How can one possibly distinguish between all the great wines in the world, and in a world that ultimately is defined by personal differences in taste? Especially people like us, who has no professional wine title to our name, nor are we “about 100 points on that” week in and week out. Well, this is a way for us to think through, and evaluate, the wine year 2011. There are perhaps people among our readers that share our taste, or at least our passion, in and for wine, that find our choices of interest. And if there’s not, here’s the list anyways. Note that our choices will sometimes be colored by the circumstances of our tasting (or drinking) of the wine, the experience with the wine maker, or, of course (although we will never admit to it), that we are tainted by marketing and/or the tasting notes and scores of the wine professionals out there. Also, they are not any kind of order, it’s merely a list. And, no, it’s not true that we did not taste and drink a lot of wines from other regions and winemakers than those below. It just happened that we liked these better.
1) 04 Mersault les Grands Charrons, by Michel Bouzereau & Fils. A mix of being from a wine from Jean-Baptiste and his wonderful family, and the fact that I think we hit the “drinking window” of this wine smack in the middle. This is what white burgundy is all about, keep those new vintages locked up in the cellar, people!
2) 04 Barolo Riserva Vigna San Giuseppe, by Cavallotto. Of more than 80 wines tasted on our annual visit to Piemonte, this wine stood out. Authentic, earthy, and here to stay. Much like the Cavallotto winery itself.
3) 07 Barolo, by Elio Altare. From the same trip as the Riserva above, this ended up being drunk rather than tasted. While getting all the latest gossip from the entire Langhe region from Silvia, Elios daugther. Which in itself is a treat, but, yes, you’ll also find it hard to come by a better “base” barolo from the 07 vintage.
4) 07 Langhe Nebbiolo, by Cappelano. Still in Piemonte, from the same trip (have you guessed by now that this visit was a good one?), this was the wine we had that showed best there and then. Of course, the fantastic food (you always get) at Osteria del Vignaiolo, helped it along, but we’re sure it would stand well on its own too (anyone out there who knows how we can get our hands on a couple of cases of this?).
5) Cavallotto Langhe Nebbiolo 07. Our 2011 house wine. Nuff said.
6) Arianna Occhipinti, , Il Frappato 09. We’ve had this a couple of times now, and it keeps on fascinating. Some sips are like “hey, this is a new category wine altogether”, and then others reminds you of something you’re used to from Chambolle Musigny or in the villages nearby. In any case, this wine, and its wine maker, is on the rise.
7) 06 Barolo Lazzairasco, by Guido Porro. Wine is a hundred percent subjective experience, but I’ll go out on a limb and claim that this barolo is one of the best (pound for pound, eh, dollar for dollar) around.
8 ) 09 Macon-Verze, by Domanie Leflaive. A magnificent white in itself, but also a great way to drink white wine from one of the world’s top producers, without having to sell your car.
9) 03 Meursault-Blagny, La Piece Sous le Bois, by Domaine Matrot. One of our favorites, period. Red burgundy at diet-cola prices. Still some 05s left to go around I think.
10) 08 CinqueTerre, by Campogrande. Buy, drink, rejoice, and help save the “five lands” from sliding into the ocean while you’re at it.
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Liguria, Italy. Summer of 2011
11) 97 Tignanello, by Antinori. Happened December 29th. Profound. A memorable ending to a good wine year.
Happy new year. Salute to a prosperous 2012.