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Visitors' favourite wines of 2000 - Part III

There have been so many Wine Pages Visitors' Wines of the Year for 2000 that they've now had to be split into three parts. This is part III.
Go to Part I / Go to Part II

Giles Wood, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 25/01)
Red - Wente (USA) C. Wetmore Reserve Cab Sauv 1995
White - Rosemount (Australia) Roxburgh Chardonnay 1997
Budget red - Casa Donoso (Chile) Merlot 1999
Budget white - Kuentz Bas (Alsace) Signature
Sweet - Kuentz Bas (Alsace) Gewürztraminer SdGN 1989
Sparkling - Duchatel (France) Vintage 1993
Fortified - Cálem Vintage Port 1966
The Kuentz Bas 'Signature' was my Wine of the Week in October last year, and following my
visit to Cálem last year, nice to see one of their Ports make the list - Tom

Nick Martin, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 25/01)
Red - Altesino (Italy) Brunello di Monmtalcino Riserva 1990
White - Rolly Gassman (Alsace) Riesling Pflaenzerreben de Rorshwihr 1990
Budget red - Château Puygeraud (Bordeaux) Cotes de Francs 1997
Budget white - Alois Lageder (Italy) Gewürztraminer 1999
Sweet - Château Climens (Barsac) 1916
Sparkling - Sadi Malot Cuvée Reserve Champagne NV
Fortified - Massandra Collection (Crimea) Tokai 1940
I had so many lovely 1990s in 2000, including a wonderful 1990 Haut Brion (Not far off the pace set by the seamless but prohibitively pricey 1989); an underrated Cos Labory that positively metamorphosed with an hour in the glass and shamed La Mission Haut Brion 1983 consumed at the same dinner; and a bargain Colioure, Les Cousprons Levants by Dr. Parce, which just missed out on my wine of the year in the budget category (Majestic). In the end the palm went to Altesino's Brunello which showed a lovely aristocratic nose, brick-edged autumnal colour, 'iron fist in velvet glove' texture leading to sweet complex macerated fruit flavours. Refined, and stunning. Rolly Gassman's 'cru' Riesling is another 1990 that captivates me everytime I drink it (just the 4 occasions last year!) Pale golden colour, nose of beeswax intermixed with a tell-tale 'Riesling' whiff of petroleum. Rich, powerful and perfectly balancing a honeyed edge with a flavour of red apples and fine balancing acidity. Many of the 1997s from Bordeaux are boring, lacking substance and flesh in the mid-palate. Puygeraud definitely has no hole. Very consistent from start to finish, with firm, mocha fruit, and at under £8 a bottle shows up many right bank wines with pretensions to valuations double or treble this little gem. In the budget white category, Lageder's Gewurz shows the grower's hallmark of wines with fine structure and a 'mineral' edge. It is both restrained and rich. Around £6. Picking a museum piece as my sweet wine of the year will no doubt leave me open to accusations of pretension. Believe me though, Climens 1916 was in a different league, still vibrant and fresh, with such staggering complexity and power that it defies description. Few wines create a physical response and a memory of what you felt like rather than what it tasted like. This was one of them. Sadi Malot is a small producer south of Reims, and sells to private customers only. The Cuvée Reserve Champagne is a blend of reserve wines from 93-95 with the bulk made up of the 1996 crop. It is absolutely excellent and another bargain to boot. My final choice is a cheat. I rarely drink fortified wine, but one that certainly felt like it had been, was an amazing Tokai from the Massandra winery. Treacley in texture and colour, this was liquid Christmas pudding, with an orange peel element providing a subtle aromatic lift.
Some rare and fine stuff here. No accusations of pretentiousness from me; just envy over that 1916 Sauternes :-) Tom

Stephen Pickles, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 25/01)
Red - Jaboulet (Rhône ) Hermitage La Chapelle 1983
White - Hidalgo (Spain) Manzanilla Pasada NV
Budget red - Agapito Rico (Spain) Carchelo Monastrell 1999
Budget white - No Award
Sweet - Château d'Yquem (Sauternes) 1983
Sparkling - Drappier Champagne Carte D'Or 1983
Fortified - Taylors Vintage Port 1970
This was a big year for me, these were some of the most expensive wines I have tried, but they were superb and worth the trouble I got into from my wife when she found out the price of the Yquem at one of Tom's wine courses! The La Chapelle was like a meal in its own right - I had never had such a complex wine. I love sherry and manzanilla always reminds me of great meals and tapas in Spain - this one was very good. The monastrell was £4.60 from the wine society - a lovely everday wine for food. The Yquem was an amazing experience of layers of flavours definitley worth the expense every millenium. The Drappier was a tip from Tom and was fantastic; better than a 1983 Alfred Gratien it was compared to. The Port was suberb - lived up to its reputation with a wonderful floral quality that lingered for ages. Just have to save up and buy some more!
Well, difficult to argue with this lot, many of which I've tsted too. It's amazing how few arguments one hears over Yquem's value for money even at £150 a bottle, when people debate the value of Bordeaux, Californian 'cult wines', etc. endlessly - Tom

