Tue 10 Dec 2013

Pierre Mansour: My Top 10 Wines of 2013

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As the year draws to a close I find myself reflecting upon the bottles that most impressed me over the last 12 months.

This selection is made in absolute terms, putting aside price and availability, and incorporates 10 wines that have, quite simply, provided me with the utmost drinking pleasure in 2013. It is, therefore, a very personal selection of my most memorable bottles.

In no particular order:

Pierre MansourBaccolo Appassimento Parziale Rosso Veneto 2012 (£5.95 per bottle)
Real Italian flavour here and probably the best-value red I have tried this year. From Veneto, it is made from partially dried grapes which concentrate the flavour.

Viña Zorzal Graciano, Navarra 2011 (£6.75 per bottle)
The 2011 of this Navarra red meets the high expectations set by the superb 2010. Think modern, ripe Rioja but with a twist of individuality.

Domaines Lupier El Terroir Garnacha, Navarra 2009 (£16 per bottle)
I predict we might be hearing a lot about this exquisite garnacha in years to come. A newish set-up, using 100 year old+ vineyards to craft a seriously fine expression of this Mediterranean grape.

• Frog’s Leap Zinfandel 1993 (No stock available)
Frog’s Leap owner John Williams kindly brought this to show to members at a London tasting in May. At 20 years of age, it dazzled us with its maturity and freshness.

Dog Point Pinot Noir 2010 Marlborough (£23.50 per bottle)
A remarkable Marlborough pinot: ripe, smooth and stylish. I would go as far as saying it is Dog Point’s best pinot yet.

• Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1991 (No stock available)
Tasted as part of a Penfolds vertical (alongside the legendary Grange), this sensational shiraz knocked me for six. Surprisingly youthful for its age yet completely delicious to drink now.

The Society’s Vinho Verde (£5.95 per bottle)
New to the range this year, I sense this might just spearhead a comeback for vinho verde. Light, crisp and effortless to drink.

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2010 Auckland (£17 per bottle)
The tricky climate in Auckland means that vintages really do matter. 2010, though small, produced beautifully ripe grapes, and this is excellent.

Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Chaumées, Domaine Jean-Nöel Gagnard 2008 (£43 per bottle)
Wonderful, complex Côte de Beaune that ticks all the boxes you expect from top level white Burgundy.

Rivesaltes Cuvée Lucie, Domaine de Rancy 1985 (£50 per bottle)
This fortified macabeu, aged for a long time in old barrels in contact with oxygen, has near-perfect balance between sweetness, acidity and flavour. The finish goes on and on and on.

Pierre Mansour
Society Buyer

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