Visitors Wines of the Year 2018

Each Christmas Tom Cannavan announces his Wines of the Year and invites visitors to do the same. See Tom’s 2018 awards here.

Entries for Visitors’ Wines of the Year 2018 are now closed.


14/01/2019 – Final lists of 2018 added

Phil Wilkins, UK

Red: 2016 Domaine La Barroche Chateauneuf-du-Pape Pure
White: 2015 Sadie Family Kokerboom
Budget Red: 2007 Spinifex Esprit
Budget White: 2012 Chateau des Tours Cotes du Rhone Blanc
Rosé: 2008 Vina Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva
Sweet: 1989 Marcel Deiss Riesling Altenberg de Bergheim SdGN
Fortified: NV Equipo Navazos La Bota de Pedro Ximenez No. 36
Extra choice: Domaine Jones eclectic set of wines along with the Eben Sadie Old Vine Series, more expensive/rare but like Katie Jones wines are brilliant stuff at their price points.
Dud: Taylor’s 40 Year Old Tawny
Thing: London Broncos beating Toronto Wolfpack 2 – 4 in Toronto to win the last ‘Million Pound Game’ thus gaining promotion back to Super League for the first time since 2014.
Comments: Lots of decently aged bottling this year, Chateauneuf in particular with its diversity, intrigue & the delight which it almost always gives. The auction bought knackered looking Marcel Deiss SGN was incredible stuff & perhaps my WOTY even over the Barroche Pure. I’ve drunk many new South African wines (whites in particular) with Spain being another excellent hunting ground with some incredible value complex red wines. The Languedoc has also been a success area with some superb wines although I’ve focused mainly on whites (rather like South Africa). Incredibly I’ve not touched a drop of sparkling wine this year so not missed. I’m now looking forward to getting back on the road with my season ticket holding daughter to support the mighty London Broncos, home & away, with the visits to Super League grounds not seen in 5 years. I’m thankful we’re not fair-weather fans. Long live Rugby League!!! Many thanks for the forum Tom & also congrats on your great success this year. Thank you Phil, and lots of good drinking indeed. I’m a huge fan of those Eben Sadie wines, and agree some of the whites are the superstars of an excellent range – Tom

Paul Anderson, UK

Red: La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2004
White: Santenay ‘Les Hâtes’ 2014, Vincent & Sophie Morey
Budget Red: Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Carneros Pinot Noir 2014
Budget White: Domaine Michel Viré-Clessé Tradition 2014
Rosé: Various Provence/Cassis Rosés
Sparkling: Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ Grand Cru magnum (disgorged July 2015)
Fortified: Graham’s 1977 Port
Comments: I love LRA 904 as its a true expression of GR Rioja and has never disappointed. The Santenay Blanc is me dipping my toe back into the white Burgundy pool but buying at a lowish level to drink within the first 5 years of the vintage. This Santenay was excellent and reminded me of the style I used to enjoy. The Mondavi was a bin-end bargain and is a lovely expression of new world PN. Domaine Michel usually makes my list as the wines are consistently excellent from year to year whether they are the oaked or unoaked versions, or single vineyard. They age nicely as well. I can’t remember which rosés I had but they were just right for sitting around the pool with a typical Provençal lunch in 30°C sun. I am a big fan of GC champagne and the BdeB is my favourite. Its usually from bottle but the magnum was even better. I have had the Port in my cellar for over 20 years and decided to open it last year. It was in perfect condition and easily the best Port ever. Shame I only had that one bottle. I agree on the La Rioja Alta wines Paul: still so good and so impressive (2005 is a cracker) but I was also really impressed by their sister property Torre de Oña last year – Tom

Nigel Groundwater, UK

Red: Chateau L’Evangile 1998, Pomerol, Bordeaux
White: Louis Michel, Grenouilles GC 2004, Chablis
Budget Red: Jadot Chateau des Jacques, Clos du Grand Carquelin 2005, Beaujolais
Budget White: Domaine de la Pepiere, Chateau Thebaud 2009 Muscadet
Rosé: Henri Bourgeois Cote des Monts Damnes Rosé 2012, Sancerre
Sparkling: Taittinger BdeB, Comtes de Champagne 1995, Champagne
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec 1998, Sauternes, Bordeaux
Fortified: Taylor’s Quinta de Terra Feita 1988, Vintage Port
Extra choice: Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier Rubis Brut Rose, Champagne
Dud: Bollinger RD 1995, Champagne
Thing: Major reduction in wine buying
Comments: With the partial exception of the 1995 Comtes at New Year, 2018 was not a year of great vinous excitement for us although all the wines I have chosen were very enjoyable and all from our cellar – and all were challenged by at least three alternatives with the final choices being a toss of a dice. Obviously all are from the Old World as indeed were the vast majority of the closest challengers from Italy, Spain and Germany although there were a few Kiwis and Safas too. Still looks like bloomin’ good drinking to me Nigel! – Tom

David A. Harvey, UK

Red: Luca Roagna, Barbaresco Crichet Paje 2008 & 1988, Italy
White: J.L. Chave, Hermitage Blanc 1994, France
Budget Red: Old-vine Beaujolais Villages from all the top growers
Budget White: Goisot, Bourgogne cru Gondonne 2014, France
Sparkling: Beaufort, Champagne Ambonnay Grand Cru Les Clos 2013, France
Sweet: Dal’Forno, Vigna Sere 2003, Italy (recioto style)
Fortified: Niepoort Vintage Port & Bioma Vintage Port 2017s, Portugal
Extra choice: Soldera 2010, Italy
Dud: Bacterial mousiness, aka gout de souris in overly natural wines
Thing: My son
Comments: Another – all too fast – year in wine. Most interesting tastings of the year were all the top estates’ Etna 2016s. Brunello 2013 horizontal. Domaine de la Cote and Sandhi 2016s. Gaja’s 2015 crus. Vodopevic 2015s. Stella di Campalto & Felton Rd in vert. First tasting with Hiyu. Bordeaux GCCs in 2016 – the best vintage of the century (albeit due to subtler winemaking rather than perfect weather.) Sea urchins at RAW LA. Etc. But this mouse thing however has gotten out of control. The world is seemingly full of lesser naturalistas who think that zero &/or late-added SO2 is better than low, timely additions. They want to sell it to anyone, and a lot of it goes to Denamark and Japan – if we are lucky, that is. (There’s a Shakespeare quote on this…) It is as avoidable, and such poor taste, as oaky reds, or OTT alcohol. Sulphites are not the enemy: poor wine quality is. Couldn’t agree more on the mousiness comments David; more than once I’ve been tasting a ‘natural wine’ that just reeked of decaying rodent, whilst others around me seemed to have no problem with it. I thought it must just be my low tolerance/threshhold, but then also wondered if there was a wisp of ‘Emporer’s New Clothes’ about these specific wines – Tom

David Band, UK

Red: Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2014
White: Famille Hugel Riesling 2013
Budget Red: Nicosia Etna Rosso 2015
Budget White: The Ned Pinot Gris 2017
Rosé: Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage NV
Sparkling: Bollinger Grand Annee 2007
Sweet: Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2013
Fortified: Quinta do Noval Nacional vintage 2000
Extra choice: Camel Valley Brut NV
Dud: Low alcohol wine – wasn’t expecting too much, but very disappointing. Better with a bottle of Shloer!
Thing: Learning to play piano/keyboard
Comments: I didn’t get to as many wine events as I would have liked in 2018 so hopefully that will change in 2019. Would like to buy some more good quality bottles to fill up my wine fridge too! Very nice choices David, and some absolute classics in that list, from the Vin de Constance to the Nacional (of course!) but also things like the Hugel Riesling – great drinking (well, apart from the non-alcoholic ‘wines’) – Tom

