Posts Tagged ‘top 10’

Top Wines of 2017

January 5, 2018 1 comment

And here are my top most memorable wines of 2017. A few days ago, I published the first part of the top wines list, and now the time has come to look at the most memorable wins of 2017. The logic behind the list is explained in the post about the second dozen of the top wines of 2017, so let’s just proceed.

12. 2016 Salabka LA COQUINE Chardonnay Praha Czech Republic (€25) – we finished the second dozen list with Chardonnay, and we are starting this one with  Chardonnay, however, of a very different character. This was yet another surprise during Salabka winery visit in Prague – bright and upbeat, excellent core of acidity surrounded by tropical fruit and apples with a tiny touch of vanilla – a pure delight in a glass.

11. 2010 La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva ($16) – I have an unquestionable love to La Rioja Alta wines – didn’t find yet the one I didn’t like. This 2010 Viña Alberdi is a classic, generous Rioja – red and black berries, cedar box, mint, sweet oak, rounded by clean acidity and delicious finish. It was literally my “go to” wine this – I took a number of bottles with me in my travels and the reaction everywhere was the same – “wow, this is a good wine!” – including the dinner at the wine bloggers conference this year.

10. 2011 Fiction Red Wine Paso Robles by Field Recordings ($20) – Field Recordings is one of my most favorite producers. Fiction red was also one of my “convert” or maybe rather a “discovery” wines – tasting the 2010 Fiction made me fall in love with Field Recordings wines. The 2010 Fiction was my Top Wine in 2011.  This 2011 Fiction was almost a revelation this year – I didn’t expect much from the 6 years old screwtop wine, meanwhile – it evolved dramatically, showing delicious berry medley elevated with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a slimmer of sage on top. A wow wine.

9. 2007 Marchese Antinori Tenuta Montenisa Contessa Maggi Riserva Franciacorta ($50+) – drinking this wine at the old and authentic Montenisa Estate definitely had some effect – regardless, the wine was outstanding, boasting vintage sparkling wine qualities, freshly toasted, yeasty bread, plenty of fruit and beautiful acidity. A treat.

8. 1967 Fratelli Giacosa Barolo DOCG ($65 at Benchmark Wine) – 50 years old wine deserves respect, isn’t it? Still was drinkable with characteristic Barolo plums and lavender. It was showing a bit of an age, but still was going strong. Great example of excellent winemaking and a testament to Barolo’s longevity.

7.  NV Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage Champagne ($50) – Sauvage means “wild” in French, and this is a perfect name for this champagne. Exuberant, in-your-face, fully loaded with fresh succulent strawberries – there is nothing subtle about this wine, it is very present in every sip you take – but it is unmistakably Champagne, delivering lots of pleasure. Will be definitely looking for this wine again – it will brighten up any occasion.

6. 2012 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Brunello di Montalcino DOCG ($75) – if I will say that this was Gaja Brunello – would that be enough of the description for you? Supremely delicious from the get-go, Brunello from one of the best producers in Italy, from one of the best vintages for Brunello. The wine was beautifully showing, fully extracted and powerful, but nevertheless perfectly balanced. Outstanding.

5. 2013 Sandhi Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills ($35) – Sandhi Chardonnay was mentioned in the second dozen of top wines for 2017, but it was this Pinot Noir which made me say “wow” while discovering Sandhi wines. Unmistakably California Pinot Noir with gentle red fruit in the leading role and violets and sage supporting the bouquet. Luscious, silky smooth, perfectly dense and balanced – the wine which needs to be experienced.

4. 2014 Unionville Vineyards Amwell Ridge Cabernet Franc New Jersey ($28?) – It is interesting how many wines on this top list represent “surprises” ( but then, of course, the surprise factor is what makes the wine memorable, right?). This wine tremendously exceeded my expectations and showed a classic, perfectly balanced, new world Cabernet Franc – blackcurrant, a touch of mint, medium body, perfectly balanced with clean acidity. An excellent wine worth seeking.

3. 2011/2012 La Valle Brut Rosé Franciacorta DOCG ($45) – visiting La Valle winery in Franciacorta and meeting charismatic Stefano Camilucci was definitely one of the main highlights of our trip to Franciacorta. On top of that, this Rosé sparkling wine was yet another highlight – from beautiful presentation of the bottle to the delicious, perfectly clean and balanced, playfully effervescent liquid inside. 2011/2012 is not a mistake – most of the Franciacorta wines are vintage wines; I had both vintages, and they are both excellent. Yet another wine I recommend most highly.

2. 2015 Nevada Sunset Winery Syrah El Dorado County ($20) – I love surprises, and this was a big one! Tiny city winery, officially opened only two months prior to my visit, and then the wine which can be a crown jewel for any winery’s portfolio. Definitely a new world Syrah, but impeccably balanced. Intense dark fruit with chocolate and espresso on the nose, and the same matching profile on the palate with the addition of a touch of pepper – silky smooth, full-bodied, and – did I say it already – impeccably balanced. Wow.

1. 1982 Olga Raffault “Les Picasses” Chinon, Loire ($85?) – for any Cabernet Franc aficionado, Olga Raffault is “the name”, Chinon is “the place”, and 1982 was really a legendary vintage in France (for sure in Bordeaux, don’t know if this can be reciprocated to the Loire, but still). Tasting this 35 years old wine was a pure delight – no sign of age, cassis all the way, complex bouquet, great balance – what else can you wish for in wine?

Here we are, the Top wines of 2017. I could easily double the number of wines here, as lots and lots of well worthy wines were not included – ah, well… Let’s look at the “diversity” as we did for the second dozen. Out of 12 wines, 5 countries, 11 different regions, some of them I bet you never had the wines from such as Nevada and New Jersey – I believe it is an interesting mix and well on par with diversity in the wine world today.

As everything works in life, one list is finished, and the new one is starting right after. Happy wine year 2018! Cheers!


Counting Up and Counting Down

November 16, 2011 Leave a comment

It is that time of year again – all you hear from all the sides is counting up and down. Top 10s, Top 100s, 10 best of this and 5 best of that, umpteen days until Christmas and only so many days before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So, let’s join in and do some counting here as well.

Starting with the closest one, tomorrow (or today, depending on when you will read this post)  Wine Spectator will announce its number one wine of the year. Every year Wine Spectator publishes a list of top 100 wines of the year (paid subscribers can access those lists going all the way back to 1988). For now, top 9 wines of 2011 out of the 10 are already announced, and you can find that list on the Wine Spectator web site (the list is open to public until November 27th). Looking at the list, you can find there wines from California, Italy, France, Washington and Portugal, with ratings from 94 to 96 points and prices ranging from $35 to $90. We only have to wait until tomorrow to find out what the Wine Spectator Wine Of the Year 2011will be.

Moving on to the next countdown, there are only 2 days left until the release of Beaujolais Noveau – first wine of 2011 vintage officially released in France in Beaujolais region . Yes, this holiday didn’t exist until 1985, and you can call it just a marketing ploy – nevertheless, it became a modern tradition which is celebrated with midnight releases, parties, food, wine and all appropriate extravaganza. If we look at the trend of last 3-4 years, we actually have something to look forward to – the quality of the Beaujolais Noveau had being steadily increasing, with 2009 being really good, and last year’s, 2010 being even better than the one before. Stop by your neighborhood wine shop, talk to your friends, check your social media outlets – you will definitely find a place to celebrate wine’s new beginnings in style. If you live close to Stamford, CT, I can recommend the place already – stop by Cost Less Wines on Thursday for the taste of Beaujolais Noveau 2011.

Talking about events, here is last, but definitely not least – there are only 3 days left until PJ Wine Grand Tasting. This coming Friday, November 18th at Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City you will have an opportunity (it might be once in a life time opportunity) to try Dom Perignon, Cristal, Krug, 2006 Cheval Blanc, 2000 Chateau d’Yquem, 1990 Mouton-Rothschild, 1985 Chateau Haut-Brion, 1952 CVNE Vina Real Gran Reserva and many other incredible wines, all in one evening. It is still not too late to get your tickets, and you can use discount code Talk-a-Vino to get $10 off your ticket price (here is the link for you to click).

Lastly, I want to report some counting up – I added three more new grapes, thanks to the 2008 Monasterio de Corias Ocho Meses Tinto wine from Spain. The new grapes are Albarin Negro, Carrasquin and Verdejo Negro. The wine was very interesting, with pronounced acidity, limited fruit expression, good minerality and roasted tomatoes on the nose, very food friendly (Drinkability: 7+).

To conclude, I’m curios where you think the Wine Spectator Top Wine of the Year will be from. I’m torn between Oregon and Spain. Oregon is simply because I believe Oregon makes great wines and should be represented in the top 10. At the same time, Spanish wines are getting rapidly growing acceptance, and they are also great in my opinion, so it will be only fair if top wine of the year will be from Spain. Well, we are not going to wait for a long time. If you have any predictions, please share them here. Cheers!

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