As this is my final posting before we transition to 2011, my roster of blog entries for 2010 would not be replete without listing a personal choice for top new releases consumed by yours truly during the calendar year. Typically, the end of every year brings forth a bevy of “best of” lists from wine pundits everywhere, including such esteemed industry periodicals as the Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits Magazine etc., and more of the same from less illustrious sources. You get the picture. In this miracle age of constant and instant information, there’s never a shortage of “informed” opinions and “expert” critiques. So, pardon my indulgence, here’s a riposte from one more of the faces in the crowd.
First of all, a disclaimer: as I am not a scientist, the results of my “best of” list were not arrived at scientifically (or using any other discerning method as well). It is 100% pure personal opinion. But I will offer a bit of insight as to the madness that shaped the formulation of the candidates. I’m not a “fad” person, so I don’t usually gravitate to wines that are trendy. Secondly, I prefer wines that have a sense of place or have a story to tell. More specifically, I like the ones that don’t taste like they could come from everywhere in the world. I also tend to enjoy wine paired with food. Lastly, I lean more toward white than red because I find that white wines best express the aforementioned qualities.
So, without further ado, let’s unveil the top five Letterman style:
5) Concha y Toro Carmenere Casillero del Diablo Reserve 2009 (Chile)
My pick for a value red wine. It’s a very good introduction to this unique grape variety. $7.99
4) Bodegas Baigorri Bai Gorri Rioja Crianza 2004 (Spain)
100% Tempranillo. 90 points: Wine Advocate. $21.99
3) Bodegas Hidalgo Amontillado NV (Spain)
A great example of a dry Amontillado-style sherry. $11.99
2) Quinta Vallado Douro Red 2007 (Portugal)
93 points: Wine Spectator. A powerful red made with the Touriga Nacional grape. $17.99
1) Lopez de Heredia Rioja Reserva Blanco Tondonia 1991 (Spain)
My number 1 is a traditional Spanish white Rioja and the current release (remarkable!). Golden in color with citrus, lanolin, quince and crushed stones on the palate, this ageless wine was served to me with monkfish when I visited Rioja earlier this year. 93 Points: Wine Spectator.
Here’s wishing you and yours a very safe and happy New Years.
Jim Greeley, Wine Supervisor, SW Florida