2010 was a year packed with great culinary and vinous moments as well as some great trips. And since it is soon coming to an end, why not compile a look back at some of these moments? So here are my totally subjective highlights of 2010! Hopefully 2011 will bring similar good moments!
Not an easy one to pick since 2009 has been a hell of a Riesling vintage in Germany with plenty outsanding bottles. But a glass of 2009 G-Max by Keller, tasted even before it got out to customers was certainly a memorable Riesling moment.
Best Odd Wine
It is much different than any other style of wine, even if it is somewhat close to Jerez. It was quite fascinating to experience the kaleidoscopic flavour profile of a vin jaune. Thanks again Didier for sharing this bottle.
Best Aged Wine
After having had a great 1989 Lynch Bages at the end of 2009, I was a bit surprised when it was outperformed by a 1985 Pichon Baron at another eighties tasting in 2010. I suppose it might somewhat be linked to different decant times but what counts is what’s in the glass at the moment you drink it. So, no excuses, the Baron just had what it takes that night!
Blind Tasting Surprise of the year
It wasn’t a surprise in the sense of a jaw dropping stunner, but rather in the sense of unexpected. During a Rhône Blind Tasting a bottle of 1993 Château Latour was slipped in. It was a fine wine, but not the extravagant kick you’d expect from a bottle that trades at about 300 to 400 Euro. Hence: a disappointment!
Best Wine Tasting without a Concept
Didier and I mixed it all up for one wild wine tasting night. Lots of great wines and fun. Plus: no hangover, the signature of great wines!
Best Wine Tasting Event
Again, the yearly wine festival and tasting on the Roter Hang in Nierstein took the crown. Wine fest’s are just so much more fun when the wines are of that good quality and celebrated within the vineyards.
Funkiest Wine Label
12 Volts by Bodegas 4 Kilos, a winery on the island of Majorque.
Best Wine Bar
There are a couple of great wine bars I’ve been to this year hence it’s hard to pick one that stood out. But Terroirs wine bar in London definitely hit the spot with a huge selection of (mostly French) natural wines and a relaxed, non-elitistic atmosphere. Also, the authentic décor and the food put a smile on one’s face.
Best Amuse Bouche
I really liked the way our meal at Degustation started. Fried Cod Skin, Croqueta, Tortilla with quail egg and shallot confit really touched all senses and awoke my palate the right way for the upcoming meal. Exactly what a great Amuse should be about!
Best Fine Dining
My only 3 star meal of the year at Klaus Erfort certainly was the most perfect in execution and taste. Hard to be beaten by other dinners, even if The Ledbury in London and Tippling Club in Singapore as well as Restaurant Francais in Frankfurt were all more than convincing.
Best Creative Dining
So whatever, let’s just add a category for most creative dinner. And that means there is a fight between 3 contestants from 3 continents with The Ledbury in London, Degustation in New York and Tippling Club in Singapore. And the winner is: The Ledbury! Bravo for such compelling dishes as Scallop Ceviche with Kohlrabi and frozen horseraddish and excellent wine recommendations like a 1997 Sarget de Gruaud Larose from Saint-Julien!
Wildest Dinner Night
Well, this award is not so much linked to what this post about Tippling Club in Singapore says, but rather to what it doesn’t say. For example, that our dinner at rockstar chef Ryan Clift restaurant that was accompanied by a multitude of great wines also had to end with a couple of glasses of Swiss absinth. But that was still before we went to Fullerton hotel for a few of bottles of Rosé Champagne and French Fries (Can’t remember why, we weren’t hungry! What I do remember though is someone showing us yoga exercises on the marble floor of this luxury hotel..)! And even more before our generous benefactor ordered 2 magnum bottles of Champagne in a night club. Decadent, I know, but unforgettable as well!
Best Casual Eating
Momofuku Ssäm Bar truly is an addictive place. I went there for lunch on several occasions this year. It is a good way to get a taste of David Chang’s creativity at a fair price. I summed up my experiences in this post.
Best Celebration Meal
Our New Year’s Dinner at Sip Wine bar in Bali technically started in 2009, but it ended in 2010, so I guess it’s legitimate I use it here. It was a dinner of great fun and joy with friends and family and that’s what made it so great. The food was good of course, but more importantly, this might be the one haven for wine lovers on Bali.
Most Amazing Dining Environment
No doubt, this trophy goes to Cire at Alila Villas Hotel in Uluwatu, Bali. The setup is just magical with a mix of puristic design and a breathtaking view on the ocean. Of course, one shouldn’t forget the creative food which cleverly mixes local ingredients with Classic cooking techniques.
Robertas Pizza is known as Brooklyn’s hipster central, but what I really love about it is the laid back and cosy atmosphere that has been created there and of course the food they serve. Not only do they serve delicious pizza, but for the advanced diner the very talented Carlo Mirachi also prepares a few very creative dishes made of high quality organic farming produce.
Best Wine in a Restaurant
2005 Coulée de Serrant, which was a BYO wine for our dinner at Degustation . it was a first time encounter with the wine for me and needless to say, quite a good one! Thanks Toby!
Best Iced Dish
Well, I simply had to invent a category for this stunning dish that was Russian Ossietra Imperial Caviar, Iced Cucumber / Crème Crue / Dill - a harmonious, perfect combination served at Restaurant francais in Frankfurt on our visit in July.
Craziest Foodie Trip
Well actually it was more of a beer geek trip when, with my buddy Jeff, we drove from brewery to brewery on the American East Coast for sampling their most creative concoctions. You can flip through it on 2 posts here and here.
That’s it! Now it’s time to wish you all a happy new year 2011 with lots of health and happiness and of course, great wine and great food!