The top 10 wines of the year (02-12-2020 by Nenad Jelisic)

 

This is the eighth consecutive year that NJ Wines presents the top 10 wines. In 2020, NJ Wines tasted a few thousand wines that were, and still are, available on the wine market. From all these wines, NJ Wines selected the 10 top wines of the year. The most important criterion in the selection was of course the quality of the wines, but also the availability of the wines today. Of the top 10 wines of the year come four from Slovenia (two from the winery Steyer and two from the winery Edi Simcic), two from France, one from Portugal, one from USA, one from Italy and one from Spain. This year, Slovenia proved with the third best wine of the year, the seventh best wine of the year, the ninth best wine of the year and the tenth best wine of the year that it belongs to one of the world's best wine-producing countries. Note that NJ Wines’ wine tasting year always begins the first week of December the year before and ends the last the week in November the current year i.e. for the year 2020 it started the first week in December 2019 and ended the last week in November 2020. This year, two wines got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points), in 2019, five wines got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points), in 2018, six wines got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points), in 2017, no wine got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points), in 2016, one wine got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points), in 2015, one wine got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points), in 2014, no wine got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) and in 2013, one wine got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points). We are very pleased with the positive result, but we do not believe that the global quality of the wines has changed as much in the positive direction as our test results show. We were just lucky enough to try some of the world's best wines in 2020.

The top 10 wines of the year

 

1. Churchill's, Late Bottled Vintage, 2015, port wine, Porto, Douro, Portugal, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points).

 

2. Gérard Bertrand, Rivesaltes Ambré, 1985, white sweet fortified wine, Rivesaltes, Languedoc-Roussillon, France, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points).

3. Steyer, Vaneja, 2011, white sweet wine, Radgona-Kapela, Podravje, Slovenia, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

4. Morlet Family Vineyards, Cœur de Vallée, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014, red dry blend wine, Oakville, Napa Valley, North Coast, California, USA, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

5. Tommasi, Amarone della Valpolicella, Classico, 2016, red dry blend wine, Valpolicella, Veneto, Italy, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

 

6. Alburejo, Oloroso, NV, white dry sherry, Jerez, Spain, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

 

7. Steyer, Steyer Mark, Diseci Traminec, Exclusive, 2015, white dry wine, Radgona-Kapela, Podravje, Slovenia, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

8. Charles Heidsieck, Brut Réserve, NV, white dry blend sparkling wine, Reims, Champagne, France, 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

9. Edi Simcic, Kozana, Chardonnay, 2017, white dry wine, Goriska Brda, Primorje, Slovenia, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (85 points of 100 points).

10. Edi Simcic, Sauvignon, 2017, white dry wine, Goriska Brda, Primorje, Slovenia, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (90 points of 100 points).

The best wine of the year

Churchill's, Late Bottled Vintage, 2015, port wine, Porto, Douro, Portugal, 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) (by Nenad Jelisic)

It is incredible that four consecutive vintages of one and the same wine get more than 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (2012: 4,0 NJP, 2013: 4,0 NJP, 2014: 5,0 NJP and 2015: 5,0 NJP). The probability that NJ Wines would give more than 3,5 NJP to four vintages of one and the same wine in price range under 190 SEK is as great as someone would win 100,000,000 SEK in a lottery. The probability is even less that such a wine would get 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (100 points of 100 points) two vintages in a row. Everything that has been mentioned before confirms again that very talented employees work for the Churchill's wine house. And it cannot be just that. The vines and terroir from which the grapes to this wine come have to be exceptional. Else how Churchill's wine estate would succeed produce such great wines (port wines) during not so good vintages as vintage 2012, 2013 and 2014. This vintage has a perfect balance between the sweetness, the acidity and the fruitiness as well as a perfect tannic structure. As the vintage of 2014, this vintage has one of the best aging potential of all Late Bottled Vintages that I have tasted from Churchill, at least 15 years, if not even more because it has everything that is required from a wine with a long aging potential. Furthermore, the aging will only make it more complex and irresistible to drink. The aroma of the wine is characterized by cocoa-rich dark chocolate, sweet spices such as vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom as well as dried black cherries, dates, grapes, blue plums, sweet tobacco and white pepper. The wine's flavour is characterized by rum raisins, sweet spices, black pepper, cocoa-rich dark chocolate, sweet tobacco, dried black cherries, dates and blue plums. The wonderful taste of cocoa-rich dark chocolate, black pepper and sweet tobacco stays in the mouth forever. Churchill's Late Bottled Vintage 2015 is an absolutely fabulous wine. The wine is a blend of six different grape varieties: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. The wine's production process is as follows: the grapes are harvested and selected by hand, after the harvest, the grapes are delivered to the winery where they are destemmed and then placed in the low stone tanks (lagares) where they are treaded (crushed) by mechanized feet. After the destemming and crushing process, the grape must, which consists of pulp, skins and seeds, is fermented in the stone tanks until it has an alcohol strength of 6 to 8% when it is fortified to 19 to 21% with 77% grape spirit. Then the wine is separated from the grape must and aged in large oak barrels 4 years before it is released on the market. With Late Bottled Vintage, it is meant that the port wine comes from a single vintage and that has been aged in oak barrels between 4 and 6 years. Do not worry about the sediment of the wine in the second to last or the last glass. The sediment only shows that the producer has not filtered the wine at all. The wine will brilliantly fit with a lot of different cheeses like Castello Blue, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Roquefort, Stilton, and Västerbotten. Or with less sweet cherry pie, blueberry pie and apple pie or with cocoa rich dark chocolate or with pancakes filled with Nutella, very fine grated dark chocolate and walnuts or with Swedish kladdkaka, but so little sweet as possible. Or just enjoy it without any food. I recommend that you start to drink this fabulous port wine at 8°C (unlike what most of wine websites and the producer itself recommend) and let it slowly grows/opens in the glass while you drink it. If you can drink Churchill's Late Bottled Vintage 2015 from Riedel Vinum Port or Orrefors Difference Sweet or Orrefors Elixir.

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