Tom Cannavan's   

Visitors' wines of 2008 Part II

N.B. submissions for Wines of the Year have now closed.

This is part II of this feature. Please also see Part I

final selections, 10th February

Tristan Sjoberg, London

Red: Bergstrom (USA) Bergstrom Vineyard 2004
White: Marc Colin (France) Le Montrachet 2001
Budget red: d'Angelo (Italy) Aglianico Sacravite Basilicata 2005
Budget white: Shaw & Smith (Australia) M3 Adelaide Hills 2006
Sweet: Allegrini (Italy) Recioto della Valpolicella Veneto 2005
Sparkling: Stefano (Italy) Ceretto Moscato d'Asti 2007
Fortified: Kopke (Portugal) Colheita 1985
Dud: Ch Haut Brion (France) Pessac-Leognan 1998
Comment: The Bergstrom Pinot Noir from Oregon was a revelation on a recent visit with excellent typicity, personality and real class. The M3 might not be a 'budget wine' but is a real steal at around £16. I expected a lot more from the Haut-Brion, but it could have been that specific bottle(?).

TOM: In my recent major feature on Oregon I have to say Bergstrom was one of the real stars - I very much enjoyed my visit there in September 2008. Other nice choices here include Shaw & Smith, who are on great form.

Kimmo Sirén, Finland

Red: Camille Giroud (France) Clos Saint Denis 1976
White: Domaine Arretxea (France) Irouléguy Hegoxuri 2005
Budget red: Couly-Dutheil (France) La Baronnie Madeleine 2001
Budget white: Cosimo Maria Masini (Italy) Annick 2006
Sweet: Château Bel-Air (France) Entre-Deux-Mers 1983
Sparkling: Dom Ruinart (France) Rosé 1973
Fortified: Mas Amiel (France) Vintage Maury 2004
Dud: Pierre Peters (France) Blanc de Blancs 2003
Thing: Wines tasted for the first time: D'Yquem, DRC Richebourg, Old Meursault
Comment: Never before have I had so feminine rosé champagne as this beautifully aged Dom Ruinart. Found Bel-Air from a store in Osaka, very cheap and lovely! My budget sweet of the year! Couldn't find out who as the producer of a Meursault Perriéres 1983 Which would've been WOTY for me so didn't post it. Found a passion for petit manseng!

TOM: What a good year of drinking you had Kimmo, with first tastes of d''Yquem and Romanée-Conti! I also agree that Petit Manseng - and the white wines of the southwest of France generally - are a real treasure trove of good things

selections added 13th January

Paolo Strada, Italy

Red: Domaine Jean Paul & Jean Luc Jamet Cote Rotie 2004
White: Cloudy Bay-Sauvignon Marloborough 2006
Budget red: Marchesi di Barolo-Barbera d'Alba Paiagal 2004
Budget white: Donnafugata-Anthilia 2006
Sweet: Montus Bouscasse-Pacherenc du Vic Bihl Cuvee Brumaire 2004
Sparkling: Mionetto-Prosecco di Valdobbadene
Thing: Dining at Hosteria della Stazione in Bronte-Catania
Comment: It was a year were I drunk some fantastic surprise and there is so much else out there to try that only thinking at this make me happy...keep an eye on Sicilian wines...from ETNA, they're gorgeous!!!

TOM: very nice choices from both Italy and areas I love like Pacherenc du Vic Bihl. I am hoping to ger to Prosecco and Sicily this year, so some names to look out for too.

Luke Walter, UK

Red: Tim Adams (Australia) 'The Aberfeldy' 2005
White: Brundlmayer (Austria) Grüner Veltliner Langenloiser Berg Vogelsang 2005
Budget red: Babich (New Zealand) Winemakers Reserve Syrah 2006
Budget white: Trierer Deutschherrenberg (Germany) Riesling Kabinett, 2004
Sweet: Innocent Bystander (Australia) Moscato 2008
Sparkling: Nyetimber (England) Classic Cuvée 2001
Fortified: Graham's Crusted Port (bottled 2001)
Dud: Cork- why still?
Thing: Getting serious with wine again...and on a student budget.
Comment: I have been impressed by several New World producers who have continued to deliever quality throughout their range. Tim Adams in the Clare Valley, and Babich in New Zealand have stood out for me. I did not have a single bottle that I was disappointed with from these two producers. Special mention needs to go out to the Peter Lehmann Semillon 2005, I had more than my fair number of bottles, and with each new bottle came a slightly different, more honeyed note.

TOM: Nice spread of Old/New World and countries in this list. I love that Moscato from Innocent Bystander, in the mould of the great Moscato d'Asti with what, about 5.5% alcohol? Glad Lehmann's Semillon got a special mention too - fantastic Barossa Semillon that's inexpensive yet cellars for a decade or more.

Jan-Tore Egge, Norway

Red: Ch. Lafite Rotschild (France) 1985
White: Ramonet (France) Chassagne-Montrachet Boudriotte 1999
Budget red: Jean-Paul Brun (France) Beaujolais L'Ancien 2007
Budget white: Leitz (Germany) Riesling Trocken 2007
Sweet: Isole e Olena (Italy) Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 1999
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified: Ramos Pinto (Portugal) 30 Years Old Tawny
Dud: I usually forget

TOM: I too had the 1985 Lafite during 2008 and it was very special. I think Krug vintage must take out overall Champagne prize this year - and probably this 1988 vintage.

Paul Anderson, UK

Red: Jean Raphet (Burgundy) Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 1983
White: Domaine Barmès-Buecher (Alsace) Gewurztraminer Wintzenheim 2005
Budget red: Neil Ellis (South Africa) Shiraz Stellenbosch 2003
Budget white: Albert Boxler (Alsace) Riesling Grand Cru Sommerberg Jeunes Vignes 2005
Sweet: Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey (Sauternes) 2003
Sparkling: Drappier (Champagne) Carte d'Or 1983
Dud: Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (Bordeaux) 1992
Thing: Celtic winning the SPL title on the last day of the season having trailed Rangers by 7 points with 5 games to go.
Comment: Both 1983's were opened to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary last year. I was surprised a Gewurz was my white of the year but B-B produces some fantastic wines and the Wintzenheim was one of 3 or 4 contenders. I had fairly modest expectations of the Mouton and it didn't even deliver to that level. This bottle was a gift but given the price it sells at it would have been a huge disappointment. Helicopter Thursday was a fantastic evening and still a source of banter with friendly gers supporters.

TOM: It's naughty of Paul to rub those suffering Glasgow Rangers fans noses in it - and he's not even a Glaswegian! Fine, classic wine choices from some great and relatively unsung producers

selections added 7th January

Christiaan Jonkers, UK

Red: Mugnier (France) Musigny 2000
White: Ramonet (France) Caillerets 2002
Budget red: Corregia (Italy) Nebbiolo d'Alba 1999
Budget white: Verget (France) St Veran 2005
Sweet: d'Yquem (France) 1997
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1988
Fortified: Fonsecca (Port) 1963
Dud: Pintas (Portugal) Character 2005
Comment: Drank the first two over a memorable dinner with a good friend at Cru in NY, and was particularly impressed with the character of the Mugnier, having found the 2000s a little bland in the past. I chose the Pintas as a dud not because it is not a potentially good wine, but when tasted it was so dense and oaky as to make it virtually impenetrable.

TOM: regarding you dud (which I haven't tasted) there seem to be two camps amongst producers aiming to make 'icon wines' at the moment: some are reining everything back and making natural, complex and harmonious wines and other are still going for the full-throttle, maximum ripeness and oak recipe, which to me is looking increasingly out of kilter with what modern fine wine enthusiasts want.

Richard W. H. Bray, UK

Red: Chateau Lafite-Rothschild (France) 1995
White: Domaine des Comtes Lafon (France) Meursault Clos de la Barre 2000
Budget red: Monasterio de las Vinas (Spain) Garnacha Old Vines 2007
Budget white: Nicolas Girard (France) Sancerre 2006
Sweet: Huet (France) Vouvray Le Clos du Bourg Moulleux 1ere Tres 1971
Sparkling: Salon (France) magnum 1990
Fortified: Barbeito (Portugal) Madeira Verdelho 1981
Dud: Jadot (France) Duc de Magenta Puligny Montrachet La Garenne 2000
Thing: Pretty amazing year - visited India for the first time, worked vintage at the fantastic Coume del Mas, started as sommelier at The Seafood Restaurant in St Andrews and am living on the sea again. US election 2008, getting back into my writing with a vengeance - all sorts of things, really. Harder to decide than the wines actually.
Comment: My wine drinking has been somewhat disjointed this year, though I still managed a few stunners. The Lafite is still young, but promises real greatness while the Lafon simply stunned when I tried it. No doubt still ageworthy but so hedonistic now that I couldn't imagine patience. The Monastario is a fiver and a red of two or three times the price. Great stuff. The Girard Sancerre is modern but never loses that brilliant underlying minerality of good, honest Sancerre. Liked it so much I put it on the wine list at the restaurant. The Huet tasted so incredibly young, fresh and vibrant, like a current ran through it. The Salon seemed quiet at first, then with a touch of food exploded on the palate - brilliant stuff with at least three more decades to go. Barbeito continue to make the finest Madeiras in the world. The Jadot I brought to France to share with friends and it was oxidised. I was deeply embarrassed. 2008 was nothing if not exciting for me. The highs were high, the lows were spent in hospital and I'm fairly excited to see what 2009 brings.

TOM: despite the premature oxidation problems, as witnessed by Richard's 'dud', white Burgundy continues to do really well this year. Great to see another of Barbeito's lovely older wines making it into the list too.

Edward Bolland, UK

Red: Brunello di Montalcino Intistieti, Soldera (Italy) 1995
White: Puligny Montrachet, Les Pucelles, Domaine Leflaive (France) 2002
Budget red: Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon, Victoria (Australia) 1999
Budget white: St Romain, Alain Gras (France) 2005
Sweet: Chateau Yquem, Sauternes (France) 1989
Sparkling: Champagne Deutz, Cuvée William Rosé (France) 1996
Dud: Jaques Selosse, Version Original (France) NV
Thing: Going to my first "off-line" event of the UK Wine Forum

TOM: I've just been tasting a wonderful Brunello di Montalcino from Banfi, the 'Poggio Alle Mura' 2003, that's going to be in the reckoning for my wine of the month - soon to be on Majestic's shelves around £30. And another vote for a rosé Champagne to counterbalance one of our earlier contributors, who made all rosé Champagne his 'dud' of the year!

