looks like you have managed many great bottles to help ease the pain!

Ben Coffman, UK

Red: Mazzei Chianti Classico Castello di Fonterutoli 2001
White: JN Gagnard Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Chenevottes 1995
Budget red: Domaine Borie de Maurel Minervois-La Livinière La Féline 2006
Budget white: Marqués de Riscal Verdejo Rueda 2011
Fortified: Tesco Finest Amontillado Sherry (Barbadillo) NV
Thing: Moving to my own place – lovely!
Comment: The Chianti was a revelation and even pipped a grand 2000 Dominique Laurent Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St. Jacques. A wine with such energy and balance and vastly better than many Brunellos. The Gagnard was everything it should be: lovely, refined and poised. The Borie de Maurel crept in under £10 thanks to a BBR sale and displayed a sense of place and lightness of great credit. The Rueda has been my girlfriend’s House white for a number of years and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it racy and very quaffable anyway, but it lasts for 3-4 days open in the fridge, gaining honeyed notes and becoing a different but equally enjoyable wine. The sherry always blows people away. And it’s amazing value. Thing? Moving to my own place at last, after a tricky few years, has been great.
TOM: Another huge fan of the wines of Fonterutoli here Ben, and indeed the reds of Minervois-La Livinière – creating this special ‘Cru’ within Minervois has been well worthwhile, as I find almost everything I taste from there to be of genuinely superior quality.

John Diver, UK

Red: Two Hands Bellas Garden 2005
White: Trimbach Cuvee Emile 2002
Budget red: Sainsburys Priorat 2007
Budget white: Palatium Pinot Gris 2011
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2000
Fortified: Grahams Six Grapes
Thing: Dullus’s poetry found at
Comment: Counted the wines in my ramshackle garage this year and came to over 1300, including Bin 707’s and Bin 389’s from the 80’s and 90’s…and they’re now very collectible. I sent a poem in last year and feel I must keep up the literary end..

The A9’s closed at the Slocht
A big Tesco lorry’s caught fire
The way the wind’s blowin the smoke’ll be goin’
Tae the Lecht or fifty feet higher

Some walkers on Ptarmigan’s heights
Who’d been silently doing a pee
Rushed down as a band with penis in hand
And dowsed the great fire with their wee.

TOM: I’m really not sure based on this evidence that I should be encouraging your poetic leanings John, but many thanks for the effort 🙂 Agreed (obviously, as I made the same choice) on the Comtes de Champagne 2000.

Anthony Taylor, UK

Red: Heitz Cellars Bella Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 1977, California
White: J-F Coche-Dury Meursault 1993, Burgundy, France
Budget red: Esprit de Gigognan 2009, Cotes Du Rhone, France
Budget white: Louis Michel Chablis 1er Cru Montee de la Tonnerre 1990, Chablis
Sweet: Chateau Coutet 1er Cru classe Barsac 2001, France
Sparkling: Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Vintage 1982, Champagne, France
Fortified: Fonseca Vintage Port 1992, Portugal, France
Dud: Marchesi di Gresy Martinenga Camp Gros Barbaresco 1998, Piedmont
Thing: The joy of running
Comment: The year of white burgundy for me, and the first year an Aussie has failed to make my list, largely due to me drinking little red this year. The Heitz was a wonderful surprise, picked on a whim from the Grosvenor’s list in Chester after consulting with Garry the sommelier. Simply a delight and with years of life left in it. It must have been a beast when young as age hadn’t wearied it a bit. The Coche I can still taste, pipping a slew of other great white burgundy to the title, all thanks to Jordi’s generosity at the burgundy and champagne Wimps. The Chablis cost £4 from Strakers, both bottles were fab, but I should really have picked Henri Prudhon’s Bourgogne 2010 as I’ve drunk maybe 15 bottles this year with complete pleasure. The Esprit was a Costco offering which I waxed at length about at the time. The Fonseca is my favourite young port, the Joseph Perrier a lovely surprise, pipping Krug 85 for the top. Sadly the Barbaresco was charmless, and bordering on horrid, and with a £55 tag to it several years ago, simply a disgrace. No idea what to do with my final bottle.
TOM: I can still taste a memorable meal – and wines served by Garry at the Chester Grosvenor on my only visit 5 or 6 years ago. I must get back there soon. And good to see another pristine 1990s white Burgundy make the grade. selection below added 09/01/2013

Ray Abercromby, UK

Red: Echezeaux (France) DRC, 2000
White: Chevalier Montrachet (France), Domaine Leflaive 2002
Budget red: Cotes du Rhone (France), Esprit de Gigognan 2009
Budget white: Tupungato (Argentina) Chardonnay 2008
Rosé: Vilmart (France) Champagne Grand Cellier Rubis 2004
Sweet: Pazjos (Hungary) Esszencia 1993
Sparkling: Vilmart (France) Champagne Cuvée Creation 1998
Fortified: Grahams (Portugal) Vintage Port 1977
Dud: Chateau Palmer (France), Margaux 1989
Thing: Bike: 2011 Felt AR4 (aero, Ultegra, sexy)
Red: A good but not stellar year for drinking. The Echezeaux just pipped both 1999 Grange and 2001 Ruchottes Chambertin, Rousseau for best red, and the Leflaive was the finest white I have ever had, drunk at my wedding. I love the 09 Esprit, a bargain at £6. Vilmarts feature twice – one (the rosé) was on my wedding (again) while the other was at Alinea, Chicago – the best dining experience of my life. The Palmer was flawed – a touch opaque, and a bit mucky, easily bettered by a 1990 some months later, while my bike is a joy to look at and (more importantly) to ride. Clearly my wedding was the best thing to happen to me, but it’s gone, so the bike gets the nomination.
TOM: I own very few wines by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, but I am delighted to say Ray’s red of the year is one of them so another fantastic bottle to anticipate. I’m sure it would be a misinterpretation to conclude that you prefer your bike to your new wife Ray, even though it is “aero, Ultegra, sexy,” (whatever that means :-))

Ole Udsen, Denmark

Red: Gianfranco Fino (Italy) Primitivo di Manduria Es 2010
White: Bonneau du Martray (France) Corton-Charlemagne 2009
Budget red: De Luca (Italy) Cirò Rosso Nettare di Abramo 2009
Budget white: Feudi di San Marzano (Italy) Puglia Verdeca Sud 2010
Rosé: La Battagliola (Italy) Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Pas Rosé 2011
Sweet: Dr. Loosen (Germany) Mosel Riesling Erdener Prälat Auslese 1995
Sparkling: R&L Legras (France) Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature Saint-Vincent (this is a zero dosage 1996, but not stated; very rare and not for general sale)
Fortified: Dow’s (Portugal) Vintage Port 1963
Dud: Dow’s (Portugal) Vintage Port 1983
Thing: Finally got started on my blog,
Red: Great to make your acquaintance in Puglia, Tom. Wonderful wine year for me, full of great wine and lovely wine people. My deepest area of wine expertise, Southern Italy, is going from strength to strength, with no slowing down in sight. So much good wine is already released, and the future will no doubt bring even greater heights. There was no possibility to differentiate between sweet and dry fortifieds, so had to go for the sole option of the great ’63 Dow’s, but would otherwise have mentioned any number of the fantastic Sherries from Equipo Navazos.
TOM: Indeed – I judged the wines of Puglia and the Italian South with Ole this year; a fantastic experience to be so immersed in these native grape varieties for a week, and great to see a couple of them feature in the list too.

Paul Jacobson, New Zealand

Red: Grasshooper Rock Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010
Red: Champion wine at Air NZ Wine Competition 2012
TOM: now Paul, what makes me suspect you have a connection to this wine? 🙂 I really enjoyed the 2008 and 2009 Grasshopper Rock Pinots when I visited in 2011, so look forward to trying this.

Dorit, USA

Red: Ch. Vignot (France) St. Emilion Gr. Cru 1988
White: Jean-Francois Ganevat (France) Les Chalasses VV 2009
Budget red: Conceito (Portugal) Bastardo 2010
Budget white: Frantz Saumon (France) Sauvignon de Touraine 2011
Rosé: Jose Maria da Fonseca (Portugal) DSF Moscatel Roxo 2011
Sweet: Quinta do Popa (Portugal) Popa Vinho Doce 2010
Sparkling: Andre Clouet (France) Cuvee 1911 Blanc de Noirs N/V
Fortified: Krohn (Portugal) Porto Colheita 1978
Dud: Jouard (France) Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru 2008
Thing: Portuguese Sparkling Reds…Vinhao, Baga, etc
TOM: great list that very much appeals to me given my own semi-specialism in the wines of Portugal. Portuguese fizz is still a rarity on these shores, but the sparking reds I’ve tasted have indeed been of really good quality and such interesting wines.

Derek Salmon, Australia

Red: Torbreck (Australia) The Run Rig 2009
White: Peter Lehmann (Australia) Wigan Eden Valley Riesling 2007
Budget red: D’arenberg (Australia) D’arrys Original shiraz grenache 2009
Budget white: Orlando Wines (Australia) St helga riesling 2011
Sweet: Torbreck (Australia) The Bothie 2011
Sparkling: Rymill (Australia) Bees Knees 2010
Fortified: Seppeltsfield (Australia) Para Tawny 1992
Dud: Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1994
Thing: Opening new bistro, buying my first house, expecting my 2nd child its been a busy year.
Red: A busy but great year, some amazing wines and people this year.
Learning about terrior thanks to D’arenberg and there single vineyard projects geting me thinking more about my side of the dining experience (food). Look out for 2009 grenache from Mclaren Vale they are superb. Also looking forward to possible work at winery during Vintage.
TOM: Good to get another all-Australian entry and perspective on things, and with a lot of well-established classic wineries making Derek’s list too. And good luck with the new bistro.

Mark Carrington, UK

Red: PhilipTogni Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
White: Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Kabinett 2005
Budget red: Woodlands ‘Margaret’ Reserve Cab Blend 2007
Budget white: Madfish (Margaret River) Sauv/ Sem 2010
Rosé: Bernard Baudry Chinon 2010
Sweet: Suduiraut 1962
Fortified: Warre’s ’85
Dud: Diemersfontein ‘Coffee’ Pinotage 2011
Thing: On the Col du Soulor, as Bradley Wiggins & Co rode by.
Red: Three times I’ve tasted Togni’s CS & on every occasion the wines have been nigh on perfect, sheer class & epitome of understatment, regardless of vintage. No outstanding dry whites during 2012. The Egon Müller was drunk at Waldhotel Sonnora (a Wine-Pages Forum recommendation) as part of my wife’s birthday celebrations. The wine matched the seamless venue & stunning meal. The Woodlands was another Forum recommendation – half price but worth more than double. Currently needs a vigorous decant. Narrowly beat Casa de Mouraz Dão, 2009. Madfish -no Cullen but- at £2.85 unbeatable value. Regretfully, not many rosés consumed due to the weather – a household staple. Some close relatives all had the same birth year. Various bottles opened during the year including d’Yquem ’62 but the Suduiraut was simply superb, despite the suspect colour. Generously shared by a Forumite. Warre’s ’85 tasted twice towards year end. Top notch: it now trumps the ’83. The Pinotage tasted, as labelled, of coffee. Truly horrid.
TOM: Delighted to say I was one of the people who recommended the Sonora hotel on wine-pages forum, so delighted it is still as good as I remember from my visit three or four years ago. I do tend to agree about the craze for ‘Coffee’ wines in South Africa which, unless I’m mistaken, didn’t really take off in this country.

Daron Fincham, UK

Red: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) 1982
White: Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese (Germany) 1992
Budget red: Bushland (Australia) Shiraz 2010
Budget white: Villa Maria (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Sweet: Chateau Coutet (France) 1990
Sparkling: Pongracz (South Africa) Brut NV
Fortified: Quinta do Bomfim (Portugal) 2001
Dud: Gavi
Thing: Connemara
Red: Our Pearl Year. Had the Moose for anniversary dinner – the last of six obtained for me by wine-pages forumite David R. – what a guy ! Had the riesling with him in Leeds – still got some of those Majestic special parcels left. The Aldi shiraz is OK for a fiver and really any NZ SB on offer qualifies as budget in our house. The Cutey was drop dead gorgeous – all unctious and marmaladey. Yum! The Pong was a bargain at £9 but by the end of this years’ festivities I was fed up of it. Oh well. Bomfunk from any year will always score for me but Gavi? What’s that all about? Finally, if you want a good “hooleyday” go to Clifden for the craic.
TOM: Sage advice on all sorts of subjects from Daron 🙂 It’s great when you can co-opt a great wine year as ‘your’ year by judiciously choosing a life partner: those of us cursed with rubbish birth years need to, and I am very happy to have 1985 to celebrate each year 🙂

Mike Bartlett, UK

Red: Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac 1995
White: Puligny-Montrachet Les Enseignères, Domaine Henri Prudhon, 2010
Budget red: La Salvaje de Moncayo Garnacha (Spain) 2010
Budget white: Valdesil Montenovo Godello, Valdeorras, 2011
Rosé: Circumstance Cape Coral Mourvèdre Rosé, 2010 (Waterkloof)
Sweet: No memorable ones this year
Sparkling: Camel Valley NV
Fortified: Pastrana Manzanilla Pasada (Spain)
Dud: Horribly corked Giacosa Barolo that I’d been saving for ages!
Thing: The London Olympics
Red: I really rediscovered Spain this year, as my young twins are an endless drain on my wallet, meaning that I have to concentrate on the “value” aspect of a wine more these days… and Spain seems very well placed to deliver fantastic value for both white and red wines. That said for pure class, France still reigns I reckon.
TOM: ouch on the corked wine: so disappointing when it’s a special bottle that’s been keenly anticipated for a long time. I tend to agree on Spain too: all those new regions and new grapes to discover, and in the £7 – £12 range some fantastic value for seriously good wines. selection below added 08/01/2013

Jonathan Beagle, UK, Hong Kong, Japan

Red: 1964 Barbaresco, Angelo Gaja (Piemonte, Italy)
White: 2006 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Les Pucelles”; Domaine Leflaive (Burgundy, France)
Budget red: 2010 Les Amis Imaginaires, Domaine Petit Aout (Mollard-Cabernet Sauvignon- Les Alpes, France)
Budget white: 2011 Vini del Sole, Inzolia (Sicilia, Italy).
Rosé: 2011 Langhe Rosae; Crissante Allesandria (Piemonte, Italy)
Sweet: 1989 Chateau d’Yquem, 1er Grand Cru Classe (Sauternes, Bordeaux, France)
Sparkling: 1990 Cristal, Champagne Louis Roederer (Champagne, France), en Magnum
Fortified: 2007 Taylor’s LBV (Port, Douro, Portugal)
Thing: Learning about various natural wines and seeing both their merits and the bad side of them.
Red: This year hasn’t seen perhaps the same levels of extravagance that previous years have, and perhaps this is due to various emotional occurrences more than anything else. However, I have tried many a wine in great shape, although Port has been lacking this year (that may change in the coming days), and other than the great bottle of the year, mature Kreydenweiss, and plenty of drinking Bordeaux has shown its class. Burgundy has been a touch lacking but so have other regions. A vertical of Chave Hermitage was magical and should get a mention with many an excellent wine. It has been a good vinious year with plenty of highs, but perhaps not as often or as frequently as before.
TOM: Sorry to hear the year has been a tough one on some levels Jonathan, but still some fine drinking in there. I am humming and hawing between taking the ’89 or ’90 Yquem to a special dinner in a week or so, so your vote for the former has helped me make my mind up.

Arnaud Alborghetti, France

Red: Sean Thackrey (USA) Pleiades XVI
White: Raveneau (France) Chablis 1er cru Montée de Tonnerre 2006
Budget red: Chasselay (France) Beaujolais la Platière 2011
Budget white: Lissner (France) Alsace Riesling Rothstein 2010
Rosé: Domaine de l’Olivette (France) Bandol Cuvée Spéciale 20
Sweet: Domaine Vignau (France) Jurancon VT 2009
Sparkling: Dehours (France) Champagne Trio S
Fortified: Taylor’s (Portugal) Vintage Port 1955
Dud: The vast majority of “sulfites free/natural wines”
Thing: L’Hostellerie des Clos, Chablis
Red: Personally a year to forget when it comes to amazing wines but a great vintage for dicoveries, especially young estates new to me: Domaine de la Douaix (Burgundy), Chasselay (Beaujolais), Haut Lignier (Languedoc), Buronfosse (Jura), Domaines des Pothiers (Loire)… 2013 Resolutions: Spending less in wines and drinking less french wines (I guess I will have to move abroad!)
TOM: Well, even though your list is mostly French Arnaud, I think it is still both interesting and has plenty of variety. This is the first ‘dud’ vote for the controversial ‘natural wine’ category so far, but will it be the last?….

