THE YEAR OF THE TIGER

THE GREATEST EVER VINTAGES

This February 1st 2022 we usher in a new Chinese Year of the Tiger. All 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac have distinct characteristics; those born under the Year of the Tiger are said to possess independence, confidence and tenacity. They are natural leaders and protectors. In Chinese folklore, tigers are believed to be the guardians of children, so much so that in the past young children would be bathed in water boiled with tiger bones in order to ward off disease. Tigers can sometimes be reckless, but always tend to succeed in the end.

However, good qualities for those born in the Year of the Tiger are not exclusively reserved for people – some of the greatest wines of modern times have also been created under this fortuitous sign! As we look forward to the year ahead, the Chelsea Vintners team have selected some of the very best wines from Tiger vintages, and we are sure you will agree that they truly represent the best of the best of the fine wine world.

VEGA SICILIA UNICO 1962

Undoubtedly the greatest ever vintage of this Spanish legend; it is the only vintage in history to achieve the coveted 100/100 score on Wine Advocate.

“The 1962 Vega Sicilia possesses quite astonishing purity on the nose with candied dark cherry fruit, eucalyptus, kirsch and a touch of cinnamon. This is what you might describe as a -perfect bouquet-. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin, seamless and satin-like in texture: an Unico that is shimmering with untrammeled greatness. Youthful, vivacious and utterly compelling, this is a profound wine that even after four decades is surfeit with precocity. Undoubtedly, this must be one of the greatest Spanish wines to have graced this planet!”

Drink – now if you can find it!

100/100 Wine Advocate

MOUTON ROTHSCHILD 1986

Regarded as one of greatest vintages ever from this most famous of Châteaux – and still very early in its drinking window, with decades of life left.

“The 1986 Mouton-Rothschild is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It has a powerful and intense bouquet as always: exemplary graphite and cedar scents, a touch of black pepper and incense. It seems to unfurl in the glass, like a motor revving its engine. The palate is beautifully balanced with its trademark firm tannic structure, a Mouton-Rothschild with backbone and masculinity. Layers of black fruit intermingling with mint and graphite, a hint of licorice emanating from the Merlot, gently fanning out and my God, it is incredibly long. It is not like the 1985 Mouton-Rothschild that is so fleshy and generous. This is serious, aristocratic Mouton, a true vin de garde and yes, I do think drinkers will have to wait until it reaches its true peak. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.”

Drink now-2050

100/100 Wine Advocate

99/100 Vinous Media

PENFOLDS GRANGE 1986

Lauded as one of the best Penfolds vintages of the 80’s and 90’s. This is another sublime red which is still early on in its drinking window – as of 2022, this wine will certainly keep for at least another 20 years.

“One of my favorite wines from Penfolds, the 1986 (a blend of 87% Shiraz and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon) is one of the most powerful Granges produced (14+% alcohol). At age 23, it reminds me of the way it tasted around 9 years of age. Inky/purple to the rim with an extraordinary perfume of sweet licorice, crushed pepper, blackberry liqueur, camphor, and barbecue spices, this sensationally full-bodied, concentrated, layered 1986 is still an infant in terms of its ultimate potential. It is remarkable how this wine has aged, and it’s hard to believe how certain wine geeks will subscribe to the aging ability of the Grange, but don’t believe the same is true for other old vine Shiraz wines from the Barossa and McLaren Vale. It just doesn’t make any sense. The 1986 is one of the greatest Granges for my palate, and it appears to still have 25-30 years of upside.”

Drink Now–2039

98+/100 Wine Advocate

HAUT-BRION 1998

After the astronomical rise of the Haut-Brion 1989, the 1998 is proving to be another legendary wine from a mixed vintage – an underrated gem to keep an eye on.  It is absolutely stunning now and still has plenty left to give.

“Still incredibly youthful and sporting a lot of fruit, the deep garnet-brick colored 1998 Haut-Brion sashays out of the glass with flamboyant red and black fruits, followed by a train of cassis, blueberry pie and chocolate box notions plus accents of iron ore, dried lavender and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully rich and decadently seductive in its generosity of fruit and velvety texture, offering seamless freshness and finishing with epic length and compelling minerality. Oh so delicious right now, with careful cellaring it should continue to excite through 2045 and beyond.”

