Wine Geek best wines of 2014 (Part 3 – The Whites)

In the third episode of my wines of the year, it’s time to look at the outstanding white wines. Predictably there is plenty of Riesling and Chardonnay but I have to start with one of the most remarkable wines I have ever had the privilege to taste…

Huet

Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Sec 1934 (Vinaturel £538)

A beautiful golden, amber colour and a nutty, slightly oxidative nose but with plenty of fruit in the form of dried apple pieces, pear and even a touch of orange peel; still very much alive 80 years on! The palate leads with raisiny fruit but there is apple freshness and tangy orange rind; the flavour is tart and fresh and the acidity is incredible. After the fruit there is a deliciously long nutty finish. This is a pure and precise wine, smooth and elegant; a wine as much about the texture as the flavour… but the layers of flavour are incredible and the length is astonishing. A truly remarkable wine. 95 points

 

Now onto some superb Rieslings:

JJP

Keller Brunnenhauschen AbtE Riesling Grosses Gewächs 2009, Rheinessen, Germany (Justerini & Brooks £96.00)

The nose is delightfully complex with smoke and slate beautifully mingling with apples, limes and passion fruit. The palate is wonderful; very tense and racy with bags of minerality; zesty limes to begin with, then ripe peach, then the tropical fruit before it all comes together in a blanket of searing acidity. A wine that keeps on giving and there’s so much more to come! 94+ points

Schlumberger Riesling Saering Grand Cru 2011 (The Wine Society £16.50)

This Riesling simply oozes class in every drop. Rich and juicy, starting off with bright citrus then developing more tropical notes of guava, passion fruit and pineapple chunks. There are delightful hints of honeysuckle providing even more depth and there is a beautiful long and wonderfully honeyed finish. Brilliant. 94 points

Cave de Turckheim Riesling Brand Grand Cru 2008 (The Wine Society £14.50)

Heaps and heaps of citrus aromas with juicy limes and green mango to the fore. Along with the fruit is plenty of slate-minerality and just a touch of petrol starting to evolve. On the palate there are bags of citrus, beginning with lemons, then a swathe of lime, all wrapped in a beautiful cloak of acidity – very pure and very precise. A delightful balance of fruit and acid at spectacular value for top notch Grand Cru wine. 93 points

 

It’s been a good year for Chardonnay tasting; some great Burgundy and some wonderful finds from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa:

White burgundy

Mischief & Mayhem 1er Cru Sous les Puits, Puligny-Montrachet 2009 (Chelsea Vintners £58.00)

What a powerful nose! Toast and delicious nutty butter combine beautifully with ripe peaches, crisp apples and just a hint of juicy tropical fruit; this is a wine that screams DRINK ME! Rich peachy fruit and delicious acidity opens the door to a truly wonderful palate. It is so fresh with lots of soft ripe fruit and nutty undertones, with a delicate and considerable finish. The nose suggest its going to beat you around the head but there is wonderful, precise balance at play here; beautifully made – ready to drink but will continue to improve over the next few years. 95 points

Giarardin Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres 2000 (Ancient & Modern Wines £54.00)

All that’s good in aged white Burgundy. The aromas are nectarine and russet apples with pastry and vanilla cream. The palate is delightfully fresh and there is a wonderful intensity of fruit, richness and balanced acidity, all of the detected aromas coming together in the mouth. Wonderfully complex and great length. Marvellous stuff. 95 points

Felton Road Banockburn Chardonnay 2011 (Roberson £24.95)

Everyone bangs on about the Sauvignon Blanc coming out of New Zealand but for me, Chardonnay is where it’s at. The aromas and flavours of warm toasty oak and leesy-ness hits you straight between the eyes before the waves the waves of sublime tropical fruit come at you; pineapple, honeydew melon and peach are all in evidence. It’s soft and warm and has such a wonderful balance of fruit, acid and oak, with impressive weight and texture. Fabulous. 95 points

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2012 (Nickolls & Perks £23.10)

A fabulous wine – would be very difficult to place this outside of Burgundy – has a real Charlemagne power to it. Huge rich and buttery nose with lashings of peach and a burst of citrus, all wrapped in a blanket of expensive and smoky oak. The palate is fat and buttery with lots of peach, tart apple and just a hint of pineapple, all cloaked in rich caramel, nuts and flaky, butter pastry. The acid is fine and dandy and the finish is long and intense. Lots of concentration and plenty of complexity. 94 points

Cherubino Ad Hoc Hen & Chicken Chardonnay 2012 (Wine & the Vine £15.25)

A delightfully rich lees-y nose with plenty of lemon freshness and a touch of white peach too – one of those extremely attractive noses that you can smell for a long, long time. The palate is bursting with flavours of peach, lemon, gentle vanilla spice, and has a super fresh and long finish. Delicious and fresh with just enough oaky interest. Great value £15 Chard. 93 points

 

Grüner has been a favourite of mine for quite some time now and I was so pleased to discover plenty of great examples in 2014:

Gruner

Knoll Grüner Veltliner “Ried Loibenberg” Smaragd 2010, Wachau (N/A in UK, 2012 @ Fine & Rare £32.40)

Rich and aromatic nose with apples, pears, a touch of fresh citrus and a delightful edge of exotic, warming spice. On the palate the wine is super-juicy upfront with apples and limes before the minerality kicks in and cleans the palate to allow the warm white pepper spice to come through on the long and delicious finish. A super complex and fresh wine with three stages, fruit, mineral and spice, which all come together in beautiful balance at the end. Lovely wine. 94 points

Rabl Kaferberg Grüner Veltliner 2012, Kamptal, Austria (Wine and the Vine £19.95)

Delightful nose of citrus, peach and grapefruit with plenty of clean slate-like minerality. The texture is rich and voluptuous with very pure lemon and peach fruit. The attack and finish is bone dry with cool minerality and a gorgeous, warm and spicy white pepper finish. 93 points

Domaine Wachau Grüner Veltliner Weingärten Weissenkirchen 2012, Wachau, Austria (Majestic £9.99)

A classy, well-balanced Gruner with delicious apple and citrus fruit, a delightful streak of acidity and a warm and long white pepper finish. At £8.99 this is a real bargain and one worth stocking up for any ocasion. 92 points

 

A splendid Pinot Gris from a great Alsatian producer:

gris

Schlumberger Pinot Gris Grand Cru Kitterle 2007 (Fortnum & Mason £32.50)

Is this really the same grape that makes that dull and dismal Pinot Grigio monstrosities that the supermarket shelves are filled with? Believe it or not it is! Beautifully golden in the glass, the nose elegantly unfolds peaches, nectarines, tropical fruit, honey-drenched pastry… no, it’s caramelised crème brulee. The first thing that hits the tongue is the rich honey, then the acid glides across your palate, with beautiful peaches and nectarines, then some smoky backnotes. The overall impression is of a peach & nut pastry dessert that just goes on and on with delightful elegance. Splendid. 95 points

 

And finally a super value wine from a wonderful region overlooking Lake Garda; let’s hope that the plans to build a train line through these wonderful vineyards comes to nothing:

lugana

Cà dei Frati Laguna 2012, Veneto (The Wine Society £12.50)

Rich aromas of stone fruit, apples, even a touch of citrus, all combining beautifully with an engaging floral note and a hint of yeast. On the palate, the texture is rich, with great body; there are lots of peaches and apples, a lovely creamy texture and bright acidity. This is a lot of wine for very little money; complex, long and beautifully balanced. 92 points

 

Here are the links to the previous best of 2014 posts:

Part 1 – California

Part 2 – The Reds

 

 

 

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Posted on December 29, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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