Wines of the Year 2020

My Wines of the Year is now in its 23rd year of continuous publication, but never has a year been so unusual, with so many tasting events cancelled and all of my travel plans put on hold. That hasn’t stopped me tasting widely however, with far more tasting than usual at home.

Entries for Visitors Wines of the Year are now closed, but see all 50 lists submitted for 2020 here.

Tom’s Wines of the Year 2020

Red ‣ Giovanni Rosso, Barolo Vigna Rionda Ester Canale 2016, Italy
White ‣ Te Awanga, Trademark Chardonnay 2018, New Zealand
Budget red ‣ Tua Rita, Rosso dei Notri 2018, Italy
Budget white ‣ Dog Point Vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc 2010, New Zealand
Rosé ‣ Champagne Gosset, Grand Rosé, France
Sweet ‣ Château Rieussec, Sauternes 2001, France
Sparkling ‣ Champagne Henriot, Cuvée Hemera Brut 2006, France
Fortified ‣ Quinta do Noval, Vintage Port 2018, Portugal
Extra choice ‣ Black Chalk, Classic Sparkling Wine 2016, England
Dud ‣ Grant Burge, League Of Three Chardonnay 2020, Australia
Thing ‣ Last year’s choice wast that my band, Restricted Code, had reformed, and in March of this year we released our E.P., however, under Covid restrictions I also launched to host tutored wine tastings and courses via Zoom. It has been outstandingly successful, with almost all sessions selling out.

A few notes on my choices: there are fewer mature wines from my own cellar this year, mainly because, thanks to the international wine trade’s efforts, I tasted so much fine wine at home instead of on trips or at events. My only professional trip was to New Zealand in January and several more wines from that could have made this list. The Henriot Champagne is a ‘re-engineered’ version of their flagship wine, Enchanteleurs, which really impressed me. My dud? Arguably it’s a bit unfair to pick on the Grant Burge – there is nothing ‘wrong’ with it – but it represents a whole class of wines, transported in bulk and bottled in the UK, and all rather confected and soulless.

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 Perrier Jouët, Belle Epoque 2002, France
  • Gusbourne, Blanc de Noirs 2016, England
  • Pierre Bourée, Puligny-Montrachet 2017, France
  • Vasse Felix, Heytesbury Chardonnay 2018, Australia
  • Trinity Hill, ‘Hommage’ Syrah 2017, New Zealand
  • Château de Pommard, Simone 2018, France
  • Eyrie, Original Vines Pinot Noir 2016, USA
  • Yalumba, Tri-Centenary Grenache 2015, Australia
  • Giovanni Rosso, Barolo Cerretta 2016, Italy
  • Taylor’s, Vintage Port 1985, Portugal
  • Riverby Estate, Noble Riesling 2016, New Zealand
  • Sandeman, Vintage Port 2018, Portrugal
  • Pfeiffer Wines, Grand Rutherglen Muscat, Australia

Go to Visitors Wines of the Year 2020

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