Visitors' wines of 2009 part I
This is part I of this feature. There is a link to Part II
at the bottom of the page.
selection below added 05/01/2010
Keith Prothero, UK and South Africa
Red: La Mission Haut Brion 1978
White: Trimbach Clos St Hune VT 1989
Budget red: Vincent Paris St Joseph 2007
Budget white: Mullineux 2008
Sweet: Climens 1988
Fortified: Warre 1952
Dud: any number of white burgundy
Thing: Launch of Mullineux Family Wines
Comment: Another great drinking year thanks mainly to the very generous Wine-Pagers. Specially enjoyed the many lunches at the Ledbury and Square where the service and food
inevitably help the
wine to taste better!In fact I have drunk all of the wine listed above at an offline at either of the two venues.
Excuse me for listing our white wine but it really is fine value for money---!! Thanks as always to Tom and all the other members of the Forum for their generous support of Pebbles.
TOM: The '78 La Mission Haut-Brion is a great choice - but then I too had the Mullineux Straw wine just the other night by coincidence and it was just superb (Keith is co-owner of the estate).
Otto Nieminen, Finland
Red: Texier (France) Domaine de Pergault CdRhône Brézème 2006
White: &#268;otar (Slovenia) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Budget red: Marcel Lapierre (France) Vin de Pays de Gaules 2007
Budget white: Domaine des Terres Dorées/J-P Brun (France) Beaujolais Blanc 2008
Rosé: Langmann (Austria) Blauer Wildbacher Schilcher Hochgrail 2007
Sweet: Bert Simon (Germany) Serriger Würtzberg Riesling Auslese 1990
Sparkling: Barranco Oscuro (Spain) Vigiriega Brut Nature 2007
Fortified: Williams & Humbert (Spain) Dos Cortados 20 YO Palo Cortado Solera Especial
Dud: Antonin Rodet (France) Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Clos de Thorey 2006
Thing: Richard Powers
Comment: Texier for making such a beautiful, pure, elegant, cool-climate Syrah in the southernmost area of the northern Rhone. &#268;otar for making an "orange" wine with long
from a grape I have usually disliked - yet the couple bottles of his Sauvignon Blanc that I have had were awesome. The Lapierre is just enormous fun! The Brun Beaujolais is, once again, all about
purity and elegance. The Bert Simon was a steely, pure and bright example of Mosel. The Barranco Oscuro was weird and from an almost extinct grape, Vigiriega, but despite its weirdness I fell in
love with its malty(!) personality. Palo Cortado rocks! The Rodet smelled more like hot chocolate than wine. After several years of reading almost entirely non-fiction, Richard Powers reminded me
that fiction can be worth reading. It would be a shame if he doesn't soon win the Nobel Prize for literature.
TOM: I had a tour of Western Slovenia a couple of years ago when Cotar was amongst a clutch of estate making very serious wines, especially whites, that really impressed me.
I must seek out Richard Powers too - after too long of being stuck in a wine book rut, I too am trying to get back into reading more fiction.
Tim Pearson, UK
Red: Alpha Zeta (Italy) Amarone della Volpolicella 2006
White: Hamilton Russell (South Africa) Chardonnay 2008
Budget red: Tho Co-op Santa Helena (Chile) Pinot Noir 2008
Budget white: Flagstone Free Run (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc
Rosé: Newton Johnson (South Africa) Felicite 2008
Sweet: Domaine du Petit Val (France) Bonnezeaux 1990
Sparkling: Larmandier-Bernier (France) Champagne Cramant Vielles Vignes 2002
Fortified: Emilio Lustau (Spain) Shery, Sweet Oloroso Anada 1990
Dud: Corked wines
Thing: Italy / South Africa
Comment: Firstly thanks Tom for the splendid 'Wine Pages', keep up the good work. My wife, Vaughan, and I have had a busy year establishing a vineyard, Seven Springs Vineyard
(www.7springs.co.za), in the Hemel en Aarde Valley in South Africa. We have planted the vines and will build a winery and tasting room in 2010. This is truly someone (me)trying to live their
dream and getting there. We have met many fantastic people on our journey so far who have helped and offered advice (special thanks to Ken Forrester and Kevin Grant). As a family we had a great time
in Burgundy in May looking at Chardonnay and Pinot production and tasting a whole range of wines. Vaughan and I spent 3 weeks recently in The Cape, mainly work related, and had a really positive time.
We met with Keith and Rita Prothero (see Keith's comments on the Wine Pages UK Drinks Forum)having a fantastic lunch with them at Heaven Restaurant at the Newton Johnson Winery, hence my Rose selection.
My brother, Clive, died in September aged 51, so my advice to everyone reading this would be to live life for today, have fun and if you can do someone a good turn, do it. Have a happy and healthy 2010
and my very best wishes to each and every one of you.
TOM: And our second Englishman involved in making wine in the Cape! I look forward to Tim's first releases, but meanwhile a nice list this - that Flagstone Free Run was
one of the bargains of the year in Majestic. Tim's fizz choice is a cracker too.
Ian Amstad, UK and USA
Red: Henri Jayer Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux, 1er Cru, 1996, Burgundy France
White: Domaine Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet, 1992, Burgundy France
Budget red: Rene LeClerc (villages) Gevrey Chambertin 2005, Burgundy France
Budget white: Gay & Pestalozzi Calamin Cret-Dessus 2008, Epesses, Switzerland
Sweet: Chateau d'Yquem 1976, Bordeaux, France
Sparkling: Joseph Perrier Cuvee Josephine, 2002, Champagne France
Fortified: Taylors 1948, Portugal
Dud: Far too many prem-oxed white burgundies
Thing: The Hurt Locker (a film), The Shack (a book)
Comment: Once again burgundies dominate the dry wine awards but Bordeaux as always provided the most consistent drinking pleasure through the year. My woty was the celestial Chateau d'Yquem 1976,
a wine that took my breath away. Our 1989 Bordeaux tasting in NYC in October featured an array of dazzling wines, with not one dud. Lafite (benefitting from plenty of airing) was voted the (surprise)
winner, while La Conseillante was among the best of the rest. La Conseillante 1985, tried a week later in London, was almost as good as the 1989. Likewise Lafite 1985, tasted in May, is nearly as
good as the 1989 and is no lightweight either. The Henri Jayer, tasted in April, also faced stiff competition for the red wine gong from other burgundies. The Armand Rousseau Chambertin 1996 it was
paired off against (both en mag) was stunning and a hair's breadth behind; but the Jayer had that extra little bit of magic, and je ne sais quoi. Both made the trophy Bordeaux on the table that night
look pedestrian by comparison. Our DRC dinner in July will linger in the memory and and my pick of a stellar line up was the outrageously flamboyant and carnal Richebourg 2000. The best mature
burgundy I tried in 2009 was an astonishing Henri Boillot Pommard Rugiens 1980, closely followed by a magnificent Ponsot 1986 Griottes-Chambertin. From Italy there were too many good wines to mention
but my producer of the year is (the late Baldo)Cappellano (in Piedmont). More generally the stunning barolos/barbarescos from the 2004 vintage deserve a mention in what is arguably the most exciting
wine region in the world. I had plenty of riveting white burgundies but far too many prem-oxed duds too. Leflaive's Batard 1993 and Pucelles 2000 were outstanding but the gong goes to his rich and
sensual 1992 Chevalier Montrachet, which right in the sweet spot now. Cuvee Josephine was my favourite fizz though Dom-Perignon 1988 clearly the best and head and shoulders above 83, 85 and 90 Doms.
My budget choices were sensational 'quality price rapport': the Leclerc was only $22, while the 14 Swiss franc Calamin Cret-Dessus is sadly unavailable.
TOM: Ouch - white Burgundy is getting a hammering. Even from this little snapshot of a few dozen UK wine lovers, with so many nominating white Burgundy as 'dud', I do wonder what
long-term effect the 'premox' situation will have on the market over here?
Ben Fawcett, UK
Red: Gaja Barbaresco 1997
White: Quinta de Chocapalha Guru 2006
Budget red: Allegrini La Grola 2006
Budget white: Tesco Finest Fiano 2008
Rosé: Proprieta Sperino Rosa di Rosa 2008
Sweet: Isole e Olena Vin Santo 1996
Sparkling: Bollinger Grande Annee 1999
Fortified: Smith Woodhouse 1985
Dud: le Cupole di Trinoro 2006
Thing: How dull and shockingly formulaic ALL supermarket reds are becoming
Comment: Dalmau 2001 pushed Gaja's Barbaresco close. Guru is a dead ringer for Domaine de Chevalier Blanc. The La Grola was on a special @ Luvians during november and worked
out a £12.50 pb buying 2 or more so I stocked up. Stunning wine and at that price my overall wine of the year.
TOM: Chocapalha's wines (from Portugal) have impressed me too I must say. The Tesco Fiano, which is made by the big Co-op on Sicily and appears under various guises in
UK supermarket own labels, is a former Wine of the Week for me - great value.
Paolo Strada, Italy
Red: Matteo Correggia (Italy) Roero Roche d'Ampsej 2004
White: Reinhold Haart (Germany) Riesling Kabinett Piesporter Goldtropfchen 2006
Budget red: Giuseppe Rinaldi (Italy) Barbera d'Alba 2007
Budget white: Cantina Tramin (Italy) Sauvignon Blanc Monta 2007
Rosé: Marie Therese Chappaz (Switzerland)-Rhodonite 2007
Sweet: Chateau Guiraud (France)- Sauternes 2003
Sparkling: Champagne Jacquesson Cuvee' 733 - (France)
Fortified: Quinta do Vesuvio (portugal) - Vintage Port 2005
Dud: Champagne in general
Thing: Wine Database
Comment: Great year with some fantastic wine and meals...new restaurant discoveries and a lot of football!!
TOM: Nice and some unusual choices here, like the Swiss wine. I rather 'discovered' the finer wines of Jacquesson at a tasting of their very top late disgorged vintage bottles earlier
this year and was blown away by them.
Garry Clark, UK
Red: Mouton Rothschild (France) Pauillac 1983
White: Vallet Freres (France), Meursault 2006
Budget red: Bodegas Borsao(Spain), Garnacha Joven Campo de Borja 2008
Budget white: Ant Moore (New Zealand), Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2009
Rosé: Chateau Kefraya (Lebanon) Rose du Chateau, Bekaa Valley,2007
Sweet: Max Ferder Richter (Germany), Graacher Himmelriech Riesling Spatlese, Mosel, 2006
Sparkling: Vertical Tasting of Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque with Herve Deschamps
Fortified: Domaine Pieretti (Corsica), Muscat du Cap Corse
Dud: yet again the many prematurely oxidised white burgs that i have opened this year.
Thing: Trip to Perrier-Jouet including a stay at the Maison Belle Epoque
Comment: How quickly has this year gone by. Mouton again features in my list. The Vallet Meursault is especially good as it was the vintage that I was there for the vendage, so many happy
memories. The budget wines have been especially important this year with the recession changing the way we serve wine and the wines that we have sold. Introducing wines by the carafe has been a
godsend, allowing us to utilise slower moving stock at a premium discount giving the customers better value for money. The sweetie is an old favourite harking back to Amaryllis where we sold it
by the glass. Perrier-Jouet features twice in my list this year. I was priviledged enough to be invited to a two day masterclass with Herve which included a vertical tasting of the Belle Epoque
and Belle Epoque Rose. Truly exceptional. A few weeks later they hosted that iconic tasting which included the worlds oldest champagne!
White Burgs continue to provide massive amounts of frustration and elation. We are nearly through our stocks of the nineties now, so hopefully the pain will be almost over. So that concludes my
selection for the year. Fingers crossed that January will bring us a second star, and hopefully we will be as busy in 2010 as we have been in 2009!
Thanks and happy hogmanay to you Tom!
TOM: MOuth-watering stuff as always from Garry (Sommelier at the Chester Grosvenor) though his little cheapie - the Borsao - is a cracker. Another nail in white Burg's coffin too...
Alexander Lake, UK
Red: Sadie Columella 2000
White: Roulot Meursault Perrieres 2001
Budget red: Hochar Père et Fils 2003
Budget white: Fairview Oom Pagel Semillon 2000
Rosé: Tempier Bandol 2008
Sweet: Climens Barsac 1989
Sparkling: Clos des Goisses 1996 @ December WIMPs
Fortified: Most things Valdespino
Dud: Gosset Grand Millesime 1996
Thing: Daughters' Ballet show in July
Comment: Red wine was a tough call. There were so many great wines I've tried at WIMPs events, but this one really stood out for me at a very enjoyable event. I've had 3 different
bottles and this was the best.
The Roulot, served at the leaving do for Manu, Sommelier at the Ledbury, was just stunning. I've never been particularly impressed by Meursault before, although I'm a big fan of Roulot's basic Bourgogne.
Hochar P&F is the baby brother of Musar and 2003 is a real belter.
The Oom Pagel 2000 was a revelation in terms of how age can transform a wine.
Tempier's Rosé is a perennial BBQ favourite Chez Lake served with grilled tuna. Summer seems a long time ago now.
Climens 89 is sensational. I think I might have a thing about 89 Sauternes/Barsac (I think Yquem 89 was my WOTY last year)
Not all the Goisses 1996s I've had this year have been so good as this one. Different disgorgement dates (rather than storage conditions) are believed to be the factor. I'd never realised
what a difference it can make (and I've already forgotten the DD of this one!)
TOM: I remember first tasting the Oom Pagel on my first visit to South Africa and being blown away by it: fantastically rich and yet steely too. Pity about the Gosset - their
Grand Reserve is a favourite NV of mine.
Raymond Tilney, UK
Red: Leroy (France) Chambertin 1989
White: Guigal (France) Ex Voto Ermitage 2005
Budget red: Calera (USA) Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir 1996
Budget white: C.Heidsieck (France) Brut Reserve NV aka Mis En Cave
Rosé: Billecart-Salmon (France) Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon 1998
Sweet: Paul Cluver (S.Africa) Dessert Wine 2005
Sparkling: Moet & Chandon (France) Dom Perignon 1996
Dud: A procession of faulty White Burgundies
Thing: The planet Ledbury
Comment: I realise that my "budget" choices are hardly cheapies,but the Calera was so amazing and compared to any other bottle of "The Red Stuff" that I have actually fallen for it is
perhaps budget,or at least it is compared to the amazing"Burgundy Moment" delivered by that Leroy.
Had to mention Mis en C Since this is our house regular and totally reliable.
Never ever thought I would put a DP as WOTY but this was enjoyed overlooking London from a roof terrace at The Dorchester(Friend's Birthday),and perhaps that lifted it above a Selosse V.O. that
would otherwise get the nod.
I say The Planet Ledbury because throughout the year we have been priviledged to share experiences provided by Brett and a team that have been consistently out of this world.
I feel really fortunate to partcipate in the UK Wine Forum at wine-pages where wit and generosity both online and in person are freely shared. Happy New Year to All
TOM: Delighted to see fizz specialist Raymond give the DP 1996 the nod as I have a few bottles of it. Not the most fashionable of deluxe Champagnes amongst the cogniscenti,
but I've had some amazing experiences of older DPs.
Mike Grammer, Canada
Red: 1995 E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline
White: 1985 Leflaive Batard Montrachet
Budget red: 2000 Katnook Estates Cabernet Sauvignon
Budget white: 2006 Weingut Knoll Loibner Schnutt Smaragd Gruner Veltliner--not totally budget, but wow
Rosé: 2006 Domaine de la Mordoree La Dame Rousse
Sweet: 2004 Royal Demaria Pinot Noir Icewine---WOTY
Dud: 2004 Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Clavoillons
Comment: The Pinot Noir icewine has held top spot since last February. The La Mouline and Batard came close but did not displace it. I don't know what constitutes "budget"---I got the
Knoll for E26, but it was in the wine of the year category.
TOM: Nice to see a vote for Knoll (A favourite of mine) but Katnook too - somewhat underrated I think. The Pinot ice wine sounds fascinating - I've tasted Zweigelt and Cabernet Franc
icewines, but not one from Pinot.
Nicholas Larsen, UK
Red: Yarra Yerring Underhill Shiraz 1990 / Henschke Hill of Grace 1991
White: Paul Pernot Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2001
Budget red: Baron De ley Club Privado Rioja 2006
Budget white: Cantina di Monteforte Passo Avanti Soave 2007
Sweet: Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2008
Sparkling: Charles Heidsieck Mis En Cave 2006
Fortified: D'Oliveiras Madeira Boal 1908
Thing: Henschke Offline @ St John
Comment: The 1908 Boal was amazing in an intellectual way - for a 100 year old wine it tasted like it could have done with some more time in the bottle(!) but was very heavy at the end of
a long tasting session. For me the Underhill was the highlight from the highly enjoyable WIMPS Aussie offline (WIMPS is a group who meet on the UK Wine Forum). The Henschke offline at St John was great fun with many fantastic wines, and I
couldn't split the Underhill and the HoG so they share top spot. Hope to attend more offlines in 2010, as well as continuing to build on our informal tasting circle that we started in 09.
TOM: Another vote for the Cordon Cut (my choice too) - hurray! The few really old - as in 100-year-old - Madeira's I've been lucky enough to taste have always been exceptional tasting
David Crossley, UK
Red: Penfolds Grange 1985
White: Huet "Le Haut-Lieu" Demi-sec 1959
Budget red: Cos Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2005
Budget white: Niepoort Redoma Branco 2000
Rosé: None - though I agree Innocent Bystander's frothy pink Moscato is great fun
Sweet: Alain Brumont Pacherenc du Vic Bilh "Vendemaire Octobre" 2005
Sparkling: Bereche Reflet d'Antan NV*
Fortified: Gonzalez Byass Palo Cortado Viejo Apostoles
Dud: Castello di Ama Chianti Classico 2001
Thing: Ledbury offlines, naturally
Comment: Totally impossible every year to come up with a definitive list but I do enjoy the attempt. The Grange was far from the finest red I tasted but in 26 years of wine appreciation
never tried it until this month!!! The amazing Huet was my WOTY and only £125 on the wine list at the excellent RSJ. Tarte Tatin aromas which lasted all night. As a new Bereche convert the "Reflet" was
possibly quite odd. I list it because you think you've tasted it all and then you try something like this. It was one of several superb wines at my Waterloo initiation (2009 was particularly good on the
Champagne front and Francis' Petraea deserves a very honourable mention (on my 50th). The Brumont - isn't Pacherenc/Jurancon the most under rated dessert style in France? Niepoort's coplex Redoma
just pipped another (dry) Jurancon, that of Dom. de Montesquiou and my last 2005 Cos reminded me of a time when this gem was relatively unknown and a mere £11-12. Finally, Ama is my favourite Chianti
estate. I took the 01 to a WIMPS and it performed really badly, the worst bottle I've had of almost any vintage from this estate.
TOM: Very happy to see both the Apostoles from Gonzalez Byass make this list (is this range of very old, fine sherries one of the best wine bargains on the planet?) and
the Brumont 'Octobre' - I used to often buy these sweet wines from him, harvested in October, November and December and bottled separately, before my local source dried up!
selection below added 02/01/2010
Conor Twomey, Ireland
Red: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1998
White: Château Pape Clément Blanc 1998
Budget red: Château de Beaucastel Côtes du Rhône Coudoulet de Beaucastel 2007
Budget white: Château Lagrange Les Arums de Lagrange 2007
Rosé: Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé N.V.
Sweet: Château Rieussec 2001
Sparkling: Moët & Chandon Champagne Cuvée Dom Pérignon 1999
Thing: Trip to Bordeaux / Belfast Offline
Comment: Meeting Anthony and Eva Barton in Cafe Lavinal in the village of Bages was a great experience. My dad and brother didn't know who they were and couldn't wait to leave the restaurant to
quiz me about them. They were so sound and friendly.
My wife Audrey and I spent a weekend in Belfast for Sean Hardon's offline. We really enjoyed ourselves and everyone was so welcoming. Definitely do it again. Not one dud wine all night!
TOM: A clean sweep for Champagne, Rhone and Bordeaux om Conor's focused selection. I've eaten in the café in Bages village too - so brings back nice memories of that.
Jamie Hutchinson, UK
Red: Domaine Drouhin (France) Chambertin Clos de Beze 1978
White: Comte Lafon (France) Meursault Perrieres 1992
Budget red: Triennes (France) Les Aureliens 2005
Budget white: Dreissegacker (Germany) Riesling qba 2007
Rosé: Lopez de Heredia (Spain) Rosado 1997
Sweet: Peyraguey [sic] (France) Sauternes 1869
Sparkling: Bollinger (France) Grande Annee 1979
Fortified: Lustau (Spain) Anniversario Palo Cortado
Dud: Jaboulet (France) Les Jumelles Cote Rotie 1959
Thing: Scientific Anglers Sharkskin floating fly line (5 weight)
Comment: That Drouhin 1978 was breathtakingly good. I hope never to try it again as I very much doubt another bottle would come up to the mark. Other highlights for me this year
were finally getting to try a great bottle of La Chapelle 1978; that sip of ancient sauternes courtesy of Seckfords at the Ledbury, and a wonderful bottle of Rioja - Lopez de Heredia 6 anos from 1961.
Biggest dissapointments all came at the Dodgy Bottle Dinner held at my house. We expected some duff wines, but didn't bargain on what we got! The Jaboulet had pretty strong competition from
Palmer 1953 and Fonterutoli 1975, and 55 others! Beware the ullage!
