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Greatest Hits 2010

2011 February 7
by Mike

Bacchus was good to me last year—I had the opportunity to taste some sensational wines. Grape nut that I am, I naturally kept a running tally of my most memorable bottles. It is said that magazine readers love lists; on the chance that blog readers do, too, I figured I’d publish (belatedly) my list of top wines from 2010. In no particular order, they were:

1991 Dominus

1991 Ridge Monte Bello

1976 Ridge Geyserville

2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon

1795 Barbeito Terrantez  Madeira (and no, that’s not a typo—it really was from 1795)

1827 Quinta do Serrado Boal Madeira

1989 JL Chave Hermitage

1989 Château Rayas

1964 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo

1958 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo Riserva

1947 Château Pétrus (whether or not this bottle was legitimate, it was memorable)

1989 Château Haut-Brion

1961 Château Haut-Brion

1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion

Yes, it was a stellar year, and 2011 clearly has its work cut out for it. But did you notice what’s wrong with my list? Not one Burgundy! That’s pathetic, particularly as Burgundy is my touchstone. Needless to say, it’s an oversight that I intend to correct promptly.

What were some of your favorite wines from the past year?

4 Responses leave one →
  1. February 24, 2011


    Those are some terrific wines, too. I very much like the 98 Beaucastel, am a huge fan of Montevertine, and obviously, we are in complete agreement about the 09 Lapierre.

    Re your questions, I would have an impossible time choosing between the 91 Monte Bello and the 91 Dominus; they are both sensational. I would say that the 91 Dominus is perhaps a touch more flamboyant, a touch richer, but they are both absolutely spectacular wines. Re aged Ridge Zins–I tasted the 76 at an event in California last year marking Ridge’s 50th anniversary and Paul Draper’s 40th year at the winery. The 76 was the second-oldest Zin that was poured; we also tasted a 73 Lytton Springs, which was very good but had not held up quite as well as the 76 Geyserville. The 88 Geyserville was outstanding, while an 87 Lytton Springs, though also very good, seemed a bit over-the-hill. I think a wine like the 2005 Geyserville, which is superb, will drink well for many years. The Ridge Zins are built to last, and the tasting in California certainly demonstrated that point.

  2. February 21, 2011

    Hi Christo,

    Thanks very much for the note, and for the praise for Au Revoir, which is greatly appreciated. The French edition is about to be released, which has me both very excited and very nervous!

    Thanks, as well, for sharing your list of greatest hits, and I love the way you divided it up. Context matters with wine; a wine that seems impressive on its own might not always show well in the company of food. One of the biggest problems with wine criticism a la Parker and the Spectator is that the wines are tasted in a way that doesn’t correspond with how most of us drink them. A wine that performs well in a lineup of 50 cabernets might not perform so well at the dinner table. It is a problem without an easy or obvious solution–Parker obviously can’t eat a steak with every Napa cabernet he tastes. But food and wine belong together, and I think the way you composed your list underscores that critical point.

    Thanks for visiting the blog and for your comment.


  3. February 18, 2011


    Without getting all wine platitudinous and start writing things that immediately makes one’s eyes gloss over with boredom, with food or without food?

    Wine bottles by itself:

    1964 López de Heredia Tondonia Gran Reserva

    NV Larmandier-Bernier Rosé de Saignée

    2007 Quinta do Vallado 100% Sousão

    2005 Domaine Huët Clos Du Bourg Demi-Sec

    2005 Gourt Des Mautens Rouge

    With food, tons of cheapies outperformed the bigger guns:

    2009 Crios Torrontés with chicken vindaloo at a great Indian restaurant

    2007 Domaine des Pallieres “Les Racines” with Ad Hoc Memphis BBQ Night

    2006 Villa Creek Mas De Maha with Cuban food

    2008 Ponzi with Moroccan-inflected tuna, blood oranges and black olives

    2008 Valtea Albariño with Greek chicken and skordalia

    But two bigger Australians with food were delicious stuff:

    2003 Hobbs Gregor Shiraz with lamb and blue cheese-d fregola (particularly the fregola)

    2006 Mollydooker Velvet Glove with dry-aged bone-in ribeye and tostones

    Great site and you’ve got two regular readers in our house. Loved “Au Revoir To All That.”

  4. Bill permalink
    February 16, 2011

    Mike, you live a pretty charmed life. That’s a great lineup! The sheer thrill and novelty of drinking a Founding Fathers-era Madeira would probably be enough to call it a great year for anyone, but you’ve practically got a murderers row of quality down the line. Curious to know how the 1991 Monte Bello and Dominus compare and what kind of evolution an aged Ridge Zin would show?

    For my part, the best 7 rom last year:

    1978 Joseph Voillot Volnay Les Fremiets (in another stratosphere from any other wine I enjoyed last year)

    1998 Beaucastel

    2004 Montevertine IGT

    2004 Torbreck The Pict

    2005 EMH Black Cat

    2009 Marcel Lapierre Morgon (as my wife watched me swirl and sniff this for hours, she began to question my sanity…until I poured her a glass :)

    2009 Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Riesling Senior Fass 6 (say that three times fast)



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