The Forgotten Few – Wines of 2014
It’s the most
wonderful navel-gazing time of the year. A time where wine bloggers and journalists the world over list their favourite wines of the past 12 months. Yawn.
So instead this year, I wanted to remember wines that that got away – the forgotten few, wines that I really enjoyed but never got the chance to write about. Thank god for Instagram.
I Clivi Ribolla Gialla 2013 – Fresh and mineral. Cracking value too in my opinion at under €20 a bottle (I think about €15ish actually). To be found in the mecca of wine that is 64 Wine in Glasthule. Will be stocking up on loads more of this in 2015.
Bernhard Ott Fass 4 2013 – People have talked about the rising popularity of Grüner Veltliner for years. It all too frequently seems to fall between two stools though – it doesn’t really do it for the Pinot Grigio guzzlers, and well…the rest of us think “it’s just not Riesling”. This is a Grüner that really walks the walk though. Still very young and will improve too.
Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Riesling Auslese 1996 – The brightest star of a brilliant Riesling tasting at the end of the summer. Butterscotch wafting from the glass. Honeyed, ripe, nervy and only 10% alc. Amazing balance.
San Lorenzo “Il San Lorenzo” Marche Bianco 2001 – Was one of the first wines I tasted at The Real Wine Fair in April. Really stunning stuff. I recently managed to squirrel a couple bottles of the 1997 from importer Grapecircus as a Christmas present to myself.
Moric Blaufränkisch 2012 – Fruity and incredibly moreish (sorry, I couldn’t resist). I’ve read a few people describe this as a burgundian riff on Blaufränkisch. I think it’s along the lines of a top Cru Beaujolais. A tasting note killer – the bottle is usually long gone by the time you even think of reaching for the notebook.
La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso 2012 – A deliciously drinkable red wine with a hint of a spritz. A brilliant accompaniment to salumi.
4 Kilos 12 Volts 2012 – Things I learned when availing of BYO drinking in Rigby’s Deli during the summer – (i) this is fantastic stuff (ii) I could run home, grab a second bottle from my cellar and be back at the dinner table in the amount of time that the waiter figured I’d popped out for a smoke – classy, eh?!?
Daniel Gomez Jimenez-Landi Las Uvas de la Ira 2012 – Funky. In a cool way. In every way actually.
Craig Hawkins / Lammershoek / Testalonga
Deserves a heading all on his own. Craig Hawkins is the darling of the natural wine world, if perhaps not the South African wine tsars who reportedly continue to challenge the typicity of his wines. Great stuff across the whole range from the Grenache King of Grapes to the Cortez and El Bandito Chenin Blanc and the Lam Pinotage. Yes some of them are a little pricey, but it’s worth it for such interesting wines. Having only recently dipped my toes into these wines I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on recent ownership changes at Lammershoek – here’s hoping that the Testalonga brand emerges relatively unscathed.
Hidalgo El Tresillo 1874 Amontillado Viejo – Sublime dry old amontillado. Needs to be included on any list even remotely linked to wine.
Valdespino Palo Cortado Viejo C.P. – “You listening to this fool? Saying that the Eastside is wilder than Westside ’cause of some shit about Eastside folks drinking port wine while the Westside do sherry? Port make a man do crazy shit, I’m telling you.” The guys drinking at Butchy’s in Season 2 of The Wire obviously hadn’t come across Valdespino – this is another superlative sherry from a bodega that I’m running out of superlatives for. It’s mind boggling to think that this actually feeds another even older Palo Cortado solera – Cardenal.
Equipo Navazos – The most exciting sherries around. Simple as that. Yes, yes…I know I wrote about them a lot last year and will again in 2015, but I just couldn’t leave them off the list.
Retailers / Importers
Although this was not intended to be a “best wines of the year” post, those wines listed above could easily be viewed as such given their quality. They are only available here in Ireland due to the hard work of a number of passionate retailers and importers who are the real stars of the Irish wine scene. Listing the importers and where I bought each wine would run to a word count almost as high as the post itself so here they are (in alphabetical order): 64 Wine; Black Pig; Cabot and Co.; Grapecircus; La Rousse; Le Caveau; Liberty Wines; On The Grapevine; The Corkscrew; Vinos Tito and Wines On The Green / Celtic Whiskey Shop.
Happy 2015 everyone!