Each Christmas Tom Cannavan announces his Wines of the Year and invites visitors to send in their lists. Wines of the year 2015 is now closed for nominations.
David Harvey, UK
Red: Frank Cornelissen, Magma 2013, Mt.Etna
White: Niepoort, Branco VV 2013, Bairrada (Quinta do Baixo)
Budget Red: Frank Cornelissen, Rosso del Contadino 2013, Mt.Etna
Budget White: Esencia Rural, ‘Legs’ Blanco 2014, La Mancha
Rosé: delicious Jura reds so pale as to appear rosé, despite longer maceration
Sparkling: David Leclapart L’Astre 2011, Champagne (blanc de pinot noir)
Sweet: Tirecul La Graviere, Monbazillac Cuvée Madame 2008
Fortified: Niepoort VP 2007, Douro
Dud: The famous but sensorily and ethically useless wine bandwagon
Thing: Christmas with much family in London and Madrid
My dud refers to my colleague Ben Fawcett’s (both of Raeburn Fine Wines). I really needed an extra category for ‘Beautiful Mature Red’, which would’ve been Le Pin 1994. Perhaps Red does deserve more categories than merely 2x Rosé? Verticals in 2015 included Gravner, Moulin Peylabrie, Tirecul La Graviere, Knoll’s Schutt Riesling Smaragd. Drinking included Gentaz, Verset, Allemand, Chave, Bonneau, Lafarge, Kante, Raveneau, DR, etc. However. Niepoort’s new Bairrada wines, any of them, are that rare thing, sublime debuts. Leclapart has hit new heights. And IMHO, Cornelissen is bottling, in Magma and Munjebel crus, unsurpassable, unique reds. Tom – a little discipline is no bad thing David – doesn’t restricting to just one wine in each category focus the mind? 🙂 I tasted through several Gravner wines in a fine lunch with Raeburn Fine Wines that I have still to write up, but my word what wonderful wines.
Alan March, UK and France
Red: Casa Pardet Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Costers Del Segre
White: Zind Humbrecht, Clos Windsbuhl Riesling 2011
Budget Red: Domaine De Coulet, Brise Cailloux, Cornas 2012
Budget White: Domaine Montesquiou, Terre De France, Jurancon 2014
Rosé: Mas Sibert, Saramon, 2014, Vin De France
Sparkling: Champagne Franck Pascal Quintessence 2004
Sweet: Huet, Vouvray Haut Lieu, Moelleux, 2008
Fortified: Palo Cortado Solera, Cayetano del Pino
Dud: Very expensive Beaujolais that was corked
Thing: Working the full vendanges at Mas Coutelou, a golden experience
Living in France has brought so many rich experiences, spending the whole year learning how a domaine works and the decisions which go into producing great wine. I’ve been able to attend so many tastings and drink so many fabulous wines. The ‘Thing’ could have been one those tastings, such as the 10th anniversary dinner to celebrate Mas Gabriel along with Rosemary George & Andrew Jefford.
The Casa Pardet was one of those moments when wine transports you somewhere special. Magical. The Zind Humbrecht and Huet were tasted at the same event. A visit to Montesquiou was another highlight, so many great wines! Tom – well it sounds like you are absolutely immersing yourself in French culture – in more ways than one 🙂 Thanks for the fine set of nominations.
Russ Sainty UK
Red: Domaine des Rémizières Hermitage Cuvée Émilie 2001
White: Prunier-Damy Meursault 1999
Budget Red: Martin Wassmer Spätburgunder 2012
Budget White: Bellingham ‘The Bernard Series’ Viognier 2015 Western Cape
Sparkling: NV Marc Hébrart Champagne Premier Cru “Cuvee de Reserve”
Sweet: Rivesaltes, Domaine du Rancey 1993
Fortified: Warre LBV 2003
Dud: 2013 Cantina di Verona Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore Torre del Falasco
Thing: Enjoying life’s good things, family and friends, oh and wine.
Another great year of wine. I guess I regret not keeping better notes, the above a only those I remembered to note, as I really wish to enjoy rather than over analyse. The Hermitage is stunning, the Meursault shows how great aged white burgundies can be, a cheap bin end gamble. Riversalte is new to me and a source of great aged sweet wines, I forgot to note the 1962 I tasted so this TWS offering is still very good. Finally, naming a Spatburgunder as WOTY really surprised me. Tom – Germany definitely has some very good Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) though the wines from some of the best estates I have visited do command very high prices. Nice to see and old Rivesaltes in the frame; the serious Vins doux naturels of the south of France so easily overlooked.
Richard Rotti, UK
Red: Barolo Cannubi Ravera 2005 Rinaldi
White: Meursault ler Cru Carmes 2013 P.Y.Colin-Morey
Budget Red: Secatuers Red 2014 A.A.Badenhorst
Budget White: Gambellara ‘Saro’ 2013 Cristina Meggiolaro
Rosé: Roc d’Anglade 2013 Remi Pedreno
Sparkling: Prosecco Col Fondo, Ca’ dei Zago
Sweet: Monbazillac ‘Les Pins’ 2013 Tirecul La Garviere
Fortified: Aged Fino, Bodegas Tradicion
Dud: a dried out Ch.Marbuzet 2000
Thing: Can you all please order something other than Tignanello!
Lots of good wines sub £20 dpd this year so no big hitters in my list. Could have chosen the sublime Taittinger Comtes 05 but went for the ‘value’ option in Zago’s sparkler, which left a fellow taster speechless (bar one 4 letter expletive!). Special mentions: 1) Ch.Moulin-Pey-Labrie vertical – a genuine experience of terroir in Bordeaux (!) and claret that is actually refreshing 2) Adi Badenhorst continues to produce wines that put a smile on one’s face. His Swan tonic water and Caperitif vermouth are utterly delicious too (and pretty damn good combined) 3) Alessandro Filippi (Meggiolaro) aka Merlin, coaxes nuances in wine like no one else. Tom – a lot of producers in your list are favourites of mine Richard, including Badenhorst and Bodegas Tradicion who were also under consideration for my own WotY. The Prosecco sounds the most intriguing though, with so many fairly middle of the road examples about its rare to find one you are genuinely excited about.
Mike Bartlett, UK
Red: Cepparello 2006, Isole e Olena, Italy
White: Anselmo Mendes Parcela Única 2013 – Verde Wine Portugal
Budget Red: Pardusco, Anselmo Mendes, Vinho Verde 2013 Portugal
Budget White: 2014 Kumeu Village Chardonnay, New Zealand
Rosé: Whispering Angel, Chateau D’Esclans, 2014
Sparkling: Hambledon Classic Cuvee, NV
Fortified: La Bota de Manzanilla n°32 (Equipo Navazos)
Dud: England’s performance in the Rugby World Cup…joyless
Thing: Our 7 year old Cardigan Corgi, Delilah
The Cepparello is an old friend and the 2006 was probably opened too early, but with a healthy decant it was life-affirming stuff. Anselmo Mendes’ Alvarinho was a punt on holiday in Portugal and was sensational! His red wine is basically Portugal’s answer to Cru Beaujolais, silky and refreshing and works well even in a British winter… I’ve long been convinced that NZ’s white wine future lies in Chardonnay rather than Sauvignon Blanc and the Kumeu did nothing to dissuade me from that view. Pleased to have my favourite rose in common with you Tom! English wine is better than English rugby at present… Happy new year to you all! Tom – Anselno Mendes makes some amazing Vinhos Verde, white and red – one of the first and best to experiment with lower yields, skin contact, barrel fermentation and so on. And Equipo Navazos do make amazing wines.
