12 Days Of Christmas Wines

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - December 15, 2006
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The end of the year is near and I can look back at it with many fond memories. And at the same time if you haven’t already found something nice for your beloved wine lover, I may be able to give you some suggestions.

So with the 12 days of Christmas upon us, instead of giving you what to drink on those 12 days, I’ve decided to put together my list of the Top 12 wines I’ve drunk this year. I make no amends for having no parameters. They range from rare to ubiquitous. The prices range from downright cheap to more than a used car. There is no rhyme or reason for order or category. The only consideration was my own palate.

1) Top Everyday Champagne has to be the NV DieboltVallois Brut ($38). It has all the class and pedigree of great Champagne with even more soul and complexity than the big Champagne houses can boast.

2) Top Champagne is the 1990 Krug ($200). Every time I’ve drunk it I want more of it. It is simply flawless. It may be hard to find now since the 1995 Krug (also great) has been released.

3) Top White Burgundy is the 2001 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne ($1,000). It is made of “unobtainium” and is as close to a “perfect” dry white wine as I’ve tasted this year.

4) Top “Young” Red Burgundy is 1990 La Tache ($3,500). One of the world’s greatest wines. It is psychedelic and throws my senses into joyful ecstasy.

5) Best Value Red Burgundy is 2004 Leroy Bourgogne Rouge ($80). How is that a value? There is Grand Cru juice in it from Clos de Vougeot and others. It is worth double the price in enjoyment already.

6) Top “Old” Red Burgundy is a toss up between 1959 and 1964 Leroy Grands Echezeaux ($1,000, $800). These prove that Burgundy does age gracefully and better than almost anything else on earth.

7) Best Value New World White is the 2005 Cono Sur Chardonnay from Chile ($8). It beats up on California Chardonnay at twice and thrice the price! Beautiful fruit and texture.

8) Top Australian Shiraz is 2004 Samuel’s Gorge McClaren Vale ($36). For people who love gobs of old-vine fruit without the burn of vodka in wine. Absolutely delicious.

9) Top Italian Red is the 1995 Soldera Brunello di Montalcino Riserva ($300). This is a Lamborghini of a wine, sleek, powerful, rare and potent. Ciao bella!

10) Best Dessert Wine is the 2003 Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Eiswein ($130/375ml). This liquid gold is piercingly pure, ravishing and decadent. It will outlive anyone who is of drinking age now.

11) Best Bordeaux (besides the 2005 Lafleur which is not yet released) is 1971 Petrus ($1,200). Even though it was tasted with the 1990 and 1989 vintages, the 1971 is so ready to drink with flavors almost impossible to describe. It is like drinking liquid silk.

12) Best California Pinot Noir under $40 is either the 2005 Drew Gatekeepers Vineyard ($32) or the 2005 Costa d’Oro Oro Rojo ($35). I couldn’t pass up either of them for their elegance, perfume and sexiness.

So there you have it, a veritable hedonistic baker’s dozen of the best of the year. Here is looking forward to an even better year in 2007 and even more great wine. Cheers!

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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