Darren Band, UK

Red: Chateau Musar 2006. My first Lebanese wine
White: Gaintza Txakolina 2017.
Budget Red: Vigneti Del Salento ‘I MURI’ Negroamaro 2016
Budget White: Leaf Plucker Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Rosé: Domaine Robert Serol Turbullent Sparkling Rosé
Sparkling: Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2009
Sweet: Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2013.
Fortified: Quinta Do Noval Nacional
Extra choice: Rubis chocolate wine
Dud: Girlfriend’s brother’s girlfriend who thinks I’m a snob for liking “proper” wine made me try Echo Falls Summer Berries. The experimental Chardonnay we made with grapes from dad’s greenhouse and labour provided by the kids tasted better!
Thing: My new Gretsch 5230T guitar. Not really wine related, but playing with a few glasses…great fun!
Comments: The Txakoli was from my first visit to a foreign winery. Combined with the locally sourced fish from Getaria, It’s made me a new Txakoli fan. As a relative newbie to red wine, the budget red was definitely the first that made me think “mmm”. My budget white was £5.99 from Aldi, for a lovely South African wine. Bargain! The rosé was bought after seeing it on The Wine Show. Ridiculously bright pink and very tasty! The best word to describe the Vin de Constance…”wow”. So lusciously sweet. Delicious. The Nacional was tasted at the Edinburgh Festival of Wine as part of the port masterclass. The whole tasting was great for someone who hadn’t tried many ports before. Finally, the Rubis is a fortified Tempranillo with a very noticeable indulgent chocolate taste. Yum. A brilliant year where I experienced lots more wines, festivals and tastings. Already looking forward to next year’s Edinburgh Festival of Wine! We need to arrange a jam accompanied by some bottles! (I’ll keep practising!). Fabulous to hear your enthusiasm fairly leaping off the page Darren 🙂 I also love the diversity of the list, so I think you are exploring the world of wine pretty damned successfully – though maybe not that Echo Falls 🙂 A jam? Now there’s a thought! – Tom

10/01/2019

Andy Leslie, UK

Red: Meo-Camuzet, Clos Vougeot 2001 (Burgundy)
White: Weinbach, Gewürztraminer Cuvee Laurence 2015 (Alsace)
Budget Red: Onepio Valpolicella Ripasso 2015 (Veneto)
Budget White: Pieropan Soave Classico 2016 (Veneto)
Rosé: No!
Sparkling: Coffele Soave Recioto Spumante 2012 (Veneto)
Sweet: Gini, Recioto Di Soave, Col Foscarin 2011 (Veneto)
Extra choice: Speri, Recioto Della Valpolicella, La Roggia 2015 (Veneto)
Dud: My right knee.
Thing: Wonderful growing season and great garden crops of fruit & veg.
Comments: I’ve put classics down as best red & white and in both cases there are plenty of other contenders from Burgundy (red & white), Piedmont (red), Spain (R & W) and USA (R&W), but what the rest of my list shows is my growing enthusiasm for all things Veneto. The sparkler from Coffele is a proper oddity – dried-grape sweet sparkling wine with some bottle age. Hugely enjoyable though! I love the reds too when ripe fruit and sour acid cut combine to mouthwatering effect. There will be more this year. As I get increasingly bored and alienated by pricing in the classic regions it’s great to feel the excitement of finding the new and interesting. I had a lovely sweet Reciotto di Soave not so long ago that was delicious, and a sparkling wine made with partially dried grapes that was truly interesting, so agreed that the Veneto is an area of real interest once you dig down a little – Tom

Dan Fennelly

Red: Oddero, Rocche di Castiglione, Barolo 1999
White: Rully Blanc, Durreil Janthial 2015
Budget Red: Thibauld Ligier Belair, Moulin a Vent, La Roche, 2014
Budget White: Domaine Loew, Alsace Riesling Muschelkalck, 2015
Sparkling: Bollinger Grande Annee 2007
Sweet: Trimbach, Gewurztraminer VT 2000
Extra choice: David and Nadia, Grenache, Swartland, 2015/Jadot Ladoix le Clou d’Orge 2014
Dud: Haut Brion 1978; Cos d’Estournel 1995; Margaux 1978
Thing: Moving house
Comments: Nothing outrageously sexy drunk this year. I love the Oddero style of Barolo, and the 1999 was singing. I’m getting increasingly into South African wines, and was particularly bowled over by the purity and precision of David and Nadia Sadie’s Grenache, ditto with the Ligier Belair Moulin a Vent – I will definitely be searching that out in 2019. None of the purportedly fancy Bordeaux was any use at all, two from duff vintages and all poorly stored, but still… In the whites, I think that Domaine Loew’s wines are all fairly damn good, but the Muschelkalck was superb. Honourable Alsatian mention too for Paul Ginglinger’s Wahlenbourg Gewurztraminer 2015 and Melanie Pfister’s Grand Cru Engelberg Riesling 2013. I hope to revisit Alsace in May this year, and bring back a decent haul for smug personal consumption in the midst of massively taxed Irish wine market. What a pity about those duff Bordeaux wines – all with the highest credentials, but as the saying goes, “There are no great old wines, only great old bottles!” – Tom

Mike Bartlett

Red: Chateau Palmer, 2004 Margaux
White: Weingut Donnhoff Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Riesling Trocken, 2013 Nahe, Germany
Budget Red: Moulins de Citran, Château Citran, Haut-Médoc 2010
Budget White: Alvarinho Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas, 2017
Rosé: 2017 Williams Chase Provence Rosé
Sparkling: Carte Noire, Jean-Paul Deville, NV Champagne
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec 1999 Sauternes
Fortified: Local Calvados
Extra choice: Cru Beaujolais 2015…delicious!
Dud: UK political situation
Thing: Ryder Cup in France
Comments: Hi Tom, the Palmer was a real treat with roast Woodcock. I drank my budget red alongside a 2006 Langoa Barton and it was in no way out-classed…amazing stuff and just shows the promise of the 2010 vintage. To me, there is no better accompaniment to fresh fish than this Alvarinho from Portugal. Controversially, I find the Whispering Angel bandwagon a bit over-marketed and prefer the Williams Chase… A high dosage of pinot noir makes the J-P Deville Champagne a wonderful choice of fizz (you’d absolutely love it Tom!), and the Rieussec made an incredible end to a new year’s eve feast! Finally a quick plug for Beaujolais 2015…so enjoyable and refreshing! Happy new year to all Wine Pages readers and here’s to an enjoyable and peaceful 2019. And the same to you Mike. I’ll have to seek out that Champagne then, and I agree wholeheartedly on the 2015 Bojo Crus: a vintage that really lives up to its relative hype in my experience – Tom

Duncan McLean, Orkney

Red: Fontodi, Chianti Classico Riserva 1995, Italy
White: Mount Horrocks, Semillon 2012, Australia
Budget Red: Domaine du Cros, Marcillac Lo Sang del Païs 2016, France
Budget White: Brunel de la Gardine, Cotes du Rhone 2017, France
Sweet: Kyperounda, Commandaria 2008, Greece
Other style: Plantagenet, Cabernet Sauvignon 1992, Australia
Dud: The looming disaster of…oh, I won’t say it.
Thing: The columns of Auckland’s Steve Braunias – a modern day Ring Lardner.
Comments: Glad I could sneak the old Plantagenet in as an Extra, as it was wonderful and only just pipped at the post for red of the year by the Fontodi: two wins in this year’s games of Old Wine Roulette. I came across Chateau de la Gardine for the first time this year and was blown away by its quality and value, including its red and white negociant wines under the Brunel de la Gardine label. But the astonishing joy of the year was the sweet Commandaria, given to me with no fanfare by someone who knows and cares little for wine: it was simply stunning, or rather complexly stunning. Well, I took a bottle of ‘Centurion’ Commanderia to a dinner with friends in Edinburgh in November and it was stunning too – from the company Keo, said to be from a 100-year-old solera, and for its quality, not super-expensive (acquired in Cyprus) – Tom

