Paul Anderson, UK
Red: Corton Grand Cru 2002, Domaine Tollot-Beaut, Burgundy
White: Riesling Grand Cru Zotzenberg VT 2007, Domaine Rietsch, Alsace
Budget red: Domaine Lacroix-Vanel Fine Amor 2008, Coteaux de Languedoc
Budget white: Pinot Gris Schimberg 2010, Dirler-Cadé, Bergholtz, Alsace
Sweet: Pinot Gris Grand Cru Sommerberg 2008 SdGN, Albert Boxler, Alsace
Sparkling: Perrier-Jouet La Belle Epoque 1995
Dud: White Burgundy
Thing: Various anniversaries and the BMW 330d MSport
Comment: Not many surprises from me with Alsace featuring heavily and a Burgundy as my top red (as well as white Burg being my dud – it is just so disappointing to open so many pox’d wines). The only white Burgs I have in my cellar now are the Viré-Clessés from René Michel. They still seem to be safe from the pox. The various anniversaries were our 30th wedding anniversary; wife’s 50th birthday; son’s 18th birthday (hence the P-J Belle Epoque), daughter’s 16th birthday. I changed car in November and was just going to replace the BMW 520d with another. However, the 5 was being face-lifted so had temporarily been removed from our company car list, which forced me to look around. I looked at various makes before deciding on the BMW 330d MSport and what a decent machine it is. A lovely 6 cylinder diesel engine with quite exhilarating performance delivered via the 8 speed auto box. I’ve also had 51mpg on a trip to Ayr and am only averaging 1.5mpg less than the old 520d. Emissions are also below the BiK threshold of 130g. I was expecting a harsh ride from the lower profile run-flat tyres and stiffer suspension, but it is actually better than the 520d. Brilliant technology that actually works exceptionally well – I’m rather happy I let the heart rule the head.
Tom: I’ll bet Jeremey Clarkson couldn’t write about wine so eloquently! Huge enthusiasm from Paul for both fast cars and Alsace and Burgundy – sounds like a lethat combination 🙂 .
Tom I’Anson, UK
Red: Chateau Langoa Barton. France. 1989
White: Spioenkop. South Africa, Elgin. Riesling 2011
Budget red: The Mimic Shiraz. Jumilla, Spain. 2012
Budget white: Calmel and Joseph. France, Languedoc. Villa Blanche Chardonnay 2012
Rosé: Guerrieri Rizzardi. Italy. Chiaretto Bardolino Classico. 2011
Sweet: Chateau de Cerons. France, Cerons. 1999
Sparkling: Nyetimber. England. West Sussex. Blanc de Blanc Magnum 2003
Fortified: Quinta do Noval Nacional 2011
Dud: Chateau Langoa Barton. France. 1986.
Thing: My simple Swiss army knife with Corkscrew. Totally invaluable.
Comment……..: What a fantastic year. I was lucky enough to taste many wines. My red of the year, the ’89 Langoa Barton was the standout wine by a long margin at a cracking vertical tasting, it blew the ’86 away. 3 bottles of each were opened and it was the same story all the way. The ’89 was everything i want from an aged claret. The white of the year was the Spioenkop riesling because it was such a surprise. So very steely and expressive and totally wonderful. Another highlight was getting to sample the 2011 Nacional. The decanter was unmarked and had to be asked for, the supplier then looked around to see who was looking/listening before bringing it out from behind the counter. I felt privileged to be a trade customer. It was wonderfully powerful and promises so much for the future when it reaches it’s drinking window. I’m thinking 2030 at least. The fizzy for me was certainly the Nyetimber and i love fizzy from a magnum. i had this at a tasting at Nyetimber, then ordered some and opened a bottle on Christmas morning to have sixth smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. Even the hangover from Cristmas eve couldn’t dampen my enjoyment of it. It probably helped actually.
Tom: for me Nyetimber was the star of the English Wine Producers tasting this year, and it is great to see the flagship English sparkling wine estate continue to set the standard. I also loved the first releases from Wiston Estate in West Sussex this year, made by former Nyetimber winemaker Dermot Sugrue.
Frankie Cook, Eire and UK
Red: Penfolds (Australia) South Australia Bin 707 1998
White: Domaine Zind-Humbrecht (France) Alsace Pinot Gris “Heimbourg” 2002
Budget red: Domaine de la Janasse (France) Chateauneuf du Pape 2009
Budget white: Villa Maria (NZ) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Sweet: Domaine Bruno Sorg (France) Alsace Pinot Gris SdGN 2007
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) Champagne 1999
Dud: Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (France) Chassagne-Montrachet Les Ancegnieres 2010
Thing: Starting my wine blog (frankstero.com)
Comment: In mid December we had a small dinner party with two other couples, ostensibly to give my wife a chance to try out making beef wellington in advance of xmas day, but also giving me an excuse to open some of my best bottles. With the main course we had a trio of 90s Penfolds: Grange 1996, Grange 1997 and Bin 707 1998. Given its relatively lesser status we were all surprised that we preferred the Bin 707 to both the Granges – perhaps because it was from a better vintage? The CNDP wouldn’t normally be classed as a budget red, but it was at least significantly cheaper than the Grange! It was good enough to restore my faith in CNDP. Both the best white and best sweet were Alsace Pinot Gris, the first a gift and the second bought directly from Bruno Sorg – the most expensive wine we bought on our trip to Champagne & Alsace but so profound. The budget white was a very ordinary bottle that came top in a Loire v ROTW Sauvignon Blanc tasting I put together – full of green asparagus and gooseberry. The PYCM was unfortunately corked.
Tom: congratulations on the blog Frankie – well worth a look. Nice to see the 707 coming out on top too, given that it is relatively more affordable than the Grange, but it is still eye-watering to see a wine that I used to buy in Oddbins a decade ago for Â£17 now commanding Â£200 a bottle in its own right!
David Harvey, UK
Red: Soldera 1991, Montalcino
White: Gravner 2006 Ribolla Gialla, Collio
Budget red: Escoda-Sanahuja Coll de Sabater 2007, Conca de Barbera
Budget white: Herve Bar, Riesling Alte Reben 20010, Saar
Rosé: Tempier 1999, Bandol
Sweet: Andre Beaufort, Ambonnay Grand Cru demi-sec 1996 Champagne
Sparkling: Ca’dei Zago Prosecco Col Fondo 2011, Valdobbiadene
Fortified: Niepoort 1977 VP, Douro
Dud: people who criticise natural & sustainable means
Thing: David Bird MW speaking at RAW Fair 2013 against higher SO2 levels
Comment: 2013 has been quite a year. I started off in January with our first visit of the year to Domaine Ray Jane, Bandol. I tasted from 96 through to the 11s, with their traditional Bandol Rouge being made from 7ha of 100-130yr Mourvedre. Since then the year was peppered with other mini-verticals and great releases. The choice of Soldera as red of the year is obvious. It’s the most mature I’ve had, and came at the end of a great week in Veneto/Carso/Collio. His traditional dinner during Vinitaly where his international importers get to drink one or two vintages with him was sorely missed. That week there were also many great Baroli incl. the Rinaldi 09s, Brovia 08s, of Roagna 07 VVs, plus La Porta di Vertine’s CC Riserva 10, and the first of several showings of Cornelissen’s atypically massive 12s from Etna. I tasted with Joan-Ramon of Escoda-Sanahuja several times, and between his stock and ours had the Coll de Sabater (Cabernet Franc with splash Merlot) 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11. We used to think of it as his ‘international blend’ until Jose Vouillamoz told us that the DNA showed Cab.Franc to be Acheria of the Basque country. This now makes the wine accidentally indigenous and thus even more on-message. The BD grapes get a two week cold soak, ambient yeast inox ferment, 2.5 yrs elevage in 4-8yr old French barriques, with no topping up and tiny SO2 added at bottling. It’s appears as a cross between top-notch traditional claret and Brunello, and verges on being a great, yet affordable, ageworthy wine. He is also a founder member of the PVN (pronounced ‘pune’), and hosted 2013’s ‘H20 Vegetal’ event (pure wine being mostly water processed by plants, and nothing without grape and yeast.) Gravner’s Ribolla 06 is one of the best since his total conversion to macerating in 98. Six months on the skins in anfora, and up to four years in botte, two years bottle. Very still, silent, pure, magnetic wine. Gravner has taken to calling it ‘amber wine’ (rather than orange). Herve Bar bottled some amazing organic dry Rieslings this year, which saw ambient yeast ferment, malolactic, modest SO2 levels, and even some elevage. In Germany! And great value. The Tempier 99 came from their cellars for a winemaker’s dinner with regisseur Daniel Ravier at The Boundary, London. If I recall correctly 99 is the year before he joined, removing the pressure of explaining it. Altogether though, I believe that rose wine barely exists beyond beyond merely being a tinted white wine, and on the best examples that age, the tint fades with anyway. Whereas orange wine has its character and individuality. Perhaps they are a yin and yang pair: rose being the under done product of red grapes (yin), and orange being the full product of white grapes (yang). Beaufort’s straight 96 Ambonnay and the 96 demi-sec Champagnes made a great pair out of a flight of 20 or so wines with Jacques. Although this choice meant edging out Tirecul La Graviere’s Madame 2001 – sorry Bruno. Ca’dei Zago’s Col Fondo was new to us this year. 6ha of steep hillsides vines in BD, half planted 1920s, half 1950s. Bottled refermented, undisgorged so lightly hazy, just 11.5% or so of drily intense, Cote des Blancs look-a-like. The light reduction upon opening the crown cap is just what you want in a lower SO2 bottling, and it blows off in seconds. A mega aperitif. No coincidence that he is great friends with the Folladors of Casa Coste Piane. Niepoort’s 1977 VP was served alongside the 42, 70, 05, both 09s and 11s. 77 was the most profound of the wines that also showed development, and dispelled my notion that the 77s risk never being lovely. Any of them could have been the top wine of the flight, indeed wine of the year: only Nacional can play at this level and consistency since 2000. . Thing – it was going to be my first visit to the DIAM factory which coincided with the announcement of the new DIAM30 (guaranteed TCA free, and physical properties for 30+ years.) But I had forgotten the words of David Bird MW, wine scientist and wine writer, who spoke at Isabelle Legeron MW’s RAW Fair 2013. Following a grower led masterclass showing that zero added SO2 wines can indeed age and improve, contrary to popular opinion, David Bird spoke at length on his conviction that high SO2 can ruin pleasure derived from wine, whilst not forgetting that zero added can increase spoilage risks. See www.RAWFair.com for contact details and access to a transcript. David Bird wrote the main text book on wine science for the English speaking wine student, and taught main in the trade on their WSET Diplomas and IMW program. All these estates mentioned are working in organics and biodynamics, with or without certification, and harnessing ambient yeast ferment.
Tom: Some fascinating thoughts and insights from David, one of the most prominent advocates of ‘natural’ wines in the UK. The vote for the Gravner brought back memories of the incredible tasting Miha and Jana Gravner conducted for me at an event I organised in Glasgow in 2005 – these extradordinary wines lit up the room with conversation and debate.
Will Davies, UK
Red: Domaine Vieux Telegraphe (Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France) 1994
White: Henri Boillot Batard-Montrachet (Burgundy, France) 2002
Budget red: Cuilleron Vignes d’à Côté (N. Rhone, France) 2012
Budget white: Robertson Winery (South Africa) 2012
Rosé: Sylvain Pataille Marsannay (Burgundy, France) Fleur de Pinot 2010
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (Sauternes, France) 2001
Sparkling: M&C Dom Perignon (Champagne, France) 1999
Fortified: Equipo Navazos Amontillado no. 31 (Jerez, Spain) NV
Dud: Chateau de Fieuzal (Bordeaux, France) 1995
Thing: Discovering a large secret cellar underneath my flat!
Comment: Self-imposed thriftiness has focused my attention on wines mainly in the Â£12-20 bracket this year. Free from the expectation that burdens more prestigious bottles, I have found many of these cheaper wines tremendously exciting and consequently have really savoured and appreciated the rarer, finer treats. My discovery of the year is undoubtedly Hunter Valley Semillon, culminating in a fantastic 3-day trip to the region in October. The Vat 1 vertical laid on for us at Tyrrell’s memorably demonstrated the ageing potential of the producer’s flagship wine although I am still not convinced their reds are much cop. One last thing to note is the reasonable success of my super-health-freak regime, which at the time of writing amounts to little more than 2-3 dry days per week. I can’t be sure about any specific health benefits but, perversely, I have enjoyed the challenge of self-restraint and I aim for it to continue in 2014. Cheers!
Tom: I like this notion of thriftiness Will – Batard-Montrachet and Dom Perignon is my kind of thrify 🙂 A fine list and I think this seals the deal on Equipo Navazos being ‘rising star’ of the WoTY nominations for 2013.
Dave Stenton, UK
Red: Ghislaine Barthod (France) Chambolle-Musigny 2007
White: Le Grappin (France) Grèves Beaune 1er Cru 2012
Budget red: Suertes del Marqués (Spain) Valle de la Orotava 7 Fuentes 2011
Budget white: Kees-Kieren (Germany) Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett 2009
Sweet: Keller (Germany) Westhofen Brunnenhäuschen Abtserde Auslese 2012
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) 2004
Dud: Jean Grivot (France) Les Lavières Nuits St. Georges 2002
Thing: Tie: first trip to Burgundy/Jura offline
Comment: I made my first trip to Burgundy this year which perhaps explains my top two wines. I was torn between a fantastic Pierre Naigeon Bonnes Mares 2004 (drunk with Pierre and Mark Haisma one evening in Gevrey) and Ghislaine’s 2007 Chambolle but opted for the latter as I’ve had it twice in recent months and can think of no other wine this year quite so dedicated to delivering pleasure. I was also part of the Le Grappin harvest crew – a fantastic experience, although I had to leave before the really hard work started (and still feel guilty about it!) – this year and we drank Andrew’s Grèves on my first night; it had a purity and freshness that really stood out alongside several other Côte de Beaune 1er Crus consumed the same evening. The ‘7 Fuentes’ is my go-to wine when I want a thirst-quenching red that’s also versatile in terms of food-matching; must try more Suertes del Marqués’ wines. The Kees-Kieren was a TWS bin-end and remarkable quality at – I think – Â£10; all gone now though, sadly. Keller’s Abtserde Auslese and the Pol Roger ’04 were standouts at two tastings this year. In the interests of balance, my dud was also a burgundy: not sure what was up with it, but something wasn’t right: it tasted like some rather heavy-handed use of new oak that hadn’t integrated but Thom Blach said reduction was the more likely explanation; judging by a few other comments on the forum, mine wasn’t an isolated experience. Also thanks again to Jasper and David Crossley for organising an incredible Jura offline in October.
Tom: Jura is one of those regions whose time might be about to come perhaps? The unsual style of the traditional ‘Vin Jaune’ wines has kept them away from the mainstream and will probably continue to do so, but a certain sector/level of the wine world has swung in their favour with the rise of ‘natural wines’, Sherry and appreciation of less fruity and oaky styles.
Ray Abercromby, UK
Red: Leoville Las Cases (France) St Julien 1961
White: Chevalier Montrachet (France) Domaine Leflaive 2004
Budget red: Miroglio (Bulgaria) Soli Pinot Noir 2010
Budget white: Domaine de Pennautier (France) chardonnay 2010
Sweet: Chateau D’Yquem (France) 1996
Sparkling: Francis Boulard (France) Comete millesime 1997
Fortified: Nuy (South Africa) Red Musacdel NV
Dud: 2004 Leflaive Clavoillon case (prematurely oxidised)
Thing: Refurbished Peugeot steel bike
Comment: The LLC was a bottle for my father’s 80th. I last had one at his 75th. It was corked! This one was stellar. Other contenders included 1985 Cheval Blanc, 1982 Poyferré, and 2001 Roumier Ruchottes. The Chevalier was painfully young, but also rather delicious. It pips a 2008 Lafon Meusault 2008, which is be some way the best villages level white burg I have had. My dud was a whole case of 04 Leflaive Clavoillon. First 2 bottles were oxidesed. Back went the case! The Soli Pinot is amazing; I have bought 4 cases so far – and drunk all bar one. Thing – my old bike (1998) was totally refurbished this year, and has been a joy to ride. Unfortunately I came off it at 30mph in Dec, so it’s not quite as pristine as it once was…
Tom: Ouch – hope the scrapes and bumps are healing Ray. The 1961 Léoville Las Cases was one of the stand-out wines in a big tasting of 20 wines from the exalted 1961 vintage that I attended a few years ago. In truth it was a variable bunch, but the Las Cases was the star of St Julien for sure.
Daron Fincham, UK
Red: Leoville Barton (France) 1992
White: Sanctus Jacobus (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 1992
Budget red: Aldi Cotes du Rhone (France) 2012
Budget white: Freeman’s Bay (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Sweet: Meloraku (Greece)
Sparkling: Gosset (France) Grande Reserve Brut
Fortified: Graham’s (Portugal) Late Bottled Vintage Port 1992
Thing: Hong Kong
Comment: The 92’s were to celebrate my son’s 21st and amazing Uni results. If a LB from such a poor year can taste so good, what’s it like from a decent vintage? Only one bottle left now of the “Majestic parcel” of MSR from the 90’s. Our budget wines these days are from ALDI. The CdR is as easy to drink as pop! The honey raki was a novelty from Crete. The Charlie was a gift from a student who I helped get out of jail! Very nice. for me and him! Dud: my wife, daughter and just about every female I know these days are drinking prosecco – to me it’s a triumph of style over substance. (I know Tom won’t agree.) Our Thing this year was to return to Hong Kong exactly 25 years after we left our home there. The buildings may be taller, but some things are exactly the same as back then. Happy New Year
Tom: I don’t completely disagree with you on Prosecco Daron. Funnily enough, I returned only yesterday from my 3rd visit to the region, on this occasion accompanying chef Theo Randall who was doing some investigation into Prosecco and food and wine matching. There are some serious and really superb Proseccos around, coming from very distinctive terroirs like the hill of Cartizze, and top wines from serious producers like the Sorelle Bronca, Villa Sandi and Bisol (to name but a few). But that is not to deny that there are oceans of cheap plonk Prosecco too, selling cheaply and being lapped up pretty indiscriminately. Problem is these outweigh the top flight examples by about 100:1
Christophe Richelet, Canada, living in UK
Red: Pierre Gonon (France) Saint-Joseph 2010
White: Clos de la Meslerie (France) Vouvray 2011
Budget red: Celler El Masroig (Spain) Sola Fred 2012 Montsant
Budget white: Fattoria San Lorenzo (Italy) di Gino 2012 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
Rosé: Le Casot des Mailloles (France) Canta MaÃ±ana 2012 Banyuls
Sweet: Kikelet Pince (Hungary) Szamorodni Édes Tokaji 2007
Sparkling: Ocean Eight (Australia) Sparkling Cuvée 2005
Fortified: El Maestro Sierra (Spain) 12y Amontillado
Thing: Ulithorne (Australia) Flamma Sparkling Shiraz NV
Tom: Quite a few wines/producers I haven’t come across before in Christophe’s list. Nice to see a Verdicchio in there: it is one of those grape varieties that has been almost bursting through to more widespread popularity the way that Picpoul or Albariño has in recent years, and can make some fantastic wines when producers take it seriously.
Julian Seers-Martin, UK
Red: Domaine Jean-Louis Chave (France) Hermitage 1983
White: Domaine Leflaive (France) Chevalier-Montrachet 2000
Budget red: J M Voillot Bourgougne Rouge (France) Bourgougne 2009
Budget white: G de Guiraud (France) Bordeaux 2011
Sparkling: Pol Roger Vintage (France) Champagne 1998
Dud: Chateau Magdelaine (France) Bordeaux 1989
Thing: Champagne in general, my eyes are starting to open!
Comment: Most of my serious wine experiences this year have been courtesy of other Wine-Pages members at offlines or the occasional meal out – much less grand drinking at home, for no real reason! I have been more successful in finding some more modest drinking that is perfectly acceptable for 99% of the year, though, which surely contributes. Bizarrely, I have found that most satisfying, irrelevant of the money factor. I wanted to put 1999 Salon courtesy of The Wine Gang fizz masterclass down as my sparkling, but truth be told, I’ve enjoyed Pol 98 so many times this year without fail, that it deserves the award. Such a brilliantly consistent wine. Another great year as part of this community, long may it continue. Oh, and an honourable mention to a 1997 Roumier MSD Clos de le Bussiere very kindly proffered by a new friend late in the year, a true pleasure.
Tom: I think many people have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to really appreciating Champagne as a ‘fine wine’, perhaps because of the social settings in which we normally quaff it. There’s also a fair amount of not very good Champagne about, but some absolutely brilliant ones too and it is one of my favourite wine regions and styles. The Wine Gang’s prestige Champage evening which Julian attended (and which I have just written up on wine-pages) was crammed with superb wines, but I like Julian’s reasoning on his choice of fizz.
Francesco Maule, Italy
Red: Cornelissen (Italy) Magma 2011
White: La Biancara Maule (Italy) Pico 2011
Budget red: Cinque Campi (Italy) Rosso 2011
Budget white: Nana Vins (France) You are so cool 2011
Rosé: Feudo d’Ugni (Italy) Lusignolo 2011
Sweet: La Biancara Maule (Italy) Recioto 2009
Sparkling: Cinque Campi (Italy) Particella 128 2012
Tom: I am presuming your white and sweet choices are from your family estate Francesco? A lovely set of wines from those I have tasted. The Cornelissen wines are always intriguing, and the sparkling winner sounds very interesting too: made from the Spergola grape. Though I have been enjoying the wines of nearby Franciacorta in Lombardy this year, this is one I have not come across.
David McDowall, UK
Red: Petrus (France) Pomerol 1993
White: Comte de Vogue (France) Bourgogne Blanc 2005
Budget red: Poderi Colla (Italy) Barbera d’Alba 2011
Budget white: Mullineux White (South Africa) 2011
Rosé: Domaine des Lambrays (France) La Rose du Clos – 2011
Sweet: Vin de Constance (South Africa) 2004
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Blanc de Blancs 2002
Fortified: Grahams Vintage Port (Portugal) 1985
Dud: Leoville Poyferre (France) St Julien – 1990
Thing: Andy Murray winning Wimbledon
Comment: Looked at last year’s notes and am glad to say a much better year for business. Quite a quiet year on the wine front apart from the magnum of Petrus 1993 which was broached on January 1st. I’m not sure it was the wine of the year but it was certainly a once in a lifetime event!
Tom: oooh, a magnum of Pétrus, eh? Not bad! Indeed some excellent drinking all round here, and another ’85 Port nomination (there have been quite a few this year). Agree on Andy Murray winning Wimbledon too: an huge achievement.
Charles Mutter, UK
Red: Schiantacappe (Italy, Tuscany) Merlot 2009
White: M. Chapoutier (France) Crozes-Hermitage Les Granits 2006
Budget red: Vina Arana (Spain) Rioja Crianza 1994
Budget white: Josef Leitz (Germany) Rudesheimer Magdalenenkreuz 2005
Rosé: La Madone (France, Cotes de Forez) Gamay sur Volcan 2012
Sparkling: Breaky Bottom (England) Cuvee Alexandre Schwatschko 2008
Fortified: Dow (Portugal) 2011 (barrel sample)
Thing: Sigma Foveon sensor
Comment: The Italian wine has only just reached these shores but it’s glorious – took me straight back to the early ’90s and Oddbins’ “Vino da Tavola” discoveries. I picked it because “everything I’ve tasted from Domaine David Clark, from Passetoutgrain to Vosne-Romanee, irrespective of year or age” wouldn’t fit in the field. The Leitz wine isn’t exactly “budget” these days but it was when I bought it! Rosé: spent summer holiday in Provence – still preferred this foot-of-the-Loire one to anything local! I find the Breaky Bottom wine more interesting (and delicious) every time I go back to it – it’s “only” their Seyval Blanc cuvee, I must find their Champagne-variety one soon. Dow 2011: will be v difficult to leave alone once it arrives. Thing: it’s to do with photography.
Tom: glad you explained the ‘thing’ Charles, just as I was reaching for google to find out what the hell it was 🙂 The 2011 vintage Port samples I have tasted really did live up to all the hype, and as you say, seem highly drinkable already.
Mahmoud Ali, Canada
Red: 1978 Campo Viejo, Reserva, Rioja
White: 2003 Giaconda Chardonnay “Nantua” Les Deux, Beechworth, Australia
Budget red: 2005 Trio Infernal, Priorat, Spain
Budget white: 2006 Dr Zenzen Valwiger Herrenberg Auslese, Mosel
Sweet: 2001 Alvear ‘de Anada’ Pedro Ximinez, Montilla
Sparkling: 2003 Roderer Estate L’Ermitage, Anderson Valley, California
Fortified: N/V Lindeman’s ‘Show Reserve’ Oloroso, Z273, Australia
Thing: Sherry, regardless of where it’s from.
Comment: The ’98 Campo Viejo was the overall winner because of its delicacy and maturity but partly because I served it to a person who, many years ago, served the very same wine to another person and I when we were having dinner. It had stiff competition, from both young and old, in the form of a very young ’04 Crasto Vinha do Ponte, Duero, a ’97 Pian del Vigne Brunello, an ’89 La Lagune, an ’89 de la Gardine CnP, and a ’90 Tignanello. The Giaconda is called ‘Les Deux’ because it has about 15% Rousanne blended in and is different from their regular Chardonnay. It was a smart wine, dry, elegant, and focused, almost Burgundian. Younger whites that begged for attention were the ’07 Cambria ‘Catherine’s Vineyard’ Chardonnay, and an ’04 Olivier Leflaive Saint-Aubin 1er Cru ‘Dent de Chien’. My budget wines were based not on what they normally cost but what I paid for them. Both the red and white were heavily discounted, under Â£6, and they became my budget wines because the quantity and price prompted me to open them indiscriminately on an as when needed basis. Basically we over-indulged on these wines. The ’01 Alvear PX was a delectable, decadent, treacly, and rich wine, and the consistency of motor oil, truly a decadent dessert wine. Others in contention were the ’85 Moulin Touchais, a surprisingly complex N/V Tsantali 5 year-old Mavrodaphne de Patras, and a delicate, fine, and complex ’03 Chateau Loupiac-Gaudiet. The Lindeman’s Show Reserve Oloroso was a particular favourite and a throwback to a bygone era when Australian winemakers made glorious ‘Sherry’. They no longer make these treasures which is a shame as they could compete with anything from Xeres, and no apologies given. Runner up to the fortified was the 1992 Warre’s Traditional LBV, a mature but still youthful and tannic port.
