I have declared the Wine Pages an MMZ (Minimum Millennium Zone): there will be no articles on “Wines of the Millennium”, “A Thousand Years of Wine”, etc. Instead, here is my usual end of year round-up of favourite wines drunk during 1999. This is always a welcome opportunity to pore over all my notes for the past year and recall some fabulous wines.
This year has easily been my toughest challenge yet. In a year when I tasted around 2,000 wines there were certain once-in-a-lifetime tasting events that made the task particularly difficult, including:
- A vertical of Hermitage La Chapelle (including 3 Parker “100 point” wines)
- The great 1966 vintage including Krug, Latour, Romanée-Conti and Grange
- Thirty of the world’s greatest and rarest sweet wines
- Top clarets from 1962-1994, including Mouton and Margaux.
See also visitors’ Wine of the Year 1999.
Tom’s Wines of the Year 1999
As usual, these Wines of the Year are split into 7 categories.
Red – Paul Jaboulet Aîné (Rhone) Hermitage La Chapelle 1978
White – Zind-Humbrecht (Alsace) Tokay-Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl 1992
Budget red – Pinotage Company (South Africa) Bush Vine Pinotage 1998
Budget white – Pewsey Vale (Australia) Eden Valley Riesling 1997
Sweet – Baumard (Loire) Quarts de Chaume 1996
Sparkling – Cuvée Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne 1983
Fortified – Graham Vintage Port 1970
It’s cheating I know, but this is such a tough task that I’ve allowed myself another baker’s dozen that really stood out and could easily have made this list:
Château Beychevelle (Bordeaux) 4th growth St-Julien 1985
Araujo (California) Eisle Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1994
Dehlinger (Russian River) Syrah 1994
Château Latour (Bordeaux) 1st growth Pauillac 1966
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (Burgundy) Echézeaux Grand Cru 1966
Vega Sicilia (Spain, Ribero del Duero) “Unico” 1970
Château de Beaucastel (France) Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1989
Mas de Daumas Gassac (France, Languedoc) 1989
Wirra Wirra (Australia) Scrubby Vale Semillon 1994
Von Kesselstatt (M-S-R) Riesling Scharzhofberger Spätlese 1995
Temple Bruer (Australia) Langhorne Creek Shiraz/Malbec 1996
Pilton Manor (England) Fumé 1995
González Byass (Spain) Vintage Oloroso Sherry 1970
Domaine Cady (Loire) Coteaux de Layon cuvée “Les Varennes” 1997