Tim Jackson, UK

Red: Screaming Eagle, Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2016, US
White: Pujanza, Añadas Frías Rioja Blanco 2016, Spain
Budget Red: Caldirola, Il Sarmento Nero di Troia IGT Puglia 2017, Italy
Budget White: Douloufakis, Dafnios Vidiano Crete 2016, Greece
Rosé: Alpha Estate, A Rose Amyndeon 2017, Greece
Sparkling: Moet et Chandon, Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon 2002, France
Sweet: Klein Constantia, Vin de Constance Constantia 2014 & 2015, South Africa
Fortified: Quinta do Mourão, Porto San Leonardo Very Old White Port ‘50 years’ NV, Portugal
Extra choice: Vazisubani Estate, Khikhvi Traditional Qvevri Wine Kakheti 2017, Georgia
Dud: Pintía, Toro 2005, Spain – over the hill
Thing: MW California trip
Comments: It has been an eventful first full year as an MW, especially spending 10 days getting an immersion in California wines. Indeed, there were plenty of candidates for Red of the year, not least Monte Bello 1985 and 1975, Silver Oak 1992 and the old vine Zinfandels from Bedrock, as well as coming close to White of the year with a plethora of great Chardonnays from DuMOL, David Ramey, Gavin Chanin, Sashi Moorman et al. But Screaming Eagle’s quality is (truly) justified (though one can argue over the price tag, as one could with any 1st Growth Bordeaux). And in the end a set of 3 Rioja Blancos were at the top of the white pile, with the young Pujanza just edging Tondonia 1987 and Muga 1973. I do also have to highlight the Co-op team’s find of a £5.50 Nero de Troia; that price point is hard to buy at, but they’ve found a wine that overdelivers. Finally, aged White Port is a great, underappreciated style. Kopke 20 & 30 year olds are excellent, but Mourao brought their 50yo to the BFT… wow! A very nicely diverse list of wines Tim. I was very impressed by a tasting of Alpha Estate’s wines over the summer: great examples of modern Greek wines, lovely packaging, and that rosé a highlight – Tom

Will Devize, UK

Red: 2006 Moric Blaufränkisch Alte Reben Lutzmannsburg
White: 2007 Comtes Lafon Perriere
Budget Red: 2014 André Perret St. Joseph
Budget White: 2016 Château Pierre-Bise, Le Haut de la Garde
Rosé: Saint Verny Puy de Dôme (regrettably this is the only rosé I can recall drinking last year)
Sparkling: 1994 Tarlant Saga
Sweet: 2003 Rieussec
Fortified: 1970 Niepoort
Extra choice: 2014 Domaine Pignier Chardonnay à la Percenette, Côtes du Jura
Dud: The 2006 Umathum Blaufränkisch Kirschgarten that I took to WIMPS. It was corked…..under a vinolok closure!!
Thing: Attending a Wine Berserkers offline in the form of a tailgate party held ahead of a N.Y. Jets game. The menu featured an intimidating volley of bbq’d meats and gallons of iconic Napa cabernets, all of which were consumed in the stadium car park at 10am. Inevitably, the quality of the sporting entertainment could not match what had gone before.
Comments: 2018 was a restorative vinous year during which I crept back into regular wine drinking following 2-3 years of sleep deprivation, perma-flu, domestic upheaval and the general sense of utter bewilderment that comes from having babies. It’s nice to be back. And glad to have you back Will! 🙂 LOL at the description of your tailgate ‘tasting’ – reminds me a little of an offline I had in California about 20 years ago that was a shock to the system compared to the relatively low-key tasting lunches and dinners I’d been used to in the UK – rumbustious shall we say! – Tom

Alistair Scott, UK

Red: Grange Hermitage 1982
White: Kumeu River Mates Vineyard 2007
Budget Red: Musar 1999 magnum
Budget White: Saraziniere Aligote 2016
Sparkling: Mumm 1988 magnum
Sweet: JJ Prum 1997 WS Auslese
Extra choice: Keller Morstein GG 2012 – shared from next table at a Ledbury lunch, ravishing
Dud: My back – grumbling all year and went completely two days before Xmas, though did save me from the washing up
Thing: Several wine-pages forum Wimps and some nice offlines, a grande bouffe to Girona, all culminating in the bacchanalia of December when the company was at least half decent!
Comments: Musar may not quite be budget but it hardly breaks the bank so hope it sneaks in. Starting to learn a bit more about Spanish and SA wines from a very low base plus trying to be more open minded about burgundy though strictly at the low end. Rather a disjointed year personally, wrangling one daughter through A Levels and off to uni, usual fun trips to Asia, took over as chair of a small charity and an unexpected series of visits to the Ruhr valley which hardly set the heart racing. Acting work thin on the ground but some fun singing gigs – bellowing the theme from ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ at the O2 probably the highlight. As always, grateful for the generosity of other wine-pages’ forum Wimps for their time and their wine – more please. Sympathies for the bad back Alistair – the curse of the tall and (relatively) slender – but I can wholeheartedly concur with the Musar – Alistair and I sat next to each other at the superb ‘Wimps’ Christmas lunch in December, and it was one of my red wines of the day for sure – Tom

Mark Carrington UK

Red: Wendouree Shiraz 1994 (Clare, Australia)
White: Domaine Labet Côtes du Jura Fleur de Savagnin En Chalasse 2013 (France)
Budget Red: Ch. Musar 2001 (Lebanon)
Budget White: Gachot-Monot Aligoté 2017 (Burgundy, France)
Rosé: Dom. Tempier Rosé 2017 (Bandol, France)
Sparkling: Paul Bara Champagne Grand Cru Brut Millésimé 2008 (France)
Sweet: Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Johannisbrünnchen Riesling Eiswein 2008 (Mosel, Germany)
Fortified: Delaforce Porto Curious and Ancient 20 Years Old Tawny (Portugal)
Extra choice: Cecile Tremblay Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Murgers 2013(Burgundy, France)
Dud: Domaine Gigou Jasnières Clos St. Jacques 2009 (Loire, France)
Thing: Tour de France Stage 9, on the pavé to Roubaix
Comments: Travelled a distance to small off-line where we ‘drank’ a series of superb Wendouree; Musar tasting – led me to re-upping the 01, for bargain price; Actively exploring Aligoté; Had better (Haisma/PYCM) but this is an absolute bargain; Rosé – With hindsight, foolishly only purchased a half-case; Brought Prüm for a relative, direct from estate, generously shared, subsequently;
Delaforce – a gift. The wine was a complete surprise; Tremblay – her wines never miss a beat. Taken to a tasting – new category allows me to include; Gigou – had worse, but this was an utter letdown; Thing – should really be my health, new chez nous or Rocket, but stood inches from the peleton as it roared past, which was exhilarating. Congratulations on the new home Mark. Paul Bara definitely a great Champagne grower, and seems to be getting fair distribution in the UK – I’ve seen it on a few restaurant lists now. Good to see an Australian wine top the chart as best red too, as this WoTY category does seem to be dominated by France and Italy, as inded it was for me this year too – Tom

Mahmoud Ali, Canada

Red: 1979 Gressier Grand Poujoux, Moulis, Bordeaux
White: 2009 Greywacke Chardonnay, Marlborough, New Zealand
Budget Red: 2015 Michel Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti ‘Le Orme’, Italy
Budget White: 2016 Luis Pato ‘Vinhas Velhas’, Beira, Portugal
Rosé: Cave de Lugny, Cremant de Bourgogne, France – bottled 2012!
Sparkling: 2003 Roderer Estate ‘L’Ermitage’ Brut, Anderson Valley, USA
Sweet: 1990 Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillon Sauterne, Barossa Valley, Australia
Fortified: Dandelion Vineyards ‘Legacy of the Barossa’ 30 Year Old PX, Australia
Extra choice: A 2005 Santbru ‘Carinyenes Velles‘ Montsant, Spain
Thing: Cask Strength Malts
Comments: The Gressier was one of my earliest Bordeaux purchases and ticked all the boxes for what I want in cellared wine, grand or not. This Meursault-like Greywacke suggests that it is getting better. The six year-old cremant was a lovely pre-Christmas find and was in good shape. The Santbru showed me how captivating well made old vine carignan can be. This was a year when I started to seriously look at drawing down the wines I have amassed over the years, many of them the so-called daily drinkers. Most of them offered the kind of pleasure that only maturity can bring, notably ’98 Marynissen Cab/Merlot (Canada), ’98 E&C (Seaview) Cabernet, ’99 DiMajo Norante ‘Ramitello, ’01 Errazuriz ‘Wild Ferment’ Pinot, and ’01 Coldstream Hills Pinot. There will be more of the same next year – and less buying! I can really empathise with the pleasure you have been getting from drinking aged, but modest bottles Mahmoud. I have quite a lot of wines like that in my cellar too – semi-forgotten, and I too am trying to remember to pop the corks (or screwcaps) on them, often with very pleasing results – Tom

