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Sommelier’s Choice, Top Releases of 2009

For Sommelier Journal’s year-end selection of the best of 2009, we wanted to avoid adding to the omnipresent listings of “wines of the year” and “gold medals.” Instead, we thought our readers would be more interested in seeing meaningful recommendations from their colleagues. I asked a number of our editors and writers and other top professionals from around the world to submit their most memorable wines of 2009, along with personal tasting notes. Each was limited to one selection; the only criteria were that the wine had to be currently available in the United States and not commercially represented by the selector. Interestingly, no two people picked the same wine.

Domaine Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc 2007 Burgundy

The same day I tasted this gem, I tasted Domaine Leflaive’s grand cru Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet. It was $410 a bottle, stupendous, and way out of my league and pocketbook wise. So I turned my attention to this supposedly simple Bourgogne Blanc. Alas, there was nothing simple about it. The amazingly deep richness, purity, and integrity were astounding for a wine that holds merely a regional “Bourgogne” credential. It had a vividness, an almost soulfulness, that marked it as coming from rarified vineyards. Indeed, Domaine Leflaive, which I consider to be the single best producer of white Burgundy ever, owns vineyards that rank among the crown jewels of France. This may be the domaine’s “little” wine, but its impact is anything but.

Karen MacNeil, December 2009
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Sommelier’s Choice, Top Releases of 2009