Donald Reid, UK

Red: Felton Road (New Zealand) Block 5 Pinot Noir '01
White: Muderbosch (South Africa) Barrel Fermented Chardonnay '03
Budget red: Peter Lehmann (Australia) Barossa Shiraz '05
Budget white: Raats Family (South Africa) Chenin Blanc '07
Sweet: Kracher (Austria) Beerenauslese '04
Sparkling: Theophile Roederer (France) Champagne NV
Fortified: Grahams (Portugal) Port 1963
Dud: Running out of storage space for wine. Again!!
Thing: Our grandson being born in early February.
Comment: I have had some outstanding wines at UK Wine Forum offline/WIMPS events during this last year the highlight being the 1981 Lopez de Heredia Bosconia I took along, courtesy of Jamie Hutchinson, to the Rioja WIMPS. My list though comes from wines drunk at home and from our own cellar. Possibly due to the amount of time allowed for savouring the Block 5 wins out over a '95 Eileen Hardy or an '00 Redbank Sally's Paddock. In truth nothing White that I drank came close to the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay for sheer class, elegance and balance. Everything else wine wise is the pick of a very thin bunch but all stood out, warranting inclusion in this list. Our grandson is a beautiful life affirming little fellow, his arrival made all of these wines taste a little more special I think. A brief note of thanks for Mr.Cannavan, the UK Wine Forum and all of those who regularly contribute and make my life a little richer as a consequence. Happy drinking all.

TOM: thanks for the thanks Don. Some of my New World favourites in this list too, including that wonderful Chenin from Raats.

Corin Vestey, UK

Red: St Julien 2000
Budget red: Ch des Maladrets (Beaujolais) 2005, Ch Bellesrives Dubois 2005
Budget white: Southbank Sauvignon Blanc 2006 (NZ)
Comment: I'm very much a new boy at this game but the St Julien 2000 is fantastic. It's supposed to be overproduction from a rather grand estate and I can believe it, though I am in no way qualified to vouch for that. Sensational and to me a wine with its best years ahead of it.

TOM: I think the declassified St-Julien was from retailer fromvineyardsdirect, and if so, I thought it was pretty fab stuff too. They also had a parcel of 'Margaux' that was in fact, declassified Chateau Palmer.

Philip Shorten, UK

Red: Jean Daneel (South Africa) Shiraz 2005
White: Domaine Simon Bize (France) Puligny Montrachet La Garenne 2006
Budget red: Paolo Scavino (Italy) Rosso di Tavola 2005
Budget white: Domaine Jean Gardies (France) Cotes du Roussillon Blanc Les Glaciaires 2006
Sweet: Weingut Knebel (Germany) Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese 2006
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 1998
Fortified: Equipo Navazos (Spain) La Bota de Amontilldo No. 9
Dud: Black cab drivers
Thing: My bicycle
Comment: This is a list of the most memorable wines - those that made the greatest impression on me during the year. The Jean Daneel Shiraz would divide opinions - 15.5% ABV and 33 months in new oak - but it works! Rich and intense, but well balanced and with genuine interest. If it was a boutique Aussie wine it would be garnering points aplenty the other side of the Atantic. Bize's Puligny La Garenne, although young, was simply irresistible - like some 2006 white Burgundies, very forward and absolutely delicious. Scavino's Rosso di Tavola is a great wine to enjoy with Italian fare, and tastes a lot posher than it its price suggests. Jean Gardies white blend is more evidence of the interesting stuff coming from the south of France. Although young, the Auslese was remarkably complex, as good as anything tasted year, and from a lesser known part of the Mosel. Pol Roger delivers year in year out, and remains affordable thanks to a reasonable pricing policy. Lastly, the Amontillado showed just how stunning Sherry can be. All in all, a good year; very few outstanding mature wines, but my tasting/drinking experiences were skewed more to new releases/younger vintages.

TOM: if this was Room 101 I'd say 'you can't put black cab drivers in because....', but as it is not, I'll let you off with it. I guess a hatered of cab drivers kind of goes hand in hand with cycling in the capital! Nice wine choices too.

selections added 6th January

Guy Dennis, UK

Red: '93 Corton Clos du Roi GC
White: 1993 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru 'Les Pucelles', Domaine Leflaive
Budget red: Syrah VDP des Collines Rhodaniennes 2004
Budget white: 2005 Cape Point Vineyards Isliedh
Sweet: 1988 Château Climens
Fortified: Domaine Pietri-Geraud Cuvée Méditerranée 2003 Banyuls
Thing: Etymotic ER6i canal phones

TOM: second vote for a Pietri-Geraud Banyuls which I am delighted about - they are such a nice family, making brillinat traditional wines a tiny winery right in the centre of the narrow streets of Banyuls - must be a nightmare at harvest time.

Matthew Mellor, UK

Red: Chateau Clinet (France) Pomerol 1970
White: Les Hauts de Smith (France) Pessac-Léognan 1996
Budget white: Domaine de Montels (France) Rosé, VdP des Coteaux et Terrasses de Montauban 2007
Sweet: Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 1981
Dud: Lots!
Comment: Sorry that it's all French. I'm drinking through quite a lot of stuff that I've had for a while. And while I've generally made less of a note of the stuff that I have drunk over the last two and a bit traumatic years, I've got the bug again. The Clinet was a delicious surprise - sweet, firm and mature with none of the earthy or metallic flavours I dread with some of the older stuff. I am a sucker for Sauternes, and while I didn't have much last year, the Rieussec would have competed against most anyway. I chose a rosé from this estate because over the years it has consistently given me a lot of pleasure at a minimal price. It's exceedingly popular locally, and justifiably so. The Hauts de Smith 96 was a real revelation, mature waxy Sémillon fruit being absolutely delicious even at 12 years. Would love to try the grand vin. Could have been the budget white, as it cost me only €7 per bottle. Had some lovely 2000 Meursaults at college dinners. No great sparklers. Lots of decent port! Tons of disappointments, mostly through faulty or badly stored bottles. Very disappointed in Trotanoy 1979, which was shot to pieces. My wine exposure was pretty exclusively French, as can be seen from the various mentions. All the best to fellow wine-pagers for 2009 - let's hope it's a survivable year for everyone.

