Looking back at 2014, I drank ALOT of wine this year. Please don’t judge.
Best white wine value of the year:
Fresh and clean, this will become one of my favorite summer wines. A blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Clairette.
Most interesting white wines of the year:
This one was a tie so I am listing both:
1. Mayu Sauvignon Blanc. From Chile, The name “Mayu” means “river of stars,” referring to the Milky Way in the Incan language. Notice the night sky on the label. This wine has good minerality and very nice tropical fruit flavors but also a distinct flavor of jalapeño pepper. One of the few wines I would recommend with chicken wings.
2. 2006 Plantagenet Riesling- Great Southern Australia
Growing up, my parents used a kerosene heater (for secondary heat). I am one of those people who enjoys the small of fuel. Diesel, Gasoline and Kerosene are distinctively different and this wine surely has a powerful aroma of kerosene. Kerosene and lime (this wine has both) are very typical aromas of Rieslings form this part of the world.
Overall best white wine of the year…
My favorite white wine this year was 2007 Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. It’s a single property in Savennières (in France’s Loire Valley), yet it has its own appellation. Exclusively white wines are made here, from the Chenin Blanc grape. The owner Nicolas Joly is one of the leading proponents of biodynamic viticulture.
Joly suggests that his wines improve after opening and should be experienced over several days. No matter what you think of Biodynamic winegrowing, this wine had more, and different flavors than any white wine I have ever drank– mineral, pear, lemon and other citrus but also all baking spice, nuts and hay (seriously). His wines are thought provoking and definitely conversation starters for wine geeks.
Best red wine value of the year:
2005 Hacienda Lopez de Haro Reserva- hands down the best wine under $15. Heck I purchased this wine by the case, for $11/bottle. A nicely aged Rioja, this is the kind of wine that anyone will enjoy. Nice, ripe fruit to satisfy the New World drinker, and an excellent earthy, leather quality that will be appreciated by those that usually drink European wines. It is a blend of 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano and 5% Garnacha aged for 20 months in French and American oak.
Also one of my favorite tasting notes of the year for this wine: “It has a beautiful, rounded, sensual bouquet with hints of over-ripe Satsuma and gravel.” Neal Martin.
I provided the definition link above for Satsuma since I had to look it up.
Most interesting red wine of the year:
2011 Zestos Garnacha Old Vines– This wine was also a contender for best value red as it can be bought for under $10. This wine is unoaked, vinified in a combination of stainless steel and cement tanks, which keeps the fruit fresh. Most surprising about this wine- it is from Madrid, Spain, not a well known wine region.
Made from old vine (over 40 years of age), high altitude (2800 feet) Grenache. Showing an interesting mix of red fruits and pepper, I am re-discovering how much I like Grenache this year.
Overall best red wine of the year…
2003 La Spinetta Barbera d’Alba Gallina. I enjoyed a number of red wines this year but I recently splurged and ordered a special bottle at Supper restaurant. They evidently purchased a large amount of this vintage. 2003 was a hot vintage for Italy so it is not a “favorite” of the wine media. For this wine, the ripe red/black fruit provided perfect balance, along with the high acidity and judicious barrel aging.
This wine is singing right now.
La Spinetta wines are generally made in a style that mixes new world techniques (small, new french oak) with old world knowledge. I love the various labels.
Find it but be prepared to settle for another vintage.
Please share your favorites…