Tom: Some fascinating choices in here Mahmoud: I don’t think I know either of your budget wine producers, which reminds me that the liquor control boards in Canada do seem to acquire and stock an extraordinary range of really good wines. Though the sale of wine is so restricted in most of the provinces, Canadian wine lovers don’t really seem to suffer too much because of it…
Athila Roos, based in UK, originally from Brazil
Red: Comte Liger-Belair (France) Vosne Romanee Clos du Chateau 2006
White: Sine Qua Non (USA) Body & Soul 2007
Budget red: Kyros Melas (Greece) Chateay La Tour Melas 2008
Budget white: Lidio Carraro (Brazil) Dadivas Chardonnay 2012
Rosé: Domaine Ott (France) Chateau de Selle 2012
Sweet: Holdvogy (Hungary) Tokaji Aszu “Culture” 2006
Sparkling: Krug (France) Vintage 1988
Fortified: Bodegas Tradicion (Spain) Amontillado 30 anos
Dud: Ch. d’Yquem 1944, broken as one of my sommelier pulled the tray out of the Eurocave and the it fell on the floor. Yquem 75′ and a Coteaux du Layon 71′ also gone on the same accident
Thing: tasting Rare Cask 42.6 in the palace of Udaipur’s Maharajah in India, with the Cellar Master: Pierrete Trichet
Comment: this has been a stupendous year for tasting “unreacheable wines” and my list could include the likes of Petrus 61, La Chapelle 61′, Romanee Conti 59′, JJ Prum’s TBA 76′ (I know, spoiled palate)… but I wanted to show wines that I would actually really like to have a full bottle of, to follow its evolution, to share with friends, to surprise and delight. Those that made the list did all that, hence they deserve this space.
Tom: Athila (who is Head Sommelier at The Arts Club in London) makes a very good point that there are many reasons why a wine might make the Wines of the Year list – it might not always be just about a brilliant tasting moment, but might be about wines that intrigue, that touch your soul in some way, and of course about context. I hope your sommelier survived the Eurocave accident and that you didn’t take the value of those bottles out of his wages 🙂
John A Diver, UK
Red: Vergelegen Cab Sauv(SA) 2001
White: Catena Alta 2005(Argentina)
Budget red: Norton Barrel Select Malbec 2005(Argentina)
Budget white: Peter and Peter Riesling 2011(Germany)
Rosé: Secano Pinot Noir Rose 2011 (Chile)
Sparkling: Pommery Grand Cru (France) 1992
Thing: Winning Seniors Matchplay Golf at my club and Arthur Smith doin Leonard Cohen at the Fringe
Comment: Pommery was to celebrate 500th anniversary of Columbus findin the USA and my son’s 21st…surprisingly delicious I include my latest poem to add some culture to your pagesCharity ShopsYi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop
There’s jist something aboot them ah luv…
Shelves full o’ tat, teapots’n that,
Auld wumins’ hats, black porcelain cats,
Posh table mats, men’s silk cravats..Aye,
Tae me they were sent fae above,
And the ambience jist fits like a gluv.
Yi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop
Yi’ll find wan in ev’ry toon…
Bearsden and Milngavie, an places nearby,
Bonar Bridge and Ardgay, that’s wae up aki,
An’ ah’m no telling a lie, ah’ve seen wan in Skye..
Open fae morning tae late efternoon,
Ah’m in heaven jist pokin’ aroon.Yi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop
Cos by chance yi might find something rerr…
An auld paintin’ by Goya, a CD fom Toya
A study by Coia of the great Tom Mboya,
A book by some Lawya, that’s sure tae annoya;
Ah’m engrossed, and would honestly swerr…
Yi coudn’y drag me oot by the herr!!Yi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop
Cos that where ah met ma dear wife…
She wis castin her eyes on a job lot of Y’s,
Medium size; ah thought …what nice meaty thighs!..
An’ tried some white lies; “Hold it! “, she cries…
“Yi’r the man who could brighten ma life!!”,
A month later we merried in Fife.
Tom: John’s poem might have very little to do with wine, but it has become a Christmas WoTY institution. To get the best from it, may I suggest the use of a map of Scotland, a glass of your favourite tippe, and reading it aloud in your best approximation of a Glasgow accent?
Tim Jackson, UK
Red: Roda I Reserva Rioja 2004
White: FX Pichler Loibner Steinertal Riesling Smaragd Wachau 2009
Budget red: Dom de Chesnaies Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes 2009
Budget white: Chateau Bauduc La Sauve Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux Blanc 2012
Sweet: Chateau Guiraud 2002
Sparkling: Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs GC “Les Crayeres” NV (disgorged Sep 2012)
Fortified: D’Oliveira Madeira Bual 1943
Dud: Taylor’s 30yo Tawny Port NV
Thing: Stroking some tigers
Comment: Where did 2013 go? Fastest moving year to date! But a good one all told, due to ticking off bucket list items unexpectedly: riding the Joux-Plane, going to see England play an Ashes Test (victoriously!), climbing Mont Blanc…and of course actually stroking a bunch of real tigers (and walking them, playing with them, hand-feeding them etc). Some fun on the wine front too, including a great visit to Bordeaux for a 2nd run at the Marathon du Medoc, including great visits to Pontet-Canet, Bauduc, and especially Dom de Chevalier – absolutely fascinating. Lots of fortifieds again this year, and plenty of interesting whites – and a couple of reds that could have made the list: a Corton-Charlemagne, some terroir-driven whites from Allobrogie in Savoie, a Maturana Tinta from Ijalba, Mondot 2010 (lovely at a whopping 15.5%), Clos Windsbuhl VT, and an aged 2000 Baumard Savennieres. Yeah, definitely a good year, however fast it went!
Tom: Old Madeira has proved a real winner this year, with several votes for these ancient wines that I still think can represent really good value for money – for such amazing slices of history as well as often just brilliant wines. I’m presuming the tiger stroking was done under controlled conditions, and not just leaping the fence at your local zoo?
Anders Lind, Sweden
Red: Leoville Las Cases 1994
White: Brocard Chablis 1cru Montée de Tonnerre 2011
Budget red: Jean-Paul Brun Cote de Brouilly 2011
Budget white: Aveleda Alvarinho 2011
Rosé: half-bottles of Deutz Rosé
Sweet: Quinta do Vesuvio 1990
Sparkling: Agrapart & fils, cuvée Terroirs
Fortified: Marqués del Real T, Del Principe Amontillado muy Viejo
Dud: Illness haunting my family
Thing: Tobago over Christmas
Comment: This Las Cases (enjoyed twice) restored my faith in Bordeaux (at least from vintages without overripeness). This Chablis also has a nice price in Sweden, so it could have been my budget white. But even more enjoyable is the year; many 2011 white burgundies are already quite complex at this young age. The Beaujolais on the other hand, was starting to close up a bit recently; needing some cellar years – hand me the 2012 while waiting! Going to Lisbon in Nov. -12 opened my eyes for Alvarinho; this was my summer white. And this Christmas’ extravagance was really reviving; floating in the Caribbean remembering wines as these.
Tom: 1994 was a pretty austere vintage in Bordeaux for some estates, but I agree that when the producers got enough ripeness, it is now drinking really nicely. Not many votes for Vinho Verde this year, despite a lot more people enjoying the ‘serious’ versions made from varieties like Alvarinho and Loureiro, so nice to see one here. Best wishes for health for the family in 2014 Anders.
Mark Carrington, UK
Red: JL Chave Hermitage 1995
White: Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 1998
Budget red: Saint Verny Côtes d’Auvergne Gamay 2012
Budget white: Luneau-Papin / Domaine Pierre de la Grange Folle Blanche 2012
Rosé: Château Pesquié Côtes du Ventoux Rosé Terrasses 2012
Sweet: JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1995
Fortified: Warre’s ’85
Dud: Weight Watchers Cab Sauv/Chenonceau sparkling rosé
Thing: Mont Ventoux climb
Comment: This year there were very strong contenders for top red & whites. The 2nd occasion the Chave was drunk – very authentic Hermitage. The Lovedale was provided by Travis & Alex when we met up recently, after a three year gaps. A series of fine Aussie wines drunk during 2013. Spain was the other country which gave real enjoyment during the year. The Gamay was a local merchant’s recommendation – it’s widely available. The Folle Blanche was cost all of £3.50 – purchased as part of my favourite vineyard first during 2013: Marie made us very welcome. Pesquié Rose was a mistake – should have bought far more as part of our visit. Have drunk the JJP on several occasions -it out another top vintage firmly in the shade. Warre’s ’85 yet again superb. The duds were truly dreadful. A good set of trips this year but first visit to Southern Rhône included a bike ride up Ventoux – an awesome climb.
Tom: having the patience to cellar quality Australian Semillon can be extraordinarily rewarding: many of the wines seem quite simple, light (normally little more than 12.5% alcohol) and lemony fresh, but over a decade or more they can gain amazing complexity. I’ve seen more than one experienced taster put honey, vanilla and spice down to new French oak in older examples, even when they have never seen the inside of a barrel.
Paul Day, UK
Red: Bonneau (France) Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Celestins 1955
White: Coche-Dury (France) Corton-Charlemagne 2002
Budget red: J-P Brun (France) Moulin a Vent 2009
Budget white: Willi Schaefer (Germany) Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett 2001
Rosé: Billecart-Salmon (France) Cuvee Elisabeth 1990
Sweet: Climens (France) 1929
Sparkling: Philipponnat (France) Clos des Goisses 1966
Fortified: Rutherford and Miles (Madeira) Cama de Lobos 1789
Dud: Premox beyond Burgundy: in particular, Clos Ste Hune
Thing: Trying to learn the piano again, something I’d not done seriously since university days.
Comment: The old wines here are chosen as being particularly fresh and correct, whereas my dud is the reverse. With well stored CSH there does seem to be some of the troubling random oxidation (e.g., with 1996) or worrying colour and fast track aging (e.g., 1999). The Goisses was a magnum disgorged in 2008, whereas the Billecart was perhaps more of a surprise, astonishingly fresh for a 1990, a stray bottle bought on release by a friend. If the Billecart is deemed a “cheat” for rose, then the fallback would be Valentini’s Cerasuolo 2010. 1789 Cama de Lobos is the best and best preserved of C18 Madeira in my experience: most genuine C18 Madeira is a little dusty on the finish, often out of balance without the vibrancy of younger examples. Perhaps I should have chosen Overnoy’s Vin Jaune 1988 as the white: it’s certainly been a year for drinking and learning about Jura wine, the splendid WP offline being the highlight. It would have been easy to choose several budget whites, but the great ones that come instantly to mind are all Mosel Kabinetts that could live in the company of any of the other wines listed here – only budget in price but not in quality.
Tom: Another list of delectable classics here – and another ancient Madeira making the frame. Paul refers to ‘premox’, an abbreviation of ‘premature oxidation’, a problem that has blighted many white Burgundies in recent years, but here Paul says it has also affected one of Alsace’s very top white wines.
Alistair Scott, UK
Red: Chateau Beychevelle (France) St Julien 1986
White: Vignau la Juscle (France) Jurancon 2010
Budget red: Niepoort Drink Me Tinto (Portugal) Douro 2010
Budget white: Domaine de Montesquiou Grappe d’Or (France) Jurancon 2008
Rosé: Domaine Turner Pageot 48H Clairet (France) Languedoc 2012
Sweet: Chateau Climens (France) Sauternes 1988
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) 1982
Fortified: Niepoort Senior Tawny
Thing: Old Vic dressing room 2
Comment: Odd list given how little French wine we typically drink and how in 2013 I seem to have enjoyed several sweet wines above their drier counterparts. Huge thanks to all those who bring such lovely stuff to the various offlines and then tolerate my ignorant questions. More generally the year was varied but, family aside, the highlight was spending several months at the Old Vic sharing a dressing room with a couple of excellent raconteurs and drinkers with Kim Cattrall shimmying in most evenings from the next door dressing room. Tough times.
Tom: Those ‘Drink Me’ wines from Niepoort are excellent – the white is always terrific too. I presume Alistair was working at the Old Vic, not just hanging around Kim Cattrall’s dressing room for ‘several months’ in a frankly disturbing fashion 🙂
Duncan McLean, UK
Red: Selvapiana (Italy) Chianti Rùfina Riserva Bucerchiale 1993
White: Grosset (Australia) Polish Hill Riesling 1998
Budget red: Domaine du Cros (France) Marcillac Lo Sang del Païs 2012
Budget white: Un Saumon dans la Loire (France) Sauvignon de Touraine 2012
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck (France) Champagne Brut Réserve NV
Dud: Corked bottles.
Thing: Caffe Lucano, Kirkwall
Comment: Sorry not to fill in all the possible categories: surely I must have been impressed by some rose, some sweet this year? Surely, but cleaving rigorously to notes taken at the time, none of them were deemed worthy of recording then, and I don’t want to boost anything just to fill the gaps. The Champagne too, I admit, was one of few I sampled this year; and just about the only one worth remembering. Luckily, there were quite a few standouts in the reds and whites – enough to make the final choice very tricky. The Bucerchiale was the best yet of a favourite wine (94 was great too, on another occasion.) The Polish Hill is another favourite (just tried the excellent 13), but generally I’ve preferred younger wines to older (pre-screwcap) vintages; the 98 changed all that. Amongst the honourable mentions I see I noted three from Best’s Great Western – Dolcetto 2010, Pinot Meunier Old Vines 2010 and Riesling 2011 – more than any other producer.
Tom: No need to apologise for missing links in your list Duncan: the Wines of the Year should always be good enough to earn their place. Very nice to see a wine from the often overlooked Marcillac region of Southwest France make the grade.
John A Diver, UK
Red: Vergelegen Cab Sauv(SA) 2001
White: Catena Alta 2005(Argentina)
Budget red: Norton Barrel Select Malbec 2005(Argentina)
Budget white: Peter and Peter Riesling 2011(Germany)
RosÃ©: Secano Pinot Noir Rose 2011 (Chile)
Sparkling: Pommery Grand Cru (France) 1992
Thing: Winning Seniors Matchplay Golf at my club and Arthur Smith doin Leonard Cohen at the Fringe
Comment: Pommery was to celebrate 500th anniversary of Columbus findin the USA and my son’s 21st…surprisingly delicious. I include my latest poem to add some culture to your pages:Charity ShopsYi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop There’s jist something aboot them ah luvâ€¦ Shelves full o’ tat, teapots’n that, Auld wumins’ hats, black porcelain cats, Posh table mats, men’s silk cravats..Aye, Tae me they were sent fae above, And the ambience jist fits like a gluv.Yi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop Yi’ll find wan in ev’ry toonâ€¦ Bearsden and Milngavie, an places nearby, Bonar Bridge and Ardgay, that’s wae up aki, An’ ah’m no telling a lie, ah’ve seen wan in Skye.. Open fae morning tae late efternoon, Ah’m in heaven jist pokin’ aroon.Yi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop Cos by chance yi might find something rerrâ€¦ An auld paintin’ by Goya, a CD fom Toya A study by Coia of the great Tom Mboya, A book by some Lawya, that’s sure tae annoya; Ah’m engrossed, and would honestly swerrâ€¦ Yi coudn’y drag me oot by the herr!!Yi know, ah canny walk by a Charity Shop Cos that where ah met ma dear wifeâ€¦ She wis castin her eyes on a job lot of Y’s, Medium size; ah thought â€¦what nice meaty thighs!.. An’ tried some white lies; “Hold it! “, she criesâ€¦ “Yi’r the man who could brighten ma life!!”, A month later we merried in Fife.Tom: John has now established a tradition of an annual poem along with his wines of the year. My only tip is, read it employing your best Glaswegian dialect 🙂selection below added 08/01/2014
Christiaan Jonkers, UK
Red: DRC, La Romanee Conti 2012
White: DRC, Le Montrachet 2011
Budget red: Ponsot, Bourgogne Rouge 2006
Budget white: PY Colin Morey, Bourgogne Blanc, 2011
Rosé: Vilmart, Grand Cellier Rosé 2006
Sweet: Climens, 1947
Sparkling: Krug, NV (with about nine years cellaring)
Fortified: Taylor’s (Port) 1985
Dud: Cheval Blanc 1947
Comment: We had no less than two bottles of the fabled 1947 Cheval Blanc wine in an otherwise excellent 1947 tasting, the first was badly corked and the second just a little past it. As the old saying goes “there no good wines, just good bottles” with older wines.
Tom: serious top-end stuff from Christian, I am presuming those young DRCs (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti) being tasted either at the Domaine or at the annual presentation in London – the hottest ticket in town amongst the wine trade! And never a truer word than “there no good wines, just good bottles.” Storage and condition are so important.
Andrew Crawford, Holland
Red: G Barthod (France) Chambolle Musigny Aux Beaux Bruns 1er cru 2000
White: Vina Tondonia (Spain) Reserva 1993
Budget red: Christophe Pacalet (France) Moulin a Vent 2011
Budget white: McWilliams (Australia) Mt Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon 2005
Rosé: A Christmann (Germany) Spatburgunder Rosé 2012
Sweet: Moulin Touchais (France) 1971
Sparkling: Selosse (France) Initial NV
Dud: So much Bordeaux
Thing: Moving to Europe
Comment: This was the year I discovered dry German whites and reds. none made it to my list but there were many contenders. Lots of great wines tasted in our Amsterdam tasting group but I focused on bottles drunk over a meal or a few days.
Tom: There does seem to be a genuine movement behind German Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) and Austrian too. I’ve tasted some excellent examples and apart from scarcity, the only down side I’ve come across are the generally high prices…
Chris Hambleton, UK
Red: Romanee St Vivant 1959 Lebegue
White: Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet 2000
Budget red: Graham Beck Anthony’s Yard 2009
Budget white: Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012, New Zealand
Rosé: Lanson NV rosé
Sweet: Tirecul La Graviere Cuvee Madame 1995
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 1978
Fortified: Justinos Verdelho Madeira 1954
Dud: Many and varied
Thing: Learning to scuba dive
Comment: I had a long list of red wines of the year to choose from, which included Brunello 97 from lisini, Rioja from LDH and Murrieta, Ch Palmer 1985 and Quinta do Balchoa 1995 from Portugal but it was a boxing day wine that batted them all to one side. Being a negociant bottling it’s impossible to know for certain what the origin of the grapes in this was, but given their association with DRC I would not be surprised if some were from that source. Quite simply a wonderful, complex, elegant, deep, surprisingly vibrant glass of wine. That Burg is also white wine of the year is also a surprise, but it really is the one that sticks in my memory, perhaps because it was so good when I thought it would likely be poxed to kingdom come. The Lanson Rosé, with a year and a half in the bottle post purchase, is a delicious example of the style – I did have a better pink, a Sancerre Rosé, but failed to make a note of it so Lanson it is. Both budget wines deliver a lot for the money, especially when on offer, which for once is always a genuine offer instead of a supermarket special. The DP 1978 was a revelation, a bottle I thought might be past it but opened in a fish and chip shop in Clapham with some good friends and turned out to be the best bottle of fizz of the year. For those who have not come across the Monbazillac wines of Tirecul La Graviere but like their sweet wines, I cannot recommend these guys highly enough. I first had these 6 years ago on a visit to Bordeaux – elegance and balance and sweet delicious fruit. I’m in a very fortunate position working within the wine auction trade but also in training and wine events and I get to handle and taste some amazing wines, but all of the wines on this list are here because of the people who I have enjoyed them with, without which life would not be half as much fun. One of the down sides of buying older wines is of course that sometimes they are simply past it and I shudder to think of what might have been from the likes of Belle Epoque 1975, Contino 1976, Antinori 1983 and so on, which all went down the sink, hence the many and varied duds. The other issue I run across when going through cellars is wines that could be worth a fortune but have declined completely or leaked. We had to throw away 9 bottles of 1969 Krug, a 1947 Haut Brion and a host of what should have been brilliant red burgundies from the 1950’s from one cellar. Depressing. On the up-side, scuba diving rocks, even in a freezing cold lake near Heathrow. A big thank you to all who have been kind enough to share their bottles with me over this last year, but most especially for your excellent company. I’m looking forward to an interesting 2014 and I wish everyone health and happiness for the new year. Cheers!
Tom: More proof of the old adage about no great old wines, only great old bottles. And a timely reminder that the company with whom we share our best wines can be the difference between a good experience and a great one.
Ronald Massard, Thailand
Red: Caymus (USA) Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon Special Selection 1995
White: Domaine de la Sansonniere – Mark Angeli (France) Vin de France Les Fouchardes 2011
Budget red: Clos de Gamot (France) Cahors 2005
Budget white: Ken Forrester (South Africa) Stellenbosch Old Vine Reserve Chenin blanc 2011
Rosé: Domaine Auroy (French Polynesia) Vin de Tahiti Rosé Nacarat 2012
Sweet: Domaine Huet (France) Vouvray moelleux Clos du Bourg 1ere trie 1996
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne cuvee Winston Churchill 2000
Fortified: Bodega Toro Albala (Spain) Montilla Moriles Don PX 1972
Dud: Some new Australian “terroir wines”, soaked into new oak, at twice the previous price but a tenth of the drinking pleasure. Does Grange display a terroir tag?
Thing: Burma – opening fast!
Comment: On the white side, it looks like I was impressed by several Chenins, this year … And my few bubblies were effortlessly dominated by the Pol Roger: maybe it’s the power of imagination, but I always feel a long cigar-smoke after taste in this cuvee. Tight decision for the budget reds: the cumin-hinted Quinta do Vale da Reposa Touriga nacional 2008 was very close. And not to mention a meteorite: China’s Grace Vineyard Deep Blue 2010, with a wow factor coming from the soft silky texture, so delicate … I did not taste a lot of rosés this year, so I chose to give the honours to this out-of-this-world winery set between the ocean, the lagoon and the sky on Rangiroa, in the middle of the South Pacific: and it is harvested twice a year!
Tom: Well, a Tahitian wine is a first, so thanks for that Ronald. From the sound of its location, I think I really must angle for a press trip to see it for myself!
Bob Parsons, Canada
Red: Ch. Pesquie Quintessence 2010
White: Lammershoek Chenin Blanc 2008
Budget red: d`Arenberg The Cenosilicaphobic Cat 2007
Budget white: Verus Pinot Gris Slovenia 2012
Rosé: Bandol Rosé Suffrene 2011
Sweet: Keith Tullock Botrytis Semillon 2004
Sparkling: Roederer Estate N/V Brut California
Fortified: Taylor-Fladgate 20-Yr Old Tawny Port
Dud: Demergenzen DMZ Chardonnay SA 2012
Thing: Drink what I have in the cellar and buy less!
Comment: I had a very good year but still managed to buy more than I drink! Not too many corked wines this time around so happy about that. Whites from the Loire Valley still top my list of annual goodies, plus the dry whites from Spain and Portugal. South Africa is producing some terrific wines so will concentrate here for a while.
Tom: wise words from Bob – in many ways it is easier to buy great bottles than to drink them: somehow the right time, occasion or friends to share them with is elusive… And I think South Africa is a very good place to explore right now with so many new regions and producers.
Jelle Schutte, Holland
Red: Mugnier (France) Le Musigny 2005
White: d’Auvenay (France) Chevalier Montrachet 2000
Budget red: Domane Assmannshausen (Germany) Hollenberg Spatburgunder Trocken 1996
Budget white: Chateau Valtice (Czech Rep.) Vyber Z Hroznu Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Rosé: Jacques Selosse (France) Rose N.V.
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem (France) 2001
Sparkling: Salon (France) S 1996
Fortified: Taylor’s (Portugal) Vintage Port 1994
Dud: Too bad a Petrus 1949 was completely oxidised
Thing: But luckily the Petrus 1947 tasted next to it was perfect, which was confirmed by Rene Gabriel tasting this wine with us. And he could know, because he drank the same wine two days before…
Comment: I feel privileged having tasted so many nice wines in such nice company.
Tom: I think this might be our first Czech nomination for Wines of the Year – but also a rare Blanc made from Cabernet Sauvignon so very unusual. Other than that another fine and classic European list, and another vote for a German Pinot. selection below added 06/01/2014
Dave Emery, Australia
Red: Chateau Beaucastel (France) Chateauneuf-du-Pape 1989
White: Giaconda (Australia) Chardonnay 2010
Budget red: Alpha Box & Dice (Australia) Tarot Grenache Shiraz Tempranillo 2011
Budget white: Belgravia (Australia) Roussanne 2010
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne NV
Fortified: Seppeltsfield (Australia) Grand Tokay NV
Dud: A few under cork
Thing: The Ashes – back where they should be!
Comment: Not quite beating the Beaucastel but definitely memorable were a couple of bottles of La Pialande CDR and two 1973 reds for birthday festivities.
Tom: I’m sure some are finding these digs about the ashes more painful than me 🙂 Nice even-handed choices from the Antipodes and Europe, and some of those old Seppeltsfield fortifieds that I have tasted when in Oz really are mind-blowing.
Mike Grammer, Canada
Red: 2005 Littorai Savoy Pinot Noir
White: 2010 Ramonet Montrachet
Budget red: 2011 Loring Family Russell Vineyard Mourvedre
Budget white: 2012 Prager Hinten den Burg Gruner Veltliner
Sweet: 2009 Chateau Climens
Sparkling: 1989 Krug
Thing: ahead-of-schedule recovery from broken leg from bike accident in September.
Comment: Honourable mention to 1997 Kalin Cellars Potter Valley Sauvignon Blanc (most fascinating wine I’ve had in a long, long time), 1989 Montrose, 2010 Antonin Guyon Corton Clos du Roy, 2010 Small Vines Baranoff Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2001 Chateau La Tour Blanche, 2009 Mugneret-Gibourg Chambolle Musigny Les Feusselottes, 2009 Sojourn Cellars Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir and 2004 Vignobles Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche and Argyros 20 year Vin Santo.
Tom: The Hirsch Vineyard Pinot from Littorai made my own runners-up list this year – brilliant stuff from Sonoma. Glad you are on the mend from the accident too Mike, and take more care in 2014! 🙂
Adam Ventress, UK
Red: Il Marroneto (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 1998
White: Millton Vineyards (New Zealand) Opou Riesling 2011
Budget red: Baricci (Italy) Rosso di Montalcino 2010/11
Budget white: Weingut Hammes (Germany) Riesling Spatlese Feinherb 2011
Sweet: Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey (France) Sauternes 1988
Sparkling: Pierre Breton (France) Vouvray Petillant Naturelle La Dilettente
Fortified: D’Oliveiras (Portugal) Verdelho Madeira Medium Dry 1973
Dud: Spanish wines offline in October which sadly confirmed my frequent general dislike of a lot of Spanish wine. Great food and excellent company as always but the wines were almost without exception, a dismal disappointment.
Thing: Without doubt, a 9 day holiday to Tuscany in April with my wife and children. We had been before but this time we explored more and stayed in 3 locations; Flornece, Siena and the beautiful Montepulciano. For me the trip also included a special day in Montalcino visiting vineyards with friends from Florence.
Comment: It was very tempting to name Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 1997 as my wine of the year, as it was extremely close last year, but was tasted at Christmas, too late to change my already made up mind. It remains probably my favourite ever Brunello. However it will miss out again because I have chosen a wine which has greater personal significance. I visited the tiny estate of Il Marroneto in Montalcino, where we spent 3 hours with Alessandro Mori, a great character who generously gave us a taste of 7 wines from barrel and 3 from bottle. When I asked to buy an old vintage from him, he gave me a bottle of 1998 Brunello and refused payment for it “it’s a gift” he insisted and signed the label “enjoy Adam” I enjoyed it on my 40th birthday a week later, and it was beautiful. Others in my red of the year shortlist included Alessandro’s Il Marroneto Madonna delle Grazie 2008 (which to his delight has just been awarded tre bicchieri), Fuligni Brunello 2008 (another stunning effort from Fuligni), Le Potazzine Brunello 2006, (which stood out at a Brunello/Vino Nobile offline in August in some pretty exalted company), Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Asinone 1999, Salcheto Vino Nobile 2008, Il Paradiso di Manfredi Brunello 2004. The Millton Riesling was a contender for budget white at £12.99, but it frankly deserves top billing as a wine which has become a firm family favourite and delivers at least double its price tag in both utter deliciousness, and considerable complexity. The budget white is from a small Mosel family winery, whose daughter lives in Lancaster so we are lucky enough to be able to sample them. The budget red also comes from our Tuscany holiday, Baricci are another very small artisan Montalcino producer, run by a lovely family who were very welcoming to us in their small modest farmhouse and cellar next to their Montosoli vineyards. The Rosso was 12 Euros from the cellar door, and stunningly good, maybe the best Rosso di Montalcino I’ve tasted. Others in the running for this were La Spinosa Chianti Colli Fiorentini 2008, which is consistently one of my favourite Chiantis and still under a tenner; Cavalchiana Bardolino 2011; and another from out Tuscany trip, Castello di Monteriggioni Chainti Colli Senesi 2010, sadly not available over here, but 6 Euros a bottle from the cantina! The Madeira was a kind gift for my 40th from my tasting group, and it was lovely, with comforting coffee and nutty notes. I’ve waffled enough!… Happy New Year to all on wine-pages and here’s to many great wines and occasions in 2014.
Tom: waffling is permitted – whittering is going too far 🙂 Those Millton vineyards wines are superb – I chose the Opou Chardonnay as my own Budget White this year, but really any in that superb range of biodynamic wines could have been contenders.
Rainer Guntermann, Germany
Red: Chateau Lafleur ( France ) 1999
White: Leflaive ( France ) Batard Montrachet 1996
Budget red: Chateau Peyreau ( France ) 2009
Budget white: Lafon ( France ) Macon Villages 2010
Rosé: Domaine Ott ( France ) Coeur de Grain Chateau de Selle 2000
Sweet: Burklin-Wolff ( Germany ) Wachenheimer Gerumpel Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling 1971
Sparkling: Pol Roger ( France ) Winston Curchill 1988
Fortified: Taylors ( Portugal ) Vintage Port 1960
Dud: Again the prematurely oxidised bottles of white Burgundy and the ignorance of the Burgundian wine establishment
Thing: Our daughter’s growing interest in wine after years of ingnorance
Tom: it must be a lovely thing for a wine-obsessed parent to have their children begin to take a serious interest in wine. And I am sure you will be careful not to be a “wine bore dad” Rainer 🙂
David Crossley, UK
Red: Ch Haut-Brion 1984, Pessac, 1er GCC
White: Bourgogne Blanc 2010, Roulot
Budget red: Cotes du Roussillon “Three Peaks” 2009, Dom Treloar
Budget white: La Bota de Vino Bianco 44 “Florpower”, Equipo-Navazos
Rosé: Cuvee Rubis 2006, Vilmart, Champagne
Sweet: Grand Cuvee TBA “Nouvelle Vague” 2001, Kracher, Burgenland
Sparkling: Clos du Moulin, Cattier (20-y-o bottle), Champagne
Fortified: Old Boal (late 18th/early 19th C), H&H, Madeira
Dud: The Ned Pinot Noir, Marlborough, NZ
Thing: The Wachau – 1st visit, cycling the wine route, October
Comment: The Haut-Brion was our host’s last bottle from a perfect French cellar on our wedding anniversary, lovely thought. Despite the white’s lowly AOC, these Roulots have been stunning. Treloar’s 09 3P really is good, and whilst the Florpower is unusual, it’s equally amazing. The Vilmart is too young, but the pink 06 is built for greatness. The Madeira was just an example of a forumite’s unbelievable generosity at a Medlar dinner last Jan. I have a thing about single vineyard Champagne and the Cattier Moulin is one personal favourite. This well kept old bottle was profound. 2013 has been a year of Kracher so hard to choose, except perhaps on the company with which we drank this one. As someone said so recently, wine’s really about those with whom you share it. In a year where I could have chosen so many “things” (many including travel, wine and food shared with or facilitated by forum members), the beauty of the Wachau stands out. It is a beautiful place to visit.
Tom: I had my first visit to Austria too this year and also loved the place and many of the wines, both red and white. This must be the fourth or fifth vote for one of the Sherries of Equipo-Navazos this year: clearly a house that is doing something very right.
Stephen Coleman, Austria
Red: Sine Qua Non (USA) Poker Face Syrah 2004
White: G Vernay (France) Condrieu Cotes Vernon 2010
Budget red: Diadema (Italy) Sara di Sera VdT Toscana 2012
Budget white: Leitz (Germany) Eins, Zwei, Dry Riesling 2009
Rosé: Jolie-Pitt (France) Miraval 2012
Sweet: Ch. Rieussec (France) 1998
Sparkling: Deutz (France) Rose 2008
Thing: My first WIMPS
Comment: Finally 2013 was the year I met fellow wine-pagers offline, and what a nice lot they are. My debut off-liner and WIMPS were both memorable occasions. Off course, I may get myself barred for nominating Brangelina’s Rose, or a bag-in-box budget red 🙂
Tom: Stepehen – you are one of the few I know who actually got to taste the sell-out wine from Brangelina. To be fair, the wine made at that estate before they took over was always very good indeed, so it is no surpise. You are therefore, officially, un-barred 🙂selection below added 02/01/2014
Andrew Stevenson, UK
Red: Abadia Retuerta (Spain) Selecciòn Especial 1999
White: Fritz Haag (Germany) Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 1996
Budget red: Emilio Bulfon (Italy) Cjanorie 2008
Budget white: Kees-Kieren (Germany) Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett* Auction
Rosé: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) Musar Jeune Rosé 2011
Sweet: Union of Winemaking Cooperatives of Samos (Greece) Samos Anthemis 2000
Sparkling: Duval-Leroy (France) Booths own-label Brut NV
Fortified: Quinta do Noval (Portugal) Late Bottled Vintage Port 1997
Dud: Missing out on SITT because I had a stinking cold
Thing: a) not being unemployed b) Aldi gin for the more flavoured cocktails in which expensive gins are wasted
Comment: A rather thin year, with – averaged out – barely more than one bottle of wine a week. No offlines and (thanks to having colds every time I could have got to one) no organised tastings. Probably the first year that all wines have been from my own cellar. Well, all except for the Musar Jeune Rosé, which is in fact the only rosé I’ve had this year, and was at a Musar dinner with Ralph Hochar at the brilliant Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland, at which we were treated to an exceptional banquet of dishes drawn from the chef-patron’s Lebanese heritage. It’s interesting that all except the Fritz Haag could actually count as budget choices. I have a feeling that this isn’t the first year that the Abadia Retuerta Sel Esp 1999 and Noval LBV 1997 have made my wine-pages Wines of the Year. Over the years I’ve rarely bought any wine in much quantity, but these two have been inspired purchases, even if I say so myself. I’ve no idea what the real value of the Kees-Kieren Auction wine might be: I got it from the much missed French & Logan for the frankly embarrassing sum of £7.50 back in 2005. One of those where you ask yourself “why on earth did I only buy 3 bottles?” until you remember the other 5 cases of other equal bargains bought at the same time and think about boring things like axle weights on the car. The Anthemis is something I originally tasted back in 2005 at the London Wine Fair, and which blew me away then. A little while later, it appeared on The Wine Society’s list: I bought a 6-pack for the almost inconsequential price of £8.92 a bottle, and as an experiment left it in storage with them. Followed by years of statements of my reserves holdings showing this as needing drinking up and past it. I finally relented this year and withdrew it: what a magnificent wine it is, with years ahead of it still. The Booths own label champagne is quite simply the best NV champagne I’ve tasted in a while, and with a series of multiple discounts available on it, I have just returned from clearing my local Booths store’s shelves and fridges of every last bottle at just £17.59.
Tom: I too still have some Kees-Kieren wines in the cellar from the same source, an enterprising Glaswegian duo who drove a transit van to Germany and returned with some sublime wines which they then retailed at knock-down prices. Nice while it lasted, but possibly not the model for a long and prosperous business!
Derek Salmon, Australia
Red: Penfolds (Australia) Bin 7 Coonawarra Cabernet Kalimna Shiraz 1967
White: Pewsey Vale (Australia) The contours Riesling 2001
Budget red: Irvine (Australia) Springhill Merlot
Rosé: D’Arenberg (Australia) Stephanie the Gnome with rose tinted glasses
Sweet: Torbreck (Australia) The Bothie 2011
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Brut Vintage 2002
Fortified: Yalumba (Australia) Shiraz Port 1928
Dud: Wild Duck Creek (Australia) Springflat Shiraz (auction buy)
Thing: Birth Of Son
Comment: 2013 was a great year following the birth of my second child I was lucky enough to attend the Museum tasting at Yalumba in angaston where I got a chance to taste some truly great wines and some not so great. This tasting showed me what good cellaring of wines can deliver in the long term and short term one highlight was the 2002 hill of grace a truly amazing drop. I also began to appreciate pinot for the first time at the tasting trying wines from craggy range and Felton road gave me a great insight into how wine makers can take the same grapes from the same vineyard and produce 2 completely different wines. Other highlights included the opening of the new Adelaide oval in time to see England get beaten, Becoming an Australian citizen and experiencing my daughters first Christmas where she understands what’s happening with Santa this is a feeling nothing can beat.
Tom: Congratulations on your son Derek – quite a few new wine lovers mentioned in this year’s lists! And a reminder with that 1967 red that the best Austrian wines can age as well as any.
Philip Shorten, Australia
Red: Michael Hall (Australia) Flaxman’s Valley Eden Valley Syrah 2011
White: Giaconda (Australia) Estate Chardonnay 2011
Budget red: Calabria (Australia) Aglianico 2010
Budget white: Bannockburn (Australia) Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Sparkling: Deviation Road (Australia) Beltana Blanc de Blancs 2008
Dud: English cricket team
Comment: With Australian wines so out of favour in Old Blighty, I have deliberately drawn up a list that showcases the best I’ve seen from Down Under in the past 12 months. Although the cool, damp 2011 vintage has been derided by many of our pedestrian writers, it produced some wonderfully stylish and elegant wines, often with a European feel. Michael Hall is an Englishman making wines from Barossa Valley, Eden Valley and Adelaide Hills fruit. His 2011 Flaxman’s Valley Syrah is a northern Rhone look-a-like with great depth of fruit. It should age very well. In an age where white Burgundy is so often criticised thanks to premox we should be extolling the virtues of Australian Chardonnay. While some examples are too lean and skeletal, those made from the best sites successfully marry richness and freshness. Giaconda is the nation’s best, and screw-capped examples should develop well for 15 or so years. It is more than a match for any 1er Cru white Burgundy, and fairly priced for the quality level. Calabria Aglianico from Westend Estate is a glimpse of the type of wine me might start to see more of from Australia’s warm inland region. In terms of varietal character, it is ‘on the button’, including Aglianico’s hallmark tannins. Bannockburn Sauvignon Blanc is Australian wine at its best; winemaker Michael Glover draws his inspiration from the great white wines of north-east Italy to produce a wine that is Sauvignon Blanc in name only. A blend of Geelong Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay matured in a combination of new oak puncheons, seasoned barrels and acacia, it is a superb, food friendly white wine. Deviation Road is fashioning some of Australia’s best sparkling wines. Unlike many of our commercial sparklers, they are dry, elegant and refined. Beltana Blanc de Blancs 2008 is the flagship, showcasing Chardonnay fruit with honeyed and nutty maturity. My dud speaks for itself……it’s great to have The Ashes back, but we hoped England would have at least put up a fight…
Tom: being Scottish this cricket thing is all Dutch to me – if you know what I mean 🙂 And a very nice insider’s view of the fast and drastically changing face of Australian wine – something that is very real and still not well enough known amongst the general wine drinking public.