Bill Nanson, Switzerland - Top Wines of 2000 (added 25/01)
Red - Romanée-Conti (Burgundy) Grands Echézeaux 1986
White - Gallo (USA) Turning Leaf Merlot 1998
Budget red - No award
Budget white - Peter Lehman (Australia) Clare Valley Riesling 1998
Sweet - Château St. Jean (USA) Johanisburg Riesling 1989
Sparkling - Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas Francois 1990
Fortified - Penfolds (Australia) Fortified Shiraz 1997
I still remember the perfume of the Grands Echézeaux - I've never smelled anything else as good. Peter Lehmans Riesling is quite good enough to stand in both white wine categories. The Turning Leaf ? - Well, for £3 in France respect is due. The sweety is lovely, mature, apple and pear pie - so pleased I have half a dozen more of these halves to go at. If I'm honest, I don't really get champagne. I'll drink V.Clic. and Cordon Rouge (£12 in France) but if I spend £30 I'm always disappointed except in this case, orange peel, yeasty, bready and absolutely yummy. Most fortifieds are too warm and alcoholic for me, but the Penfolds is the perfect partner for a group of friends playing cards and generally getting unruly.
It was a toss-up for me between my red wine of the year and the wonderful Grands Echézeaux from Drouhin, so I understand Bill's enthusiasm. And another 1990 Champagne! - Tom

Bill Hogg, Canada - Top Wines of 2000 (added 30/01)
Red - Méo-Camuzet (Burgundy) 1993 Clos Vougeot
White - R&V Dauvissat (Burgundy) 1996 Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses
Budget red - Clavel (France) 1998 Coteaux de Languedoc Les Garrigues
Budget white - Domaine Closel (France) 1997 Savennieres Clos Papillon
Sweet - Trimbach (Alsace) 1989 Riesling Clos Ste. Hune VT (off-dry)
Sparkling - Perrier et Jouet 1990 Belle Epoque Champagne
Fortified - No award
The Clos was probably the best Burg I have ever had. Clavel's Garrigue is great, and at C$15 a good QPR. The Savennieres was on special during the summer at C$17, and will be great in a few years.The Clos was probably the best Burg I have ever had. Clavel's Garrigue is great, and at C$15 a good QPR. The Savennieres was on special during the summer at C$17, and will be great in a few years.
Bill's is a real Francophile selection. No complaints from me either - Méo-Camuzet's Vosne-Romanée is one of the finest '93's I've tasted and the Clos Papillon is a wonderful Chenin Blanc - we haven't had many of those so far - Tom

David Ben Yair, Israel - Top Wines of 2000 (added 30/01)
Red - Comte George de Vogue (Burgundy) Musigny V.V 1990
White - Niellon (Burgundy) Chevalier-Montrachet 1995
Budget red - No award
Budget white - No award
Sweet - Château d'Yquem (Sauternes) 1982
Sparkling - Dom Perignon 1985
Fortified - Fonseca Vintage Port 1948
The Musigny was unbelievable, very young but very complex, . the Chevalier was the best white burgundy I have ever tasted. I drank both at a weekend in Paris along with Jayer Echezeaux 1986 and Guigal La Mouline 1990.
Burgundy is making a late run up the inside track as favourite region! I tasted that Chevalier back in 1997 and it showed stunning potential, so nice to hear it has come along so well - Tom

Charles Taylor, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 30/01)
Red - Martinborough Vineyards (NZ) Reserve Pinot Noir 1996
White - Kumeu River (NZ) Chardonnay 1997
Budget red - Alvaro Palacios (Spain) "les terraces" 1998
Budget white - generally albarino from Rias Baixas
Sweet - Tokay (Hungary) 1990 6 puttonyos (can't remember producer)
Sparkling - Perrier et Jouet Belle Epoque Champagne 1992
Fortified - Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Amontillado del Duque
A struggle on the red, the other contender being val sotillo crianza 1996. Les terraces only slips under the price barrier if you by it in a spanish supermarket, which I did, so that's ok. The Champagne was probably the only sparkling wine I drank this year, not a lot of competition. Really it was the red wines that I can still taste as I drift off at night...
Last year was the year of the NZ Chardonnays, but not so many this time round. I totally agree on the Amontillado del Duque Sherry - magical stuff - Tom

