Articles and Reviews

Andy’s Top Wines of 2019

Posted by: Andy Kelly

Date: 16-01-2020

What a stellar year it has been on my wine journey. Here’s the best of the best in 2019.

With 2019 being in our rear view mirror, I thought now would be as good a time as any to look back on some of the wines that tickled my fancy throughout the year. Personally, it has been a stellar year on my wine journey. I started 2019 by passing my WSET level 2 and then I was fortunate enough to visit Bordeaux in June. Later in the summer. Dane and I were talking our usual bollocks about wine and from that Get Your Cork Out was born! But, most importantly, I’ve drank some absolute belting wines in 2019 and I want to share my top five here.

Okay, so there has to be some ground rules before we start. Firstly, no bloody Pulenta and no bloody Barista. I’ve had them both this year and they’ve been outstanding but I’ll be biased so they’re not being featured. Secondly, there has to be at least one white wine. This list could easily be filled with outstanding reds but if this list is going to have any gravitas then it needs to contain whites!

The list must also contain wines that are affordable to the average wine drinker. Again, there’s no point in listing five wines that are above £50 because that’s just not accessible for most people. It also flies in the face of what we’re trying to do at Get Your Cork Out.

5. Finest Viña Del Cura Rioja Gran Reserva 2012

An outstanding wine. This was recommended in Ned Halley’s Best Wines in the Supermarkets 2019 and it didn’t disappoint. Though Ned rated the 2011, we had to settle for the 2012 but it made little difference to the taste. Strong notes of vanilla on the nose & palate with touches of chocolate and dark fruits left me savouring every drop. You can purchase a bottle of this beauty from Tesco for £11.50 and you won’t find a better wine for the price. You can read our full review of this wine here. Like the wine, it doesn’t disappoint.

4. Wine Atlas Ventoux 2016

A bit of a controversial one this one. There are probably 10-15 wines that I’ve tasted this year that I’ve enjoyed more than the Ventoux. But I can guarantee you that there are no wines that have been quite as good and quite as cheap as this which is why it makes the list. For a mere £6 from Asda you get a Grenache/Syrah spice that actually attacks your tongue with every sip but, once decanted, the spice mellows revealing jammy red fruit flavours. A fantastic introduction to Southern Rhône reds and an absolute bargain for £6. Take a look at our full review of this cracker here.

3. Francois Carillon Puligny-Montrachet 2012

I bought this wine in Bordeaux and decided to open it before going out for a nice meal that evening. It had such complexity that it really did leave its mark. I remember it being a lovely golden colour in the glass with notes of flint and lemon zest on the nose. The honey was what stood out most in the palate though and, if given a bit of time, the oaky and buttery notes that I wanted did come through. It was very dry with medium acidity and I found my glass being empty far too quickly! The only downside to this outstanding wine was that it wasn’t cheap. A bottle is likely going to set you back in the region of £60-£70 and the next one I buy will likely stay on my rack for a very long time!

2. Vallet Fréres Meursault 2016

This was my Eureka moment with white wine. I remember tasting this as part of my WSET level 2 course and being absolutely blown away by it. The Chardonnay’s I’d had prior to this were doing a good job of introducing me to white wine but after having tasted this, I knew I’d be a fan.

It’s a hardy grape Chardonnay. It will literally grow anywhere and there are fine examples of how it tastes across the world. With Meursault (and Puligny-Montrachet) though, this is the finest example of what a Chardonnay can be. Pale lemon in the glass with a nose that plays to my love of creamy notes with hints of brioche added for good measure. On the palate, all I could get was butter and that was more than fine by me! The wine was dry with medium acidity and should pair well with pastas, seafood and a good cheeseboard too.

It’s nowhere near as expensive as the Puligny-Montrachet but at £37 it isn’t exactly cheap! Don’t let that put you off though because this is as good as Chardonnay gets and it’s worth every penny. At the time of writing, it hasn’t featured on our website and it does deserve an article of its own. Something I’ll rectify in 2020.

And The Winner Is…Chardonnay di MonteMaggio 2018

The very best wine I tasted in 2019 without question. A lot about this wine defies explanation. It’s young yet its golden colour in the glass suggests that it’s aged. It’s a Chardonnay and yet it’s from Italy which isn’t exactly known for growing that grape in great quantities. It tastes like it’s been in a bottle for years and yet it’s so young. And, most crucially, it’s relatively cheap even though it could be sold at a much higher price without much trouble.

You have to try this wine. It’s a lovely golden colour in the glass with hints of tropical fruits and cream. On the palate I got hints of passionfruit but toasty and buttery notes dominated as it went down. It’s relatively dry with high acidity and those buttery notes linger long enough to make you want to keep drinking it. Prices have fluctuated recently (understandably, given the quality) but you can pick a bottle of this stellar wine up right now on Amazon for £20 which still represents unbelievable value for money. And if that’s not enough, the wine is 100% organic, the grapes are all handpicked and no chemicals were used in the production of the wine. We’ve covered this wine before on Get Your Cork Out so to see a more in depth review on just how much I love it, read our full review.

So there you go, 5 of my best wines of 2019. There are some surprises there! I was not expecting my top 3 to be all white wines and all Chardonnay but they each deserve it. It was also surprising to note that my top five is full of old world wines. The task for next year is to try and get a new world wine on there too.

So what will 2020 look like? Who knows, but I hope that my top 5 will look very different and reflect my desire to branch out and embrace some wines that I normally shy away from (2020 is going to be Riesling year for me I think). Who knows, there might even be a rosé on the list!