Although it may seem premature to start my year-end reflection series, nonetheless I've decided to forge ahead. Looking back, it seems that every year I get to review wines that were better and better than the previous year's crop. My lovely wife and myself still spend most of our days tippling the cheaper quaffs, due to budget considerations, but I'm continually seeking better vinos, pushing the envelope more and more each year. So many wines, so little time. With all this folderol in mind, and without furthur whining, here are my Top Ten Wines of 2009:
PIPER-HEIDSICK BRUT CHAMPAGNE (Jan)
We rang in the New Year with this classic bubbly. One sip and you'll understand why it's been chosen to toast the calendar change year after year.
INWOOD ESTATES TEMPRANILLO-CABERNET (Feb)
For years, the rest of Texas has produced most of the award-winning Lone Star tipples. Now, it's time for the Metroplex to stand up and be counted.
VEUVE CLIQUOT PONSARDIN BRUT CHAMPAGNE (Mar)
Another time-tested sparkler from the first great winery to be run by a woman. If you get a chance, you should read her life story, which proves that determination can and should triumph over unwarranted convention.
MASI PINOT GRIGIO VERDUZZO MASIANCO (Apr)
If you're used to French or California bottles, the world of Italian wine can seem downright bewildering. This food-friendly delight is a great gateway into that world.
CROSS TIMBERS CABERNET SAUVIGNON (May)
While Dallas is just really getting its act together, Grapevine has been quietly producing quality bottles for years. (Yes, Virginia, Grapevine is located in the Cross Timbers region of Texas, while Dallas is in the Blackland Prairie and Fort Worth is in the Grand Prairie. Confused? It's true.)
14 HANDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON (May)
I seem to find many of my memorable wines from restaurant lists these days, which is no surprised since Wine and Spirits Magazine named this cab the fourteenth most popular wine by the glass.
CHALONE VINEYARD ESTATE PINOT NOIR (July)
One usually associates great pinots with the cool Pacific Northwest, rather than California. However, Chalone Vineyards is perched precariously in the Galvan Mountain Range, 1800 feet above the Salinas Valley. Moreover, it's located at the foot of an extinct volcano, which must do wonders for the terroir.
DRY CREEK VINEYARD DRY CHENIN BLANC (Aug)
I'm a product of San Antone and so is Central Market, brainchild of the HEB company that has been selling groceries to Texans since before most of us could walk. Needless to say, I sampled this dry pleaser at a Central Market tasting.
ELSA BIANCHI MALBEC (Sep)
A malbec that goes well with seafood? Really?? Yet, we paired this product with crab dip, shrimp bisque, and Julia Child's beloved sole meuniere, and this spirited red was more than equal to the task at hand.
FUQUA PINOT NOIR (Dec)
The boisterous and magnanamous Lee Foster Fuqua is producing the tipples that have all haute Dallas abuzz from his winery near Love Field.
-Rutini Trumpeter Mendoza Malbec-Syrah
-Oops Sauvignon Blanc
Again, I know it's early for such a compilation, but I promise that if I encounter any more memorable wines before year's end, I will keep invesitigating them and report any favorable results after the New Year. Start your own investigations soon, and as always:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!