Snooth Vintage of the Year

And the surprising winner is...

 


It’s finally time. Wines of the Year time, that is. Well, in fact, more than Wines of the Year. For the first time, I'm picking Snooth's Winery of the Year, Region of the Year, Vintage of the Year and Wines of the Year for 2010. I'll be revealing the winners throughout the week, so stay tuned to see who gets the gong for each category. First up, we have Vintage of the Year.

What the heck? Yes, in an effort to be fair about things, I’m proposing the seemingly redundant vintage of the year! While every year is a vintage, not every region may be blessed with ideal weather, and each year several different vintages hit the shelves depending on each region’s respective ageing regimens.

There are many options from which to choose this year and I have opted for one of the least obvious of the great vintages of the year. I have opted for a wine and region that I tend to not get too excited about, but in this vintage -- it’s 2009, by the way -- the wines have really impressed me with their power and precision.

I have opted for a vintage and a grape that is remarkably readily available, with wines that are almost all truly affordable and that are drinking well today and over the next two to five years. These are wines we can all afford to buy, and enjoy!

Want to know what I’m talking about? 

The winner of Snooth’s inaugural Vintage of the Year -- yes, this surprised even me – is…
Slideshow
2009 Dolcettos
Dolcetto 2009 from Piedmont!

Slideshow: 2009 Dolcettos

I have never been a huge fan of Dolcetto, though it has always been a popular wine here in the U.S. I have assumed in the past that a large degree of that popularity is due to the name, which implies some sore of sweetness awaiting the drinker even to those whose command of a Romance language doesn’t extend beyond common menu terms.

In any event, the reason behind the popularity has always escaped me, as has the general comparison as something akin to Beaujolais, but that’s another story. And then I began to taste the 2009 Dolcettos. These were, as a group, remarkable wine. I have never before tasted through a vintage of Dolcetto so crisp, balanced, and focused as these wines.

Many of these wines have yet to hit the U.S. market, and in all honesty, this also played into my decision a bit. When making recommendations it is very easy to miss the timing target. I must admit that in the past I found wine recommendations for wines that had mostly moved through the retail channels to be incredibly annoying, as well as useless.

Things move much slower today though, but I still wanted to make a recommendation that would have staying power. With most 2009 Dolcettos on their way into the market as we speak, I thought this was the perfect time to anoint the vintage as Snooth’s first Vintage of the Year!

The 2009 Dolcettos, and Barbera of course, give an indication of what other wines from this region might be like. I’m speaking about the later released Barolo and Barbaresco. In general, there will be some distinct differences between the Dolcetto of 2009 and other varietals, even from the same producers.

In 2009, the Dolcetto harvest began a bit early in the season. The year had been quite hot though the ample rains and snowfalls of the previous winter had replenished the vineyards’ water supply so hydric stress had not been an issue. With the warm temperatures and the relatively early harvest, not to mention an ample break before continuing with the harvest, producers were able to bring in near-perfect grapes and had the luxury of time during the critical first few days of fermentation.

So, what are the wines like? Aromatic and seamless, with moderate alcohol and good acidity. Oh, and since they’re Dolcetto they’re almost all inexpensive! I don’t know if this should factor in this sort of decision but I’m not about to let convention step in my way. Yes, these are cheap, widely available, easy to appreciate, ready on release wines. This may not be the vintage of the year for wine collectors but for wine drinkers, these will be great values and they are simply freaking delicious. What more can you want?

Don’t like Dolcetto? Well, besides the other recommendations I mention below, allow me to just restate the fact that I have never been a huge fan of Dolcetto. Let me also state that these wines are the best groups of Dolcettos I have ever tasted! Watch out for them, taste them, enjoy them, and let me know what you think. In any event, after all is said and done that is the only thing that is important.

Runner-up:
2009 Beaujolais
The Cru Beaujolais from 2009 are among the finest I’ve ever tasted. Many of the top wines are disappearing from retailers’ shelves so you have to act quickly if you want to snatch up some of the year’s top buys.

Top 10 Most Searched-for 2009 Cru Beaujolais 

Runner-up:
209 Dry German Riesling
Dry Riesling has slowly gained a foothold here in the U.S. and with the crop of 2009s just hitting our shores, these amazing mineral-laden wines bursting with fresh fruit are destined to win over many new converts!

Top 10 Most Searched-for 2009 Trocken Rieslings

Mentioned in this article

Comments

  • Snooth User: vinsider
    541543 48

    Dolcetto? Really?

    Dec 13, 2010 at 4:16 PM


  • Just in time for our Xmas visit to Italy. We are staying for two weeks, first week in Tuscany and the second week in Bologna. Can you recommend a few choices for us? Thanks.

    Dec 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM


  • Snooth User: jamelnt
    542974 8

    Tell me the biggest difference between Barbera and Barbaresco.
    Thanks, also I tried Blina, Barbera D'Asti is was very delicious with romantic undertones, I would like to try more of Barbera, this surprising wine.

    Dec 13, 2010 at 5:04 PM


  • Thanks Gregory , I will try it.

    Dec 13, 2010 at 5:33 PM


  • Snooth User: tking535
    364227 3

    Where can I find a Dolcetto???

    Dec 13, 2010 at 8:21 PM


  • Snooth User: smtanner
    615584 25

    To answer jamelnt, Barbaresco is a wine made from nebbiolo grapes, while Barbera is a grape variety in its own right (and also gives its name to various wines, such as Barbera d'Asti)

    Dec 14, 2010 at 12:16 AM


  • Snooth User: kvbeanz869
    597620 58

    If in Tuscany you must find Le Volte, it can be had for about 25-30 euro in a resturant but at a shop it should be around 15 euro.

    Dec 14, 2010 at 6:10 AM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 213,394

    Yes folks Dolcetto!

    Why not, these are the best group of Dolcettos I've tried, and as I wrote I am not a huge fan of Dolcetto.

    These are great wines, affordable wines, available wines, wines that drink well today and into the near term. What more can you ask for.

    Any retailer should have some Dolcetto on hand and the best will be able to offer you a selection to choose from and their own expert advice to guide you.

    Dec 14, 2010 at 9:45 AM


  • Snooth User: barry fay
    587204 21

    and so the hunt begins!

    Dec 14, 2010 at 12:54 PM


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