And nearly half of them were not from Napa Valley.
Here are my favorite wines of the year.
If there is any thing to be learned from the list, it is that they are listed in an order which relates to how these wines surprised me and from which I had no expectation. And then BWAM!... poured from the bottle, these wines overwhelmed me for their sensuality, elegance, balance, harmony and overall achievement.
Good friends from Calistoga, Barry and Lea, brought this perfect, perfectly aged, 11-year-old Chateauneuf du Pape to our home to complement Carol’s roast chicken dinner in the spring.
It was early in the year -- only March -- and it was a crazy thing to say in print, but I eagerly identified this as a probable candidate for Wine of the Year.
And as good as all the other wines on this page were, none brought the surprise, elegance, balance, maturity and pleasure to the dining table as this wine did.
A complete, compelling beverage, filled with fruit, earth, complexity and elegance.
A truly remarkable wine. And opened exactly at its peak – not one day too young, not one day too old. The vinous definition of Perfection. 100 points.
This Bordeaux Pauillac, was served at a kick-ass dinner prepared by my sister-and brother-in-law, Shelly and Mike, in Toronto.
The wine was filled with focused raspberry and mature fruit flavors, which leapt from the glass in a way that I can't ever recall experiencing a Bordeaux wine. It was almost as if some other younger, fresher wine was in this bottle, and yet the provenance of the wine was documented and its origin secure.
There were hints of graphite, minerals and earth beneath the fresh fruit top notes; a very elegant, complex wine in near-perfect pitch and harmony. 98 points.
This was the top-scoring wine of a two-week trip through Piemonte, Italy, in November.
Produced by Matteo Ascheri under the expert winemaking care of Giuliano Bedino, this wine lifted me out of my chair and took me to a place no other Barolo did on my wine tour.
Call this “Beyond Barolo” and you will understand what this wine is about; other-worldly.
The 2006 vintage, which I tasted, is not yet released (which is why a different vintage label is shown above), and probably will only make its way to the US market by this time next year; but put this wine on your calendar for release a year from now and circle in red:
“Get this wine when upon release in the fall of 2010!”
Matteo says that the 2006 vintage for Barolo (made from the Nebbiolo grape) is the best vintage in the region in the last 20 years. It sure-as-hell shows in this wine, a near-perfect example of great fruit turned into great wine.
The wine exhibits fresh ripe fruit flavors, pronounced muscle, chewy meat, flowery scents, and rich fat, all wrapped in an elegant package, handsomely balanced. 98 points.
One of my favorite winemakers in Napa Valley, Celia Welch (formerly Masyczek), poured nine of her handcrafted wines at an Acme Fine Wines (St. Helena) event in the spring.
Pictured above are some of the vineyard owners for whom Celia makes these tremendous wines, all which were available to taste at the Acme Event:
Hollywood & Vine, Scarecrow, Lindstrom, Keever, D.R. Stephens, Husic, Cornerstone, Fleming and (Celia’s own label) Corra.
Too much fun, too many wines, every one of them in the 95-98-point range.
(I guess I was being conservative; Parker just scored the 2007 Scarecrow a perfect 100 points.)
2005 La Vallentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo