Thursday, December 31, 2009

The long awaited non-Cayuse 2009 Top Ten!

Here it is...the long awaited (by few!) Top Ten wines of 2009 that weren't Cayuse. A couple of these were included on the list not due to their score, but because the excited me or moved me in some way. Enjoy...

10. 2007 Sleight of Hand Chardonnay The Enchantress
Popped and poured. This wine has certainly grown and become more integrated even in the four short months since the last time I drank one. Bright yellow, accented with a slight green hue, this wine begs for you to take a sniff. Once that occurs--you are hit with apples, unripe pears, hints of spicy oak, cinnamon, stones, and citrus. Brighter acidity than I remember, as the weight of the oak has dissipated for the most part leaving behind a fresher palate characterized by lemon/lime, white flowers, steel, and a nice dose of minerality. The freshness continues on the finish as a heathly acidic cut plays well with the baked apple. Sadly, I only have one bottle of this left. Time for Trey to dip into the personal stash! 92pts

9. 2007 Carlisle RRV Syrah
As I stared longingly at this bottle of inky purple goodness, a tear trickled down my cheek as I realized it was my final bottle. Someone once said, "All good things must come to an end." F#@k that person as he had never had a $19.50 bottle of wine this good. I always secretly hope my bottles of Carlisle are crap (well, not really) since everyone and their mother gush about this winery, but alas, they are always freakin' tasty. A tip of my sweaty University of Washington golf cap to you, Mr. Officer. Oh yeah, the wine...Dark and brooding purple, accented by ruby edges, this wine gets all up in your nostrils and invades your personal space. Smoked bacon, violets, berry jam, blackberries, pepper, and asian spice announce that you are about to enjoy yourself. Full bodied (not in an 18th century rubenesque sort of way but in a 21st century healthy Jennifer Connelly sort of way) but not overly dense, this wine has a certain lift that's hard to explain. It just simply awakens your taste buds. Bright blue and black fruit fill your mouth to the rim and you actually fight swallowing (insert proverbial wife joke here), but when you do, the sticky tannins and hints of receding oak balance the ripe fruit perfectly and what you are left with is the feeling of pure drinking pleasure. When I was 19, pure drinking pleasure was MGD and Cuervo Gold and now, it's 2007 Carlisle RRV Syrah! 93pts

8. 2006 Saxum Bone Rock JBV
It was cool to bring this as a couple people had never drank a Saxum before, so I figured why not bring out a big gun. Decanted for around two hours, this puppy was rockin' from the get go. Big nose of blackberries, blueberries, jam, meat, and spice. Waves of ripe dark berry fruit in the mouth along with chocolate and even some spicy oak. As usual, everything is seamless so there's no hint of heat or tannin. This was so good now but will get even better with a few years under its belt. 95pts

7. 2007 Reynvaan The Contender Syrah
A contender it is! Nose was a bit muted but coaxed out some blackberries, dark cherry, and even a bit of bacon. The mouthfeel was pure elegance (co-fermented w/ marsanne). A heft again without the weight revealing a lushness I haven't had in such a young wine. Concentrated ripe fruit, stones, smoked pork. This was fantastic. Dale even remarked to our friend, Randy, that is was going to be all downhill from there! 94pts

6. 2004 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon
Opened about 30 minutes before gulping it down. I was shocked at how blood red this wine is, not blue/purple at all like Quilceda. Buttloads of red fruit on the nose--pomegranate, cassis, and cherries along with camphor, red licorice, and my favorite of all, sweat. That's right, sweat. Not in a SEC 300lb. defensive lineman kind of way but in a Megan Fox kind of way. Lush and smooth in the mouth without ever being fleshy. Loaded with red fruits and raspberry liqueur showing great mouth density but never venturing toward excess weight. This wine was so balanced with lip smacking acidity paired with the red fruit sweetness with no signs of tannin, tartness, or oak. It was so suave and polished that I'm surprised the label isn't in the shape of an Armani tuxedo. Damn good. 95pts

