Thursday, 31 January 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XIII

When I started this project I summarized my earlier Brunello experience in Chapter I - a total of 31 different bottles of Brunello tasted during 20 years...
From october 2012 up to now I have tasted exactly the same amount - 31 different bottles of Brunello, a different kind of pace to say the least!

It has been a very positive journey so far. There have more positive experiences than the opposite, but then I have focused on well known and serious producers from good to great vintages.

I said in that first post that I didn´t "get" Brunello. Do I now? Hopefully a bit better, although this journey isn´t over yet!
What have I "got" so far then?
* In comparison to the Sangiovese wines I have been used to taste, the Chianti´s and the Super Tuscans, the Brunellos have, in general, more power, more warmth and a more robust structure.
* Vintage wise, although to few tasted to make a certain statement, I think that the Consoorzio´s Vintage quality evaluation have been fairly correct.
* A few, very few, have had a problem with the warmth, making them appear heavy and clumpsy.
* But when Brunello combines that power with stunning fruit and a firm backbone, they are indeed world class wines.
* The best experiences have been the wines from Salvione (one more tasted but I haven´t got around to post that yet), the vintage 1995 which have been perfect maturity wise, and altoghether so many wines from so many producers that I have never encountered before!

The journey continues! Next up - three bottles from 1990...

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Tasting Wines From Fox Creek - Part II

In Part I, I ranted over the issue of tasting glass. This is the rest of the wines tasted. Just notes this time...
We got the opportunity to taste 6 vintages of the Red Baron Shiraz and 5 vintages of the Short Row Shiraz - the 2011 Red Baron and the 2010 Short Row is posted in Part I.

NV Vixen, Fox Creek
On arrival we were greated with a glass of this light red, fizzy wine that smells like lingonberry juice and with some notes of cranberries, spices and a touch of stables. Easy and uncomplicated.
The taste is easygoing, fresh and light with notes of lingonberries, cranberries and a whiff of chocolate. The acidity is a bit rugged. Not really my cup of tea.
76p   (tasted 2013/01)

2006 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
A mature, light nose with notes of not really ripe blackberries, blueberries, machine oil and some dark forest aromas. The sweetness is fine but there is not much depth.
The taste is mature, a bit foursquare but with a descent warmth to the fruit, which has begin to fade. This should have been drunk five years ago.
75p   (tasted 2013/01)

2007 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
A cool, nice, easygoing nose with notes of lingonberries, rasberries, christmas spices and some dark chocolate. Mature but not overly so.
The taste is cool, peppery and a bit lean with notes of blueberries, black cherries, meat stock and cocoa. A medium long, dry finish. One should not keep this any longer.
81p   (tasted 2013/01)

2008 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
A nice, warm, mature nose with notes of rasberries, licorice, some blackberries and a dollop of eucalyptus. A little thin in the middle but this is nice.
The taste is good, seedy and warm with notes of blueberry pie, peppered meat, licorice and balsa wood. A fine maturity. The finish is on the short side, but this is good.
84p   (tasted 2013/01)

2009 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
A cool, seedy, compressed nose with somewhat anonymous scents of blueberries, lingonberries and earth. Where is the Aussie fruit?
The taste is tight, liniar and just ok, with notes of lingonberries, blueberries, a bit of chocolate and some peppery notes. The acidity is high and seems to be on the side. It seems that they wanted to do a Aussie version of a Languedoc or something. But I like the big Aussie fruit!
72p   (tasted 2013/01)

2010 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
Almost identical to the 09, except for some herbs aromas on the nose.
The taste is the same, where is the warmth, the big mouthful of sweet Aussie fruit? If I had got this blind I wouldn´t be able to place it in Australian, or anywhere else for that matter. There is nothing technical wrong with it, but the character seems to have gone here...
73p   (tasted 2013/01)

During the tasting we were served some delicious food from Adam Dahlberg & Albin Wessman, the former Swedens representative in Bocuse d´Or 2012-2013.

The line up of Short Row was a big step up in fruit, character and power, and given the relatively small difference in price, this is the bottles to go for.