TOM: As owner of 'The Sampler' in Islington Jamie does get to taste some rather good kit! Nice to see some unexpetced vintages and names in this list though I must say.
Kevin Heatherington, New Zealand
Red: Ch Beychevelle (St Julien) 1986
White: Van Voxelm Scharzhofberger (Saar) 2005
Budget red: Chinon Cuvee de La Cure (Charles Joguet) 2005
Budget white: Jacob's Creek Steingarten Riesling 2006
Sweet: Mout Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2007
Sparkling: Boizel Joyau de France (Champagne) 1996
Fortified: Niepoort LBV 2004
Dud: Ch Beaumont (Haut Medoc) 1995
Thing: The Sampler
Comment: A year dominated by many different Rieslings for me with over 40 tried. The best I had were from Donnhoff, Van Voxelm, J J Prum and F. Haag in Germany, Grosset, Mount Horrocks
and Jacob's Creek in Australia and Neudorf and Amisfield in New Zealand.
TOM: Some of my favourite wines in this list from Kevin, including the Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut, the 2008 of which was my sweet wine of the year. The 2002 of the
Jacob's Creek Steingarten was delightful recently too.
Charles Morgan, UK
Red: Pommard 1er Cru Rugiens de Montille 1998
White: Batard Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 2002
Budget red: Givry 1er Cru Clos de la Servoisine 1996
Budget white: Riesling Brand Grand Cru Albert Boxler 2001
Rosé: Roc d'Anglade Rose 2009
Sweet: Equipo Navazos Pedro Jimenez Sherry no 11
Sparkling: Krug Collection 1985
Fortified: Equipo Navazos Bota de Manzanilla Pasada Shery no 10
Dud: Chambolle Musigny Clos de l'Orme S Cathiard 2002
Thing: A visit to Henri Bonneau in Chateauneuf
Comment: Trying to remember yet another year of vinous extravaganzas is difficult, and rather than praise wines of considerable expense that ought to be great (but too often aren't) I
have concentrated on the wines that have truly delivered enormous pleasure, character and honesty, increasingly rare commodities in an age of flashy insincerity. I have had the Pommard twice and on
both occasions it has really delivered enormous pleasure, primarily from its magnificent combination of power without weight and a striking savour. The Leflaive was a standout, white Burgundy as it
should be, the character of Chardonnay correctly obliterated by terroir and impeccable winemaking. The Givry was an absolute steal, and exactly the sort of wine I would be delighted to see in a
restaurant, but so rarely do. The Boxler was on the borderline of budget when released, yet overshadowed a far more highly rated Zind Humbrecht Brand 01 with its magnificent bite, fruit and character.
The Roc D'Anglade tasted at the domaine in October (it might be the 08, my memory being an increasing victim of advancing decrepitude), a savoury dish of citrus and grapefruit and no bubblegum in
sight - a truly vinous proper Rose. I have been blown away this year by the glory of sherry, and in particular the truly splendid wines selected by Equipo Navazos of board member Jesus Barquin and
partner. The Manzanilla was an absolute joy, just penetrating, limpid and utterly persistent, while the PX had everything a sweet PX should, without the cloying gloop of far too many. The Krug
Collection was a truly great wine, still youthful, but singing and zinging and transcending its bubbles. The dud was an abomination against Chambolle Musigny that I cannot forget or forgive: all
terroir characteristics destroyed in the attempt to turn a humble wine into a superstar, bubblegum, oak and sweet gloop. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck.
As to things, the choice is enormous. Winning the Ashes, Tom Daley who I sponsor becoming World Champion in 10 meter platform diving at the age of 15, a truly sublime performance of Tristan
at Glyndebourne with Tom Blach as guests of Nigel and Sophie Williams, a magnificent evening of curries chez Blach, the Ledbury, the trip to Piedmont organised by Birger, the UK Wine Forum and the
never ceasing good sense of Our Good Host, but the prize has to go to a three hour session of tasting in the cellars of Henri Bonneau, led by the great man himself. Caked in layers of dirt
that even Quentin Crisp himself might have felt merited a light feather dusting, the old mediaeval ice cellars in the heart of Chateauneuf contain some of the greatest and most traditional
expressions of Grenache ever made. Monumental and guaranteed to give the exponents of clean and anonymous winemaking a heart attack.
TOM: Fabulous choices and compelling reasoning Charles. Burgundy getting more stick as 'dud' - all be it for different reasons than many others so far. Love that 85 Krug too -
I have two bottles left of the original release, but I've tasted the 'collection' version (held back by Krug for late release) and it is fantastic too.
Benjamin Cain, UK
Red: Ridge Vineyards (N America)Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon 1997
White: Nicolas Joly (France)Clos de la Coulée de Serrant 1990
Budget red: Henschke (Ausralia) Eden Valley Henry's Seven 2001
Budget white: Jean Thevenet (France) Domaine de la Bongran, Macon Villages 2004
Rosé: Chateau de Pibarnon (France) Bandol Rosé 2004
Sweet: Willi Opitz (Austria)Opitz One 1997
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvée Winston Churchill 1986
Fortified: Mas Amiel (France) Maury 2007
Dud: Coudoulet de Beaucastel (France )Côtes du Rhône 1998
Thing: Keilwerth SX90R Tenor Sax - beautiful to own and play
Comment: A year when I have been sampling a wider range of wines in my cellar. I have longed to taste the Joly 1990 and it was worth the wait, sublime chenin nose and honey on the
palate. The Ridge was only tasted on Xmas day, gorgeous.
TOM: Glad to see Benjamin keeping up the tasting effort through onto Christmas day with his Ridge! A lot of wines I love here, including the '86 Winston Churchill and the Opitz One.
Lawrence Low, Singapore
Red: Château Brane-Cantenac (France) 1959
White: Domaine des Comtes Lafon (France) Clos de la Barre 1992
Budget red: Lark Hill (Australia) Exaltation Pinot Noir 2003
Budget white: Bouchard Finlayson (South Africa) Blanc de Mer 2009
Sparkling: Billecart-Salmon (France) Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 1996
Fortified: Taylor's (Portugal) Vintage Port 1970
Dud: Château Mouton Rothschild (France) 1982
Thing: Creation (South Africa) Pinot Noir 2009 (barrel sample)
TOM: What a pity the Mouton '82 did not show well. I've only tasted it once in an amazing tasting of the top 1982s, and
whilst it wasn't the best wine on show, I thought it was excellent. Don't know Creation of South Africa, so one to look out for.
selection below added 31/01/2010
Derek Salmon, Australia
Red: Betheny (Australia) LE Shiraz 2006
Budget red: Maverick (Australia) Twins Cab Sav Blend 2006
Budget white: D'arenberg (Australia) The Broken Fish Plate
Rosé: Seppeltsfield (Australia) Lost Garden
Sweet: D'arenberg (Australia) Mud Pie noble
Sparkling: Louis Roderer (France) Cristal 1999
Fortified: Seppeltsfeild (Australia) 100yo Para 1908
TOM: I tasted the Para at Seppeltsfield about four years ago and think I can still tast it! An amazing dessert wine that has been in the same barrel for a century.
