I know I promised a writeup on a vertical tasting of 2009-2011 Trader Joe's Vintage Ales, but I'm breaking that promise. With vacation coming up, I'll have plenty of time to recount wines and beers while drinking wines and beers (and bourbon and bourbon and bourbon). So today I'm going to indulge in one of my own favorite hobbies: ranking things. It's become common for wine publications to publish end of the year "Top 100 Wines" lists. I love ranking things, and I was inspired by Time Magazine's recent "Top 10 of Everything" to create some lists for Wines Over Somerville. So, without further ado, here are some lists!
Top 10 Wines consumed during 2011:
10) 2007 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon. I had this wine during a spring trip to NYC at Primehouse, and it did not disappoint. Needed a longer decant than it received, but this was an old school Cali Cab that was all business and no vanilla/oak crap.
9) 2009 Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini. This was my first Greek wine, and was not by any means my last. Assyrtiko from Santorini has quickly become my go-to white wine to pair with food, especially seafood. There is none of the aggressive fruitiness/herbaceous qualities that one can find in Sauvignon Blanc, and there is a beautiful saline quality that makes it perfect with shellfish.
8) 1999 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Windsor Gardens Vineyard. The most recent entrant, having only been drunk last Sunday night. This was a classic example of aged California Pinot Noir. It showed plum and cranberry but had a wonderful brambly quality. Glad I dug this out of Dad's cellar.
7) 2010 Paumanok Chenin Blanc. Had this at Gramercy Tavern in New York and it was a revelation. Paumanok is located on the North Fork of Long Island, and I had heard good things about their Chenin, but hadn't seen it anywhere. Well, if you ever see this on a wine list, order it! It was reasonably priced ($50 on a restaurant list) and was absolutely delicious. The cool climate of the North Fork clearly is reminiscent of the climate in the Loire, where Chenin Blanc shines.
6) 1981 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Volcanic Hill. A gift from a fellow wine geek on my birthday, this bottle was EVERYTHING that I want from an aged Cali Cab. Good tannic structure still present, some red fruits, and tons of tertiary notes (notes developed from aging, rather than from the grapes or oak) like balsamico, mushroom, and loam.
5) 2009 Turtle Creek Winery Cabernet Franc "Conservation Hill". What's that? Wine from Massachusetts? Good wine from Massachusetts? Well, this wine absolutely rocks. It is BY FAR the best domestic Cab Franc that I have ever tasted. What's better, the winery is located about half a mile from where I teach. Can't get more local, and more awesome than that. Wait, why am I telling people about this? Move on...nothing to see here...MA wine sucks a lot!
4) 1987 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon "Special Selection". A birth year wine on my birthday, what could have been better than that? Oh, right, one of the wines still to come was from that same event. This was a wonderful Cab that has settled into a sweet spot with plenty of food and tannin left, yet a softness around the edges (like wine love handles) that comes from aging. A terrific effort from a less than stellar vintage in CA.
3) 1980 Chateau Leoville Las Cases St. Julien. While the price of Bordeaux may currently be skyrocketing and completely out of line with the quality in the bottle, aged gems like this show why people are so eager to buy Bordeaux in the first place. A 31 year old wine that was at the top of it's game with so much complexity I even hesitate to mention specific flavors and aromas. Suffice it to say, this one will stay with me.
2) 1988 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia. Sassicaia may be my favorite wine in the entire world. It's essentially Bordeaux (Cab/Merlot) except it's made in the Bolgheri region of Tuscany. I keep coming up with excuses for my Dad to open this wine on my birthday, and for two years prior to this, it held the number one spot in my end of the year rankings. This year, it's demoted to number two, despite showing amazingly. With plums, blackcurrant, and blackberry, as well as an adequate tannic grip and good weight, this wine has several years left in it.
1) 1982 Chateau La Conseillante Pomerol. From magnum, on Thanksgiving, with my family, in VT. What more can I say? I already wrote about this one on Wines Over Somerville, so I dare not repeat myself. This was one of those "Fuck yeah" moments that I have from time to time with wine. It reminds me that, while wine is food, it is also art.
Come back tomorrow for my top 10 albums/songs/beers of 2011. Thanks for reading!