What is it with the end of year best-of-lists? Why is it that every December we get bombarded with lists of the year's bests: best movies, best sports plays, best wines, etc..? Perhaps it has something to do with our human desire to quanitfy and control things in nice, neat little lists. It's like a recognition of accomplishments, regardless of how insignificant that accomplishment may be.
Never one to shy away from bandwagonning, I've decided to contribute to the madness with a list of my top wines for 2009. It is, kidding aside, a good way to look back on wines drank, remember good times and stories shared, and memories made.
This list respresents wines that I found particularly moving throughout the year. Some are blockbuster wines that I was fortunate to taste, some are wines that I owned that showed well on a given night, perhaps due to the situation in which they were consumed. Many I've already discussed here.
You will find that most end of the year best-of lists go to well-rounded numbers like 10, or 25.
Well, in honor of one of the greatest movies of all time, my list of Top Wines of 2009 goes to Eleven.
The wines are in no particular order, but there are eleven.
1976 Hanzell Pinot Noir Sonoma-A 33 yeard old California pinot that showed brief moments of brilliance. It makes the list simply for proving that well-made Cali pinot, at the hands of masters, can age well.
2001 Arcadian Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow-I love Joe Davis' wines. There, I said it.
1997 Arcadain Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow--see above.
1997 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Couchereax-I testified here a while back to my heading down the dark road that leads to Burgundy. This is one of the wines this year that turned me in that direction. And, its not even a great one.
2001 Colgin Cariad--As brilliant as California Cabernet can be. If I regularly bought $250 bottles of wine, I'd buy plenty of Colgin. Nice to know people who do. Stunning Cabernet that still has a long life ahead.
1992 LaJota Cabernet 11th Anniversary--Textbook California Cabernet at age seventeen. Exactly how I like Cali Cabs with age: Leather, black fruit, sweet tannins soft in the background.
2001 Edmunds St John Los Robles Viejos-this gets on the list because Steve Edmunds cranks out ridiculously tasty and ageworthy Rhone-style wines that one can get for under $20.
1999 Guigal Hermitage--From my brother's cellar and just drinking beautifully back in July.
2001 Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf Du Pape--This wine continues to drink well. Almost perfect with Cassoulet back in October.
1990 Chateau Beaucastel Chateauneuf Du Pape--One of the best modern vintages for Chateaunuef du Pape. A brilliant wine still in a great space. Even at midnight, after multiple bottles, it was clear this is a magnificent wine.
1994 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf Du Pape-- Perhaps the single greatest wine I drank this year. 100% Grenache and 100% killer. A Chateauneuf with Burgundian sensibilites. Haunting perfume, feminine beauty, and pure red fruited joy across the palate. My second bottle in the past couple years that has thrilled and excited me. One bottle left in the cellar that I will be sad to say goodbye to one day.