Richard Zambuni, UK
Red: Sorrel Le Greal Hermitage 1998
White: Leitz Klosterlay Riesling Kabinett 2001
Budget red: Tiefenbrunner Lagrein Castel Turmhof Sudtirol 2004
Budget white: Kellerei St Michael Eppan Weissburgunder Sudtirol 2006
Rosé: Domaine Tempier Bandol 2008
Sweet: Poniatowski Vin de Tris Vouvray moelleux 1989
Sparkling: Pol Roger Vintage Champagne 1996
Fortified: Warre Vintage Port 1985
Dud: Chapoutier Hermitage Chante-Alouette 1999
Thing: Dinner on half-price wine nights at The River Tavern, Chester, Connecticut
Comment: There was an interesting contrast between the exquisite freshness of Leitz's Klosterlay 2001 and the oxidised and dull Hermitage from Chapoutier - and white
Hermitage is supposed to age. The wines from the Sudtirol are often under-rated in the UK. They are often very direct, true to the grape variety, and excellent with a wide range of food. Their
only shortcoming is that they are only very rarely marked by terroir.
TOM: interesting line up with a focus in northern Europe, so even allowing for the Bandol and Rhône, definitely a list that suggests a strong preference for the fresh,
Dave McNeilly, Canada
Red: Paolo Scavino (Italy) Cannubi Barolo 2003
White: FX Pichler (Austria) Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg 2003
Budget red: Montecillo (Spain) Rioja Crianza 2003
Budget white: Dr Loosen (Germany) Riesling Kabinett Blue Slate 2007
Rosé: Marques de Caceres (Spain)
Sweet: La Spinetta (Italy) Moscato Passito 2004
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Champagne Blanc de Blanc 1999
Fortified: Gould Campbell (Portugal) Vintage Port 1983
Dud: Tyrell (Australia) Vat 1 Semillon 1990 - corked
TOM: A few wines I've enjoyed this year too in there from Dave. Pity about the Tyrell Vat 1 - a fabulous wine and at 19 years old should have been fascinating.
Will Cashman, Ireland
Red: Meo Camuzet Nuits St Georges 'Aux Murgers' 2000
White: Vincent Dancer Chevalier Montrachet 2002
Budget red: Anne Gros Bourgogne Rouge 2006
Budget white: Josmeyer Pinot Gris SGN 1995
Rosé: Vilmart Cuvee Rubis
Sweet: Climens 1989
Sparkling: Boulard Les Rachais 2004
Fortified: Grahams 1966
Dud: Postal System
Thing: The Fat Duck
Comment: Still fascinated with Burgundy/Champagne this year, although other regions are starting to get more of a look in. Lots of nice red wines this year but the Meo drunk on a
couple of occasions was in a perfect place for me (so difficult to achieve with Red Burgundy). The recession has hit hard this year, which has given rise to some remarkable bargains, the Josmeyer
SGN was picked up for buttons and was delicious. The WIMPs (a series of lunches organised by members of wine-pages UK Wine Forum) was almost my 'Thing' of the year (contributing 2 wines to my
wines of the year) but the Fat Duck simply blew my mind, melding entertainment and delicious food to great effect!
TOM: I still haven't made it to the Fat Duck, and must do so soon as I fear Mr Blumenthal will get as distracted as Mr Ramsay with his TV stardom... Great to see both
Vilmart and Boulard Champages in there - I have a bottle of 'Petraea' from Boulard lined-up for New Year.
Ronald Massard, Thaïland
Red: Château Musar (Lebanon) 2000
White: Didier Dagueneau "Silex" (France) Blanc Fumé de Pouilly 2002
Budget red: McIvor Shiraz (Australia) Heathcote 2003
Budget white: Stefano Lubiana Sauvignon Blanc (Australia) Tasmania 2009
Rosé: Domaine de Torraccia (France) Corse-Porto-Vecchio 2006
Sweet: Dr Thanisch Berncasteler Doktor auslese (Germany) Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2005
Sparkling: Bollinger La Grande Année (France) Champagne 1999
Fortified: Manzanilla Argüeso (Spain) NV
Dud: Château Cantemerle (France) Haut-Médoc 2000
Thing: The cherry blossom in Japan ! Picnic in a park under the trees with a bottle of a decent Bourgueil. Fresh and poetic.
Comment: Musar was a luscious, fragrant surprise for such a relatively young vintage. Reminiscent of glorious elders I had tasted in a vertical (up to 1969). Will France ever produce
again outstanding sauvignons like Didier's? Tassie Stefano Lubiana is doing well with that grape, halfway between the austere French style and the exuberant NZ pattern, however 10 Minutes By Tractor
10X Chardonnay (Australia) Mornington Peninsula 2007 was a very close contender in this category. I first tasted a lower version of Dr Thanisch's on an airline before digging out this pearl of an auslese.
I won't reveal the name of the Bourgueil: it was the Wine of the Hanami!
TOM: Great stuff here from Ronald (and a visit to Japan is still on my 'to do' list). For those who do not know, Didier Dagueneau was hailed as the single greatest maker of Sauvignon
Blanc, but was killed in an accident at the end of last year.
Arild Martinsen, Norway
Red: Chateau Leoville Las Cases 1988, France
White: Gerard Duplessis Montee de Tonnerre 1989, France
Budget red: Chateau Mercier 2005, France
Budget white: Georg Breuer Rauenthal Riesling 2004, Germany
Sweet: Hugel Vendange Tardive Riesling 1989
Sparkling: Diebolt-Vallois 1976, France
Fortified: Henriques&Henriques 50 years old sweet from a barrel in Madeira
Thing: Putting 24 bottles of Jacques Selosse champagne in the cellar.
TOM: beautifully refined European 'classic' list this. I'm sure Arild drinks the occasional New World wine too :-)
selection below added 30/12/2009
Jim Fulcher, UK
Red: Meo Camuzet Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux (France) 1993
White: Remoissenet Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru (France) 1986
Budget red: Enrique Mendoza Shiraz (Spain) 2005
Budget white: Vouvray Cuvee Silex Vigneau-Chevreau (France) 2007
Sweet: Chateau d'Yquem (France) 1996
Sparkling: Boulard Rachais (France) 2002
Dud: Marquis de Arienzo Gran Reserva (Spain) 1995
Comment: The superBOWL weekend stands out, three events full of marvelous wines and oustanding generosity. I doubt I will ever beat the superOFFLINE.
TOM: The SuperBOWL (a weekend wine event organised by myself and dedicated volunteers in Glasgow) was indeed a terrific occasion - including a vertical tasting of
Remoissenet's Burgundies presented by the head of the house, with wines going back to the 1960s.
Guy Dennis, UK
Red: 1961 Chateau Palmer
White: 2005 Ermitage, Ex Voto - Guigal
Budget red: Sainsbury's Taste the Difference 2007 Red Burgundy (Rodet)
Rosé: Ribena (NV)
Sweet: Trimach Clos St Hune 1989 Hors Choix
Sparkling: 1996 Pol Roger
Fortified: Domaine Pietri-Geraud Cuvée Méditerranée 2003 Banyuls
Dud: Too-young CNDP
Comment: Oddly, there is no specific budget white that springs to mind. I just don't drink a lot of cheap white wine, and when I do, it is simply that. Oh no, I've become a snob!
A year of wonderful, amazing wines, and I must thank Keith Prothero as so many of the best were enjoyed at his events.
TOM: the cheap Sainsbury's red Burgundy was a bit of a phenomenon when discussed on the UK Wine Forum - a respected Burgundy fantatic recommended it as a remarkable bargain at just
£3.00, and whilst opinions differed, it soon sold out in many stores.
Peter Wood, UK
Red: Jacques Frederic Mugnier Musigny 1995, France
White: Louis Jadot Batard Montrachet 2002, France
Budget red: Ciconia Tinto 2008, Portugal
Budget white: Stephane Aladame Montagny 1er cru 2007, France
Rosé: Veuve Clicquot Rose 1999, France
Sweet: Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes 1967, France
Sparkling: Moet & Chandon Esprit du Siecle, France
Fortified: Martinez Vintage Port 1927, Portugal
Dud: Raboso Spumante Rose Prosecco, Italy
Thing: Button winning the F1 title & Schumacher announcing his return in 2010. And passing my driving test!
Comment: I like my life! I've been really fortunate to have tried some outstanding wines in some outstanding locations, and apologies that my choices are a little extravagant,
but it has just been a good year! A trip to Champagne in May with some close friends was unbelievably decadent and a work trip to France this year allowed me to learn more about several wine
regions in a short space of time. All the while, drinking... sorry, tasting everything from old Moet & Chandon to cask samples of Burgundian Pinot Noir. I've also been excited by the 2007
vintage port releases, and enthused that the recession appears to have had a positive effect on the independent wine merchants in the UK, including the shop I run in St Andrews (Luvians).
But this year was tinged with sadness as my friend and former colleague, Duncan Murray, who was the man who first opened my eyes to the joys that the world of wine can bring, passed away at the age of
29. I'm hoping that 2010 is going to allow me to travel to wine regions a bit more, and to improve my knowledge and writing (www.thetastingnote.com), and most of all explore that vast
and interesting range of wines in the £5-£25. That is where I think the value and excitement is now!
TOM: A bit concerned about Peter passing his driving test and being such a big follower of F1 - slow down! :-) From this year onward it will be illegal to label a wine made from the
Raboso grape as Prosecco, so at least that will put paid to Peter's dud.
Tom Blach, UK
Red: Chambolle Musigny Les Cras 1994, Barthod
White: Meursault 1993, Ampeau
Budget red: Chambolle Musigny 1971, Thorin
Budget white: Pinot Grigio 2008, Albinoni
Rosé: Vilmart Rubis 2002
Sweet: Yquem 86
Sparkling: Salon 96
Fortified: Don Gonzalo Oloroso, Valdespino
Dud: white burgundy
Thing: vacuum packing machine
Comment: In the first two sections these are far from the finest wines I've had but they were the most exciting and unexpected on the day, though competition has been fierce. The budget
white is the apogee of the kind of refreshing nothingness so often required yet now so rarely delivered. I've had some really great white burgundies this year but as a whole disappointment is almost
guaranteed even without the appalling premox situation.
TOM: Premox - or premature oxidation - is a phenomenon that led to a huge loss of faith in white Burgundy for many people, with vintages in the late 1990s in particular falling
apart and becoming oxidised much more quickly than they should. The reasons are complex and still the subject of debate, but thankfully seem to have been addressed by the
winemakers - even if other quality issues remain, as indicated by Tom's nomination of this category as his 'dud' of the year.
Kinley Smith, UK
Red: Lark Hill (Australia) Cabernet-Merlot 1998
White: Louis Latour (France) Meursault Genevrieres 1999
Budget red: Tardieu-Laurent (France) Costieres de Nimes 2000
Budget white: A. Lambrich (Germany) Oberweseler Romerkrug Auslese 2007
Dud: A year of good wine with no duds
Thing: My second daughter, Eleanor, born in June
Comment: A selection of the wines that mattered most this year rather than the grandest. The Lark Hill brought be back to Australia having drifted away. Restrained, balanced and complex,
really beautiful. Same with Latour Meursault reopened white Burgundy.
TOM: A nice selection here, and good to see some white Burgundy from the premox era holding up well!
Duncan McLean, UK
Red: Bruno Clair, Gevrey-Chambertin, 1er Cru Clos de Fontenay, 2001
White: Quinta do Romaneira, Duoro Branco, 2007
Budget red: Ponte del Diavolo, Refosco del Friuli, 2008
Budget white: Madfish, Savignon/Semillon, 2008
Rosé: Charles Melton, Rose of Virginia, 2008 (again)
Sweet: Innocent Bystander, Moscato, NV
Sparkling: Innocent Bystander, Moscato, NV
Fortified: Fernando de Castilla, 'Antique' Palo Cortado, NV
Dud: Bad corks (again)
Thing: Roast organic lamb from Millquoy, Orkney
Comment: The sweet/sparkling choice is all about fun! The Douro Branco was the single biggest pleasant surprise of the year - superb.
TOM: I agree whole-heartedly that there's room in the world of wine for examples like Innocent Bystander's frothy, pink, sweet and low-alcohol Moscato - a delicious
wine that brings a smile to my face when I drink it.
selection below added 28/12/2009
Richard Manley, UK
Red: Leoville Barton 1981
White: Karthaeuserhof 1993 Auslese
Budget red: CdR Village 2007 3/4 to choose from
Budget white: Spy Mountain 2008
Sweet: Forrest The Doctors Noble Chenin 2008
Sparkling: Bollinger 1985
Dud: Meursault-Blagny 1er Crue La Tennelotte 1991
Thing: Eldest Son going to an interview to join the forces !!
Comment: 2009 has been a strange and difficult year for our household. We have had a few ups and downs, but we have managed to stay positive and looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead in 2010.
My eldest Son Jake is hoping to join the Forces next year so am very proud but still worried at the same time as any parent would be. Have laid a few bottles down for his 21st and a few for his brother.
Wishing you good health and a fun 2010.
TOM: Some of my favourites in here too, like Bolly 1985: I'm lucky enough to still have a bottle or two of this in the cellar for drinking in 2010. Whatever decision your son comes
to Richard, my very best wishes to him and to your family.
Chris Hambleton, UK
Red: Charmes Chambertin 1991 Domaine Raphet
White: Raveneau Chablis (France) 2002?
Budget red: Ninth Island (Tasmania) Pinot Noir 2005
Budget white: Flagstone (South Africa) Free Run Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Sweet: Brown Bros (Australia) Noble Riesling 1999
Sparkling: Dom Perignon (France) Champagne 1983
Fortified: Taylors (Portugal) Vintage 1963
Dud: Theophile Rederer (France) Champagne Brut 1975
Thing: Miniature Schnauzer (Egham) May 2009
Comment: Once again I have been lucky to taste and drink some great wines, both as part of my job and also with friends and family. Some wine-pages regulars will recognise the Raphet
from a great dinner I was invited to and may be surprised that it's not the Leroy 89 Chambertin up there, but for me the Raphet represented almost everything one could want from a red wine, which
included not costing 4 figures a bottle. The Ninth Island is a superb wine and shows the value of screwcaps and rooting around supermarket shelves - really good Pinot noir at £4.50 a bottle. The
current relaease is still way under-priced at £11 and this shows how well it can age. Likewise the Flagstone - about £6 from Majestic and it will not win and complexity prizes but it is a great fresh
Sauvignon. The sweet wine remains one of the best value for money purchases I ever made, purely on a whim - looks and tastes like a good Tokay 5 puttonyos. Lots of fizz has passed this year as
various friends have got married or reproduced, but the top bottle was the Dom Perignon 83 to bless the arrival of my best friend's firstborn son. The 63 Taylors was only identified after we took
the cork out - I can almost still taste it, the best Port I have had in years.