TOM: Pleased to see another white Bordeaux make WWotY - though rarely cheap, I do feel white Graves is still an underappreciated wine style/region which I love.

Mark Carrington, UK

Red: Ch Leoville Barton France 2000
White: Ch Beaucastel France Blanc VV 2005
Budget red: Dom Galuval France CdR Villages Cairanne Petit Coeur 2005
Budget white: Jacob's Creek Australia Steingarten Riesling 2005
Sweet: Ch Coutet France Cuvée Madame 1981
Sparkling: Bollinger France Rosé NV
Fortified: Graham Portugal 1983
Dud: Jaboulet France La Chapelle 1978 + 1990
Thing: Watching TdF Col du Tourmalet
Comment: Loads of contenders for ROTY, but LB tried on 2 occasions & it was brilliant both times. Beaucastel was a salutary lesson in not serving whites too cold. Several stunning Sauternes in 2008 but Coutet tops for more than vinous reasons. WOTY Bolly was a real surprise. No meritable fortifieds until last week of the year. La Chapelles part of a tremendous vertical, both faulty. Dud thing: watching a most turgid days cricket in Hamiton, whilst receiving inumerable texts updating me as The Terras lost 6-0 at home.

TOM: Delighted to hear about the Leoville-Barton 2000 as I have a case in the cellar! That Jacob's Creek Steingarten is a real eye opener of a serious Riesling bearing the name of a relatively bland big brand

Charlie Emberson, UK

Red: Pegau (France) Cuvee Reservee CNDP 2004
Budget red: Chateau Bel-Air-Ouy (France)-St Emilion Grand Cru 2005
Budget white: Henri Boillot (France) Bourgogne Blanc 2005
Dud: Too Many To Mention
Thing: Glasvegas
Comment: A quiet year - nothing expect the 2004 Pegau stood head and shoulders for me...a 1996 John Riddoch was magnificent and a 2001 Cedre was fabulous, 1996 Sociando Mallet is a delight, a 2003 IX Colgin at the Fat Duck was extraordinary - but the Pegau 2004 did everything extremely well. I know the 2005 Bel-Air-Ouy is not really a budget wine - but it is outrageously delicious.

TOM: Is it my imagination or have Rhône winners of the red wine title been a little thin on the ground this year? Oh no- have just noticed there are two more about the follow!

Raymond Tilney, UK

Red: Chateau Beaucastle (France) Rhone1990
White: Veuve Clicquot (France) PN/CH/PM Blend Rare Vintage 1988
Budget red: Never!!
Budget white: Guillot-Broux (France) Macon Cruzille "Les Perriers" 2002
Sweet: Chateau Yquem (France) Sauternes d'Yquem 1989
Sparkling: Krug (France) Krug Vintage Champagne 1990
Fortified: Blandys (Madeira) Bual 1958
Dud: Krug (France) Grand Cuvee Champagne (NV)
Thing: Bose Soundock Portable with Iphone
Comment: The Beaucastle and d'Yquem are the standouts of my experiences at Offliners,which were jointly my thing of the year,and a sincere thank you to the wonderful people I have met at these events. My white wine is a bit of a cheat but had to be mentioned as it was served at 11 AM on my 50th Birthday by my friends at Maison Clicquot. The Krug 90 just shaded Pol Roger's Chardonnay 90 as the top Champagne, but both must give way to the 89 d'Yquem as WOTY, I have listed it as from France, but really it is from another planet! The Soundock/Iphone means that Civilisation can be established wherever you may be.

TOM: I'd be intrigued to know whether Krug NV as the 'dud' was a specific bottle, or the wine generally? If I could afford it I'd buy the vintage too (the last three - '95, '96 and '98 are all superb) but I think the NV is a lovely drop

Chris Smith, UK

Red: Chateau Rayas (France) 1989
White: Mas d'En Compte (Spain) 2006
Budget red: Charvin (France) Cotes du Rhone 2000
Budget white: Perret (France) St Joseph Blanc 2007
Sweet: Tirecul La Graviere (France) Cuvee Madame 1995
Fortified: Dow (Portugal) 40yo tawny
Dud: Chave Hermitages
Thing: My football team (Cambozola FC)'s tour to the makers of Cambozola cheese in Germany
Comment: Not the first time a Rayas has been my WotY (and hopefully not the last!). Otherwise, arguably slightly too much agreement with Keith Prothero here, picking the same budget red (and even from the same vintage). I am not sure whether the Dow is actually the best fortfied wine I tasted this year but it did bring back to me the joy of aged tawnies. The Chaves will be a controversial nomination of course, and it's not that they aren't good, just that, on the basis of trying the 82, 85 and 89, I can't quite see what the really major fuss is about. Finally, the football tour, which began life as a drunken post-match fantasy, turned into a truly legendary event.