Edward Bolland, UK

Red: 1982 Chateau Pichon Lalande
White: 2002 Leflaive Batard Montrachet
Budget Red: 2010 Laurent Borgeot, Santenay Beauregards
Budget White: 2016 Mark Haisma Aligoté
Rosé: 2002 Bollinger GA
Sparkling: 2002 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc des Blancs
Sweet: 1988 Chateau Climens
Extra choice: 1997 Mount Mary Triolet
Dud: 1999 Drouhin Montrachet
Thing: Being able to spend more time running than injured, fingers crossed for 2019.
Comments: It’s been a quiet year in terms of wine drinking interspersed with a few memorable UK Forum ‘WIMPS’ lunches. The Burgundy WIMPS provided great drinking and I was hard pushed to choose my favourite white from this lunch. The Australian WIMPS also provided unexpectedly good drinking and the 1997 Mount Mary Triolet was amazing. My ‘Dud’ wasn’t unexpected but it’s always a disappointment when Montrachet is merely drinkable. Over a few decades of serious wine drinking now I still have two absolutely stand-out white wines that will live with me forever, and both totally unaffordable! The Haut-Brion Blanc 1989, and the Romanée-Conti Montrachet 1996, so I feel your pain on the dud from Drouhin – Tom

Alex Jagger, Bangkok

Red: Lafleur ’93
White: Droin Chablis Les Clos ’16
Budget Red: Ministry of Clouds McLaren Vale Grenache ’16
Budget White: Coche Dury Bourgogne Blanc ’10 (hehe)
Rosé: Lambrays Rosé ’16
Sparkling: Taittinger Comtes ’04
Sweet: 1988 Von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Riesling Auslese
Extra choice: Kumeu River Mates Vineyard ’01
Dud: Politics and Politicians
Thing: It has to be wine-pages’ offlines, Bdx Wimps, annual Harwood bash, MI Dinner and just sharing :0)
Comments: I actually had to sit and look back carefully this year as unusually I didn’t have standout wines buzzing around my head too much. I’ve probably missed out some crackers which will pop in my head all day! In the summer I made a serious effort to taste and drink many of my ‘lesser’ wines as they are stockpiling as I stay in BKK a while. I couldn’t resist putting in Coche but it was my last owned bottle bought for about 30 quid but really it should have been Fourrier BB 10/11 both super bought for about a tenner. I’m looking forward to a bit of wine exploration this year outside my usual. Roll on 2019. Someone else in the mood to drink-up their lesser wines – a very good idea, as we wine lovers and collectors run the risk of over-cellaring too many wines, when we should be drinking them! Oh dear, the festive fortnight has almost made me forget about Brexit, but I think that reality is about to bite hard! – Tom

Simon Reilly, England

Red: Luigi Tecce, Poliphena 2013, Taurasi, Italy
White: Keller, Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2013, rheinhessen, Germany
Budget Red: Nervi, Spanna Colline Navaresi 2015, Italy
Budget White: Claire Naudin, le clou 34 aligote 2014, Burgundy, France
Rosé: Tillingham pet-Nat rosé 2017, Sussex, England
Sparkling: Dom Pérignon 2002
Sweet: Rieussec 1989
Fortified: Domaine La Sobilane, rivesaltes 1947
Extra choice: Wimbledon Brewery Vintage Ale/Barley Wine 2017
Dud: Most of the red wines at the Bordeaux Wimps offline
Thing: I drink more red, but find great white wine more memorable than great red wine
Comments: So many great wines this year, but as I said in my “thing” its the great whites that seem to stick in the memory. I could have listed a top 10 whites of the year but struggled a bit more on the reds. It’s the texture, intensity and energy I tend to remember in great whites that seems more memorable than reds. Other great whites enjoyed this year just pipped by the Keller were; Huet Le Mont 2011, Foradori Manzoni Bianco 2017, Dauvissat-Camus Le Sechet 2012, Frank Cornellissen Munjebel 2015 and Serragghia Zibibbo 2014. My other “thing” is the thrill I continue to get from visiting winemakers and tasting their wines in their patch. Nothing quite matches the experience of discovering new favourites en place. Two highlights this year; sharing a salami with Luigi Tecce in his kitchen in Taurasi whilst tasting his sensational Aglianicos and sneaking off from a family holiday in the Ardeche to drink from barrel with Guillame Gilles in his cellar in Cornas. Both will live long in the memory. Funnily enough I have just been tasting through a batch of wines sent over to me by Feudi San Gregorio, including thier Taurasi wines, and I was thinking how under-rated they are really. Have still to taste that Tillingham ‘pet nat’, but a few people have told me it is very good – Tom

04/01/2019

Uillaim Tait

Red: Echezeaux, Grivot, 2005.
White: Riesling Hengst, Josmeyer, 2010.
Budget Red: Pitti, Pittnauer, Burgenland, 2015.
Budget White: Bourgogne Blanc, Phillip Colin, 2016.
Sparkling: Krug, 2003.
Sweet: Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling TBA, Dr Loosen, 2006.
Fortified: Equipos Navazos, La Bota de Oloroso No 28.
Extra choice: Lagavulin, Islay, 1998 Distillers Edition.
Dud: Politics, all of it. Gin, most of it.
Thing: The arrival of our 3rd son.
Comments: I’ve had to think about this which means that again I’ve been fortunate enough to drink very well. I had to throw the Lagavulin in, it’s the most expensive bottle I’ve bought this year but it seems ludicrously good value compared to many wines of a similar price. If I can type out a similar list in 12 months time I’ll have had another good year. Congratulations on your ‘thing’ Uilliam. Nice to see a malt whisky in there actually, and to know that we are not all 100% wine obsessed 🙂 – Tom

Derek Salmon, Australia

Red: BINDI “original vineyard” Pinot Noir 1999 Australia
White: Cullen Kevin John chardonnay 2009 (magnum) Margaret River Ausstralia
Budget Red: David Franz Waxing Lyrical Mataro 2016 Barossa Australia
Budget White: Rockford Local Growers Semillon 2016 Barossa Australia
Rosé: David Franz Red Rosé – 108 Varieties 2016 Barossa Australia
Sparkling: Dom Perignon 2009
Sweet: Huia Botrytis Riesling 2017 Marlborough
Fortified: Seppeltsfield 1901 100 year old
Extra choice: Bannockburn Chardonnay 1994 (magnum) Geelong
Dud: Penfolds Grange 1991
Thing: Degustation Menu at Vue de Monde in Melbourne. Disappointing about the Grange obviously, being the theoretical ‘star’ of your Australian line-up. I can still taste the 100-year-old ‘Para’ from Seppeltsfield that I had when I visited about 10 years ago! Amazing wine – Tom

Cameron Clark, The Netherlands/Australia

Red: 1990 Moss Wood Cabernet
White: 2013 Savagnin Cri de Coeur, Crittenden Estate
Budget Red: 2015 Vallee De L’Aude Pinot Noir, Bretaine & Fils
Budget White: 2018 Aubin, Cepage Antique, Vinvent Laroppe
Rosé: 2017 Woodcutters Rose, Torbreck
Sparkling: Anne de Bourbon Brut NV, Vignerons de Saint-Pourcain
Fortified: NV Pennyweight Fino, Beachworth
Extra choice: 1988 St Augustus Liebfraumilch (en Magnum)
Thing: Drinking Australian Chardie
Comments: The Crittendon Vin Jaune look-a-like is just a fantastic wine, that stands out from the crowd here in Auz, Stunning. It’s hard to be a white wine drinker here, but luckily the top Chardonnays are brilliant and still reasonable priced. Honorable mentions must go to Latta Vino 2016 Ullaged Chardonnay and the 2015 Tarrington Henty Chardonnay. Very different wines – one with a hint of oxidation, the other big, bold and ripe, but 2 fantastic wines. The red choice was a toss up between 2 Auz wines from 1980. The Moss Wood had wonderful balance and seemed more like a wine from the mid 90s, Just as good, and even younger tasting, was the Penfolds Bin80A Kalimna Shiraz. Given how expensive wine is in Auz, I was amazed to find a very drinkable Pinot in my local for under $20. Fascinating list – we don’t get many magnums of 1988 Liebfraumilch nominated! Certain areas of Australia, including Western Australia, Tasmania, Adelaide Hills and various bits of Victoria make great Chardonnay I think – Tom

