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Visitors' wines of 2002 - Part 2

Here are Wine Pages Visitors' Wines of the Year for 2002 in the same eight categories that I used to draw up my own list.

Note: There is always such a huge response to this feature that I have split the entries into parts. This is part 2.

Go to Part 1 / Go to Part 3 / Go to Part 4

selections below added 27/12/2002

Jonathan Ray-Smith, UK
Red - Weinert (Argentina) Cavas de Weinert Cab/Merlot/Malbec 1985
White - Chateau Fuisse (France) JJ Vincent Vieilles Vignes 1999
Budget white - Weller-Lehnert (Germany) Piesporter 1996
Sweet - Hugel (France) Pinot Gris Vendage Tardive 1990
Sparkling - Vilmart (France) Couer de Cuvee Champagne 1991 (in magnum)

The mature Argentinian red cellared by me for 8 years has all the hallmarks of a premium, well developed claret. R.Parker rates this particular cuvee as South America's No.1 wine! The Chateau Fuisse is a lovely alternative to more expensive burgundies in any discerning restaurant lucky enough to have this on its wine list -eg, Monsieur Max, Hampton; Petrus, London. The Piesporter recommended by Jane MacQuitty in the Times last summer is probably the best £5 wine I have ever had. Top class Pinot Gris, particularly this VT by Hugel, is generally so underated in the UK, as to be almost an obscure wine. This Vilmart is the best wine of the vintage and was a gift from Laurent Champs, the winemaker. Long live oak-fermented Champagne.

Vilmart has many supporters here I must say; it must be one of the most loved "unknown" houses around! South America in the frame again too I see - Tom

Tristan Sjoberg, UK
Red - d'Arenberg (Australia), Dead Arm Shiraz 1998
White - Verget (France) Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 1997
Budget red - Wynns (Australia) Coonawarra Shiraz 1998
Budget white - Eikendal (SA) Chardonnay 1999
Sweet - de Bortoli (Australia) Noble One 2000
Sparkling - Hungarian Blue Extra Dry NV
Fortified - Taylor's Port 1971
Dud - Penfold's (Australia) Grange 1971

The highlight (prior to drinking) was the planned opening of a bottle of '71 Grange given to me last year on my 30th birthday by a very dear old friend. Unfortunately, it turned out to have fallen apart completely. Shame, but I've had many pleasant surprises that made up for it during the past year. Happy New Wine Year!!!

Tristan's fondness for big Aussie reds is welcome in a very classicist set of wines so far ;-) Shame about the birthday year Grange - but at least the Port did the trick - Tom

James Clark, UK
Red - Peter Lehman (AUS) Stonewell 1996
White - Felton Road (NZ) Chardonnay 2000
Budget red - Errazuriz (Chile) Carmenere 2001
Budget white - Porta (Chile) reserve Chardonnay 2000
Sweet - Messmer Ruländer (Ger)Trockenbeerenauslese 1994
Sparkling - Pol Roger Champagne 1990
Fortified - Nyx (Greece) Mavrodaphne

James obviously enjoyed the superBOWL even in Glasgow this year, as several of these were favourites of mine and others who attended the event - Tom

Simon Rummens, UK
Red - Clarendon Hills (Aus) Kangarilla Grenache 1996
White - Trimbach (Alsace) Cuvee Frederic Emille VT 1989
Budget red - Domaine Brisson (Beaujolais) Morgon Les Charmes 1999
Budget white - Selbach Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2000
Sweet - Kracher (Austria) Grande Cuvee no 10 Nouvelle Vague 1998
Fortified - Dows Port 1960
Dud - Chateau Gruaud-Larose (Bordeaux) 1986 - twice

I have never seen the point of Beaujolais until trying the Morgon - specially selected for the Co-op as well! The Kracher was astonishing - pure apricots and passionfruit if a bit sweet; but the highlight was the Trimbach - as intense a riesling as I can imagine.