2006 Short Row Shiraz, Fox Creek
A deep, peppery, somewhat mature nose with notes of blackberries, rasberries, roasted meat and some bonfire aromas. A fine maturity. Deep. A touch of vanilla. This is good.
The taste is tight, warm and peppery with notes of blackberries, blueberries, eucalyptus and chocolate mousse. A medium long, warm finish that ends dry. A good structure. This is almost fully mature and I doubt it will get any better. Really nice.
89p   (tasted 2013/01)

2007 Short Row Shiraz, Fox Creek
A deep, tight, warm nose with notes of vanilla spiced blueberries, rasberry truffles, veal meat and crushed black peppars. A nice depth. Very easy to like on the nose.
The taste is deep, warm and powerful with notes of alcohol infused blackberries, vanilla pods, chocolate mousse and smoke. A tad too warm. A long, hot finish. Good, but the nose and taste are not really harmonious.
85p   (tasted 2013/01)

2008 Short Row Shiraz, Fox Creek
A deep, still young, upfront nose with lovely notes of blackberries, crushed white peppars, meat stock, raw rubber and licorice. Deep and fine. A gorgeous sweetness to the fruit.
The taste is big, steady and full of sweet black fruit with notes of licorice, vanilla pods, eaucalyptus and grilled meat. A long, warm, impressive finish. A lot of oomph in this one - I like!
91p   (tasted 2013/01)

2009 Short Row Shiraz, Fox Creek
This to! Compare the note of the 09 Red Baron above. A more liniar, tight nose with notes of sweet blueberries, licorice, earth and a touch of eacalyptus. Better than the Red Baron but not in the league of the others Short Row´s.
The taste is big, tight and medium long with notes of blueberry pie, lingonberries, licorice and some meaty notes. I miss the oomph from the 08... But luckily it was back in the 2010!
84p   (tasted 2013/01)

And there will be a Part III - I found a 96 Cabernet Reserve and a 98 Shiraz Reserve in the cellar - coming up soon!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Just Bought


I am planning an all Sauternes dinner for later this year or maybe next year, something like this one. This bottle will be a nice addition to the line up. What to pair it with...?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Tasting Wines from Fox Creek - Part I

I was invited by Swedish importer Stellan Kramer to a vertical tasting of Red Baron Shiraz and Short Row Shiraz from Fox Creek a few days ago.
Paul Rogers, the CEO and son in law of the owners Jim and Helen Watts, was in Stockholm and presented the wines alongside some nice information about the history, the present and the future of the estate.

But before I immerse myself into all of the tasting notes - some words about glasses - again. The tasting were conducted with the ISO glass:

In a post from february 2012 I tasted a young Barolo from different glasses and the ISO glass didn´t fair well. And almost never do, except with fortfied wines.
Is there then a difference in the perception of a wine from different kind of glasses?
Yes, yes, yes and yes!

Case in point - we were generously provided with a bottle of the 2011 Red Baron Shiraz and the 2010 Short Row Shiraz when we left the tasting. Below follow the tasting notes from the vertical tasting.

2011 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
A young, warm, seedy nose with notes of not really ripe blueberries, rubber, plums and balsa wood, Somewhat anonymous. Not to warm, that is a good thing though. Ok.
The taste is young and fresh with notes of red cherries, blueberries and a touch of peppered meat. The acidity is foursquare and not really integrated. A relative nice warmth.
80p   (tasted 2013/01)

2010 Short Row Shiraz, Fox Creek
A deep, warm, fine nose with notes of blackberries, blueberries, chocolate covered rasberries, seared meat and a finely tuned peppery note. This has depth. Really good.
The taste is big, warm and juicy with lovely notes of sweet blueberry fruit and additional notes of balsa wood, rubber and strawberries in balsamic vinegar. Good structure, length and power. Still young, this could evolve into something really nice.
For 154 SEK/18 Euro, which is will cost from the 1th of april on the state monopoly, this is a bargain.
90p   (tasted 2013/01)

Two days later I opened both bottles at home and poured them into Riedel Vinum Bordeaux glasses (should have had the Syrah glasses but, alas, the were broken in the dishes...).
Here are the tasting notes from that occasion. I also poured the wines in the ISO glass just for comparison and those notes were identical as those from two days ago.