The dud was a a real shame - a very kind gesture from a gentleman who I had purchased a bottle from at auction included one of these for free. I can only say that the flavour was 'truly extraordinary'.
The question mark by the Raveneau vintage is because this was provided at dinner (funnily enough by the same gentleman) one evening and I confess I did not take a note of the year, but it was by
far and away the best Chablis I have had in a very long time. Happy Christmas and here's to a healthy, prosperous and vinous new year!
TOM: Pretty focused selection this, and one wine that evokes a strong memory for me is the 1983 Dom Perignon, one of my seminal Champagne moments when I opened my only bottle
some time in the late 90s, when it was just sublime.
Andrew Stevenson, UK
Red: Château Margaux (France) Margaux 1989
White: Poggio Argentiera (Italy) Fonte_40 IGT Maremma Toscana IGT (Italy) 2007
Budget red: Michel Guignier Domaine des Amethystes Chiroubles 2007
Budget white: Ayala (France), Brut Majeur (M&S bottling) NV
Sweet: Ch Climens (France), Barsac 1989
Sparkling: Louis Roederer (France), Cristal 1981
Fortified: Bodegas Tradicion (Spain), Palo Cortado, NV
Comment: I'm completing this quite early, so unfortunately no account is going to be taken of Christmas drinking, including an offline planned for 29th Dec. I've also still got a lot of TNs to write up from the year, with a result that there's likely to be a preponderance of wines drunk at offlines listed here, as I'm usually quicker at typing those up.
It was difficult to spot the red wine of the year, and I had to re-read tasting notes (on e.g. 73 Unico, 89 Kanonkop, 55 Ch Pape Clément, 92 Qupé Syrah Bien Nacido, 97 Paul Hobbs Hyde Vineyard Cab, 90
Penfolds Bin 707 and others) several times to make my mind up. The white of the year, similarly, was a bit of a toss up, and I've just changed it at the last minute, so that the Fonte40 just pips
to the post a "natural" wine, the 2006 Il Carpino Tocai Friulano Exordium. Also strongly in the running were a 2004 Steiner Hund Riesling from Nikolaihof at the Old Bridge at Huntingdon, a 2006
Domaine de la Côte de l'Ange Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, a 66 Potinet-Ampeau Meursault, 2003 Semillon l'expatrie from The Colonial Estate, and a 98 Hugel Gewurz Hommage à Jean Hugel.
Budget caused me some difficulty. I've really pretty much avoided cheaper wine this year, preferring to drink less but better. The Sainsbury's red burgundy that Tom Blach started a run on
when he posted about it in the wine-pages forum was probably the bargain of the year, but didn't really come into Wine of the Year territory. I don't actually know how much the Chiroubles
that I've listed in this category costs, as it was at a tasting in Manchester. Go to the cellar door and it's bound to be budget. A lovely Beaujolais, as were all of this producer's two ranges.
Budget white: Hmmm ... what's the threshold? I'm sneaking this one in as it was bought for under £13.50 from Marks & Spencer. Lots of bottle age, and at that price exceptional value for a
very good champagne. Good things have happened to M&S' wine selection in recent years, and I could easily have mentioned their 2007 Spätlese from Leitz in this category.
The sweet I think from memory should be a 1999 Ruster Ausbruch Essenz by Feiler-Artinger, but based on the TNs that I've got typed up, the Climens is a clear winner.
I seem to have had very few fortified wines this year, so it was easy for the Bodegas Tradicion Palo Cortado to rise above the others to a very deserved winning position. Croft 2007 vintage port I thought was a very promising wine that was actually drinking rather nicely in May this year.
There were several wines that could have made a dud of the year. A badly corked Vega Sicilia Unico Reserva Especial was leading the list. But I've decided to allow myself a little mini rant about the amateurishness of Distil, the spirits counterpart of the London International Wine Fair: none of the workshops that I was interested in started on time and the stands seemed to be largely staffed by dolly birds, not people who knew what they were talking about.
Thing of the year has to be a very welcome return of the British wine consumer's premier event: the Glasgow SuperBOWL organised by some TV star called Cannavan who actually seems to know a bit about wine too.
Happy New Year everyone!
TOM: And to you! The usual eclectic selection from Andrew, with some terrific wines. I agree that the Alaya fizz from M&S is one of the great current bargains so very apt for
a 'budget' category. Nice to have our first Sherry of the year make an appearance too.
Tom Hewson, UK
Red: Chateau Leoville Barton (France) 2004
White: Domaine Phillipe Gilbert (Loire, France) Menetou-Salon 'Les Renardières' 2007
Budget red: Domaine de L'Espigouette (France) Cotes du Rhone 2007
Budget white: Leitz (Germany) Rudesheimer Rosengarten Kabinett 2007
Sweet: Hatzidakis (Santorini, Greece) Voudomato 2002
Sparkling: Louis Roederer Brut NV
Dud: Ca' Viola (Piedmont, Italy) Dolcetto d'Alba 'Barturot' 2007
Thing: Bottle Apostle Wine shop, Hackney
Comment: I had to drink the Leoville Barton as I didn't have anywhere to keep it. I then moved, 3 months later, to a flat with access to a cellar...oh well. A stunning Sauvignon, a
ridiculously classy Cotes du Rhone from my new wine shop (knocks most early-drinking Chateauneuf into a cocked hat), and a beautifully poised, invigorating Riesling which woke me up on cold January
evenings. And that Hatzidakis dessert wine is probably my wine of the year - there is simply nothing else like it.Predictable but the Roederer at £25 in Majestic was the champagne buy of the year.
And an over-ripe, over-oaked, over-worked and overpriced Dolcetto to finish it off.
TOM: Tom has picked the same Champagne as me so obviously has exquisite taste. Leitz continues to make exceptionally good wines too, so pleased to see
one of his in the line-up.
Sean Hardon, Northern Ireland
Red: Clos St Martin 2005
White: Marc Sorrel Hermitage Blanc 2003
Budget red: Sierra Cantabria Coescha 2007
Budget white: Scotchman's Hill Swan Bay SB/Sem 2006
Rosé: Artazuri 2008 Navarra
Sweet: Sine Qua Non Strawman Semillon 2000
Sparkling: Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicolas Francois 1998
Thing: The Ledbury
TOM: A second vote for the Ledbury as 'thing' of the year, so well done to them. Artazuri is the Navarra outpost of Rioja's Artadi, and I too have found their wines
Uillaim Tait, UK
Red: Château de la Négly, (France) Porte du Ciel, La Clape 1998
White: Coche-Dury, 1er Cru Les Perrières (France) Meursault 2005
Budget red: Casillero del Diablo, (Chile) Carmenere, 2007
Budget white: Ken Forrester,(South Africa) Stellenbosch, Chenin Blanc 2008
Sweet: J L Chave (France) Hermitage Vin de Paille, 1990
Sparkling: Pol Roger (France) Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill, 1990
Comment: A great wine from Chateau de la Negly, huge depth and complexity and a truly world class wine. The 2005 Meursault was a lesson in precision and purity and easily the best
young Burgundy I have ever tasted. Both the Diablo and KF represent awesome value value at around £5-£7 and the duo of 1990's were sublime and perfectly mature.