A head of steam building up for the Aussie reds with teh last three selections! Shame about the Gruaud-LArose, one of my favourite Bordeaux. The 1986's do seem very hard and ungiving, and have been like that for the past 10 years. I don't know if that's what Simon objected to here, but I wonder myself sometimes if they will ever really blossom? - Tom

Geoffrey Smith, USA
Red - Paul Hobbs (USA) Beckstoffer Vineyard Oakville Cab Sauvignon 1999
White - Von Strasser (USA) Diamond Mtn "Aurora Vineyard" Chardonnay 2000
Budget red - Morgante (Italy) Sicilia Nero d'Avola 2000
Budget white - Dylan Rutherford (USA) Sauvignon Blanc 2001
Sweet - Belo (USA) Central Coast Semillon Dessert Wine 1998
Sparkling - Jacquesson NV Brut Perfection Champagne
Fortified - Grahams Vintage Port 2000
Dud - I'd rather not say

An interesting year in California wines. Great new offerings from Oakville, like Paul Hobbs, Stanton, Emilio's Terrace. The curiously forward Hundred Acre Cabernet Sauvignon, from further up valley. Super late harvest, and Port-style wines from Belo Wine Company.

Geoffrey suggests those intersted in these harder to find wines contact him on - Tom

selections below added 03/01/2003

Donald M Halley, UK
Red - Clos des lambrays 1996
White - 1990 Meursault
Budget red - Cote du Rhone 2000
Budget white - Bourgogne 1995

John Holmes, USA
Red - Carmenet (USA) Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
White - Sterling (USA) Sauvignon Blanc 1999
Budget red - Terrazas (Argentina) Malbec 2000
Budget white - Alamosa Wine Cellar (USA) 1998 Fumé Blanc
Sweet - Paradise Ranch (USA) Icewine 1997
Sparkling - Kristone (USA) Blanc de Blanc 1992
Fortified - Dows 20-year-old Tawny Port
Dud - Anything by Arbor Mist!

Predominantly N.American wines but the growing quality of Argentina has attracted a lot of interest here. The Malbec from Terrazas is a good budget red well suited to the barbeque lifestyle here in the South of Texas !

John first started following wine-pages when he was an old-school English wine lover with a cellar full of Bordeaux, but he has certainly adapted to the lifestyle since his move across the pond :-) - Tom

David Bewers, UK
Red - Chateau Latour (Bordeaux) 1961
White - Boillot (Burgundy) Puligny-Montrachet, Les Referts 1995
Budget red - Chateau Coupe Roses (Minervois) Les Plots 1999
Budget white - Argiolas (Italy) Vermentino di Sardegna, Costamolino 2000
Sweet - Chateau Rieussec (Sauternes) 1983
Sparkling - Alfred Gratien Champagne Brut 1992
Fortified - Lustau Aged Amontillado Sherry
Dud - Chateau Latour (Bordeaux) 1964

Latour 1961 deserves its legendary reputation with fruit and tannins of a much younger wine. The 1964 seemed to be on the slide. A word of praise for the high general quality of Sardinian wines, which took me by surprise during a holiday on the island. My budget white is an example.

Latour 61- what a fabulous tasting opportunity that must have been. Fascinating that Latour also gets the dunce's cap for the 1964, but that's quite within the spirit of this competition where reputation can count for nothing! - Tom

Craig Thomson, New Zealand
Red - Te Mata Estate (NZ) Coleraine Hawkes Bay Cabernet Merlot 2000
White - Morton Estate (NZ) Coniglio Hawkes Bay Chardonnay 1998
Budget red - Montana (NZ) Reserve Marlborough Pinot Noir 2000
Budget white - Main Divide (NZ) Canterbury Riesling 2001
Sweet - Villa Maria (NZ) Reserve Noble Riesling 2001
Sparkling - Moet Chandon (France) Dom Perignon 1992

Second year in a row of vastly kiwi weighted drinking. My Budget wines are budget in my eyes, ie less than NZ$20 (as $15US is $NZ30 which aint budget to me!!). New Zealand this year continues its development showing a lot of what I term 'polished' wines, with fine and detailed features. I like the direction NZ wine is taking, though please ,where are the classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs?!! Leave out the sugar and lets have the attitude back!!

