Brian Winzor's Best Wines of 2008

by Brian Winzor
(Oaklands Park, South Australia)

About 2 years ago this website made me realise that for about the last 30 years I had been drinking Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and blends thereof.

I realised that I new nothing about a hundred or so other varietal wines, so I decided to remedy this, and decided to first work my way through the various varietal red wines, and then move on to the whites.

Over the last 2 years I have with several exceptions tried wines from at least 3 different makers in the following red varietals:

Aglianico (2), Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Durif, Grenache, Lagrein (2), Malbec, Montepulciano, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Sagrantino (1), Sangiovese, Saperavi,
Tannat, Tempranillo, and Zinfandel.

Also, over the last 18 months I have been sporadically holding with interested friends a wine tasting for a particular varietal red wine, and I try to obtain wines from at least four different regions to increase the diversity of styles.

The wines are tasted blind, and each person scores each wine, and at the end of the night the scores are tallied up, a winner declared, and the then the debate begins. The winners of the varietal nights held so far are:

Cabernet Franc - Di Fabio 2000 (McLaren Vale)
Durif - Morris 2003 (Rutherglen)
Malbec - The Islander 2004 (Kangaroo Island)
Petit Verdot - Pirramimma 2003 (McLaren Vale)
Zinfandel - Nepenthe 2005 (Adelaide Hills)

The following wines are my Top Ten of alternate varietals for 2008.
Di Fabio 2000 Cabernet Franc
Morris 2000 Durif
Gapsted 2004 Ltd Release Malbec
The Islander 2004 Malbec
Scaffidi 2003 Nebbiolo
Pirramimma 2003 Petit Verdot
Domain Day 2003 Saperavi
Nepenthe 2005 Tempranillo
Coolangatta Estate 2006 Tannat
Nepenthe 2005 Zinfandel

The biggest challenge I find is locating enough different labels of a particular varietal. The major wine retailers in Adelaide often don't stock the more obscure varietals, so I have found it means many hours of searching through various websites to find them. I always start with Vinodiversity and then move on from there if needed.

Hope the above is of interest,

Regards, Brian.

Comments for Brian Winzor's Best Wines of 2008

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Jan 01, 2009
An update on Coolangatta Tannat
by: Ben Wallis

Hi Brian,

It was great to see you list the wine, I remember speaking with you when you were organising the tasting.

A little extra information on how the Tannat has gone this year. With our 2006 almost gone, the 2007 Vintage Tannat has created a lot of interest by judges and had some nice results in wines shows for 2008, in particular being named in the 2008 NSW Wine Awards Top 40 wines of the year, a first for the varietal. We have found that the variety really suits our climate here and has come off the vineyard in better condition that our Chambourcin (a varietial which the region widely grows due to humidity and rainfall).

It is our intention to plant more tannat in the future, currently we are only capable of producing around 250 cases per vintage. (Cellar Door Only)

Again, great to see you enjoyed the wine,

Many Thanks,
Ben Wallis

Coolangatta Estate

Dec 21, 2008
Alternative wine styles from Bob Mutton
by: Bob Mutton

Whilst I haven't tried many of the specific examples you list, I have tried and enjoyed quite a number of alternative varieties, both red and white during 2008.

Some that come to mind that I enjoyed very much include...

(Bob then goes on to make a list of his own which I have made as its separate page at Bob Mutton's alternative wine styles....Darby, editor)

Dec 21, 2008
A good list
by: Darby

Thank you Brian.

An impressive list of reds. You have of course a bit of a South Australian bias but I suppose that is a reflection of the wines that you are able to find for your varietal nights.

On your list I notice the Coolangatta Estate Tannat. I visited the winery this year and was most impressed with their wine, including the tannat. Maybe I should have found a spot for it on my list too.

Most of the others I have not tried, or at leas not recently. I'll have to keep my eye out for some.
It's good to hear that you use Vinodiversity to plan your forays.

Hope to hear from you and your group again during 2009. I'd like to see what you think about some of the great new emerging white varieties.

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