Peter Wood, UK

Red: Armand Rousseau (France) Clos de la Roche 2001
White: Ostertag (France) A360P 2002
Budget red: Cave Saint-Verny (France) Puy de Dome Pinot Noir 2010
Budget white: Adega de Moncao (Portugal) Vinho Verde 2011
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem (France) 1968
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 1990
Fortified: Taylors (Portugal) Scion
Dud: Most cheap wines I’ve tried from Australia – there doesn\’t appear to be that much
Thing: My new wine shop & my wife’s publishing deal
Red: It has been a pretty lean year for outstanding wines for me, but when I have tried some higher end wines they have been fantastic! The Clos de la Roche was outstanding – lovely vibrant fruit and then some hints of crisper red fruit. Wow! Similarly the Ostertag blew me away and the Yquem was the first older vintage I have ever tried and, although it wasn’t from a good year, nor was it the best sweet wine I’ve tried in 2012, it was the most memorable. The wine highlight was trying the Taylors Scion port – for me (a port buff) it was the oldest wine I’ve ever tried and was delicious. As for other things, it has been a year of firsts. We bought our first house, we are expecting our first child in February, my wife signed her first publishing deal (book out in September) and I set up my own wine shop as well. 2013 is going to be exceptionally busy!
TOM: great list Peter and congratulations on various fronts, especially the new wine shop (in St Andrews, Scotland). Delighted to see one of the new wave of serious Vinho Verdes in there too.

Simon Grant, UK

Red: 1964 CVNE Vina Real Reserva Especial
White: 2000 William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru le Clos
Budget red: Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 1994
Budget white: Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco Reserva 1992
Sweet: 2002 Kunstler Hochenheimer Hölle Riesling Eiswein
Sparkling: 1996 Salon
Fortified: Equipo Navazos La Bota de Amontillado 31
Dud: Premature oxidation and TCA – both have reared their ugly heads more obviously for me this year.
Thing: Wine-wise, an ipad – owned for four months now and making browsing the wine-pages forum and getting tasting notes out of cellartracker far easier than previously on my phone. Red: I’ve been fortunate enough to try the 64 several times this year, maninly from half bottle, but the ‘winning’ wine was a full bottle shared with friends coincidently at the same dinner as the Salon. The 64 was run close by a 73 CVNE Vina Real GR and an 85 Leoville Las Cases. The Salon had a fraction more energy than a 90 Dom Ruinart that would have finished on top fizz spot in most other years. I’m continuing to enjoy the EN sherries, with the 24 Amontillado and the 30 Manzanilla Pasada only just missing out. Whilst probably not strictly ‘budget’, I think the Tondonia reservas represent fantastic value for near-mature wines released with fifteen to twenty years of age on them, and in the budget white category, the 02 Gravonia could easily have replaced the 92 Tondonia. I’ve been very fortuante in my drinking again this year, mainly the result of bottles influenced by, or shared with, friends met through Wine-Pages – keep up the good work in 2013 Tom!
TOM: I’ll certainly try to keep up the good work Simon. Another one of those lists that reminds me of estates I’ve loved in the past but haven’t bought for some time, like Tondonia indeed and Kunstler from the Rheingau too. So much wine, so little time!

Simon McCulloch, UK

Red: Château Léoville-Barton (France) St-Julien 1995
White: Domaine Trimbach (France) Clos St Hune 2004
Budget red: Chateau Grand-Corbin (France) St-Émilion 1999
Budget white: Rolly Gassmann (France) Riesling 2007
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 2001
Sparkling: Gosset (France) Celebris Brut Champagne 1998
Red: Whoops – despite efforts to widen the geographical spread of my drinking, I appear to have selected a rather Gallic short list here. Have been enjoying wine from Piedmont, Sicily and Germany more this year though and hoping to do better next year! Happy New Year to you Tom and to the Wine-Pages community.
TOM: Happy New Year to you too Simon. I don’t think anyone needs apologise for choosing an all French list. As with Arnaud’s list above, few people would deny that it is perfectly possible to put together a list of all French wines showing huge quality and covering every conceivable style.

Mike Mitchell, UK

Red: 1964 Franco Fiorina Barolo
White: 1996 Francois et Antoine Jobard Meursault Les Genevrières
Budget red: 2008 Chateau Ollieux Romanis Corbières Cuvée Prestige
Budget white: 2008 Coto de Gomariz Ribeiro Maria Alvarez Serrano
Sweet: 1990 Chateau Climens
Sparkling: 2000 Pol Roger Champagne Brut
Fortified: 1985 Graham Porto Vintage
Dud: 2008 Mac Forbes Pinot Noir Coldstream
Thing: First Michelin 3 star meal (L’Arnsbourg Baerenthal)
Red: Only notes from my own bottles. The red was a real treat, just a great bottle, everything a great barolo can be. Best £5 I ever spent (slight misjudgement by my friend I think). Close runner up was a Jaboulet Thalabert C-H 1990. My white reminded me why cellaring good white burg pays such great rewards if it goes well.The budget white could easily have been Doisy-Daëne Sec but the Spanish one was just such a great surprise. The dud was because I expected so much more from this wine (or maybe it was just going through a bad phase). I find it difficult to express how wondrous the meal was, just on a different plane of existence.
TOM: £5? Wow – the cheapest ever ‘Red of the Year’ winner surely, though sounds like you really lucked out with a punt on an old bottle. It doesn’t always happen, but I rarely resist the chance to buy old bottles at knock down prices just in the hope that they surprise as this one obviously did 🙂

Jonathan Bubb, UK

Red: Chave (France) Hermitage 1991
White: Zind Humbrecht (France) Riesling Clos Windsbuhl 1996
Budget red: Jamet (France) Cotes du Rhone 2007
Budget white: Michel Bregeon (France) Muscadet Gorgeois 2000
Rosé: Musar (Lebanon) 2004
Sweet: Baumard (France) Quarts de Chaume 1995
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Brut Chardonnay 1995
Fortified: Grahams (Portugal) 1991
Dud: The weather
Thing: My family
Red: A wonderful year, shared with a great, and unbelievably sympathetic, family and wonderful friends. The wines have been stellar – with so many standouts – and I could list 3 or 4 against each category with equal merit. The Chave was a spectacular, energetic and nuanced wine – and the standout at the Chave wine-pages’ offline at St John. The ZH Windsbuhl has consistently been a complex, refined and palate-staining Riesling and this was sadly my last bottle. It remains the greatest dry riesling that I have ever drunk (ahead of supposedly more illustrious bottles). At the risk of preaching, I fear that those who dismiss Olivier Humbrecht’s wines for the occasional transgression into residual sweetness are missing out on some of the most compelling dry white wines in the world. For my budget white, Michel Bregeon is nothing short of being a genius. He extracts unparalleled depth from the soils of Muscadet and produces wines that rival much Grand Cru Chablis for my palate. They demand bottle age and his 2000 is just starting to sing. His impending retirement is a sad day for lovers of this deeply unfashionable region. I could wax lyrical about Jamet forever, but it was their humble Cotes du Rhone that shone most brightly for me in 2012. The 2007 is a stunner and offers further evidence that this is a serious vintage in the Northern Rhone. Fresh, meaty, peppery and with delightful lift, I think it offers more than most Cote Rotie. I drink very little Rose, and so the the Musar stole the honour almost by default. Excellent grip and depth for a Rose and with years ahead of it I suspect. For my sparkler it was neck and neck between the Pol 95 and Taittinger Comtes 2000. A second bottle of the Comtes, which showed a little unintegrated dosage, handed the honour to the Pol – which has a wonderful, almost electric, intensity. Finally, amongst the sweet wines, it is the Loire that provides my happiest hunting ground and by a neck I must hand the honour this year to the Baumards – whose Quarts de Chaume must be one of the most consistent wines on the planet. The 1995 is miraculous.
TOM: Alsace seems to be doing particularly well this year both in dry and sweet whites. I do agree about Zind-Humbrecht: even when there is significant alcohol and sweetness (and he does indicate this on his labels) there is always balance.

