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exploring wine with tim fish

My Favorite Wines of 2013

Plus a few winemaker friends pick their favorites of the year
Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Dec 18, 2013 10:00am ET

So many good wines and only 365 days to drink them. That's what makes it tough to pick the best wines of the year. My go-to list of course is Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2013, but I also have my personal favorites. These are wines that left an impression on me for many reasons: where I was when I tried it, who I was with, the meal that went along. They aren't necessarily the highest-rated wines, to be sure.

I narrowed my favorites of 2013 to 10 wines. The order is alphabetical. WineSpectactor.com subscribers can read more detailed reviews by clicking on the links.

Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 (96 points, $120)
Dark and brawny, with a great core of crushed plum, loamy mineral and mesquite.

Château de St.-Cosme Gigondas 2010 (95, $41)
Jam-packed with character, showing dark blackberry, riveting acidity, a blaze of singed iron.

Donum Pinot Noir Carneros 2010 (95, $72)
Rich but elegant and vibrant, with black cherry and sandalwood notes.

Hartford Court Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Far Coast Vineyard 2009 (92, $75)
The ripe plum and blackberry fruit is intense and vivid.

Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Cristal 1990 (94, $150)
A bubbly that has aged brilliantly. It's mature but still vibrant and expressive.

Bouchard Père & Fils Chevalier-Montrachet La Cabotte 2006 (97, $725)
Maturing beautifully but still years of life.

Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne 2010 (92, $120)
Sheer elegance, with rich apple, lemon and mineral flavors.

Realm The Tempest Napa Valley 2010 (92, $75)
A rare California Merlot blend that has focus, richness and muscle.

Scherrer Zinfandel Alexander Valley Scherrer Vineyard Old And Mature Vines 2011 (94, $34)
Who says great Zin has to be ripe and over the top? A seamless, red with great structure.

Turley Zinfandel Paso Robles Dusi Vineyard 2011 (95, $42)
Rich and powerful, but focused like a laser.

I also asked a few California winemakers to name their favorite wine of the year. You'll notice not one wine is from California. This is a worldly wine bunch, of course, and perhaps a tad shy about picking one friend's wine and ignoring another's. Either way, it's a fascinating list.

Michael Browne, Kosta-Browne, Russian River Valley:
Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Silex 2010

Bill Easton, Terre Rouge and Easton, Sierra Foothills:
Serafino Rivella Barbaresco 2008

James Hall, Patz & Hall, Sonoma Valley:
Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino Riserva 1990

Adam Lee, Siduri and Novy, Sonoma County:
Rene Rostaing Cote-Rotie La Landonne 2009

Brian Loring, Loring Wine Compay, Santa Barbara County:
Dom Perignon Oenotheque 1996

Mike Officer, Carlisle, Russian River Valley:
Pierre Usseglio Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée de mon Aïeul 2010

Tegan Passalacqua, Turley Wine Cellars, Napa Valley:
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Prephylloxera La Vigna di Don Peppino Rosso Etna, Sicily 2007

Rollin Soles, Roco Winery, Willamette Valley:
Dow Vintage Port 1961

Arnaud Weyrich, Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley:
Jean Jacques Confuron Chambolle Musigny 1987

What's your favorite wine of 2013? I'd like to hear.

Whit Thompson
Rochester, NY —  December 18, 2013 12:30pm ET
Released and consumed in 2013: 2011 Bedrock "Heritage" Sonoma Valley

Simply consumed in 2013: 2006 Lewis "Alec's Blend"
James Moseley
Rome, GA —  December 18, 2013 1:33pm ET
Best White: Kongsgaard CH 2010

Best Red: Booker Fracture 2010
Mark Lyon
Sonoma, California —  December 18, 2013 2:03pm ET
Best Red;

2002 Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

Best White;

2009 Kistler "Vine Hill" Chardonnay
Kristy Charles
Boonville, CA, USA —  December 18, 2013 2:29pm ET
Arcadian 2007 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay and Mastroberardino 1999 Radici Taurasi Riserva. Both managed to hit that magical balance between my mood, what I was eating, and just being delicious!
Lew Price
napa, ca, usa —  December 18, 2013 2:40pm ET
Best Red - 2010 Trinchero Napa Valley Cloud's Nest Cab (Mt. Veeder)

