The 10 best things that happened to me in 2015 wine & food wise
I am not going to lie, I have been spoiled this year many many times. I met amazing people, visited incredible places, drunk fantastic wines and ate delicious food. It was really hard to decide but here it is the 10 best things that happened to me this year wine & food wise.
1. Best Champagne – Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995
Amazingly complex Champagne with an edge that makes it a magical drink. Beautifully gold color with a glow from the tiny little bubbles. The nose is ripe, spicy and peppery with baked apples, vanilla and delicious nutty character. Creamy yet extremely fresh, full, round and rich with delicious fruit some sweet spice, white pepper and brioche like flavors. Truly decadent fizz.
2. Best Red Wine – Côte-Rôtie La Turque E.Guigal 2001
This was one of those bottles that I will not forget for the rest of my life. The wine showed amazingly! Still had plenty of fresh fruit with some dried fruit in the background but what makes this wine is the savoury, peppery character with crushed black pepper and meaty aromas. The wine had layers and layers of flavors, complex, complete, worth to come on the top on any lists.
3. Best White Wine – Corton Charlemagne Bonneau du Martray 1990 en Magnum
UA truly special wine made by probably the best producer. It was perfectly balanced, rich, creamy, mineral, fresh and spicy with just enough fruit to back it up.
4. Best Lunch – Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons
The iconic Le Manoir was a proper treat. Highly recommended to any foodies, wine lovers or those who like to be extremely well looked after. It is not the cheapest lunch but it is worth every penny. My good friend Lukas Heyner is the Head Sommelier at Le Manoir and he kindly showed me around one of the most impressive cellars in the UK.
5. Best Dinner – El Celler de Can Roca
It was 2 weeks before El Celler de Can Roca was named the best restaurant in the world and I was not surprised that El Celler took the crown at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants by San Pellegrino. It was more of an experience than a meal. 20 course menu accompanied by 15 different wines was more than impressive. It was worth waiting a year for the table.
6. Best Fast Food – Bubbledogs
Bubbledogs is a place where junk food meets Champagne. Even a junior sommelier knows that fatty food goes well with Champagne and founders of Bubbledogs have championed and mastered the concept to perfection. There is no other wine available but fizz which is perfectly fine by me. At Bubbledogs they use almost exclusively RM Champagnes which are grown and made by small producers. Trust me there are plenty of hidden gems out there.
7. Best Wine Trip – Chile
Chile is an amazing wine-country that every wine lover should visit! Follow this link to read more about my trip.
8. Best Visit – Luis Pato
Anyone who had an opportunity to visit Luis Pato will agree that it is very educational and fun to meet “Senior Baga”. Luis and his lovely family are very hospitable and I had the most enjoyable time with the Pato’s. We kicked off with the tasting of old vintages then had some barrel samples and finished with several vintages of his top wines followed by a delicious dinner at local restaurant.
9. Best Spirit – Pisco
It has to be Pisco. When I went to Chile I tasted some amazing ones. Pisco is very good in “Pisco Sour” but I think I prefer it neat as a perfect digestive. The one that I enjoyed the most was an artisan Pisco from Tulahuen (Limari) called Waqar. It was very smooth and extremely aromatic. Even served at room temperature was not harsh at all. Simply delicious.
10. Best Discovery – Vigno
My biggest discovery was the Carignan grape grown in the south of Chile in Maule Valley. This is a relatively new project encompassing 15 producers promoting an old vine Carignan grape variety. The wine has to be made from grapes grown on at least 35 year old vines (usually much older) and the final wine has to have at least 85% Carignan in the blend. Vigno Carignans present generous red and black fruit with some herbaceous and spicy note. Rather full bodied with good grip, amazing freshness and elegance. Vigno wines are very individual, interesting well made and extremely food friendly. The wines are definitely worth seeking out for.
Happy New Year!
Adam Pawlowski MS