I think Craig makes a really good point. Those big, pungent, mind-blowing Marlborough Sauvignons do seem to becoming much more tame and risk fading into the background a bit. I am certainly drinking them less and seeing less written about them recently - Tom

Alex Bernardo, USA
Red - Chateau Pavie (France), St.-Emilion 1998
White - Ackerman-Laurance (France) Coteaux du Layon 1945
Budget red - Collado de Estrella (Spain) Rioja 2001
Budget white - Kesselstatt (Germany) 'RK' Riesling 2001
Sweet - Darting (Germany) Riesling Beerenauslese 1992
Sparkling - Krug (France) Grand Cuvee Champagne
Fortified - Domaine La Tour Vieille (France) Banyuls 2000
Dud - Domaine Chandon de Briailles (France) Corton 1999

A futile exercise as there are just so many great wines one can taste through the year. But definitely a lot fun doing this. Don't hold me to these selections, I may change my mind yet! My previous bouts with the '98 Pavie were unimpressive, but tasting it again last month the wine just blew me away. I drank it side by side with the '97 (quite decent althoug fading fast), '99, 2000 (barrel sample), and 2001 (barrel sample) and it was unbelievable. The '45 Coteaux du Layon was shared by a friend who got it at Christie's when he worked there. Over the course of a two-hour dinner it never faded. Vivid, pure, unctuous, and deliciously dry. The '01 Rioja is concentrated and perfectly ripe. It demonstrates how successful this vintage is in Spain. Germany's 2001 vintage is just chock-full of best-buys, impossible to pick just one. I picked the Kesselstatt because it was the first one that happen to come to my mind. Darting is a selection from Terry Theise. This BA from a 500ml bottle did not cost me more than US$20 when I bought it on release. It's at least 5 years from peak drinking. Krug's Grand Cuvee is always my favorite sparkler. If I were a millionaire, I'd drink this every day. La Tour Vieille's 2000 Banyuls is the best Banyuls I've ever drank. Finally, I'm a fan of Chandon de Briailles, but I was totally disappointed with the '99 Corton. Too much VA, very crudely made.

Another vote for 2001 in Germany, and quite a contrast with our other US correspondents here: an all-European selection from Alex and lots of classy, elegant wines. Does Alex's focus on France and Germany tell us something about differences that remains between Europe and the New World? - Tom

Paul Chandler, UK
Red - Chapel Hill (Aus) The Vicar Cabernet/Shiraz 1998 (magnum)
White - Tardieu-Laurent (Rhone) Condrieu 2000
Budget red - Valdivieso (Chile) Cabernet Franc 1999
Budget white - Felton Road (NZ) Riesling 1999
Sweet - Huet (Loire) Le Mont Moulleux Vouvray 1996
Sparkling - Grosset Ltd Release Chardonnay 1996
Fortified - Seppelt (Aus) DP63 Show Reserve Muscat
Dud - Penfolds Grange 1997

The Chapel Hill was everything you could want from a premium Mclaren Vale wine: concentrated, rich and very morish. The Condrieu was memorable mainly down to the fact that it convinced me that occasionally they can be worth the money. The Grosset sparkling Chardonnay was spectacular; richness and concentration of fruit without tasting overblown. My dud Grange 97 while a good wine it certainly wasn't in the same league as many cheaper alternatives and it begs the question of Penfolds why release it if it isn't up to it?

I haven't tasted the 97 Grange, but it certainly wasn't a great year for many of Australia's big reds. The Seppelt Reserve Muscat was a Wine of the Week during the year. Sadly, Oddbins have stopped stocking it. They have the Campbells, and Majestic have Brown Brothers Liqueur Muscats, both of which make excellent alternatives - Tom

selections below added 07/01/2003

Philip Vaughan, UK
Red - Jean Grivot (Burgundy) 1997 Vosne-Romanée, Les Beaux-Monts
White - Chave (Rhone) 1995 Hermitage Blanc
Budget red - Concha y Toro (Chile) 2001 Winemaker's Lot 32 Malbec
Budget white - Christ. Prum (Germ) 1992 Urziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese
Sweet - Hugel (Alsace) 1990 Riesling VT
Sparkling - R Boulard Champagne NV Rosé (although it was from 1998)
Fortified - Waitrose Dry Amontillado Sherry

