Roger Jones is a man of many hats and a man used to spinning a large number of plates at any one time. A world class chef, a restaurateur with the AA’s Best English Wine List for 2018, an ambassador to the CSWWC, a Decanter panel judge, host to the Tri Nations Wine Championships and a contributing editor to The Buyer. No he’s not been knighted yet but in our books he will always be Sir Roger Jones, at least that’s the name he always gives when checking into First Class lounges.
Roger Jones’ shares his Top 10 wines of what, as ever, has been an eventful 2018 for the globetrotting, award winning, wine loving chef.
As Ambassador to the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships (www.cswwc.co.uk) I have had quite a sparkling experience this year and it would be naive not to mention great experiences such as drinking DP at the French Embassy at Richard Geoffroy’s retirement bash, the outstanding food and champagne matching at Hide with Armand de Brignac, lunch with Bollinger’s Chef de Cave; Gilles Descotes with the sublime Bollinger RD 2004, Nyetimber’s continuous quest for excellence especially from magnums and jeroboams and Cristal’s 2008 launch however my top sparkling of 2018 was none other than….
Ambriel Blanc de Blancs 2010, West Sussex
A chance meeting became one of my favourite new finds of the year, what ex-QC Wendy Outhwaite (not forgetting Charles her husband and amateur pastry chef extraordinaire) has done is absolutely amazing, a complete World Class sparkling wine.
Ed Carr Arras Late Disgorged 2003, Tasmania
The clear winner in this year’s Mamba Riedel Decanter Awards, in fact Arras had three wines in the top 10. I have been a fan of the aged Arras style for many years and the level keeps on getting better. Ed also received the Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s CSWWC Awards.
As I have visited South Africa three times this year I make no apology in naming two excellent Cape wines in my top 10, showcasing this wine region’s climb up the to the Top of The Charts.
Tokara Telos 2015, Stellenbosch
One of South Africa’s “Super Cape Wines”, a Bordeaux style, complex and in need of careful ageing, but my word what a stunning, faultless wine.
Naudé Grenache 2014, Agter-Paardeberg
Ian has been on my radar for some time and I had heard that his Grenache was up there with Chateau Rayas, well not quite, the difference is the price, one is below £20 the other above £300, otherwise what a stunning wine.
Brokenwood Indigo Chardonnay, 2016 Beechworth,
One of the highest achievers in a Decanter panel tasting this year, this Brokenwood Chardonnay is made away from their base in the Hunter Valley, in the Beechworth region, where other esteemed Chardonnay such as Giaconda are made. Pretty perfect Chardonnay.
Valli, Pinot Noir, Waitaki Vineyard 2014, North Otago
This was a find in my cellar, and what a find, is drinking well now with layers of superlative flavours and textures, this has the perfect balance a superstar Pinot which I will enjoy over the next decade.
Montrachet Grand Cru Marquis de Laguiche, Joseph Drouhin 2008, Burgundy
Not often do I get to drink such great wine especially over a relaxed lunch with trade friends, but this was one of those moments, where there was simply nothing to say but enjoy this great wine
Henschke Cyril 2002, Eden Valley
Winner of this year’s Mamba Riedel Decanter Award, this seamless silky gushing wine is full of bright layered fruit, cigar box, lashings of black and red berries, spicy beef – it has it all in abundance.
Aresti Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Curico Valley
I have been hugely impressed by the quality of the premium wines now coming out of Chile and this highlights the sheer quality that can be sourced – the clear winner in The Tri Nations Chile v New Zealand Challenge last July.
Rebel Pi, 2016 Okanagen Valley, British Columbia
A Canadian Roussanne Ice Wine, this is a spectacular wine which I had the privilege to promote and work with… this is from the celebrity reality TV star Jackie Fast from The Apprentice. It became an instant hit as her social media followers jumped on the bandwagon.