2011 Red Baron Shiraz, Fox Creek
A deeper, sweeter nose with more warmth and character. The bluberries are more ripe, there are notes of sweet lingonberries, christmas spices and leathery scents that were missing in the ISO glass.
The taste is more like the one from the ISO glass but there is a added warmth and a tad more stuffing. Definitely better in this glass.
85p   (tasted 2013/01)

2010 Short Row Shiraz, Fox Creek
The same effect here as the wine before - more warmth, stuffing and character but to a lessed degree than the Red Baron. An added nice bonfire nose. Very deep and fine.
The taste is almost the same as from the ISO glass but there is some extra warmth and the length seems a tad prolonged. Very, very good and a even greater bargain in this glass.
91p   (tasted 2013/01)

The tasting notes of the rest of the bottles - 2006 - 2010 - will be posted in a couple of days.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Mini Vertical of Graham´s Vintage Port - 1970, 1977, 1980 and 1991

In our monthly tasting group the turned had come to Göran, who presented us with a very interesting line up.

First up was a yellow coloured wine that stood out next to the others.
2003 Moscatel de Setubal Domingos Soares Franco, Jose Marie da Fonseca
This had a yummy, upfront nose with notes of candied lemons, ointment, acetone, lemon fudge and a touch of cinnamon. Not that deep and complex but oh so delightful.
The taste is big, sweet and gulpable with lovely note of sweet lemons, apricot marmelade, lavender honey and some saffron notes. Medium long, sweet finish. Again, not heaps of complexity but lip smacking good.
I actually got Setubal right but I was some decades from the correct age...
87p   (tasted 2013/01)

And then we were faced with four glasses of what seemed to be some kind of port wine (all tasted double blind). We all gravitated towards vintage port, single quintas, LBV, but didn´t get that is was the same producer, and the age guesses we should discuss no further...
All were decanted three hours before we tasted them.

1991 Graham´s Vintage Port
A dark, restrained, powerful nose with notes of dark chocolate, toasted almonds, bee wax, some rubbery notes and nutmeg. Very interesting and still very young. Very deep.
The taste is big, intense and tight with lots of raisiny sweetness and notes of dark chocolate, nougat and nuts en masse. A long, broad, good finish with a fine structure. Very, very good. This needs time, I would say 10+ years, even 20.
91p   (tasted 2013/01)

1980 Graham´s Vintage Port
A deep, satisfying, sweet and elegant nose with notes of dades, green raisins, orange chocolate, dark chocolate and dried summer flowers. Really fine. It has depth, power and grace. And on its way to maturity.
The taste is tighter than the nose leads on, with intense notes of toasted almonds, dark chocolate, figs and some blackberry notes. A lot of backbone still. This is more mature than the 91 but could still use 10 years in the cellar.
93p   (tasted 2013/01)

1970 Graham´s Vintage Port
The first sniff felt fine but there was a tiny wiff of moist cardboard boxes alongside the sweet fruit. And sorry to say, that kept evolving all evening. Corked - too bad, it felt like there was a really fine wine here.
No rating   (tasted 2013/01)

1977 Grahams´s Vintage Port
A sweet, intense, deep nose with lovely notes of blackberries, raisins, toasted almonds, chocolate covered nuts, wet earth and balsa wood. Very, very good. But this feels younger than the 80 and almost as young as the 91. When will this be mature?
And the taste feels even younger with loads of stunningly sweet, intense, broad black fruit together with notes of orange peel, sweet licorice, figs and dark chocolate. A very, very long, fresh finish. My last words in the tasting note (before I knew what it was) was "has potential"...
Give this baby 10+ years more years.
92p   (tasted 2013/01)

A great line up and really interesting to taste. And to answer Niklas question - no, you shouldn´t, not if you like mature port anyway and are older than 20...

Monday, 21 January 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XII

In Chapter II I tasted the 1998 Brunello from Tenuta Caparzo and liked it very much. It was then with great expectations that I opened these two bottles. But sorry to say, I was a bit let down. Both were good bottles of wine, but neither could live up to the 98 Brunello.

