I posted earlier about my favorite wine values of the year. Below are my favorite wines of the year—the best of the best out of what I tasted in 2015. However, I did restrict this list to wines that are actually available (albeit in tiny quantities, in some cases). I did taste a number of truly extraordinary older vintages this year that could easily have made this list—a 1975 Trimbach Clos Ste Hune, for instance, which was probably one of the wines of my lifetime, let alone this year—but recommending bottles only available at auctions, and rarely even then, seems unfair to our readers.
2014 Thorne & Daughters Rocking Horse Cape White Blend ($32)
Yet another example of the extraordinary potential of old vine whites from South Africa. This remarkable blend of Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Semillon Blanc and Gris, and Chardonnay, aged in old oak barrels, is texturally rich yet crisp on the finish, with layers of sweet peach, smoke and earth flavors. And it’s not even crazy expensive (though, unfortunately, there’s not much around).
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2013 Carlisle Two Acres ($40)
Mike Officer makes unapologetically intense wines from some of Sonoma’s greatest old-vine vineyards. (One of my favorite comments of the year: “I really don’t give a rat’s ass what the alcohol level is. Do I find the wine pleasurable? Is it balanced? I just leave it to my palate to say yay or nay.”) I particularly loved this red from a tiny plot of (mostly) Mouvèdre planted in 1910. Rich dark chocolate and kirsch flavors lifted by tangy acidity, mint and baking spice notes—it’s a “wow” wine that will take some finding, but it is worth the hunt.