Matthieu Guinard, Finland
Red: Weingut Huber, Malterdinger Spätburgunder 2011
White: William Fevre, Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume-Vaulorent 2007
Budget Red: Domaine des Tours, Vin de Pays du Vaucluse 2011
Budget White: Willi Schaefer, graacher trocken Riesling 2014
Rosé: Recaredo, Intens Rosat Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2011
Sparkling: Recaredo, Reserva Particular Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2004
Sweet: Weingut Karl Erbes, Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese*** 2006
Dud: Ernst Triebaumer, Mariental 2009
Thing: Visit at Recaredo in relation to a wine and music project.
This was not the richest year in term of pure figures. But it has been intense, specifically regarding the development of a wine and music concept, which has received very positive feedback…
Also I noticed that I am less and less interested in very big wines. I am more and more enthusiastic about bottles from 15 to 30€. Most of the more expensive brings disappointment. Again at Christmas, Jacquesson 738 or La Moutonne 2002 underperformed. As well as this Triebaumer which needed 7 days to open! I hope for an as exciting year 2016 🙂 Tom – wine and music – always an interesting marriage 🙂 It is true that very expensive bottles, but their very nature, can be the biggest disappointment. Luckily I had some great ‘big wine’ experiences in 2015 though!
Jonathan Hesford, France
Red: Chateau de la Nerthe, CNDP, 2006
White: Simon Bize, Savigny-les-Baune Les Bourgeots 2010
Budget Red: Tebadia, Casar de Burbia Mencia 2007
Budget White: Various Roussillon
Sparkling: Pol Roger, Blanc des Blancs 2008 (I think)
Fortified: Domaine Madeloc Banyuls Rimage
Dud: Several Natural-bandwagon wines
Thing: Gramafon WiFi music streamer
This year I’ve not really bought or drunk many “trophy” wines, I’ve spent a lot of time tasting and understanding the wines of my neighbours in the Roussillon as well as discovering other styles of those grapes in the Northern Rhone and Emporda. I’ve been pretty slack in taking notes so coming up with a top 10 was difficult and I’m sure these are not really my favourite wines of the year.
I discovered Mencia as a variety. Tom – there’s a lot of inexpensive, excellent, but ‘middle of the road’ in the UK, but I think there must be more and more great wines to come from a really interesting variety.
Ronald Massard, Thailand
Red: Ridge (USA) Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains 1991
White: Domaine Dugat-Py (France) Meursault 2006
Budget Red: Domaine Rabasse-Charavin (France) L’Estevenas de Marthe Cairanne 2004
Budget White: Henri Bourgeois (France) La Cote des Monts Damnes, Sancerre 2013
Rosé: Domaine du Deffends (France) Rose des Filles, Coteaux Varois 2014
Sparkling: Krug (France) Champagne 1996
Sweet: Weingut Wenzel, Am Fusse des Berges Ausbruch (Austria) Neusiedlersee-Hugelland 1999
Fortified: Chateau d’Arlay (France) rouge, Macvin du Jura NV
Dud: Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (France), St Emilion 1er grand cru classe 1971
Thing: “We’ll always have Paris” – for light, for freedom, for love, for wine, for friendship, for history, for manners, for spirit, for food, for tolerance, for laughs, for elegance, for humanity, for beauty…
For the sake of difference, I put forward the Ridge Montebelllo 1991 at its peak, rather than an equally beautiful, complex and long Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Santo Stefano di Neive 1987: the latter was my New Year’s Eve red. I visited Lustau in Jerez again last week, but I gave the crown to the lovely red Macvin du Jura so full of red berries. Magnificent and surprising Cairanne, 11 years old but still a young chap. Bad mood: Bangkok’s gentrification brings us a few true gems of restaurants with affordable wines, but also a lot of “franchises”, i.e. cash machines with silly prices and pretentious F&B. Tom – Ronald, I think every major city in the world has more than enough chain restaurants as your describe, but maybe Bangok is even worse, A lovely, eclectic choice of drinking in your list though.
Kevin Courtney. New Zealand
Red: Mills Reef Elspeth Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
White: Marsden Black Rocks Chardonnay 2013
Budget Red: Elephant Hill Syrah 2013
Budget White: Framingham Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Rosé: Rockburn Stolen Kiss 2015
Sparkling: Jacquesson Avize Grand Cru 1996
Sweet: Pegasus Bay Finale Noble Semillon Sauvignon Barrique Matured 2011
Fortified: Morris Old Premium Liqueur Muscat
Dud: Powdery Mildew wiping out 80% of our 2015 Chardonnay grapes
Thing: Lunching with 16 lovely wine-pages forum folk at La Trompette
I thought I would go for a largely NZ list this year, with two notable exceptions. The highlight of my year was meeting several of the fine folk off the forum in August. The Pegasus Bay Finale is the closest I have seen to a Sauternes from outside that region. The unlucky wine to miss out was the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon. Tom – have just completed a vertical of all the Wild Sauvignons Kevin – such terrific wines, so that Marsden Black Rocks must be good!
Dan Fennelly, Ireland
Red: Clos Rougeard, Les Poyeux, Saumur Champigny 2005
White: Borgo del Tiglio, Collio Ronco Della Chiesa, 2009
Budget Red: Domaine Charvin, Cotes du Rhone 2012
Budget White: Domaine la Remejeanne, Les Arbousiers 2013
Rosé: Bollinger ( sorry!)
Sparkling: Bereche, Reflets d’Antan, Champagne
Fortified: M&S’s dry old palo cortado/amontillado/oloroso
Dud: Ireland v Argentina RWC 2015.
Thing: Ireland v France in RWC 2015
A good year wine wise – although I am sure I have made some fairly outrageous omissions. Honourable mention also to Marco Carpineti’s wines from Lazio which I only discovered over Christmas thanks to an Italian friend, and to Telmo Rodriguez’s Gaba do Xil Godello which is my go to wine for parties. Special mention also to my friends in the trade in Ireland from whom I learn so much and to another very generous friend without whom I would not get to taste the posh stuff. 2016 should be a good year, with a new baby on the way just in time to scupper a sly wine-trip with mates for my fortieth – I hope the French economy can absorb the blow! Equally deserving of budget red: Simone Joseph Syrah 2009 ( alas no more) and Fattoria San Lorenzo, Vigna di Gino, Rosso Piceno 2012. Equally deserving of budget white: Leon Boesch ‘Luss’ Alsace Riesling 2012, A&P de Villaine ‘Bouzeron’ Aligote 2012. Equaly deserving of ‘thing’: New Wave Beaujolais, Alsace riesling getting drier. Tom – sneaking in a second fizz as a rosé is reaching epidemic proportions 🙂 Fine choices and I so agree on the outstanding value for money of M&S – and indeed many supermarkets – own label dry Sherries.