Tim Kitto, Australia

Red: Mascarello Barolo 1964
White: Lafon Montrachet 2013
Budget Red: Faiveley Bourgogne 2015
Budget White: Luke Lambert ‘Crudo’ Chardonnay 2017
Sparkling: Krus Clos de Mesnil 1996 (WOTY)
Sweet: Chateau D’Yquem 2001
Extra choice: DRC La Tache 1996
Dud: Gaja Sori San Lorenzo 1978 (duh – prob poor storage)
Thing: Repour Wine Stoppers. Excellent.
Comments: Sharing beautiful wines with friends is one of life’s great pleasures. So grateful to all my friends, and to all my fellow enthusiasts on this forum that continue to enlighten, educate and entertain. Cheers everyone, best wishes for 2019! And to you Tim. Almost France and Italy start to finish, but some collection of great wines drunk, so no arguments from me – the Clos de Mesnil is a fabulous, fabulous Champagne and if I win the lottery… 🙂 Tom

Anders Lind, Sweden

Red: Vosne-Romanée 1cru Les Orveaux 2008, Mongeard-Mugneret
White: William Fèvre Les Clos 2002, Grand Cru Chablis
Budget Red: Petriccio Chianti Montespertoli 2012 & 2010
Budget White: Dona Fatima Jampal Manzwine 2016
Rosé: Louis Roederer 2008, from magnum
Sparkling: Michel Arnould Mémoire de Vignes 2002, Verzenay
Sweet: Clos Haut-Peyraguey 2001
Fortified: Kopke Colheita 1965
Extra choice: St Joseph & Cornas 2015 & 2016: classic french wines – better than ever, and still affordable.
Dud: Ch. Fonsalette 2007 (red) – the “Parker vintage”: concentrated, low acid; unbalanced.
Thing: Leaving the suburbs, moving to the SOFO-district (hipster mecca), South Side Stockholm.
Comments: Fèvre Les Clos had tough competition from V. Dauvissat 1cru Forest 2007 and J. Boillot Puligny-M 1cru Clos de la Mouchère 2002, the latter wine still on the young side(!). The budget white isn’t that cheap (16 euro), but it’s from the world’s only vineyard planted with Jampal grapes. We had a beautiful, steep walk there (more than 3 hours) in the rural countryside, starting with local trains from Lisbon. And the wine was tasty, yes. Mémoire de Vignes blew away Grand and 1crus 2002 from Burgundy and is my Wine of the Year. Coincidentally, I tasted that Jampal too over the summer, but sadly I don’t have access to my notes right now. It was in a tasting of obscure single varietal wines from Portugal, held in Lisbon, and though not all were of hugely interesting quality, there were some terrific wines and it was a stunning demonstration of that country’s diversity – Tom

Andrew Stevenson, UK

Red: Sean Thackrey Pleiades IX Old Vines (bottled May 2000), California
White: Hugel, Riesling Hommage à Jean Hugel 1998, Alsace
Budget Red: Abadia Retuerta, Seleccion Especial 1999, Spain
Budget White: Meyer-Fonné, Pinot Gris Hinterburg de Katzenthal 2000, Alsace
Rosé: Domaine Wardy, Rosé du Printemps 2015
Sparkling: Deutz, Hommage à William Deutz Aÿ 2010
Sweet: Albert Mann, Pinot Gris Altenbourg Sélection de Grains Nobles Le Tri 2000, Alsace
Fortified: Quinta do Noval 1963
Extra choice: Tio Pepe in all its forms. The standard is a very good fino, this year’s En Rama was terrific, and I’m currently working my way through a set of Palmas which are fascinating, if not as good value as the standard or En Rama bottlings
Dud: Litmus Wines, Ginking, England
Thing: WR: the offlines and masterclasses of Glasgow Festival of Wine (the Wardy & the Deutz above were both at GFOW): thanks for making it all happen Tom. NWR: Over a fortnight in a luxury B&B while I got a new bathroom and a redecorated kitchen, all for the price of the insurance excess after a leak in the bathroom took out part of the kitchen ceiling.
Comments: Always interesting looking at my TNs and scores for the year, as some of it is always a surprise, as the best wines in terms of scores are not necessarily the most memorable. E.g. I’d never have guessed that my two top whites were Hugel rieslings (with a 1988 Jubilee v close behind the Hommage). The Abadia Retuerta continues to make its regular appearance in this list. The Meyer Fonné was £5 at auction, though I still have a case in storage bought from L&W on release for £9, so definitely budget. A lovely Auslese style Alsace PG. The Albert Mann SGN is remarkable: v un-PG-like, and more like a cross btw Yquem and top Mosel TBA. The Noval and the Pleiades both earned a strong 99/100 and were both ethereally superb. Ginking is a gin/ESW blend & the bottle I tried was utterly horrible. So pleased my Glasgow Festival continues to hit the spot Andrew (given that you have been attending since 2002 I believe!). I used to buy Sean Thackery’s Pleiades and Orion regularly in the old Oddbins days, and they were such good wines. Yes, the gin/sparkling wine RTD sounds pretty horrible! – Tom

02/01/2019

Craig Thomson, New Zealand

Red: Puriri Hills, Pope (Me,CF,Ma,Ca,CS), 2013, Clevedon, NZ
White: Cullen, Kevin John Chardonnay, 2016, Margaret River, Australia
Budget Red: Shingle Peak, Reserve Pinot Noir, 2016, Marlborough, NZ
Budget White: Vavasour, Sauvignon Blanc, 2017, Marlborough, NZ
Sparkling: Louis Roederer, Cristal Champagne Brut, 2009, Reims, France
Sweet: Framingham F-Series Trockenbeerenauslese, 2017, Marlborough, NZ
Thing: Rain, rain, rain. Will it ever stop?
Comments: After 20 years in the game, Auckland producer Puriri Hills is still relatively unknown and comparatively reclusive. Their fine, precise but lush 2013’s are their best yet thanks in part to a perfect set of weather conditions. Top tier ‘Pope’ sits among the best bordeaux blends ever made in New Zealand. I was highly impressed with the Cullen Kevin John. It certainly reinforces Australia make great chardonnay even if the prices are a bit more greedy than most NZ heavy hitters. Other honourable Mentions: 2005 Te Mata Coleraine, 2015 Ch Canon, 2016, Felton Road Block 3 Pinot Noir, 2014 Elephant Hill Hieyronomous, 2016 Kumeu River Mates Chardonnay, 2018 Framingham Noble Riesling, 2008 Puriri Hills Pope, 2010 Craggy Range Le Sol, 2006 Trinity Hill Homage, 2009 Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc. Good to see so many of my favourite NZ (and Australian) producers still topping a local’s list, though things like the Puriri which I have never tasted are now added to the agenda – Tom

Paul Day, UK

Red: Drouhin Musigny 1985
White: Haut Brion Blanc 1959
Budget Red: Giuseppe Rinaldi Dolcetto d’Alba 2016
Budget White: Keller Scheurebe Kabinett 2017
Rosé: Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 1988
Sparkling: Krug Clos d’Ambonnay 2000
Sweet: d’Arche Creme de Tete 1906
Fortified: Lomelino Terrantez 1846
Other style/Extra choice: Fukumachi Fukuro Nama Junmai Daiginjo
Dud: Advanced bottles of Krug Brut and Clos du Mesnil 1988
Thing: Unexpected wine-pages forum offlines
Comments: If I get increasingly irritated by those with vast Burgundy cellars drone on about how many bottles of DRC et al they have and then never open anything decent, I have really enjoyed offlines where enthusiasm and love of wine is paramount: these included Wendouree, St Joseph, non-Nebbiolo Piedmonte and various German Riesling dinners. Best meal of the year was (somewhat unexpectedly) a relaxed lunch at L’Assiette Champenoise. Well, some fabulous and legendary names in this list of absolutely top-drawer names. As a huge fan of Krug I’m glad the 2000 d’Ambonnay made the list (and I agree – a superb wine) but it is worrying that they also made the ‘dud’ list with other bottles being prematurely advanced – Tom

