Friday, November 26, 2010

Wine of the Year: Saxum, James Berry Paso Robles 2007

I believe it is the first time since I know it-- though it might well be first time ever--that Wine Spectator's top 10 is dominated by New World wines. The winner is Saxum, James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles 2007, "[a]n amazing wine, dense, rich and layered, offering a mix of power and finesse, with concentrated dark berry fruit, mineral, sage, herb and cedar notes that are pure, intense, focused and persistent. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Drink now through 2018" . So we shall!

All in all, there are 5 Californian and 2 Australian wines in top 10, while the old wine powers  (Italy, Portugal, France) have representatives relegated only to places 8-10. I have not tried to date any of WS's 2010 top 10 choices, but this set is so intriguing that I am gonna start getting hold of these wines right now. Remarkable as well is the fact that the French wine selected, a Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is-- you will hardly believe-- a white, from 2009 (which costs precisely 100 bucks a bottle). That is what I call success of this brand: recall that the 2007 wine of the year was a Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape '05; moreover one of my favourite wines ever (arguably, influenced by the ambiance and entourage in the place where I have tried it last) was an egoist  Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape '06. All reds: high time we tried their top white, indeed.

Finally, two more brief notes: a) in the full top 100 for 2010, there is a splendid Hungarian wine, which I have tasted a couple of times-- and I am glad the WS editors have eventually discovered it-- a Royal Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos red label from 2006, on position 28-- if you're passing through Budapest, do not leave without it;  b) one of the only two wines in top 100 to obtain the absolute 100 tasting points (the overall ranking is established on more than pure taste assessment-- what I do not particularly like, but well...) is the Dow Vintage Port 2007 (14/100). Now, people who know me well will be able to confirm that I am the biggest fan of Dow's 1994 vintage, hence if the '07 is acclaimed by WS as "[t]he greatest Dow ever made", I look forward for a touch of the sublime, no less.

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