Rainer Guntermann, Germany
Red: 1945 Château Latour
White: 1982 Bienvenue Batard Montrachet Domaine Leflaive
Budget Red: 2010 Château Peyreau St. Emilion
Budget White: 2013 Brauneberger Riesling trocken Fritz Hash
Rosé: 2013 Château Miraval
Sparkling: 2002 Dom Perignon
Sweet: 1967 Château Suduiraut
Fortified: 1980 Taylors Vintage Port
Dud: A corked bottle of Bouchards 2004 Montrachet on 31.12.2015
Thing: That family and near friends all survived 2015 in good health
Another great year at Wine-pages with great offlines, possible only due to the boards existence. So far thanks Tom for your hospitality. The change of the board software in December is something I would have preferred to avoid, but these feelings might come with getting old. A good 2016 to everybody and Cheers. Tom – don’t worry Rainer, you will get used to the new forum I am certain of it! But such amazing drinking as ’45 Latour and ’82 BBM from Leflaive will surely ease you through it 🙂
Jim Fulcher, Spain
Red: Vieux Chateau Certan 1990
White: Szepsy Sant Tomas 2010
Budget Red: Castrillo De Duero 2013
Budget White: Ch. Dereszla Dry Tokaji 2013
Sparkling: Billecart Salmon Brut Rose
Sweet: Domaine Weinbach Cuvee St Catherine L’Inedit 2000
Fortified: Tradicion Palo Cortado 30 anos
Thing: My Spanish teacher’s patience
Who would have though my first taste of dry Tokaji would be in Spain and I find I really enjoy this style of white. This year I also found a couple of great restaurants with bargain wine lists and most of the above selections come from them. I do still miss the Edinburgh forum offlines though! Tom – glad life in Spain is treating you well Jim. Fine choices, especially Vieux Chateau Certan, one of my absolutel favourite Pomerol estates – though I haven’t tasted the 1990
Mark Carington United Kingdom
Red: Weingut Keller Bürgel Spätburgunder Rheinhessen 2011
White: Domaine Julien Labet Chardonnay Nature La Bardette Jura 2012
Budget Red: Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cabernet Sauvignon John Riddoch 2010
Budget White: Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Mosel 2002
Rosé: Domaine de la Mordorée Tavel Rosé La Dame Rousse Rhône 2013
Sparkling: Langham Blanc de Blanc NV Dorset (!)
Sweet: Ch Coutet Sauternes 1962
Fortified: Graham’s 1985
Dud: Domaine Jean-Louis Chave St. Joseph 2005
Thing: Trent Bridge 08 Aug AM
There may of been grander wines but these all struck a chord/provided real interest when drunk. Having brought back a bottle of the Wynns back from Oz, I bought more at half price from a UK retailer. Two other champagnes as good, but pricier. A good year for the rosés & fortifieds. Three corked wines in a month, completed by the Chave, which had been saved for the right occasion & then…….Trent Bridge was 40 minutes of fun & redemption for 2001. WotY: Coutet ’62 narrowly pipped the ’59 at The Square off-line inspired by NH. A grand evening. Tom – lots of people seem to have supped lots of delightful old wines this year. Is that the first Jura nomination for the top white spot this year after a huge influx of them last year? Surely a mini-bubble couldn’t have burst for these amazing wines?
Andrew Stevenson, UK
Red: Decugnano dei Barbi, Il Rosso 2011, IGT Umbria, Italy
White: Wine & Soul, Guru 2006, Douro, Portugal
Budget Red: Chain of Ponds, Shiraz Ledge 2000, Adelaide Hills, Australia
Budget White: Quintarelli, Bianco Secco 2005, IGT Veneto, Italy
Rosé: Vilmart, Cuvée Rubis NV, Champagne, France
Sparkling: Castello di Gussago, Franciacorta Nature 2009, Italy
Sweet: Château Pajzos, Esszencia 1993, Tokaji, Hungary
Fortified: L’Abbé Rous, Helyos 2002, Banyuls, France
Dud: Winewise, nothing. Think I’ve even managed to go a year without a corked wine. So I’ll have to say, L’Enclume having gone all corporate when it comes to bookings, which has put me off going after over 10 years of 10 visits a year.
Thing: Levanter and Baratxuri, both in Ramsbottom
Another year of drinking up from my cellar and not buying. Have made sufficient inroads to stock at home, that I was able to take 6 cases out of storage! The Red and the Budget Red actually tie in terms of points, but the Chain of Ponds was just £8.50 in Bibendum’s sale in 2005. The Decugnano dei Barbi Rosso was a wine I drunk at a restaurant, raved about online, the winemaker thanked me, & I put him in touch with the restaurant, which led to him coming over and an evening tasting through his range over dinner. The Quintarelli is pushing it as budget white at £13 (another Bibendum sale purchase!). Levanter and Baratxuri are both under same ownership. Just the best, most authentic tapas/pintxos experience outside of Spain (ok, and Barrafina). Oh, and another ‘thing’ was surviving a major restructure at work. Tom – lots of memories in this list for me Andrew, including a wonderful Fete de Vendanges spent in Banyuls with Abbe Rous a few years ago – more paella eaten and big wines drunk than is good for anybody… I think I even smoked a cigar for the only time in my life!
Natasha Hughes, UK
Red: Isole e Olena, Gran Selezione, Chianti, 2010
White: Coche-Dury, Les Rougeots, Meursault, 2007
Budget Red: Bodegas Monfil, Garnacha, Aragon, 2014
Budget White: Ermita del Conde, Albillo, Castilla y Leon, 2013
Rosé: Exton Park, Britagne Rosé, NV
Sparkling: Krug, NV
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes, 1975
Fortified: Seppelt Fortified, 1964
Dud: A badly corked bottle of Lisagathe from the Chateau du Hureau
Thing: Getting my life back after several years of MW studies.
I’m using some of the regained time to relaunch my website, natashahughes.com. I was lucky enough to take a private client on a trip to visit various wineries in Tuscany. The standout visit was with Paolo de Marchi at Isole e Olena, a man who is remarkable not only for his enthusiasm and winemaking talent, but also for his sheer generosity. We left clutching a bottle of his truly remarkable Gran Selezione 2010, a sublimely elegant wine made in very limited quantities. Paolo opened the bottle specially for us to taste and then suggested we take it with us as the winery was closing for the holidays that afternoon. The Coche-Dury was a very late entry – we only opened the bottle a couple of nights ago. I’ve long wanted to taste Coche-Dury’s wines, and this one lived up to the hype. At just under £7 per bottle (if you buy a case), the Bodegas Monfil was my bargain buy of the year. Loads of personality and incredible concentration for the money. The budget white was great discovery made at a Wine Society tasting. Rich, tangy and textural. Exton Park is a new name on the growing roster of quality producers of English sparkling wine. I was very impressed by Exton Park’s wines, and this rosé caught my attention due to its vivid, perfumed fruit and its precise balance. Sometimes wine is as much about context as it is about absolute quality. There’s nothing wrong with Krug NV, but the reason this was my fizz of the year is that it’s the one I drank at a dinner I gave earlier this year to thank some of the people who helped me through my MW studies. I’m not usually much of a Sauternes fan, but I’m happy to make an exception for the Yquem ’75 which a generous friend contributed to a dinner party I hosted earlier this year. The Seppelt is another context thing. While on the MW trip to Australia earlier this year we visited Seppelt and its centenary fortified cellar. We all got to taste a glass of the wine made in the year that we were born. I’m glad to report that 1964 was apparently a vintage year for MWs, if nothing else! Tom – yes, you can often rely on old Australian fortifieds as suitable anniversary bottles when all from classic Europe fails! Krug Grande Cuvée (tut, tut – don’t let them hear you calling it ‘NV’) never, ever disappoints in my experience.