Bengt, Sweden - Top Wines of 2000 (added 30/01)
Red - Penfolds (Australia) Grange 1994
White - Zind-Humbrecht (Alsace) Pinot Gris Clos Windsbuhl (vintage not given)
Budget red - Falesco (Italy) Vitiano
Budget white - Ernst Burn (Alsace) pinot blanc
Sweet - Château d'Yquem (Sauternes) 1984
Sparkling - Bollinger Blanc de Blanc Champagne 1988
Fortified - No award
Big, powerful wines dominate this line-up. The Windsbuhl from Zind-Humbrecht is mind-blowing stuff - Tom

Michael Bolognesi, Spain - Top Wines of 2000 (added 08/02)
Red - 1995 Opus One - Robert Mondavi (California)
White - 1999 Granbazán Ámbar - (Rias Baixas-Spain)
Budget red - 1998 Coma Vella - Bodegas Mas den Gil (Priorat-Spain)
Budget white - 1999 José Pariente - Bodegas Dos Victorias (Rueda-Spain)
Sweet - 1997 Chivite Coleccion Vendimia Tardia (Navarra-Spain)
Sparkling - 1995 Kripta Augusti Torelló (Cataluña-Spain)
Fortified - Alvear 1830 Pedro Ximenez (Montilla/Moriles-Spain)
covers all points of Spain nicely - how did that Californian sneak in Michael? - Tom :-)

Cor Balfoort, Netherlands - Top Wines of 2000 (added 08/02)
Red - 1990 Château Leoville las Cases, St. Julien, Bordeaux
White - 1999 Le Montrachet Comtes Lafon (cask), Burgundy
Budget red - 1997 Bourgueils/St.Nicolas Bourgueil Yannick Amirault, Loire
Budget white - 1997 Pinot d'Alsace Kientzler, Alsace
Sweet - 1959 Wehlener Sonnenuhr feinste Auslese JJ Prum, MSR
Sparkling - No award
Fortified - 1994 Quinta de Vesuvio, Port
The Leoville made it to best red on sheer fabulous balance. Amiraults red loires are yet another example of purely vinified delicious reds from that region; at very fair prices still. Kientzler has drawn my attention lately; excellently pure and true to style alsatians at fair prices too. The Pinot is not even $7. The 59 JJ Prum is the same bottle Yixin awarded: drunk in Urzig at a memorable WLDG offline. 94 Vesuvio easily made it to the top in this category; tasted at a Vesuvio vertical.
Like Cor I have been very impressed by Loire reds - they've had such a great run of vintages in the latter half of the '90s and are often tremendous value - Tom

Peter Adams, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 22/02)
Red - Les Terrasses (Spain) Alvado Palacios Priorato 1998
White - Domaine de Beaurenard (France) Châteauneuf du Pape 1999
Budget red - Concha Y Tores (Chile) Casellero De Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon
Budget white - Dona Paulina (Chile) Casablanca Chardonnay
Sweet - K. Darting (Germany) Ungsteiner Bettelhaus Pfalz Rieslaner Tba 1992
Sparkling - No award
Fortified - Neiport (Portugal) LBV 1995
Can't aspire to tasing the quality of wines you do (but no-one's paying me to drink it!), so my Budget is close to my Best in price terms. The white Châteauneuf is the best I've ever tasted. The Neiport LBV makes me wonder why people spend so much on the vintage stuff. It knocks spots off most vintage ports I've tasted, and is vastly superior to other widely available LBVs.
I tasted Niepoort's '95 LBV last year and agree it is superb (as is the '94) - and yes: far superior to most LBV wines - Tom

Anthony Taylor, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 22/02)
Red - Penfolds (Australia) Bin 707 1982
White - Leeuwin Estate (Australia) Art Series Chardonnay 1997
Budget red - Adiseno Reserve Malbec 1999 ( Argentina)
Budget white - Serringer Vogelsgang Riesling Auslese 1989 (£5 Majestic)
Sweet - Château Giraud 1989 (Sauternes)
Sparkling - Nyetimber (England) 1er Cuvee 1993( or maybe Krug NV!)
Fortified - Niepoort Quinta do Passadouro 1997
Several of these are also favourites of mine. Nyetimber is getting the praise it deserves this year - that's around the thrird time it has appeared in someone's list (it was my sparkling choice too). And long may UK merchant Majestic unearth parcels of fine German wines at knockdown prices: a shame for the German producers, but a bonus for discerning wine lovers - Tom

Brian Smith, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 02/03)
Red - 1989 Cote Rotie La Turque, Guigal (Rhone)
White - 1983 Scharzhofberger Auslese, Hohe Domkircher (M-S-R)
Budget red - 1998 Sangredetoro Torres (Spain) on offer £4.29
Budget white - 1999 Bin 50 Chardonnay, Lindemanns (Aus.) on offer £3.99
Sweet - 1975 Tokaji 5 Putts, Oremus (Hungary)
Sparkling - 1988 Champagne Drappier, Carte d'Or
Fortified - 1988 Crusted Port, Dows
The Turque was 50% of my stock, drunk on the proper Millenium eve with good friends and was absolutely superb. The Scharzhofberger was in a different price bracket but excellent, with a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, and still fresh.The Tokaji was almost like burnt toffee, an acquired taste, but one I am developing
Another Drappier fan! I was initiated into the delights of these wines by regular visitors Paul Anderson and Scott McKittrick who invited me to a
wonderful vertical tasting last year where we tasted Carte d'Ors going back to 1959: lovely stuff - Tom

