Happy New Year y’all. May 2018 be your best vintage yet! 2017 was a great year for Acker, and a lot of hard work. There was also a lot of great wine. Here are my Top Ten wines of 2017 – at least the ones I can remember, or found the notes for. There’s probably a ten percent margin of error lol. The envelopes please…

#10 – In tenth place, we have a ‘regular’ guest, the 1989 Haut Brion. Simply put, this is one of the greatest Bordeaux ever made, and I am not sure there has been a wine made this spectacular in Bordeaux ever since, well besides #8 on this list. The 1989 HB always delivers. ‘What can I say about the 1989 Haut Brion that I haven’t already said over and over again. It, along with the 1989 Petrus, are the two greatest ‘young’ wines I have ever had, and the youngest wines I would include in my ‘Top Ten’ lifetime category (I would let them share a spot lol). This wine has been great every time I tasted it and has never shut down. ‘Humdinger’ summed it up nicely.’ Tasted three times with consistent notes (98+)

1989 Haut Brion

#9 – Unfortunately, I think the 1988 DRC Romanee Conti was the only bottle of RC I had this year. No, I had a corked bottle of 1962, and yes, it hurt. This bottle of ’88 was thanks to The Maestro, and an absolute thrill. ‘A ‘serious’ blind wine was served next, and the Romanee Conti guesses came quickly. There was this autumnal oil to the nose, along with sweet brown sugar, menthol, gingerbread and more spice. This was a ‘crazy time’ wine. More sweet brown sugar and oats played together nicely on the palate, and this lip smacking red had a citrus spank to its finish that hurt so good. It wasn’t from the 1990s, not 1980s, had to be 1978 RC, I mused. It was a stunningly good bottle of 1988 DRC Romanee Conti. Wow. I was impressed, not only how good, but how much more ready it was than I thought an ’88 would be. I need to investigate a few more from this vintage in early 2018!’ (98+)

1988 DRC Romanee Conti

#8 – Another ‘regular’ on any of my Top Ten lists is the 1989 Petrus. I can’t wait to have it every year for the rest of my life. ”Humdinger, Part 2,’ was next, that being the 1989 Petrus. While half the tasters preferred the HB, one-third preferred the Petrus, including me. The Mogul found it ‘opulent,’ and it most certainly was. This was another decadent wine, but in that Pomerol way, textbook in every sense with its purple fruit, heavy cream and chocolate kisses. As good as it gets, and btw, the 1990 is not in the same category, sorry.’ (99)

1989 Petrus

#7 – It’s amazing how people forget how good Yquem is. I get it, it’s tough to drink a whole bottle of sweet wine, you really need an entourage. But when you get a great old one, it is tough to beat, especially at the end of a night. Even a young one, starting with 2001. A bottle of 1921 Yquem proved epic this year, although my notes weren’t epic due to a massive number of bottles consumed beforehand. ‘There were a few epic sweet wines served at the end of this epic lunch, a 1921 Yquem(99),a 1863 Taylor Single Harvest Port (98) and a 1900 Krohn Reserva Port (97), I think. Game, set, match. I was no match for The Maestro, but I am definitely game to try again!’

1921 Yquem

#6 – There is nothing quite like old Bordeaux. Yes, for the first 30 years, nothing can compare to Burgundy. After that, for the next twenty years, it can be a coin flip. When it comes to fifty years or older, it is tough to beat Bordeaux, and I had a perfect bottle of 1961 La Mission Haut Brion at age 56. By the way, La Miss might be the best Bordeaux of the 20th Century pound for pound, vintage after vintage. ‘I wrote, ‘so great’ three times. Its charcoal, gravel and leather married perfectly with its mature fruit flavors of cassis, blackberry and chocolate. The character of this wine really stood out. It just felt like another class of wine whether weight or society. This was an anytime, anywhere bottle.’ (99)

1961 La Mission Haut Brion

#5 – 1978 DRC La Tache. I think La Tache is another given for any year’s Top Ten, and so many vintages to choose from. This year, I only have three : ) Gentleman Jim and Lady Agah brought a perfect bottle to our December Holiday Auction at Bouley in New York City. We had already had a ’59 Latour, a ’59 Haut Brion, a ’91 Chave Cuvee Cathelin and dozens of other wines. Nothing except the Cathelin was even close. Didn’t take a note as notes are tough to take at auctions, but I sure as heck remember.’ (99)

