2016 has been a busy year for Anne Krebiehl MW – with all the wine education, masterclasses and writing. A regular columnist for The Buyer we asked her to pick the best whites, reds and sparklers that she has tasted during her many travels in 2016.
Riesling with burgers on the banks of the Danube, Cuvée Winston Churchill 2002 and a white Burgundy that defies words – some of the many highlights of a very extraordinary year for Anne Krebiehl MW
My favourite white wines of the year:
Bouchard Père et Fils, Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 1955. What a monument of a wine. In perfect condition… simply indescribable. This came directly from Bouchard’s cellars so we all knew it was not a fake.
Nothing could have prepared me for the utter completeness of this wine. There still was freshness from acidity but the aroma had moved beyond anything describable. But it was so good.
I have, of course, had my fill of Rieslings: In Alsace I have been captivated by Domaine Bott-Geyl, Riesling, Sporen Grand Cru, 2012 – from vines planted in 1921, this blew me away with its precision and depth.
Also, Domaine Ostertag, Fronholz Riesling 2011 was only just coming out of its shell. Ex-mathematician and poet André Ostertag said to me: “Leaves are like roots reaching into the sky”.
In Austria I got quite carried away with a set of 2006 Wachau Rieslings, leftovers from a masterclass at the Hofburg during VieVinum. In the evening they were perfect with burgers eaten right on the banks of the Danube.
An early taster of Domaine Weinbach, Schlossberg Grand Cru Cuvée Ste. Catherine 2015 was an utter joy and a reason to look into the future with hope rather than (political) dread. In Germany it was Forstmeister Geltz-Zillliken, Saarburger Rausch GG 2014 that made my heart beat faster. A 1997 Wiltinger Braune Kupp Auslese by Le Gallais/Egon Müller was like an elixir. Heavenly.
My favourite red wines of the year:
A very humble Bourgogne Rouge charmed me totally during a blind tasting of Pinots in June. It was its herbal elderberry aroma that did for me. It turned out to be Sylvain Cathiard’s 2010.
And could I write about Pinot Noir without mentioning Spätburgunder: we tasted a range of 2009s from across Germany and Paul Fürst GG Schlossberg, Franken, 2009 with its utterly profound but weightless style and Bernhard Huber, Wildenstein, Baden 2009 were the two outstanding wines of the night, the latter had barely begun on its journey and shone with unusual 2009 freshness.
On a less serious but utterly joyful and irreverent note, I also loved Claus Preisinger’s Puszta Libre 2015, a blend of St Laurent and Zweigelt (Newcomer Wines) of utter purity and moreishness.
In Austria, it was Stadlmann Classic Pinot Noir, Thermenregion, 2013 that came across as fresh-faced and totally disarming. It was the loess soils of the Wagram region that gave me two further Pinot Noir fillips: Anton Bauer Reserve 2013 and Clemens Strobl Hengstberg 2013.
I was also more than capitvated by the 2013 Tolpuddle Pinot Noir from Tasmania and Kutch, Pinot Noir, MacDougal Ranch, Sonoma Coast 2014 with all its leafy raspberry aromas.
The heady conifer perfume of the 100% whole bunch Pinot Noir by Arnot-Roberts Peter Martin Ray Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, 2014 actually moved me to tears on a foggy afternoon in California. Tasting Alma Rosa Pinot Noir, L’Encantada, Sta. Rita Hills, 2005 together with Richard Sanford – the man who planted the vineyard, was unforgettable.
But Blaufränkisch/Lemberger also deserves a mention: both these wines had the customary pepperiness and pure red cherry, both had finesse and elegance: Rudi Wagentristl Leithaberg 2010 Blaufränkisch, Austria and Aldinger, Lemberger, Fellbacher Lämmler GG, 2013, Germany.
My favourite bubbles of the year:
In terms of volume, what I have actually drunk this year was mostly fizz.
I maintain that tartaric acid has incredible anti-ageing properties.
In Tasmania I tasted the entire range of Pirie. The Pirie NV Tasmania is over here, too, and just delish. My Alpine highlights were Ferrari Perlé 2009 Trentodoc, based on 100% Chardonnay from Alpine heights, this is in its perfect sweet spot right now and can give Champers a run for its money.
Its counterpart is Ferrari Perlé Nero 2008 Trentodoc, super sophisticated 100% Pinot Noir sparkler – incredibly gorgeous and so fine.
I had so many gorgeous English sparklers which really come more into their own with each year. I loved Nyetimber’s Tillington Single Vineyard 2010 and Wiston Estate Rosé Brut 2011 is such a treasure that I am hoarding it.
Champagne, of course, also delivers: A perennial favourite is Jacquesson Champagne, Cuvée 736 A very individual style. 736 is mainly based on 2008 and simply delish right now.
I also loved Henriot Cuvée des Enchantaleurs 1959, a special treat that shows that good Champagne will age beautifully.
I was also lucky enough to sip Champagne Pol Roger, Cuvée Winston Churchill 2002. Wow. Simply wow. A complete wine.
Contact Anne Krebiehl MW using the following: email@example.com www.anneinvino.com @Anneinvino
Roger Jones, the Michelin-starred chef who is also a regular contributor to The Buyer selects his best wines of 2016 here.