1990 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Tenuta Caparzo
The Riserva spends three years on french barriques and bigger casks of 30 hl. According to their website the Riserva is destined to "un pubblico di appassionati particolarmente preparati ed attenti". I don´t know if I fit that description, because I find I good wine in this bottle but not exceptional.
The nose is deep, mature and round with notes of dried cherries, burning autumn leaves, warm earth, cold coffee and some meaty notes. A touch foursquare. But deep.
The taste is tight, big and seedy with notes of cooked cherries with a hint vanilla, violets, gravel and autumn leaves. The tannins are big and brawny. The finish is long, warm and ends dry. With food its fine but on its own the wood tannins are to noticable. And it will only become more dry so drink it if you have any.
85p   (tasted 2013/01)

2000 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa, Tenuta Caparzo
The La Casa plot is situated on the hill of Montosoli. It gets 12 months on new french barriques and then 18-24 months on french 30 hl barrels.
The nose is warm, fine and deep with notes of maraschino cherries, dark chocolate, warm thyme, tobacco and meat stock. There is a noticable warmth in the wine, but it keeps it on the right side of things.
The taste is big, tight and mouthfilling with notes of chocolate covered cherries, meat stock, warm herbs, tobacco and some raisins. A long, warm finish. This is better than the 90, it has more stuffing and I would bet that it could evolve into something even nicer in 3-5 years time.
88p   (tasted 2013/01)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Some Beautiful Labels

Last label post was all about Bordeaux. This time I have walked down memory lane with some beautiful labels from Barolo. I can almost taste some of those wines when I drool over the labels...

Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday Dinner Barolo - 1997 Vigna Enrico VI, Cordero di Montezemolo

On returning home this evening I immediately pulled the cork. Poured straight into Riedel Extreme Pinot/Nebbiolo glass - aaaaah...

1997 Barolo Vigna Enrico VI, Cordero di Montezemolo
This Barolo comes from a 2 hectare plot in the Villero vineyard in Castiglione Falletto.
Just opened it oozes of a moist mushroom forest - lovely! With air fine notes of red currants, dried strawberries, rosehip, licorice, hard cherry candy and red beets emerge. The empty glass is all about fresh rose petals - very intense! Not a hint of the well known 97 heat on the nose.
The taste is tight, fresh and very coherent with notes of red currants and cherries, mushroom, rosehip, dry leather and a hint of cold coffe. A very long, finely tuned, elegant finish. The well polished tannins creeps up in the end of the finish. This is really fine. Given this blind I would have guessed a fine 96. And with a grilled steak with some mushrooms and a Marsala sauce - oooh boy!
92p   (tasted 2013/01)

Read more about Cordero di Montezemolo here.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter XI

These notes are a follow up from the post on the 1988 Ottantotto from Argiano, tasted last friday, aka the Argioano weekend! The following day I opened the two Brunello´s I mentioned in the post.
Info about Argiano here.

1979 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Argiano
This may have spent some of its life on a little too warm place. It is still fine and drinking really well with the food, but it is not as good as I suppose it could be. When I mailed Argiano about the Ottantotto I mentioned that I would open these two bottles the day after, and they described the 1979 Brunello as "tasting as nectar".
The nose is big, ripe and (over)mature with notes of dried cherries, orange peel, green raisins, old leather, meat stock and balsamic notes. This has the signs of an otherwise fine wine but that have been stoored too warm.
The taste is fresher and tighter than the nose with notes of ripe cherries, dark chocolate, autumn leaves, old leather and violets. A long, warm, sweet finish. A good weight to the taste. Very fine with the food. Much better than the nose. Would love to try another bottle!
85p   (tasted 2013/01)

The 1979 to the left and the 1985 to the right

1985 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Argiano
This on the other hand is in a perfect place this evening. Mature, sweet, hedonistic but with just the right amount of firm backbone.
A deep, profound, cool nose with notes of red and black cherries, red currants, tobacco, violets, mushroom forest and that stunning Tuscan gravel road scent. Very deep and just delightful!
The taste could be described as Argiano described the 1979, as nectar. It is tight, it is sweet, it is hedonism in a glass. Gorgeous notes of perfectly ripe cherries, orange peel, warm herbs, violets and a touch of chocolate. The finish is all about velvet until the polished tannins take hold of the last tail of the finish. Gorgeous stuff! For drinking now and the coming 5-8 years.
94p   (tasted 2013/01)

Had no luck/skill with the corks...

