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…
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.
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
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