The overriding thing for me this year has been lots of "great" whites and not that many "great" reds, which, although I love white wine, is a bit unusual for me. It's even stranger that I've probably bought more "fine" red wine this year than any other - but it's all in storage... The Hermitage was beautifully decanted and served to accompany a meal my wife and I had at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in January, which was possible the most exceptional meal I've ever had. The Prum Urziger Wurzgarten just *had* to be the budget white. I cannot think of ever having a white wine of that quality and finesse for under a fiver - thanks for the pointer Tom. And it means that I get a Riesling in the list! Actually that would be an interesting statistic given the recent poll - how many people had a Riesling in the WOTY list...? Runner up on the budget whites were: Vin Sec de Chateau Coutet A C Graves 1997 which I had at Waddesden Manor restaurant and was a real eye opener for me on how interesting lightly oaked dry white Bordeaux can be. And 2001 Peter Lehman Semillon, Barossa really should get a nod, as I fail to tire of it as an "everyday" white. I'm not sure that the Hugel Riesling should go in the sweet section as it was a virtually dry wine, but I have no other sweet wine of note to mention. 1998 Bloomsbury, Ridgeview Estate runs a very close second to the Boulard Rosé, but the Rosé just clinched it as it's the best I've ever had. Hopefully I'll have some corkers over the holiday period - just have to remember them for next years list!

UK Wine Forum has developed into such a wonderful source of information sharing, and it is great to see the beautiful Rosé Champagne from one of our regulars, Francis Boulard, get the honours. Lots of people piled into the Riesling from Majestic too, and yes, there are plenty of Rieslings in peoples' WOTY lists as always - Tom

David Pope, UK
Red - Mouton-Rothschild (Bordeaux) 1983
White - Chapoutier (Rhone) Cuvee l'Oree 1996
Budget red - Tesco St Emilion (Bordeaux) 2000
Budget white - West Brook (New Zealand) Riesling 2000
Sweet - Horst Sauer (Germany) Escherndorfer Lump Riesling TbA 1999
Sparkling - Charles Heidsieck (France) Champagne 1995
Fortified - d'Oliveiras (Madeira) Bual 1968
Dud - Leoville-las-Cases (Bordeaux) 1970

The Mouton was served at an offline I organised. A memorable bottle but closely followed by the Rausan-Segla 1985 tasted at the same occasion. I don't drink a lot of white but the Chapoutier, served by Neal Martin at another offline, was the most impressive, although I almost awarded this to an S A Prum Erdener Pralaat kabinett 1985 drunk with a picnic on a lovely day in Regents' Park, prior to visiting the Open Air Theatre. I don't drink many sub-£10 wines either but these were probably the best. The St Emilion (another Neal Martin tip-off) is very good for a supermarket wine and the Kiwi riesling is packed with fruit. Sauer's TBA is just incredible - one of the greatest wines I've ever tasted. The Heidsieck combines elegance with structure and the Madeira was the best from a tasting presented by this producer. The Leoville was once a very good wine but went downhill much earlier than expected - a great disappointment.

Lots of lovely classics here. Neal Martin also awarded Budget Red of the Year to the Tesco St Emilion, so must be worth checking out. I was really impressed by Berry Bros. own-label generic Margaux too recently - Tom

Matthew Edgeller, UK
Red - Faro (Italy) Palari 1998
White - Ata Rangi (New Zealand) Pinot Gris 2001
Budget red - Poliziano (Italy) Rosso di Montepulciano 2001
Budget white - Allan Scott (NZ) Riesling 2001
Sweet - Kracher (Austria) NV TBA No.2 1999
Sparkling - Vilmart (France) 'Coeur de Cuvee' 1996
Fortified - Henriques & Henriques 15 Year Old Bual

The Faro Palari (purchased on holiday)is a Sicilian wine made from indigenous varities. The 1998 was a Gambero Rosso tre biccheri winner, with a beautiful Pinot like perfume. The Ata Rangi was was full, rich & spicy - a great partner with Cantonese food. Allan Scott Riesling was the wine of the summer from an ever reliable producer. The Kracher was stunning. Restrained & minerally on the nose, with amazing concentration.