Marc Sparkes, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 15/03)
Red - Barossa Valley Est. (Aus) Ebenezer Shiraz 1997
White - Domanine Ostertag (Alsace) Gewürztraminer Epfig 1997
Budget red - Peter Lehman (Aus) Clancy's Red 1997
Budget white - No award
Sweet - Rolly Gassman (Alsace) SdGN Pinot Gris 1989
Sparkling - Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Pelorus 1994
Fortified - Blandys (Madeira) 15 Year Old Malsmey
A unusual selection, with blockbuster New World reds and traditional European whites, but all nice stuff - Tom

Mahmoud Ali, Canada - Top Wines of 2000 (added 10/04)
Red - Mount Veeder (Napa) Bernstein Vineyards Cab Sauv 1979
White - Vina Tondonia (Rioja) Reserva 6 ano 1980
Budget red - Bianchi (Argentina) Elsa Malbec 1996/1997 (C$10)
Budget white - Cline Cellars (California) Cotes d'Oakley white 1998 (C$12.50)
Sweet - Moulin Touchais (Coteaux du Layon) 1964
Sparkling - Charles Heidseck (Champagne) Brut 1985
Fortified - Grahams (Portugal) LBV 1981
There were many candidates for the best wine of the year in 2000 thanks in large measure to my circle of wino friends. For my best red wine, though I chose the Mount Veeder which was delicious, still going strong, and is in no hurry to drink up if anyone has any around, I must tip my hat to the 1982 Pape Clement, the 1982 Lagrange, the 1988 Bertani Amarone and the 1975 Pichon Lalande. Oh yes, and the ever so elegant 1994 Dorrien Cab (Seppelt-Australia), although it was by no means ready to drink. In the white wine category honourable mention goes to the Far Niente Chardonnay and the still alive but sufficiently characterful 1985 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma). Honourable mention to the 1988 Ch Guiraud (Sauternes) and the 1990 Peter Lehmann Botrytis Semillion (Australia), and though the sauterne will be better in times to come, the Australian has already developed well with lots of botrytis overtones. In a year when the vintage ports that I tried have disappointed, the LBVs have made their mark, and at the price, the select few can represent good value for they can be enjoyed all the way through their evolution (and cost way less than vintage port). The 1981 Graham LBV was a single bottle that was overlooked in the cellar but my tasting friends said that they recalled this LBV being one of the finer LBVs that they had tasted many years ago. The 1987 Taylors LBV is another example of a delicious port that drank well when young and is still drinking well today. For the future I am betting on the 1994 Quinta de Noval LBV. Just a footnote on the budget white, the Cotes d'Oakley is made from 10 (yes, ten) grape varieties and is packed full of delicious, full bodied flavours. Second pick is the Torres (Chile) Sauvignon Blanc 1999 (C$10). [the Canadian dollar is worth about US$0.65]
Great choices. Mount Veeder is consistently one of California's top reds IMO. Nice to see more Loire sticky in the frame, and a white Rioja: an acquired taste perhaps, but they can be wonderful - Tom

Neal Martin, UK - Top Wines of 2000 (added 24/08)
Red - Bouchard Pere et Fils Richebourg 1937
White - Kistler Vine Hill Road Chardonnay 1995 - California
Budget red - A Mano Primitivo 1999 - Puglia
Budget white - Ch. de la Ragotiere Muscadet-sur-Lie 1997
Sweet - Alois Kracher Grand Cuvee #12 TBA 1995 - Austria
Sparkling - Krug Champagne 1982
Fortified - No award
I know it's a bit late in the year. I had the Richebourg 37 at a lunch with a wine merchant who told me that the bottle had remained in the same cellar since purchased upon release. I believe that Bouchard had a higher reputation in the pre-war years and 1937 was a superb vintage in Burgundy. I have never tasted a wine so complex, whose taste seemed to evolve and deepen upon every sip. Kracher`s TBA is also worth a mention - his wines are always well worth seeking out and 1995 was a great year.
never too late - though we'll soon be launching the best wines of 2001 feature! :-) The '37 Richebourg sounds like a stunning experience. I've tasted claret of this age, but never a fine Burgundy which is much more rare. The sweet wines of Karcher and Willie Opitz from Austria are reasonably easy to find in the UK, and I agree are well worth trying - Tom

Back to Part I of Visitors' Wines 2000