Sunday, 19 December 2010

Wines of the Year!

Hello and welcome to the Wines of the Year special 2010, or the very catchy acronym WOTY 2010! I say "wines of the year", but in truth the Blog has only been running since August. However, I plan to make this an annual thing around this time of year, so I thought I'd start now! In a nutshell, it's a collection of the highest scoring wines, how much they are and where to get them.

Without further ado, the top 5 scoring wines from 2010 were:

 Craggy Range, Block 14 Syrah, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke's Bay, 2008.

This one really was a treat. £18.99 from Oddbins. Absolutely superb. Loads of black fruit, peppery after-kick, smoothness and class. 9/10.

Value for money was pretty poor at VFM = 0.47 but again, this was a treat and not for "value drinking".

Villa Maria Reserve, Clifford Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2009

Gold medal winning Sauv Blanc in the recent Decanter awards. Thoroughly deserves that. It was £14.99 from Oddbins but now down to £9.99 so be quick. 8.5/10 Bursting with lemon, lime and tropical fruits with zesty acidity and a long mineral finish. Top notch.

Value for money was VFM = 0.57 at the original price but at £9.99 it's more palettable at VFM = 0.85.

Villa Maria Private Bin, Riesling, Marlborough, 2009

Only an entry-level wine for this brand, but it punches way above its weight! £7.99Majestic Wine. A big hit of peach, apples and some lemon/lime citrus. 8.5/10 from

Superb value, VFM = 1.06.

Vina Leyda, Reserva Riesling, Leyda Valley, 2008

Another Riesling. Again, excellent. £9.99 from Virgin Wines. Really fresh with a zingy acidity. I could pick out pink grapefruit, lime and exotic fruits or pomegranate on the finish. It has that herby/minerally edge to it as well which brings a bit of complexity. Stonking stuff. 8.5/10

Good value too at VFM = 0.85.

Esk Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2009

Beautiful effort for the price. £8.97 from Laithwaites. Loads of tropical fruits, lemon and lime, purity, good acidity and very refreshingly drinkable. Superb 8.5/10.

Great value at VFM = 0.95.

I really hadn't noticed until writing this that 4 out of the top 5 are from New Zealand! That's a pretty impressive statistic and testament to the quality of wines coming from there. The Chilean Riesling was also a suprise.

The Best of the Rest...
Despite not scoring quite as highly, there were some superb wines that I feel I should mention on the basis of quality or value. These were...
1. E. Guigal Cote du Rhone 2006 - £9.99 from Majestic Wine (or as low as £6.79 at the moment when you buy two). Generous black and red fruit, cherry finish. Great spicy Syrah blend. 8/10.
2. Chateaux Musar 2002 - £17.99 from Majestic Wine. A taste of Bordeaux via Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. A treat, but well worth it every now and again. Plenty of life left in it with vibrant acidity, great blackcurrant and black cherry flavours. 8/10
3. Abbot's Vale Chardonnay Viognier 2008 - £5 (as part of mixed case) at Tesco. Super-smooth apples, peaches, mellon and cream. 8/10
4. Andrian Gewurztraminer 2009 - £15.49 from Oddbins. A lovely burst of fruit, tangy, tingly acidity. Smooth mouthfeel drenched in lychee, peach and reminiscent of elderflower-wine. 8/10
5. Bodegas Renacer Punto Final Malbec 2009 - £9.99 from Oddbins.Spicy, plummy and sweet blackberry and black cherry. Lovely. 8/10
6. Fabre Montmayou Gran Reserva Malbec 2007 - £12.99 from Latihwaites. Again, smoky, spicy plums with blackberries and cherry. Plenty of life left in it. 8/10.

Again, New World leading the way with 4 out of the 6. Two Argentinian Malbecs and an Aussie Chardonnay Viognier. I'm classing Lebanon as New World but that feels wrong somehow for an ancient civilisation! Anyway, the Old World had some greats in the form of the Guigal Cote du Rhone and the Italian Gewurz.

Honourable mentions...

We've had some wines outside the formulaic "mixed case of 12" reviews. Two really stood out. They were:

Edgebaston, The Pepper Pot, 2009. - £12.99 from Oddbins. A blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Tannat from South Africa.  Absolutely stunning, spicy, meaty, peppery black fruit. An enormous mouthfull of flavour. Excellent 8.5/10. Not cheap but worth every penny!

Vina Mayu, Reserva Syrah, 2007. - £11.99 from Majestic Wine. A (Decanter) Gold medal winner again here and thoroughly deserving of it.From Chile's cool-climate Elqui Valley. 100% Syrah. Again, absolutely stunning, spicy, smoky, blackberry and blackcurrant with pepper. A sweet and long finish. Excellent 8.5/10. Again, not cheap but worth it!

So there we have it; the best wines from 2010.  I can thoroughly recommend any of these to give great drinking pleasure over the festive period. It'll be a tougher job sifting through all the wines next year, but one I'll relish!

As always...

Speak to you soon.



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