1978 DRC La Tache

#4 – It is tough to find a wine less than 20 years old better than the 1999 DRC La Tache. Aubert once told me that the ’99s might be the best vintage ever made at the Domaine. Need I say more? ‘The legend of all legends, the 1999 DRC La Tache, delivered another near perfect performance. ‘Amazing,’ was all that needed to be said. This is one of the greatest Burgundies ever made.’ (99)

1999 DRC La Tache

#3 – I, along with many Burgundy lovers I know, have long been partial to 1971s, especially when they are DRCs. I have this wine about 15-20 times, and 15 or 20 more times would not be enough. Another of the all-time great La Taches, and something about where it is right now that makes it my favorite of the three 99ers. ‘The 1971 DRC La Tache was another perfect bottle, smoky and sexy in every which way. This was a great, thick wine that exuded greatness. This wine was full of ceramic spices and had cement on its finish, sleeping with the fishes style. This was a bottle that ended all discussions, there was no need for life thereafter. It was ‘so good.” (99)

1971 DRC La Tache

#2 – Any bottle of Jayer is now officially a special occasion. A recent bottle in Tokyo of 1995 Jayer Bourgogne Passetoutgrains, which I never even knew existed, proved to be an exhilarating bottle, punching above its weight class and then some. A bottle of 1990 Henri (for Georges) Jayer Echezeaux was even more so, thanks to the cellar of Wilf Jaeger at a recent ‘Hommage a Wolfgang Grunewald’ dinner in LA. I need to write that dinner up. ‘Spectacular!!! Aromas and flavors of purple, grape, currant and blackberry put on a show. Spectacular kept appearing in my notes, as did great balance between its fruit and acidity. This was a long and strong wine, and I couldn’t stop drinking it despite two other superlative 1990s in the flight, those being Rousseau and Leroy Chambertins. There is Burgundy, and there is Henri Jayer.’ (99)

1990 Henri (for Georges) Jayer Echezeaux

#1 – For our ‘Greatest Wines Weekend,’ which featured about 100 of the World’s finest and rarest wines ever made, there was one wine that stood above the rest: the 1945 Mouton Rothschild. It remains on my all time Top Ten list, and it doesn’t look to be leaving any time soon. ‘There had to be one wine of the weekend, and it might as well have been the 1945 Mouton Rothschild. ‘OH YEAH’ is how my notes started. This wine was everything it could be and should be, an absolutely perfect bottle. It was nutty with aromas of caramel, cream, cedar and carob. This was sexy everywhere, tall dark and handsome, all that and then some. This was a superman amongst boys, and it still felt like it had a long way to go. It ended up being wine of the weekend.’ (99+)

1945 Mouton Rothschild

I could end this article here, but it just doesn’t feel right. There were so many other exceptional wines had this year, but where to draw the line? Well, 97 points and up, of course. That is equivalent to the ‘best wines of my life’ category. This is probably a good time to give a ‘this is how I rate’ review. 95-96 is outstanding, 93-94 is excellent and 90-92 is very good. For me, all fine wines should fall into one of these four categories; first, is it excellent? Is it outstanding? Etc. If a wine is very good bordering on excellent, then it is 92 points as opposed to 91 or 90. That’s about as quick a summary as I can make. And now for the rest of the ‘Wines of the Year 2017.’

Crap, in my final scrum amongst all my notes to get all those 97 point and up wines, I found one more 99 point wine I totally forgot, the 1992 Ramonet Montrachet. Let’s call it #4a to break up that run of La Taches lol. ‘The Ramonet was toasty, milky and caramel-y, this was a bang zoom kind of wine and one of the greatest white wines ever made. Flavors of mint, corn, syrup, butter and kinky white chocolate had me talking GOAT. Maaaaaaaaa.’ (99)

Ok, just to be completely frank, there were two more wines I found at 98+ so technically they should have been in my Top Thirteen, aka the Baker’s Dozen, fuck fuck fuck…they were the 1959 Lafite and Mouton, but I am just in too deep trying to finish this damn thing and I need to get the January HK catalog on the press, so deal with it : )

Here are the rest, oldest to youngest, because older is always better, at least for wine : )

1. 1959 Lafite Rothschild (98+)
2. 1959 Mouton Rothschild (98+) twice
3. 1863 Taylor Single Harvest Port (98)
4. 1928 Palmer (98)
5. 1959 Latour (98) twice
6. 1974 Heitz MarthaÍs Vineyard (98)
7. 1975 La Mission Haut Brion (98)
8. 1978 Dujac Clos de la Roche (98)
9. 1978 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle (98)
10. 1982 Latour (98)
11. 1985 Dujac Clos de la Roche (98)
12. 1988 Krug Clos du Mesnil (98)
13. 1989 La Mission Haut Brion (98) twice
14. 1990 Beausejour Duffau (98)
15. 1990 Henri Jayer Vosne Cros Parantoux (98)
16. 1990 Meo-Camuzet Richebourg (98)
17. 1990 Soldera Brunello Riserva (98)
18. 1991 Henri Jayer Vosne Cros Parantoux (98)
19. 1993 Rousseau Chambertin (98)
20. 1996 Coche-Dury Meursault Perrieres (98)
21. 1999 DRC Montrachet (98)
22. 2001 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino Rsrva (98)
23. 1978 Ramonet Montrachet (97+A) slightly corked
24. 1982 Mouton Rothschild (97+)
25. 2002 Ramonet Montrachet (97+)
26. 2006 Comte Liger-Belair La Romanee (97+)
27. 1900 Krohn Reserve Port (97)
28. 1945 Haut Brion (97)
29. 1953 Mouton Rothschild (97)
30. 1959 Lafite Rothschild (97) bottle variation
31. 1961 G. Conterno Barolo Monfortino Rsrva (97)
32. 1961 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle (97)
33. 1968 Heitz MarthaÍs Vineyard (97)
34. 1969 Rousseau Chambertin (97)
35. 1971 DRC Richebourg (97)
36. 1971 Vogue Musigny VV (97)
37. 1978 Dujac Clos St. Denis (97)
38. 1978 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline (97)
39. 1979 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape (97)
40. 1982 Dom. Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet (97)
41. 1982 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne (97)
42. 1982 Pichon Lalande (97)
43. 1985 DRC Richebourg (97)
44. 1985 Roumier Musigny (97)
45. 1985 Rousseau Gevrey Clos St. Jacques (97)
46. 1986 Ramonet Bienvenues Batard (97)
47. 1986 Raveneau Chablis Les Clos (97)
48. 1988 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne (97)
49. 1988 Krug (Magnum) (97)
50. 1988 Roumier Musigny (97) three times
51. 1988 Salon (97)
52. 1990 Krug (97)
53. 1990 Latour (97)
54. 1990 Rousseau Chambertin (97)
55. 1993 DRC La Tache (Jeroboam) (97)
56. 1993 Dujac Bonnes Mares (97)
57. 1993 Dujac Clos de la Roche (97)
58. 1996 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne (97)
59. 1996 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet (97)
60. 1997 Jayer Echezeaux (97)
61. 1999 DRC Richebourg (97)
62. 1999 Ramonet Montrachet (97)
63. 1999 Roumier Chambolle Amoureuses (97)
64. 1999 Rousseau Chambertin (97)
65. 2000 DRC Montrachet (97)
66. 2005 Egon Muller Goldkapsel TBA (97)
67. 2010 DRC Montrachet (97)
68. 2012 Coche-Dury Corton Charlemagne (97)

So 84 wines tasted in 2017 that I would consider amongst the greatest wines in my life, that’s about three bottles every two weeks to have a ‘wine of your life.’ I think that is a good goal for all in 2018. Of course, if I didn’t miss that 1947 weekend in South America due to last second drama, I would have made it to 100, I know it!!! Now I am mad about that weekend, let’s just say that when push comes to shove, family comes first…grrrrrrrr…and thanks to The Ambassador for the invite…

Anyway, here’s to a delicious 2018 to all, drink up and be merry!

In Vino Veritas,

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