Emmanuel Barnay, France
Red: Volnay Clos des Chenes 1er Cru Camille Giroud 1985
White: Clos Saint Hune 1981 Trimbach
Budget Red: Côtes du Rhône Villages ‘Haut Brissan’ Domaine Saladin 2010
Budget White: Anjou “à Francois(e)” Thibault Boudignon 2013
Rosé: Côtes du Roussillon ‘Unanit’ Danjou Banessy 2012
Sparkling: Pol Roger Winston Churchill 2002
Sweet: Suduiraut 1947
Fortified: Rivesaltes Rancio 1935 Danjou Banessy
Dud: Corked bottle of Cabassaou 1990 from Tempier, such a shame!
Thing: Well, building my own business this year.
In my business I am representing some amazing growers from France to sell to trade. The big thing for me this year: Coming back to London to find some importers for some of my growers. So much to look forward to after all those years! Tom – congratulations on the business Emmanuel, and on a list that celebrates the best of France, especially the unsung heroes of the Roussillon like that ancient Rivesaltes.
Philip Shorten, Australia
Red: San Leonardo 2006 (Trentino, Italy)
White: Cantina Terlano Pinot Bianco ‘Vorberg’ 2011 (Alto Adige, Italy)
Budget Red: Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda Shiraz 2013 (Victoria, Australia)
Budget White: Hoddles Creek Chardonnay 2014 (Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia)
Rosé: Podere 414 Toscano Rosato 2014 (Tuscany, Italy)
Sparkling: Charles Hiedseick Brut Reserve NV (Champagne, France)
Fortified: Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino 54 (Jerez, Spain)
Having a young 2 year old running around has meant that it hasn’t been a huge year of fine bottles, and I like like to focus on ‘drinkings’ rather than mere snippet tastings. The San Leonardo is an exceptional Bordeaux blend; at least 2nd growth quality at an accessible price. While 2011 isn’t perhaps as good as 2010 for ‘Vorberg’, the 2011 looked very good a couple of months back. Mathilda Shiraz and Hoddles Creek Chardonnay are both exceptional value for the quality. IMHO, Charles Hiedseick is as good as any NV at present. With little by way of ‘bling’ opened, there were no unmet expectations and therefore no duds of note. Tom – I do so agree on the Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve – such a high proportion of older reserve wines in the blend and one of the very best ‘regular’ cuvées from a major house. Great to see a vote for Hoddles Creek too – run by a very good friend of mine and his winemaker brother, and terrific wines.
Anders Lind, Sweden
Red: Hermitage la Chapelle 1989
White: Domaine des Malandes Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir 2007
Budget Red: Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo 2013
Budget White: Godeval Cepas Vellas 2014
Rosé: Marc Hebrart Brut Rosé
Sparkling: René Geoffroy Empreinte
Sweet: Ch. Doisy-Vedrines 2007
Fortified: Willams & Humbert Dos Cortados
Dud: The plan to stop the possibility of blind tasting at Bordeaux Primeurs.
Thing: Changing of the guards at Wine Advocate’s Bordeaux section
Another enjoyable vinous year. Went to France four times this year, two of them including the Champagne region. It’s really gratifying to walk in those famous vineyards, visit ambitious growers and get to taste the wines together with the knowledgeable person who made it. Last time we stayed in Ay, and after breakfast we set out to a refreshing walk before a scheduled 11AM tasting, but after just a few blocks, an Ouvert-sign changed our plans. Instead a half-dozen really impressive Champagnes with René Geoffroy. The Empreintes-cuvée was all from 2008, mainly pinot noir from the village Cumières. Protest against the Primeur tasting plan at jancisrobinson.com, and with Wine Advocate, hopefully the beginning of the end to the “one man, one taste-wine” era? Tom – although Pol Roger, Krug and others are getting plenty of votes, am I also detecting quite a lot more grower Champagnes being nominated this year? It is such a rich area to explore.
Markus Hungerbuehler, Switzerland
Red: Jasper Hill, Emily’s Paddock, Shiraz 2013, Heathcote, Victoria, Australia
White: Zind Humbrecht, Pinot Gris Rothenberg 2013, Alsace, France
Budget Red: Château Tayet, Cuvée Prestige 2011, Bordeaux Supérieur AOC
Budget White: Château Bonnet, 2014, Entre-Deux-Mers AOC
Rosé: Domaine Tempier rosé 2014, Bandol AOC
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck, Blanc des Millénaires 1983
Sweet: Pedro Ximénez “Vieja Solera”, Díez Mérito, Jerez de la Frontera
Fortified: The Sherries of Gutiérrez Colosia in El Puerto de Santa María
Dud: Again cork/TCA-tainted European wines….never heard of screw-cap?
Thing: Wine-trips to the Sherry region and to the Champagne.
1. Tasting (and drinking) aged Swiss Chasselas wines of one of the best producers, Clos du Rocher, accompanied by ripe Gruyère cheese 2. Enjoying Meunier-dominated, very intensive champagnes from Françoise Bedel, like the Origin’Elle extra brut or the Entre Ciel et Terre extra brut with a very long aftertaste 3. Talking to impressive and inspiring personalities, like Jan Pettersen, the owner and managing director of Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla in Jerez, Jérôme Philipon, the “Président du Directoire” of Champagne Bollinger, and Cyril Brun, the new Chef de Cave of Charles Heidsieck. 4. Dinner at Bistrot Au Cul de Poule in Reims. 5. Sherry is just so underrated and particularly aged Sherry accompanies so wonderfully savoury dishes! Tom – two great regions – Sherry and Champagne – to celebrate Marcus. Slowly and quietly great Sherry is finding new devotees here in the UK, but it is still misunderstood by a lot of people, and far from the mainstream.
Chris Welsh, Edinburgh
Red: Chateau Montrose 1989
White: Vina Tondonia Blanco 1996
Budget Red: Guiseppe Nada Barbera 2011 (I think that was the vintage)
Budget White: Boillot Bourgougne Blanc 1999
Sparkling: Vilmart Coeur de Cuvee 1996
Sweet: Lafaurie Peyraguey 1988
Fortified: Taylors 1970
Dud: Leoville Barton 1986 – corked!
Thing: Wine-pages’ forum offlines
The Tondonia Blanco was spectacularly good value from TWS and has really got me hooked on the more oxidative style of wine. I took a punt on the budget white via bidforwine, working out at a little over £4 per bottle but with some significant pox risk. I am 6 bottles down and all have been in good shape. Most of these wines have been drunk with other wine geeks, which could be why offlines are my thing of the year. Much of what I have learned about wine has come through sharing a bottle and hearing what others make of it or picking up wee gems of knowledge over a convivial dinner, which seems to me to be entirely the point of wine. Tom – indeed Chris, and some lovely choices. I’m a huge fan of the Tondonia wines – for those who don’t know them, ultra old-fashioned Rioja, but extraordinarily complex and still affordable.
Red: Lafite Rothschild ’82
White: Dr Loosen Bernkastler Alte Badstube am Doktrberg Spatlese ’85
Budget Red: Foillard Morgon ’13
Budget White: Coche Dury Bourgogne Aligote ’10
Rosé: Dom Perignon Rose ’04
Sparkling: Pol Roger Winston Churchill ’02
Sweet: D’Yquem 1955
Fortified: Taylor’s 1955
Dud: A brutally ruined Potel Bellenum
Thing: A bit more running and exercise in my life, never felt fitter!