Craig Dennis, UK
Red: La Rioja Alta (Spain) Gran Reserva 904 1994
White: Chateau de Beaucastel (France) Vieilles Vignes Roussanne 1998
Budget red: 2011 Kloof Street (South Africa) Red Blend
Budget white: Montenovo (Spain) Godello 2012
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (France) 2007
Sparkling: Taittinger (France) Comtes de Champagne 1995
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Matusalem Sherry
Dud: Petaluma (Australia) Tiers Chardonnay 1998
Thing: The support of friends
Comment: A tough year with the loss of my mother to cancer after a long battle. Wine became less of a focus in the year. However, some highlights shared with the friends that have provided fantastic support – there is no better way to enjoy wine. An amazing trip to Scotland with the Master Blender from Whyte & Mackay has reignited my love of Malt Whisky. Dud of the year the last of 6 bottles that have all been prem-oxed 🙁
Tom: Craig already knows that I can sympathise with the tough year he has had. But the joy of a really good bottle of wine is just one of the life-affirming delights that can help to restore a sense of normality. I wish you many more in the year to come Craig.
Ian Amstad, UK
Red: Domaine De la Romanee Conti Romanee Conti 1980
White: Ramonet Montrachet 1988
Budget red: Anne Gros Bourgogne Haut Cotes De Nuits 2010
Budget white: Bachelet Monnot Santenay 2009
Sweet: Chateau D’Yquem 2001
Sparkling: Philipponnat Clos De Goisses 2002
Fortified: Graham’s 63 Port
Dud: 1947 Bordeaux
Thing: Facing down adversity, loved ones
Comment: It was a year with plenty of ups and downs. Soon after reaching a personal milestone in May, I fell quite ill, and Maureen was an absolute rock in helping me get through it. So was my daughter Josie who did brilliantly in her GCSEs and is flourishing at her new school Highgate. Happily my wine drinking was only temporarily interrupted. Burgundy scooped up the accolades but a dozen or more Bordeaux would be worthy winners. Notable among them were some I enjoyed around my birthday including the incomparable Chateau d’Yquem 2001, as spectacular as they say, the iconic Chateau Latour 1982, understated but the benchmark for modern claret, the astonishing Chateau Margaux 2010, the most profound young wine I have tasted, and the ultra-suave Chateau Margaux 2001, which is destined to be a modern day version of the transcendental 1959. However, all these were knocked into a cocked hat by the mesmerising, kaleidoscopic, and out-of-body, out-of-mind experience that was Romanee Conti 1980, which we enjoyed on my birthday. It was preceded by an exotic and fabulously rich Ramonet Montrachet 1988. Back in the real world I was impressed by the delicious 2010 and 2011 JL Chavy Pulignys we drank all year. In Pomerol, La Fleur Petrus 1971 and 1998 will remain etched in the memory, while the under-rated Certan De May was consistently outstanding. In the Rhone, Maureen’s early-mid 1980s Jasmin Cote Roties continued to shine brightest, especially the 1984. Meanwhile my love affair with Piedmont remains undiminished. Stand outs included Marchesi Di Gresy Barbaresco Martinenga, 2001 and 2007; Cappellanno’s Barolo Pie Rupestris 1999, and to cap it off a perfectly resolved bottle of Aldo Conterno Barolo Gran Bussia 1974.
Tom: Very glad to hear you are progressing after your mid-year hurdles Ian, and doing so with considerable style with that line up of wines. I have a mixed case of top Sauternes from the fabled 2001 vintage in my own cellar – though sadly not including Yquem.
Ben Fawcett, UK
Red: Felsina Berardenga “Rancia” Chianti Classico Riserva 2007
White: Shaw and Smith Chardonnay 2010
Budget red: Cantina Due Palme Salice Salentino 2010
Budget white: Domaine de la Provenquiere Vermentino 2012
Rosé: Chateau Puech Haut Prestige Rose 2012
Sweet: Selvapiana Vin Santo 2004
Sparkling: Delamotte NV Brut Champagne
Fortified: Grahams Crusted Port bottled 1998
Dud: le Cupole di Trinoro 2009
Thing: Becoming closer to close friends
Comment: Three glass champion Rancia is always good but this sub £40 Classico Riserva (let’s just accept Fine Italian wine is too expensive) never lets go and is a consistent vinous pleasure and wonder. From a Man with strict Catholic wine tastes it takes a lot of umming and arring to place Shaw and Smith this high. Sublime stuff. The wee Salice from Due Palme is just magnificent and is house wine at the equally good Osso Restaurant in Pebbles, not much more expensive than from its source of Villeneuve the retail price a bargain £9.50. I’ve included the magnificent Vermentino from the overperforming Provenquiere for a second time – it is that good. A non Rose fan, the Puech Haut is a serious wine that if nothing else deserves a one off purchase to fox/impress fellow wine geeks. Delamotte – outwith Christmas discounts Grand Marques are £35 plus but all year round at £25 Delamotte is a must if you’ve never tried it. Seriously good Champagne. Finally but not least Grahams Crusted Port. Never tried it before but this bottle was a wonder of gentle complexity and soft figgy fruit. Joyous. Duds. The le Cupole ’09 was a high octane, high alcohol (15%!!!) utter mess – terrible wine. The bar was set high with ’99, ’01, ’06 and ’08 all bottles that deeply impressed me. I will let this one go.
Tom: nice choices. I’m a big Delamotte fan too – same owners, winemaker and some vineyards as the rare and 10x more expensive Salon. Also a big fan of Shaw & Smith, especially their M3 Chardonnay.selection below added 31/12/2013
Otto Nieminen, Finland
Red: Yvon Métras (France) Moulin-à-Vent 2011
White: Pyramid Valley (New Zealand) Sémillon Hille Vineyard 2007
Budget red: Julie Balagny (France) Fleurie Simone 2010
Budget white: Christophe Pacalet (France) Beaujolais Blanc 2012
Rosé: Lammershoek (South Africa) Pinotage CellarFoot Sink the Pink Pinotage 2013
Sweet: Weingut Osberger (Austria) Neuburger Spätlese 1935
Sparkling: Cantina Della Volta (Italy) Lambrusco di Modena Spumante 2009
Fortified: Domaine d’Emile et Rose (France) Carignan tardif rouge NV
Dud: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) Rouge 1995
Comment: I visited Beaujolais for the first time and although I have always loved the wines of the region, the visit really broadened my understanding of the region and confirmed my suspicions that this is perhaps the most exciting and innovative region in France just now. The Métras was simply outstanding – though I usually prefer Fleurie and Morgon and have always found M-à-V a bit hard. Balagny is going to be a huge star in the region and Pacalet’s white was even better than Brun’s! And I always thought Brun made the best white Beaujolais. Pyramid Valley makes a range of excellent wines but the Sémillon was IMO the most exciting of them all: uncompromising and smelling of capsicum so not an easy wine but the most rewarding I have had this year. Neuburger shouldn’t age; except it does. Pink, natural Pinotage? Yes! Awesome wine. I love Musar more than almost anything but the red 1995 has not been kind to me this year. It has always smelled only lactic/yoghurty.
Tom: Beaujolais has been soaring recently, thanks to some excellent vintages, some terrific and serious growers and the thirst of many wine lovers for lighter, leaner, fresher styles of red wine. I drank Beaujolais with Christmas dinner parts I and II this year and am delighted to be presenting a Beaujolais masterclass for the wine trade in Edinburgh early in the new year which I hope will fire up their enthusiasm.
Jeremy Holmes, Australia
Red: 2007 Roumier Musigny
White: 1971 Coche-Boulicault Meursault
Budget red: 2011 Daniel Rion Vosne-Romanee
Budget white: 2010 Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc
Rosé: 2012 Cotat
Sweet: 1937 Chateau Coutet
Sparkling: 1966 Taittinger Comte de Champagne
Fortified: 1958 Quinta do Noval Nacional
Dud: Anything under cork that was oxidised or corked
Thing: Mitchell Johnson
Comment: I like wine.
Tom: Very Francophile (and Portugalophile) tastes from Jeremy, whom I know is a huge Burgundy aficionado. Some lovely aged wines too, and not all from heralded vintages which is often the case…
Alan Smeaton, UK
Red: Domaine Rossignol-Trapet Beaune 1er Cru Les Teurons 2002
White: Louis Jadot Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Referts 2007
Budget red: Terre Des Chardons Marginal, Costieres de Nimes 2012
Budget white: The Wine Society’s Muscadet Sur Lie 2012
Sparkling: Three Choirs Classic Cuvee NV
Dud: Argentine Malbec. I still haven’t found one that has balance and some restraint.
Thing: Seeing Eliane Elias in concert at The Union Chapel, Islington
Comment: I continue to mine the delights of Languedoc- Roussillon for fascinating wines at affordable prices. Burgundy remains for me as infuriating and yet alluring as ever. I’m making a mental note to search out some merchants with a really good listing of Muscadets. I love this wine and have only recently discovered how well it can age.
Tom: Burgundy taking top honours again, but England is showing strongly this year in the sparkling category. I think Argentina does do balanced and more elegant Malbec, but perhaps just not enough of them as yet…
Richard Zambuni, UK
Red: Chapelle-Chambertin (France) Louis Jadot 1989
White: Montrachet (France) Remoissenet 1990
Budget white: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Tio Pepe Fino en rama
Sweet: JJ Prum (Germany) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1994
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne 1998
Fortified: Tesco’s Finest Amontillado (Spain)
Dud: Châteauneuf-du-Pape Clos des Papes (France) Paul Avril 2007
Thing: Cream tea with the family at Mrs Sims in Sibton Green, Suffolk
Comment: I know it’s a little odd to leave out two categories, but I don’t think I drank any rose at all this year, and if I am honest, I can’t think of any truly memorable budget reds either. So, let’s start with the red of the year. We drank this in France and it was memorably good. I think I am being swayed by the fact that it is so hard to find mature Jadot anywhere. I loved this wine with its true grand cru character and a beguiling hint of green on the nose and palate. It was also memorable for the maitre d’ pouring our twelve year old son some of it too. What a first wine to drink. A Clape Cornas 1988 was a close second for the red of the year. On the white front, Keith Prothero’s Remoissenet Montrachet 1990 was a stand out. A lovely deep golden colour, but so fresh and alive and opulent. After so many disappointments with white burgundy this was outstanding. The fact that I chose two burgundies is a reflection of becoming more and more interested in burgundy over the last five years – I think the wine forum has had something to do with that. The Tio Pepe fino en rama has been a go to budget white this year. Darker gold and more complex than the straight fino, this is always a great start to the evening. I had many good wines from Prum this year but the 1994 Auslese was the best – complexity, great length, and no heaviness. I’d admit to not being a great fan of champagne, but the 1998 Pol Roger, drunk twice this year, was delightfully mature, toasty and vinous. Another go-to wine has been Tesco’s Finest Amontillado from Barbadillo. At some points Tesco has almost paid me to take the wine off their hands. This is the real thing; dry, tangy, and delicious drunk on its own or more often with cheese and biscuits. This was also a candidate for budget white. There were two duds which stood out for me – perhaps it is unkind to pick on the 2007 Clos des Papes, but at the WIMPS lunch where it was served I couldn’t even drink it. The high alcohol and the sweet, volatile nature of the fruit in these very ripe modern CdPs makes them thoroughly unappetizing to my palate. I did like old-style CdPs from the 1970s and 1980s, but I no longer want to drink them. The other dud that came to mind was the La Tache 2000 from DRC brought by Edward Bolland to the Burgundy WIMPS lunch – what the wine god giveth he also taketh away – it was very sadly, and very completely corked. Since I always seem to be working and away from the family, anything to do with the family is a good thing. In this case entering the time warp of having cream tea in the orchard at Mrs Sims in Suffolk and watching my son tuck into those delicious scones always brings a smile to my face. Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year to Tom and to all my wine friends.
Tom: and more Burgundy taking the big prizes from Richard. Sneaking a Sherry in as ‘budget white’ is cheeky, but I’ll allow it as it has reminded me I haven’t had an en rama style for ages and must correct that soon!
Christopher Piper, UK and France
Red: Jaboulet (France) Hermitage la Chapelle 1983
White: Bodegas Avanthia (Spain) Valdeorras Godello 2011
Budget red: Domaine des Entrefaux (France) Crozes-Hermitage les Machonnieres 2010
Budget white: Domaine Pinson (France) Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaumes 2009
Rosé: Château d’Oupia (France) Minervois Rosé 2012
Sweet: Joseph Phelps (USA) Late Harvest Riesling 1986
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) Oenotheque 1964
Fortified: Xavier Hidalgo (Spain) Palo Cortado Viejo
Dud: Crystallum (South Africa) Clay Shales Chardonnay 2010
Thing: Completing the Nello Cycle Challenge for the third year in a row!
Comment: A selection of some venerable older bottles and oddities, along with some other hugely memorable bottles from more humble origins. Great memories of sharing them with some wonderful friends as well!