Best White - 2011 - Chappellet Chenin Blanc
Tim Fish
Sonoma County —  December 18, 2013 4:15pm ET
Excellent recommendations everyone. Thanks for joining the conversation.
John D Cox
Rhode Island  —  December 18, 2013 8:07pm ET
Best white: 2012 Araujo Eisle Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Best red is a lot tougher, none were classic, but I truly enjoyed a 2009 Paloma Merlot. Also, tasting some Ghost Horse wines at Anderson's Conn Valley was great fun, although it is unlikely I'll buy any...
Chris Moody
St. Louis, MO —  December 18, 2013 9:56pm ET
Best Red: 2005 Sassicaia

Best White: 2010 Breggo Chardonnay Savoy Vineyard

Best Sparkling:2007 Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs

Cheers to all for this Holiday Season!
Rob Stenhouse
Darien, CT —  December 18, 2013 11:57pm ET
Wine that made me say "Whoa!"
2010 Rob Murray Vineyards Amor Fati Grenache Murmur Vineyard

Right place, right time, right wine...
2009 Sanguis Levity (Perfect Memorial Day Afternoon)...

Awesome, in a glass
1995 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau
2006 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon (Day 2 in particular)
2002 Colgin IX Syrah

Wine of the Year
2010 Cayuse Bionic Frog
Bill Matarese
Florida, USA —  December 19, 2013 12:46pm ET
Best Red: 2007 Tenuta Sette Ponte Oreno Toscana IGT
Best White: NV Bollinger Champagne Special Cuvee Brut

Cheers, everyone!
Scott Balz
Miami, FL —  December 19, 2013 1:19pm ET
Fisher Vineyards 2001 Coach Insignia Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Kosta Browne 2009 One Sixteen Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Steve Simpson
Boston, MA, USA —  December 19, 2013 3:43pm ET
Best White: 2008 Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir
Best Red: 2003 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Volnay 1er Cru Santenots-Du-Milieu

Best sub $20 bottle (cost): 2010 Le Clos d'un Jour Cahors
Peter Vangsness
East Longmeadow, MA —  December 19, 2013 4:00pm ET
Red - 1994 Simi Cabernet Reserve

White - 2008 Peter Michael Ma Belle-Fille

Dessert - 2004 Selvepiana Vin Santo
Daniel Sherer
Windsor, CA, USA —  December 19, 2013 7:31pm ET
I am sharing my favorites from California over the last year:

2012 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir
2009 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
2012 Quivira Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc
2009 Far Niente Chardonnay
2011 Carlisle Vineyard Russian River Valley Zinfandel



Andrew J Walter
Sacramento, CA —  December 19, 2013 11:12pm ET
They were all good in their own way (except the corked and bretty bottles)....something like the worst bottle of wine is better than the best day at work! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday

(If I had to pick....for reds I'd go with my 10 saxum broken stones..just got on the list and for whites it was the suprisingly stoney yet fruity Andis 2012 Semillon)
Ron Brooks
Alexandria VA —  December 20, 2013 7:09am ET
White: 2011 Vieux Telegraphe CDP Blanc

2009 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc from Magnum

Red: 1994 Colgin Herb Lamb Vineyard

2008 St. Jean Du Barroux L'Argile, Cotes du Ventoux

2006 Argiolas Turriga, Sardinia

Aren't we the luckiest people on earth?
Happy Holidays!
Pascal
Paris —  December 20, 2013 6:17pm ET
Best wine drunk in 2013: Sassicaia 1998
Best wine recently released: Beaucastel White Vieilles Vignes 2011
Nicholas Frei
Phoenix, AZ —  December 21, 2013 7:29am ET
French Red - 2010 Mongeard-Mugneret Vosne-Romanee (tie), 2010 Domaine de Cristia "Cuvee Renaissance" Chateauneuf du Pape (tie), 2005 Armand Rousseau Clos de la Roche (tie)
French White - 2011 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Gris "Cuvee Ste. Catherine"
Sparkler - 2006 Pierre Gimonnet "Cuvee Fleuron"
Italian Red - 2008 Produttori de Barbaresco "Pora" Barbaresco Riserva
Italian White - 2010 Vie di Romans "Piere" Sauvignon
German White - 2011 Hexamer "Porphyr" Riesling
Austrian White - 2011 Veyder-Malberg Riesling Bruck
Spanish Red - 1981 Bodegas Bilbainas "Vina Pomal" Rioja
Australian Red - 2012 Harkham "Aziza's" Shiraz
US Red - 1974 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon (tie), 2010 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
US White - 2011 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay


Thad Cox
Knoxville, Tn., USA —  December 21, 2013 2:09pm ET
2010 Anaba Petite Sirah Teldeschi Vineyard
Austin Beeman
Maumee, Ohio —  December 22, 2013 6:34pm ET
Best Red: Quilceda Creek 2000 Cab Sav
Runner up: Tommasi 2000 Amarone 'Il Sestante'