Still managing to drink well in Asia including a Paulee style dinner in Bangkok. Most of the treats were in UK or France trips. The Lafite wasn’t even the best wine at the lunch (Vega Sicilia 74) but y’know….Tick! My best whites were all Coche in France but the Loosen gets it for the name and vineyard back story as told by Ernie. Both bubbles were most remembered for the occasion, Pol with Wine forum friends and the DP with a great mate and a kebab! Tom – DP and a kebab – shudder – :). Very nice mature wines in this list, and yes, I’ve been lucky enough to taste that amazing Lafite 1982 twice and it hard to resist nominating a real legend.
Craig Thomson, New Zealand
Red: Te Mata Estate Coleraine Cabernet Merlot, 1998, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
White: Neudorf, Moutere Chardonnay 2014, Nelson, New Zealand
Budget Red: Mission, Reserve Syrah, 2013, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Budget White: Framingham, Classic Riesling 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand
Sparkling: Krug NV Champagne France
Sweet: Forrest Noble Riesling 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand
Thing: Has anyone mentioned the Rugby World Cup yet 😉
I am not tasting as many wines as I once did (hence a NZ bias). Heavily tasting from the great NZ 2013 vintage. Many great wines missed out especially in the reds department. Honourable mentions must go to the perfect 2006 Bell Hill Pinot Noir which topped a top shelf Degustation 40th birthday dinner I put on for my wife, The rich and bottomless 2013 Stonyridge Larose, and magical bottles of 2008, 2010 and 2013 Puriri Hills Pope. However, the experience of a perfect bottle of the great 1998 Te Mata Coleraine, on a deck in the sun, while on holiday in the Hawkes Bay trumps all. It smashed the 2013 which is being touted as the best ever. Tom – Te Mata’s Bullnose Syrah 2010 very nearly made my WoTY list (93 points) and delighted to see one of my favourite wineries, Framingham, celebrated too.
Tim Carlisle, UK
Red: Rossignol Trapet Gevrey Chambertin 2002
White: Dirler Cade Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2008
Budget Red: Conceito Contraste 2011
Budget White: Aldi Exquisite Collection Albarino
Rosé: the only pink I’ve drunk is Nyetimber Brut Rose NV
Sparkling: Bollinger Grande Annee 2004
Sweet: Vin de Constance 2008
Fortified: H&H 15 yo Malmsey
Dud: Any cheap red from anywhere really…..
Thing: Not missing a single event in my children’s life all year.
This has been a year where I’ve started freelance work which has meant very little money to spend on anything other than essentials. It has meant I’ve needed to be rather more creative though – which isn’t always a bad things. Lots of the best wines I’ve drunk have been imported by one of my main employers – so I deliberately haven’t chosen any of them to keep to Tom’s commercial policy as much as I can. Tom – my first year of self-employment/freelancing was 2003 and I have never looked back – finally a boss I can really get on with 🙂 Nice choices and I have still to write up a 12-wine vertical of Vin de Constance I attended in South Africa this year, including the first ever vintage of the wine when it was recreated in the modern era.
Jon Bubb, England
Red: Noel Verset Cornas 1998
White: Domaine des Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon 1997
Budget Red: Charvin Cotes du Rhone 2001 (finally mature and worth the wait)
Budget White: El Borujo Blanco Barrica 2009, (the best wine from Tenerife?)
Rosé: See Matthew Hemming’s entry
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995
Sweet: Zind Humbrecht Gewurztraminer 1990
Fortified: Gonzalo Byass Fino Delicado
Dud: Pol Roger Rose 2004
Thing: Florida (Disneyworld and Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa)
2015 was a year of change but has been lots of fun. On the wine front, I seem to have drunk a raft of fabulous reds from the Northern Rhone and Burgundy. The highlight was the enormous pleasure of attending Richard Zambuni’s fitting homage to Noel Verset. The 98 was the complete wine; energetic, endlessly complex, and with the most perfectly honest vivacity. Baumard’s Papillon is another of my favourites and the 97 was all umami and mature Chenin joy. The non-wine highlight was succumbing to domestic pressure to take the family to Florida and then being smitten by the sheer magic of the Disney experience. Bern’s was the cherry on the cake. Tom – the mention of Bern’s really made me smile: I ate there about 20 years ago when we grabbed a last minute holiday in Florida, and it was an experience in all sense of the word. Do they still have the ‘dessert room’? I secretly loved Disney too, and dinner in their ‘fine dining’ California Grill restaurant with 200 wines by the glass including Yquem and Romanee-Conti, and views over the fireworks and parade. I guess that restaurant is long gone though 🙂
Raymond Tilney, United Kingdom
Red: Lafite 1945, Bordeaux, France
White: Arnaud Ente Meursault Clos des Ambrays 2009 France
Budget Red: Dujac 1969 BM Burgundy, France (Magnum)
Budget White: Lopez de Heredia Gravonia Blanco 2005 Rioja Spain
Rosé: Louis Roederer Brut Rose 2008, Champagne France.
Sparkling: Moët and Chandon 1988, Champagne, France
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1950, Sauternes, France
Fortified: Grahams 1948, Port
Dud: The unusually poor form shown in the Donald Trump thread.
Thing: The offlines and get togethers created by the wine-pages’ forum.
A year of special wine experiences I probably don’t deserve, but the generosity of those hereabouts knows no bounds….. Who would have thought that 1945 Mouton would not even get a nod!
The absolute wine of the year was the 1950 d’Yquem, the dregs enjoyed 3 days later would still easily be WOTY. The champagne get togethers have been amazing The 88 Moët gets the nod as favourite though perhaps not ultimately the best… step up Krug 96. I cheekily slotted the Dujac 69 in as it was unfogettable, and was budget for me as it was generously shared by a fellow forumite, as is so often the way around here. Tom thanks for our forum! Tom – always a pleasure to see how much pleasure wine-pages’ visitors get from participating in our forum and its ‘off-lines’ – real life lunches, dinner and tastings organised by the community. Some terrific mature wines in this line-up.
Charles Taylor UK
Red: Kusuda Syrah 2008 Martinborough New Zealand
White: Jadot Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot Clos de La Chapelle 1993 Burgundy France
Budget Red: Mark Haisma Bourgogne Rouge, various vintages.
Budget White: Goliardo Cos Pes 2013, vino del Atlantico, Galicia, Spain
Sparkling: Guillaume Sergent N.V. Champagne France
Sweet: Heretat Mont Rubi, Advent Sumoll 2009, Alt Penedès, Spain
Thing: Kitchen vacuum packer.
Another great year of tastings and making friends. Thank you wine-pages. As for the selection of wines above, as I never take notes they are from memory, so heavily weighted to the latter months of 2015, and determined more by context, people and food, than any sense of absolute quality. Tom – totally agree that the greatest wine memories are always about context too. Good to see an award going to Jadot and a mature white Burgundy, presumably in perfect condition. For a big negociant, Jadot does make some outstanding wines.
Ben Fawcett, Edinburgh UK
Red: Chateau Angelus 1994
White: Edi Kante Chardonnay Selezione 2005
Budget Red: Poderi Sanguiento I & II Rosso di Montepulciano 2012
Budget White: Niepoort ‘Docil’ Vinho Verde 2014
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Rose 2014
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 2003
Sweet: Chateau Massereau Cuvee M 2005
Fortified: Warres 1983
Dud: Natural Wine Band Wagon
Thing: Marriage – a truly wonderful thing!!!!