Alex Lake, UK

Red: Ducru-Beaucaillou 1961
White: Naudé Chenin 2013
Budget Red: Madfish Great Southern Pinot 2017
Budget White: Foundry Roussanne
Rosé: Tempier Rosé 2016
Sparkling: 1999 Salon Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut
Sweet: Mullineux Olerasay
Fortified: La Bota No. 63 Oloroso Muy Viejisima
Extra choice: Rosso di Valtellina DOC “Umo” 2015 – Light red of the year
Dud: Other than POXed and Corked wines, can’t think of a major disappointment
Thing: Trip to Girona with the boys
Comments: So 3 of my top wines were presented at Paul & Keith’s Chardonnay Challenge – itself a “thing” of the year (maybe “event” could be a category in the future?). That Salon justified the hype, despite being painfully young. Ducru 61 speaks for itself, perhaps (and I’m not generally a claretophile). A few South Africans in the list this year. Ian Naudé’s spectacular Chenin 2013 – will future vintages be as good? – sampled at a wonderful tasting & dinner he led at Handford. The Olerasay twice shattered my belief that I’m not a straw wine man. Foundry whites rock.
A bit of a cheat with the Sherry, as that was tasted in November 2017. Madfish Pinot is a crowd-pleaser. The “indulgence” trip to Girona was an obvious event of the year. If you want a more tangible thing, then Tesla Model S? Nice drinking, and nicely globe-trotting. I had a relatively humble ’61 – Lascombes – a couple of months back which, with hindsight should have made my runners-up list at least – Tom

Benedict Jenks – UK

Red: Barolo 1996 Bartolo Mascarello
White: Fiorduva 2014 Marisa Cuomo
Budget Red: Chianti Classico 2014 Querciabella
Budget White: Macon-Vergisson La Roche 2014 Verget
Rosé: Krug Rosé Editon 21
Sparkling: Cote Faron 2014 Disgorgement Selosse
Sweet: Yquem 1988
Fortified: Fonseca 1970
Extra choice: Clos Rougeard “Breze” 2005
Dud: a Champagne tasting during the summer where for some unexplained reason all the wines tasted awful
Thing: A visit to Bras in Laguiole – from the moment when we booked six months in advance and on asking if dogs are welcome were told “we are an equal opportunity establishment” to the picnic rucksac on arrival and the unpronouncable “gargouillou” which was so good I had it both nights everything was effortless perfection – there is a reason why Crissier, Troisgros and Bras are the three great dynastic restaurants of Europe.
Comments: The five top wines are wines that I have enjoyed on numerous ocassions and in each case the bottle was better than I had previously experienced – almost certainly because it was served in a very special location: The Barolo enjoyed at Lympstone Manor after a hard days walk, The Fiorduva during an elegant dinner enjoyed on the edge of Lake Como, The Cote Faron at Hedone, The Krug Rose just popped and poured for no reason one evening during the hot summer we had this year and the Clos Rougeard on the terrace at Hotellerie Jerome looking out over the Mediterranean. Enviable list – not just the wines, but the places drunk! Lympstone Manor is on my ‘to do’ list, having only tasted Michael Caines food once before, so great that it obviously lived up to his/its reputation – Tom

Fintan Kerr, Spain

Red: Chapoutier Pavillon Hermitage 1991
White: Catena Zapata White Bones Chardonnay 2010
Budget Red: Bodegas y Vinedos Ponce Clos Lojen 2016
Budget White: Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia 2008
Rosé: Scala Dei Pla de Angels 2017
Sparkling: Laherte Freres Extra Brut Le Millesime 2006
Sweet: Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Spatlese 2011
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass Palo Cortado 1987
Extra choice: Andrea Occhipinti Arcaico 2017; an ethereal beauty of a ‘natural’ wine. A producer to take note of!
Dud: The 2015 vintage in Priorat. What looked originally like a warm but well balanced vintage is all out of sorts. Too much heat in too many wines, yet lacking the structure of 2013. A few expensive disappointments on this front.
Thing: Passing the WSET Diploma with Merit. Thrilled!
Comments: Another hugely informative year in the world of wine and I type this from Argentina, having spent the last week travelling around Mendoza, visiting old friends and making new ones. I also had the pleasure to meet no less than 8 forumites this year and share wine in some capacity, a relatively new tradition that I’m keen to keep up. If Wine-Pagers are visiting Barcelona and I’m around, always keen to set aside some time to share a bottle or two. 🙂 To be honest, a list I could have written myself with so many favourite producers/wines from Catena to Lopez de Heredia to Occhipinti – and many congratulations on the Diploma pass too – Tom

Ian Amstad, UK

Red: Penfolds Grange Hermitage 1976
White: Chateau Laville Haut-Brion 2000
Budget Red: Massolino Langhe Nebbiolo 2015
Budget White: Radford Dale Chenin Blanc 2015
Rosé: Contero Brachetto D’Acqui 2017
Sparkling: Philipponnat Cuvee Leon Blanc De Noirs 2006
Sweet: Chateau d’Yquem 1967
Fortified: Cappellano Chinato (2010 Barolo base, 17.5% ABV)
Extra choice: Chateau Lafite Rothschild – producer of the year
Dud: The impending zombie apocalypse
Thing: Noize restaurant
Comments: Chris’s Trompette dinner in March affirmed Lafite as the ‘first among equals’ benchmark for first growths. But for the red woty accolade an other-worldly DRC Richebourg 1990 was pipped by a breathtaking Grange Hermitage 1976, we drank on my birthday. Other high notes included the (‘DNA of)Haut-Brion’ 1953, spiritual mentor to the youthful 1989, among the treasures Tim McCracken supplied for his 50th in September, with my 5L of Ausone 1982. A small sample of Tim’s DRC Montrachet 2003 was a dream come true, but Alex’s Laville Haut-Brion 2000, stole my heart and got the white woty nod (bigger pours). Many memorable WP and other events this year, when we drank very well: https://comteflaneur.blogspot.com/2018/12/blog-post.html Do you really mean 5Litres of Ausone ’82? Double wow, among quite some list of iconic wines – Tom

28/12/2018

Rainer Guntermann – Germany

Red: 1988 Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra Clerico
White: 1992 Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles Domaine Leflaive
Budget Red: 2015 La Petite Sirene, Margaux, Bordeaux
Budget White: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc II, von Winning, Deidesheim, Germany
Rosé: 2015 Chateau des Selles, Dimaine Ott, Provence
Sparkling: 2004 Comtes des Champagne, Taittinger
Sweet: 1967 Wachenheimer Geruempel, Riesling TBA, Deidesheim
Fortified: 1966 Graham’s Vintage Port
Other style/Extra choice: Nyetimber, Rose, Island Champagne 🙂
Dud: a spoilt bottle of Chateau Beychevelle 1979 which had no cork, while the wine were held inside only by it’s capsule. Completely oxidised but still a miracle that no leakage
Thing: 10th anniversary WIMP’s wine-pages’ forum lunch in June at La Trompette, and as additional Bonus: accompanied by our daughter
Comments: Another fine year at Wine-Pages. Thanks Tom. Hopefully the Brexit will be organised or cancelled so that the exchange of people & wines won’t be restricted in a way that the things which make this Community so lively will be impossible in the future. well amen on that Rainer – I am sure Brexit/No Brexit will have little effect on the community in practical terms – Tom