Maureen Kerr, UK

Red: Chave Hermitage, Rhone, 1990
White: Chateau Grillet, Rhone, 1989
Budget red: Barberesco Araldica Corsini, Piedmont, 2009
Budget white: Jamet Cote du Rhone Blanc, Rhone, 2010
Rosé: Chateau Minutey, Provence, 2010
Sweet: Vin de Paille Chave, Rhone, 1986
Sparkling: Comtes de Champagne, Tattinger, 1988
Fortified: Fonseca, 1985
Dud: Chateau Grillet not open
Thing: Chateau Grillet!
Red: 2012 was an exciting year: the finest of Burgundy (DRC Richebourg 1978, only just pipped at the post by Chave, as my wine of the year); dollops of claret (1982’s were singing, 1985’s were true to the vintage and 1995’s were open for business) and, plenty of the Northern Rhones (the glorious Versets, Gentaz, and Chave excelling with his “cuvee de lux” Cuvee Cathelin 1991, all power and concentration, a myriad of scents: spices, smoke, Morello cherries and white pepper.) A special year indeed, although tinged by the loss of our fellow forumite Richard Katz, whom we miss dearly.
TOM: Yes, the wine-pages forum has become a very real comminuity, not only online but at the numerous and frequent ‘offline’ get-togethers it has spawned across the country. The passing of a long-serving member – and there have been a few in the last year or so – is felt very deeply. selection below added 04/01/2013

Andrew Stevenson, UK

Red: Abadia Retuerta (Spain) Selección Especial 1996
White: Wine & Soul (Portugal) Guru 2006
Budget red: União das Adegas Cooperativas do Dão (Portugal) Adro da Sé Reserva 2001
Budget white: Pierre Chainier (France) Pouilly-Fumé Rour de la Roche Réserve 2011
Sweet: Ch. Climens (France) Cyprès de Climens 1992
Sparkling: Nyetimber (England) Classic Cuvée 1996
Fortified: Quinta do Noval (Portugal) Late Bottled Vintage Port 1997
Dud: Moss Wood (Australia) Pinot Noir 2000
Red: A very quiet year, as far as wine goes. Few major tastings attended, so the wines shown are pretty much all drinking up from stock. A very strong showing from the Iberian peninsula. Either of the reds could really have been budget red: the Abadia Retuerta was £10 and the Adro da Sé was £8. The Abadia Retuerta has (barring a few duff bottles) been very good since purchase, but this particular bottle was in an excellent place. Guru remains just a stunning example of the pinnacle of white Douro table wines. The Pierre Chainer Pouilly Fumé is an interesting one: a sample sent by Booths, the NW grocery chain, to promote their Christmas special offers. Not something I’d normally pick up, but nice to see not only a genuine reduction (half price – reduced to £7.49), but an extremely classy fine wine from a supermarket. I went and bought some. I seem to have avoided rosés pretty much completely this year, and have also had remarkably few sweet wines. The last bottle I opened of the Cyprès de Climens was actually drunk at the very first wine-pages offline I ever attended, back in Feb 2002 in Peter’s Cellars in Edinburgh. First time I met Tom, Bryan, Toby, et al. Looking at (Tom’s notes), he was impressed nearly 11 years ago and I think it’s still punching above its weight, but hasn’t improved at all over the decade. The Moss Wood Pinot was a real disappointment – very simple, with jammy, sweet fruit and nothing really to recommend it, especially at the price.
TOM: Lovely memory of that dinner in Edinburgh Andrew – was it really 11 years ago? Great choice in the Wine & Soul ‘Guru’ – winemaker Sandra Tavares was in Scotland last month and her entire range from this project and from Quinta do Chocopala where she also makes the wines were terrific.

Julian Seers-Martin, UK

Red: Dominus Estate (U.S.A) Napa Valley Napanook Vineyard 1996
White: Vincent Dauvissat (France) Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 1995
Budget red: J. M. Voillot (France) Bourgogne Rouge 2009
Sparkling: Vouette et Sorbée (France) Bertrand Gautherot, Fidèle Extra Brut NV
Dud: 1961 Dom Perignon
Red: A funny year in wine with many more underwhelming moments than exciting, tarnished even more by possibly the greatest dud I will have for a very long time! Never the less a superb year in the wine-pages community, presiding over and attending many wonderful offlines has been a real pleasure. Christmas ‘WIMPS’ sticks firmly in my memory opening my eyes the delights of serious American wines, one of which being my red WOTY.
TOM: Ooh, what a pity about that old Dom Perignon. And the nomination for Dominus reminds me I still have a single bottle of the 1991 from the case I bought around 1994 when it’s 99 ‘parker points’ persuaded me to take a punt.

Rod Smith, France

Red: Domaine de la Romanée Conti (France) La Tâche 1999
White: Bonny Doon (USA) Le Sophiste Marsanne Roussanne 1990
Budget red: Domaine Treloar (France) Ciel Vide 2010
Budget white: Weingut Jurtschitsch (Austria) Riesling Zobinger Heiligenstein 2010
Rosé: Château Miraval (France) Pink Floyd Rosé Côtes de Provence 2011
Sweet: Donnafugata (Italy) Ben Ryé, Zibbibo di Pantelleria 2009
Sparkling: Moët et Chandon (France) Brut Reserve 1985
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Tio Pepe En Rama NV
Dud: Château de Beaucastel (France) Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Still Bretty
Thing: Wine-pages of course!
Red: At risk of seeming only to show off, I had to include La Tâche 99, as it was just as spectacular as its reputation suggests – ironically – because it had been returned as ‘corked’ by a customer. (We sent it for analysis, and it wasn’t). There were some similar high falutin’ whites I could have chosen, but I picked the Bonny Doon because it was such a pleasant surprise for such an elderly, soft-acid wine to have aged so magnificently. Similarly for the 27 year old Moët, a marvel. En Rama is just sensational, and I say that as someone who would happily have Sherry, and only Sherry, as a desert island wine. The others are just great value favourites. Thanks to Tom for providing such a fantastic service with wine-pages, and its forum, both of which enable me to keep in touch with the wine scene from home! Cheers!
TOM: well, at last, someone picks a sensible ‘thing’ of the year 🙂 A really nicely balanced list from Rod including several of my favourites. The Bonny Doon I would have loved to taste: I’ve always thought they had a way with Marsanne and Roussanne, but have only ever tasted young bottles.

Brian Guinan, UK

Red: Chateau Rayas (France) CNDP reserve 2005
White: G&P Ravaut (France) Corton Charlemagne 2008
Budget red: D’Auphilac (France) Montpeyroux 2001
Budget white: Bellingham ‘The Bernard’ (South Africa) Grenache Viognier 2010
Rosé: Billecart Salmon (France) Rose
Sweet: Olivares (Spain) Dulce Monastrell
Sparkling: Pommery (France) Cuvee Louise 1998
Fortified: Drysack (Spain) oloroso 15 anos
Dud: three consecutive corked Chave Hermitage
Thing: Parliament Hill Lido
Red: Nothing came close to the Rayas opened on New years eve and savoured all night, the best of three so far which seemed impossible, sadly I can’t afford to drink my last one! Ran out of D’Auphilac in July after going through about ten cases, my benchmark for the region and indeed any wine under £20. I miss it nightly. This was the year I really got my teeth into Bidforwine, Vinxchange and Strakers, it’s wonderful to have access to so much mature stuff and the odd screaming bargain. I happily whiled away many afternoons browsing the wine-pages forum, cheers to everyone for such wit and insight, I hope to contribute more in 2013.
TOM: I certainly look forward to more contributions to our forum in 2013 Brian. Again, some choices here with which I can really empathise: the Bellingham series of white wines are very classy indeed at moderate prices in Majestic and other retailers.

Nigel Groundwater, UK

Red: Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Léognan 1990
White: Etienne Sauzet (France) Chevalier-Montrachet 2002
Budget red: Perrin & Fils (France) Coudoulet de Beaucastel, 2004
Budget white: Andre Dezat (France) Sancerre 2009
Rosé: François Cotat (France) Sancerre Rosé 2009
Sweet: Huet (France) Cuvée Constance 1989
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvée Winston Churchill 1995
Fortified: Warre (Portugal) Port 1977
Dud: Cos d’Estournel (France) St.Estephe 1997
Thing: saying goodbye to my trusty Mercedes CLK 320 after 12½ years service
Red: On another day I would probably have chosen a different wine in every category with the possible exception of the Sweet, Sparkling and Fortified categories and, conscious that all my picks were French bar the Port, there could easily have been an Italian or Spanish or German presence. In view of its increasing price, the Budget Red might well have been one from the Loire or Spanish or Italian rather than the Coudoulet [although the 2004s and earlier were still budget wines] but the Budget White was a series of coin tosses between a Marc Ollivier Muscadet Clos des Briords, a William Fèvre Chablis Champs Royaux, an Andre Dezat Pouilly Fume and the final choice of the latter’s Sancerre.
TOM: classy and classic choices from Nigel, and nice to see the Loire getting a boost in both white and pink. I am still hanging on to my single bottle of the 1990 Haut-Brion, but maybe now’s the time to crack it open.