My choice of red of the year was tough. Honorable mentions have to go to Dry River’s Lovat Vineyard Syrah ‘Amaranth’ 2006, far and away the best red from New Zealand I have ever tasted. If one is searching for a truly great New World Wine with a sense of place and individuality then look no further, truly magnificent. Lisini Brunello di Montalcino 2006 shows the quality of this producer and the greatness of the DOCG. Champagne Lilbert who have all their vineyards in the Cramant Grand Cru make a spectacular NV and Warre’s ’83 is at the peak of it’s powers at the moment. Tom – congratulations on the wedding Ben. Interesting list, with some great choices. I really do have such mixed experiences with ‘natural wines’, some luminously brilliant ones included. But I do sympathise with the ‘bandwagon’ bit, I must say.
Maureen Kerr, UK
Red: Pontet Canet 1962 (from Afred Tesseron’s cellar)
White: Chateau Grillet 2013
Budget Red: Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2012
Budget White: Domaine Belleville Rully 2013
Rosé: hmm: this year nada!
Sparkling: Selosse 737
Sweet: Yquem 1998
Fortified: Graham’s 1985
Dud: Gilbert & George Macia Batle R-10
Thing: PowerAdd charger for iPhone (terrific life saver at Wimbledon)
Highlights of 2015: 1/ The Bordeaux Wine Enthusiasts’ wine tour of Bordeaux 2015, which was a trip of the decade (notes and pictures displayed on the aforementioned forum); 2/ Sipping Leoville Las Cases 2012; 3/ Introduction to The 2-Daves’ Oddities, and lastly 4/ Imbibing Grillet with Mr Grillet. Tom – lovely choices and so nice that each one clearly comes with a context and fond memories of an occasion as well as the wine.
Paul Anderson, UK
Red: La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2004
White: Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg 2006, Albert Boxler
Budget Red: Pinot Noir 2014 56 Hundred, Nederburg, South Africa
Budget White: Alsace Blanc 2013, Marcel Deiss
Sparkling: Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature, Francis Boulard
Sweet: Gewurztraminer SElection des Grains Nobles 1995, Marcel Deiss
Thing: Becoming a grandad in 2015.
Top red is young but I loved the balance of fruit, leather, acidity and tannin. A very refined and structured wine which will no doubt keep for a couple more decades. No surprise that an Alsace Riesling is my top white. Boxler’s wines are fantastic and this is developing the petrol aromas,still has searing citrus acidity. The 56Hundred became our house red this year – lovely New World Pinot characteristics a real budget £6.99 (compared to our host’s 50 quid). Deiss basic Alsace is a mix of all 13 permitted grapes and is lovely. First taste of Boulard this year and am impressed. Incredibly dry Champagne. Deiss again for an incredible rich SdGN. Tom – OK, ok, I am taking a bit of flak for my ‘budget’ red costing £50, but I really just wanted to include it and think I have to be allowed a bit of leeway 🙂 Nice to see Paul staying true to Alsace – you top choice every year for a decade or more I believe.
Julian Seers-Martin, UK
Red: Rene Engel Vosne Romanee 2002
White: Robert Ampeau et File Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 1971
Budget Red: Manzone Langhe Nebbiolo 2010
Budget White: Clos de Lunes Lune Blanche 2013
Sparkling: Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2005
Dud: Robert Ampeau et File Meursault 1er Cru Charmes 1971(Bottle 2!)
Thing: The new Wine Pages
Okay so forgive the blatant plug at WP as a thing, but the Herculean effort by effort involved must be recognised by me somewhere, so my thanks to my team and most of all Tom for the opportunity and his very considerable efforts. Winewise, it’s been a pretty good year, and one of those ehich epitomised catching the right bottle in the right place – my WOTY are quite modest in comparison to others that I’ve had, but these were easily winners. Tom – yes indeed, Julian’s company SM-Technologies developed the new wine-pages site and did a terrific job – but he is so right, it was a helluva lot of work for all to translate 20 years of material into a whole new format 🙂 Burgundy and Piedmont are really doing well this year – not surprising given they are ‘wine geek’ regions, but the showing this year seems particularly strong.
Duncan McLean, Scotland
Red: Domaine Berthoumieu, Madiran Vitis MCM 2011, Gascogny, France
White: Howard Park, Chardonnay 2007, Great Southern, Australia
Budget Red: Earl Fleury, Bourgueil Cuvée Prestige 2011 , Loire, France
Budget White: Peter Lehmann, Wigan Riesling 2005, Eden Valley, Australia
Sweet: Domaine Madeloc, Banyuls Solera Hors d’Age, Roussillon, France
Fortified: Valdespino, Manzanilla Deliciosa en Rama NV, Xeres, Spain
Dud: Cullen, Chardonnay 2001, Margaret River, Australia:
Thing: Hostellerie de la Bouriane, Gourdon, Lot, France.
Runners up for red of the year were Plantagenet’s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from WA, and a perfect 2007 Chambolle-Musigny from Gerard Raphet. The Madiran squeezed them out because it’s new to me – and completely seductive. The Banyuls could equally have been my Fortified wine of the year, but that would’ve meant losing the Manzanilla, which I was loath to do – so for these purposes I class it as Sweet (and it was sweet.) I think this is the third year I’ve classed Fleury’s Bourgueil as my Budget Red; this month I’ve put my money where my mouth is and imported it into the UK for the first time, for sale exclusively in my shop in Orkney. Cullen is my dud because two long-treasured bottles were oxidised and undrinkable. Thankfully, Cullen switched to screwcaps soon after this. Hostellerie de la Bouriane is a modest but perfectly-run inn. Excellent old-fashioned cooking, and an exciting wine list: ancient and obscure SW bottles, at amazing prices. Tom – nice to see a Banyuls scoop a trophy, as the wines don’t often get the recognition they deserve. And thanks for the tip on the Hostellerie – noted..
Ian Amstad, UK
Red: Leoville-Lascases 2012
White: Musar 1975
Budget Red: Bart Marsannsy, various
Budget White: Rully, various
Sparkling: Krug ‘Finesse’ – NV but based around 2002
Sweet: D’Yquem 1998
Fortified: Fonseca 1977
Thing: Burgundy, Mont Ventoux and Bordeaux tour in May
Cycling up Mont Ventoux from Bedouin, followed by our Bordeaux tour, encompassing 22 estates, was ‘immense’. We had royal treatment at Pontet Canet and Pichon Baron, and the PC 11 and PB 10 smoked derrière; but LLC 12 raised the bar even higher. White burgundy remains my staple but Musar 75 edged out Neudorf Moutere 14 for the white trophy. Other highlights were 1985 claret and Palmer at La Trompette and the ‘in Verset Veritas’ tribute dinner, where Noel’s wines were triumphant. Happy New Year to one and all. Tom – not sure if that dud was a specific bottle or an unsatisfactory experience as part of your Bordeaux tour, but more intrigued by Krug ‘Finesse’. As a self-confessed Krugaholic I have never heard of a cuvee called Finesse – perhaps you can use the comments function to tell us more!
Jonathan Beagle, Cambridge, UK
Red: 1986 Spottswoode, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, USA
White: 2011 Aliot Blanc, Chene-Bleu, Rhone, France
Budget Red: 2013 Albarese, Fattoria di Sammontana IGT Toscana, Italy
Budget White: 2014 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Arcadia, Italy
Rosé: 2014 Eugenio Rosi, Rose Riflesso Rosi, Emiglia-Romagna, Italy
Sparkling: 2002 Gramona Gran Reserva, Cava, Penedes, Spain
Sweet: 1995 Fortmeister Geltz-Zilliken, Saarburger Rausch Auslese, Germany
Fortified: 2011 Morgadio do Caicada, Vintage Port, Dirk Niepoort, Portugal
Thing: Remembering what it is like to create a wine-list for a restaurant (work-related)
It has been a fun year with lots of loveable wines; running the Cambridge University Wine Society has led to a lot of great drinking, and work consulting on wine lists for people has also allowed me to taste a lot of great wines both reasonably priced and extravagant. The choices were hard as there were a number of candidates but was the surprise of the year was how cheap the Arcadia is and should be about 3.5 times more expensive based on its quality, and the Gramona outshining a DP 2005. A good year with plenty to choose from, but in the end, this list just shaded it. Look out for the Albarese which is all flower-shop on the nose! Tom – I almost made a cheap little Italian red – a Biferno from The Wine Society – my budget red of the year; it is still a country that can do remarkable complexity and authenticity at very affordable prices.
Richard Zambuni, UK
Red: Cornas Noel Verset 1998
White: Domaine de Chevalier blanc Pessac-Leognan 1999
Budget Red: Isidoro Polencic Pinot Nero Collio 2012
Budget White: Vina Gravonia Rioja Blanco Lopez de Heredia 2005
Rosé: Vina Tondonia Rioja Rosado Lopez de Heredia 2000
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck Champagne Blanc des Millénaires 1995
Sweet: Chateau Climens Barsac 1988
Fortified: D’Oliveiras Madeira Reserva Boal 1958
Dud: Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2000
Thing: Visiting Bill Amos’s secret porcini location in Norfolk early one autumn morning.
Well, it was another good year for drinking superb wines. The surprise, on reflection, is that a red burgundy didn’t make wine of the year, but the Verset Cornas was a clear winner – I think I can still taste it now. The dud, a very public one at an offline, was unsurprisingly a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, the source of so many misses. And then Lopez de Heredia sneaks in with two ‘best ofs’ – such an outstanding producer of complex and distinctive wines. Tom – those Lopez de Heredia Riojas are extraordinary, and although not cheap, represent amazing value for the complexity and sheer authenticity of the experience. And fresh-picked wild porcini too…
David Ludlow, UK
Red: Château Pichon Baron Longueville 1989 (France)
White: William Fevre Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons 2011 (France)
Budget Red: Couly Dutheil Clos d’ Echo Chinon 2005 (France)
Budget White: Tahblik Marsanne 2005 (Australia)
Rosé: Château La Sauvageonne Rose 2014 (France)
Sparkling: Pol Roger 2002 (France)
Sweet: Ch Bastor Lamontagne 2001 (France)
Fortified: Taylors Late Bottled Vintage 2009 (Portugal)
Dud: Fortunately none
Thing: Our new black labrador Monty
Where to start? The year has been great for tasting superb wines. The red was tasted on an evening of vertical tasting between the 2 Pichons and surprisingly (to me at least) the Barons won it easily. It has been great for exploring my love of Italian wines although none ended up on my list. Great wines tasted from Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece and Georgia. The budget red was a superb example of Cab Franc, just beating the Condado de Haza Crianza 2011. Finally, the Tahblik was superb! Tom – congratulations on Monty’s arrival. Great wine choices, and I agree on those old Tahbilk Marsannes: just wonderful wines and so surprising in many ways.
Bryan Collins, UK
Red: Gaja Langhe Nebbiolo Sperss 1996 (Piedmont, Italy)
White: Ocean Eight Verve Chardonnay 2011 (Mornington Peninsula, Australia)
Budget Red: Henri Jouan Chambolle-Musigny 2008 (Burgundy, France)
Budget White: Vincent Dauvissat Chablis 2008 (Chablis, France)
Rosé: Bérêche Campania Remensis Extra Brut NV (Champagne, France)
Sparkling: Camille Savès Cuvée Anaïs Joliecoeur 2008 (Champagne, France)
Sweet: JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Lange Goldkapsel 2001 (Mosel, Germany)
Fortified: Valdespino Moscatel Viejisimo Toneles NV (Jerez, Spain)
Dud: Pol Roger 2002 (Champagne, France)
Thing: Cotteridge Wines
Burg gets both Red and White budget spots, but neither overall. Surely the wrong way around! Maybe, but at least it shows that even in Burgundy, value can sometimes be found. Gaja: unfashionable these days but this was proper, even traditional-tasting, “Barolo”, drunk over a lovely dinner. The Ocean Eight is not truly the finest white drunk this year but it comes to mind as the biggest over-achiever. Bérêche and Savès: my fave Champagne producers right now. Cotteridge: UK’s best beer shop! Tom – Great choices. A visit to Dauvissat was one of my 2015 highlights, but how nteresting that your ‘dud’ was David’s fizz of the year in the entry just above you. I am guessing your bottle must have been out of condition rather than just under-performing?
Keith Prothero, UK
Red: Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1978
White: LeFlaive Montrachet 1999
Budget Red: Lismore Syrah 2014
Budget White: Carsten Migliarina Chenin 2013
Sweet: Climens 1950
Dud: A corked bottle of La Mission Haut Brion 1982 that I had bought especially for close friend as present
Thing: The new Wine-Pages!!
Another very good year of drinking wine and socialising with oenophile friends,most of whom I have met through the Wine-Pages/Forum. Very difficult to pick a red wine of the Year but the 78 La Chapelle just shaded some other extraordinary wines and I would love to own a few bottles. I love the new Wine-Pages so many congratulations Tom to you and your technical support team It has taken the Forum into the 21st Century with a bang!! I especially like how easy it is now to post photos and videos. Tom – many thanks for the kind words on the new wine-pages: exactly how I hoped long-term visitors would embrace the changes. The ’78 La Chapelle still one of my great wine experiences, and I have friends (hopefully looking in!) whom I know still have a couple of bottles tucked away 🙂
Derek Salmon, Australia
Red: En Billat Poulsard – Les Parcelles rares
White: D’arenberg Dry Dam Reisling 2008
Budget Red: Wynns – Cabernet Shiraz Merlot 2013
Budget White: Shaw and Smith – Sav Blanc 2015
Rosé: Teusner – Salsa Rose 2015
Sparkling: Rockford – Sparkling Black Shirax
Sweet: Banyuls Altragou – 1988
Fortified: Seppeltsfield 1915 Tawny
Dud: Penfolds Bin 620 – 1966 (corked)
Thing: New job and Promotion to Matre Rotisseur within Chaine des Rotisseurs
Visiting the UK was a highlight of sorts this year and dining at Fera at Claridges and Le Manoir in particular stood out, allowing the sommelier to choose the wine to match the food was really interesting and talking with them about the process of selecting. Also being at the Chaine des Rotisseurs Junior Sommelier competition world finals and seeing the skills was a real treat. A new job based in the Barossa valley with a restaurant Reno in 2016 will keep things busy. Tom – congratulations on the successful move down under Derek. A lot of wines I don’t know here, but I still recall a visit to Seppeltsfield and tasting those old tawnies as one of my best ever winery visits.
