The 2010 Most Memorable Wines by Stewart Noble for AdrianErdedi.com
2010 was the first full calendar year of Wine without BS and it was a year that brought so much more than I ever imagined when I started tweeting my one liners on the wines I was drinking in early 2009. I’ve met many amazing people, hosted No BS Wine events in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast and now have people suggesting international events! I also had my first ever trip to the USA and have inlcuded some details of my favourites from that trip.
2011 certainly has many exciting things in store but as I look back over the past year, when it comes to the subject matter of it all, wine, these are the drops I remember the most favourably.
In no particular order they are…
Clonakilla 2001 Shiraz Viognier - We all know the recent vintages are cleaning up with an almost perfect record for scores of 97 recently, best wine of the year, etc However, the chance to try one of the earlier vintages, at Rockpool Bar & Grill this year really shows how bottle age transforms this wine rom great to spectacular! This is one of the best red wines I’ve had to date.
Capital Wines 2009 ‘The Whip’ Riesling - There is nothing I don’t like about this wine; the price; the ‘drinkabilitiy’ of it, with or without food; it’s just an all round winner for me.
Louis Roederer 2002 Cristal - It has long had the ‘bling’ factor and, while I am not a big Champagne drinker, when I was lucky enough to try the famous drop this year I have to confess to it being one of the best Champagne’s I’ve had to date. Read my full review here.
Margan Family Wines 2006 Barbera - Probably the first bottle of Barbera I actually bought and I couldn’t have been happier. Such an enjoyable wine that, with Osso Bucco, was pretty close to food and wine matching heaven! Read my full review here.
Blue Poles 2008 Reserve Merlot- I don’t drink a lot of straight Merlot, but this particular drop has helped me to see the light and to realise that perhaps you actually can make friends with Merlot, despite the suggestion otherwise from a close friend of mine. Read my full review here.
Mount Majura 2008 Chardonnay - For $21 a bottle I’m hard pressed to find a more enjoyable Chardonnay for the money. Australian Chardonnay has come a long way and if you don’t believe me, try this!
MDV Wines 2008 Grenache - A bit of a star at my Winter Reds dinner in Adelaide in June, this drop is just lovely to drink. I was also rather impressed when its maker, Michael Datta, brought out a bottle chilled on a hot summer day and proved that even heavier reds can be enjoyed cold. Read my full review here.
Bosworth Wines 2008 ‘Battle of Bosworth” Cabernet Sauvignon – From start to finish this wine continued to impress me. I must get some more as it would have to be very close to being the best young Cabernet I drank in 2010.
Patina Wines 2009 Pinot Gris - Patina was a real find for me last year, as I get up to Orange semi regularly to visit a good friend of mine and even he hadn’t been out to Patina as yet. There is not much to dislike about Patina from the moment you arrive at the beautiful home that is temporarily doubling as the cellar door, to the winemaker, Gerald and his wife, who are such lovely hosts. Of course the wine is what I am here to talk about and while the vast majority of the range is impressive it was the Patina Pinot Gris that stood out the most to me on two separate visits. I’m happy to also throw in their Sticky Tea Riesling as being one of the more memorable and enjoyable desert wines I had in 2010 as well.
Hungerford Hill 2008 Tumbarumba Chardonnay – Another great Chardonnay for around $25. Everything with this wine is very well balanced and a rather attractive aroma is backed up with an equally enjoyable flavour. Read my full review here.
Best’s Wines 1996 & 1997 Thomson Family Shiraz - I would struggle to pick between these back to back vintages, although my memory does remember a slight preference to the 1996. These wines were brought along to a Best’s Wines dinner in winter last year and would go incredibly close to knocking off the Clonakilla 2001 Shiraz Viognier as not only the best red wines I tried in 2010, but simply the best I have ever had to date!
Golding Wines 2008 Block 2 Chardonnay - The third sub $30 Chardonnay on the list and at the time I tasted it I called it close to the best wine I’ve had from Adelaide Hills, full-stop. That statement still holds. This wine really did make a instant impression that I won’t soon forget. Read my full review here.
Prentice 2009 Pinot Ramato - A style of Pinot Gris I’d never heard of before, part Pinot Gris, part Rosé, this wine was one of the more interesting wines I had last year. It became memorable when I took the winemakers suggestion of pairing it with Sushi and that has now become another, almost perfect, food and wine pairing. Read my full review here.
Corison 2002 Caberbet Sauvignon - A glowing recommendation from a Napa Valley sommelier for Corison Cabernet’s didn’t disappoint one bit. The 2002 was taken with me to a Napa Valley grill house called Rutherford Grill where I had easily the best steak I’ve ever had and, accompanied by a local Cabernet of this quality, this is a meal I won’t soon forget!
Opus One 2005 - Opus One have what is easily one of the most stunning and amazing cellar door facilities I have ever seen. Should be no suprise though as this label is the combination of two of wines megastars, Robert Modavi from the USA and the 1st growth French chateau, Mouton Rothschild. Opus One only make one wine that is a Bordeaux style red blend. On my visit in 2010 they had the 2005 and 2006 vintages available for tasting and the 2005 was pure class!
Swanson Vineyards 2009 Chardonnay - Swanson Vineyards was a highlight of my Napa Valley experience. The setting, the people, the chocolate! It’s just such a fantastic place and while I still have a bottle of their 2003 Cabernet to open at a later date, their Chardonnay was good enough to also bring home and was thoroughly enjoyed!
