Top six wines of 2016


Original version of this appeared on

An amazing year for wine in London with many exceptional tastings.

Abroad, highlights included a trip to Beaujolais, where I was fortunate enough to taste some fascinating old vintages from various producers (including a stunning ’76 from Château du Moulin-à-Vent).

This cemented Gamay’s real capacity for ageing in my mind. I feel it’s one of the few grapes (along with Pinot) that, if handled correctly, can express its terroir extremely clearly. Due to its delicate composition, it thereby acts as a vehicle to portray its origin, and soil type.

My other highlight was a trip to Plaimont Producteurs in Gascony, where we tasted for the first time microvinifications of several long lost grape varietals that are being reintroduced and re-vinified from pre-phylloxera vineyards, as well as varietals with the same concept from the Savoie and Charentes.

I am very pro work being done in the world of wine to re-introduce indigenous varietals. Manseng Noir from Gascony is one to really watch in 2017 and beyond.

Sorrenberg Chardonnay 2014 (Les Caves de Pyrene)

Rich yet subtle apricots and peaches, with a distinct mineral edge. This leads to a brioche finish, almond and yeasty notes. The wine has an unbelievable length.

Grain + Granit” 2014, Charly Thévenet (Roberson)

The 2014 vintage is my favourite Beaujolais at the moment. This is beautiful. So pure, clean and delicate – black cherries, raspberries and some serious wet stone notes. Exceptional wine.

“Obecanje” 2011, Bongiraud (Sager + Wilde)

From an old clone of Gamay called Monchaud Petits Grains (smaller berries and yield). This Serbian wine is a little richer in style – along with raspberries there’s also plums and blackcurrants here. Very juicy, with a slightly earthy finish.

Clos des Papes, 2003 (auction)

Just a beautiful wine. Earthy, meaty, game notes with raspberries, blackcurrant jam, displaying crème des mûres characteristics with such a long finish. Will age forever.

LIMBIC 2015, BLANKBottle (SWiG)

Pieter Walser’s neurowine: created by tapping into his subconscious, using an algorithm to work out what he likes/dislikes. Yes, really. This is a bigger and richer wine than its other half (Orbitofrontal) with rich peaches, lychees and a saline, fresh edge.

Campolongo di Torbe Amarone 1990, Masi (Berkmann)

A trip to Masi gave me a glimpse into the world of Amarone, and its capacity for ageing. Lovely cherry jam, plums, wild strawberries and undergrowth. Black cherries, with an earthy, cinnamon finish.

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