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Top Twelve of 2014

December 31, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
1966 Louis M. Martini Pinot Noir

1966 Louis M. Martini Pinot Noir

And here we are – Talk-a-Vino Top Dozen of [most memorable] wines from 2014. I already presented to you the second half of the top list (here is the link), together with all the explanations regarding rationale and all the dos and don’ts, so instead of repeating myself, let me jump directly to the wines. If you still need explanations, use the link above.

12. 2005 Domaine Philippe Bornard Arbois Pupillin La Chamade Ploussard, Jura, France ($50) – To a degree, this wine was representative of a great Jura tasting I attended. As most of Jura reds, it had an impression of lightness masking a great level of complexity – fruit, herbs, minerality, sapidity – a very impressive package. It is not easy to find, but worth looking for.

11. NV Ayala Champagne Brut Majeur ($32) – one of my very favorite Champagnes. It has everything I want in the Champagne – yeastiness, toasted bread, apples, clean and vibrant acidity – with all the elements coming in the “just enough” amount. A perfect Champagne sip every time – try it for yourself.

10. 2012 Centanni Rosso Di Forca Rosso Piceno DOP, Italy ($19) – I was familiar with the wines of Marche region in Italy for a while – but my preference was always with the Marche whites – until I tasted this wine. Luscious, layered, with impeccable aromatics and complexity – delizioso!

9. 2010 Marco Sambin Marcus Veneto IGT ($NA) – A soulful wine – is that a good enough description?

8. 2010 Vineyard 511 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain ($125) – Stunning California Cabernet Sauvignon – restrained and tightly weaved, as you would expect from the mountain – side fruit, and then balance, balance, balance.

7. NV Foggy Ridge Serious Cider, Virginia ($16) – discoveries, discoveries, discoveries – 2014 was anything but short on those. Who knew that cider (just think about the word – somehow, the mental picture doesn’t equate to “greatness”) can be so amazing? Phenomenal acidity, coupled with such a firm structure and effervescent lightness that you say “wow” and pour yourself another glass. Seek hard cider, people, as it has greatness!

6. 2012 Mark Ryan The Dissident Columbia Valley ($34) – yet another wine chosen to represent a great discovery of 2014 – wines of Washington state. This wine was a quintessential representation of Cabernet Sauvignon blends I tasted during the visit, with a pure cassis expression and impeccable balance. Yes, I’m abusing the “balance” descriptor, nevertheless – a beautiful wine.

5. 2011 Fekete Béla Olaszrizling, Somló, Hungary ($25) – yet another discovery: there is lots more to the Hungarian wines than Tokaji and Egri Bikavér (red wine also called Bull’s Blood). It appears that Hungary has lots of volcanic soils, and the winemakers there can bring it on (yep, the famed “terroir”) to the forefront of your glass. This wine was complex, mineral driven with the pure gunflint notes, and simply delicious.

4. 2011 Michel Chapoutier Tournon Mathilda Shiraz Victoria, Australia ($14.99) – you could see my raving mentions of this wine in a many posts throughout the year. Sorry, but I can’t help it – this wine is so unique and different, with such a purity of the peppery expression of Syrah – you can’t help it but to say “wow” with every sip.

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3. 2012 Willis Hall Viognier Columbia Valley ($22.99) – may be the best Viognier I ever had. If not The Best (this is a very hard nomenclature when it comes to wines), but definitely one of the very best. Perfumy nose and elegant, silky smooth body. Simply delicious.

2. 2007 Pago Marqués de Griñon Emeritus, DO Dominio de Valdepusa ($75) – until I tasted this wine, yes, I knew that Spain produces good wines from the international grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon. But at such level? This wine was a true revelation – classic Cabernet Sauvignon with cassis, mint, eucalyptus and finesse.

1. 1966 Louis M. Martini California Mountain Pinot Noir ($NA) – I had no expectations when I opened the bottle of the 48 (!) years old wine. To be more precise, I was not expecting anything good. What I found in my glass was simply mind blowing – still fresh, still elegant, perfectly recognizable as Pinot Noir and delicious! This was the first wine ever to receive a 10 rating from me – I hope it tells you something.

And we are done here, my friends – the last post of 2014! I wish you happy, healthy, joyous and peaceful 2015, full of amazing discoveries!

Happy New Year 2015!

  1. December 31, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I’m happy to see the 511 made your list. If I were organized enough to do a list, that would be on it. Thanks for sharing and happy new year! Don’t forget to share your bubbles tonight!

    • talkavino
      December 31, 2014 at 11:13 am

      Happy New Year Alissa, to you and the family! To be entirely honest, I don’t really keep the list.This is not for nothing that I keep repeating “most memorable wines” – I sit down and try to recall what was good – and this is how the list is born 🙂
      The bubbles tonight will not anything super exciting or even known – it will be a Russian sparkler (Krymskoe), as we celebrate in a big group. More interesting sparklers will take place on the January 3rd, when we will celebrate in a small group 🙂

      • December 31, 2014 at 11:30 am

        Got it. Well enjoy your obscure bubbles! Salut!

  2. December 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    “Soulful wine” is definitely a good enough description!

  3. April 29, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Wonderful post and I was fascinated by a few of the picks with very reasonable prices! I’m going to have to check around for them!

    • talkavino
      April 30, 2015 at 5:01 am

      Thank you! Price of the wine is an enigma. Some wines are actually cost high to produce, majority are not. But for us, for people who buy wine to drink, we can never go by the price alone – I had wonderful wines at $3, and I had dreadful wines at $200. My “top” lists are constructed solely by the taste, and I provide price as a reference for the readers. If you will taste any of these wines, let me know how you will like them.

      • April 30, 2015 at 4:42 pm

        I have seen a few on your blog I’d like to explore and we have a great shop here in Mpls…I’ve always thought wines were a bit like people. You never know what they’re like until you crack them open and it doesn’t matter if they’ve got a great “pedigree” and designer clothes or are wearing a pair of shabby jeans. Plus, don’t we all have friends that we hang with for different purposes?

  1. January 2, 2015 at 6:56 pm
  2. December 27, 2015 at 1:22 pm
  3. December 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm
  4. December 31, 2017 at 9:25 am

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