Wines of the year, 2013

So, here are my wines of the year. It’s a strict meritocracy, I am afraid, and as this has been a very good year, it looks a little boastful. I have tried to restrict the list to wines that I have actually drunk rather than just tasted. Here goes.
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I’m starting with the Shobrook Giallo 2011, a natural skin-fermented Sauvignon from Australia. It’s a remarkable wine, and I have drunk three bottles of it this year. I still have three left. Who’d have thought an Aussie Sauvignon could be this good?
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Next up, Duncan Savage’s inaugural release. It’s amazing stuff – so fresh and bright. My write up is here, but I’ve tasted it since, and I think it’s better than I realized.
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The first of the old ones. 1953 La Mission. My note is here.
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back to South Africa again. Here’s a new wine from Chris and Suzaan Alheit – the Radio Lazarus. Grand Cru Chenin Blanc?
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And while I’m still in South Africa, what about this? It’s the Vergonoegd 1977 Cabernet that I was treated to in a drunken cellar raid with Johann de Wet. Just 10.5% alcohol, and pure and elegant.
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New Zealand featured large in my year, and I had a lot of good bottles. This was special: a 10 year old Pinot Noir from Neudorf, which has aged beautifully, in a rich, warm, complex style.
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One of the star Pinot producers in New Zealand is Martinborough’s Kusuda. Now, at last, available in the UK. Incredible precision and focus.
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I visited Canada for the first time, and here I present you what may be Canada’s finest wine yet: Norm Hardie’s County Pinot Noir 2011. I bought some as soon as it became available here.
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Ah, a magnum of Dow’s Vintage Port 1963. This was superb. Kindly served by Simon Staples of Berry Bros at a nice dinner following the screening of Red Obsession.
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Sticking with the sticky stuff, Disznoko’s Kapi Vineyard Tokaji 6 Puttonyos is one of the world’s truly great sweet wines. Mind-blowing.
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And now to Australia. This Shiraz from Giaconda really blew me away. I love Rick’s wines; I only wish I’d had a bottle of this to drink, and not just a taste.
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I love everything that Jamsheed’s Gary Mills makes. This wine had the slight edge though: one of Australia’s leading producers.
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A Chilean wine in my list? The remarkable amphora-aged skin contact Muscat from De Martino. There is hope for Chile, there really is. More wines like this please.
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Another South African. The truly fabulous 2010 Reserve from Reyneke. Tasted and drunk. Superb stuff from Johann and his talented team.
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I had to include this. Sorry. But it’s not often you get to drink 1961 Latour, a legendary wine that lives up to the hype, at least on the basis of this bottle.
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This year saw the release of the 2011 Vintage Ports. So many of them are good enough to make this list, but it was the bottle of Noval Nacional, consumed over a few consecutive evenings, that lives on in the memory.
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Ah, the 1985 Cheval Blanc. The highlight of a wonderful lunch thrown by Keith Prothero in honour of top SA chef Bertus Basson. Such elegance.
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I had a lot of good Spanish wines this year, including some crackers from Tenerife star producer Suertes del Marques. This Los Pasitos was a remarkable, elegant red wine. Truly memorable.
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One of the best Bordeaux wines I have ever drunk, Haut Brion 1990 was really on form at a fine wine lunch at La Trompette in May.
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Old Vouvray. 1961 Huet. Yum. And available from Berry Bros & Rudd.
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Ah, Champagne needs to be in the list, and this fabulous 1996 Clos des Goisses is going to take the fizz slot.
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A properly old Madeira: the 1875 Oliveras Sercial. Thrillingly complex and incredibly concentrated. Liquid history, and a good place to stop!

7 comments to Wines of the year, 2013

  • patric

    and how many have you paid for?

  • Attila Halasz

    Was the Warner from 2008?

  • Stephan

    No Riesling? What happened?

  • Ok, so I’ve never ‘commented’ on your wine blog before, but I have to move outside my comfort zone to tell you how much I appreciate your shout outs to SA and NZ on this list…especially SA, which is so underrated…only one Burgundy, though…cheers! :)

  • SLIMES

    The year’s not over yet! If you’re doing a New Year’s eve champagne tasting, there’ll hopefully be an addition to this list. If you’re open to suggestions, Charles Heidsieck’s wines are outstanding value, + are constantly winning awards and it would be fascinating to see you and Mr Bevington taste one blind. (NV, 2000 or Blanc de Millenaires) Just a thought lol.

  • I think your Chilean comment comes across a bit uncharacteristically snobby. I for one am quite a fan of a country turning out nice Pinot Noirs (e.g. Cono Sur) and exciting coastal Sauvignons and slightly unusual but blackcurranty Bordeaux etc. and some great Chardonnay etc etc etc at very fair prices. Ok so it’s a bit industrial and I take your point that the new Chile with natural type wines etc is to be encouraged. But to say “A Chilean wine in my list” and “There is hope for Chile” etc. I find a bit snobby and patronising. It’s not like they’ve done a bad job so far.

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