With the new cellar tracker it took a bit longer to go through all the notes for my top ten and it might change via one wine as we have a horizontal 2002 Champagne Tasting coming up but here is my list:
1. 1996 Château Margaux - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux (10/6/2012)
A hammer lock for wine of the year! Amazing and the groups wine of the night! Blueberries, coffee, chocolate, leather and minerals. Complex and wonderful perfume to this wine. Decanted 3 plus hours and it never lost a step in the glass for over 2 more. Long finish and young wine. Wine of the Vintage? (99 pts.)
Not really much time needed to put this one at number one. This is the best wine I have tasted in my life and a wine to revisit again hopefully in the next decade. I wish I could afford to drink wines like this from even better vintages but I did not win the lottery last Wednesday.
2. 2004 Greenock Creek Shiraz Apricot Block - Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley (10/28/2012)
DAY 2 REVIEW: Mega complex nose of roasted meats, coffee beans, soy, charcoal and exotic spices. On the palate dense with the addition of raspberries. Fine sediment and long finish. An amazing transformation and a top Shiraz for 2012. 96 points plus (96 pts.)
This is why I love to experiment with day one, day 2, etc. Many wines are just not ready to drink but the transformation the next day or two will reveal so much more. Day one 92 and day two shows the best Shiraz from Australia I tasted in 2012.
3. 2004 Bodegas Muga Rioja Aro - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (4/22/2012)
A early top ten wine of the year. A powerhouse and tannic but showing a ton. Blackberries, bing cherries, leather, cigar, oak, vanilla and a hint of mint. Long finish, complex and age worthy. Drink now through 2030. 96-98. (96 pts.)
Of course this year’s top ten is not factoring price and this $150 wine should become a masterpiece. From 2004 my favorite vintage from Spain this wine shows a ton and needed some serious decanting. Hold for a decade and enjoy!
4. 2005 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (1/15/2012)
Close to the best wine I have ever had and over time it might get there. Intense nose with white pepper, blueberries, roses, raspberries, mild oak and minerals. Complex is an understatement and the palate and finish just change over and over. The finish on this wine is over a minute and a true wine to savor. A pure effort that will improve. This could get to 100 for me. 97-100. (97 pts.)
While young this is drinking unbelievable. Super complex effort and a wine everyone should drink that is just getting into this hobby to see what Northern Rhone Syrah is all about.
5. NV Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Brut - France, Champagne (11/28/2012)
Great stuff and as good as many vintage Champagnes. For $28 a super QPR. Minerals, sour apples, spice and pear. Crisp wine and refreshing. Complex, medium finish. (93 pts.)
By far the cheapest top ten of the year and this might outperform many vintage efforts for four times the price. I have tasted this wine 5 times this year and they all are in the range of 91-93. Well done Piper!
6. 2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Botanica - USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley (3/31/2012)
Light in color. Exotic nose of floral, dust, earth, cranberry and smoke. Complex wine with a medium plus finish. Improved with some time and this has a decade plus of enjoyment. (94 pts.)
A new find in 2012 and it won’t be the last. Wonderful, balance Pinot Noir that for the money will beat just about all from Burgundy.
7. 2008 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Nahe (6/3/2012)
Super light in color, almost clear. Appricots, floral, peaches and super balanced. A touch of sweetness but this should really age into an amazing wine in a decade or enjoy right now! (94 pts.)
I love Riesling and this was the best German of the year. This should age a long time and can be enjoyed today.
8. 2009 Thibault Liger-Belair Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Saint Georges - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru (4/6/2012)
Should improve with age and my wine of the night! Complex with earth, ripe fruit, coffee and spices. The perfect "funk" quality on the nose that makes you realize how good Burgundy can be. Long finish and tannic and should age nicely for 30 years. 94-96. (94 pts.)
Tasted at a Winestreets private dinner event this wine shows how good young Pinot can be but promises so much more with cellaring. Thanks Brad.
9. 2008 Kitchak Cellars Adagio - USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena (5/17/2012)
One of the best wines in Napa Valley for under $100. Intense nose of cherry, oak, vanilla, licorice, blueberries and tobacco. Firm tannins and super long finish. Concentrated wine and this will age a decade or more. Outstanding and a chance to improve in the bottle. (95 pts.)
An undiscovered Napa gem that the wine geeks have not discovered. Every vintage tasted so far as knocked my socks off.
10. 1996 Château Léoville Las Cases - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien (5/5/2012)
My wine of the night and groups wine of the night. An amazing effort that is balanced, powerful, graceful, elegant, etc. One of the best wines from Bordeaux I have sampled to date. Intense nose of clay, chocolate, figs, stones and raspberries. Long finish and complex. Drink now- 2040. Wonderful effort!!! (97 pts.)
My number ten wine that should age for 30 years. Again if I could only afford to drink these Super Seconds more often.