The Best of 2009

After discovering, last time, that my memory of the year's best wines didn't quite match up to how I had scored them, I cast my net a little wider, paid less attention to scores, and came up with a list of about sixty wines from nine hundred tasting notes.

It is a fairly diverse selection, weighted towards France and Australia (the Oddbins bias, I suppose). So, passing by the Domaine d'Ardhuy Clos de Langres '05 and the Hiru 3 Racimos Rioja '03, fondly smiling at the memory of the Sizeranne '99, and pausing to be amazed once again by the flavours in the Dr Bürklin-Wolf Wachenheimer Rechbächel R Riesling '90, here are my top two for 2009.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier Brut 1999. If I were a rich man I would drink champagne every day, and if I were still richer then I would drink vintage L-P. It has the intensity of flavour, the lightness of touch, the delicate rasping mousse so reminiscent of a gentle cat's tongue, and the sheer blooming deliciousness that, all taken together, discreetly scream, “Drink me. Here. Now”.

I was tipped off about my other choice, the Innocenti Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2004, by a chap who, if he were a rich man, would drink classed growth claret every day (Mouton, if I recall correctly), with occasional forays into vino like this one, for indeed it is very claret-like. It has structure without being harshly tannic; there is complexity, with layers of flavour weaving back and forth; there is a strong fresh-earth-and-mushroom aroma; but best of all, it has the delicate dark floral top note I often see in, yes indeedy, classed growth clarets. Actually no, best of all is the price - only eighteen pounds in your local Oddbins. Assuming, of course, they haven't hidden it all away for themselves...

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