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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The top 100 Wines of 2014, according to the Wine Spectator.

For better or for worse, beer has crowd-judging; wine has experts-judging. Two of wine's more prominent 'expert' groups are the Wine Spectator magazine —whose most renowned writer, until recently, was James Suckling— and the Wine Advocate newsletter, published by wine critic Robert Parker (who lives north of Baltimore, Maryland).

For better or for worse, Parker popularized the 100-point rating scale, twenty years ago or so. Folk publicly pooh-pooh it, but privately use it.

This time of year, every year, the Wine Spectator releases its choices for the top 100 wines of the year. For 2014, a port, Dow 2011 vintage, took top honors, receiving 99 points.

Powerful, refined, and luscious, with a surplus of dark plum, kirsch and cassis flavors that are unctuous and long. Shows plenty of grip, presenting a long full finish, filled with Asian spice and raspberry tart accents. Rich and chocolaty. One for the ages. Best from 2030 through 2060. 5,00 cases made.

With that best-by, I don't know if I'll be sufficiently chronologically blessed to taste all those "unctuous and long" flavors at their best. The magazine says that the average retail cost is $82 per bottle. I'd expect something a bit (!) higher, now, if you can find a bottle.

At the 100th spot is Saint Clair Pinot Noir Marlborough Pioneer Block 16 Awatere, from Australia, assigned 92 points, retailing for $31.
This offers a good mix of fresh, ripe raspberry and cherry flavors, with details of forest floor, black tea, cigar box and nutmeg, finishing with nuances of warm baking spices and a touch of firmness. Drink now through 2025. 1,000 cases made.

Looking at all one-hundred wines, the suggested retail price ranges from $240 for Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, a 'Super-Tuscan' from Italy at the 65th position, to $10 for Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Viña Cumbrero Crianza, a Spanish Tempranillo, at the the 62nd spot. And, in confusing fashion, some wines with lower scores finish higher in the ranking than those with greater scores, and vice versa, although all are scored in the 90s. Must be those je ne sais quoi intangibles.
Each year, Wine Spectator editors survey the wines reviewed over the previous 12 months and select our Top 100, based on quality [based on score], value [based on price], availability [based on the volume of cases either made or imported], and excitement. These criteria were applied to determine the Top 100 from among the more than 5,400 wines that rated outstanding (90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale) this year. Overall, the average score of the wines in this year’s list is 93 points and the average price $47—an excellent quality/price ratio and a slightly lower average price than the 2013 list.

Here's the entire list. For all the scores, tasting notes, and retail pricing, go to the Wine Spectator website itself.