Best White: Heidler 1994 Weissburgunder Schenkenbichl
Runner Up: Suavia 2011 Soave Classico 'Monte Carbonare'

Best Sparkling: Marc Hebrart 2008 Champagne Brut 'Special Club'
Runner Up: Bisol NV Prosecco 'Cartizze'

David Nelson
Trabuco Canyon —  December 23, 2013 3:02pm ET
Red - Paul Hobbs Napa Valley 2002
Paul P Ritter
San Jose, CA —  December 23, 2013 6:15pm ET
My best red was a 1977 Fonseca Port shared with good friends and tied with the 09 Kosta-Browne Sonoma Coast Pinot. And like Mr. Brooks, my favorite white was the 09 Merry Edwards sauv blanc (not from magnum).
Michael J Prosser
Hobart Tasmania Australia —  December 24, 2013 7:02am ET
2004 Seppelt Show Sparkling Shiraz
2011 Graillot Heathcote Shiraz
2002 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier
2000 Lynch Bages Pauillac
2010 Domaine Auguste Clape Renaissance Cornas
2010 Chateau de Beaucastel Ch N de Pape Hommage Jacques Perrin
2013 Pooley Wines Riesling
2013 Pipers Brook Gewurztraminer
Its a tough Life!!!!!!
Merry Xmas
Bruce Nichols
Naples, Florida —  December 25, 2013 8:42am ET
2002 Domaine Dujac Morey St, Denis
Gregory Kendall
Laurel, MD, US —  December 26, 2013 10:21am ET
My favorites for 2013 have been:

1989 Krug Clos De Mesnil Blanc de Blanc Brut Champagne.

2006 Hourglass Blueline Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon.
Brennan Lothery
Brooklyn, NY —  December 27, 2013 5:38am ET
1990 Montrose
1996 Latour
2009 Schrader RBS
Amedeus Dascanio
Maple, Ontario ,Canada —  December 29, 2013 1:39pm ET
Best white.....2009 Merry Edwards Sauvignon blanc
Best red ......Cliff Lede Poetry. 2009?
Lyall Jaworski-ssls
Calgary AB —  December 29, 2013 2:57pm ET
Guigal Cote-Rotie La Mouline 1990

Quilceda Creek Cabernet 2004

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1986

and the best spirit of the year, bar none...

Glengoyne 21 Year Old Sherry Cask
Gilles Longval
Ottawa, Canada —  December 29, 2013 6:53pm ET
Top 10 Muga Reserva Especial 2009
Pahlmeyer Napa 2005
Penfolds RWT 2003, Australia
San Roman 2003, Spain
Château de Beaucastel 1995
CONCHA y TORO Don Melchor 2002
Forman Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 after carafing 5 hrs
Seghesio Amarone Classico 2006
Château Meyney 2000
Two Hands Gnarly Dudes 2009
Jay J Cooke
Ripon CA —  December 30, 2013 11:59am ET
Nicholas,
I remember the 1974's very well. How did you ever hang on to a Mayacamas for so long? Nice to see that it was one of your top wines. Chateau Montelana, both Sonoma & Napa, were my favorite 1974's.

Cheers
Jay
Benoit Souligny
quebec canada —  December 31, 2013 1:09pm ET
Muga reserva especiale seleccione 2009
Bacalhoa moscatel roxo 2001
Quinta do Noval tawny 40 ans
best white
Domaine Habrard Hermitage 2009
Michael Wagner
Duluth, MN —  December 31, 2013 2:25pm ET
Best Red
Peter Michael Les Pavot 2005
Favorite White
Chappellet Chard 2009
Scott Stasiuk
canada —  January 1, 2014 1:42pm ET
Cellar bottle: 1997 Fontodi Flaccianello
Recent release: 2010 Pegau Cuvee de Capo
John Brody
Montreal —  January 6, 2014 6:50pm ET
2010 Flaccianello as a new release and 1998 Ornellaia from the cellar.
Thomas Kobylarz
Hoboken, NJ, USA —  January 8, 2014 9:10am ET
2010 Chateau Pontet Canet
Kelly Carter
Colorado —  January 10, 2014 3:09am ET
Best value - 2004 Bodegas Peñafiel Ribera del Duero Miros de Ribera Reserva

Favorite Old World Red - 2003 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée du Baron

Favorite New World Red - 2005 Beringer Vineyards Bancroft Ranch Merlot

Favorite Old World White - 2009 Domaine Pinson Frères Chablis 1er Cru Mont de Milieu

Favorite New World White - 2009 Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay

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