I can't believe it, but 2011 is halfway over. Time goes so fast it's ridiculous. What's also ridiculous is the incredible amount of top-notch wines I've been able to taste so far this year. At halfway through 2011, I looked back at my tasting notes and found my top five wines of the first half of 2011. Interesting thing is: They're all white wines. I've always loved whites, but so far this year I've found myself seeking out some great white wines. Maybe it's just my palate shifting over time, but I can't seem to get myself away from riesling, gruner veltliner and chardonnay. Here are my favorites so far this year:
2009 F.X. Pichler Riesling Smaragd Loibner Steinertal (Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau) 4/3/2011, rated 96 points
i don't throw around 96 points very often. but this wine is just immaculate. it has the sexiest nose: flowers, lemons, white peaches, fresh laundry. i feel like i'm running through a field of blossoms and hanging sheets in one of those downy commercials. the palate is fresh, but really dense and complex. right off, i could tell this wine needs years to show its true potential. right now the flavors are so compacted that it needs time to develop. but there is no denying the complexity and mouthfeel of this wine. apricots and honey flavors stay from the attack to the finish, but they're mixed with granola, peanut brittle, golden apples and a hint of cinnamon. the acid is intense throughout, making this a massive but balanced wine. the finish is seamless and incredibly long. i've now had the 92, 07, 08 on several occassions, and this was my favorite FX riesling stienertal experience.
2008 Cameron Chardonnay Blanc Clos Electrique (USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills) 6/3/2011, rated 96 points
this is truly an amazing chardonnay. it is complex, bold, sexy but also balanced. the nose is a massive burst of pineapple and lime juice. it kind of smells like someone poured a salty margarita on top of cotton candy. the sweet fruit is by no means overwhelming, indeed everyone at the table loved this wine, even those who are not fans of riper chardonnays. the palate is silky, creamy and alive. lime and honeydew flavors glide across the palate, highlighted by vanilla extract, pear butter and lemon drops. the focus and intensity of this wine is astounding. great acid lingers on the long finish. no oak here, but a richness that almost reminds me of a kind of neutral oak aging, although i'm not sure. this is the best chardonnay from oregon i've ever had, and it's way up there on the list of best chardonnays i've ever had.
2006 Joh. Jos. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer) 4/3/2011, rated 95 points
the color is an intense honeyed orange. the fruit is pure and powerful on the nose. i get canided pears, golden apples and apricto, all highlighted with a stony minerality. the palate is viscous, rich and exciting. massive creaminess, golden grahams cereal, apricot puree, honeyed apples, hints of spice. its not at all cloying, which is why i loved this so much. it goes down easily with the acid, and the acid and sweetness linger in perfect balance on an incredibly long finish. that has an incredible 25+ years of development ahead of it.
2007 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 'M' (Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau) 4/3/2011, rated 95
the nose is intense and lovely. lemons, yellow apple, tobacco, lemon zest and heating oil. apricots, honey, oil, creamy, tobacco... the flavors are unbelievable. gorgeous wine.
2007 F.X. Pichler Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Kellerberg (Austria, Niederösterreich, Wachau) 4/3/2011, rated 95
rich, honey, peaches and cream on the nose. the palate is rich and creamy, white grapes, green pepper, honey, rosemary. while i'm sipping this wine, i really wonder, does gruner get better than this? i don't know.