10. Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Brut NV. I get the most enjoyment from drinking sparkling wines, especially Champagnes. I tried this gem at the Vanguard trade show, alongside some other grower Champagnes…the difference between these and the generic ‘Cliquots’ is insane! I’m definitely proud to stand on my soap box and tout the wonders of grower Champagnes, like this one.
9. Penfolds 707 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. I’ve never been overly impressed by Aussie wines, but at a Penfolds tasting earlier this year my mind was changed! This wine had every characteristic I crave, dark, black fruits, a bit of austere earthiness, and the slight hint that it would only improve over time. I even liked this better than Grange!
8. Burly Cabernet Sauvignon 2005. This is the quintessential Napa Cab for me. Like the name suggests, it is big, bold, and in your face. With explosions of ripe fruit, medium tannin and a lengthy finish, it was perfect with steak. I brought this bottle to a friends house for a housewarming dinner, it we still remember and talk about it.
7. Rosenblum Viognier Kathy’s Cuvee 2007. During a blind tasting seminar I came across this unique white. Corey S. and I were in Indianapolis, preparing for our 1st Level Sommelier Exam, and the Master’s were instructing us as to the proper techniques in blind tasting. I think I guessed this as a Pinot Gris, Corey may have identified it as Chenin Blanc. We were both wrong! This surprising Viognier has a flowery, powerful nose, a crisp and delightfully round palate, the finish had a decent amount of acidity. Delicious!
6. Novelty Hill Merlot 2005. I’ll admit it. I’ve jumped on the Washington State bandwagon with Kevin. No one on Earth is making merlot like them! This is one of my favorites, exhibiting the classic blue fruits that Washington State merlot is known for, this has the silky, cool texture that I’ve come to seek out in wine. I can’t wait to continue trying wines from Columbia Valley and elsewhere, as they just keep getting better and better.
5. Chateau Lynch-Bages 2001. I was very fortunate this summer and was able to go with my mother and sister on a trip to Bordeaux. After a tour of Chateau Lynch-Bages, we ate at a café on the premises and had a lovely lunch, accompanied by this bottle of 2001. What an experience! This was dark, austere and had a nutty taste to all of us, something like hazelnuts. It paired well with our pommes frites! This was one of my favorite wine moments, and I was so happy to be able to share it with my family.
4. Caldwell Syrah 2005. This summer I planned a girl’s weekend at a lakehouse in Indiana; 8 of my closest girlfriends from school were driving in from all over the country for a weekend of girl-talk, cocktails and getting some sun. But to my early dismay, a group of guys surprised us and crashed the party! This proved to be a blessing in disguise because one of the gentlemen had just come back from a trip to California, and brought this bottle of wine. I had had the Rocketscience before, but this was in a league of its own. With large, powerful bursts of black fruit, this wine benefited from the use of a vinturi. Let’s just say the girly-cocktails were put on the back-burner for awhile.
3. Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe 2007. I’ve said it before, I was born on the wrong continent. I love everything French, and this wine is no exception! From my favorite wine producing region, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, comes this iconic wine. I was with a group of wine lovers at Belterra and we uncorked this bottle as good luck before hitting the casino. Wow! Initially on the palate the alcohol was apparent, but the longer I had the wine in my glass the more this blew off, showing aspects of dried herbs like thyme and oregano, followed by a gorgeous texture and a finish of plum and baked fruit. Cette vin est tres délicieux!
2.Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2003. One word, luscious. It definitely has some heat to it, but otherwise this wine absolutely sings. Dark, smoky fruit…the oak is detected by the vanilla bean undertones. The finish goes on for days. Perfect for a birthday or holiday gift, however, if it were me I’d be selfish and drink this one all by myself.
1. Chateau Cos d’Estournel 2007. A Bordeaux barrel tasting! Our first stop on our Bordeaux trip, this Chateau was the very picture of elegance, refinement, and some good old fashioned grape farming. We were very lucky and the usual tour guide was off the day we visisted, and so we were shown around by the winemaker Dominique Arangoits. His pride in his work was evident and well deserved…the wines were phenomenal. The 2007 was still young, a baby, but promised to be great. The tannins were very pronounced, but so was the elegant and balanced fruit. This wine also had some nuttiness to it, and the finish showed a bit of alcohol and smoke. My favorite wine, and favorite wine experience, of the year!