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

2007 Fontalloro

Drank this the other day with a herb filled chicken, pappardelle and a tomato sauce. Read more about Fontalloro and Felsina here.

2007 Fontalloro, Fèlsina
A very young, seedy nose that acts a little bit rowdy at first. But with an hour in the decanter there is fine notes of red cherries, rosehips, rosemary, balsa wood and Tuscan gravel that emerges from the glass. There is a whiff of saw dust here and there, probably from the barriques where it has spent somewhere in betweeen 18-22 months. But that will passa away with a few years in the cellar. The 1997 was just about pure Sangiovese fruit at 15 years of age.
The taste is young, tight and fresh with notes of juicy cherry fruit with some new leather, violet tablets, warm herbs, gravel and balsa wood tucked in. The tannins are a bit of a brute but manage to come acroos as a very polished brute. The finish is long, fresh and and ends dry. With food it behaves excellent but on its one it is too young for real enjoyment. This needs 3+ years in the cellar.
89p   (tasted 2013/01)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Argiano Weekend - 1988 Ottantotto

It became a real Argiano weekend. First out on friday was this super tuscan wine, with an easy name, if you can rememeber the vintage, you can remember the name, and the other way around...

I have searched the web and emailed Argiano (but that was on friday evening so they haven´t had time to answer yet), but I have come up short to the background of this wine, the grapes and so forth. The label says Vino da Tavolo.
 I would guess from the nose and taste that it is at least 50% Cabernet and that it has seen some new barriques during its upbringing.
If I get a reply from Argiano, I will update this post with the info. Or if someone else knows?
Update: I got a nice mail from Argiano. It seems that the Ottantotto is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese and that it spent 14 months in new casks.

I followed up this wine with two bottles of Argiano´s Brunello Riserva - the 1979 and 1985 - on saturday, will be back with a special post on those.
And then I managed to buy Argiano´s 2006 Brunello. In short - a real Argiano weekend!

1988 Ottantotto, Argiano
A big, open, mature nose with velvety, sweet, pure cherry fruit combined with notes of tobacco, hard cherry candy, thyme, blueberry pie, autumn leaves and moist earth. Very deep and fine. This is perfectly mature on the nose. Chocolate covered cherries after a while, and cold coffe. The nose is stunning.
The taste is mature, round and sweet but have enough backbone to offer some resistance. Lovely notes of red cherry fruit, red and black currants, sweet tobacco, licorice and a glimpse of mint. The finish is long, soft and fine. The abraded tannins shows upp in the end of the finish. Perfect to drink right now. Very, very yummy.
93p   (tasted 2013/01)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Vigorello Hunt - An Update

It was some time since I got hold of a bottle of Vigorello to add to the line up, but the other day a bottle of 1990 arrived.

Now there are eight...

Earlier posts here and here.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Drinking Tonight - 2009 Les Fontanilles

To go along a big bowl of pasta with thinly sliced veal in a mustard, garlic and cream sauce, I feared that this young Carignan, Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache blend would be somewhat overpowering, but it managed to complement the rather soft flavours of the pasta really well. And it was no problem finishing the bottle on its own when the dinner was over...

This new kid on the block is a blend of the grapes mentioned above from Minervois by, as they state on the website - "two pairs of (experienced) hands" - those of Anne Gros and Jean-Paul Tollot from Burgundy. This 2009 is only the second vintage. Read more here.