TOM: Certainly a contentious view on the Chave Hermitages! I have to say a vertical of the red and white Hermitages that I had a few years back with J-L Chave was one of my tasting highlights, but that's what makes this exercise so interesting

selections added 2nd January

Steven Defour, Belgium

Red: La Bastide Saint-Dominique (France) Ch. du Pape 'Secrets de Pignan' VV 2006
White: Albert Mann (France) Riesling Grand Cru Furstentum 2000
Budget red: Le Mas des Flauzières (France) Côtes du Ventoux Réserve du Peyreras 2007
Budget white: Domaine Mesliand (France) Touraine Sauvignon 'La Pindorgerie' 2007
Sweet: Domaine Cady (France) Coteaux du Layon St. Aubin 'Les Varennes' 2007
Sparkling: Champalou (France) Vouvray Brut NV / Domaine de la Châtaigneraie (France) Vouvray Brut Cuvée Antique NV
Fortified: Taylor's (Portugal) ' Quinta de Vargellas' 2001
Dud: Château Lanessan (France) Haut-Médoc 2000
Thing: Resurrection of autochtone grape-varieties, Portuguese wines (white & red)
Comment: I had some difficulties for some categories to fill in just 1 wine (so I've filled in 2!) The Lanessan 2000 didn't deliver what I expected (given the price). The Riesling G.C. has evolved marvellous. The 'Secrets de Pignan' 2006 is made from (only) very old Grenache-vines and tasted splendid (as did the Ch. du Pape white 2007 from the same domaine)

TOM: I agree with Steven that Portugal continues to provide some fascinating and 'different' drinking - long may they resist internationalization of their grapes and wine styles

Tim Carlisle, UK

Red: Pichon Lalande 1975
White: Latour Puligny Les Truffieres 2001
Budget red: Domaine Road Pinot Noir, Otago
Budget white: Rully Pucelles, Jacquesson
Sweet: Pillitieri Estate Riesling Icewine, Canada
Sparkling: 1998 Bollinger Grand Annee
Fortified: Barbeito 20 yo Malvasia
Dud: Rose' Champagne
Thing: My Daughter Again!
Comment: Most is self explanatory - the Latour was drunk at their Cuverie in Aloxe, and I always love the Jacquesson Rullys. My Daughter - although not new has learned to crawl, walk etc etc which still thrills me!

TOM: Though I've had some excellent rosé Champagnes, I do kind of know where Tim is coming from: generally speaking, I prefer my Champagne to be 'white' and feel the complexity comes from the blending and ageing, and I'm not sure what adding some red grapes or wine really brings to the ultimate quality

Craig Walker, UK

Red: Vallana Spanna San Lorenzo 1958
White: Gravner Breg 1998
Budget red: Barthod Chambolle Musigny 1998
Sweet: Felsina Berardenga Vinsanto 1998
Sparkling: Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque 1998
Fortified: Taylor 1980
Dud: Gemtree 'The Phantom' Petit Verdot 2005
Thing: The UK Wine Forum Edinburgh Offline
Comment: I never would have expected this a year ago but many of the best wines I've had this year were actually Italian. I have October's Edinburgh Offline and the generosity of those in attendance to thank for this. The 1958 Spanna was very special indeed. I can taste it still. I remain a committed Burgundy drinker but my offline experience is certianly forcing me to think again. Bring on the Superbowl Tom.

TOM: oh dear - I see a long and expensive path ahead of you Craig if you've fallen for Burgundy :-) I had one disappointing bottle of Belle Epoque 1998 just before Christmas, which I didn't write up in my fizz report because I felt the bottle wasn't right; glad to hear it showed so well here.

Douglas Murray, UK

Red: Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2002
White: Beaune Clos de Mouches Premier Cru 2006
Budget red: Weinlaubenhof Kracher Illmitz Zweigelt 2003
Budget white: Winter Reisling Trocken 2005
Sweet: Ben Rye Donnafugata 2005
Sparkling: Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millesime 1988
Fortified: Taylor's 40 Year Old Tawny
Thing: Scottish Munros, Still manage to go back up the occasonal one.
Comment: I would not have expected to have had the Reisling Trocken as one of my favourites but I agreed with what Jancis Robinson said about it. I went to a tasting at the Donnafugata winery with the delightful Gabriella, all the wines were lovely but the Ben Rye was superb.

TOM: Well, the only time I've been above 3000 feet in Scotland is in an aeroplane. Riesling Trockens have been steadily improving I think - maybe helped by the recent string of warm and sunny vintages in Germany

Kevin Heatherington, UK

Red: Cote Rotie La Landonne Guigal (Rhone) 1989
White: Riesling Kappelweg - Gassmann (Alsace) 2001
Budget red: Puech de Glen - La Sauvageonne (Languedoc) 2005
Budget white: 2007 Dry White Bordeaux (several)
Sweet: Vulcaia Apres Vino Dolce - Inama (Veneto) 2004
Sparkling: Alfred Gratien Champagne (France) 1989
Fortified: Gonzales Byass Oloroso Apostoles (Spain) 30 y.o
Dud: Allegrini La Poja (Veneto) 2001
Thing: i-phone
Comment: A year with plenty of good wines but few great ones for me. Apart from the La Landonne, Gassmann Riesling and the Vulcaia Apres only a Vieux Donjon 1990 would be ranked as great. Very impressed with the freshness and minerality in several minor 2007 dry whites from Bordeaux. Lots of sherries tried but none were better than the Apostoles which is my usual stand-by.

TOM: I tend to agree that the 2007 dry white Bordeaux are excellent by and large - the Bordelais seem to be capturing much fresher, more Loire-like Sauvignon Blanc aromas and flavours in the past few years.

