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Your top wines of 2019


It is that time of the year, so let’s jump on the bandwagon for some innocent fun and share the wines that we have most enjoyed in 2019.

I will start with my three in no particular order…

2015 Le Grappin Saint-Aubin L’Ebaupin - The first of my Le Grappin Burgundies, patiently cellared for over 3 years. A really satisfying white Burgundy.
2011 Tertre Rôteboeuf - When I started this post I never thought a Bordeaux would make this list, but as I was browsing my wines drank in 2019 this was the one where I did not hesitate for a second. The price means it will not be a regular purchase, but what a treat it was.
2016 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett - This is a great wine, but what made it extra special was that it paired great with some home made Chinese dumplings and was enjoyed in the company of very good friends.

There were more for sure, but limits must be set…

January 2020 on The Community

Dom. Ferraton Cornas “Patou” 2012 - northern Rhône complexity and depth with a hint of Southern weight and warmth - in JLL’s words, rock and roll Cornas

Zind Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl PG. Best white wine I’ve ever tasted, impossible to describe the combination of richness and dryness

Then it’s a toss-up between the Circe Mornington PN and the Liberator Thunderbirds Are Go. On balance it goes to the latter one for being stonking value and an exceptional effort for a first ever wine.

Disappointment of the year: 2001 Vieux Telegraphe. Two bottles, both underwhelming, both far too expensive. Sold the third.


I love Du/Le Grappin wines (their bagnums of rosé are not going to make my list of best, but are my most drunk wine of the year). The limit to 3 is tough, as every bottle of wine is great and I’ve done some ridiculous/stupid wine related things this year (wine flight at Mugaritz in San Sebastien for my dads 70th. My bank balance may never recover!).

2013 Vallana Boca - I’ve recently discovered non-Barolo/Barbarasco Nebbiolos, and have the zeal of a new convert about them. This one (with a small amount of vespolina and uva rara in as well) is my favourite. Very elegant red fruits with a little spice from the minor grapes. Nom.
2014 Chateau Brown Blanc - Possibly a bit situational as I drank this in 4eme Mur in Bordeaux with a great meal with great friends, but this was everything I want a white Bordeaux to be and then some.
1986 Mestres Cava Gran Reserva - Aforementioned bank breaking birthday trip for my dad. This was the best wine experience (of a less enjoyable than one would hope, but that’s a different rant!) of the meal by a long way. 33 year old Cava. It was ever so slightly fizzy and delightfully oxidised. A real treat!

That’s my three off the top of my head (my forth would be this, but we’re not allowed four).


A slight tangent

Best wine of the year (red) was a 2010 CNDP Clos des Papes. Quite simply stunning.

Biggest surprise of the year and best white was a 2017 Paul Ginglinger Pinot Gris. I really was convinced I wouldn’t like it and it remained in the cooler for about 6 months before I opened it. I have to say it was great and I’ve subsequently bought some more. Although my taste in whites is very experimental I had always kept to dry or bone dry types. This was beautifully rich and opulent.

My biggest disappointment was a Mount Eden Chardonnay 2015 that I bought for Christmas Day. Rather unbalanced with tropical fruit outweighing everything else.


I think the link to your 4th is the same as your 3rd


Oops! Edited!

(It is a 2017 Domaine Barou ‘La Bonne Etoile’ Viognier)


My best reds were these:

Bought for a wine tasting we were presenting on a Sangiovese theme.

Everything I want from a Pinot Noir

Le Diffese (3rd wine of Tenuta San Guido) when we celebrated Mr Jay Kay’s 70th in Jersey In April. A smooth as silk blend of Cab Sauv and Sangiovese. What’s not to like about a blackcurrant and black cherry combo?

For the whites:

A thrilling dry white Bordeaux full of flavour and complexity

Enjoyed on Christmas Eve. A stunning wine.

And of course a fair few bottle of this beauty


Although both are essentially entry level wines for their respective producers I couldn’t have wished for more from them…

…both were broached this week. The Santa Rita Hills Pinot 2013 from Domaine de la Cote was every bit as good, and actually quite similar in flavour and structure, as the villages Gevrey 2011 from Fourrier ( bought some years ago as a bin-end ).

The Fourrier wine, from a decent vintage but not a great one, begged the question, what on earth do their 1er and grand cru wines taste like, as I thought it was nigh on perfect. Unfortunately it’s a question I’m unlikely to ever answer !

Regretfully I opened this earlier in the year thinking I had 3 bottles in reserve. It cost £16…

…the effusive notes actually undersell it but unfortunately it was the 2014 I had in reserve. If I’d had the nous to try it whilst it remained available I would have bought a case


This has certainly been a year for more burgundy, and the Volnay was my first experience of some seriously aged burgundy, and it was fabulous, whilst the Gran Enemigo was a fantastic introduction to high altitude Cabernet franc:


Looking at my notes the stand out wines for me this year were:

This was my first mature Musar and it certainly did not disappoint.

This was tried to help decide on my Bdx EP order. Gorgeous wine and I duly ordered a case of 6.

Another Lebanese that I’ve fallen in love with. It will be interesting to see if the significantly more expensive Le Souveraine I picked up recently is worth the extra!

This one really shows the quality that can come out of Gigondas at much more reasonable prices than its more illustrious neighbour CNdP.

The 2012 of this Segla inspired me to buy half a dozen ep this year. A beautifully elegant wine demonstrating just how good Bordeaux second wines can be!

Each of the wines I have lined up for the last week in the year are also quite likely to make this list! :clinking_glasses:


This is really hard!

Fratelli Urciuolo Taurasi Aglianico 2011

A wild and complex Taurasi that I managed to pick up for a bargain £20

This is better imo than quite a few famous and expensive NV Champagnes. Toasty and complex with good mineral length.


