Welcome to my usual end of year round-up of favourite wines drunk during 2000. This is always a welcome opportunity to pore over all my notes for the past year and recall some fabulous wines.
In a year when I estimate that I tasted around 2,500 wines, this is a real task, albeit a pleasurable one. The year included some fantastic tasting opportunities for me. Over the past twelve months I’ve drunk all the first growth clarets, most from several vintages (12 vintages of Haut-Brion all told!). I’ve had Champagnes going back to 1959, clarets back to 1934, five vintages of Grange and quite a few of Yquem!
Still, by focussing on the task in hand I have come up with my usual disciplined list, allowing only one wine in each of seven categories.
See also visitors’ Wine of the Year 2000.
Tom’s Wines of the Year 2000
As usual, the Wines of the Year are split into seven categories.
|Red – Château Haut-Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 1989
White – Château Carbonnieux (France) Graves 1947
Budget red – Normans (Australia) Old Vines Grenache 1998
Budget white – Domaine des Deux Roches (France) St-Véran 1998
Sweet – Brumont (France) Brumaire “Decembre” Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh 1990
Sparkling – Nyetimber (England) Sparkling Wine Brut 1993
Fortified – Niepoort Vintage Port 1997
I had the Haut-Brion twice in 2000, once in a vertical tasting, and once sharing a bottle over a meal in France: stunning, and how nice to be able to evaluate the wine in both a clinical tasting and at leisure. The old Carbonnieux was just sublime. It’s rare that I taste such old white Bordeaux so a certain rarity value, but what a wine! The Normans Grenache is joyous celebration of Aussie richness, yet tempered by some real structure. The Deux Roches St-Véran typifies the best of this limpid, honeyed, southern Burgundy chardonnay. The Brumont “Decembre” is another rarity – especially from this superb vintage. Thrilling balance and class. What a pleasure to include the English Nyetimber. Now, I’d be hard-pushed to say this was a better wine than ’59 Drappier Carte d’Or for example, but it is just such a genuinely brilliant, world-class wine that I felt it was my most memorable fizz. Lastly, the Niepoort which I tasted from barrel and from bottle – such potential and outstanding balance. What a tough choice this was!
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:
Champagne Drappier Carte d’Or Brut 1959
Château Haut-Brion (Bordeaux) Blanc 1989
Pewsey Vale (Australia) Rhine Riesling 1981
Domaine Drouhin (Burgundy) Grands Echézeaux Grand Cru 1991
Château d’Angludet (Bordeaux) Margaux Cru Bourgeois 1997
Château Mouton-d’Armailhac (Bordeaux) Pauillac 5th growth 1934
Château Musar (Lebanon) 1981
Redoma (Portugal) Douro 1996
Masía Barril (Spain) Priorato Clásico 1994
Rioja Gran Reserva Especial “Castillo Ygay ” 1970
Penfolds (Australia) Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Bodegas Muga (Spain) Rioja “Torre Muga” Reserva 1994
Cálem 20-Year-Old Tawny Port