In late 2003 my friend Cosme and I decided to start a wine tasting group, and following our tastings I would send the gang an email recounting our experiences. On or about this date two years ago I decided to start a blog, a personal repository for those tasting notes. Eventually I decided there was no need to "hide" those notes, and soon thereafter I started posting notes on all sorts of wines. But it is not about the notes, per se, as I mentioned at the start of this year (study, study, study)…
For my friends who have followed this site, Year Two expanded beyond the notes and followed my resolutions to taste more whites (incl. 5 German whites), more Burgundies (20, vs. one in the prior year), and some Loire wine notes (11, vs. one the prior year). I also reviewed the appellations and wines of Southwest France, introduced American Wine Month (1), and drank with some fellow bloggers (1,2,3,4), amongst other "achievements"…
By the numbers
I don't have time to compile a bunch of stats, but can say that over the past year I have published 202 posts (now over 350 in total) covering, say, 300+ wines? Looking at the readership, since last May I have increased my readership more than five-fold, with over 50,000 page loads and>33,000 visitors.
Most amazing wines of the past twelve months
It is nice to have fond memories - over the past 12 months these wines have been etched into my memory:
Moreau Grand Cru Chablis – I had a chance to taste a number of Moreau's Grand Cru bottlings at this year's Salon des Vins – memorable, mind-blowing – now I understand the fuss over Grand Cru Chablis.
2001 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny - How often do you get to drink a legendary Burgundy with a great friend, a decent pour, and time to contemplate that precious liquid? Thanks, Cosme.
2000 Serpico dei Feudi di San Gregorio – I'm a sucker for big, rustic, Italian reds, and this Aglianico was so different from anything I have ever tasted.
2000 Sierra Cantabria Coleccion Privada – Such a beautiful Rioja, and so comforting to know that I have two more bottles in my cellar.
1996 Sandrone Cannubi Boschis – Yes, I know aged Barolo is supposed to be amazing, but this amazing? I need a second job…
1988 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rare Vintage – I've had lots of champagne in my life, but never anything good with some cellar time. It was very cool to taste a high-quality vintage champagne 20 years on.
Verite – The highlight of my 2007 Sonoma trip was a memorable flight of perhaps the best Californian wines I have ever tasted, Verite's La Joie, Le Desir and La Muse. I can't wait to see how this winery develops over the next few years.
(Be nice to me – I have another bottle of most of these wines in my cellar…)
Winery of the Year
To be considered for Joe's highly sought-after "Winery of the Year" Award, I must have tasted multiple wines from the winery and seen uniform excellence across the line, with bonus points if I tasted multiple vintages and different grapes. It really was no contest:
Luciano Sandrone: Throughout the year I sang the praises of Piedmont's Luciano Sandrone – humble Dolcetto, premium Barbera, regional Nebbiolo and top Barolo Cuvees, I have never been disappointed. Critics may call Sandrone a modernist but I call him talented, and there was never any doubt that these wines come from Piedmont or that they would slay an Osso Bucco.
Domaine A et P de Villaine (Runner-up): It is almost embarrassing to name Aubert de Villaine, the legendary winemaker for Domaine Romanee Conti, a `runner-up`. His personal estate, Domaine A et P de Villaine, is not DRC but produces great wines – I loved his chardonnay, aligote and pinot noir – and all at great prices (considering the quality). I just wish these were more widely available…
Resolutions for Year Three
I have already started with more German wines, so you can expect to see more. New Zealand has also been a bit glossed over, so I think I should address that. I will probably do American Wine Month again in August, and I will do another West Coast trip in the fall, perhaps Central Coast this time. I am also keen to taste wine beyond my wine group – last year I tasted with Weingolb, Brooklynguy, and had a near miss with McDuff – look for more ``blogger-a-blogger`` tastings over the next year (and maybe some more big wine tasting events). And expect more wine commentary beyond the notes...
Cheers to all!