Saturday, January 14, 2012

Wines of the Year 2011

My annual top ten wines of the year!!!

1. 2000 Resalte Ribera del Duero Gran Resalte - Spain, Castilla y León, Ribera del Duero (10/17/2011)
Mixed Bag of Nice Reds (Edina): Almost a done deal on wine of the year. The wine got an hour decant and I did a Vinturi on it. It was good but after an hour in the bottle it was singing. Cherry, raspberry, spice, wood and minerals come together to create a balance and intense offering. Medium to long finish and complex. For $45 a bottle it is a great value. My advice on this wine is to decant an hour and see it evolve over the course of the night. I don't recommend this on day 2 as it was not as good. Drink now. (94 points)

2. 2004 Weingut Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Schloßberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (3/22/2011)
My current wine of the year! Super rich and expressive with candied pineapple, petrol, apricot, peach slate and a real thick texture. Super long finish and complexity is off the charts. Very few wines under $50 are this impressive and a leading candidate for wine of the year. 95-97. (95 points)

3. 2005 Leeuwin Estate Chardonnay Art Series - Australia, Western Australia, South West Australia, Margaret River (1/19/2011)
Minneapolis Wine Club: Chardonnay (Gail's House): Easily the best Chardonnay in recent memory. It is rare to see reviewers agree on anything and this was wine of the night by the group with over 80% in agreement. Very fragrant with orange peel, almonds, apple, pear and lemons. The palate shows some oak that is nicely integrated into the wine. Very complex finish and long. No flaws in this wine. Back the truck up if it could be found for under $50 but I will buy a few more bottles to see this wine evolve. I love the fact that it is a screw cap! (95 points)

4. 2000 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Grand Cellier d'Or 1er Cru - France, Champagne (7/26/2011)
This is the best Champagne I have sampled this year. Poured from a mag and this 80% Chardonnay/20% Pinot Noir offers aromas of baked apple pie, minerals, grapefruit, wood, floral and limestone. The palate picks up some nice toast and orange peel quality. The finish is long and complex. A true value in the world of Champagne. Wonderful! 94-96. (95 points)

5. 2004 Bressler Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena (11/15/2011)
Minneapolis Wine Club does 2004 Napa Valley Cabs: Decanted two hours. My wine of the night. Cassis, blueberries, floral, spice and baked pie crust on the nose and palate. A little heat once in the glass that blew off quick. Complex and multiple flavors dancing around on the palate. Long finish and medium tannins. Should age a decade and one of the best Cabs I have tasted this year. 95-97. (95 points)

6. 2003 Arcadian Syrah Hommage à Max - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley (11/5/2011)
US & Australia Syrah/Shiraz (Two Biale Petite Sirah's) (Minneapolis (Sara's House)): Roasted nuts, white pepper, stones, spice and red fruits. This has an amazing nose and required about an hour in the decanter and a Vinturi to really show its stuff. There is a great scorched earth element to the wine and has long finish. Very Northern Rhone like and one of the best Syrah's of the year. This might be the first time I have ever agreed with the Rhone Report on a score. A top ten wine for sure in 2011. (95 points)

7. 2000 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac (4/30/2011)
Major League Bordeaux Tasting at Kevin's (Kevin's House): My wine of the night. Medium to dark in color. Powerful nose with violets, rose petals, chocolate, wood and gravel. Rich on the palate with roasted nuts, tobacco, floral and red fruits. Long finish and complex. This wine was decanted 3.5 hours. A wine of epic proportions. 96-98. (96 points)

8. 2002 Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Vineyard - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Red Mountain (7/15/2011)
Minneapolis Wine Club does Washington State Reds (Surprise winners) (Tracy's): A tale of two wines. Decanted 2 hours which was not enough and my score at the time was a 92. Later in the night it opened up and offered leather, spice, blueberries, cherry and coffee. Complex to say the least and a long finish. A true gem and I am glad my friend was able to pick up 2 more bottles via Wine Searcher. Great wine! 94 points
Interesting enough this wine along with the Long Shadows Pedestal finish 2nd and 3rd in comparison to the Meek Family Estate Inherit which is a similar blended wine. The blind test was interesting as all the members doing it apply the tasting process are more serious wine drinkers. (94 points)

9. 2001 Vilmart & Cie Champagne Coeur de Cuvée - France, Champagne (12/8/2011)
Wow! My Champagne House of the year just got better! Amazing nose of apples, pear, strawberry, minerals and spices. On the palate an amazing smoke flavor develops and this changes over time with a really long finish. I loved the texture as it really had a full bodied experience. Complex and amazing what they did in the 2001 vintage! (95 points)

10. 2006 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (7/23/2011)
A wonderful wine that should get better with age. Leather, spices, bing cherries, minerals and plums. On the palate oak and vanilla are evident. This is a complex wine and it should improve with some cellar time. At $23 a great QPR wine. (92 points)

Best Wine of the Year (Price not a factor)

2010 Mollydooker Shiraz Velvet Glove - Australia, South Australia, Fleurieu, McLaren Vale (10/26/2011)
Hennepin Lake's Annual Tasting (Tons of Napa Cabs) (Minneapolis, MN): Wow! For a young wine this is drinking off the charts. Not decanted and the nose offers blackberry, pepper, cherry and violets. Over the night the wine evolved and became more interesting. I see this wine drinking well for a decade but is drinking well right now. Long and intense finish. A balanced wine and no heat. Should be a top ten wine for sure! (96 points)

*At $200 a bottle I think I will pass but a wonderful wine.

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