Tom: Lovely globe-trotting selection here from Chris, though it’s interesting that he didn’t like the Crystallum: I think 2010 was the first vintage from this very young company headed up by Peter Allan Finlayson, and whilst I haven’t tasted it, I really liked the 2012 tasted earlier this year.
Charles Taylor, UK
Red: Bilancia (N.Z.) La Collina Hawkes Bay Syrah 2007
White: Chateau Musar (Lebanon) Blanc 1975
Budget red: Awaroa (N.Z.) Waiheke Syrah 2008
Budget white: Lopez de Heredia (Spain) Gravonia Rioja Blanco 2002
Fortified: Treloar (France) Roussillon MO2
Thing: Can Lliure Girona.
Comment: I struggled between two young wines for red of the year: it could just as well have been Achaval Ferrer Finca Altamira 2006. No such problems with the others though. The Musar is an awesome wine, in the words of Mr. Alex Lake “the wine that Haut Brion would like to make”. 2002 may not be the greatest Gravonia, but it’s gorgeous and available in Spain for about Euro 10. Rioja is becoming a brilliant source of VFM whites. The Awaroa has blossomed in the last couple of years and I shall be devastated when it’s all gone. A beautiful refreshing medium weight wine whose style reminds me of Raul Perez’s Bierzos. MO2 is weird bottled marmalade magic. Can Lliure is a folly, a moment of madness I will have to live with, and, eventually, in.
Tom: Good to see an old white wine from Lebanon’s Château Musar take top white spot: these wines are so difficult to appreciate when young, but can age absolutely beautifully. When I visited a couple of years ago the 1972 white was my highest scoring of all the wines I tasted.selection below added 29/12/2013
Sean Hardon, Northern Ireland
Red: La Mission Haut Brion 1996
White: Musar Blanc 1975
Budget red: Bruno Giacosa Dolcetto D’Alba 2009
Budget white: McWilliams Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Hunter Valley Semillon 2005
Sweet: SQN Mr K The Nobleman Chardonnay 2003
Sparkling: Krug NV with 6 years bottle age
Fortified: LA BOTA DE DULCE COLOR 33 Equipo Navazos
Dud: My last bottle of Clos Des Papes Blanc 99 Drat!
Thing: Undoubtedly my Son!
Comment: As most know, a year of change for me. I had a wine cellar taken from me, but as a fellow forumite said, you can always build another one! He was so right. In a sense the “old” cellar was the old me, stuck in Bordeaux. I am keenly developing a new cellar which meets my vinous needs and wallet, and looking forward to the future with my wee man and the good friends of wine-pages who have helped me through the last year. That’s living proof that Wine-Pages Forum is more than just a discussion group. In my five years on the Forum, I have learnt more about wine and got involved in all aspects from the growing of the grapes, through to the drinking of the wine, and would never have thought to go the places I have been and done the things I have done if it hadn’t been for Wine-Pages. Many thanks to Tom for creating such an amazing place.
Tom: Lovely list. That La Mission is superb and I have a couple tucked away, but I also agree with Sean’s philosophy of trying to cellar good Champagnes for a few years rather than buying to drink straight away: it’s amazing how a few years in the cellar can add depth and complexity.
Birger Vejrum, Denmark
Red: Aldo Conterno, Barolo Gran Bussia 2005
White: Negro, Roero Arneis “Gianat” 2009
Budget red: Gigi Bianco, Barbaresco “Ovello” 2009
Budget white: Elio Ottin, Petite Arvine 2012
Sweet: Les Granges, Nus Malvoisie Fletri 2010
Dud: Buying offers in supermarkets.
Thing: Aosta tasting at The Square restaurant, London
Comment: Visiting Aosta Again, has become my second favourite region in Italy … After Piemonte. Lovely to have Brenda and Tim for a visit in September.
Tom: A nice mix of top class, world famous estates and some undiscovered gems in Birger’s list. I have really been enjoying many Nebbiolo wines I’ve tasted this year, and feel it is time I upped my knowledge of Piedmont. A 2014 resolution?
Mark Payne, UK
Red: Faustino (Spain) De Autor 2001
White: Brancott (New Zealand) Chosen Rows Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Budget red: Marques de Riscal (Spain) Reserva 2008
Budget white: d’Arenberg (Australia) The Money Spider Roussanne 2011
Rosé: Digby (England) Brut Rosé
Sweet: Inniskillin (Canada) Cabernet Franc Icewine 2012
Sparkling: Ruinart (France) Blanc de Blanc NV
Fortified: Tesco Finest (Spain) Oloroso 50cl (currently £4.40 a bottle!)
Dud: LIWF – just gone down hill…
Thing: Grand Union Wine Society, Leicester
Comment: A fun year of tasting, but I still feel I haven’t tasted enough 🙂
Tom: Thanks for the tip on the Oloroso Mark! LIWF is London’s trade wine fair that has had troubles and falling numbers and reputation in recent years. I know they have lots of changes in 2014, so let’s see if it can recapture some of its sparkle.
Uillaim Tait, UK
Red: Domaine Faiveley, Musigny, 1996
White: Mount Mary, Triolet, Yarra Valley, 2009
Budget red: Sainsbury’s, Taste the Difference Marzemino, 2011
Budget white: Sepp Moser, Gruner Veltliner, Neusiedlersee, 2012
Rosé: Bollinger, Grande Annee Rosé, 2002
Sweet: Isabel Vineyard, Noble Sauvignon, 2000
Sparkling: Krug, Vintage, 1995
Fortified: Turkey Flat, Pedro Ximenez, Barossa Valley
Dud: Chateau Palmer, Margaux, 2001
Tom: A nice list and a couple here I do not know: it’s funny, but Marlborough’s Isabel estate used to always figure in my list of New Zealand’s best, but for some reason they have slightly dropped off my radar in the past five or six years, so good to know quality is still high, and makes me think I must find and try some of their recent vintages.
Jonathan Beagle, UK
Red: 2010 Blaufrankisch, Carnuntum Spitzerberg, Muhr van der Niepoort (Austria)
White: 2011 Didi Giallo, Tom Shobbrook Sauvignon Blanc (Barossa, Australia)
Budget red: 2012 Las Uvas de la Ira, Vino del Pueblo Grenache, David Jimenez-Landi (Mentrida, Spain)
Budget white: 2011 Ariana Occhipinti SP 68 Bianco , Sicilia Italy
Rosé: 2010 Marsanny Rosé, Bruno Clair (Burgundy France)
Sweet: 2012 Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Late Harvest Riesling (Australia)
Sparkling: 2002 Vignes aux Gamins, Champagne Thiénot (France)
Fortified: Quinta do Vallado 10 year old Tawny Port (Portugal)
Dud: Overuse of gels in cooking! bleh!!
Thing: Ploussard and other wacky red varietals that are delicate and fresh.
Comment: This year hasn’t seen the extravagance of years past but I’ve still had some thoroughly pleasing wines and plenty of good experiences. A new job as head sommelier and floor manager of arguably London if not Europe’s best sushi joint has led me to taste outside my usual circles and send me down my continued path of proving red wine and sushi work beautifully given some thought! Ploussard was discovered, gels were abhorred and I didn’t have to spend a huge amount on wines. Unfortunately time has meant I haven’t been prolific on the OL scene or on the forum much but hopefully 2014 will lead to a change there. My WOTYs are reasonable but eclectic and give so much more pleasure than many great names. Is that not what wine is really about? Pleasure? There were other wines that nearly made it; all of which are a little bit bonkers; I suppose it suits my character and what I strive to do really! Have a great Xmas and New Year!
Tom: The Mount Horrocks sweetie is an absolutely perennial favourite of mine that would be a Wine of the Year contender year in, year out, but I share Johanthan’s enthusiasm for discovering and investigating grape varieties from off the beaten track: we tend to think that Cabernet, Chardonnay and the like have risen to such world dominance because they are intrinsically ‘better’ than more localised indigenous grapes, but it is simply not true: there are other factors that stop Ploussard or Negrette from achieving widespread fame, yet tasting them can be utterly thrilling and really perk up a palate jaded by the ‘usual suspects’.
Garry Clark, UK
Red: Eben Sadie Pofadder, Swartland, South Africa 2012
White: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, Poggio Alle Gazze, Bolgheri, Italy 2011
Budget red: Siete Soles, Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Valley, Chile 20??
Budget white: too many good ones to single out. Been a good year for “budget” whites
Rosé: Domaine Lafond, Tavel, Rhone Valley, France 2012
Sweet: Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, Oremus, Tuscany, Italy
Sparkling: Pommery Les Clos Pompadour, Champagne, France NV
Thing: Going on the Champagne Academy this year!!
Comment: My goodness, how quickly the year has flown by. This years has been a pretty damned good one all in all. I’ve had a bumper year for trips this year, the highlight of which has to be the Champagne Academy trip. But I’ve also had the chance to go back to Piedmont and get a closer look at three top producers – Guiseppe Mascarello, Ciabot Berton and Moccagatta. I also managed to get two back to back trips to the Rhone Valley, the first weekend in the north with Jean-Luc Colombo and the second in the south with Domaine Boutinot and the wonderful Eric Monin and his team. Getting my wine list in the Sunday times/hardens top ten wine-lists in the country was definitely a major morale boost! And the year has been pretty good on the awards and recognition front too. Overall we’ve been mega busy and are on track to end the year on a good high. Looking forward to a fabulous hogmanay which we are kick-starting with magnums of Pommery Cuvee Louise 2000, which if its half as good at the bottles of 2002 Cuvee Louise we poured the other night for a gourmet dinner will be spectacular.
Tom: Congratulations on the career highlights Garry (Garry is sommelier at the excellent Chester Grosvenor hotel) and a nice list – The Pofadder is sensational stuff, part of Eben Sadie’s ‘Old Vineyard series’, all of which are brilliant wines.selection below added 27/12/2013
Paul Benbow, UK
Red: Man O’War (New Zealand) Waiheke Island Dreadnought Syrah
White: Chapoutier (France) Hermitage Chante Allouette 2010
Budget red: Senorio de Nevada (Spain) Syrah/Merlot 2007
Budget white: Lugana (Italy) Ca dei Frati 2012
Rosé: Billecart Salmon (France) Champagne NV rosé
Sweet: Romanti (Spain) Cardenal Cisneros PX sherry
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) La Grande Annee 2002
Fortified: Skillogalee (Australia) Clare Valley liqueur Muscat
Dud: Ioppa (Italy) Nebbiolo 2004
Thing: A perfect afternoon spent on the beach in June at Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye
Comment: I’ve tried to be more adventurous this year but apart from the sherry it all seems to be quite a lot of what I knew I liked at the start of the year. There is a newish wine shop in Birmingham (Loki Wine) with enomatics, and I have been lucky enough to try some great mature classed growth Bordeaux, but I’ve chosen my red as the one that simply gave me the most pleasure. I have finally started enjoying wines from Spain. We had two weeks near Granada in September and I was worried before I went that it was going to be a fortnight of beer but I have enjoyed quite a few whites and discovered a few reds, no Riojas though… I’ve cheated on the rose this year, I think I did last year too, but rather worryingly Champagne was the toughest category to choose this year. The Bollinger edged out the 2002 Pol Roger and the 1995 Charles Heidsieck I tried at The Wing Gang in November. The first glass of the Grande Annee was the single best drinking experience of the year. Thank you Tom, I always enjoy developing my list.
Tom: Nice list Paul. That Charles Heidsieck 1995 Blanc de Blancs was fabulous. I judged the Decanter retailer awards again this year where we awarded “Regional Wine Merchant of the Year” to Loki Wines, so you are lucky to have it!
Peter Wood, UK
Red: Jacques Frederic Mugnier (France) Chambolle Musigny
White: Cullen (Australia) Kevin John Chardonnay 2011
Budget red: Too many to single out one
Budget white: See Budget red comment
Sweet: Moulin Touchais (France) Coteaux du Layon 1983
Sparkling: Jacques Selosse (France) VO Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut
Fortified: Krohn (Portugal) Colheita 1978
Dud: Masi (Italy) Vaio Amaron 2001
Thing: Does my first son count?
Comment: What a year – first full year of owning my own wine shop, my wife’s first book published and our first baby being born in February! There really hasn’t been much time to try a huge number of great wines, but hopefully 2014 will change that. The wine highlight has to have been the Jacques Selosse drunk at Tim Butler’s Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews. It was so good it overshadowed a bottle of Quintarelli – not an easy job! I’ve been becoming a big fan of Krohn ports as well, trying their lovely Colheita 78 and 82.
Tom: congratulations to Peter not only on baby #1 but on opening St Andrews Wine Co. in the town of St Andrews. Agree on the Krohn Ports too – I tasted the Colheita 1998 just a couple of weeks ago and it was excellent.
Scott Friar, UK
Red: Domaine de Trevallon 1990
White: Arnaud Ente Meursault Clos Des Ambres 2006
Budget Red: La Rioja Alta 904 GR 2001
Budget White: Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1986
Sparkling: Selosse Initiale NV
Dud: Bollinger RD 1995
Thing: Spending long afternoon on the company of Juan Marie and Elena Arzak at their restaurant
Comment: 2001 ‘904 may seem an extravagant choice for budget red but when you can drink in Spain for Euro 35 it falls in to that category for me! The Wither Hills is discounted in Coop to £5.49, a great deal!
