Unlucky for some but not Anne Krebiehl MW who managed to pick 13 wines from 2017 out of the many thousand that she’s tried this year. When we ask our ‘Tasting Team’ to write about their Best wines of 2017 we leave the criteria to them: in this case Anne has picked wines that worked as an entire bottle and not just tasted at a tasting event. We also ask for writers’ Top 10 wines of the year, but rarely get just 10…. Expect to see many odd numbers over the next week when we post up more Best Of lists.
My Top Ten (Thirteen actually) Wines of 2017
It is my privilege to taste countless wines and there have been many stellar moments where I was able to have a sip of something extraordinary and expressive. But rather than just list great sips, here’s to bottles actually drunk rather than tasted, all of which were just perfect for that moment, which gave huge pleasure, were memorable, touching and life-enhancing, even nourishing. Surely that is why wine is made.
When it comes to actual drinking, I know fizz is what I consume most. It’s the acidity and lightness that I crave. On a night out with the girls Nyetimber NV Rosé, England was a joyous, celebratory and exuberant apero.
Later in the year, with friends around a table of Asian food, Hoffmann & Rathbone Blanc de Blancs 2011, also from England, was divine.
With my undoubted Champagne habit, here are two that totally hit the spot: Chartogne-Taillet, St Anne Brut NV and Egly-Ouriet, Brut Tradition Grand Cru Ambonnay NV, both consumed with fellow fizz-nuts on a lovely Sunday afternoon.
On a freezing but brilliantly clear January day I clambered around the Grand Cru vineyards of Alsace with Anne Trimbach. Her Trimbach, Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg, Vignoble du Couvent du Ribeauvillé, Alsace, 2011 was the lunchtime treat with the house’s customary thrill of acidity.
A wine that completely stopped me in my tracks was Gli Eremi, IGT Marche Bianco, Italy, 2015. A natural wine made from Verdicchio that seemed to be the very salt of the earth: simply stunning.
As so often, it is at the table that the textured whites of the Rhône shine: Domaine Les Goubert, Cuvée de ‘V’, Côtes du Rhône Blanc, 2014, was a scented, dreamy bottle some of my favourite girls in all the world shared with me.
Of course Pinot Noir is constantly on my radar, on my lips and in my blood.
Two stood out this year: Ökonomierat Rebholz Spätburgunder Spätlese trocken, Pfalz, Germany, 2006, a wine I had bought on my travels years ago. It was fresh as a daisy and was not even the top wine of this outstanding winemaker, it still had huge mileage.
On a Pinot-fuelled night in Oregon in July this lovely offering touched me with its intuition, lightness and confidence: Retour, Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA 2010.
A present from Georg Prieler, this was just outstandingly delicious, balanced, fresh and beautiful: Prieler, Blaufränkisch, Lage Goldberg, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, Austria, 1993. Not a wrinkle! More evidence, if it were needed, that Blaufränkisch ages gracefully.
Another wine, a field blend of different Pinot-varieties vinified red, has a strange hold on me: Marcel Deiss, Burlenberg, Alsace, 2014. “Vin rouge, sauvege et corsé…” the label says. “Savage and full-bodied,” so true.
Another treasure from the cellar, another souvenir from an epic wine trip, was Bernard Baudry, La Croix Boisée, Chinon, France 2007. Oh for the perfume of Loire Cabernet Franc, so fresh still!
Last but not least, at a November lunch in Beaune, I had Louis Jadot, Beaune 1er cru Les Bressandes, France, 1997. It was not a big wine, but an ode to the translucent, earthy, berry-tinged mystery of Pinot Noir.