For me this has been a year of Chardonnay & Champagne.
2011 What a interesting ride it has been, ups and downs, lefts and rights; all over the place with some of my best wines to date. The year began with me starting to enjoy Chardonnays, especially oaked. Up until this point I just could not stomach them for whatever the reason. [To this day I have no idea why it changed. It wasn't really a stylistic change that I was leaning to but I dont know how to put it.] But Chardonnay when it’s good its OMG good.
Champagne, well I’ve always loved champagne, but it was hard for me to find a reason to drink champagne by myself, well I mean you could but it not the same. It asks to be shared, and this year allowed me to share champagne, and with that it meant I bought more and shared more. Yes I’ve had some amazing Champagne [think there are two below] and yes I have even called champagne boring, oh the horror!
Now what makes my top 10 wines of the year? Are they the top 10 scored wines by what I entered into Cellartracker? For me no. What the wine needs is to be amazing; you need to remember it; where you were; with whom you had it with; and maybe why the reason you opened it. Maybe it was a special occasion wine, or a ‘hey lets open this wine tonight’ wine. Whatever the wine it has to be firing on all cylinders at the end of the day, they are the wines that imprint on your memory forever. Whether enjoyed by yourself, or with others.
1974 Camille Giroud Corton-Charlemagne – This wine was my number one of the year hands down. This wine imprints on your memory, this wine is so good it doesn’t matter who the company is, friend or foe. This wine overwrites that! Now I’ve had this wine twice in a year; first time it was good but died after 2hrs [started to oxidize really fast after that]. But OMG Bottle number two! Amazing; the Power; the Elegance; the Freshness the Fruit the… the… the…everything this wine wins hands down.
1994 Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas – This Cemented by love for wines with the right amount of age, I’ve had OLD Wines this year, but this is at its Peak of enjoyment, where it hits all those points and all you want to do is drink these types of wines every day. How I came across this wine was from my NYC trip dinner at Bar Boulud Michael Madrigale Sommelier recommended this wine he had just bought at auction. I big thanks to Drod for having that connection with the Sommelier, to share something from his cellar that wasn’t even on the list and for a steal of a price too [Well coming from BC, Canada everything is almost a steal of a price].
1996 Bruno Paillard Champagne Assemblage Brut – What to say about aged Champagne, amazing? Yes! It even reminded me a bit of the 74, the way the fruit was so ripe and fleshy but not over the top. I do remember this night indeed it started with this while trying out my new pasta maker, also some sablefish in a dashi broth. The wine was so good that dinner really didn’t get started to later because we just sat back and enjoyed this, all I know is at the end it was all of a sudden 2am on a work night ut oh! But could wine can make time just fly by, it can transport you.
2004 Domaine Amiot Guy et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru La Maltroie – This wine is interesting, this was near the beginning of the year. I was starting to like Chardonnay, had a friend over for dinner who I knew loved Chardonnay. I wanted to impress them so a chardonnay would do! I wanted something that I would enjoy; I knew to stay away from new world chards for the time being as I knew it might be a 50/50 gamble with me. This wine is what made me truly appreciate/understand how good a chardonnay could be. It was that Ah Ha! Moment. Coming from the much underrated 2004 vintages for whites which gets over shadowed by the much lauded 2005 vintage. What amazing wines we can find in the ‘lesser’ vintages.
1993 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon – Lets see
- BYOB in New York City [check].
- A bunch of wine lovers at Tribeca Grill [check]
- 498 wines glasses used[Check].
That equals one pretty awesome night, so many amazing wines, a Kistler Chardonnay thrown in there. IF I remember correctly near the end of the meal I went and searched out that bottle and declared the last 1/3 for me and the people beside me.
1983 Pio Cesare Dolcetto d’Alba – 83 DOLCETTO! Seriously and it was amazing. Enough Said really, well that and Pio Cesare.
2005 La Pèira Vin de Pays de l’Hérault Deusyls – I had just read Justgrapeswine review on this and knew it would be right up my alley. Fat, Rich and Delicious. This was even on my 2011 wine resolution [to drink more white Rhone's/South of France], this being in that style. Utterly Delicious I went back and bought another bottle from Marquis Wine Cellar.
2008 Peter Michael Chardonnay Belle Côte – I must thank Steve for sharing this wine from his cellar, an amazing wine had in Eugene, Oregon. A Special day indeed.
NV/2005 Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Terre de Vertus 1er Cru Brut Nature – Someone I know called this wine ‘Lemon Pie in a Glass’. Whay do you say after that? And to think only bought this because It was sent back from a restaurant that was closing, and the label looked different; I said why not. Opened the one bottle to share, so good went back and bought the last remaining two. I am glad I have one more bottle left of this, and I know who to share it with too. [Disgorged 03/08 [march 2008]]
2000 Langmeil Shiraz The Freedom – This wine opened my eyes to Australia, this was the AH HA! Moment. The younger vintages were just youthful, big and oaky, but as they shed their outer skin something beautiful was inside, and oh was it beautiful! And to think I would of never known unless I went to a vertical tasting of these wines. What I learned drinking them young does not do them justice at all. It is a disservice!
N.V. Pierre Paillard Champagne Brut Rosé – My Official House Rose Bubbles split a case with wine friends, discovered this year, just like the Larmandier saw it on the shelf looked interesting [was another restaurant send back]
2007 Larkmead Vineyards Firebelle – An Amazing Napa wine, so good, all their wines are actually really good. Big thanks to Paul for sharing this from his cellar with us.
**N.V. Hijos de Rainera Perez Marin Jerez-Xérès-Sherry La Guita Manzanilla – Ahhh a NV Sherry, I wanted to put this in my top 10, but I just couldn’t justify it due to the fact it’s a NV. [It should technically be the same year after year if fresh]. So Delicious! Maybe it was the anchovies that made it that much better? To think it was bought at a random wine store in NYC near 94th street? couple blocks east of 5th avenue. Talked to the employee in the store about wine, hockey the Philadelphia Flyers & Vancouver Canucks. He was rooting for them during the playoff as by then it was the conference finals