Adam Ventress, UK

Red: Luciano Sandrone (Italy) Le Vigne Barolo 1999
White: Geyerhof (Austria) Johannisberg Riesling 2007
Budget red: San Felice (Italy) Chianti Classico 2009
Budget white: Weingut Hammes (Germany) Riesling Spatlese Halbtrocken 2009
Sweet: Capezzana (Italy) Vin Santo di Carmignano Riserva 2005
Sparkling: Carpene Malvolti (Italy) Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze
Dud: Gaja
Thing: The Olympics, a rare 2 weeks of optimism and good cheer and national pride. A fantastic job done by London.
Red: I’ve attended so many great tastings and wine-pages Forum offlines this year, these choices were very hard. The superb Sandrone Le Vigne just about won out over a handful of Tuscans. It is probably no coincidence that it was tasted at probably my ‘event of the year,’ my first offline held at my restaurant in January, just weeks before I sold the business. It was an honour to be both host and participant and meet so many forumites for the first time, and I was delighted with many of the wines, and that the meal turned out just as I had intended and was so well received. Unforgettable night and I have enjoyed another 7 offlines since, in Lancaster and Manchester. The other reds in my WOTY shortlist were Conti Costanti Brunello di Montalcino 1997, Sassicaia 2004, Boscarelli ‘Nocio’ Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2007, Fuligni Brunello 1997, Col d’Orcia Brunello 1995, Biondi Santi Brunello 2007, Il Marroneto Brunello 2007, Fontodi Vigna del Sorbo 2007, Bertrand Ambroise Nuits Saint Georges 2006. The Geyerhof wins the best white because it combined everything I love about Riesling, and was in perfect balance, just about the best of many good Rieslings I’ve tasted from Alsace, Germany, New Zealand and Austria. White runners up were Huet Le Mont Vouvray Sec 2007, Mattia Barzaghi Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2010, Felsina I Sistri 2009, Domaine Bachey-Legros Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Morgeot’ Vielles Vignes 2008, Alain Chavy Puligny Montrachet 2008, Hugel VT Riesling 1996, Pegasus Bay Waipara Riesling 2009, Uva Mira Chardonnay 2010. The Hammes Riesling was one of 8 wines presented by the daughter of a German winemaker from the Mosel at a local tasting, all of which were astonishing value, this one being quite lovely. Looking forward to another year of great offlines and tastings and informative chat on here. Thanks to Tom and all forumites with whom I have interacted on here and in person, Happy New Year to all, and here’s to another good year of wine-pages in 2013.
TOM: An extremely thorough run-down Adam. I wonder why Gaja is your ‘dud’? Maybe based more on price/quality ratio than absolute quality perhaps? The wines are certainly super expensive. Nice to have a vote for the Olympics too, and I fully concur. selection below added 02/01/2013

Cornelius Wesseling, Netherlands

Red: Thymiopoulos (Greece) “Heaven & Earth” 2008
White: Gerovassiliou (Greece) Malagouzia 2010
Budget white: Gerovassiliou (Greece) white 2010
Rosé: Kir-Yianni (Greece) Akakies 2010
Sweet: Domaine Sigalas (Greece) Vinsanto 2004
Sparkling: Karanika (Greece) Brut Reserve NV
Fortified: Mercouri (Greece) Chortais 2006
TOM: a lot of wines that are unfamiliar to me in Cornelius’s list, though back in the late 90’s Oddbins briefly listed a whole Greek selection and the Gerovassiliou whites were stars of it: terrific and great value.

John Holmes, USA

Red: James Macphail Ferrington Pinot Noir 2007
White: Round Pound Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Budget red: Wilsons Dry Creek Zinfandel 2008
Budget white: Martin Ray Angeline Chardonnay 2011
Sweet: Peller Estate Icewine 2004
Sparkling: Inman Endless Crush Rose 2009
Fortified: Loxton Napa Valley Port 2008
Dud: Trader Joes 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Thing: Glenfarclas 50yr old (1961)
Red: all the reviews can be found on
TOM: again, a lot of unfamiliar names in this list though I hope to make a trip to California this year to catch up on the scene there.

Ronald Massard, Thailand

Red: Denis Mugneret (France) Echezeaux 1998
White: Marcel Deiss (France) Alsace grand cru Schoenenbourg 2008
Budget red: Villa Zorilor (Romania) Feteasca neagra Swallowtail 2001
Budget white: Marc Kreydenweiss (France) Alsace Pinot blanc Kritt 2011
Rosé: Domaine Ott (France) Cotes de Provence 2010
Sweet: Klein Constantia (South Africa) Vin de Constance 1988
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck (France) Champagne Blancs des Millenaires 1995
Fortified: Warre’s (Portugal) vintage 1977
Dud: Domaine de Trevallon (France) vin de pays des Bouches-du-Rhone red 1998
Thing: The promising sides of the ever-improving Asian wine scene. Fruity Merlots from Japan (Nagano prefecture), aromatic Sauvignons from Myanmar (Shan state), attempts of Tempranillo in Central Thailand ! Wine bars are the new craze in Bangkok, although the heavy taxes restrict the offer to low-end bottles. HK did the opposite : lifting taxes. Singapore is now almost as well stocked as Tokyo. And Mainland China now sees beyond Lafite …
Red: The whites were dominated by the wines tasted during a trip to Alsace in October. But Ramonet’s Chassagne-Caillerets 1999 was so poetic with its long chamomile finish … The Echezeaux at its peak was the most rewarding of a large panel of great reds. On par with the obscure ;=) Romanian feteasca neagra, I should have mentioned the creative effort of Chateau Le Queyroux in Blaye, who ventures into very high density plantation and white Cabernet Sauvignon. The fantastic Vin de Constance 1988 was ageing gloriously. Warre’s 1977 was a pure moment of grace, a deep smoky cherry moment with hints of liquorice and menthol. And on the odd side, I expected a great dinner with Trevallon : alas, it is now used as a vinegar to season other dinners …
TOM: how wonderful to get this viewpoint from Asia on the local wine production and drinking scene. On a trip to Romania a couple of years ago I discovered the delights of Feteasca neagra, and indeed a Romanian Pinot took my own ‘budget red’ award this year.

Emmanuel Barnay, France

Red: Jean Louis Chave, Hermitage, cuvée Cathelin, 1991
White: Bonneau du Martray, Corton Charlemagne 2001
Budget red: Louis Claude Desvignes, Morgon, Javernières, 2010
Budget white: Domaine de la Rectorie, Collioure, Argile 2011
Rosé: Bollinger rosé
Sweet: Vin de Table, la Méjanne, Mas Jullien 2006
Sparkling: Jacquesson, Ay Vauzelle Terne, 2002
Fortified: Grahams 1991
Dud: DRC, La Tache, 1996
Red: Coming back to work in France was not an easy decision to take, as was so used to UK but now realising that sommelier in London with a family would have been quite tough. Also, actually my new position and life give me more time to spend in the vineyard. The down side is that non French wines is still hard to find in France and most people are still hard to convince to drink non French. But hey, time is with us.
TOM: and another international perspective. Yes, France is (like many wine producing countries) very patriotic about drinking its own wines; indeed it is often hard to find wines from anywhere outside the local region, but for the visitor that does present some great opportunities to discover wines we might not have seen before. 1966 La Tache as the dud? Ouch.

Garry Clark, UK

Red: Gaja (Italy) Piedmont, Barbaresco 1997
White: Vallet freres (France) Meursault 1er Cru “Perrieres”, Burgundy 2007
Budget red: Some Young Punks (Australia) South Eastern Australia Battle Island Shiraz/Cabernet
Budget white: The Rude Mechanicals (Australia) Hunter Valley, Ephemera Viognier/Pinot Gris
Rosé: Charles Melton (Australia) Barossa Valley, Rose of Virginia 2008
Sweet: Chateau Climens (France) Bordeaux, Barsac 1982
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) Champagne 1973 (magnum)
Dud: not being able to attend the champagne academy this year due to scheduling conflicts.
Thing: Visiting Italy (Piedmont), Champagne and Spain this year
Red: The year got off to a great start with the closure of the hotel (Garry works at the Chester Grosvenor – Tom) for a kitchen refurbishment allowing me the opportunity to visit Italy – Piedmont specifically, with Enotria. I discovered some fabulous wines from Pira, Conterno Fantino and Ascheri as well as Fontanafredda. In March we had the 30th Anniversary of a Dining Club that is associated with the hotel giving me the challenge of finding enough 82’s to supply the dinner without bankrupting the hotel. A particularly pleasant find was the 82 Climens, a wine we didnt hold out much hope for, but was surprising good. Australia features heavily on my list this year as i find myself coming back to revisit it on our winelist and give it a much needed refresh. Im currently in the process of the fifth re-write of the wine list with a new format and presentation to be completed for the end of January. As the year draws to a close it has been a good one overall, a few challenges along the way, but we have risen to meet them and we enter 2013 in a strong position. Hopefully 2013 will bring a few more interesting developments, I’m involved in the Ateliers Ruinart which will be a mentoring program to help develop the future of the industry.
TOM: it is great how this annual exercise brings up not only mouth-watering lists of wines, but all sorts of perspectives on the world of wine. Garry’s nomination of the Gaja Barbaresco comes just as I’ve been writing up my notes on a tasting of the latest Gaja releases – a fabulous set of wines.

