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17/01/2013

2012 - The Bucket List

by Guy Ruston (HK Sales Executive)

Beaune Thugs in HarmonyBetter late than never I guess as I finally post my 2012 review. What with several lengthy celebrations over Christmas and the New Year as a Mayan Calendar survivor …that’s right, the world didn’t end after all…and a brisk start to 2013, my feet have barely touched the ground this past month or so.

With Bordeaux prices largely in the doldrums and en primeur a fairly damp squib from growing season to the campaign itself, 2012 was very much the year that France’s other ‘prestige’ regions stole the limelight. Burgundy and Champagne led the charge but with a stunning vintage in both North and South, the 2010 Rhones proved a huge hit too. Of the world’s other regions Italy remains head and shoulders above the rest with demand and interest growing all the time. Our Italian events in HK and Macau, both heavily oversubscribed, were proof that our market over here has matured at a rapid pace and grows ever more interesting.

One event last year that will live long in the memory was HK’s first (unofficial) La Paulee. I still have to pinch myself from time to time that I was one of the fortunate few to of been there, seen it, done it and bought the t-shirt. Which I duly did. Check it out (top right)

And so to my favourite wines of 2012, an unapologetically bling selection, that saw several big names checked off my bucket list of wines to try before I die. The Mayan Calendar provided a useful justification for such outrageous self indulgence and extravagance. But like my train driver on that Friday morning who announced to the passengers in classic dry British wit; “ladies and gentlemen we are now approaching Hackbridge, the world hasn’t ended…looks like I’m going to have to pay my credit card bill after all” – I too will to have to pay for some of these wines at some point!

After much thought here is my top 3:

3.1990 Meursault Perrireres, Coche Dury (Tasted at ‘That Dinner’) – Quite simply this was one of the greatest white wines I have ever tasted. The fact that it shone so brightly amongst a plethora of sublime and ridiculous bottles that night is testament to just how special a bottle it was. Writing constructive tasting notes that night went out the window after the ‘five wines in five minutes challenge’ but I found the following scholarly prose saved in my blackberry; “**** that’s good!”

2.1982 Latour – My first encounter with one of Bordeaux’s all time greats did not disappoint. A perfect wine. That is not a term I use lightly either. Any note from me is futile and pointless, NM, RP, basically any proper critic worth their salt has eulogized on this wine, in a far more eloquent prose than I could ever hope to muster, many times so I won’t bore you. 100 points. Done.

1.1978 Hermitage La Chapelle, Jaboulet – During a year in which I also enjoyed a superb bottle of ’89 Chave Hermitage (I always seem to drink well when Mr.Boom is in town), I had more than my fair share of incredible Rhones but the much-fabled ’78 La Chapelle was one of those wine experiences that will stay with me for a long long time. Who knows when or if I’ll ever try this beast again.

Pulling out a legendary bottle comes with a little pressure. The weight of expectation on so called ‘perfect’ wines to perform is even greater than that placed on the England football team ahead of a major tournament. However ’78 La Chapelle has long been a wine I’ve been desperate to try for years so I was happy to play the lottery here. This was a fantastic bottle. From the moment it splashed down in the decanter any concerns or fears I had quickly passed. Still incredibly youthful both in colour and in its primal quality on the nose and palate this is justifiably an incredible feat of wine making, vintage and terroir. The professionals have documented many times the aroma and flavour profile of this wine, thus competition or repetition of those adjectives and superlatives is pointless. What I will say is (without sounding incredibly pretentious) this is a wine that challenges and stimulates you both intellectually and emotionally. A week later I’m still thinking about this incredible bottle. I’ve never been one to keep the empty bottles of ‘trophy’ wines but this one I quickly stuffed into my bag at the end of the dinner and it now stands proudly in my home. To me that says it all.
100 points GR

As a sports fanatic I can’t really let this dispatch go without some sort of mention of what an incredible year of sport 2012 was. From a ridiculous finale to the BPL season, to England’s demolition of the All Blacks in the rugby and India in the cricket, oh and a small event called the Olympics, it’s hard to imagine another sporting year that could eclipse 2012,  unless of course in what will be nearly 50 years of hurt, the England football team triumph in Rio in 2014. Now that would be a big check off of my bucket list!

A huge thank you to all of my friends and customers in Asia who shared so many wonderful wines with me last year.