2009 Les Fontanilles, Domaine Anne Gros & Jean-Paul Tollot
A young, fresh, meaty nose with notes of ripe bluberries, fried herbs, rosemary, ginger bread, violets and some nice earthy aromas. Young and a bit ungainly but there is lots of quality here. Even elegance.
The taste is big, pure and steady with notes of rasberries and blueberries intermingled with sweet licorice, dark chocolate, violets and lots of fresh herbs. A long, fine, peppery finish. Still young, this could use 3-5 years in the cellar. But a fine mouthful of southern France!
90p   (tasted 2013/01)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

In Search of Brunello di Montalcino´s Soul - Chapter X

This is an old estate in Montalcino, going back to the 17th century, when it was owned by countesses, passed down from generation to generation.
Then a big time jump, to 1985 when the then estate manager Giuseppe Bianchini took over the estate. He was the one that started to bottle the Pianrosso, from a 12 hectar vineyard, separately and the 1988 below was one of the first vintages.
More info here -

2003 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso, Ciacci Piccolomini d´Aragona
A upfront, warm, sweet nose with notes of cherry pie, violet pastills, leather, balsa wood, grounded coffee and a fine note of warm summer flowers. There is a lot of warmth here, but it manages to keep it on the right side of things. Very good.
The taste is big, dense and sweet with notes of cherry liqueur, warm herbs, violets, licorice, chocolate covered cherries and a warm gravel road. The finish is long, warm and ripe. The tannins shows upp in the finish and makes a nice mark of themselves. I bet this could improve with 3-5 years in the cellar to get rid of some of the puppy fat.
90p   (tasted 2012/12)

1988 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso, Ciacci Piccolomini d´Aragona
A deep, mature, fine nose with notes of dried red cherries and lingonberries, violets, pipe tobacco, rose petals, warm herbs and some stable notes. A lovely maturity; sweet, round and fine.
The taste is mature, warm and with the right amount of stringency between the matured sweet fruit and the dusty mature tannins. A big, sweet cherry fruit fills the mouth with additional notes of autumn leaves, old chocolate, violets and the dust from a Tuscan gravel road. A lovely warmth in the finish. In a perfect place now, this isn´t for keeping longer.
91p   (tasted 2012/12)

The bottle below was tasted in Como, Italy during the summer of 2012.
2001 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso, Ciacci Piccolomini d´Aragona
A big, complex, hauntingly beautiful nose with notes of ripe red cherries, warm herbs, tobacco, almonds and veal meat. Very, very deep. This has started to mature and is full of vigour and charm. Just stunning.
The taste is big, powerful and intense with gorgeous notes of sweet and sour cherries, licorice, herbs, chocolate covered cherries and violets. A wonderful sweetness. The finish is long, warm with finely polished tannins. This is a delicious wine but I guess it can become even more stunning in 3-5 years time. At night, sitting on a restaurants porch, looking out over lake Como and drinking this, I may have added one point for the ambience...:-)
94p   (tasted 2012/07)

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Perfect Ones - Part 18

In 1995, when this bottle was tasted, Bodegas Osborne bottled 250 bottles/year of this nectar from a solera that then was an average of 36 year. The solera was started in 1883!
As I have said before, I drink Sherry to seldom. Maybe a future project...

NV Oloroso Amoroso Solera Alonso El Sabio, Bodegas Osborne
I usually don´t mention the colour of the wine but on this one I have especially noted the glorious amber in the glass. The nose just explodes from the glass with stunning notes of pan fried nuts, dried apples, almond paste, figs, dades, green raisins, milk chocolate, and a lovingly perfumed note. Deep, deep, deep. Intoxicating and just glorious.
The taste is big, dense and at the same time light and elegant, with notes of nuts, figs, chocolate, warm herbs, mushroom cream, and a hint of saffron. A very long, intense, brilliant finish with a salt/sweet note that is to die for. Perfect in every sense of the word.
100p   (tasted 1995/02)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Ten Most Memorable Wines of 2012

Once again - being forced (by myself, but still...) to choose only ten bottles that has shined the most under 2012 is not an easy task. It has been a great year, a lot of interesting tastings and fine bottles over dinner and with friends. But the following ten bottles have made a special mark in my memory.
Here they are, in vintage order.
A toast for an equally great 2013!

