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Visitors' favourite wines of 1998

Wines of the year in the same 7 categories that I used to draw up my own list.

Chris Kissack, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Cornas Alain Voge 1994
Best white wine - Montana Reserve Chardonnay 1996
Best budget red - L'Arco Friuli Grave Cabernet Franc Cantini di Bertiolo 1996
Best budget white - 35 Degrees Sur Sauvignon Blanc Viña san Pedro 1997
Best sweet wine - no award
Best sparkling wine - Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut La Chablisienne
Best fortified wine - Graham's Late Bottled Vintage
Quality choices from Chris - and the 2 budget wines cost under £5/$8!

John Holmes, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Beychevelle (St-Julien) 1970
Best white wine - Matua Gisborne Chardonnay 1991
Best budget red - Château Graulet (Côtes de Blaye) 1989
Best budget white - Thelema (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc 1998
Best sweet wine - Bernkasteler (Germany, Mosel) Riesling Eiswein 1983
Best sparkling wine - Pelorus (New Zealand) 1993
Best fortified wine - Cálem Vintage Port 1977
Aaah, 1970 Beychevelle.... John is M.D. of Classic Wines - see "UK merchants" for a link to their site. The second person to vote a New Zealand Chardonnay "White Wine of the Year"....

Robert Jones, Atlanta USA - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 1987
Best white wine - Trimbach (Alsace) Riesling Clos Ste. Hune 1976
Best budget red - Marietta Cellars (California) Old Vine Red lot 21
Best budget white - Basa (Spain) Rueda 1997
Best sweet wine - Weil (Rheingau) Riesling BA Kiedricher Grafenberg 1996
Best sparkling wine - Dom Pérignon 1964
Best fortified wine - Mas Amiel (France) Maury 20 ans
Some superb wines in this list! Maury, a Port like wine, is from the south of France. I'll bet the German BA (Beerenauslese) was stunning too.

Paul Armstrong, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Dutruch (Moulis) Grand Poujeaux 1982
Best white wine - Couly-Dutheil (Loire) "Les Chanteaux" Chinon Blanc 1997
Best budget red - Château La Roque (Pic St-Loup) "Cupa Numismae" 1995
Best budget white - Peter Lehmann (Australia) Barossa Semillon 1997
Best sweet wine - Pellegrino (Italy) Moscato di Pantelleria 1994
Best sparkling wine - No award
Best fortified wine - Lustau Palo Cortado Almacenista Sherry
More interesting and unusual wines - the Palo Cortado from Lustau's Almacenista range (fine, old unblended Sherries) is a terrific choice.

Cameron Clark, Holland - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Beringer Private Reserve 1989
Best white wine - Vavasour Reserve Chardonnay 1993
Best budget red - Château Taris 1994, Bordeaux AOC
Best budget white - Domaine Lalande 1996 (Vin de Pays d'Oc)
Best sweet wine - A.Mann (Alsace) Fürstentum Gewürztraminer 1994 SdGN
Best sparkling wine - Seppelt Sparkling Shiraz, 1991
Best fortified wine - No award
Special award - 1994 Antagnes, Switzerland (Chasselas)
Another New Zealand Chardonnay! Good choice in the Alsace sweet wine. I've allowed Cameron his special award - pity so few of these excellent wines make it out of Switzerland.

Rob Adler, USA - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Haut-Brion (Graves) 1959
Best white wine - Schaefer (M-S-R) Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett 1995
Best budget red - Vega Sindoa Old Vines Grenache 1997
Best budget white - Ch. Moncontour (Vouvray) Cuvée Les Demoiselles 1989
Best sweet wine - Massandra (Ukraine) Pink Muscat 1957
Best sparkling wine - Nicolas Feuillatte, Brut Rosé Champagne N.V.
Best fortified wine - Graham's Vintage Port 1977
Oh how I envy Rob's tasting of the '59 Haut-Brion - one of the greatest post-war vintages. And how about that 40 year old Russian dessert wine??

Sam Goth, USA - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Anne Gros (Burgundy) Richebourg 1996
Best white wine - B. Morey (Burgundy) Puligny-Montrachet Truffières 1996
Best budget red - Cortes de Cima (Portugal) Alentejo 1997
Best budget white - Kurt Darting (Pfalz) Riesling Nonnengarten 1997
Best sweet wine - Château Coutet Barsac 1988 (thanks Tom!)
Best sparkling wine - Vilmart & Cie Coeur du Cellier Champagne N.V.
Best fortified wine - No award
I've got to love Sam's choice of sweet wine - one of the many great bottles we shared during the summer! Vilmart is one of my "must try" Champagne houses.

