Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Year of Wine, 2009


This year's been an interesting one, vinously. I got a chance to taste and gain a certain level of understanding for several new wine regions, in particular the rieslings of the Mosel and Rheingau, and white Burgundy. It was also a year where I had the absolute privilege of meeting a lot of people in Niagara, and tasting their wines. Above all, it was a year of great dinners with friends, where we all had a chance to share some great food and wine.

Click on the red links to read the original posts. DF presents, in chronological order, a year in wine...

2005 Domaine Jean-Claude Bessin Montmains, AC Chablis Premier Cru - The wine that proved the beauty of white Burgundy. Tense, mineral, but with a density from the vintage that left me speechless and awestruck.

2005 Couly-Dutheil La Baronnie Madeleine, AC Chinon - A concentrated, powerful wine, with a long life ahead, yet that still contains all the complexities of fine cabernet franc.

2002 R. Lopez de Heredia Vîna Cubillo Crianza, DOC Rioja Alta - How rare is it to find a wine that stays true to both place and time? All the fine complexities of Rioja, but with the lean, tart edge of 2002.

2006 Domaine Fallenc Sainte Marie, AC Corbieres - I hate talking about wine prices here, but this wine far exceeded in expectation, relative to what I paid for it. Rustic and rich, getting better and better with time.

2007 Cusumano Insolia, IGT Sicilia - My first white wine from Sicilia. Rich, round, but with a balance and bitterness that made it perfect for seafood.

2003 Geltz-Zilliken Riesling Kabinett Saarburgur Rausch, QmP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer - Ahh, Zilliken. The source of some of the purest, most ethereal expressions of riesling you'll ever find.

2005 Château La Fleur Jonquet, AC Graves - Again, my first white Bordeaux. A blast of green, but with a concentration of the vintage. Definitely caught my attention. A wine that needs some age.

1986 Balthasar Ress Riesling Spätlese Hochheimer Mirchenstück, Rheingau - Wine of your birth year is always special. Even more so when this is showing perfect maturity, with all the petrol fumes of great Rheingau.

1986 Dow's Colheita Port, Oporto - I fell in love with Colheita Port, hard and fast. Dense, round, and lasts forever.

1994 Schloss Schönborn Riesling, QbA Rheingau - This was a great tasting of two old rieslings from the same estate. Lots of vibrancy, with sharp acidity.

1982 Schloss Schönborn Riesling Spätlese, QmP Rheingau - Mature, honeyed, rich. Who says riesling doesn't age?

2008 Flat Rock Cellars Pinot Noir, VQA Twenty Mile Bench - The wine that reaffirmed why I fell in love with this producer in the first place. The greatest success for them yet - floral, intense, and just incredible.

2004 Perrin & Fils Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien, AC Côtes du Rhone Villages - I overpaid, but damn, this is delicious. Velvet and silk, all around.

2004 Nevis Bluff Pinot Noir, Central Otago - I was beginning to lose faith in New Zealand, when I came across this. Certainly not inexpensive, but balanced and finally, a wine that shows off what Central Otago can achieve in the right hands.

1995 P.S. Bäumler Becker-Erben Riesling Auslese, QmP Wehlener Sonnenuhr - Oh Mosel, how I love thee. Old, approaching maturity, but showing so much freshness and personality. Transparent minerality, all slate and wet rocks. Delicious, and clearly, in the top three best wines I've ever tasted.

2005 Königschaffhausen Steingrüble Pinot Noir Trocken, QbA Baden - German pinot noir can be tricky, but this was smashing. Warm, but showing great varietal character. Balanced, high-tinged acidity. All love, drunk twice.

2007 Francis Blanchet Cuvée Calcite, AC Pouilly-Fumé - The third wine of our great Oyster dinner, hosted by ROKChoi. Just stunning in the harmony it achieved with our Kumamoto oysters. Rich and creamy, matching the oysters perfectly.

2006 Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir, VQA Twenty Mile Bench - Drunk with a friend, which always makes wine better. Floral, bright fruit, showing beautifully now, but can age for a bit more.

2001 Lailey Vineyard Chardonnay, VQA Niagara Peninsula - I love this wine. A surprise find for the winemaker as well. Ripe fruit, fine texture - still young. Surprised?

1982 Balthasar Ress Riesling Kabinett Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg, Rheingau - The second wine of Dinner of the Harvest. Full maturity, with a rusticity and grip that was spine-tingling.

1983 Balthasar Ress Riesling Kabinett Winkler Jesuitgarten, Rheingau - The third wine of Dinner of the Harvest. Less rich, but doesn't lack any of the character of old rieslings. Subtle, but with intensity.

1995 Balthasar Ress Riesling Kabinett Hallgartener Jungfer, Rheingau - Delicious. That's all you need to know.

NV J. Lassalle Brut Premier Cru Chigny-Les-Roses, AC Champagne - Aged 18 months, this shows so fresh, with lively ripe fruit. Good length, texture - confirmed the merits of aging Champagne, even nonvintage.

2000 Ferreira Late Bottled Vintage Porto, DOC Douro - Young LBV is just all love. Rich, concentrated, but with impeccable balance. Tannins coat the palate just perfectly. Can I say arousingly good?

2004 Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula - This vineyard always shows well. Browning a bit, but still showing lively pinot noir character. This is the model for what the Niagara Peninsula can achieve.

2006 Remoissenet Père & Fils Chambolle-Musigny, AC Chambolle-Musigny - A Burgundy to compare alongside the aforementioned Inniskillin, for our Dinner in the Winter. Gamey, subtle, structured - all the hallmarks of a good, young red Burgundy.

2007 Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula - Jammy a bit, but certainly shows the balance that this producer can achieve, even in this kind of vintage. Lots of potential for aging.

2005 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny, AC Chambolle-Musigny - Game, smoke, fresh red fruits. Great wine. Opened 15 years too young, but already it shows why you have to pay for Burgundy.


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