Dave Stenton, UK
Red: Domaine Fourrier, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint-Jacques 2007, Burgundy, France
White: Vincent Dauvissat, Chablis 1er Cru ‘La Forest’ 2007, Burgundy, France
Budget Red: Suertes del Marqués, ‘7 Fuentes’ 2012/13, Tenerife, Spain
Budget White: López de Heredia, ‘Viña Gravonia’ 2005, Rioja, Spain
Rosé: López de Heredia, ‘Viña Tondonia’ 2000, Rioja, Spain
Sparkling: Krug, Grande Cuvée ‘Finesse’, Champagne, France
Sweet: Florido Hermanos, Moscatel ‘Pico Plata’ 1920s-’30s (est.), Cadiz, Spain
Fortified: Equipo Navazos, Palo Cortado La Bota Punta 48, Cadiz, Spain
Dud: Fontodi, Chianti Classico 2010, Tuscany, Italy
Thing: First visit to Piedmont and an unforgettable guided tour with David Berry Green
My top red and white were both drunk at L’Univerre in Bordeaux with fellow wine-pages forumite, Alex Rychlewski; several of the others were contributions at Oddities and other offlines. Thanks to all for their company and generosity. Tom – I see you’ve chosen the same white wine of the year as me, albeit in a different vintage. Great classic choices all-round, and Sherry doing well so far this year.
Tom Blach, UK
Red: Chambolle Musigny Derriere La Grange 2001, Louis Remy
White: Corton Charlemagne 2008,JF Coche-Dury
Budget Red: Dolcetto D’Alba 2013, GB Burlotto
Budget White: Bourgogne Aligoté 2014, Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey
Rosé: “Corail” 1990, Château d’Arlay, Côtes du Jura
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Nicolas-Francois 1995
Sweet: Huet Cuvee Constance 97, at least as much for sentiment as actuality
Fortified: One of the several great madeiras I have tasted, I can’t possibly choose.
Dud: I can’t think of one, which is good.
Mostly difficult choices, and indeed some not made, but the rosé and in particular the white were very easy. It is quite infuriating that Coche-Dury really do make the best white wines. Tom – great Burgundy and other choices. Put your faith in the best producers…
Michael Keating, UK
Red: Chateau Pichon Lalande 1985, Bordeaux
White: A.Mellot, Edmond 2006, Sancerre
Budget Red: Remelluri, Lindes de Remelluri, Labastida 2011, Rioja
Budget White: Domaine Sauveroy, Clos des Sables 2009, Anjou
Sweet: Chateau Pierre-Bise, L’Anclaie 2003, Coteaux-du-Layon
Fortified: Taylor’s, Quinta de Vargellas 2001, Porto
Dud: Chateau Leoville Barton 1986, Bordeaux
Thing: 40th Anniversary weekend in Bourgueil with all the family. Tom – congrats on the anniversary. We had our 30th this year so several of my 1985s were consumed – not Pichon, but Bollinger, Krug and Cheval Blanc!
Mark Priestley, UK
Red: San Giusto a Rentennano, Percarlo 1999 (Tuscany, Italy)
White: Pierluigi Zampaglione, Fiano “Don Chisciotte” 2010 (Campania, Italy)
Budget Red: Pietradolce, Etna Rosso 2013 (Sicily, Italy)
Budget White: Vincent Dancer, Bourgogne Blanc 2013 (Burgundy, France)
Rosé: Ca dei Frati, Rosa dei Frati 2014 (Lombardy, Italy)
Sparkling: Paltrinieri, Lambrusco di Sorbara “Radice” 2013 (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
Sweet: Hatzidakis, Vinsanto 2003 (Santorini, Greece)
Dud: Breaking the same toe twice in one year!
Thing: Visit/Harvest on Etna
Came across some really exciting wines this year; three of which made my shortlist above. Some really enjoyable events particularly the Tuscan Raiders and Oddities lunches. The big highlight for me personally was my first visit to Etna which is just an amazing landscape/wine region. Got to do some harvest work which is always fun, particularly the day spent at I Vigneri in an old palmento foot crushing grapes and dancing to old Italian folk music whilst keeping hydrated with lots of Etna Rosso! Tom – couldn’t agree more on Sicily Mark, especially Etna. Haven’t worked a harvest there, but have eaten and drunk my way around the vineyards 🙂
Matthew Hemming, UK
Red: Chateau Palmer 1961, Margaux, Bordeaux
White: Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres 2005 Domaine d’Auvenay, Burgundy, France
Budget Red: Full range of Moulin a Vent wines from Richard Rottiers, Beaujolais, France
Budget White: Various Aussie Riesling
Sparkling: Champagne Charlie 1985 Charles Heidsieck, Champagne, France
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1995, Sauternes, France
Fortified: Leacock 1808 Malvasia Solera, Madeira
Dud: Corks wrecking wine – especially Hill of Grace 1986
Thing: MW tour of Australia
It’s a pretty decent year when you’re tossing up between 61 Palmer and 99 DRC Richebourg for best red but the Palmer had to win it. All sorts of good stuff has happened – chiefly selling my flat and moving into the ‘Ayatollah’s’ but I should also remember helping my MW mentee pass her RP and qualify. The Oz trip has to win here though as it is a wine site, I guess. Best part of that were a couple of Melbourne dinners where we drank indecently good Burgundy. 95 Yquem poured from imps was unreal. Tom – I’m sure you’ve tasted the odd palatable rosé? 🙂 I have the d’Yquem 1989 lined up for Christmas, so looking forward to that.
Paul Day, UK
Red: Dujac Bonnes-Mares 1969 (magnum)
White: Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne 2008
Budget Red: J-P Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Moulin-a-Vent 2009
Budget White: von Schubert Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Kabinett 1997
Rosé: Roederer Cristal Rose 2002 (magnum)
Sparkling: Phillipponnat Clos des Goisses 1964 (magnum)
Sweet: Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Beerenauslese 1971
Fortified: Terrantez 1862 “Bought for JWEB at birth of PGB and bottled by CJZ in 1977”
Dud: Roulot Meursault Perrieres 2007 (premoxed)
Thing: Attempting to learn a very little about Sake!
The Terrantez is perhaps the freshest version of the famous H.M.Borges 1862: Graham Blandy bought three demi-johns in 1948 from Borges and this private bottling was subsequently done for the Blandy family. Roulot is a recent example of the continued problems due to premox. Perhaps it is unfair to single out one producer, but it continues to be a very serious problem. I know very little about Sake, but it has been fun trying to learn something, a bit like finding out about wine again. Tom – I’m guessing that might be the same Coche-Dury shared with Tom Blach above? If not, don’t my visitors drink impressive stuff 🙂 A Blandy’s 20-year-old Terrantez is lined up on my tasting bench – just released and about £35 per 50cl from Wine Society and others.
Nigel Groundwater UK
Red: Vieux Chateau Certan 1998, Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
White: Francois Raveneau Valmur, Grand Cru, 2008, Chablis, France
Budget Red: Blau, 2012, Monsant, Spain
Budget White: Andre Dezat Domaine Thibault Pouilly Fume, 2012, Loire, France
Rosé: Henri Bourgeois, La Cote des Monts Damnes, 2012, Sancerre, Loire, France
Sparkling: Bollinger, RD Extra Brut 1995, Champagne, France
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec, 1998, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
Fortified: Warre Vintage Port 1997, Portugal
Dud: No really horrid wines; just the very occasionally ruined ones
Thing: A Fitbit to check on my target of over 10000 steps/day
All except the Raveneau were, as usual, from my cellar with friends and family but this time I forced in another non-French wine in addition to the Fortified. Of course the budget categories [less than £10 paid and more than a case consumed] could have been filled by several different reds and whites and while they would have been mainly French, there were others from e.g. Spain, Italy, and South Africa that could just as well have been entered. Tom – I had two separate trips to Chablis this year and it rekindled my belief that the best of these might be the best Chardonnays of all.
See Tom Cannavan’s Wines of the Year