Richard Bray, UK

Red: A. Conterno (Italy) Barolo Vigna Cicala Bricca Bussia 1990
White: Mikulski (France) Meursault 1er Cru Genevrières 2009
Budget red: Chateau Durfort (France) Corbieres Rouge 2010
Budget white: Domaine Horgelus (France) Sauvignon Blanc Gros Manseng 2011
Rosé: Consolation (France) Barrique Mourvèdre Rosé 2011
Sweet: Y’quem (France) 1996
Sparkling: Jacques Selosses (France) esnil-sur-Oger ‘Les Carelles’ Grand Cru Extra Brut
Fortified: d’Oliveira (Portugal) Madeira Boal 1908
Dud: Too little time…
Thing: My book on winemaking in the Roussillon –
Red: 2012’s been a roller coaster. Moved back to London, started a new job, signed a publishing contract, working my fifth vintage in the Roussillon with Coume del Mas and Mas Cristine. I made a resolution last year to taste a lot more Piedmontese wines and, sure enough, it came down to a choice between the Cicala and a Gaja Costa Russi 1998. The Conterno just pipped it at the post. The Mikulski was a joy, drunk during vintage in Collioure, starting off lean, racy and steely, then opening up and gaining ripeness, richness and power. Durfort is such a great wine at under a tenner. Love it. The Horgelus as well. Rosé makers – you’ll have to work hard to knock Philippe Gard and Andy Cook’s (with a little help from me) incredible wine off this list someday. The Y’quem was drinking beautifully, though listing it makes me think I didn’t try enough sweeties this year. The Selosses kind of blew my mind. It took me well out of my Champagne comfort zone. This was a good bubbles year for me, but going over notes and recollection, this just hit the heart and mind a bit more than anything else. It came down between Taylor’s Scion and this remarkable Boal, and I chose the Boal. Though I’ve some Equipo Navazos sherries I’m drinking between now and New Years. Perhaps I should wait? No particular duds this year – just wish I had more hours in the day and more days in the weekend. As for thing – I’m almost finished with my book on the Roussillon, mentioned by Tom recently (Cheers, Tom!), which you can support at the link above.
TOM: loads of interesting stuff in Richard’s list and report. I reported on the range from Consolation Wines recently, and look forward to trying this rosé from them some time soon. selection below added 31/12/2012

Bryan Collins, UK

Red: Biondi-Santi (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1990
White: Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (France) Chevalier-Montrachet 2001
Budget red: Mas Peyrolle (France) Pic St Loup Esprit 2010
Budget white: AJ Adam (Germany) Dhroner Hofberger Riesling Kabinett 2010
Rosé: Francis Boulard (France) Rosé Extra Brut NV
Sweet: Huet (France) Vouvray Moëlleux 1er Trie Clos de Bourg 1990
Sparkling: Henriot (France) Cuvée des Enchanteleurs 1989
Fortified: Valdespino (Spain) Palomino Fino Amontillado Coliseo
Thing: My girls
Red: B-S disappoints and astounds with roughly equal probability, but this bottle was on top form. The PYCM, from his first vintage, was also tremendous although his more recent wines seem to have ever more class – assuming they age well. Germany for budget white? No surprise there. A new producer for me this year, not easy to find in the UK but getting it sent from Germany is both surprisingly easy and surprisingly affordable. The Mas Peyrolle I bought as a “house wine” over Christmas and opened the first bottle last night – it’s a real bargain; cool, fragrant, restrained and very moreish. Hope I can get more. Not an absolutely vintage wine year for me as my UK Forum offline attendances etc have been much curtailed by the growing family, but that’s all good.
TOM: I’m interested in whether the much heralded ‘coming of age’ for dry Sherry will be borne out bt WotY nominations for examples like Bryan’s. Though all the critics and a few wine geeks are raving about this unquestionably fine category of wine, I still see a lot of ‘man in the street’ resistance to actually drinking the stuff…

Dave Stenton, UK

Red: Bodega Chacra (Argentina) ‘Barda’ Pinot Noir 2010
White: Rafael Palacios (Spain) ‘As Sortes’ Godello 2010
Budget red: Latria (Spain) Montsant 2006
Budget white: Stephan Ehlen (Germany) Qualitätswein feinherb Riesling 2008
Sweet: Paul Cluver (South Africa) Noble Late Harvest Riesling 2011
Fortified: Pietri Geraud (France) Banyuls 1950
Dud: Araldica (Italy) Barbaresco 2008
Red: I’m going for Barda 2010 as my wine of the year. It’s linked to a once-in-a-lifetime experience: my January visit to Bodega Chacra in Patagonia. And it was also the wine we chose to accompany the fantastic tasting menu at Arumburu on our final night in Buenos Aires. I drank more expensive – and more prestigious – wines than Barda this year, but none of them evoke such great memories; and, for me, that’s what wine is all about.
TOM: by sheer coincidence, the Barda 2010 Pinot is exactly the wine we chose with a pre-Christmas lunch at London’s superb The Square restaurant, and for its modest price it really was oustanding. Nice to see a Banyuls in there too – especially a 1950 example.

Ian Amstad, UK

Red: DRC Richebourg 1978 (Burgundy)
White: Chateau Grillet 1989 (Rhone)
Budget red: Araldica Corsini Barbaresco 2009 (Piedmont)
Budget white: Pierre Yves Colin Morey Santenay La Comme 2010 (Burgundy)
Sweet: Chave Vin De Paille 1986 (Rhone)
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1990 (Champagne)
Fortified: Fonseca 1985 (Port)
Dud: Ch Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse 1990 / Ch Troplong Mondot 1990
Thing: Being back in the UK with family and friends.
Red: The highlight of the year was a trip to burgundy and the Rhone in June, and a meal in Vienne featuring a magical Chateau Grillet 1989, which ran away with the white wine trophy, and a scintillating Chave Hermitage Rouge 1990, the runner up in the hotly contested red category. In a year marked by 30th anniversary Bordeaux 1982 events, and its rock star heavy hitters, it really stood out. That was, until, a close encounter of the DRC kind: Richebourg 1978. Holy Cow! And then a week later, the extraordinary Chave Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin 1991, joint runner up. I wish we could have compared it directly to its year-older sibling. At least Chave scooped the sweet wine award with the iconic Vin De Paille 1986. Among an array of 1982 clarets the top dogs were Cheval Blanc, Haut Brion, and Magdelaine, all perfectly a point, and Chateau Margaux (better the second time round), which will peak in five to 20 years. However, I would wager that the ominously brooding Latour and skulkingly refractory Lafite will be the ones slugging it out for top billing on the 50th anniversary of this legendary vintage. White burgundy remains a constant in my life, notably PYCM (yes, think disco, think Y-M-C-A…), and the Santenay La Comme was steal at 15 euros. Likewise the Corsini Barbaresco was an astonishing bargain at £7.99. Meanwhile those Right Bank duds are now suffering the unintended consequences of excessive manipulation (aka spoofulation), like botox gone wrong. The year was tinged with sadness with the passing in September of the UK Wine Forum’s beloved Richard Katz. He connected us to Noel Verset Cornas, the essence of old school Northern Rhone, a wine which I will remember him by, and which is prolific in my list of most memorable wines in 2012.
TOM: another mouth-watering list, and indeed when great, mature Burgundy hits the spot it is almost irresistable in an almost spiritual way that few other red wines can match.

Christopher Piper, UK and France

Red: Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1990
White: Henri Fuchs (France) Pinot Gris SGN Grand Cru Kirchberg 1989
Budget red: Paul & Eric Janin (France) Moulin-à-Vent Clos du Tremblay 2009
Budget white: Domaine Hudelot-Baillet (France) Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2010
Rosé: Massaya (Lebanon) Classic Rosé 2010
Sweet: Josef Leitz (Germany) Rudesheimer Kirchenpfad Riesling Beerenauslese 2002
Sparkling: Champagne George Goulet (France) Cuvée de Centenaire 1985
Fortified: Campbells (Australia) Merchant Prince Rutherglen Muscat
Dud: Contesa Pecorino (Italy) 2011 Colline Pescaresi IGT
Thing: Bottling first vintage of our own Devon artisan cider
TOM: Beaujolais has had four straight vintages in a row that have been of suberb quality – probably a better unbroken run than any other European region – so nice to see a 2009 here, in Christopher’s nicely balanced list

Steven Pritchard, UK

Red: Bell (California) Cabernet Sauvignon “Clone 6” Rutherford 2005
Budget red: Ridge (California) Geyserville 2004
Rosé: Perrier Jouet (France) Blason Rosé NV
Sweet: Peller (Canada) Vidal ice wine
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) Oenotheque 1990 en Magnum
Dud: Most Champagnes of 2005 vintage
Thing: iPad
Red: Many will be surprised by my dabbling into the world of reds, but recent work opportunities have meant that I have frequent access to the San Francisco Bay area, and allowed me to explore the wineries of the local environs. The Clone 6 is a superb, low yielding Cabernet Sauvignon vine that produces such dense, aromatic fruit – the wine slips down far too easily, yet remain subtle and complex. The Perrier Jouet Blason Rosé seems like a budget choice, but the current release is a pure 2008 that possesses a zingy intensity of red fruit character – makes it hard to resist! DP Oenotheque 1990 Magnum was at the recent Tom Stevenson masterclass, it possessed all the weight and charm from that hit and miss vintage, streaked with a find saline reduction indicative of long lees contact in magnum. Fresh, palate staining with oodles of potential, superbly balanced and a laser precise finish. My Dud has been the 2005 Champagne vintage. Many of the grapes harvested this year suffered from rot (not apparent at the sorting stage) and many bottled examples show unclean earthy aromas. A shame because the ripe fruit would have meant some easy going, early drinkers.
TOM: Steve is a regular on the UK Wine Forum and resident Champagne expert, so nice to get a couple of tips, and a couple of big reds thrown into the mix.

Anthony Davies, UK

Red: De Montille (France) 1er Cru Taillepieds Volnay 2001
White: DeMorgenzon (South Africa) Chenin Reserve 2010
Budget red: Lucarelli Negroamaro (Italy) Puglia 2011
Budget white: The wine Society White Burgundy (France) 2011
Rosé: Domaine Couroulu Vacqueyras (France) Rose 2011
Sweet: Steindorfer Seewinkel Beerenauslese 2006 (Austria)
Sparkling: Camel Valley (England) Pinot Noir Brut 2008
Fortified: Penny Hill Fortified Shiraz (Australia) McLaren Vale 2005
Dud: Domaine Couroulu Vacqueyras (France) Blanc 2010
Thing: Tour and tasting at Joseph Drouhin in Beaune – sensational
Red: Thereis so much good wine available through a growing number of quality wine specialists and national retailers. We are living at a great time for wine!
TOM: After the first 16 visitors’ lists we have our first English wine as winner of the Sparkling category (though one did sneak in as best Rosé). There seems really no doubt now that English sparkling wine has come of age, even through some difficult vintages, and though nothing will break the Champagne stranglehold, I wonder how many nominations we will see?

Ben Fawcett, UK

Red: Biserno 2007, Tenuta di Biserno
White: Chateau de Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes 2000
Budget red: Chateau Vieux Manoir 2009
Budget white: Martin Codax Caixas Albarino 2011
Sweet: Isole e Olena Vin Santo 1996
Sparkling: Pol Roger Brut NV
Fortified: Ramos Pinto 1983
Dud: Government alcohol policies
Thing: My “precious” copy of Wine Grapes
Red: Biserno is simply stunning. I couldn’t quite see how the estate’s entry red – Il pino di Biserno – could be improved upon quite as much as the price demands. I was wrong. Chateau Vieux Manoir @ £5.99 is the best value wine I have come across in quite some time. The co-op has more reds on it’s shelves I would buy than Tesco by quite some way. The Caixas just bursts with fruit and acidity cracking wine. The Vieilles Vignes just gets better shame I only have 2 bottles left. Not much Champers this year but NV Pol has been enjoyed on a couple of occassions. Same regarding Port but the one memorable bottle was the Ramos which was perfectly mature. Isole was opened at the end of my 40th birthday meal and prooved a fitting send off for the celebrations and my stock of it.
TOM: it’s quite a while since I’ve tasted any vintage of Beaucastel’s amazing Vieilles Vignes Roussanne, which I used to buy and then always drink too young – my guess is that at 12 years old Ben is right, and it will have plenty of life in it still.

Ive Marx, Belgium

Red: Rousseau (otherwordly) Chambertin 2010
White: Raveneau (France) Valmur 1983
Budget red: Domaine Roche (France) Cairanne 2010
Budget white: Karthauserhof (Germany) Ruwer Riesling Trocken
Rosé: Canon La Gaffelière (France)
Sweet: Yquem (France) 1990
Sparkling: Fallet-Prevostat (France) non-vintage
Fortified: Taylor (Portugal) 1977
Dud: Very old Barolo line-up
Thing: Korean toilet
Red: 2010 is superlative Burgundy vintage IMHO, and in the hands of Rousseau, working in a terroir like Chambertin, it yields the best wine has to offer. Raveneau is almost always great, and while several Clos this year (2002, 2004, 2005, even 2006) were probably better, very old Raveneau has something magic. Domaine Roche as budget red because that is what I’m drinking now and it is delicious. I could have nominated many Languedoc or Roussillon. Basic level German riesling is the best QPR in white year in year out. Big name bordeaux estates make excellent rosé and this is one example. Yquem 1990 is obviously good, but a the Fargues 1990 next to it was equally good, but in a different style. Fallet-Prevostat is a small family producer. Amazingly good and worth searching out. Taylor 1997 is the only fortified I can remember… A very generous presented a line-up of very old (up to 50 years old), very expensive, very revered Barolo’s. Not one has stuck in my mind. Korean toilets? I would need 50 more pages…
TOM: what did I say a few posts up about the best Burgundies being ‘almost spiritual’? I think Ive’s ‘otherworldly’ captures that perfectly 🙂 selection below added 27/12/2012

Will Cashman, Ireland

Red: 2009 Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Chambertin
White: 2008 Vincent Dancer Chevalier-Montrachet
Budget red: 2007 Domaine Pavelot Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru La Dominode
Budget white: 2010 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett
Rosé: 2000 R. López de Heredia Rioja Rosado Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia
Sweet: 2008 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Eiswein
Sparkling: NV Jérôme Prévost La Closerie “Fac Simile” Les Beguines
Fortified: NV Fernando de Castilla Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Dud: 2004 red burgundy
Thing: Cellartracker
Red: Eric LeVine got quite a hard time over his recent changes to cellartracker but he rarely gets the plaudits that he deserves. Pulling this list together this year was easy, as all of my TNs from the year are all sitting, in an easily accessible for in cellartracker. So thanks to Eric for making this so easy. Another great wine year for me. Of course, most of the wines were drunk with great friends during wonderful occasions, which made the wines even more special again. All of the wines above are really superb, from the expensive ones right down to the budget wines, and reading through the list now conjures up fine memories of the experiences that I enjoyed whilst drinking them (except for the 2004 red burgs, yuck!).
TOM: Will has already won the competition for ‘most foreign accents used correctly in a WotY’, so well done Will :-). Lovely choices, clearly concentrated on classic European regions, so it will be interesting to see how the New World/Old World split works out this year.

Matthew Hemming, UK

Red: Guigal (France) Cote Rotie La Turque 1989
White: Ramonet (France) Bienvenues Batard Montrachet 2008
Rosé: Cotat (France) Sancerre Rose 2009
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem (France) 1997
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1996
Fortified: Unidentified C19 Madeira
Red: Drank the Guigal in Beaune back in Feb and knew it was almost certainly going to be the best red of the year. In Bordeaux, in June, we opened an 1899 Rauzan Segla at the chateau, which was possibly a more memorable wine but the La La was the better. The Ramonet was in danger of being edged out by Dave Bicknell’s stunning 864 Chardonnay 2010. The Madeira was one of John Avery’s bottles with absolutely no identifying marks, although it was in a box with some 1802 Terrantez. His daughter Mimi opened it in the office and we raised a glass to him. If pushed, I reckon it was probably Bual from the latter half of the 1800s. No real stand out budget wines, but we’ve been hoofing down indecent quantities of 2009/10 wines from modest appellations in the classic regions.
TOM: more classics, and a mouth-watering list from Matthew, who works for Averys, the Bristol-based firm who’s legendary figurehead John Avery, passed away in 2012.

