wine enthusiast top 100 best buys for 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

‘Tis the Top 100 season, and the first of the Wine Enthusiast end-of-year wrap-ups is just out. The November issue cover story is the Top 100 Best Buys, an ever-popular category with particularly excellent wines this year.

Wines that are designated Best Buys throughout the year must fit very specific price/rating guidelines. The searchable (and free) database allows anyone to select Best Buys from specific reviewers, regions, and/or timelines. Or just his the “all” button and you can see everything that was a candidate for this list. The introduction notes that there were exactly 1134 wines in the running – less than 7% of the total number of wines reviewed. So the Top 100 represents about 9% of the 7% – not much!

Of course, as the magazine’s designated reviewer for all Pacific Northwest wines, I have some serious skin in the game. And much as the entire list is of interest, it is the wines that I have reviewed that command my attention first and foremost. At such times, I am proud to be a homey, and this year, as in all recent years, my “team” has done me proud.

The U.S. placed 30 wines in this Top 100, and out of that 30, more than half (16) came from the Pacific Northwest. Amazing, considering the region’s overall production is less than 10% that of California.

Breaking it down, there are 12 white wines, and 4 reds. There are 9 from Washington, 6 from Oregon, and 1 from Idaho. There are 5 rieslings, 3 pinot gris, 2 chardonnays, one sauvignon blanc, one gewurztraminer; and one each merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and red blend. A pretty good spread across multiple varieties and AVAs.

Congratulations to all the wines and wineries that made this list. Here are the NW winners, in order of rank:

#2 – Ch. Ste. Michelle 2010 Dry Riesling
#7 – The Eyrie Vineyards 2010 Estate Pinot Gris
#10 – Pacific Rim 2011 Dry Riesling
#16 – Oak Knoll 2009 Pinot Gris
#19 – Hogue 2008 Red Table Wine
#29 – Waterbrook 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
#42 – StoneCap 2010 Estate Grown Syrah
#54 – Jones of Washington 2011 Estate Vineyards Pinot Gris
#64 – Gordon Brothers 2009 Chardonnay
#73 – Colter’s Creek 2010 Riesling
#74 – Hyatt 2009 Merlot
#84 – Willamette Valley Vineyards 2010 Riesling
#88 – Firesteed 2008 Riesling
#91 – Castle Rock 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
#93 – Eola Hills 2010 Chardonnay
#100 – Foris 2009 Dry Gewurztraminer

In the next few weeks I’ll blog about the upcoming Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Cellar Selections, and Top 100 Wines of the Year. My own Top 100 – all Northwest wines – will appear in the Sunday Seattle Times on November 4th.

Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buys of 2012


Ed Madej said...

Thanks for this! It is allways great see the Pacific Northwest wines reach a wider audience. As long as there is enough for the rest of us to drink first!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. In any objective ranking, about 50 of the top 100 of the wines would come from Bordeaux (assuming anyone could afford them) about 15 from the Rhone, another 15 from Burgundy, and about 10 from Tuscany. That leaves Australia, South Africa, Spain, Chile, the U.S., and Argentina (in about that order) to compete for the last 10 slots. Best of luck.

PaulG said...

Anon - this is the Best Buys list. All wines are $15 or less at retail. How would Bordeaux qualify, much less Burgundy?

Anonymous said...

Ah. I need to read more carefully. Then 50 of the top 100 would go to an assertment of Cote du Rhone Villages wines of Southern Rhone. Mix in a couple of superchargers from Spain, Australia and Chile and we should have a good start on the list.

Still Anon (and for good reason after that gaff)

Post a Comment

Your comment is awaiting moderation and will be posted ASAP. Thanks!