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(By Eve Bushman) In writing wine and spirit reviews, which include comprehensive tasting notes on appearance, aroma, flavor and sometimes a score, it would be remiss for me not to explain that even when I’m not working on an article I will still employ some of these same methods when drinking wine for pleasure with friends or at a large commercial tasting event. Those wines, sans actual notes, are the ones I want to share today.

Why? Because sometimes we make our buying choices dependent on numerical scores from critics. While that is fine, especially if you have found a critic that has a similar palate as yours (you agree with his scores) it also reduces the time spent trying wines on your own, and finding them not to be enjoyable, which can be costly.

Some pals have also reached out to me, believing they will like what I like, and have asked me to share my favorites. So this article is for them as well. (Please keep in mind these are wines and cocktails I enjoyed in 2016 alone.)

And now, without further adieu:

Remarkable vintage years I did note – so it will be easier if you want to duplicate the experience – I found via my Facebook photographs: 1863 Reserva Velha Barbeito Bual Madeira, 2003 Tramin Cerveny (Czech dessert wine), 2000 Don Melchor Puente Alto Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes d’Or Brut Champagne, 2004 Robert Mondavi Vine Hill Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Chateau de la Gardine Chateauneuf du Pape, 2014 Turley from Howell Mountain, Pesenti Vineyard and Dogtown Vineyard, 2003 Joseph Phelps Insignia and a 2006 Backus, 2015 Trombetta Chardonnay, 2015 J. Lohr White Riesling, 2005 Robert Mondavi Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Beckmen Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2013 Cuvee Le Bec, 2007 Kosta Browne 4-Barrel Pinot Noir, 2013 Beekeeper Zinfandel Rockpile Appellation, 2005 Chateau Canon, 2013 Hearst Pergola Petite Sirah, 2014 Poet’s Leap Riesling, 2012 Concrete Old Vine Zinfandel, 2012 Kynsi Pinot Noir, 2012 Colome Estate Malbec, 2012 Dilecta Unorthodox, 2013 Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel, 2013 Summers Andriana’s Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 and 2013 Cabernet Franc all from Crocker and Starr.

 

Read more here: Eve’s Wine 101: My Favorite Wines and Cocktails from 2016