wine enthusiast top 100

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Wine Enthusiast magazine’s final issue of the year is out, and features the magazine’s Top 100 wines of 2009. Pictured on the cover are the #1 wine – a 2006 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir; the #5 wine – Champagne Henriot NV Souverain Brut; and the #8 wine – Poet’s Leap 2007 Riesling. In the introduction to the full list, the magazine’s tasting director Joe Czerwinski writes:

“Each year, the editors of Wine Enthusiast compile the list of their favorite wines of the year. While most featured have received high scores from our critics, many go far beyond the numbers assigned to them, either for their extraordinary quality-to-price ratio, their immediate drinkability, or their uniqueness. All are diverse and offer a window into the terroir from which they were made.”

I believe that this year’s list is the all-time best showing for Washington state on any national publication’s best-of list. Here are the wines that were included, and their scores and rank:

#2 – Charles Smith 2006 Royal City Syrah (100 – the only perfect score on the list)
#8 – Poet’s Leap 2007 Riesling (94 – the highest scoring riesling on the list)
#16 – Betz Family 2006 Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon (96)
#39 – Fielding Hills 2007 RiverBend Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (95)
#62 – Leonetti Cellar 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (96)
#73 – Andrew Will 2006 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Wine (95)
#74 – Buty 2007 70% Sémillon/26% Sauvignon/4% Muscadelle (94)
#82 – Chateau Ste. Michelle/Dr. Loosen 2008 Eroica Riesling (93)
#86 – Stevens 2006 BlackTongue Syrah (94)
#95 – Rôtie Cellars 2007 Southern Blend Red Wine (94)
#97 – Woodward Canyon 2006 Merlot (94)

Not too surprisingly, most of these wines also appear on my own Top 100, as all the Washington wine reviews in Wine Enthusiast are my own. However, deadlines and criteria differ, and to see 11 Washington wines (and another three from Oregon) on the Wine Enthusiast Top 100 is an unmissable vote of confidence in the region from all the magazine’s editors, not just me. In recent issues the magazine has also published Top 100 Best Buys Under $15 and Top 100 Cellar Selections lists, which included many other Washington wines.

Whether or not you agree with the lists, the scores, or the methodology, I think we can all agree that a very bright light is shining on Washington’s wineries right now, at a time when many wineries (and indeed entire regions – look at the problems in Australia and Bordeaux, to name just two) are struggling.

Sincere congratulations to all the wineries and vineyards represented above.

–PaulG

4 comments:

Andy Plymale said...

It's nice to see a $20 WA (Poet's Leap) and a producer of $20 and cheaper wines (Charles Smith) in the top 10, "in these economic times".

The People's Wine Guy said...

Parading lower cost wines down the perverbial runway is wine corporate's attempt at "siding with the small guy". Give me a break. I'm always for inexpensive, quality wines. What's with the WE and WS playing these cards in 2009? Why wern't they ALWAYS out on the hunt for "people's wine" and not wine for the rich? It's quite insulting if you ask me.

PaulG said...

Huh? "Parading lower cost wines down the perverbial runway is wine corporate's attempt at "siding with the small guy". It's quite insulting if you ask me."

Guess you are easily insulted. Speaking for W/E, they feature value wines constantly - did an entire Top 100 of them a few weeks ago. And my newspaper column is almost entirely focused on such wines.

Katie S said...

Paul, Thanks for doing an excellent job covering Washington wines and helping our state gain the attention it deserves.

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