Wines of the Year 2019

wines of the yearMy Wines of the Year enters its 22nd year of continuous publication since it began in 1998. After much soul-searching, I am pretty confident that if not unequivocally the best, these are very worthy winners in nine categories, plus two extra categories: ‘Dud’ of the Year, and ‘Thing’ of the Year.

As always, I invited wine-pages visitors to send in their own nominations for publication. See the lists from visitors to wine-pages here.

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

Tom’s Wines of the Year 2019

Red Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Échézeaux Grand Cru 2000, France
White Vergelegen, G.V.B White 2016, South Africa
Budget red Domaine du Bon Remède, La Grange Delay 2017, France
Budget white The Foundry, Grenache Blanc 2017, South Africa
Rosé Champagne Krug, Rosé NV, France
Sweet Château d’Yquem, Sauternes 2002, France
Sparkling Champagne Bollinger, Vintage 1918, France
Fortified Blandy’s, Sercial Madeira 1968, Portugal
Other style/extra choice Soldera, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004, Italy
Dud Silver Moki, Sauvignon Blanc Blush 2018
Thing My band Restricted Code gigging and recording again!

Click to read full tasting notes for Tom’s Wines of the Year.

My year kicked off with a big South African road trip, tasting many hundreds of wines. I could have filled the list from the superb producers and wines the Cape now boasts – it is a truly inspirational wine country at the moment. Throughout the year I had plenty of other trips and tasted some fabulous wines, including that 1918 Bollinger, some rare old vintages of Taylor’s Ports in the Douro and various other amazing experiences in Italy, Portugal and France. But several of my choices have come from bottles opened and drunk at home or taken to dinner. Some of the wines I have chosen came from tastings, rather than social occasions, but often these were also enjoyed over a meal where more than a five minute snapshot was possible.

Over 35 years ago I had modest success as a musician, in a band that had a record deal and toured extensively. For decades I filed this under ‘ancient history’, but much to our collective surprise and delight, my band reformed in 2018 and we have been writing and performing new material. 2019 saw a string of small gigs and recording an EP for release early in 2020. It has been an absolute joy to do something I love, but which I never thought in a million years I would do again. A small snippet from our EP is below:

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 Bruno Paillard, Assemblage 2009, France
  • Champagne Bollinger, La Grande Année 2008, France
  • Domaine of the Bee, Field of the Bee Blanc 2018, France
  • Ken Forrester Wines, The FMC 2015, South Africa
  • David Franz, Long Gully Road Semillon 2017, Australia
  • La Rioja Alta, Viña Arana Gran Reserva 2012, Spain
  • Bodega Catena Zapata, Adrianna Vineyard Malbec 2005, Argentina
  • Casa Ferreirinha, Barca Velha 2008, Portugal
  • Mayer, Close Planted Pinot Noir 2017, Australia
  • Masi, Campolongo di Torbe Amarone 2011, Italy
  • Erika Obermeyer, Erika O Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, South Africa
  • Château Suduiraut, Sauternes 2009, France
  • Vasques de Carvalho, 20-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal

Go to Visitors Wines of the Year 2019


  1. Interesting that the LRA Arana GR 2012 is on your ‘also ran’ list. While I thought it was a very good wine I was slightly disappointed as I felt it was a cynical move to promote it to GR to fill the price gap when the 904’s price went through the roof. As I said it is a very good wine but not really that much better than its last vintage as a Reserva, the 2011, which was a true bargain being priced less than the Ardanza.

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