Craig Thomson, New Zealand - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - 1992 Penfolds Grange
Best white wine - 1997 Neudorf Moutere Chardonnay (NZ)
Best budget red - 1996 Hardys Bankside Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)
Best budget white - 1997 Orlando St Hilary Chardonnay (Australia)
Best sweet wine - 1991 Ngatarawa Penny Harvest (NZ)
Best sparkling wine - Cloudy Bay Pelorus (NZ)
Best fortified wine - 1996 Magleri Shiraz 'Port' (Australia)
A few of these Antipodean wines are new to me, but a fine selection of Australia and New Zealand's best from Craig. The '92 Grange is glorious and the Pelorus is real quality.

Bernard Leak, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Margaux (Margaux) 1981
Best white wine - Château Laville Haut-Brion (Graves) 1987
Best budget red - Ch. Reynella (Aus) Basket-Pressed Cab-Merlot 1994
Best budget white - Réunis de Ruoms (France, Ardèche) Viognier 1997
Best sweet wine - Hieronimi (Germany) Trittenheimer Altärchen Eiswein 1989
Best sparkling wine - Cloudy Bay (NZ) Pelorus 1991
Best fortified wine - Borges (Madeira) Sercial 1940
More lovely choices. The Reynella is stretching "budget" a bit, but Bernard explains he bought it at a crazy special offer price! New Zealand continues an incredibly strong showing with a 2nd vote for Pelorus.

Jim Grow, USA - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Pahlmeyer (California) Red 1994
Best white wine - Schlumberger (Alsace) Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kitterlé 1990
Best budget red - Marietta (California) Old Vine Lot 22
Best budget white - Martin Schaetzel (Alsace) Pinot Gris 1996
Best sweet wine - Peter Lehmann (Australia) Botrytis Semillon 1996
Best sparkling wine - Pierre Moncuit Brut Champagne N.V.
Best fortified wine - Baileys (Australia) Founder Dessert Tokay
I mistook the 1993 vintage of Pahlmeyer's red wine as a quality claret in a blind tasting not long ago: lovely stuff. Jim's obvious fondness for the wines of Alsace is also OK in my book.

Volker Jost, Germany - Top Wines of 1998
Best red - Deutzerhof (Germ) Spätburgunder Auslese trock 1996
Best white - Dönnhoff (Germany) Oberhäuser Brücke Ries Goldkapsel 1997
Best budget red - Bouchard Aîné (France) Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Best budget white - Mathern (Ger) Niederhäuser Kertz Ries Spätlese 1997
Best sweet wine - E. Müller (Germany) Scharzhofberger Riesling TBA 1997
Best sparkling wine - Jacquesson & Fils Champagne 1996 Selection
Best fortified wine - No award
Spätburgunder is the German name for Pinot Noir. Very little quality German pinot makes it to the UK. The word "trocken" indicates a dry wine, whereas the other German wines in Volker's list have the more traditional combination of sweetness and acidity. Volker adds that his budget white cost only 10DM: around £3.50/$5.50.

Bernulf Bruckner, Austria - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Mouton-Rothschild (Pauillac) 1986
Best white wine - Pichler (Austria) Grüner Veltliner Kellerberg Smaragd 1997
Best budget red - Barone Cornacchia (Italy) Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1994
Best budget white - Erwin Retzl (Austria) Grüner Veltliner Rosengartl 1997
Best sweet wine - Alois Kracher (Austria) Trockenbeerenauslese No. 15 1995
Best sparkling wine - Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne 1990
Best fortified wine - Taylor's Vintage Port 1977
Fantastic pan-European selection from Bernulf. The '86 Mouton is another legendary wine, as is the '77 Port. Austria is another of those regions that reminds me I've still got so much to learn about wine - and Bernulf's budget white cost the equivalent of only £2/$3 in Austria!

Odd Rydland, Norway - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - E. Guigal (Rhône) Côte Rôtie La Landonne 1978
Best white wine - Domaine Ramonet (Burgundy) Montrachet 1979
Best budget red - Quinta dos Roques (Portugal) 1995
Best budget white - Dr Loosen (Germ) Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett 1995
Best sweet wine - No award
Best sparkling wine - Dom Pérignon Vintage Champagne 1985
Best fortified wine - Niepoort Vintage Port 1945
Another mouth-watering selection of mature wines from Odd. I too have been very impressed by Portugese budget reds this year.