David Ludloe, UK

Red: Chateau Leoville Barton 1990, France
White: Domaine des Malandes Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2005, France
Budget Red: Ciauria Etna Rosso, Pietro Caciorgna, 2014, Italy
Budget White: Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2009, Germany
Rosé: Bird in the Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir 2017, Australia
Sparkling: Camel Valley Brut 2009 , England
Sweet: Domaine des Forges 2010 Chaume les Onnis, Coteaux du Layon, France
Fortified: Graham’s Quinta dos Malvedos 2004, Portugal
Other style/Extra choice: Penfolds Bin 707 1999, Australia
Dud: Chateau Ducru Beaucailou
Thing: Renovations completed
Comments: The year has been a wonderful year of great wine, and holidaying. This year went to Scandinavia for the first time, and enjoyed it immensely. My continuing journey of strange grape varieties continued, but my selection ended up being quite classical. The extra choice was easy as the Penfolds Bin 707 was really a joint first with the Beycheville. Congratulations on your marriage. Keep up the good work. Many thanks David, and a nice globe-spanning selection. Bin 707 is a class act, it’s just a pity that I can remember buying it for under £20 not that long ago, now it’s well in the ‘very special occasion’ category! – Tom

Mark Priestley

Red: Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 1994, Tuscany, Italy
White: Poggio Al Tesoro “Pagus Camilla” Vermentino 2015, Tuscany, Italy
Budget Red: Fatalone Primitivo Riserva Gioie de Colle 2001, Puglia, Italy
Budget White: Llanos Negros “La Time” Bianco 2000, Canary Islands, Spain
Rosé: Frank Cornellisen Etna Rosso “Susucaru” 2015, Sicily, Italy
Sparkling: Oxney Organic Classic Brut 2015, East Sussex, UK
Sweet: Cappellano Barolo Chinato NV, Piedmont, Italy
Other style/Extra choice: Hatzidakis “Aidani” 2017, Santorini, Greece
Thing: First visit to Santorini
Comments: Wine wise the highlights came from relatively humble wines with age that were still vibrant and interesting such as the 94 Isole e Olena which was a wine drank at a very interesting mature Tuscan Wine tasting at the Old Bridge Hotel in Huntingdon. As always tasted some great wines at wine-pages forum offlines this year; the two Volcanic wines tasting that I hosted at Foxlow featured some really exciting wines from the Azores, Canary Islands, Etna and Campania. Arguments will rage about the direct correlation between soil and flavour, but there’s no denying that some of the most interesting wines in the world do come from volcanic soils. There’s even a fairly big Chilean operation that has been set up specifically to plant vines on volcanic slopes, called Volcanes de Chile – Tom

Hans Staal, UK

Red: 1982 Mas de Daumas Gassac
White: 2010 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Pur Sang
Budget Red: 2010 Torre de Oña Rioja Definition Viña Majestica
Budget White: 2017 Paulett Riesling Polish Hill River
Rosé: 2014 Hattingley Valley Sparkling Rosé
Sparkling: 1996 Bruno Paillard Champagne Assemblage Brut
Sweet: 1996 Rolly Gassmann Tokay Pinot Gris Rotleibel de Rohrschwihr VT
Fortified: oddly none this year
Other style/Extra choice: Honourable mentions for 2008 Tenuta Greppo (Biondi-Santi) Rosso di Montalcino and 2005 Chateau Musar both delivered considerably more than anticipated.
Dud: Unfortunately too many to mention
Thing: An excellent tasting of Mornington Peninsula wines and lunch at The Harrow in Little Bedwyn. Some real classics here, Old World and New, and nice to see another vote for one of the top English sparkling wines, which I personally find increasingly convincing – Tom

Barry Dean, UK

Red: Domaine Tollot-Beaut Aloxe-Corton 1993
White: Gosset Brut Millésime 1985
Budget Red: The Liberator Pinot Noir Knick-Knack Paddywhack Episode 17 2013
Budget White: Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett 2017
Rosé: Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Rosé 1993 (my WOTY)
Sparkling: Champagne Irroy Carte d’Or Brut 1979
Other style/Extra choice: Louis Roederer Vintage Brut 1981
Dud: Still rosés – I used to love them, but not one has impressed me this year.
Thing: Building my first proper greenhouse and filling it with tomatoes.
Comments: Interesting to note almost all my highest-rated wines are 25 years old or more – but I’ve been very lucky in that all have been in pristine condition. Not quite as much champagne this year as last, but more focused on the gaps in vintages and iconic wines I hadn’t yet tried, like Krug rosé and Cristal. Light German riesling continues to bring joy at modest prices. Very cheeky Barry, slipping Champagne into several categories :). Some lovely older wines, which luckily I could feature this year too. Old wines can disappoint of course, but when they are good… – Tom

Gavin Davies, Scotland

Red: Langoa Barton 2004
White: Closson Chase – The Brock Chardonnay 2013
Budget Red: Parcel Series Chilean Red Blend 2010 (aka VIK vineyards)
Budget White: Domaine Begude Etoile Chardonnay 2016
Rosé: Musar Cuvee Rosé 2010
Sparkling: Krug 2003
Sweet: Royal Tokaji 6 Puttonyos 2012
Fortified: Vino Lauria Marsala Vergine
Other style/Extra choice: Lustau East India Sherry
Dud: Still Brexit
Thing: Wine exploration in Bordeaux, Jerez, Piedmont and Lebanon. Leaving the wine trade…….for the time being. Fine choices and (most) in the moderate price bracket. A few I also drank like the Etoile Chardonnay I also agree with heartily – Tom

26/12/2018

Anthony Davies, UK

Red: Tatomer ‘Duvarita’ Pinot Noir 2015, Santa Barbara County, USA
White: JF Ganevat Chardonnay ‘Les Chalasses’ 2014, Cotes du Jura, France
Budget Red: Guimaro Mencia Joven 2017, Ribera Sacra, Spain
Budget White: Intellego Chenin Blanc 2017, Swartland, South Africa
Rosé: Holzer Wagram Rosé 2017, Wagram, Austria
Sparkling: Egly Ouriet ‘Vigned de Vrigny’ 1er Cru, Ambonnay, Champagne
Sweet: Astley Vineyards Late Harvest Sieggrebbe 2017, Worcestershire, England
Fortified: Baros Colheita 1996, O Porto
Other style/Extra choice: Arianna Ochipinti ‘SP68’ Bianco 2017, Sicily, Italy
Dud: Crap wine marketing from the likes of Naked and Majestic
Thing:A lunch with Santa Barbara winemaker Sashi Moorman of Sandhi, Domaire la Cote and Piedresassi.
Comments: Another great year of wine – we offered over 200 different wines by the glass at The Grape Escape this year and people are just getting more interested and more adventurous in their wine choices. People becoming more adventurous is definitely something to celebrate – as supermarket ranges and average restaurant wine lists seem to consolidate around fewer and fewer varieties, regions and styles – Tom

Keith Prothero

Red: La Mission Haut Brion 1989 Bordeaux France
White: JJPrum WSJ Auslese Goldkapsel Riesling 2001 Mosel Germany
Budget Red: Van Loggerenberg Breton Cab Franc 2016, South Africa
Budget White: The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2015, South Africa
Rosé: No thanks 😂
Sparkling: Not a drop I am proud to state 😂
Sweet: Yquem 2001 Sauternes France
Fortified: Taylor’s vintage Port 1985 Douro Portugal
Dud: So many white burgundies
Thing: New world trouncing Burgundy in the Chardonnay challenge
Comments: Very fortunate to have a group of friends, with excellent cellars, who are happy to share their vinous treasures on an almost weekly basis at the great Nigel Platts-Martin restaurants . Another group in South Africa where the focus is naturally on local wines. The La Mish 89 was so outstanding that I decided to buy a case, as I am sure it will increase significantly in price over the next few years, to almost match the amazing price of Haut Brion 89. Is there a better white wine that JJ Prum WSJ Auslese GK 2001? Two brilliant wines from South Africa, which offers in my view the best value for money wines in the world. Thanks Tom and many congratulations. Thank you Keith. If I recall correctly, the Haut-Brion 1989 was your red WOTY last year, so very interesting to see its sibling take the trophy. I remember visiting Chris Williams of the Foundry at Meerlust around 2005 and being so impressed by the white wines in particular, so good to see he’s still going strong – Tom

