It’s time to sum up 2010. As always I prefer staying positive but one can’t constantly smile – especially not after having popped yet a cork tainted bottle.
If you have followed me this year as well, or is a newcomer to Mise en bouteille, doesn’t matter. I’m happy to have you here during my first year as an English-written wineblog. At first I wondered a bit what the heck I was doing; giving up on a nice amount of Swedish followers just to jump out there amongst hundreds (thousands?) of English written wineblogs. But then I kept on reminding myself; wine is not limited to where you live; it is a beverage of global perspectives with aficionados all over the world – and then it was an easy decision to stick to.
Initially visitors obviously dropped me because the loss in readership was substantial. Now, almost a year later, I can easily say it was the correct decision to take. The readers are back and by far even more. I’ve gotten to know a bunch of fantastic wine personalities thanks to an international language - and I have new friends all over the world.
2010 is without doubt my best blogging year so far. Why? Easy. I’ve finally taken that last step realizing there’s so much more the wine world offers than classic European regions. Prejudices rule and easily takes over one’s attitude. But in 2010 I’ve put just as much effort in finding those hidden treasures out there, especially non-Europeans, and boy, did that give me a wake up-call!
Summing up my vinous 2010 is not easy; my classic approach has seen a drastic turn and a majority of my UK-in bond cellar which was seriously Bordeaux dominated, has dramatically switched character. And yes, there’s one country above all that especially has found a way directly to my heart.
Again, thanks to all of you following my writings. Next year will see some blog changes which currently do take a lot of my time. Hopefully something good comes out of it…
Ahl-Yahn-Eh-Ko of the year
I have a weak spot. No, I have many when I think of it. Anyway, one of them is called Aglianico. I was introduced to this too little spoken of-grape already 15+ years ago, and already then it was love at first sight. D’Angelo took care of that. But along the road I forgot about the southern Italian pride and only occasional encounters reminded me of the grape’s existence. This summer though I was again hit by the Aglianico-love and now I’ve promised myself I won’t let go!
Bastard of the year
Me, or Bastardo? I know; I’m a hopeless wine romantic. Chasing grapes no-one ever heard of isn’t a mission of mine but can easily be the impression one gets from reading my postings. However, if you’re a Madeira nut you will sooner or later get in contact with rarities such as Bastardo or Terrantez. Therefore it was a moment of both nostalgia and sadness when I finally this year got the chance to see some of the last Bastardo grapes on Madeira.
It is easier to understand Bastardo’s loss of popularity compared with the outstanding Terrantez, but still; it is sad we won’t see any vintage Bastardo like the 1927 anymore. Not during my lifetime at least.
Christ(os) of the year
“Christos clearly demonstrates in his wines that he’s more than a pharmacist. He’s an artist as well! I guess some just has that special ‘je ne sais quoi’ feeling when it comes to producing great wines – with or without prior training.”
Honestly, I know I should keep my 2008′s for some years but I simply can’t wait to have yet a glass of the best Greek red I’ve ever tasted! Christos rocks!
Discovery of the year
Thanks to the Quota 600 from Alberto Graci I’m now catching up. Nerello Mascalese from high-altitude sites are the quintessence of elegance and ethereal wines. I guess the acidity freak in me awakens when Mascalese is poured. Still, all of us won’t fall in love with the style but this is my blog and I’m crazy about Etna. Next time on Sicily I promise; I will have my share of Nerello-wines. Hear, hear!
Exit of the year
Sayonara Bordeaux! Mise en bouteille has left the building.
Me and my wallet have had it with overpriced wines, which at the levels I can afford, most of the times are not nearby in quality with many other wines around the world. I’ve now sold a majority of my Bordeuax cellar in UK and have realized that although I love a great BDX I’ve been hiding behind them as well. Now when I’m released I have discovered a myriad of wines I probably like more.
So, thank you Bordeaux. You’ve opened my eyes! Oh, and by the way. Thanks to all who bought my cases at BBR’s commission sale.
Feelgood of the year
It’s been a great day. We’ve been at Pico Arieiro, checked out the little villages on the north easthern coast, seen some amazing vineyards and have just finished our dinner on the terrace.
The view is amazing with Funchal and Cabo Girão in the horizon. Sunset. Still 17-18 C. Barely no wind. A glass of H.M. Borges 10 years old Malmsey. One of those moments in life that will last until senility says otherwise!
Gillette of the year
With razor-sharp delineation the 2006 La Mouline carves perfection and demonstrates when Cote-Rotie is this good, it doesn’t matter if your name is
Petrus or Lafite. You won’t stand a chance. Not if my palate decides! When I get rich I will buy cases of this. Just so you know….
