It’s been a long time since I last posted. I’ve been busy working on my still-nascent-but-perhaps-actually-about-to happen-book which is very exciting (potentially.) Less excitingly but more lucratively I have been writing travel guides to cities that I’ve never visited. Normally researching these cities makes me want to visit them – I had no idea that Baku had such rich Art Noveau architecture. The exception was Malmo which sounds like Middlesborough with added anti-Semitism.
So finally here are my wines of the year from 2013. An upside to being a wine writer is that I get to taste some extremely rare wines including this year some 19th century Madeira courtesy of Berry Bros. The downside is that these are normally drunk in a room surrounded by other journalists so that though one may appreciate them, you don’t actually enjoy the experience terribly much. Therefore my wines of the year, aren’t the necessarily the best wines, they are the wines I have enjoyed the most which means I drank them with people I love.
Marco de Bartoli Marsala Superiore Riserva 10 year old (Harvey Nichols £40)
Despite a bit of a marsala obsession, I had never tried anything from the most esteemed producer, the late Marco de Bartoli. I saw this on the menu at Bocca di Lupo for about £60 and as I was with my wife, we were a bit drunk and it was our wedding anniversary, I thought what the hell. I am so glad I did. It’s a wine with a story to tell. One sniff and we were in an imaginary Sicily of orange groves, Byzantine craftsman and long sultry afternoons. We had a glass each and then drank the rest at home over the course of a week.
Domaine la Combe Blanche Cinsault L’Incompris 2011 (£8. 50 Leon Stolarki – pretty much everything I’ve bought from this man has been excellent and he’s not expensive)
This is my sociable wine of the year. It’s not one to think about terribly much, it’s just plain delicious like a good Beaujolais or a simple New World Pinot Noir. It goes with pretty much everything and everyone who tries it makes appreciative noises. I predict that 2014 is going to be the year of Cinsault if only in SE13.
Quinta do Noval Nacional 2011
Now I’m breaking my rule here. I drank this at a table surrounded by jostling sweating wine writers, sommeliers and freeloaders. It’s very expensive (if you can find it) and shouldn’t really be touched for 20 years, but it’s one of those rare cult wines where after one sip you understand what the fuss is all about. It’s just so concentrated, every sip there’s something new to discover, but it’s not flamboyant in the slightest. I’d kill to try this again.
That’s it. Now does anyone know five unmissable things to see in Ulan Bator?
You can read some more of my 2014 booze predictions here.