Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The best wines in the world this year?

I'm frowning 'cause my panel got no Best in Shows.
It would really be remiss of me to run 2 posts about the Concours Mondial, which I (and others) consider the best wine competition in the world, without listing its best-of-category wines.

One quirk of the Concours' statistically based judging system -- more on it tomorrow -- is that none of the 284 judges left Luxembourg last week knowing what had actually won. And unfortunately, Panel 24, where I sat, didn't draw any of these categories, so I can't give you personal impressions of the wines.

But I will say this about the Best Spirit: Good choice. I love Highland Park 18 Years Old, mainly for its deliciousness and long finish, but also for its story. The only reason so much of it exists is because the distillery is so far to the north in Scotland that it wasn't practical, when single malts didn't have the market they do today, to sell the younger whisky off in blends. Isolated in the frigid north, whipped by salty winds; it's an image that warms me every time I get to enjoy a glass. And yeah, it's really tasty.

I toyed with the idea of volunteering for the spirits panel this year, but ultimately chickened out, and am glad I did, because each time I walked by those folks had glasses of potent-looking clear spirits in front of them and dour expressions. You think you're going to taste 50 single-malt Scotches and reposado Tequilas and instead end up with a bunch of eaux de vie from Bulgaria or Bangladesh or wherever. The Highland Park must have felt like a gift from God.

I confess I'm not familiar with any of the wines other than the Gonzalez Byass Nectar PX, which is sooo rich and delicious that one sip should be satisfying for dessert. But I haven't met anyone yet who could stop at one sip.

But how about this: the best red wine in the world, from Catalonia? Wow. I won't believe it until I'm lucky enough to try it.

So here's the list of Best Wines, right after the jump (one more page click for me, but I won't make you click on a different page for each wine, like Forbes). Tomorrow I'll post about what the Concours' scoring standards are, and what I think they could/should be.

  • Best Sparkling: Champagne Gallimard Père & Fils - Cuvée de Prestige 2005 (Champagne, France)
  • Best White: Terre Cortesi Moncaro - Vigna Novali Classico Riserva Bianco 2007 (Marche, Italy)
  • Best Rosé: Château de Berne - Terres de Berne 2010 (Provence, France)
  • Best Red: Altavins Viticultors - Domus Pensi 2006 (Catalonia, Spain)
  • Best Sweet: Gonzalez Byass - Nectar PX (Andalusia, Spain)
  • Best Spirit: Rémy Cointreau - Highland Park 18 Years Old (Scotland, United Kingdom)

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