TOM: Great choices. Uilliam singles out Chenin Maestro Ken Forrester and Concha y Toro's Casillero del Diablo as awesome value and I couldn't agree more. Whilst both operations are totally
different in scale (Concha y Toro is enormous) both have a knack of delivering consistently intelligent, personality-packed wines at very reasonable prices.
selection below added 24/12/2009
Mike Bartlett, UK
Red: Chateau Lafleur (France) 2001
White: Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet (France) 2005
Budget red: Spy Valley (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2008
Budget white: Mark's and Spencer's St Romain (France) 2007
Sweet: Petit Vedrines Sauternes (France) 2005
Sparkling: Pol Roger Cuvee reserve (France) 1998
Thing: Birth of twins! one of each: Sam and Evie
Comment: the Lafleur was at a tasting and clearly has a long life ahead of it...but so much potential. Both budget wines would be good value at double the price. The sweet wine isn't
expensive either but beautifully balanced and refreshing. And life changed forever on November 4, with the birth of our twins!
TOM: Congratulations on Sam and Evie Mike - more important than a few bottles of vino!
David Ludlow, UK
Red: Chateau La Mission Haut Brion (France) 1988
White: Louis Latour (France) Corton Charlemagne 2002
Budget red: Cline (California) Syrah 2006
Budget white: Pecorino Safire Terre di Chieto 2008 (Italy)
Sweet: Chateau Y'quem (France) 1995
Sparkling: Duval Leroy (France) 1996
Fortified: Martinez (Portugal) Vintage Port 1985
Dud: None that I recall, although 2003 Red Burgundies come close
Thing: Getting hold of 08 Lafite at initial rock bottom prices and Brac, Croatian holiday
Comment: Despite recession it has been a great year for tasting wine. Trip to Croatia explored new wines such as Posip and Zlatan Plavac. Good wines could befound, but were expensive.
Enjoyed some great Rhones including a vertical tasting of Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la mordoree. South Africa keeps getting better and better and was very impressed with wines from Journey's End,
Paul Cluver and Elgin Vintners. 2003 red Burgundies from some top notch producers failed to excite and lacked any typicity and certainly shows that the French producers found that very hot year
difficult to deal with. I added the Pecorino as my budget white as again it was highlighting the diversity of wines from Italy especially against the flood of Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio.
TOM: The vote for La Mission Haut-Brion reminds me of the extraordinary vertical tasting of 53 vintages back to 1929, that
I attended in 2008 and which furnished me with my Red of the Year last year. Agree on the Pecorino, and the interest in Italy's less mainstream whites.
Jeremy Holmes, Australia
Red: Domaine de la Romanee Conti Richebourg 1936
White: Domaine Ramonet Montrachet 1983
Budget red: Solar Viejo Rioja Crianza 2006
Budget white: Pichot Vouvray 'Coteau de la Biche' 2008
Sweet: Chateau d'Yquem 1996
Sparkling: Salon 1996
Fortified: Chambers Rosewood Vineyards Old Liqueur Tokay
Dud: Felettig Chambolle-Musigny 'Clos Le Village' 2007
Thing: Fergburgers in Queenstown N.Z
TOM: Second citation for a red Burgundy as 'dud'. Is that coincidence, or will a pattern emerge this year? DRC Richebourg 1936 must have been something to behold!
Ray Abercromby, UK
Red: Ducru Beaucaillou (France) St Julien 1970
White: Comtes Lafon (France) Meursault Perrieres 1989
Budget red: Berberana (Spain) Rioja Gran Reserva 2002
Budget white: Concha Y Toro (Chile) Winemakers Lot Viognier 2007
Sweet: Oremus (Hungary) Tokaji 6 Puttonyos 1972
Sparkling: Krug (France) 1982 (magnum)
Dud: Chateau Lascombes (France) Margaux 1996
Thing: Nintendo Wii
Comment: The Ducru was not the best bottle I had this year (that accolade probably goes to a 1995 Ruchottes Chambertin, Rousseau, ahead of 1982 Grange, 1985 Cheval Blanc and 1997 Petrus),
but it was the most memorable. The Lafon was at the head of some scintillating white burgs, and is possibly the finest dry white wine I have ever had. The Berberana is £8 at Majestic, while The
Krug, at the Square (London) simply WAS majestic. The Lascombes is on sale at CostCo. Don't do it unless you like weedy astringent green flavours. Actually, that might appeal to Loire red fans ;-)
Finally, the Wii is brilliant. With a 2000+ pro score at tennis, I have become an insomniac. Other vinous treats included 1961 Margaux, 1990 Vilmart Coeur de Cuvée (drunk with Laurent Champs in
Champagne), 1990 Vega Sicilia Unico and the consistently brilliant 1993 Yalumba Octavius shiraz. A good drinking year, I would say.
TOM: And so would I! Thanks for the tip on the Lascombes: I spotted it in Costco at some point, so if your experience is anything to go by, I'm glad I
didn't succumb to temptation.
Linden Wilkie, UK
Red: 1958 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Cask F-10 (USA)
White: 1953 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese, Joh. Jos. Prüm (Germany)
Budget red: 2004 Chianti Rufina Bucerchiale, Selvapiana (Italy)
Budget white: 2007 Meerlust Chardonnay (South Africa)
Sweet: 1929 Chateau Climens (France)
Sparkling: 1995 Louis Roederer Cristal (France)
Fortified: 1789 Cama do Lobos (Portugal)
Dud: Jamie Hutchinson's Dodgy bottle offline (Various)
Thing: The Ledbury
Comment: It is impossible to single out a worst bottle at the 'dodgy bottles' offline - tremendous fun and a good reminder that opening older bottles comes with some risk! A few premoxed bottles
ade in the last decade highlight that you don't always have to wait. And yet in 2009 I was lucky to taste some mind-bogglingly good and very old wines. Some of the Californian Cabernets of the 50s, 60s
and 70s stand out as amongst the very best. Certainly a golden age over there. But I suppose the biggest highlight in 2009 was the long run of lunches and dinners at The Ledbury. A brilliant restaurant
and I hope we are lucky enough to be able to continue there in 2010.
TOM: The Ledbury restaurant in London is second home for a whole bunch of wine-pages visitors, who have regular 'offlines' there (events where online buddies actually meet up) -
and excellent it is too. The usual intriguing list from Linden - what about that 1789 Madeira!
James Menendez, UK
Red: 1999 Roda 1 Reserva
White: 2005 De Martino Single Vineyard Chardonnay
Budget red: 2005 Fratelli Martini Barbera d'Asti Superiore (Tesco Finest)
Budget white: 2008 Terra do Lobo Monterrei
Sweet: 2005 Waitrose Sauternes with Ch Suduiraut
Sparkling: 1995 Dom Perignon
Fortified: Gonzalez-Byass Noe PX
Dud: 2001 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno
TOM: A very nice and moderately-priced list this, with several wines I too have really enjoyed. I visited De Martino in Chile just last month and thought they had an
extremely impressive range. Thier 2008 Single Vineyard Chardonnay from Limari was outstanding.
Go to Part II
Back to Tom's Wines of the Year