Holy shit of the year
Luís d’Oliveira is a true gentleman. Always have time for me and my questions. But there’s one moment I’ll treasure more than any else and that is when Luís made me feel like Jancis Robinson for one afternoon! Vintage after vintage he poured me, and just when I thought it was impossible to fill my head with more impressions he geared up.
A 135 years ride in four hours. Eat that Einstein! O divino aqui tão perto – as close to heaven as you get!
“I‘m 89 points on that”-of the year
Sorry wine. You missed Suckling’s site by 1 point. I guess no-one has been more attacked and yelled at this year than James Suckling. In some degree it is self-induced, perhaps more, but clearly much of this could have been avoided if the purpose would have been more clear from the beginning. Maybe the circus would have stayed a storm in a teacup if James had said from the start that he was after the label-drinkers and their money. Or perhaps it wasn’t more than just a storm in a teacup all the time?
Still, it leaves me with a bitter aftertaste and feeling stupid for using points.
Judas of the year
Basically I can copy last year’s disappointment since the cork industry seems like having an urge to subscribe to the least wanted award on my A-Z list. One bottle after the other is cork tainted. Just the other day a 2009 Morgon. Why did that need a cork by the way? Cork as closure must be questioned more – at least since most wines don’t need the cork considering they’re consumed within their first years of life.
But perhaps my aversion towards cork as closure is just as much an irritation against the winetrade not compensating a tainted bottle cellared the time a producer says it should. Hide behind consumer laws at first, then claim it has been stored too long so compensation is not possible. As the end-user I’m the one paying for the shit ultimately.
Kung Fu-kick of the year
Malbec kicks ass! At least mine. Some Argentinian Malbec’s obviously heard my jeremiad on Cahors and came to give me a lesson. Single vineyard sites such as the Adrianna, Argentino, Nicasia and Finca Bella Vista; I thank for making me believe in Malbec again. What wines – I mean; this is close to world class! No, this is world class!
By the way, thanks to Elena Catena I’m now a Chimichurri-junkie!
Label of the year
There’s something about Polena from a Sicilian favorite of mine, Donnafugata. I love the colours, the simple but yet elegant drawing. Feels perfect for the content; equal parts of Cataratto and Viognier.
Labels and shape do affect us more than we would like to believe. I know what attracts me. I think. Do you know what you fall for?
Mate of the year
“This is exactly what I want in a great Chardonnay. Lots of presence, careful oak treatment and an aroma just screaming out its place of origin. As the acidity freak I am, things just get better on the palate. Simply put, this is exactly what Chardonnay is all about.”
Nope, it’s not a Chablis Grand Cru. It is Kumeu River’s 2007 Mate’s Vineyard from Auckland. We just need to learn how Chardonnay tastes like outside of France and that the too often used terroir-word (at least when you wan’t to feel superior) is not something that the French own. Served blind you will fool many europhiles with this one!
Naturalment of the year
But British fizz; can it really be something? Heck yes! Sussex-based RidgeView Estate clearly demonstrated that a couple of times 2010 when we had the impressive 2006 Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs. I suppose the psychological barrier in this case is: 1. British fizz. 2. £20-25. 3. Come on, British fizz!
Onkaparinga of the year
Being a wine nut or not; you can’t have missed out on the hysteria surrounding the Pope wines anno 2007. That is why I’m instead pushing for the 2006 Onkaparinga from Clarendon Hills. C9dP don’t need my support but if you love Grenache and yet haven’t discovered the Aussie version; shame on you. But hey, you’re forgiven.
Just get going and pick up an Onkaparinga – “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship”.
Pinosity of the year
“Quite dark for a Pinot. Wow! Already when closing in on the bouquet you sense what’s gonna hit the nose! Dark cherries, wild strawberries, leather,
humus/compost, spices and rose petals. Perfectly integrated oak. Still young but such awesome concentration on the nose and still managing to stay elegant….I’m already all yours dear Omihi.”
I could have stayed conservative and picked a Burgundy – or perhaps extended my caution to Germany. But let’s face reality. New Zealand is not a newcomer anymore and they’ve shown us more than once they know how to treat Pinot. Sadly, Daniel Schuster went into receivership last year but that doesn’t stop me from saluting his 2006 Omihi. Nope, Kiwi’s aren’t here to watch and learn anymore; they’re now competing with the best around the world.
Queen of the year
Yes, Douro knows how to handle Touriga Nacional but for me the greatest expressions and interpretations emanates from Dão where the grape reigns. The combination of high altitude sites resulting in classy natural acidity, protected surroundings, the soil mainly consisting of granite and sand and the backing up of Tinta Roriz, Jaen and Alfrocheiro Preto, results in wines right up my alley.
