Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wine Of The Year?!

So it is that time of year again, time to write our final newsletter, recommend gift wines, party wines, Champagne for New Years and this is when we pick The Wine of the Year. The process has changed over the many years that I have been at The Wine Country, we went from including a few of Randy’s friends and guest writers for the newsletters to staff only, went from picking just one wine to picking a Red Wine of the Year, White Wine of the Year, Sparkling Wine of the Year and Dessert Wine of the Year and from those picking The Wine of the Year. Not quite sure what Randy’s vision is this year but I will be picking a white, a red and a Champagne for my candidates this year.

So this is how it goes, we all come up with our picks, (and they need to be wines that are still available) gather after hours at the store, pop the corks and have a secret ballot….it really is fun but it does take a bit of time. For example, we will taste all the reds then pick our top three, votes counted we re-taste and vote on our pick of the remaining three and so on. Once the top wines are picked in each category, (there is lots of voting and re-voting just getting to this point) we all vote on Wine of the Year with each of us giving a little commercial in effort to sway the vote to the wine we picked. There are a bunch of really passionate people involved here so things can get a bit heated from time to time but we all want our wine to win!

So we are meeting this Wednesday night and I have been wracking my brain….Wine of the Year, it is just so hard. Do I pick the wines I drink all year, the ones that give me pleasure time and time again? Do I go with a wine that knocked me on my ass, one that was a go to dinner wine…what makes a wine, Wine of the Year? The really hard part is I have a few wines that year after year are my favorite but feel like I cannot pick them over and over again as that would be really boring for the people that follow this yearly contest…..like Agrapart Mineral, the 2000 vintage was my Champagne pick last year and I would love to nominate the 2002 but feel like I need to turn people on to another bubbly to love, so you see, we can’t just pick our wine….there are all these other things to think about…..not as easy as it sounds!

I will not ruin the fun for those folks that get the newsletter so I will not post the results until after the newsletter gets sent but I thought it might be fun to post the wines that I would like to pick but for some reason or other cannot along with why I considered picking them in the first place and why they were vetoed. This really is an impossible list to assemble and I know the second I hit, “Post this entry” I will think of more wines that I should have included….maybe I will do another one closer to the end of the year…..who knows, maybe I haven’t even had my real Wine of the Year yet….man I hope that is true, gives me more palate pleasure to look forward to, but I have to say this year has been a truly amazing one for the wines that I have been able to taste…..I mean that one afternoon with Amy and the Beaune Imports guys, (there are 2 posts about that day, the “But….But I Want It” post and the “Seriously One Of The Greatest Wine Tasting Days Ever” post. Not to mention the fact that I was on an importer trip earlier this year, (sadly before I was blogging) I was on the Kermit Lynch trip so the things I was tasting in France this January….dude, seriously?! Don’t know if any of that is “top-able” but one can always hope right?

I won’t go over all the wines in those two posts I mentioned above, the posts are still up and you can read them there but that day….almost everything I had would be a Wine of the Year candidate if I could get them…so way high on my list! In that same vein I would also include the Didier Dagueneau Retrospective from the Beaune Imports tasting last month, (can see the list under the post, “Trade Tasting”) those wines are impossible to find so listing them is just kind of mean….but if you can find some of them, don’t whine about price….buy them, they are way worth it.

Wines of the Year that were cut and why I still love them:

2007 Francois Chidaine Touraine ($11.99) Okay I have consumed a shameful amount of this wine and each time I have it I just freaking love it and always end up shaking my head thinking what a crazy value it is! The price is part of the reason that I ruled it out for Wine of the Year…just figured people want something a tad more, “special” if you will….whatever this wine is stupid good, tons of grapefruit, minerals and tangy fruit with a nice mouth feel and a nice acidic finish…love, love, love it.

2005 La Cabotte Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Gabriel ($16.99) This was another victim of being too value driven so it was cut because it is too cheap…dark black fruit, pepper and spice with just the right amount of weight and a long but clean finish. Drank this lovely wine with just about everything we plunked on the grill.

2005 & 2006 Didier Dagueneau Silex (N/A) Well could not pick this because there isn’t any….of either vintage, (last I heard my rep was working on getting me some magnums so there is a bit of hope there) as serious as Sauvignon Blanc gets, rich and powerful in the mouth, the texture is haunting and the tropical fruit, lemon zest and chalky flavors go on forever….seriously one of the best wine I taste all year….every year.

1999 Pierre Peters Cuvee Special (N/A) This was going to be my Champagne pick this year but I sadly heard there just is not more to get….I was able to get my hands on the last remaining case of magnums which is coming this week, ($204.99) and I know one of those six bottles is coming home with me! Very floral, packed with tart apple and buttered toast with tiny sexy little bubbles and a finish that goes on forever…..hubba hubba!

2005 Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Monthelie Rouge (N/A) The 2006 is coming this week but I didn’t pick that because I haven’t spent as much time with it….oh but you can bet that I will be. Tart cherries, smoke and wicked easy drinkability….drank this all year with everything from meat to cheese to roasted chicken, one of the best reds I drank all year in its easy gentleness.

2007 Tempier Bandol Rose ($37.99) As I write this there are like 4 bottles left in the shop and like the others, there is no more to get…..simply the best Rose I tasted this year…worth every cent.

2002 Agrapart Mineral Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs ($62.99) Deeply nutty, doughy, slightly salty with a long caramel like richness…hauntingly good bubbles.

2005 Domaine Maume Gevrey-Chambertin (N/A) I went to this domaine this year….it was nasty dirty, shit everywhere…a dive really but the wine….holy Burgundy Batman! So pure, clean and loaded with fruit, earth, smoke and silky tannins, really pretty and one of those wines that you think about long after the bottle is gone.

2005 Fontainerie Vouvray Sec ($16.99) My new world palate in-laws even bought a case of this luscious wine….it tastes like biting into a fresh pear! Layers of fruit with a light minerality and a crisp super refreshing finish….under twenty bucks kicked it right out the Wine of the Year category…but I thought about it!

Well there they are, my little wines that didn’t quite make the cut but have been part of my life this past year and I still love them lots! Kind of funny that I said I wasn’t going to post “regular” wine reviews and here I go doing just that….so freaking contrary. I was trying to how best describe the goings on of Halloween this year for a post…..not sure how appropriate that post would be….even for this blog.

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