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my greatest grapes of 2012

For best-of lists, most people get all well, well, well look at the old amazing wines I drank, 1000′s of dollars worth, and say stuff like “it’s drinking well now.” That’s not really grapefriend though. Partly because I don’t have the money, partly because you probably don’t either, partly because sometimes I love non-expensive wine. I was lucky enough to go to some tastings where I had a few pricey ones, but really this list is just wines that gave me moments of “OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS!” Not as fancy pants as ’82 La Mission Haut Brion, but great for their own reasons.

I wrote about all these throughout the year, but here they all are in one handy post. Are they the best wines ever made? No. But I loooved them when I had them wherever I was, so maybe you will too. Was trying to make it a top 10, but it morphed into 15… enjoy!

salomon gruner weidenberg

salomon grunerAs the guy who poured it for me said, “It’s like a Gruner that’s not a Gruner.” Well I love a good grassy Gruner so I wouldn’t want it to not taste like one, but this one was elevated and elegant. $16

zenato amarone

zenato amaroneOK, so this was one of those tastings I was talking about before. Got to try 12 Amarone’s, which are all pretty expensive because it’s a time- and labor-intensive wine to make. None of them were bad, but this Zenato was the best. Bold, dry, candied, chocolate, all rolled into one. $66

benziger oonapais

benziger oonapaisAfter an afternoon of golf carting around the incredible biodynamic grounds of Benziger, we went into the tasting room and drank what their land produced. This Cab-Merlot blend was my favorite – big, bold, and funky. $55

wild horse cheval sauvage pinot noir

wild horse cheval sauvageLove Wild Horse Pinots and was psyched to go to a dinner full of them this summer. They’re from Paso Robles and have that great cherry/cranberry. This concentrated, rich Cheval Sauvage was the best of the night. $52

anheuser blanc de noir

anheuser blanc de noirI’d had a sparkling white Pinot Noir, but this was my first still one. I was pretty intrigued and pretty happy once I tasted it.  Fleshy, ripe white cherry and awesome almond-skin flavor, full-bodied and delicious! $11

la follette manchester ridge

la follette pinot noirI did a night of Pinot’s with my friend and this was by far my favorite. A lot of Pinots from Sonoma are way too fruity, like a cherry bomb, but this one’s fantastically balanced. Black cherry, roses, a total dream. $42

pine ridge chenin blanc & viognier

pine ridge chenin viognierThis is only thirteen bucks and I loved it! So refreshing and so yummy. Sometimes Chenin on its own is too waxy for me, but the addition of the delcate, perfumey Viognier is a genius match. Plus it was admirably part of Green Week, which I loved doing. $13

bergstrom rosé

bergstrom-roseRemember rosé week? Out of over 50 rosés, this was my favorite. Volcanic apricot? I’m in. So interesting and of course amazeballs! $19

le reve sparkling

le reve carnerosMy mom’s new favorite sparkling wine. Have had this a bunch of times this year and it’s always great. Blanc de Blancs, elegant bubbles, great cream and acid balance. $95

wente reliz creek pinot noir

wente-pinot-noirAs I said, the thing that really gets you going is how smooth it is, like smooooooooooth smooth. It made me very happy on a random weekday night. $22

cliff lede cabernet

cliff lede cabernetGreat wine moment. Took a sip and just fell in love. Awesome Cab. I also love their Cinnamon Rhapsody but this regular one was the one that got me hooked on Cliff Lede. $60

chimney rock rose

chimney rock roseA friend brought this back from the winery for me to taste. It was amazing – all Cab Franc which gave it a deeper pink hue and lots of dark berry flavor (the latest vintage is Merlot, so I don’t know how it is). Had this with our charcuterie plate the same night as the Cliff Lede. Needless to say that was a good wine night. $24

craggy range sauvignon blanc

craggy range sauvignon blancAll Craggy Range wines come from a single vineyard each (this one’s from Te Muna Road Vineyard). It’s a great example of New Zealand Sav Blanc, grapefruity but way more refined than your typical NZ SB. So good! Plus, I linked it to Ryan Gosling which people enjoyed. $20

sanct valentin sauvignon

sanct valentin sauvignonSaid it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve never had a white from Alto Adige I didn’t like. And this Sanct Valentin is one of the best I’ve had. I even gave it to two guys who were over for dinner who claimed they didn’t love white wine, and both said it was their favorite of the night. They wanted more but it was all gone! $32

scott paul la paulée pinot noir

scott paul pinot noirWent to a tasting of all Willamette wines (seriously if you ever have the opportunity, GO TO ONE because almost all Willamette wines are really good or great). So the one you like the most at something like that is like choosing which athlete in the Pro Bowl is the best. For me this was Scott Paul La Paulée – Oregon Pinot perfection. I haven’t had their Audrey (named after Audrey Hepburn, my fave!) one but I hear it’s also amazing. $32

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2 thoughts on “my greatest grapes of 2012

  1. It’s an interesting idea… I’ve never made a list of my favorite wines… but I think I should make a list of my favorite autochthonous grape varieties – and from my blog you know why ;)

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