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Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The top wine moments of 2016

It is a list, but it’s difficult to put it correctly, it’s more the first that springs to my mind thinking back on the year that has passed by. 

#1. Just for the sheer pleasure and luxury of being able to follow and share one bottle of 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild over several hours with just one fellow drinker. A magnificent bottle, the best one I’ve had, opened randomly (word not chosen randomly) by itself. Normally these shows up at crazy tastings were one bottle overshadows another, and one just gets small sips as there are lots of people around the table. That is off course how many of us actually get to taste these expensive gems. Fantastic evening and night. The wine showed all exotic treats and layers one expects from it. 100

#2. A Vega Sicilia Vertical tasting in Helsinki, Finland with a total of 17 new vintages for me of Unico, stretching back to 1921. Some of the highlights of the evening were the 1946, 1964, 1986, 1996, 2002 vintages, with many runners up. We started the tasting with the 1964 as the host had read that some crazy Norwegian had given the wine a perfect score. I wonder who that could be?

#3. I have had this a few times now, and spotted this one quite quickly blind. The stunning 1970 Château Latour is a cathedral of a wine. So massively built, yet layers of fruit and complexity, stunning. Hugely impressive wine. 100

#4. Yes, I am a Mouton guy, always have loved the bold exotic expression, and here is another Mouton, 1986 Château Mouton Rothschild this time, opened in May. It needed four hours in decanter to run on all cylinders, but wow, then it ran smoothly. Layers of lush and pure fruit, incredible length. 100

#5. The only reason this isn’t further up is its youth. 2014 Comte Liger Belair La Romanée. WOW! The purity, the delicacy, the nuances, the layers, the playfulness, the brightness. It feels transparent until you try another great wine besides it, and it just runs over it. The length is amazing! Wish I could afford cases! 100

#6. 2000 Château Latour just left me dreaming. It is youthful still, but the layers and depth showing up in there is stunning. Refined and just ads on and on the more air one gives it. Amazing stuff. 99

#7. Three times 1916 Château Malartic Lagraviére. The bottles were opened at L’Academie du Vin dinner in Bordeaux. Two bottles fairly similar, one less so. To be able to have a go at bottle variations on a wine one hundred years old, that is just amazing! Best wine got 94!

#8. Getting a glass of 1996 Le Pin at Helsinki Airport. Not a producer I taste much, and not something I expect to find at an airport. The coravin system isn’t perfect, the wine seemed a little to evolved for its age, but anyways, quite a treat. 

#9. Probably my most delicious sparkling this year. At the above mentioned Vega-Sicilia vertical, this 1975 Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill from magnum was poured. A subtle, refreshing, delicate, nuanced, lively and refined Champagne. Served blind, I was off quite a bit, I guessed 1988 Salon. Stunning once in a lifetime experience!

#10. The random moment, in the middle of the night, when I first get a 1938 Barros Colheita blind, and then a 1865 Niepoort Colheita. Let’s just say I was miles off both vintages blind! Both superb.

#11. A magnificent trip to Mosel in August arranged by the German Wine Institute. I had an excellent guide for two of the days with Slow Mosel, and fantastic visits in both vineyards and wineries up and down Saar, Ruwer and Mosel. Superb visits at Zilliken, Selbach-Oster, Dr.Pauly-Bergweiler, Vollenweider, Weiser-Künstler, Kettern and more. The trips organized by the German Wine Institute are always great experiences. I really fell back in love with Riesling on this trip to Mosel. Mosel made me fall in love with the variety, but I’m not as geared up for the love of the bone dry ones as many. My God have good a proper Kabinett can be!

#12. A trip to Douro, tasting lots of beautiful wines, young and old. Having some excellent food in Porto, and beautiful Colheitas from Kopke in the vintages 1938 and 1935. But the vitality of the 1917 Barros Rich Tawny probably sticks to my mind the most. 

#13. A week in Romania was an eye-opener. It changed my view on an entire country, as well as on their wines. There might be some future stars here.

#14. Getting to taste a massive amount of wines from Albert Bichot as they let me sniff and taste around their cellars for three days. Including some very rare birds like the 300 bottles production of Richebourg! Amazed at their generosity. 

#15. Going to Grand Jours de Bourgogne with a fairly crazy fellow Norwegian dreaming of buying a castle so he could throw burning oil on visitors he didn’t like. Rarely have I laughed as hard and as much, at the same time as there were so many stunning wines on display, ready to be tasted. It was some fantastic days in Burgundy. 

There were many more fantastic wine moments in 2016, as well as the loss of some wine friends. It’s been a roller coaster of a year, with lots of emotions. Can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring. Oh shit, I forgot a pretty interesting Marques de Riscal vertical going back to 1910…..

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