Wine Geek best wines of 2014 (Part 4 – Fizzy & Sweet)
The final instalment of my wines of the year looks at the best fizz and best sweet & fortified wines of 2014. The sweet section includes my very favourite wine of the year, but first of all let’s gets going with the bubbles.
I like a bit of fizz here and there but after a glass I’m usually ready for the “real stuff! These are 3 that really got me thinking this year:
Dom Perignon 1999 (Bancroft Wines £110)
This was my first try of Dom Perignon and I want more! So complete – luscious and creamy with apple and lemons, beautifully integrated brioche and beautifully velvety texture. It’s like a baked apple pie and custard and the taste keeps on going. I’ve never experienced a sparkling wine with such balance and it’s fair to say that even in the un-fancied 1999 vintage, DP really shines through. 95 points
Raventós í Blanc de Nit Reserva 2010 (Harvey Nichols £21.00)
Raventós actually decided to leave the Cava DO in 2012 and begin a new direction. This rosado has a floral and rather funky nose, but the palate is dry as a bone, with super acidity but amazing balance with fruit and brioche (not sure what the Spanish equivalent is!). A wonderful wine that left me salivating just as the food arrived. 93 points
Domaine de Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura Brut NV (The Wine Society £12.50)
I think I may have found my new house sparkler! Made from 100% Chardonnay this is absolutely brilliant stuff. As well as rich peaches there is a delightful twist of citrus and a deep and delicious biscuit finish. £12.50 is a daft price for such a fantastic wine – forget your NV Champers – order a case of this stuff. 92 points
Now it’s onto the sticky, sweet stuff and what a year it’s been for sweet wines. Let’s begin with my very favourite wine of 2014, thank you JJ Prüm!
JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkapsel Riesling 2009 (£57 The Wine Society)
Goldkapsel usually refer to small amounts of wine the winemaker deems to be of an even higher quality and is usually made in very small quantities; this was my first experience and I certainly hope it won’t be the last! Ripe peach and mango fills the nostrils, before the apples and limes takeover and then that musky-sweetness of botrytis, all intermingled with wonderful wet slate. On the palate it’s concentrated like a marmalade or peach conserve, but not cloying in any way. The richness is super-charged; it’s like everything has been turned up to eleven! This really is a super charged Wehlener Sonnenuhr and I’m sure it will outlast my days… but do you know what, If I had a case I’d open another couple of bottles this year… just in case! 97+ points
At a tasting of Austrian wines I couldn’t believe that this TBA was made from Chardonnay; astonishing:
Kracher Chardonnay TBA Nr. 9 “Nouvelle Vague” 1998, Nuesiedlersee (Seckford Wines £50 375ml)
And this is why it’s worth waiting for sweet Austria Chardonnay! Still lots of fresh apricot and mango but now it’s joined by some almost savoury dried prunes. The attack is tropical fruit and marmalade then, having covered your mouth, it melts and the dried fruit comes to the fore leaving you with a long, long finis of burnt orange. This wine almost ages in your mouth, from fresh to dried and back again… It is absolutely fabulous. 96 points
Now let’s head to the Loire for a couple of wonderful wines:
Domaine Huet Le Mont Moelleux 1er Trie 1989 (Bordeaux Index £70)
An amazing amount of fruit on the nose with ripe peaches, crisp apples and touches of mango and pineapple; pure and rich and ever so inviting. All of the fruit carries onto the palate but there is a delightful cool minerality underpinning the whole thing, giving it a purity and freshness I associate with the best Rieslings of the Mosel. I talk a lot about the importance of balance and this has the lot; acid, sugar, length and texture. Brilliant. 96 points
Henri Bourgeois Vendange De La St-Luc 2007 (NA in UK)
100% Sauvignin Blanc, grown on Kemmeridgen clay solid and picked several weeks after the main harvest to concentrate the grapes and produce this delicious sweet wine. The wine demonstrates the diversity of the Sauvignon Blanc grape and is absolutely delicious. It’s certainly not over sweet and its oh so fresh with a wonderful spine of acid. Golden in colour and highly concentrated tropical fruits – enjoy as an aperitif, serve with foie gras or match with a fruity dessert. Mmmm! 93 points
And how about a terrific sweet Riesling from New Zealand?
Pegasus Bay Encore Noble Riesling 2012 (The Wine Library £22.49 375ml)
Smells cooked apples and tropical fruits scream out of the glass with a heady note of musky-marmalade, a sure-fire sign of noble rot. The palate has a luscious and luxurious texture and the cornucopia of fruit is sweet and highly concentrated, as well as being beautifully balanced with zinging acidity. I would gladly drink this at any occasion, or simply have it spread on toast for breakfast! 94 points
And finally, a traditional Sherry and Port:
Harveys Pedro Ximénez VORS (Waitrose £21.99)
VORS stands for “Very Old Rare Sherries” and this sticky sherry delivers in spades. The nose is fig, caramel and toffee with a slightly liquorice undertone. The palate is lusciously thick and rich and sweet with concentrated flavour of raisins, liquorice, black treacle and toasted nuts. The flavours last for an extraordinary length and the wine is so, so smooth. I love this stuff. 93 points
Fonseca Vintage Port 1985, Porto, Portugal (Roberson £80.00)
Fresh red fruit fills the nostrils ahead of the dried, almost candies fruit that follows and just a touch medicinal. There is some volatile alcohol at play here but this is still early days for this beauty and the fruit really does shine through on the wonderful nose. All of this comes to life on the palate; the red fruit is surprisingly fresh and pure with lovely hints of dried spice and dried fruit on the exquisite finish. The alcohol will meld with the fruit over time but this one is a keeper, one to enjoy for Xmas 2025! 93+ points
It’s been a brilliant year for trying some totally amazing wines… I can’t wait to start all over again in 2015!
Below are the links to tall of the “best of 2014” posts: