Best Must-Have Wines of the 2010 Lunar New Year

These wines are the standouts of the 2010 lunar drinking year. Why the lunar year? Notwithstanding that I reside in Asia, the nucleus of my ideologies is centered in a back to nature approach with wine, food and the environment – sustainable, organic and biodynamic principals that have its roots in ancient feng shui and Chinese gardening that have evolved over the eons yet pivotal today. So not only do I care about the planet, I have gone lunar!

This digest is the distillation of all the wines The Wandering Palate has assessed at trade tastings around the world, some of them mammoth annual events, others more intimate tastings, retrospective vertical line-ups, professional workshops, new release luncheons and dinners. Throw in the occasional wine judging appearance, regional wine celebrations or symposiums and assiduous assessment at the resident tasting bench as well as countless home dinners and frequenting of restaurants. Most importantly are the continuous vineyard visits, unquestionably the most enlightening, grassroots way of interpreting wine and its regional and cultural nexus.

While these extraordinary wines are benchmarks of genuine artisan vignerons and highly expressive of terroir or 'sense of place' encompassing the unique qualities of their region and micro-climate, there is also an underlying message in adjudging beyond the merits of the individual wine – it is a proclamation of the winery and dedication to environmentally sustainable viticulture and perhaps most importantly, outstanding price/quality. Ultimately, the goal is to promote underappreciated wines or wine styles and to inspire further discovery and adventurism in your wine consumption.

This is a retrospective account, thus not conjecture or tarred by commercialism in trying to promote what is about to be released. That said many of these wines are quite likely to be current releases in Asia or available on the secondary market worldwide, if you look hard enough. More importantly, it is the winery itself that you should be directing your curiosity sampling the current vintage, or an older one for that matter.

All the wines that have made it this far have been tried over a meal, as you would normally enjoy them moreover. There are no scores, a flawed and soulless methodology that I detest. At the end of the day, the most significant wine critic in the world is you, for my part is only to stimulate a thirst for real wine.

Tasting notes and extended articles on each wine/winery/region will be posted over the coming month, click on each heading accordingly.

Cheers! Curtis Marsh – The Wandering Palate

Most Auspicious Wine for Chinese New Year 2011 Year of the Rabbit

Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir 2009 – Central Otago, New Zealand

Defining Wine Event of the Year

Presenting with Sharon Stone and Curtis Stone at the Singapore Sun Festival

Winery of the Year

Schubert – Martinborough – Wairarapa, New Zealand

Vigneron of the Year

Ron and Emily Laughton

Best Wine of the Year

NV Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino 15 Macharnudo Alto Jerez - Xérès - Sherry

Best Red Wine of the Year

Dalwhinnie Single Vineyard Shiraz 2008 releases

The Pinnacle Shiraz

Southwest Rocks Shiraz

Best Rose of the Year

Farr Rising Pinot Noir Saignee Rose 2009 – Geelong, Victoria, Australia

Best White Wine of the Year

Vinoptima Gewürztraminer 2004 – Ormand, Gisborne, New Zealand

Best Champagne of the Year

NV Jean-Baptise Geoffrey Blanc de Rosé – Champagne, France

Best Sparkling Wine of the Year

Gembrook Hill Blanc de Blancs 2006 – Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Best Sweet Wine of the Year

Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2010 – Clare Valley, South Australia

Best Wine with Cheese of the Year

Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Vouvray Moelleux 1997 – Loire Valley, France

Best Fortified Wine of the Year

Emilio Lustau East India Sherry – Jerez - Xérès – Sherry, Spain

Biodynamic Property of the Year

Chateau Pontet-Canet – Bordeaux, France

Best Winery Restaurant

TarraWarra – Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Best Vineyard Accommodation

Chard Farm – Central Otago, New Zealand

Most Underappreciated Wine Region

Beaujolais and its Cru Villages – France

Best Wine of the Year from the Cellar

Quartz Reef Pinot Noir 2002 and 2003 – Central Otago, New Zealand

Best Red Discovery of the Year

Markowitsch Pinot Noir Reserve 2004 – Carnuntum, Austria

Best White Discovery of the Year

Sugarloaf Ridge Pinot Gris 2010 – Hobart, Tasmania

Most Profound Wine Experience of the Year

German Riesling - VDP Tasting-Lunch, China Club, Hong Kong

Most Memorable Wine Lunch of the Year

Lunch with Jancis Robinson – at my place!