Mark Henderson, New Zealand

Red: Trapet (France) Latricieres Chambertin Grand Cru 2005
White: Stonecroft (New Zealand) Gewurztraminer 1998
Budget red: D'arenberg (Australia) The Stump Jump GSM 2006
Budget white: almost any Riesling
Sweet: Domaine Baumard (France) Coteaux de Layon Clos de St Catherine 2005
Sparkling: Quartz Reef (New Zealand) Chauvet Vintage Brut 2003
Fortified: Valdespino (Spain) Inocente Fino Sherry
Dud: Brown Brothers (Australia) Shiraz 1992
Thing: Visits to Lustau and Valdespino in Jerez in June
Comment: Always hard to choose just one in any category in a year when, in the company of good friends, many really interesting wines have been shared and discussed. A friend opened the Trapet on his 40th birthday and it just continued to evolve and evolve in the glass every time you went back to it; just marvellous compexity - it pipped the Moraga 1997 (Cab blend) from California and the Argiolas Turriga 2001 from Sardinia. Stonecroft is a superlative Gewurz producer and the 1998 shone - it pipped a fascinating Domaine Arretxea Iroulegy Blanc 2006 that I picked up from Philglas & Swiggot while in London. I opened the Baumard at an Intro to Wine Course and the perfume was ethereal, with marvellous concentration on the palate - I had the Baumard Quarts du Chaume 2005 a year ago and it too is stunning wine: both these wines did major damage to my bank balance this year! Recently tried an exceptional newcomer Alluviale Anobli 2008: a Sav Blanc dessert wine lying somewhere between Sauternes & Coteaux du Layon in style made by a french winemaker in Hawkes bay in New Zealand; their Sav Blanc is also very interesting in a very non Kiwi way. Many of my most memorable wines this year have been fortifieds and the visit to the Lustau and Valdespino bodegas in June was an absolute highlight. The Lustau 1989 and 1990 Oloroso Anadas opened for friends here recently were near misses for my top pick along with a Dows Quinta da Senhora Vintage Port 2005 which was intense essence of raspberry but the combination of freshness and complexity in the Fino won the day. The cellar has seen lots of Loire Chenin, German Riesling and both southern and northern Rhones added before the NZ$ slumped against the Euro, the Pound and the US$ late in the year - it may be a leaner year for purchases in 2009?

TOM: I'll keep an eye out for that Alluviale Anobli Sauvignon - on a trip to NZ in 2007 I was impressed by the different expressions of Sauvignon some producers were definitely aiming for in Marlborough, to break away from the 'typical' style

selections added 31st December

Brian Whitlock, UK

Red: Viansa Winery Sonoma (USA) Piccolo 2001
White: Macia Batle (Majorca Spain) Blanc de Blancs 2006
Budget red: Chateau Gigault (France - CdBlaye) Cuvee Viva 2002
Budget white: Jean Jaques Bardin (France) Pouilly Sur Loire 2006
Sweet: Parma Violets
Sparkling: Lanson Black Label N.V.
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass (Spain) Noe PX Sherry
Dud: Bojolly Nouveau
Thing: Brownsea Island - a great place to be a volunteer.
Comment: All my wines are bought on a reasonable budget. Often fron the winery - Four of the above bought on cellar visits. The Macia Batle is a stunner at 15 euros. Keep up the good work Tom, this is the only site I visit religously on a Sunday!

TOM: But Brian, what about Monday-Saturday? :-). Great to see some less expensive wines so carefully chosen

Brent Fraser, Canada

Red: Vieux Telegraph (France) CdP1985
White: Leeuwin (Australia) Art Series Chardonnay 1998
Budget red: Santa Rita (Chile) Reserva Pinot Noir 2007
Budget white: Tantalus (Canada) Riesling 2006
Sweet: Gunderloch (Germany) Nachenheim Rothenberg TBA 2001
Sparkling: Jacquesson Signature Brut 1990
Fortified: Graham's 1977
Comment: Attended the US version of Le Paulee in San Francisco and was in awe of the 40 + wines at our dinner table. e.g 69 Leroy Echezeaux, 90 Raveneau Montee de Tonnere, 89 Jadot Corton-Charlemagne and a 78 Domaine Fonelle Bonnes Mares, made by Christophe Roumier's grandfather which was magical. My top choices however reflect a year's worth of drinking with good friends and good food.

TOM: Given the stellar line-up of wines at your SF dinner, the ones that actually made the grade must be quite something! I can vouch for a few of them, but Tantalus is a new Canadian name for me.

Ronald Massard, Thailand

Red: La Grange des Peres 1999 (France, VdP Herault)
White: Henry Marionnet, Provignage 2002 (France, VdP Jardin de la France)
Budget red: MontGras, Carmenere reserva 2005 (Chile, Colchagua)
Budget white: E. Knoll, Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Ried Loibenberg 1999 (Wachau, Austria)
Sweet: Vinia, Grasa 1962 (Cotnari, Romania)
Sparkling: Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame 1990 (France, Champagne)
Fortified: Emilio Lustau, Amontillado Jose Luis Obregon (Spain, Jerez)
Dud: Cims de Porrera 2001 (Spain, Priorat)
Thing: Trekking the Golden Triangle in December + dining scene in Catalunya
Comment: Wining in Bangkok requires wealth ... The 400%+ taxes applied on wines make the cheap ones on par with the price of a bottle of Black Label ! This does not encourage the rising of a real wine scene as in Singapore or Shanghai. But some excellent bottles can be found, though. Great emotions with the 150-year old small romorantin acreage revived by ex-bulk wine moghul Henry Marionnet ; also with a fantastic bottle of Cotnari 1962, still bright, mineral and floral, dangling above mushroomy taste and oxydation. Conundrum, the incredibly sexy white blend by Caymus was very close to the list. Many thanks to Catalans to shake the world of wine and cuisine as Dali and Miro did with pictural arts decades ago : that was badly needed. But please chaps, don't overdo !...