Drink now-2045

99/100 Wine Advocate

96/100 Vinous Media

BEAUCASTEL HOMMAGE JACQUES PERRIN CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 1998

Rated 100 points by Robert Parker on three occasions, and more recently by Jeb Dunnuck on two occasions – 1998 is an iconic vintage for Southern Rhone, and this legend from Beaucastel is a strong contender for the greatest Chateauneuf-du-Pape of all time.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have the 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage A Jacques Perrin numerous times recently and it has never failed to deliver everything I could want from a wine. Getting the best parcel of Grenache from the estate and a dramatically shifted blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah and Counoise, it’s a massive and concentrated Chateauneuf that surprisingly still seems to show its Mourvedre component front and center. Blackberries, kirsch, truffle, gamy meats, licorice and earth all give way to a full-bodied, seamless, impeccably balanced wine that carries its huge core of fruit with remarkable freshness and grace. While it will no doubt continue to evolve gracefully, it’s brilliant today.”

Drink now-2035

100/100 Wine Advocate

97+/100 Vinous Media

COCHE-DURY CORTON CHARLEMAGNE 2010

A breathtaking edition of this famous white Burgundy, and certainly a contender for the greatest wine in history to come out of this legendary domaine. Just starting to really hit its stride but is sure to enchant for years to come.

“The 2010 Corton-Charlemagne is every bit as remarkable from bottle as it was from barrel. In the glass it is vivid, multi-dimensional and wonderfully alive. At once powerfully vibrant yet also seamless, the 2010 has everything; expressive aromatics, nuanced fruit and taut, incisive minerality. I only hope to have a chance to taste it again in a few years’ time. Today, it looks like Coche’s 2010 Corton-Charlemagne is headed straight for icon status. It may very well be the wine of the vintage. If it isn’t, it is among the top 2-3. Anticipated maturity: 2020+.”

Drink 2020+

98/100 Wine Advocate

99+/100 Vinous Media

GIACOMO CONTERNO MONFORTINO BAROLO RISERVA 2010

The greatest edition from the modern era of the so-called ‘King of Barolo’ – a hundred-point wine that seduces every critic who goes near it (if they’re lucky enough to get that close!)

“The 2010 Barolo Riserva Monfortino is a perfect wine and there are few things I am more sure of in this life. This is an extraordinary creation that bursts from the glass with a level of distinct intensity and elegance that is nothing short of breathtaking. The wine literally evokes an emotional and deeply visceral reaction thanks to the lasting impression it makes on your heart, mind and gut. This Barolo opens to a delicate garnet color that is brightened with crystalline luminosity. The bouquet offers an immediate curtain-raiser with chiseled aromas of wild berry, licorice, white truffle and tar. That explosive start is followed by a mounting crescendo of complexity and nuance. The wine is extremely silky and polished in terms of mouthfeel and this helps to underline its impressive persistence. Bravo!”

Drink Now-2050

100/100 Wine Advocate

100/100 Vinous Media

DOMAINE LEROY CHAMBERTIN 2010

Arguably the greatest red Burgundy from the inimitable Madame Lalou Bize Leroy, the 2010 edition of Domaine Leroy’s Chambertin 2010 is as close to vinous perfection as you can get. As you might expect, finding a bottle is very hard – but for the lucky few, this is a once in a lifetime wine, truly a story to tell your grandchildren!

“The 2010 Chambertin Grand Cru is spectacular, bursting from the glass with a youthful bouquet of rich red and black fruits, burning embers, rose petal and licorice, subtly framed by a discreet application of new oak. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, with satiny tannins, a concentrated core of fruit and a long, beautifully delineated finish. Of all Leroy’s 2010s, this demands the most additional cellaring, and I suspect it will also prove to be the longest lived. This monumental wine is a reminder that Chambertin is not the greatest of the commune’s grands crus by virtue of its power but rather thanks to its ineffable completeness and elegance.”

Drink 2025-2050

100/100 Wine Advocate

99/100 Vinous Media

All tasting notes taken from Wine Advocate

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