Sbragia ‘Gino’s Vineyard’ 2006 Zinfandel - Available by the glass at the gorgeous Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, I really enjoyed this wine. It was much more fruity than many of the Zinfandels I tried while in the United States and I’d love the opportunity to try more of their wines in the future.
Charles Melton 2010 Rosé of Virginia – I was first introduced to this wine by the owner of Claret House, Todd Rumble, in Brisbane after my first ever interstate ‘No BS’ wine event in Brisbane. The night was a massive success, I made many new friends and Todd was awesome. Anyway, back to the wine, which is almost as awesome. Great colour and the use of Cabernet grapes easily evident provides what I will say has to be close to the Barossa’s best Rosé. Read my full review here.
Moppity Vineyard ‘Lock & Key’ 2009 Shiraz – I was close to disbelief when I was a few sips into this wine to read it retails for $15! Honestly, one of the best sub $20 red wines I’ve ever had. Seriously good value. Read my full review here.
One Planet Wine 2008 McLaren Vale Shiraz - This wine proves more than most not judge a book by it’s cover. This wine comes in Tetra Pak and as such frightens away many consumers when standing next to bottled wine on the shelves. Thing is, it’s a bloody good drop for $14.95 and shouldn’t at all be thought of as an up-market cask wine. Plus the weight and size savings also makes this perfect for recreation. Read my full review here.
Xanadu 2009 Reserve Chardonnay – Certainly not in the sub $30 bracket like most other Chardonnays on this list but the Xanadu Reserve is a seriously classy drop. For all those people who talk about how Australian Chardonnay is all oak, butter, etc then get yourself a bottle of this and tell me this style isn’t going to be part of the reason Australian Chardonnay is seen in an entirely new and exciting way.
Greenhough 2009 Pinot Blanc - This wine was a clear winner with both myself and other attendee’s of my NZ Wine dinner back in September. I even had emails after the event asking where it can be purchased, so it was a huge shame to find out that Greenhough currently has no Australian distributor. I hope that gets rectified soon as this was one great drop.
Pfeiffer Wines Rare Rutherglen Muscat - After a Margaret River winery owner told me the last wine he’d want before he died was a high end Rutherglen Muscat I instantly had to try one. After my first few sips of the Pfeiffer Wines Rare Rutherglen Muscat, of which only 13 cases or thereabouts are made per year, I could see what the fuss is all about!
Morandé – Edición Limitada 2007 Pinot Noir - I was first given a taste of this wine at the Sydney Good Food and Wine Show. I doubt that I will soon forget that experience as this wine is not for the faint hearted. The aroma is interesting to say the least and while it is far from something you’d want to drink everyday, it was definitely memorable and was a must for my Pinot Fest wine dinner later that year. Read my full review here.
Primo Estate 2010 d’Elena Pinot Grigio - Not just the best Australian Pinot Grigio I’ve had to date but one of the better white wines I’ve had! Read my full review here.
Samuel’s Gorge 2009 Tempranillo - I have to thank David Bowley from Vinteloper for recommending Samuel’s Gorge to me this year. Most people seem to rave about their Grenache, which is very good, but for me the Tempranillo is even better and just a simply delicious wine!
Penfolds Grange 1984 - After buying this wine at a fairly bizarre garage sale/auction for not far off half of the retail value I had concerns over how it had been kept and what condition it would be in. I saved it for the night before a close friends wedding and we shared it together and boy was I surprised. I had read that 1984 is considered one of Grange’s more average vintages but I’ve enjoyed two other vintages before this and this was by far my favourite. I think this goes to show how the time, place and people we share our wine with can really enhance the memory of that experience. We opened a 2001 Moss Wood Cabernet afterwards which, while not comparable, became almost a disappointment… I should have had those two wines the other way around!
Tertini Wines 2005 Riesling - Last year I did a small tour of wineries in the NSW Southern Highlands region. Tertini Wines was the first I visited and ended up being the highlight. While they makea good Pinot Noir, it was their 2005 Riesling that really stood out as being a truly great wine. Their 2008 Riesling also has to be given an honourable mention.
Logan Wines 2010 ‘Hannah’ Rosé - This wine was sent to me as part of the hugely successful ‘Rose Revolution’ that was sponsored by De Bortoli. Many of the drier style Rose wines that became a part of this event where great, but it is the Logan 2010 that was the crowd favourite at my place. Full points also for a lovely looking label.
Bleasdale NV Sparkling Shiraz – This was ranked No 1 in the Top 100 wines in a recent issue of Wine Business Magazine so when I saw it in my local Dan Murphy’s for less than $20 I had to grab it. It’s no secret that I adore sparkling shiraz and this wine is up there with the best I’ve had, for less than $20! The flavours are big, while the price is the opposite! Seriously great value and I’ve just reminded myself I need to go and buy more.
If I ever realise that I have left out a particular wine I will update the list. As for those wondering if I can pick out a favourite or two amongst those above, part of me thinks that defeats the purpose, and a large reason why I don’t score wines. Memorable doesn’t mean every wine above will appeal to all, nor does it mean I think the wine is the best I’ve had. Memorable means exactly that, I will remember these wines, and for various reasons, which are mainly related to my enjoyment of them, while some are there because they offered something different and/or unique in the experience. To appreciate a truly great wine you have to have tried many more for it to be compared against… and in 2011 I look forward to trying many more wines and comparing them to the greats that appear on this list.