Happy New Year, everybody! In honour of the Year of the Dragon, I thought we'd look at what you should be drinking from the last Year of the Dragon--2000.
So, first of all, was it a good year? That's a question you'll often hear people ask about wines, but what does it mean? Well, essentially it means, Was the weather optimal in the region the wine was made in the year the grapes were grown? A commonly misused term is the word "vintage". This does not mean--as many American TV shows will have you believe--an individual wine but, rather, the year in which the grapes were grown.
Well, 2000 was extremely good in a few regions and not so good in others, but overall around the world it was pretty average.
Here are a few decent picks if you want to go shopping for your Year of the Dragon-themed wines this lunar new year.
In some great news for a lot of traditionalists, the outstanding area globally in 2000 had to be France's Bordeaux region, which was excellent all over. However, the pick of the bunch are some appellations from the famous West Bank--St Julien, Pauillac and St Estephe. Some of the world's most famous wines come from there and should be fine for drinking right now, although they can also be kept a bit longer.
If Chateau Lafite-Rothschild or Chateau Latour is a little out of your price range (as it is mine), then another region with fantastic wines that had a great year in 2000 is the southern Rhone Valley, again in France. Most Cotes du Rhone will be starting to get a bit tired, but for great value and hearty reds, I'd look out for some Chateauneuf-du-pape (look for Vieux Telegraph, Clos de Papes or Rayas are always good) or Gigondas (Domaine St-Gayan, Chateau du Trignon).
Out of France, look for some Barolo from northwest Italy. Barolo, again, isn't cheap but it is routinely fantastic. One of my real favourites, its firm tannins and relatively high acidity make it a great match for red meats and hearty roast dinners. Look out for Antonio Gaja's Barbaresco from near Barolo for something a little different. Otherwise, most Barolo producers are pretty sure bets.
I hope that gives you a few ideas.
Have a great holiday,