5. 2007 Dauvissat Chablis La Forest
Popped and let sit for 30 mins. This baby possessed such a vibrant yellow color that it furthered my already high expectations. After about 5 minutes of swirling, I think I resigned myself to the fact that I opened this too early (it was fairly open two months ago). It was so tight that my wrist hadn't been this sore since the first time I laid my eyes on the gorgeous Heather Thomas in an episode of the Fall Guy. After tons of coaxing, I finally could distinguish some Meyer Lemon and granite on the nose. Muscular, with enough acid to provide a backbone that would make a T Rex proud, hints of spicy apple, and enough stones to put African blood diamonds out business...this is built for the long haul. This may be the first time that I've felt guilty popping the cork too early but it was so good in February. Still a 92 point wine, with the stuffing to be a 95 pointer in 5-10 years. 92+ pts

4. 2007 Domaine Pierre Usseglio Cuvee de Mon Aieul
I have been anticipating this wine for a couple of years now. I can't imagine it could ever have lived up to expectations. It wasn't as accessible as the 2006 out of the gate but has tons more potential. A little darker than I expected with a nose of cherry liqueur, black currants, spice, and garrigue. Never hot but just jam-packed with ripe fruit, glycerine, and tons of chocolate. This wine is just so big but never close to approaching over the top with its sweetness and structure. If you're lucky enough to own multiple bottles, drink one now for the experience, but let the rest sleep for awhile as this is going to only get better. 95+++++pts

3. 2006 Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grobes Gewachs Trocken
OMFG. That is all I could say after my first smell of this goldilocked beauty. Sit in my chair, eat my porridge, and sleep in my bed antyime you little vixen. Gorgeous bright straw yellow color that when swirled made you dream of that blonde 20 year old Swede you saw in Nice when you were 18. Immediate aromas of stones, white peaches, Japanese pears, and starfruit syrup keep you bottled up in that dream. Once it hits your lips, concentrated quince, citrus, and minerality pummel your taste buds into submission. The interplay between restrained sweetness and mouth shocking dryness bob and weave over your tongue as deftly as the Champ himself, Muhammad Ali. Layer upon layer of riesling complexity, density, and lusciousness made me furious for only buying 2 bottles of this Teutonic beauty. 94pts

2. 2004 Kongsgaard Syrah Hudson Vineyard
My WOTN! You could just tell from the first smell that this was going to kick ass. Nose of mocha, ripe blue fruit, pepper, funky animal fur (similar to a certain WA State winery whose wines I've occasionally liked ). Huge in the mouth with blueberries and blackberries that had every bit of life squeezed out of them. Lush and silky but radiant and enlivened your taste buds. Century long finish. Ridonkulous. Thanks Steven! 97pts

1. 2005 Saxum Bone Rock JBV
Popped this herculean wine Saturday night to celebrate my Dawgs' Pac-10 Championship. After several bottle of Saxum, one cannot imagine that these wines can get any better or top the previous bottle but that would be wrong. Just plain wrong, my friend. This was a powerhouse from the get go. Resisting my natural urge to pop and pour, I opened this beauty and let it sit for over an hour. Immediate aromas are intoxicating with the likes of black cherry, kirsch, a little gaminess, five spice, tobacco, and a smack of pure blue fruit. Massively dense on the palate but somehow surprisingly seems light on its feet. Gushes of concentrated black raspberries and boysenberries balance out the heat to give you a delectable sweetness without ever losing its laser focused, even scary elegance. Bacon, some smoky oak, and hints of gaminess further harmonize the scale of sweet and savory. A lingering and thought provoking finish leads me to the belief that Saxum is easily one of the top three of four Rhone Rangers in the US. Monumental stuff! 97pts


  1. I agree with the poster right above! Haha

    I have a rankings question for you... I kind of understand that you are ranking the wines in order of those which made the most impression on you, correct? And in what way does that differ from how you scored the wines, which isn't really the same as the order they're ranked?

  2. Royce,
    What the first poster said!! The disclaimer I added was just to explain that the top ten wines weren't in numerical order according to score. You'll see that I have a 94 point wine at #3 and a 92 point wine at #5. Theses two wines just left a mark on me for various reasons (#3 was just the best white I'd had all year and #5 has so much potential) that I couldn't leave them out of my list because of score. Does that help?