Will Taylor, UK

Red: 1993 Domaine G. Roumier Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras
White: 2007 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Caillerets
Budget Red: 2017 Comm. G.B. Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga
Budget White: 2015 Goisot Chardonnay Bourgogne Côtes d’Auxerre Gueules de Loup
Rosé: 2017 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé
Sparkling: NV Egly-Ouriet Champagne Grand Cru VP
Sweet: 1990 Château Coutet Cuvée Madame
Fortified: Barbeito Madeira Malvazia Over 40 Years Old “Mãe Manuela”
Other style/Extra choice: 2014 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands-Echezeaux
Dud: 2005 Henschke Shiraz Hill of Grace
Thing: Finishing the WSET Diploma
Comments: It has been a pretty good vinous year though studying for the diploma did curtail the actual drinking somewhat, that said there were still quite a few vinous highs. The Roumier Cras just edged out Howards’s 78 Margaux that we enjoyed at Gareth’s 78 dinner and the Coche Caillerets just beat out 2010 Coteau de Vernon from Vernay, a magical bottle of Condrieu. I sampled my first DRC in Lyon albeit ‘only’ the Grand Echezeaux but it very much lived up to the hype and made for wonderful evening. The Hill of Grace was a big disappointment but fortunately these were few and far between. Congratulations on the Diploma Will. Obviously a very classic European list, but what a pity the Hill of Grace didn’t show well – last vintage I tasted was the 2010, which I thought was outstanding – Tom

Richard Ward, UK

Red: JL Chave, Hermitage Rouge, 1998
White: JL Chave, Hermitage Blanc 1999
Budget Red: Chateau De Pitray, Cotes De Castillon, 2011
Budget White: Domaine Schlumberger, Muscat Les Princes Abbeye, 2015
Rosé: Domaine Des Aphillanthes, Cotes Du Rhone Rose, 2016
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck, Blanc De Millenaires, 1995
Sweet: Chateau D’Yquem, Sauternes, 1996
Fortified: Alvear, PX Solera 1927 Montilla-Moriles
Other style/Extra choice: Domaine Leflaive, Bienvenue Batard Montrachet 2001
Dud: The bloody corked Heitz Chardonnay I took to the summer WIMPS offline!
Thing: Chef for the day experience at The Box Tree for my 40th birthday. An experience I will never forget.
Comments: This year more than any previous, the majority of my really great and memorable bottles have been drunk with groups of friends (many from the wine-pages forum) rather than just at home with Vicki. There is a time and place for both of these things, but it is true what they say about a pleasure shared… Also more than previous years, I have really drunk and tasted the very top end of the Northern Rhone, which have been a revelation to me, so thanks to the generosity of certain forumites for sharing their Chave, Verset, Jaboulet, Guigal, Clusel Roch & Chapoutier with me!
Merry xmas to all and a happy 2019. Generosity and a serious love of wine – the two do seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? The number of great and expensive wines that get so freely shared around a lunch or dinner table by like-minded people is testament to that – Tom

Maureen Matthew

Red: Penfolds Grange 1976
White: Montrachet DRC 2003
Budget Red: Dolcetto D’Alba Burlotto 2016
Budget White: Louis Jadot Macon Villages 2016 ( bought via Amazon)
Rosé: Familia Castano Monastrello 2017
Sparkling: Comte de Champagne 2006
Sweet: Chateau Filhot Sauternes 1999
Dud: Two ( out of 3) corked Le Difese
Thing: People Brexit March 2018
Comments: Paul Day and I finally managed to host a Saint Joseph dinner at Noize, 5 years in the planning. Paul and I opened our last bottles of Trollat 1995 and Gonon 1990, respectively. The Trollat 95 was destined for the accolade of my WOTY, until it was pipped at the post by the Grange 76. Other memorable occasions include a friend’s 50th birthday party held in a chateau in Pomerol, where we had the Montrachet 2003 listed above as my white wine of the year, amongst many others including a fresh, spritely Ausone 1990 from a Jeroboam and HB 1958. Purely and simply hedonistic, and why not! Looking forward to a Brexit-free 2019! Some seriously good drinking in 2018 obviously, but – yellow card for mentioning the ‘B’ word; I’d almost managed to forget about that for the past 48 hours! – Tom

Julian Seers-Martin

Red: Domaine de L’Arlot NSG 1er Cru Clos des Forêts St. Georges, 2001, France
White: Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Blanches au Bouge Santa Maria Valley 2014, USA
Budget Red: Dirty and Rowdy Unfamiliar Mourvedre 2017, USA
Rosé: Matthiasson Rose Napa Valley 2016, USA
Sparkling: Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Fidele R14 NV, France
Dud: Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2018, France
Thing: TOP Winery
Comments: A fun year of wine exploration in California and far less “icons” drunk than in past years, which is good – wine has become more relaxing as a result. I’ve truly embraced the style of wines here which I did not ever anticipate doing, but that is at least partly due to there being producers who are making wonderfully pure and restrained wines. I had a lovely tasting with Stanley Barrios at TOP in Paso Robles, who in addition to sharing his own amazing Rhone style blends, pulled out a bottle of SQN to compare because he thought it’d be “interesting”! Considering he’s only been winemaking for 2 years or so, it was brave, but his were better. Sounds like you are having a great time in your home away from home Julian. I look back with terrific fondness to a visit to Au Bon Climat around 20 years ago, having lunch with Jim Clendenen and his workers round a big table in the centre of the winery during harvest, with incredible home-made Mexican food – and of course the wines are terrific – Tom

Mike H, UK

Red: 1994 La Mission Haut Brion
White: 1990 J J Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese
Budget Red: 2015 Julien Sunier Fleurie
Budget White: 2013 Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse
Rosé: 2016 Tavel Mordoree La Dame Rousse
Sparkling: 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires
Sweet: 2009 Climens
Fortified: 1946 Don PX Convento Seleccion Toro Albala
Other style/Extra choice: Chapoutier L’Oree (2000 and 2011)
Dud: SA Reds and a Terrible Tenerife White
Comments: 2014 Donelan Genevieve Chardonnay (very good indeed); Gran Enemigo Snowden Ranch 14 and Brothers (good value interesting producer); Napanook Lots of Riesling, new and old.
Pomerol; Sine Qua Non White 2013 for electrifying the inside of my face; Don’t bring a newly disgorged champagne to an offline / dinner; Don’t be afraid of older vintages – many survive well;
Leave bottles longer – so many need it – see above; Try wines from anywhere and find new loves; So many top drawer wines shared and tasted but selections are from my own wines. Second vote so far for the Heidsieck Millenaires 1995 as sparkler of the year, a wine I too drank a couple of times in 2018, and which is superbly refined, and which could easily have made my list too – Tom

Richard Zambuni

Red: Hermitage Le Greal Domaine Marc Sorrel 1998
White: Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles Domaine des Héritiers Louis Jadot 1985
Budget Red: Crystallum Pinot Noir Peter Max Western Cape 2016
Budget White: Botanica Chenin Blanc Citrusdal 2014
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck Champagne Blanc des Millénaires 1995
Sweet: Quarts de Chaume Domaine des Baumard 1997
Fortified: Sainsbury’s TTD 12 YO Amontillado sherry
Other style/Extra choice: Cornas Cave de Tain 1966
Dud: Bollinger Champagne R.D. Extra Brut 1990 and Krug 1990
Thing: Dinner with the family at Albergo Nerina in the Trentino
Comments: The red and white choices were quite easy, despite it being a great year for drinking fine wine. Mature white burgundy from the 80s can still be breathtaking, and the Le Greal was a wine of great precision rivaling even the legendary Chave in 1998. I think I chose the Blanc des Millenaires last year, but it remains a very fine wine and probably one of the best two or three champagnes I’ve ever drunk. South Africa has been high on my drinking list this year and the wines I’ve listed are relative bargains for the quality. For the thing, I’ve chosen the simple pleasure of eating at the de Nuzzos’ modest albergo – fantastic local food. Third vote for the Heidsieck Millenaires 1995! Contender for overall wine of the year perhaps? Yes, South Africa is stretching itself more and more into new regions and new styles, and is currently of real interest I agree – Tom


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