The Top 5 Wines of 2013
Wait…one thing. These are not the top individual wines of 2013. Rather, they are my top 5 TYPES of wines from 2013. The five types of wines that most excited me in the past 12 months. Not the individual bottles that most excited me. I don’t recommend individual wines on FERMENTATION. I never have. I likely never will. However, I do feel obliged to point my readers in the right direction.
It’s a very obscure Vitis Labrusca and Vitis Vinifera hybrid to which I was introduced at the Long Beach International Wine Competition. Judging hybrids from the East Coast this grape was rendered into two different wines I was asked to judged. Both off dry, the Diamonds I tasted were magnificent. Slightly “foxy” in character with noticeable hints of concord and Niagra characteristics, these Diamond wines wonderfully put together with the perfect balance of acidity, and sugar. I have since sought them out and bought them and feel like I found a close friend.
4. Far West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
This region located, well, on the farthest western reaches of Sonoma County, continues to produce the most exciting Pinot Noir being made in the U.S. today. Part of it has to do with the climate, part of it to the experimenting winemakers that have taken to the region.
3. 10+ year-old Mountain Grown Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Those growers on Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain and Atlas Peak who embrace the natural tannins of these mountain locations produce wines that need to sit around for at least a decade. But once time mellows these monsters, they transform into spectacular specimens. I’ve had a number this year that have blown my sox off with complexities, rich fruit flavors and, most of all, balance.
2. Sauvignon Blanc
It remains the best value among the common varietals. And when made in a straight forward, un-oaked, fresh style it not only please for the drink it is, but performs as well as any other varietal as a partner to food. Just as important, when balanced it can age magnificently and can peak a decade down the road. Perhaps the most underrated varietal wine available.
For me, no grape has been so well cared for and produced such an array of exciting wines from a myriad of locations than Riesling. New York Riesling, German Riesling, Alsace Riesling, Australia Riesling, Washington Riesling, Spring Mountain Riesling….Well Aged Riesling, Baby Riesling, Off Dry Riesling, Sweet Riesling. I have been constantly surprised and consistently pleased with a slew of Rieslings in 2013 and can’t wait to taste more. It is the most exciting grape on the planet and the source of the most exciting wines.