1879 Rare Sercial, Justino Henriques
I had the good fortune to taste not just one but two pre 1900 Madeira wines this year. The 1870 Malmsey Reserve, Vinhos da Madeira Lda was really stunning but this out of the world wine eclipsed it. It was served with a consomme with chanterelles and sweetbread at a tasting dinner with
old Pommards. Madeira, and especially these old wines, is one of the greatest wines on earth.
99p   (tasted 2012/11)

1982 Barolo Bric dël Fiasc, Paolo Scavino
Several bottles at my tasting dinner with Bric dël Fiasc could have made this list, the 1985, 1990, 1996 or the 1999. But there were one bottle that towered over the rest. The perfect combination of maturity, power, complexity and charm. Having never tasted the 1982 before it was a moment of utter enjoyment.
98p   (tasted 2012/02)

1983 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Gran Riserva, Giuseppe Quintarelli
Since my presentation on the front page indicates that Amarone isn´t my favourite type of fermented grape juice, it could be seen as strange that a Veneto wine could make this list. But I can only follow my taste buds, and this bottle was, as I put it in the tasting note , the Muhammed Ali of wines - light as a feather and stung like a bee. This could sting me any time! Thanks Jörgen!
98p   (tasted 2012/08)

1993 Brunello di Montalcino Cerbaiola, Salvioni
The beginning of the Brunello project have been fascinating. So far 27 bottles tasted. And there will be more - opened two more for tonight... But over to the biggest eye opener so far, the 1993 Brunello from Salvioni. A wine that had complexity and hedonism from start to finish and urged me to get hold of more vintages, more notes from Salvioni to follow...
96p   (tasted 2012/10)

1997 Flaccianello, Fontodi
A perennial favourite of mine, tasted 8 times, always scoring it between 95-98p. This time it came up as the last wine in the fourth fligth of our massive tasting of 1997 Tuscans. And it showed its character of the proverbial "iron fist in a velvet glove", and was for me, the star of the whole tasting. Magnificent stuff!
98p   (tasted 2012/11)

2002 Clos de Coulée de Serrant, N. Joly
The last day of the year this almost perfect wine emerged. Coulée de Serrant have been a hit or miss over the years. I still remember the 1982 tasted over 20 years ago as one of the perfect wines, but there has been many that have been weird, at best. But this bottle hit all my sweet spots, and I have to get some bottles! Thanks Nenad!
98p   (tasted 2012/12)

2007 Varner Home Block Spring Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay
Even when the bottle was revealed, I wouldn´t believe it - this had to be a great white Burgundy! But it wasn´t, but it was one of the greatest California chardonnay I have ever tasted. And I had the good fortune to taste a bottle of 2009 Spring Ridge Vineyard Amphitheater Block later during 2012, which also was a stunning bottle of chardonnay. Thanks Miran!
96p   (tasted 2012/02)

2008 Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanée, Domaine Fontaine-Gagnard
I tasted in all five different Chassagne-Montrachet´s from Fontaine-Gagnard during 2012, four premier cru´s and the village wine, and all pleased my senses, but this bottle stood out as Grand Cru quality and was just awesome in its aristocracy.
96p   (tasted 2012/11)

2009 Batard-Montrachet, Domaine Faiveley
There were bottle after bottle with the most wonderful white and red burgundy at this tasting of Faiveley wines, but when this nectar was poured from a magnum, time just stood still. Within 6-8 years this should be a truly perfect wine.
98p   (tasted 2012/05)

2010 Rossese di Dolceaqua Posaú, Maccario Dringenberg
During the summers vacation in Liguria I discovered two things - the first was the charm of Vermentino, and the second was the really classy wines from the Rossese grape. I have promised to do a rapport of the wines I tasted, but time haven´t permitted it. But these wines really made a mark in my vinous experience and I will be back with a post on these wines soon. The one I remember the most is one of the wines from the producer Dringenberg. Full of poise, charm and gorgeous upfront fruit, this really stood out. I think I downed three bottle in a few days...
92p   (tasted 2012/07)

The Ten Most Memorable Wines of 2011 - here.