Bill Hogg, Canada - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Gruaud-Larose (St-Julien) 1966
Best white wine - Zind-Humbrecht (Alsace) Gewürztraminer Turckheim 1994
Best budget red - A. Rodet (Burgundy) Bourgogne 1996
Best budget white - No award
Best sweet wine - Château d'Yquem 1989
Best sparkling wine - Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne NV
Best fortified wine - Smith Woodhouse LBV Traditional Port 1984
Yquem '89 was my wine of the year last year, and Veuve Clicquot is one of my favourite Champagnes, so this list will do just fine! Nice to see a basic Burgundy win best budget red: these wines can be terrific value if you can find a good one - and that's not always easy.

Manuel Camblor, Puerto Rico - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Latour (Pauillac) 1961
Best white wine - Landmark (Sonoma) Chardonnay "Overlook" 1995
Best budget red - Abadia Retuerta (Spain) Tinto "Rivola" 1996
Best budget white - Viña San Pedro (Chile) Chardonnay "35 Sur" 1997
Alternative - Hogue Cellars (Washington) Dry Johannisberg Riesling 1996
Best sweet wine - No award
Best sparkling wine - Krug Vintage Champagne 1989
Best fortified wine - Hardy's (Australia) "Whiskers Blake" Tawny Port
I don't suppose I'll ever taste the '61 Latour - one of the truly legendary clarets and consistently given 100 points by Robert Parker.
Manuel describes it as "surprisingly vigorous" so if you are sitting on a couple of cases, no hurry to drink them :-) Manuel couldn't separate his two budget white contenders, so I let him have both.

Roger Verboncoeur, USA - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château La Conseillante (Pomerol) 1989
Best white wine - E. Guigal "La Doriane" (Condrieu) 1995
Best budget red - Château Hortevie (St. Julien) 1989
Best budget white - Brocard 1er Cru Montmains (Chablis) 1996
Best sweet wine - Baumard (Loire) Quartes de Chaume 1995
Best sparkling wine - Salon Le Mesnil Champagne 1983
Budget sparkling wine - Roederer Estate NV
Best fortified wine - No award
Roger's list is beautifully chosen, though his idea of "budget" is different from mine! :-) La Conseillante is a classic Pomerol and Brocard's Chablis are always amongst my favourites too. The Condrieu (the viognier grape in the Northern Rhône) is, unusually, an oak-aged version.

David Matzdorf, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Lagrange (St-Julien) 1989
Best white wine - Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Blanco 1989
Best budget red - Palacio de la Vega (Spain) Cabernet-Tempranillo 1995
Best budget white - Houghton Western Australia Verdelho Gold Reserve 1994
Best sweet wine - Willi Opitz (Austria) Opitz One (vintage unknown)
Best fortified wine - Graham's Vintage Port 1977
David, who is half-American, added his amusing description of how the British and Americans differ on when to drink Bordeaux: the Brits like old wines where you have to "find the fruit in the undergrowth" whereas the Americans drink them so young it's like "consuming India ink"!

Dave Kay, Canada - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château La Lagune (Haut-Medoc) 1989
Best white wine - Dopff and Irion (Alsace) Gewürztraminer Les Sorcières 1994
Best budget red - Casa Lapostolle (Chile) Merlot Cuvee Alexander 1995
Best budget white - Lindemanns (Australia) Padthaway Chardonnay 1996
Best sweet wine - Inniskillen (Canada) Vidal Ice Wine 1996
Best sparkling wine - Mumm "Le Grand Cordon" 1985
Best fortified wine - Fonseca Vintage Port 1985
Yet another claret makes "best red" (10 out of 18 so far) - breeding will out I suppose. Dave's choices continue a strong showing for Alsace too. Altogether a nice world-wide selection.

Cor Balfoort, Netherlands - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Lafite-Rothschild (Pauillac) 1988
Best white wine - Lafon (Burgundy) Meursault Charmes 1992
Best budget red - Undurraga (Chile) Pinot Noir 1997
Best budget white - Pierre-Paul Zink (Alsace) Tokay Pinot Gris 1996
Best sweet wine - Deiss (Alsace) Riesling Altenberg de Bergheim SdGN 1989
Best sparkling wine - No award
Best fortified wine - Graham's Vintage Port 1963
A classic and classy selection from Cor, whose sweet wine of the year is "SdGN": short for "Sélection des Grains Nobles" signifying botrytised grapes. He said this category was the toughest to choose - since his runners up were equally impressive Rieslings from the Mosel and Alsace, I can see why!

