As we get closer and closer to the end of 2018, myself, James and Patrick O’Connor were reflecting on the year that’s almost finished, and challenged ourselves to pick a mixed case of our 2018 favourite wines.
This challenge was not as simple as it sounds as we have had the privilege of tasting some amazing new and old wines throughout the year. I would prefer if I was asked to pick 25 wines that I liked personally. Being restricted to a narrowing of my favourites for a mixed case with James and Patrick – well can I just say that there was plenty of discussions.
For instance, it was our pleasure to visit Antoine Malassagne of the tiny but well respected Champagne house of AR Lenoble during February prior to Johnny Sexton’s winning drop goal in Paris. Their entire range comprises gorgeous champagnes.
We were also delighted with the wines Domaine Saint Gayan, Gigondas in France which we visited during our Autumn Harvest Trip.
One of the most memorable nights for me, during the year, was having a “Bourgogne Off” – tasting all of the Bourgognes’ that we carry in Green Acres and comparing them against each other. They were all from the same vintage and it was amazing how they all differed in character, (two of the Burgundies tasted made it into my favourites below) – Donal.
Our list of wine tasting experiences in 2018 is too long to mention here, and suffice to say that other regions not visited this year, such as the Napa Valley, Chile, and Greece are ones to keep an eye on. Sparkling wines stood out as well, but we will be penning a blog next month on these so I’ll refrain in this post.
How we picked our inclusions was that we all completed a list of our favourites. Any duplication was automatically in. Thereafter, we had some energetic discussions on the remaining fillers – some of which had to be re-tasted (ahem). One rule was that any bottle included had to be or becoming available in Green Acres for people to purchase. Also, the wines had to be interesting, drinking well and good value for money.
Here is our mixed case of 2018 favourite wines.
(the bottle images used below may not represent the actual wine being described)
Our 2018 Favourite White Wines
Henri Boillot Bourgogne Blanc 2013 – A full-bodied white wine, made with the chardonnay grape. It has a taste profile of ripe melon and grapefruit flavours, with high acidity and minerality. Well aged in oak. Very tasty and delicious. (Donal) €40
One of the biggest memories I have this year is tasting the range of Viognier that Domaine George Vernay produces from Condrieu. We took them for the Irish Market this year and they are the best example of Viognier that you will find. I loved the “Pied a Samson” 2016 (Donal) €40
A full bodied white, made from the Riesling grape, Burklin Wolf is leading the way in Pfalz for producing bone dry, linear, and very mineral styled wine. It has searing acidity and a balanced fruit palate to match. The wines are pure and glorious. They use a biodynamic approach to their vineyard. (Donal) €65
My drinking white wine of the year is the Green Acres own label Bordeaux, vinified by Jonathan Ducourt in Entre Deux Mers. (Patrick) €15
A full bodied white, chardonnay grape from Marc Morey 2013 gives a mineral flavour. High concentration of ripe fruit and roundness and depth with good acidity and well-balanced fruit content. Fruit is very prominent Very tasty and juicy. (James) €37
Our 2018 Favourite Red Wines
Emmanuel Reynaud of Chateau Rayas also makes this Domaine Des Tours, Vin des Pays de Vaucluse 2011. Aged in big old foudres (large wooden vats) the wines are pure, with a Burgundian elegance to them. They have a spicy, peppery note that proves their Southern Rhone heritage. Grenache at its best! (Donal) €27.50
Recently for reds, as the nights get shorter, I’ve fancied this full-bodied red, a 2014 Marge – a stunning Priorat from Cellars L’Encastel in Spain. (Patrick) €30
This red from Margeaux, in Bordeaux, is one of my firm favourites. Under general manager Alexander Van Beek the wines of Chateau Giscours have improved massively in recent years. Grape Varieties 60% CS, 32% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. (James) €40
For me the Robert Groffier Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2014 was the most fragrant, pure and elegant Pinot Noir I have tasted this year. (Donal). €60
Benjamin Leroux is a rising star in Burgundy. I really like this charming Pinot Noir 2015 that is drinking well right now. Nice round fruit that’s showing very well – we tasted this one at the Domaine. (James) €35
I am recommending the 2014 wine from Miguel Merinos. The Vinas Jovenas has had 16 months in barrels made with American oak staves and French oak bottoms. (Patrick) €26
I really liked the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape from Vincent Avril’s Clos des Papes. It is for a special occasion rather than everyday drinking but well worth it IMO. (James) €100.
Two bottles that I really wanted to include here, but due to compromise I couldn’t, were those I shared with Raymond Blake to celebrate the end of the 2018 Wexford Festival Opera – Domaine Antoine Jobard Meursault 2015 and Domaine des Lambrays Morey St Denis 2015. (Donal)
James wanted to add one extra bottle to the case but we wouldn’t allow him. Accordingly, we agreed that he could give this dessert wine a recommendation. He adores (as do many of our customers) the Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2002 from South Africa.
Burnished copper in colour, with abundant aromas of dried mangos, apricots and honey. The palate is charmingly full-bodied and intensely flavoured, with a thick, viscous consistency pared by pithy astringency and a fresh, mouth-watering finish.
Our Mixed Case of 2018 Favourite Wines
So there you have it our agreed mixed case and it doesn’t matter who choose them, they are all simply delicious pours available here in Green Acres. I appreciate that there appears to be a French bias going on here but I can say that all wines were chosen by us independently.
Don’t forget, we have a comprehensive selection of wonderful drinking wines from many other wine regions of the world. Contact any of the three of us or drop into the shop – one of us will be there to talk you through your preferences.
If you would like to include any of our 2018 favourite wines in a wine hamper it’d be best to contact me and I’ll see what stock is available and will suggest substitutes, if not. If you’d like to search our wines we now have a new mobile app in which you can do so. Click on either of the badges below for the link.
As usual, you can contact me if you would like to discuss anything about individual wines or those in our hampers. Also, if you’d like to receive future blog posts from us, directly to your email, just ‘click’ here.
We look forward to engaging with you again soon – Cheers, Donal.