It's that time of year when the "Best of 2009" lists will be appearing faster than Santa Clauses at the malls. By popular demand, I present my "Six Best Wines For My Palate in 2009" list -- in other words, the juice that made me stand up and salute in a year awash in wine around the planet.
From the bottom up:
#6 - 2006 Stelzner Claret (California, Napa Valley). A Bordeaux-style blend that is very food friendly and that keeps fruit, tannin, oak and alcohol in good balance. Surprisingly elegant. They can still do it on the Silverado Trail. Great value at just under $20.
#5 - 2006 CanBlau (Spain, Montsant) This Spanish beauty blends 40 percent Manzuelo, 40 percent Syrah and 20 percent Garnacha is a great blend in a rich, fruit forward style that is a not-too-big tasting pleaser for both geeks and casual drinkers. Around $16.
#4 - 2006 Antinori Tignanello (Italy, Tuscany) I had a whole two-ounces at a wine tasting but found myself glowing in the Tuscan sun...at night. Incredible balance, subtle nuance and a finish that lasts until next Thursday. Mostly sangiovese with a splash of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Find someone who can share the $110 price tag.
#3 - 2005 deSegris Lirac (France, southern Rhone) Great sunny flavors and a food-friendliness that gives some of the same rushes as a Chateauneuf-du-Pape at a value price-point. Grenache takes the starring role with support from Syrah and Mouvedre. Around $18.
#2 - 2005 Jade Mountain La Provencale (California, Rutherford) - A Rhone-ranger that delivers the goods with great raspberry-like fruit, a steady finish and a friendly disposition. Mouvedre dominates with assists from Syrah, Granache, Carignane and Vigonier. It's a Californian that knows how to deliver a French kiss. Price around $16.
And, ladies and gentlemen, the Hab-kudos goes to...
#1 - 2005 Domaine du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage (France, northern Rhone) A perfect marriage of fruit, fragrance, tannin, balance, and alcohol. All elements balanced in wonderful proportion that can make any meal. Blackberry, peppery flavors coat the palate and make tastebuds jump at food. Incredible elegance for a syrah at about $21.