Tom: yes, maybe ‘Value Red’ rather than strictly ‘Budget Red’, but a very nice choice and love the idea of a long afternoon at Arzak!
Alex Jagger, UK
Red: Drouhin Musigny 1978
White: Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2011
Budget Red: Schiavenza Langhe Nebbiolo 2010
Budget White: Roulot Bourgogne Blanc 2010
Rosé Krug Rosé
Sweet: Chateau Coutet 1973 Double Mag!
Sparkling: Krug Grande Cuvee (1988 base)
Fortified: Taylor’s 1955
Dud: Tondonia 1973
Thing: Easy Peasy this year, the birth of my first child. Awesome.
Comment: I don’t look like a great advert this year for a wide and diverse selection of regions but I’ve ticked off a few of my dream wines! Musigny was a 40th treat at Le Channel, the Coche with friends in Burgundy, I originally put ‘collective Bourgogne Rouge 09’s’ for budget red but went for something last week that was great value. The Roulot is a steal. The optimist in me has put a wine yet to be drunk – the Coutet in Double Mag – to see out 40. I put the Krug GC as it is so rare but as an avid fan of 88’s I had a special experience with Krug 90 this year too. Dud was a corked 73 and without a shadow of a doubt the best.thing.ever. was the birth of my little boy. Here’s to more great wines and experiences with friends next year ;0)
Tom: congratulations on your son Alex – you sound suitably besotted 🙂 I do think a cellar aged bottle of Krug Grand Cuvée is a wondrous thing. I used to buy it a lot in Costco just a few years ago when it could regularly be found for £50. Wish I’d squirreled away more now that those bargain days are over…
David Bueker, USA
Red: 1983 Château Latour Grand Vin
White: 2010 François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre
Budget Red: 2011 Pierre Gonon Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche Les Iles Feray
Budget White: 2012 von Winning Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Trocken
Rosé 2012 Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Luchsinger Vineyard
Sweet: 1989 Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Réserve 1ere Trie
Sparkling: 2002 Bollinger Champagne Grande Année Rosé
Fortified: NV Equipo Navazos Sherry La Bota de Amontillado No 37 “Navazos”
Dud: 2001 Domaine Les Roches (Alain et Jérome Lenoir) Chinon
Thing: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Comment: It was a very full year of wine and life. The Arnot-Roberts Rosé made my list for a second year in a row. If I had to pick one wine from the list it would be the Bollinger Rosé Champagne. Overall the highlight of the year was Torres del Paine. Not much can compete with a scene of such majesty, especially when you can view it from the open bar!Tom: Lots of classics, and lots of terrific choices. I’m aware of Arnot-Roberts from California, and their specialism in unusual grapes for the region (like David’s rosé Touriga Nacional), but haven’t tasted their wines. I do agree on the Torres del Paine – an astonishingly beautiful area.
David Ludlow, UK
Red: Chateau Leoville Las Cases 1996 (France)
White: Chateau de Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes 2007 (France)
Budget Red: Dolcetto d’Alba, Vigna di Grassi 2007, Elio Grasso (Italy)
Budget White: Inama Vignetti di Foscarino Soave (Italy)
Rosé Chateau de Pibarnon 2002 (France)
Sweet: Moulin Touchais 1971 (Loire, France)
Sparkling: Duval Leroy Vintage Brut 2002, (France)
Fortified: De Krans Cape Vintage Reserve 2006 (S Africa)
Dud: 1995 Bordeaux
Thing: My 5 year old son escaping unscathed from bacterial meningitis
Comment: This year has seen some fantastic wines with the final choice somewhat arbitrary in that I could easily have replaced them all with a different wine. Honourable mentions should go to Ch Haut Batailly 1996,Château Rieussec 1989, Les Forts de Latour 1998, Bollinger 1996,Chateau de Beaucastel 2000, Alain Graillot Croses Hermitage 2007, William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2007, Domaine du Petit Val Bonnezaux 1989. All in all a great year and although I seem to have gone for classic regions I have gone left field with a Cape Port. Hope you have a great Xmas and look forward to reading more interesting articles in 2014.
Tom: It seems to be shaping up to be a pretty good year for Loire sweeties getting the nod, and often they are such good value too. Your ‘thing’ certainly puts a year of good wine drinking into proper perspective. A merry Christmas too you too and yes – lots of interesting features planned for the year ahead.selection below added 20/12/2013
Will Cashman, Ireland
Red: Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve 2003
White: Vincent Dancer Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières 2008
Budget red: Giaconda Shiraz Warner Vineyard 2004
Budget white: Equipo Navazos Jerez La Bota de Vino Blanco MMX “Florpower” nâÃ‚Âº44 2010
Rosé: Diebolt Vallois Rose NV
Sweet: 1968 Blandy Madeira Bual
Sparkling: 2000 Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut
Fortified: NV Equipo Navazos Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Bota de Fino “Macharnudo Alto” 35
Dud: Wine pricing, when will it stop going up?
Thing: Fortified Wine – Mainly sherry though.
Comment: With the ever increasing prices for fine wines from classic regions, I moved off piste a little this year and veered down towards Jerez. I found a whole plethora of superb & intriguing wines, and as far as I can recall no duds. A trip to Madeira was my only adventure to a wine region this year, but what a surprisingly enjoyable trip it was. Great place, great people and really superb wines! Again, thanks to cellartracker for making the selection process so easy!
Tom: I like the single(ish) minded focus of Will’s list, and indeed despite rumours of Sherry being the next big thing, it remains perhaps the world’s most undervalued fine wine.
Mark Priestley, UK
Red: Joseph Roty (France) Marsannay Les Ouzeloy 1993
White: Walter Massa (Italy) Costa del Vento Vigna di Timorasso 2001
Budget red: Casa d’Aragona (Italy) Salice Salentino 2010
Budget white: Elio Ottin (Italy) Petite Arvine 2011
Rosé: I Vigneri (Italy) ‘Vinudilice’ Sicilia Rosato 2010
Sweet: Marco de Bartoli (Italy) ‘Bukkuram’ Passito di Pantelleria 2007
Dud: Majority of wines served at the Comte Liger Belair offline
Thing: Harvest at Le Grappin and the Aosta lunch at The Square
Comment: After lurking in the shadows for a while I took the plunge and joined Wine Pages and really glad that I did so. Went to a few of the WIMPs lunches, other offlines, hosted one on Sicily/Sardinia which was a lot of fun and met some fun and interesting people. Plan for the coming year will be to host some more Italian themed offlines and get out to other offlines around the country. The wines I chose on the face of it might seem quite humble but for me they really over delivered when compared with more expensive wines that I have drank this year. The Marsannay was served blind at a get together with fellow Burgundy lovers and everybody thought it yielded from a much more prestigious appellation. It was amazing and still full of life which really surprised me. Timorasso in my view is the most exciting white varietal grown in Piedmont although there is not that much of it planted. This example from Massa had everything. Great aromas, concentration and high acidity to bind everything together; a cross between an aged Riesling and Semillon. The Salice Salentino was a recommendation from a fellow forumite and at. £6.99 was a great value easy drinking wine. Highlights of the year were spending three weeks down at Le Grappin in Burgundy for harvest. Really hard work, plenty of early morning finishes but so much fun and lots of banter. Anybody who went to the Aosta lunch at The Square earlier in the year was in for a real treat. A really delight in terms of wines that I had never tried before and which were not expensive combined with a wonderfully well thought out and perfectly executed menu.
Tom: “offlines” are the real life gatherings of wine lovers who meet on wine-pages’ online forums. These events invariably showcase amazing food and wines and are a much loved part of wine-pages. In the spirit of generosity typical of forumites, offlines regularly throw up “Wine of the Year” contenders from amongst the bottles brought along by participants.
Tom Henderson, UK
Red: Gaston Hochar (Lebanon) Chateau Musar 1983
White: Albert Pic et Fils (France) Chablis Grand Cru ‘Valmur’ 1983
Budget red: Famile Perrin (France) Cote du Rhone Reserve 2010
Budget white: Famile Perrin (France) La Vieille Ferme Blanc 2011
Rosé: Laurent Perrier (France) Rosé Champagne NV
Sweet: Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg (Germany) Mosel Riesling Auslese 1999
Sparkling: Billecart Salmon (France) Champagne Blanc de Blanc 1998
Fortified: Ramos Pinto (Portugal) 10yo Tawny ??
Dud: Vallet Freres (France) Auxey Dureses 2008
Tom: nice to see the pair of 1983 wines make the grade (a lovely vintage in Bordeaux too). Those aged tawny Ports like Tom’s 10-year-old Ramos Pinto are one of my absolute favourite styles – and often great value.
Steven Pritchard, UK
Red: Chimney Rock (USA) “Tomahawk” Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Budget red: Hess Collection (USA) Mount Veeder “19 Block” Cuvee 2008
Rosé: Paul Bara (France) Champagne Special Club Rosé 2006
Sparkling: Taittinger (France) Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2008
Dud: Tasting Champagne in Champagne
Thing: Jura Coffee Machine
Comment: Forgive my lack of white/sweet/fortified: these are wines I’ve yet to access convincingly. To be honest, there isn’t a lot to choose between my red and budget red (they’re both of similar levels of quality, but one is 5x the value of the other). The Tomahawk 2008 is a ripe expression of this Stags Leap vineyard, I really do adore Cabernet from this area, a rare combination of power, complexity, and finesse. This wine really stood out during my January visit. The Hess collection is a lovely wine. A big bold blend from the often rustic Mount Veeder, a real bargain (available in some US supermarkets for < $30). Onto the Champagne: Paul Bara makes the only Rosé Special Club Champagne, and what a wine! The approachable ripeness and pure fruit of the 2006 vintage, aligned with Bouzy power makes for a big mouthful of wine. My best sparkler is a wine that won’t be released for another few years, previewed at the Decanter FWE in November. The sheer zingy complexity of this wine is breath taking – such a baby, but so full of undeveloped extracts that can only get better with more autolysis. Going to be one of the best ever Taittinger releases. Dud was tasting Champagne in Champagne during November. Many growers will stopper an open bottle and let them sit in a fridge forever, so when I get to taste I end up with a mouthful of flat, oxidized wine! 🙁 Jura coffee machine was a 40th birthday present – wouldn’t be without it.
Tom: I visited Chimney Rock in the summer and from my tastings the ‘Tomahawk’ was my favourite wine of the line-up. I think I’ve discussed Jura coffee machines with Steven in one of the many, many (many) threads on the wine forum about ‘best coffee machines’ over the years, and swear by them too – expensive, but superb.
Benedict Jenks, UK
Red: Barolo (Italy) Bartolo Mascarello 1996
White: Batard Montrachet (France) Leflaive 1992
Budget red: Chianti Classico (Italy) Fontodi 2010
Budget white: Chignin Bergeron Les Filles (France) Gilles Berlioz 2010
Rosé: Belguardo Rosato Toscana IGT (Italy) Mazzei 2012
Sweet: Yquem (France) 2004
Sparkling: Selosse (Champagne France) 2002
Fortified: Fonseca (Port) 1970
Dud: Clos de Goisses (Champagne France) Philipponat 1996
Thing: Dior spring summer 2014 show in Paris September 2013
Tom: a nice list, and intrigued that the Clos de Goisses ’96 is the dud: it’s a rare and very expensive top Champagne that Tesco somehow got a load of several years ago and sold at a rock bottom price. It has proved fairly controversial since, so I do wonder about the story behind the wine and the Tesco deal. Thanks for adding a bit of glamour to the proceedings with your ‘Thing’ of the Year Benedict 🙂
Nigel Groundwater, UK
Red: Haut Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 1990
White: William Fevre, Les Preuses (France) Chablis 2004
Budget red: Bernard Baudry, Clos Guillot (France) Chinon 2010
Budget white: La Tour St. Martin Morogues (France) Menetou-Salon 2010
Rosé: Bernard Baudry (France) Chinon 2010
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 1990
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne (France) 1996
Fortified: Graham’s Port (Portugal) 1966
Dud: A few duds (corked, oxidised etc) but none of significance
Thing: Lunch with Susan at Celler Can Roca, Girona, Spain
Comment: On checking back I see that my Red choice is the same as last year and, again, all French except for the Port. However the Haut Brion 90 won’t happen again because it was my last bottle. Last year was my first report in the Wines of the Year and I found it difficult then to make a choice but even more so this time. 3 of my top choices came from a family celebration which will have had some influence although, to avoid another repetition, I included the 90 Rieussec from another occasion instead of the 89 Huet Cuvee Constance although, without the need to make a single choice, I would have placed them equal in terms of pleasure. The Budget wines proved even more difficult and I again had several newer Spanish wines e.g. La Garnacha 2011 Salvaje del Moncayo, 2012 Montenovo Godello Valdesil, Valdeorras in the frame alongside the large [well-established] French and smaller Italian contingents for both white and red until the Baudry Chinon and Minchin Morogues inched past them – probably also a function of where and when and with whom the particular wines were consumed rather than any meaningful ranking.
Tom: Delighted the Haut-Brion showed so well again, as I have still to broach my single bottle of 1990. I also like the fact that Nigel’s WotY are often chosen because of, or at least influenced by, the occasions on which they were drunk. Isn’t that how it should be?