David Bewres, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Pichon-Baron (Pauillac) 1982
Best white wine - Dopff au Moulin (Alsace) Riesling Schoenenbourg 1993
Best budget red - Copertino (Italy) Riserva 1994
Best budget white - Peter Lehmann (Australia) Barossa Semillon 1992
Best sweet wine - Château d'Yquem (Sauternes) 1980
Best sparkling wine - Taittinger Brut Reserve (non-vintage)
Best fortified wine - No award
A tremendously classy line-up from David, and the sheer excellence of both Bordeaux and Alsace seems proved by this small survey! Aged Australian Semillon is renowned, and good quality young bottles can still be had quite cheaply if you can cellar them for 5 or 6 years.

Tim Philpotts, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Chapoutier (Rhône) Côte Rôtie 1992
Best white wine - Marqués de Murrieta (Spain) Rioja Blanco 1992
Best budget red - Wolf Blass (Australia) Yellow Label Cab Sauvignon 1996
Best budget white - Mitchelton (Australia) Marsanne 1996
Best sweet wine - Château Guirard (Sauternes) 1990
Best sparkling wine - Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne (non-vintage)
Best fortified wine - Dows LBV Port 1990
I compliment Tim on a beautifully chosen, yet down to earth list. A nice catholic selection of New World and Old too.

Herbert Platzgummer, Austria - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - C. Giroud Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers 1969
Best white wine - Bründlmayer (Austria) Riesling Zöbinger Heiligenstein 1997
Best budget red - Tre Monti (Italy) Sangiovese di Romagna Riserva 1995
Best budget white - Buchegger (Austria) Grüner Veltliner Holzgasse 1997
Best sweet wine - Johann Stadlmann (Austria) Zierfandler Ausbruch 1990
Best sparkling wine - no award
Best fortified wine - no award
I wish I had more access to top Austrian wines - but sensibly they seem to keep the best for themselves! Herbert's sweet wine choice is an Ausbruch - a rich, botrytised wine falling between the Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese categories.

Michael Lyons, France - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Vieux-Château-Certan (Pomerol) 1986
Best white wine - Château de Beaucastel (Rhône) Vieilles Vignes 1989
Best budget red - Domaine du Nouveau Monde (Coteaux du Languedoc) 1995
Best budget white - André Kientzler (Alsace) Auxerrois "K" 1996
Best sweet wine - Bernhardt-Reibel (Alsace) Tokay-Pinot Gris SGN 1989
Best sparkling wine - Billecart-Salmon Non-Vintage Brut
Best fortified wine - Dr Parcé (Banyuls) Mise Tardive 1989
Michael is a Brit living in France. Fabulous mix of famous and less well known wines, some of which are difficult to find outside France. Michael jokes that living in the world's wine capital, his budget red is as close as he got to tasting a New World wine in '98.

Ivar Bjurner, Denmark - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Cheval Blanc (St-Emilion) 1949
Best white wine - Domaine Leflaive (Burgundy) Montrachet Grand Cru 1986
Best budget red - Casa Lapostolle (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon
Best budget white - Lindemans (Australia) Chardonnay
Best sweet wine - Château d'Yquem (Sauternes) 1955
Best sparkling wine - Dom Pérignon (Champagne) 1971
Best fortified wine - Madeira Verdelho
Ivar professes a love for mature wines - and from this list he certainly gets a chance to taste some very good ones! The Madeira he describes as "bottled in Copenhagen, Denmark. No vintage visible, but with the Tzars emblem on the label, and cyrillic writing". Maybe someone out there could date it from that?? A wonderful line-up, and better late than never!

Kris Sheglova, UK - Top Wines of 1998
Best red wine - Château Pichon-Lalande (Pauillac) 1929
Best white wine - ???? (Burgundy) Meursault Perrières 1984
Best budget red - Château Yon-Figeac (St-Emilion) 1994
Best budget white - No award
Best sweet wine - No award
Best sparkling wine - Pol Roger (Champagne) Non Vintage
Best fortified wine - Taylors Vintage Port 1977
Kris describes the 80 year old claret as "In its prime. A light wine because of its age, but very intense with a huge bouquet of fruit". Grand Cru St-Emilion is stretching it a bit for the "budget" category, but Kris does make the point that at £15 it represents excellent value for money. He also bemoans the fact that it's hard to find enough dinner guests who'd really appreciate it, to justify opening a bottle of Yquem. Volunteers???