Chivite Coleccion 125 Vendimia Tardia 2014

I was taken aback by the multilayered complexity of this wine.


Such a hard question, but restricting myself to three (well, slightly cheating). In chronological order:

First, The Château Fontesteau Vertical Case.

Not the best red wine I tasted this year (though very nice), but for someone like me who drinks little mature Bordeaux, having the chance to taste this as a vertical with friends was both very pleasurable and very educational. Well worth taking advantage of these verticals and mini-verticals that TWS offers.

Second, aged Albariño.

I was extremely lucky to be picked out of @Ewan’s hat to attend the March Press Tasting with two excellent companions in @JayKay and @Rifka. This, together with the 2007 and 2008 were the ones that we all came out raving about, and I could just have easily picked any of the vintages. Great wine (I see that @JayKay has the 2007 listed), but also just such a surprise - aged albariño was not a concept that had occurred to me.

Third, Domaine Weinbach Altenbourg Pinot Gris 2011. This was the wine of the night in an evening of great wines. Amazing complexity, depth and length. Fortunately I still have a bottle left.


A very unusual (and well aged) Montravel. No big reputation sitting alongside Castillon, St Emilion but a very interesting bottling. Estate sadly didn’t reply to my email for further information though.


Difficult to settle on the three I most enjoyed, but it’s been fun just going back over some of my notes and posts to shortlist them. And, when it comes to the crunch - even though I think I sampled a fairly broad palette of wines over the course of 2019 - it was very much a year dominated by bubbles…

First place goes to:

Dermot Sugrue, The Trouble with Dreams, 2014; crunchy crispy creamy buttery biscuits. And deliciously bruised apple. Bubbles few and far between. Mouth watering. Sublime…


Cédric Bouchard, Roses de Jeanne Les Ursules, Blanc de Noirs, Celles-sur-Ource, 2013 (04.2017); O.M.G! Easy to see why CB has developed such a cult following. Exceptional. Had us gobsmacked.

And, third:

Chapel Down Bacchus (sparkling), 2018; Wow! Apple and elderflower. Crushed green leaves. Gorgeous Kentish beauty. All hail Bacchus!

And hoping to discover a few new wonders in 2020!


Mine were:

and these two, both bought from House of Townend, for around the £25 mark;


My turn!

Favorite fizz (the girlfriend drinks little else, so we get to try waaay too much):
Voirin-Jumel Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc: Very welcoming fruity/flowery nose, some minerality later. Lovely rich, effervescent mouthfeel. Very light but very pleasant. At about €18 a bottle at the cellar door, great value.

Biggest fizzy disappointment: Person L’Audacieuse 2004: Loved the '02, not cheap but bought 3 bottles, all of which had some degree of taint. Hate throwing good money and high expectations down the sink!

Favorite red: Gevrey Chambertin 1er cru Lavaux St Jacques; Dom. Maume 2006: bought en primeur from TWS, now absolutely in its prime, just gorgeous! I keep buying this despite having been sold to Canadians (now Dom Tawse): hope standards haven’t slipped!

Favorite white: Altos de Torona Albarino 2017: originally sourced from TWS, now bought direct from Spain (via Decantalo); not mindblowing, just a really good “house white”


Wow, this is a difficult exercise. But looking back at my notes, the ones that left a lasting impression or were repeated pleasures were mostly whites in my case:

The 2016 Chignin-Bergeron ‘La Bergeronnelle’ - courtesy of @MikeFranklin - a top expression of Roussanne in my opinion.

2017 Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko- one of the most complex wines I’ve tasted, which never disappoints (only one bottle left…)

2015 Domaine Bott-Geyl ‘Les Elements’ Gewurztraminer - wow, wow, wow!


Amazing value for money. One of my most enjoyable wines in 2019

For reds, the ones that made me wish I had more than a bottle or two were:

And this beauty (I had the 2011):


I feel mean now for leaving out all the others I enjoyed… :grimacing:


Based on my notes (glad I kept them for most wines I drank!), I am going for

Ch Leoville Barton 2002 - had this with roast rib of beef on New Year’s Day, so almost a full year ago. Old fashioned, well made claret from a property that makes good wine in an average year.

Thymiopolous Terra Petra 2016 - such a good wine, and got so many people remarking on it.

Finally, one which I had in the last week…well only two glasses of it so far…

Utterly bewitching if you like this style of Gewurztraminer.

Honourable mentions to:

Musar 1999

Clos des Cazaux Gigondas Tour Sarrazine 2013

Rias Baxias which we had in Mallorca in October. So good we had three bottles of it in the same restaurant (not all in the same night!)


Mmm, it is difficult. I think as my top highlights I’ll go for two reds:
1997 Penfolds Bin 389 Cab Shiraz for a couple of reasons. One that I’ve waited about 20 years to drink it, and two that it was well worth the wait. Lovely wine, long finish, but the bottle could have been bigger! I have one more to enjoy sometime fairly soon.

2003 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant. This one I’ve also had for some years and it’s an exceptional wine with a super long finish. The other reason to mention it is that there will be no more produced as Randall Grahm has decided to stop making this particular wine. If you find any on sale it’s worth buying/trying. I have one more of this too - when to drink it?

Maybe I’ll also mention my recent Lustau Añada experience. Full of flavour(s) but initially I thought it was just too sweet for me. However over the last couple of weeks that I’ve been sipping the odd glass I’ve found it’s grown on me. No doubt about the sweetness but lots of enjoyment as well. It’s opened my mind to the idea of trying more sherries, so definitely qualifies as a valuable formative experience.


Wild Ferment Assyrtiko? Hnnnnnnng!