There seems to have been a lot of talk lately on twitter and on other blogs about people’s wine of the year. I have to admit to always being slightly amazed that anyone can take a year’s worth of tasting, sipping, slurping and drinking and distill it all down into one wine. One wine to rule them all. How can you begin to compare between any number of completely different wine styles and decide which is best? I certainly can’t. For me, wine is as much about the situation, the people you enjoy it with and possibly the food you eat with it as much as the wine itself. So rather than picking just one wine, here instead are some of my favourite vinous moments of the past year:
The lifestyle of the rich and the famous moment –
A couple of contenders for this. Lunch at Chateau Margaux in February as part of our MW bootcamp week would certainly be up there. Drinking Margaux 1999 with Côte de Veau followed by blinged-up Tarte Tatin in the exquisite dining room at Margaux was something special. But the truly incredible pinch-myself-am-I-really-here? moment was taking a lunchtime cruise on Sydney Harbour in the blazing sunshine on the Robert Oatley super yacht whilst eating canapés and sipping a variety of Robert Oatley wines. James Bond, eat your heart out.
The When Harry met Sally moment –
I am generally of the opinion that most good wine will go with most good food and that sometimes it is easy to get too worried about creating the perfect match. However, I do have to admit that the combination during our epic lunch at The Fat Duck of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party mock turtle soup with La Bota Amontillado was sublime. The nutty, savoury Amontillado perfectly matched the complex soup and lifted the whole dish to another level. I’ll have what she’s having.
The disappointing moment –
This would have to be finally tasting my very own Purley wine. After such high hopes of creating amazing wine in what is surely the fabulous terroir of Purley, it seems that even when fermenting a thimbleful of grape juice things can go wrong. A stuck ferment plus some stinky reduction problems certainly didn’t result in the greatest wine of the year. Lets hope the 2014 vintage is better.
The double take moment –
Probably a bottle of Turkish wine I had at my brother’s just a few weeks ago. I have to admit to not having tasted a great amount of Turkish wine before and I was really surprised by how pretty and delicate this one was- medium bodied and full of sour red cherry flavours giving a pleasing crunchiness. The variety was Kalecik Karasi and this wine at under £10 from the Wine Society was a real bargain.
The raiding the cellar moment –
This year I turned 30 and so the top raiding the cellar moment has to go to when I took a small collection of 1983 wines over to Portugal to enjoy with some friends (many of whom share the same birth year). None of the wines were what you would call ‘top wines’, and certainly some of them should have been drunk quite some time ago, but celebrating our 30th birthdays with birth year wines was pretty special.
The eye-opening winery visit moment –
Whilst visiting Orange in Australia was eye-opening due to the unexpectedly (for Australia) cool climate, it was Haut Bailly in Bordeaux that was really unanticipated. I don’t count myself quite as Bordeaux-phobic as Lenka, but its not a region thats normally high on my shopping list. We monkeys had a couple of days visiting wineries in Bordeaux back in February before our MW bootcamp started, and whilst the wineries we went to were fascinating, the wines themselves weren’t hugely memorable. That is until we got to Haut Bailly. The combination of almost spiritual-like serenity in the vineyards and wines that sent shivers up my spine with their poise and beauty is something I won’t forget in a while.
The you only live once moment –
Definitely the bottle of Selosse Initiale I bought to celebrate passing my MW exams. Worth every single penny.
I’ve got a feeling that 2014 will bring some more memorable moments but for now – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!