Another Pinot Gris, another Kracher Riesling, another vote for Vilmart and another Madeira, so Matthew is continuing a few emerging trends in the WOTY submissions this year! - Tom

yvind Hellesnes, Norway
Red - Domaine Dujac (Burgundy) Clos De La Roche 1991
White - Château Beaucastel (Rhone) CndP Vieilles Vignes 1996
Budget red - La Rioja Alta (Spain) Viña Alberdi Reserva 1995
Budget white - Weingärtner (Austria) Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen Thal 1999
Sparkling - Guy Charlemagne Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Charlemagne Brut 1995
Dud - Châteauneuf du Pape la Fiole; Pére Anselme, NV

Plenty of good wines this year. Seasons greetings and happy new year to and supporters. Cheers!

yvind pointed out that some people leave their WOTY entry until after the 31st December. I decide on my WOTY mid-December, but include any outstanding wines from the last couple of weeks of the year in next year's decision making. That seems fair to me - Tom

Robert Parr, UK
Red - Gaja (Italy) Barbaresco Costa Russi 1985
White - Trimbach (Alsace) Clos Ste. Hune Vendanges Tardives 1989
Budget red - Fox Wood Wines (France) Old Bush Vines Syrah 2001
Budget white - Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Tokay Pinot Gris 2000
Sweet - Crianza de Castilla la Vieja (Spain) Exxencia Botrityzed Verdejo 1999
Sparkling - Dampierre Champagne - Family Reserve Grand Cru 1995
Fortified - Lustau (Spain) Angel Zamorano Solera Matured Oloroso De Jerez
Dud - 1997 Resevas from Rioja

The Gaja Barbaresco was truly divine. The Clos St Hune the nicest gift i have ever received, can't wait for an excuse to open the 2nd bottle. At under £5 the Fox Wood Syrah is a steal and has helped reduce the overdraft somewhat. The Tokay Pinot Gris was a desperation purchase from a large chain which suprised. Major plaudits for the Exxencia which made a visit to Spain so memorable, can we have some in the UK please. And as for the dud the ever reliables weren't even up to scratch.

Yet another terrific selection of wines here. I had a vertical tasting of Ste-Hune and Ste-Hune VT recently with the winemaker which I've still to publish. I raved about the bargain Fox Wood Syrah 1998 vintage (Wine of the Week in summer 1999) so glad it is still on form - Tom

Joakim Rhberg, Sweden
Red - Château Montrose (France) 1990
White - Bürklin-Wolf (Ger) Wachenheimer Gerümpel Riesling Auslese Fuder 44 1990
Budget red - Penfolds (Australia) Koonunga Hill 2000
Budget white - J M Brocard (France) Jurassique Chardonnay 2000
Sweet - Huet (France) Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 1er Trie 1990
Sparkling - Krug (France) 1989
Fortified - Croft (Portugal) Vintage Port 1945

Always hard to choose, 90 Montrose just beats 91 Dominus, 82 Latour, 82 Mouton, 90 Barolo Cascina Francia, G Conterna and 90 G-C Clos St Jacques, Rousseau for the top spot. The Wachenheimer steals the show from 85 Chevalier-Montracher, Chartron et Trebuchet and 90 Corton-Charlemagne, Bonneau du Martray. But the fortified group maybe was the hardest choice. Im been fortunate to drink severel majestic Maderia-wines this year: 1900 Old Boal, H M Borges, 1863 Boal, Luiz Gomez and 1845 Bual Centenary Solera, Cossart & Gordon, but the 1945 Croft was out of this world.

That Montrose must be quite some wine looking at the line-up it beat into first place! Lots of classy and classic choices here from Joakim - Tom

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