Bucket List Wine
I don't intend to drink more in 2019 and not necessarily better, I do however, intend to continue on my journey of trying more interesting, terroir honest & unique wines.
What counts as different depends on your view point. If you live in Athens for example Assyrtiko would be as recognisable as a Rioja Reserva in Dublin or Madrid for that matter. So whilst some of these bucket list wines may be off the beaten track, I am reserving the right to select benchmark examples from classic areas just because they are an honest reflection of their region and origin and its a treat to revisit them.
Grower Champagne is well worth seeking out for its value as well as its individuality. The beauty of large well known Champagne houses is that they can be relied upon to offer high quality, consistent wines year in and out because non-vintage Champagne is in essence is a blended wine. The beauty of Grower Champagne houses is that they don't offer this. Growing their own grapes from their own vineyards, the wines are much more a reflection of those vineyards, the year and the winemakers approach so the style can be more varied and nuanced which is fascinating. Plus, because they own their vineyards, they have more control the price of their wine and this can equal value.
Moving onto my white bucket list tastings for this year and I will certainly be seeking out grapes that are native to specific countries and regions., not exhaustive but for example: from Greece, Assyrtiko, Italy Verdicchio and Cattaratto, Spain Albarino and Godello, Austria Gruner Verltliner and so on. Whilst you may find some of these wines appearing across the globe, I am keen to explore them in a winder context in on their home turf. You can easily find all of these grapes expressed as dry, elegant, linear and refreshing, but I look forward to finding the fuller, richer more textured and concentrated versions achieved through lees contact, subtle oak use or ageing.
Similarly on the reds I will be seeking some interesting natives such as Nerollo Mascalese from Sicily which is comparable to Pinot Noir, but it is the classics this year that I want to make time for. Pauillac for example, with good bottle age is one of the best wines to explore over the course of a dinner watching it evolve and change from opening the bottle through to the final drop. The intensity, savoury, nutty complexity of dry oloroso sherry is also one that I will be exploring and the perfect match it makes with salted almonds or hard cheese. Northern Italy with the delicacy and power combined in Barolo whether old or young is also on my to do list and finally Sonoma coast Pinot Noir, where in 2018 I tasted some incredible wines from here and I want to experiment more.