So many wonderful wines, tastings and dinners this past year. (It is hard to believe that it is over.) I will start with the easy part: My top wines. This is not a best to least order. I dislike the implications of the top 100. Is wine number 98 really that much less good than number 2? So here is my list of favourite wines I tasted this year—all were wonderful: 1870 Mouton Rothschild (more later); 2010 Fenocchio Barolo Bussia (from Magnum); 2017 Perrot Minot Mazoyères-Chambertin;1961 Chateau L’Evangile; 2019 Comte Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre; 2006 Guigal Condrieu La Doraine; 2017 Herman Ludes Thornricher Ritsch Riesling Spatlese Fineherb; 2020 Piere Duroche Gevrey Chambertin en Vosne; 2018 El Enemigo Malbec; and the 2017 Trimbach Riesling Geisberg Grand Cru.
My best trip of the year was a brief visit to Burgundy in early June, and the best winery visit was to a fine estate in Gevrey Chambertin: Humbert. We tasted all the 2022s from barrel. What a delicious vintage on the basis of this sample of six-seven wines. Best of all, each was different. Terroir imprint was unmistakable. The Charmes Chambertin was tasted last of course. If there was ever a question of the difference between Premier and Grand Cru terroirs it was settled once and for all. We then took a trip into the Premier Crus so we could see for ourselves the differences. A memorable hour.
My Best Meals of 2023 must start with Ma Cuisine in Beaune—A venerable establishment with an amazing wine list presided over by the inimitable Pierre Escoffier. Delicious traditional French food which I might add is very hard to find in New York. But Naro—one of a half dozen nouvelle Haut Korean restaurants which I believe to be the best in Manhattan, was another stunner. The occasion was a special lunch/tasting with Jean Trimbach, an old friend. Exquisitely refined food with textures and flavors ideally suited to a full range of Trimbach wines. A magnum of the 2013 Frederic Emile was fabulous.
My Best Wine Moment with Friends had to be the one spent with my old friends Harry Snady and Laurel Kiefer who invited me to visit and to taste the remaining three ounces of a coravined bottle of 1870 (!) Mouton they had drunk at the Enoteca Pinchiorri 3 weeks before. I wrote about this amazing bottle for Terroir Sense Wine Review and it will be featured in one of our upcoming, every Mondays column of the Wines of the Week, but as you can tell, this for me is literally the Wine of the Year, though I’m not compiling a top 100 or similar thing. We cooked duck breasts and truffled pasta with chanterelles and cream. The wine was still bright, spicy and quite vigorous on the palate– At 153 years old. This experience will never again be equaled.