Pinot Noir Fix of the Year – most affordable with requisite pinosity

Ata Rangi Crimson 2008 – Martinborough, New Zealand

Most Consistent Best Value Wine

Monte Antico 2006 – Tuscany, Italy

Neill Empson Selection

New Zealand - Red Wine of the Year

2007 & 2008 Vidal Syrah – Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

New Zealand - White Wine of the Year

Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay 2007 – Kumeu - Auckland, New Zealand

Australia - White Wine of the Year

Prentice Pinot Gris Remato 2010 – King Valley, Victoria, Australia

Australia - Red Wine of the Year

Arlewood Estate La Bratta Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 –

Margaret River, Western Australia

USA – Red Wine of the Year

Calera Reed Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir 1997 – Central Coast, California

USA – White Wine of the Year

Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen Chardonnay 2007 - Sonoma Valley, California

Best Bordeaux of the Year

Chateau Leoville Las Case 2001 – Pauillac

France – White Wine of the Year

Domaine Billaud-Simon, Chablis AC 2008, France

France - Red Wine of the Year

Georges Duboeuf Chateau des Capitans Julienas 2009 &

Georges Duboeuf Morgon Domaine Mont Chavy 2009

Beaujolais, France

Austria – White Wine of the Year

Tement Sauvignon Blanc – Styria, Austria

Austria – Red Wine of the Year

Markovitsch Pinot Noir Reserve 2004 – Carnuntum, Austria

Germany - Wine of the Year

2007 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese –

Mosel, Germany .

Italy – White Wine of the Year

Zuani Vigne Bianco – Collio, Italy

Italy – Red Wine of the Year

Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco 'Camp Gros' 1999 – Piedmont, Italy

Wine Accessory of the Year


Wine Glass of the Year

Schott-Zwiesel Vina range – Burgundy red glass

Wine Bar of the Year

Taberna - Singapore

Wine List of the Year

France-Soir – French Bistro – Melbourne, Australia

Sommelier of the Year – Asia

Stephanie Rigourd – Hilton Hotel, Singapore

Wine Merchant of the Year

Noel Young Wines – Trumpington, England

Wine Merchant of the Year - Asia region

Altaya – Hong Kong

Specialist Importer of the Year - Asia region

Artisan Cellars – Grower Champagnes

Most Dynamic Wine Marketer of the Year

Christophe Brunet – Sommelier and Wine Ambassador for Prestige Family Vineyards

Best Wine Educator - Asia Region

Vincrest – Hong Kong and servicing Asia region

Favourite Wine Website of the Year


Most Trusted Authority on Wine of the Year

Jancis Robinson MW

Wine Book of the Year (Global)

Matt Kramer on Wine: A Matchless Collection of Columns, Essays, and Observations by America's most original and lucid Wine Writer (2010)

Matt Kramer

Wine Book of the Year (Asia) & Best Wine e-Book

108 Great Chinese Dishes Paired - CH'NG Poh Tiong

Best Wine Magazine

Australian Gourmet Traveler Wine

Best Wine Storage in Asia

Winebond – Singapore

Best Service for Wine Air-Freight around the Globe

DHL (Third Consecutive Year)

Guest Wandering Palate

Noel Young, our Wine Merchant of the Year, will be providing us with his top selections from South Africa, Spain, Portugal and other parts of the vinous globe that the Wandering Palate does not have much exposure to this year. The reality is, being based in the UK, Noel gets to see more wine than most and he is an assiduous and indefatigable taster (and drinker) and has a sharp eye/palate for discovering wines with excellent price/quality rapport.