Looking through my notes for the year, the following are my favorite wines of 2009 (note: not highest scoring wines, some of these are on the list for their quality to price ratio).
- 10: Mendoza Station Torrontes 2008. For under $6, it's a crisp, clean white from a region best-known for it's heavy reds, and it's insanely tasty. One of the very few wines that I've bought more than one bottle of this year.
- 9: San Andrea in Colle Il Rosso 2007. One of the best inexpensive Tuscan IGT's that I've had. Period. Again, one that I bought more than one bottle of; the perfect pairing for this one is a couch and a TV! Roughly $9.
- 8: Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico. My favorite Prosecco of the year, wonderful white peach and spice notes, surprising intensity and complexity out of a wine that most people think of as Champagne's poor cousin, showing how Prosecco can really stand on it's own. About $18.
- 7: Pertois-Moriset Grand Cru Champagne. Breathtaking blanc de blancs, from Le Mensil Sur Orger (home of Champagne Salon, and where Krug sourcers their Chardonnay). A surprise; generally I dislike blanc de blancs, as they're so think and over-acidic, but this one has a bit more weight on the palate, and the acidity is better balanced. Hard to find (only 250 cases were imported), but a great argument for RM Champagnes. A steal at $35. As a note, they also make a vintage -- the current release is the 2000, pictured, but it's even harder to find, as only 75 cases came into the US.
- 6: Titus Chardonnay 2007. Opulent, plush Chardonnay from Carneros. This is a Rombauer-esque wine for half the price; wonderful ripe golden delicious apples, vanilla, and buttercream. They only make about 500 cases of this a year, but if you can find one, a bottle should set you back about $20, even though it's worth more.
- 5: Coelho Pinot Noir Paciência 2006. When I tasted this, my immediate reaction was "so, this is why people keep going on about Oregon pinot..." It was spicy, full, and absolutely, insanely tasty. Fairly small-production (Coelho makes about 2500 cases a year), and $35.
- 4: Château Doisy-Védrines 2005. An absolutely amazing Sauternes, powerful, with spot-on characteristics of the type -- including the "gym sock" note in the nose. At just under $40, it's a pricey dessert wine, but with some blue cheese or pate, it's an amazing experience and I highly recommend it.
- 3: Pierre Amadieu Grande Romaine Gigondas 2006. It's like mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape, at half the price. Gigondas is my favorite "hidden gem" appellation of the Rhone, offering wonderful wine with the power and depth of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but since it's not as well-known, the wines from there cost less than half. This one was $22.
- 2: Thorne-Clarke William Randall Shiraz 2005. A monster of an Aussie shiraz, but amazingly well-balanced. Is it over-the-top, huge wine? Yep. Do I want another bottle? Yep. Expensive, at about $40, but worth it.
- 1: Château Haut-Bages Libéral 2006. One of Wine Spectator's top 100, and I can agree with that assessment. A rich, deep, chewy wine, one with a breadth and complexity that I found amazing. Young now -- I'd say drink 2012-2020. The most expensive wine on the list, at $45, and worth every penny.
What would your top 10 of 2009 be?
Image from Austin Keys, used under Creative Commons Sharealike 2.0.