TOM: Comisserations on the prices in Thailand Ronald, but you had a pretty good year of drinking. I had the 1990 Grande Dame on Christmas eve, and it was superb - having gained a lot of weight and richness since I first tasted it a decade ago.

Chris Piper, UK

Red: Casanova di Neri (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino "Tenuta Neri" 1999
White: Jean-Marc Morey (France) Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru les Chenevottes 2005
Budget red: Philippe Verzier (France) St. Joseph "Chante Perdrix" 2006
Budget white: Jackson Estate (New Zealand) "Green Lip" Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Sweet: Chateau d'Yquem (France) Sauternes 1988
Sparkling: Champagne Veuve Fourny (France) Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Fortified: Hidalgo (Spain) Jerez Cortado Muy Viejo
Dud: Champagne Louis Roederer (France) Cristal 1999
Thing: Eldest son's 60+ runs for Devon Under 21's at Seaton....
Comment: As a trade buyer I have a opportunity to taste a huge range of wines. However, these are winess that I have drunk with friends and family over the year and have given exceptional pleasure. As for the Cristal, it never ceases to amaze me how people will pay so much for something so souless. John Stichbury's Green Lip has been a house staple over the year and has given consistent smiles - and I'm not a great exponent of Sauvignon.

TOM: Great to hear the '88 Yquem is on form, as I have a little mini-vertical of 88-90 from the days before it got just too expensive for me.

David Harvey, UK

Red: Frank Cornelissen (Italy) MunJebel Rosso No.3 2005
White: Mendall (Spain) Macamiau Blanc 2005
Budget red: Claude Courtois (France) Les Etourneaux 2005
Budget white: House (Spain) from Fonts des Angels restaurant, Montblanc
Sparkling: Larmandier-Bernier (France) Terre de Vertus non-dose
Fortified: Valdespino (Spain) Inocente Fino
Dud: Pommery Brut Royal
Thing: An old steel MTB frame rebuilt for XC riding
Comment: Wonderful to see those who work more or less naturally rewarded in peoples´lists, e.g. Barbeito, Barmes Buecher, Barral (decant it), Beaucastel, Brundlmeyer, Chave, DRC, P.Morey, Musar, Ostertag, Selosse, ZH, etc. For if, as Nicholas Joly says, ´before a wine can be good, it must be true´contains any truth, then only producers whose philosophy is start to finish respect for natural process AND non-intervention, are going to deliver something worthy of consideration in the glass. Otherwise.. there are the big names, (with cloned vines, temperature control, selected yeast, systematic sulphiting, ammended structure and/or new oak behind the label) e.g. Margaux, Dom Perignon, Yquem, Catena. This breed create wine, by any means necessary, that may massage the palate and ego, like a cola, but which can never satisfy the intellect and conscience. This status quo will persist until people question BEFORE tasting, until labelling ingredients is permitted/required, and more professionals and amateurs embrace natural producers, reject artifice. I put my money where my mouth is - I work with some of these producers.

TOM: I agree with David of course, that the lists already submitted have some beautifully chosen, very intelligent choices from dedicated small producers who don't make a song and dance about their wines. But then I've had some fantastic wines from Margaux, DP, Yquem and Catena, and personally think they may be 'big' but can still be beautiful...

Alex Jagger, UK

Red: Chateau Leoville Barton 1863
White: Pavillon Blanc 04
Budget red: Il Macchione Vino de Nobile Montepulciano 03
Budget white: Vincent Dureil Janthiel Rully 'Mazieres' 05
Sweet: Doisy Daene 04
Sparkling: Krug N.V
Fortified: Paul Jaboulet Aine 'Duo' 05
Dud: Pichon Lalande 82 (corked)
Thing: Getting engaged just 2 weeks ago overlooking the Giralda in Seville.
Comment: The word of the year for me is 'privilege' as having the opportunity to taste some venerable old vintages is exactly that with the LB 1863 the top of that pile. VDJ's wines seem fantastic value to me. The duds could have been the corked '78 AND '90 La Chapelle but it was an astonishing first offline in both quality of wines and company(and forumites generosity.) I had to get a wine in somehow the experimental 'Duo' is La Lagune fortified with La Chapelle old style!(cheating i know!) Last mention goes to the small thing of getting engaged just a few weeks ago in Seville on our Suite terrace with a stunning moonlit view, glass of Krug in hand...

TOM: Congratulations on the engagement Alex. Well, I doubt if anyone will top (or 'bottom'?) an 1863 claret - what an expreinece that must have been. A real bummer on the corked Pichon - one of the great 1982s

selections added 30th December

David Ludlow, UK

Red: Chateau du Beaucastel 2005
White: Dr Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese 2005
Budget red: Los Vascos Grande Reserva 2005
Budget white: Inama Soave Classico 2006
Sweet: Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 1995
Sparkling: Pol Roger Brut 1996
Fortified: Lustau East India Solera Sherry
Dud: Penfolds Grange 1996
Thing: Birth of my second son, Jude
Comment: Have tasted some wonderful wines this year. Beaucastel was tasted in a vertical tasting and just pipped the '98, simply because of its stunning potential. Also tasted Sassicaia 2001 and Cepparello 2001 which were excellent. Also tried Pierre Gimmonet's 2002 Champagne which was an excellent example of what a small producer can achieve. The Grange was selected as a dud simply because after 12 years it was completely closed and showed no development at all! The question was when if ever would it develop complexity? The Tokaji was superlative and beat an Ice wine from Nahe, and Canada and a Sauternes and Quarts du chaume on the night.