1
Dow Vintage Port +
201199$82
2
Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love +
201295$75
3
Prats & Symington Douro Chryseia +
201197$55
4
Quinta do Vale Meão Douro +
201197$76
5
Leeuwin Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series +
201196$89
6
Castello di Ama Chianti Classico San Lorenzo Gran Selezione +
201095$52
7
Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape +
201297$135
8
Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills +
201294$40
9
Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor +
201095$125
10
Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien +
201195$165
11
Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains +
201195$60
12
Château Guiraud Sauternes +
201197$50
13
Fonseca Vintage Port +
201198$116
14
Fontodi Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello +
201195$120
15
Bedrock The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley +
201295$42
16
Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden +
201295$69
17
Soter Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton District Mineral Springs Ranch +
201295$60
18
Château Doisy-Védrines Barsac +
201195$35 / 375ml
19
Luca Malbec Uco Valley +
201293$32
20
Peter Michael Chardonnay Knights Valley Ma Belle-Fille +
201295$90
21
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva +
201093$29
22
Podere Sapaio Bolgheri Volpolo +
201193$35
23
St.-Cosme Châteauneuf-du-Pape +
201096$59
24
Massolino Barolo +
200995$60
25
Bodegas y Viñedos O. Fournier Malbec Uco Valley Alfa Crux +
201094$54
26
Emeritus Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Hallberg Ranch +
201193$42
27
Quinta do Portal Douro Colheita +
201192$15
28
Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape +
201194$97
29
Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir Hemel-en-Aarde Valley +
201293$46
30
DuMOL Syrah Russian River Valley +
201294$55
31
Tommasi Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo +
201192$18
32
Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 55% Slope +
200993$45
33
Orin Swift Machete California +
201293$48
34
La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva +
200592$30
35
Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley +
201192$29
36
Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard +
200997$125
37
Giuseppe Cortese Barbaresco Rabajà +
201094$55
38
Aubert Chardonnay Russian River Valley Eastside +
201295$80
39
Oddero Barolo +
201093$49
40
Loosen Bros. Riesling QbA Mosel Dr. L +
201291$12
41
Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros +
201292$34
42
Lapostolle Clos Apalta Limited Release Colchagua Valley +
201094$89
43
Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen +
201391$12
44
Viña Cono Sur Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenère Colchagua Valley +
201191$14
45
Tikal Patriota Mendoza +
201291$23
46
Turley Zinfandel California Juvenile +
201291$20
47
Luce della Vite Toscana Luce +
201195$105
48
Fincas Patagonicas Malbec Mendoza Zolo Reserve +
201291$19
49
Trimbach Riesling Alsace +
201291$25
50
Abadia Retuerta Viño de la Tierra de Castilla y León Sardon de Duero Selección Especial +
201092$35
51
Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate +
201097$129
52
Herman Story Grenache California On the Road +
201193$42
53
Ponzi Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Tavola +
201291$25
54
Mumm Napa Brut Napa Valley Prestige +
NV91$22
55
Veramonte Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley El Caballero +
201190$12
56
João Portugal Ramos Alentejo Ramos Reserva +
201290$13
57
Viña Bisquertt Syrah Colchagua Valley La Joya Gran Reserva +
201290$13
58
TwentyFour Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley +
201093$112
59
Peter Lehmann Clancy's Barossa +
201190$15
60
St.-Urbans-Hof Riesling QbA Mosel Old Vines +
201290$16
61
De Martino Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Legado Reserva +
201192$17
62
Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Viña Cumbrero Crianza +
201090$10
63
Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc Constantia Bayten +
201390$15
64
Cune Rioja White Monopole +
201390$15
65
Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore +
201196$240
66
Fowles Shiraz Victoria Are You Game? +
201291$17
67
Tohu Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Single Vineyard +
201390$13
68
Godelia Mencía Bierzo +
201092$21
69
Feudo di Santa Croce Primitivo di Manduria LXXIV +
201091$22
70
D. Kourtakis Assyrtiko Santorini Greek Wine Cellars +
201290$13
71
Roar Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella's Vineyard +
201293$52
72
Château Lilian Ladouys St.-Estèphe +
201190$19
73
Gérard Bertrand Syrah-Grenache Languedoc +
201190$19
74
di Majo Norante Molise Ramitello +
201190$18
75
Disznókó´ Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos +
200694$49 / 500ml
76
Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne +
201290$17
77
E. Guigal Côte-Rôtie Château d'Ampuis +
201097$206
78
Acrobat Pinot Noir Oregon +
201290$20
79
Marqués de Griñon Cabernet Sauvignon Dominio de Valdepusa +
201093$40
80
Nino Negri Valtellina Superiore Quadrio +
201090$20
81
Domaine de Triennes Vin de Pays du Var St.-Auguste +
201090$20
82
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound Stellenbosch +
201191$25
83
Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford +
201390$24
84
Bodegas Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial +
200594$89
85
Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Marina Cveti S. Martino Rosso +
201091$25
86
Pali Wine Co. Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County Huntington +
201290$23
87
Firriato Sicilia Santagostino Baglio Soria Red +
201191$23
88
Christian Moreau Père & Fils Chablis +
201291$31
89
Carol Shelton Zinfandel Mendocino County Wild Thing Old Vine +
201190$19
90
Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Trocken Wachau Terrassen +
201290$14
91
Domaine La Barroche Châteauneuf-du-Pape Pure +
201295$78
92
Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Incanto +
201090$15
93
Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee +
201290$17
94
Château Lamartine Cahors +
201190$19
95
Antonio Barbadillo Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda Solear +
NV90$15
96
Domaine Gerovassiliou Epanomi White +
201390$22
97
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna +
201290$22
98
Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz-Viognier Victoria +
201290$19
99
Loimer Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Kamptal +
201291$22
100
Saint Clair Pinot Noir Marlborough Pioneer Block 16 Awatere +
201292$31
-----more-----
A competitor, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, has just released its choices for the top 100 wines of 2014. See a webview of the list: here. Or a printable PDF: here.)

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