My Wines of the Year enters its 21st year of continuous publication, since it began in 1997. Reflecting on a year of wine is always a pleasure, but choosing the winning wines a real challenge. I’ve whittled thousands of wines down to the best I have tasted in nine categories, plus two extra categories: ‘Dud’ of the Year, and ‘Thing’ of the Year. As always, I invite wine-pages visitors to send in their Wines of the Year for publication. The ‘Dud’ can be the worst, or most disappointing wine, and please use ‘Thing’ as imaginatively as you like – it may or may not be wine related!
See the lists from visitors to wine-pages here.
Entries for Visitors’ Wines of the Year 2018 are now closed.
Tom’s Wines of the Year 2018
Red Château Margaux, Margaux 1er Cru 1985, France
White Blank Canvas, Chardonnay 2016, New Zealand
Budget red Domaine Lagneau, Morgon Vieilles Vignes 2015, France
Budget white Puklavec, Seven Numbers Pinot Grigio 2016, Slovenia
Rosé Bellavista, Franciacorta Brut Rosé 2013, Italy
Sweet Château Guiraud, Sauternes 1er Cru 1986, France
Sparkling Champagne Deutz, Cuvée William Deutz 1995, France
Fortified Blandys, Frasqueira Bual 1957 and Sercial 1968, Portugal
Other style/extra choice Meinklang, ‘Prosa’ Sparkling Rosé 2017, Austria
Dud Cheap Pinot Noir wines, so many proving it basically cannot be done
Thing Getting married!
1985 remains my favourite Bordeaux vintage, and also ties in nicely with my ‘Thing’ of the year *. The Margaux was sublime, and all you could ask for in terms of perfume, balance and sheer deliciousness. Blank Canvas is one of my finds of 2018. The Lagneau proves that 2015 is a brilliant vintage in Beaujolais, while the Puklavec is just such a lovely example of Pinot Grigio’s ability to transcend the banal. Bellavista was an easy choice for my rosé of the year: I tasted many fine dry rosés, but the Bellavista is exceptional.
The Château Guiraud has been in my cellar for 20 years, and though I am coming to the conclusion that I prefer Sauternes without too much age, this was in a perfect place. A visit to Deutz produced many favourites, but the 1995 of their deluxe cuvée pipped the 2002 for current drinking. The two Blandy’s Madeiras were tasted at the IWSC awards dinner (both took gold/trophy awards) and my god they are both brilliant, profound wines. My final wine choice is the ‘pet nat’ from Meinklang, a gently frothy, unflitered, off-dry wine that is a fine example of a natural winemaker getting it dead right.
* And to my ‘Thing’ of the year: 2018 saw me win the title of International Wine Communicator of the Year, stage three completely sold out Festivals of Wine, attend an amazing Christmas lunch with 72 members of the wine-pages community, and my band reformed after 35 years, which has been a joy. It’s been a fantastic year with so many contenders, but I did also get married in August after a 33 year ‘engagement’ (hence 1985 featuring extensively in my cellar). I think I am duty-bound to vote for that!
Click to read full tasting notes for Tom’s Wines of the Year.
With the sheer number of excellent wines tasted, I’ve allowed myself my usual indulgence of a baker’s dozen ‘so very nearly made it’ contenders:
- Champagne Taittinger, Brut Vintage 2012, France
- Caves Transmontanas, Vértice Sparkling Pinot Noir 2007, Portugal
- Juve & Camps, Cava La Capella 2006, Spain
- Flametree, SRS Wallcliffe Chardonnay 2016, Australia
- Domaine Fourrey, Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2015, France
- Bodegas Roda, Cirsion 2015, Spain
- DuMOL, Finn Pinot Noir 2014, USA
- Domaine de Fondrèche, Divergente Rouge 2015, France
- Caiarossa, Caiarossa 2013, Italy
- Herdade do Mouchão, Mouchão 2013, Portugal
- Georges Mugneret, Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2000, France
- Quinta do Noval, Vintage Port 2016, Portugal
- Bodegas Juan Piñero, Fino Camborio, Spain