Phil Marshall, UK

Red: Penfolds 707 1991
White: Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic-Emile Vendange Tardive 1983
Budget red: Leyda Reserva Merlot Rapel Valley 2010
Budget white: Concha y Toro Corte Ignacio Casablanca Viognier 2010
Sweet: Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 2002
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995
Fortified: Dow Port 1960
Dud: Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques 1999
Thing: My daughter’s face when she got her first touch screen phone
Comment: Had some great meals with some wonderful people and drank some fabulous wines. Much of this I would have not done without the wine-pages forum acting as the catalyst, many thanks Tom, long may it continue.
TOM: Delighted to see the two Chilean wines grab some limelight: Chile is written off as “worthy but dull” by too many people, and Phil has picked out two wines from cooler coastal regions that I agree are already producing some superb wines.

Rupert Yardley, UK

Red: Richebourg 1995 (Hudelot-Noellat)
White: Scharzhofberger Riesling Spätlese 1971 (Egon Müller)
Budget red: Crozes-Hermitage Cuvée Albéric Bouvet 2006 (Gilles Robin)
Budget white: Château Doisy-Daëne Sec 2010
Rosé: Sine Qua Non The Pontiff 2008
Sweet: Saarburger Rausch Riesling Beerenauslese 2005 (Zilliken)
Sparkling: Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 1990
Fortified: Quinta do Sorado Madeira Malmsey 1830
Dud: Philiponnat Clos des Goisses 1996
Thing: Canon 70-300L lens which is giving me some lovely portraits
Red: The Richebourg was drunk right at the beginning of the year and nothing has since come close to its floral red fruited shimmering beauty. The two Germans at opposite ends of the sweetness spectrum were both stunning in their precision. The Doisy and the Crozes were to me seriously fine wines and both under £15. Lots of good champagnes this year with the Ruinart perhaps the finest. Only had two rosés, neither of which was much cop, but the SQN was slightly better than the Musar. The Malmsey is the oldest wine I’ve ever had and I think it may be the best too. Almost all of these were down to the incredible generosity of fellow wine-pages forum members. Thank you all. I just wish I could forget the Goisses which tasted like a mixture of acidified sauvignon blanc, vomit and sherry.
TOM: an elderly MW once told me that all great Champagne should remind one of vomit, but I have to say it is not something I look for – or particularly want to find – when tasting 🙂 I remember buying quite a lot of the dry wine from Doisy-Daëne (best known as a sweet Barsac producer) about 15 years ago after a tasting: beautifully fragrant and vibrant stuff.

Rainer Guntermann, Germany

Red: La Tache Domaine de la Romanee Conti (France)1940
White: Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles Dom. Leflaive (France) 1982
Budget red: Chateau Peyreau (France) St. Emilion 2009
Budget white: Macon Villages (France) Lafon 2009
Rosé: Billecart Samon (France) Rosé
Sweet: Beutelsbacher Krügle Edelbeerenauslese (Germany) 1959
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvee Winston Churchill 1993
Fortified: Fonseca (Portugal) Vintage Port 1970
Dud: The unsolved PreMaturelyOXidisation problem
Thing: London ‘WIMPS’ lunches organised by wine-pages forum at THE LEDBURY restaurant
Red: Merry Christmas and a good 2013 with thanks for providing such a civilised platform.
TOM: Thank you Rainer, and thank you for a mouth-watering list of rare and aged wines; you do drink some classy stuff!

David Ludlow, UKw

Red: Chateau Haut Brion 1985 (France)
White: Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay 2000 (Aust)
Budget red: Domaine du Colombier Crozes Hermitage 2008 (Fr)
Budget white: Palacio de Fefinanes Albarino 2009 (Spain)
Rosé: Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rose 2006 (England)
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1999 (France)
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 2003 (France)
Fortified: Krohn Colheita 1966 (Portugal)
Dud: Chateau Margaux 1988
Thing: My wife’s 40th Birthday bash at the Petersham Hotel
Comment: It has been a fantastic year with some excellent wines. HB is one of my favourite 1st growths, but it had hold itself up against a wonderful 1989 Mouton Rothschild, a stunning 1990 Ch Palmer, and Tignanello 2000. Ch Figeac 1998 showed how well that side of the Gironde did in 1998. The Leeuwin Estate was fantastic and easily outscored to other stars of the year HB Blanc 1998 and Chapoutier’s Chante Alloutte Hermitage Blanc 2004. At my wife’s bash we had Wolf Blass Platinum Label Shiraz 2001 which was simply stunning showing that excellent Aussie wines can age. The 1988 Margaux was quite disappointing and on a blind tasting was outscored by a number of wines, which on paper were meant to be inferior. Great website and a mine of information – please keep it up.
TOM: Cheers David – I’ll certainly try to. A lot of favourites of mine in this list, and I have a solo bottle of the ’85 Haut-Brion which I think I must broach soon. Also re-tasted the 2003 Dom Perignon a couple of weeks ago at The Wine Gang’s Champagne event, and confirmed that it is a terrific wine even in an abnormal year like 2003.

Otto Nieminen, Finland

Red: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) 1966
White: AJ Adam (Germany) Dhroner Hofberger Riesling Kabinett 2010
Budget red: Eric Texier (France) St. Joseph VV La Croix 2008
Budget white: Domaine du Val de SaÃâ´ne (France) Melon de Bourgogne Phenix 2009
Rosé: Clos de Tue-Boeuf (France) Vin Rosé 2010
Sweet: Joh. Jos. Prüm (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1971
Sparkling: Janisson Baradon & Fils (France) Champagne Extra Brut NV
Fortified: Domaine Treloar (France) MO2 2009
Dud: Gesellmann (Austria) “G” 2008
Comment: Old Musar is always a treat and the ’66 was in perfect shape. AJ Adam has been one of the most exciting producers I have come across in recent years and the 2010 Kabinett is pretty much perfect for a young Mosel Riesling. Texier is always great but the 2008 of the St. Joseph was uncommonly exquisite even by his standards. The budget white is a Melon from its birthplace in Burgundy instead of Muscadet and it was heartbreakingly pretty. The Tue-Boeuf Rosé was an astonishing Pinot Gris rosé that smelled more like a grand, old red Burgundy than any rosé I have previously had. PrÃâ¼m rocks and the 1971 was in just the right spot of maturity. Janisson Baradon is a new name to me but the Champagne was of exquisite purity. Treloar’s MO2 is an Amontillado-type of wine made from Muscat – pretty unique and something that “went wrong” according to Jon Hesford of Treloar, but this must be the tastiest thing gone wrong ever! The Gesellmann is an expensive Austrian red made from Quercus robur – not an ingredient I particularly like.
TOM: I was lucky enough to visit Lebanon and Musar in 2012 and it provided one of my “runners-up” wines of the year, but more than that, some profound sights, sounds and experiences that made the trip a real contender for my “thng” of the year.

Paul Benbow, UK

Red: Jaboulet La Chapelle (France) Hermitage 1999
White: Kooyong (Australia) Clonale Chardonnay 2009
Budget red: Whispering Tree (USA, Washington) Syrah 2008
Budget white: Von Kesselstat (Germany) Niedermenniger Herrenberg 2011
Rosé: Cordeliers (France) Saumur rosé 2011 sparkling
Sweet: d’Yquem (France) Sauternes 1996
Sparkling: Krug NV (France) Champagne
Fortified: Harvey’s (Spain) Pedro Ximenez 30 years VORS
Dud: Trimbach (France) Riesling 2010
Thing: Moving House, finally.
Red: I hope you don’t mind that my rosé is also a sparkling but it was lovely. Absolutely bone dry but a real crowd pleaser in the sun in France and by far the best rose all year. I think the Krug would count as my best sparkling ever. Genuinely astonishing stuff. It was great to meet Tom at the Wine Gang tasting in London and the Journey’s End shiraz he recommended is great stuff. We are drinking the sherry as I type this. With a local vanilla ice cream. A truly great food match.
TOM: And great to meet you too Paul and glad to point you to a few decent Shiraz wines at The Wine Gang event. A few wines I know and really like in your list, and great to see an example of the ‘new wave’ Australian Chardonnay in there with all the crispness and raciness you could want.

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