Dão might be one of the most underrated high quality wine-regions in the world. If the ambassadors of great Dão shall be able to continue their work more consumers needs to discover the wines. Why don’t start with one of Portugal’s most promising winemakers, Filipa Pato, and her amazing 2008 Lokal Silex. Filipa and Touriga Nacional, the two queens of Dão?
Region of the year
When you have indigenous grapes and stick to them despite knowing how hard it is to convince the consumer, you deserve a medal. Especially when not falling for the trick to plant international grapes and just become yet a Chardonnay/Cabernet/Syrah-producing region in the world.
The quality boom in Portugal’s biggest region, Vinho Verde, is amazing. Few know about the grapes beyond Alvarinho and yet the producers continue with Loureiro, Trajadura and Vinhão to mention just a few. Wines stuffed with personality and quality are the future. Vinho Verde has all the potential to continue on their growing recognition and make 2011 their year. Not convinced yet? Have some Quinta de Gomariz and you will be!
Sister of the year
Man, can Chris Camarda handle that grape juice or not! The premium wine 2006 Sorella went straight to my heart and started my Bordeaux exit. A case of ’05 Duhart-Milon Rothschild gave me two cases of the Andrew Will-wine. Buy of the year!
Sorella proofs that Washington produces world class wines and that it’s worthy of our attention.
Not only is Andrew Will’s premium bottling a great wine, it is also a homage to two women in his life; his late sister and his late wife. Wine is many times more than just wine; they also tell us personal stories. Perhaps knowing the reason behind some wines makes us drink them with even more respect?
Terrantez of the year
My blogs are not about bragging. Readers in search for articles namedropping great wines will be disappointed if they find their way to me. Yes, I’ve had divine centennial Terrantez this year but come on; it’s much more fun to share experiences that actually are possible for most us to find.
Henriques and Henriques deserves a medal for doing their part to preserve Madeira’s greatest grape. The newly released 20 Years Old Terrantez shows just how much personality the grape offers. It’s ethereal, it’s mystical, it’s Terrantez!
Tasting wines like the 2006 Eisner makes you humble. It just shows the diversity out there and that great wine can emanate from many grapes. Choose Austria. Choose Neusiedlersee. Choose Toni Hartl. Choose Eisner. Choose Blaufränkisch!
Verse of the year
Poetry I tell you. This is poetry! To reach such insight must be close to both Nirvana and ultimate frustration. Nevertheless, the words of the late Jim Barry describes exactly what wine many times are all about: You can’t stress your way to success. Patience is needed and sometimes that means waiting for generations.
The 2006 The Armagh is a perfect example of that! A monumental wine that those with patience and fortune will speak about in 2025.
Winemaker of the year
How am I to choose a winemaker of the year? So many deserves attention for what they’re doing. My choice had a personal approach. Rianie Strydom made me believe in South-African red wines again, showing that you don’t have to talk about burnt scents in every single wine. It will be a true pleasure to follow her Pillars Shiraz or the BDX-blend, IV, the coming years. These are high-class wines competing with many more well-known labels.
Nice meeting you Rianie!
Xanadu of the year
Madeira is our idyll. Guess most of my readers got the message by now. Our five week stay on the island in February and March earlier this year were most welcome. Leaving the cold records in Sweden and switching that with green lawns pleased not only our eldest daughter.
Beautiful sceneries, great people, lovely food and, and, and…fantastic wines! Madeira is our Xanadu on earth. Miss you!
Youth of the year
Believe the hype! 2009 is a great vintage for many wine regions around the world. Sadly most of the writings are centered around the ridiculously overpriced Bordeaux-wines that now are an exclusivity for the rich around the world.
But do you remember Beaujolais? No, I don’t mean the cheating and court cases which seem to be how the region’s been thought of the last years. I mean 2009. I mean Brouilly, Chiroubles, Fleurie, Morgon and Moulin a Vent. Never have there been a better chance to taste great Gamay at prices you didn’t think were possible! Stock up with 2009 Beaujolais Cru and fall in love with the ultimate potential of Gamay!
Zealander of the year
In 2009 I wasn’t much aware of Waipara’s existence. Kathryn Ryan has made sure I know am!
Her Mountford Vineyard wines are right up my alley and I can’t get enough of it. The mixture of the best from France with Kiwi know-how is a good combo. I will keep this short because otherwise Kathryn will be embarrassed of all the praising. Kathryn; Zealander of the year here on Mise en bouteille.
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