TOM: Sometimes Grange can be totally monolithic and take ages to develop any tertiary appeal, so I wouldn't give up hope. I was lucky enough to visit Disznoko a couple of months ago, and the wines were fantastic.

Malcolm Forster, UK

Red: Barolo 1985, Pio Cesare
White: Coulee de Serrant 1976, Savennieres, Loire.
Budget red: Cape Elephant, Ruby Cabernet 2005 (£3.33) S.A
Budget white: Tapiwey Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Chile. Tesco Finest.
Sweet: Ch Lafourie-Peyraguey 1985 Sauternes
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon Cuvée NFB 1998
Fortified: Taylor's 1983 Vintage Port.
Dud: Sainsbury 2006 Vintage Cava. Awful.
Thing: Computer/Internet. Where would we be without them?
Comment: The Barolo only just pipped Ch Chasse-Spleen 1986. Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Pioneer Block No3 was our second white (puts Cloudy Bay to shame) Hon mention to Jurancon 2005 Uroulat-Charles Hours in the sweet catagory.

TOM: I'm a huge dan of the 1985 vintage so nice to see a couple of contenders here. Also a huge fan of the wines of Juranc¸on, sweet and dry, so nice to see one get an honorable mention.

Will Cashman, Ireland

Red: Domaine Trapet Chambertin 2003
White: Coche Dury Meursault 2002
Budget red: Domaine De La Croix Bourgogne Rouge 2005
Budget white: Philippe Chavy Puligny Montrachet2 005
Sparkling: Krug Vintage 1996
Dud: Leflaive Puligny Clavaillon 1er 2005
Thing: Wine Tastings. I've atttended a good number this year, many more than in the past, and they've provided excellent chances to taste some great wine
Comment: The choices for red and white were both pretty easy although I've had the good fortune to drink some excellent wine this year. The value red Croix wine is probably the wine I have drunk most this year and is a great bargain. I struggled for a budget white but the Chavy Puligny was only €20 ex domaine so I decided this was just about a budget white (and amazing value at this price). Toss up between the 96 Krug / 98 Vilmart Coeur / Selosse Initiale for the sparkling but the smile the Krug put on my face probably shaded that for me. The Leflaive was shipped from overseas but unfortunatly arrived horribly corked.

TOM: An exclusively French list from Will, and almost exlusively Burgundy. I think someone's got the bug badly!

David Lole, Australia

Red: Penfolds (Australia) Bin 7 Cabernet Shiraz (Coonawarra/Kalimna) 1967
White: Fritz Haag (Germany) Juffer-Sonnenuhr Auslese Riesling Gold Capsule 1983
Budget white: Any of the two hundred bottles of (Australian) Riesling in my cellar
Sweet: S.A.Prum (Germany) Wehlener-Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese Gold Capsule 1976
Sparkling: Moet & Chandon (France) Dom Perignon 1996
Fortified: Lindeman's (Australia) Vintage Port Bin 3642 Classic Release 1967
Dud: Wynns John Riddoch 1991 (surely an errant bottle)
Thing: Getting back to relatively good health in the last few months

TOM: First, very best wishes for continued good health David. Some lovely older bottles of Australian wine in this selection, which would probably surprise many Old World fans who have never had a chance to taste them.

Lionel Nierop, UK

Red: Chateau Beaucastel Rouge (France) Rhone 1981
White: Pazo de Senorans (Spain) Rias Baixas 'Seleccion Anada' 2002
Sweet: Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr GK 1996
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Brut 1998
Dud: Ch Cantermerle 1989
Comment: -The Beaucastel was the absolute highlight of a year where I've been fortunate to drink some stupendous bottles. It had an incredibly complex, multifacetted and ever changing character that I've rarely seen before. -The Pazo de Senorans shines as a beacon of excellence for Albarino. An hugely long and powerful yet elegant wine I enjoyed as part of a mini-marathon of Albarino back in October. Fritz Haag's '96 BBJ GK managed to silence a whole room of people. Painfully mineral - like drinking a razor - and brilliantly made. -The Cantermerle '89 was served by a friend for lunch. It was corked. Such as shame as underneath was clearly a beautiful, elegant claret! -My 'thing' has been the dominant part of my life for the past 9 months and seems to have absorbed almost all my time so what could be a more fitting choice...?

TOM: I have some of that 1989 Cantemerle in my own cellar, so hoping for better luck when I open one! Agree on the Pazo de Senorans - Albariño doesn't always shine, but when it is good it is fabulous stuff.

Charles Taylor, UK

Red: Schlossgut Diel (Germany) Cuvee Caroline Spatburgunder 2005
White: Benjamin Romeo (Spain) Que Bonito Cacareaba 2005
Budget red: Robert Arnoux (France) Bourgogne Rouge 2005
Budget white: Dr Loosen (Germany) Ursulas Wurtzgarten Kabinett 2007
Dud: Fonsalette Blanc 2004
Thing: Family life, most of the time.

TOM: Germany has made a really strong showing this year so far, in both dry and sweet categories. Most of those have been white of course, so nice to see this Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) getting the nod - German examples are increasingly convincing - global warming perhaps?

This is part II of this feature. Please also see Part I

N.B. submissions for Wines of the Year have now closed.

Back to Tom's Wines of the Year

quick TN search