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10.17.2009

The Best Wines of the Year: Tasting the Wine & Spirits Top 100

wstop100_2009.jpg The difference between a good public wine tasting and a bad one can be quite dramatic. The bad ones are in crappy locations, are poorly organized, offer no food, and only mediocre wines. The good ones are, well, just the opposite -- nicely organized, well catered, and offer great wines. And the best ones? Well, they throw in a jazz quartet, and all you can eat oyster bar, a dessert bar, and wines that sometimes retail for hundreds of dollars, if you can find them, at all. All of which nicely describe the annual Wine and Spirits Top 100 tasting.

Like many of their peers in the magazine world, Wine & Spirits publishes an annual award issue, in which they celebrate what they think are the Top 100 wineries around the world, based on the quality of their wines. Regular readers know that I'm no fan of such lists, which I generally find to be meaningless. Thankfully the Wine & Spirits list doesn't actually rank these wineries from 1 to 100. They just publish an issue with profiles of each and list their high scoring wines (which presumably got them on the list to begin with).

But more to the point, the magazine also puts on an event every year where all 100 of these wineries are invited to pour the wines that were rated highly by the magazine, and it ends up being one hell of a tasting, as it was, indeed, this past Wednesday night.

The food at the Top 100 is usually quite good, but this year seemed to kick it up a notch, at least compared to my memory of last year's. Perhaps that's because the restaurants offering bits and bites were some of the magazine's picks for the top new restaurants in San Francisco. I usually don't get to eat much at these tastings, as I'm there to taste literally every wine, and see what I think of the entire lineup. But I did end up wolfing down about 4 of the deviled eggs with crab and crawfish from Netties Crab Shack, and two of the bacon wrapped, goat cheese stuffed roasted figs from Gitane, among other delectables.

For those who took the event at a more leisurely pace, there were games to be played with food and wine pairing. I didn't have much time for this, but I must admit, the pairing of pork rinds with some of the the Austrian and German Rieslings was a nearly magical surprise. Stellar.

In any case, on to the wines. Most wineries brought only 2 wines apiece, usually their two top scoring wines of the year. I've divided my tasting notes into sparkling, white, and red, and grouped them by score, as usual.

Enjoy.


Sparkling Wines


SPARKLING WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
NV Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Rosé Première Cuvée. $60. Click to buy
2000 Vilmart & Cie. Champagne Brut Coeur de Cuvée Premier Cru. $120. Click to buy


SPARKLING WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
NV Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Première Cuvée. $40. Click to buy
NV Krug Champagne Brut Grand Cuvée . $80. Click to buy
2002 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Cristal. $189. Click to buy
NV Vilmart & Cie. Brut Cuvée Rubis. $60. Click to buy

SPARKLING WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 Adriano Adami Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Dry Vigneto Giardino. $??
2007 Iron Horse Green Valley Corral Vineyard Chardonnay. $??
2004 Iron Horse Green Valley Blanc de Blancs. $??
2004 Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Gastronome Premier Cru. $65

SPARKLING WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2001 Gramona Cava Brut Nature Gran Reserva III Lustros . $??
NV Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier. $43
NV Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru. $55
2002 Roederer Estate Anderson Valley L'Ermitage Brut. $45
NV Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut. $18

SPARKLING WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2004 Gramona Cava Brut Gran Reserva Imperial . $??
NV Schloss Gobelsburg Kamptal Brut Reserve. $??


White Wines


WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10
2006 Dönnhoff Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Spätlese. $40. Click to buy


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2006 Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru La Maltroie. $70. Click to buy
2005 E. Guigal Hermitage Blanc. $60. Click to buy
2004 Marcel Deiss Alsace Grasberg. $37. Click to buy
2005 Marcel Deiss Alsace Engelgarten. $75.
2006 Michel & Stéphane Ogier Père et Fils VdP des Collines Rhodaniennes La Rosine d'Ampuis. $43. Click to buy
2007 Joh. Jos. Prüm Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese. $53. Click to buy

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2006 Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru Les Chenevottes. $70
2007 Domaine Faiveley Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru. $240
2007 E. Guigal Condrieu. $49
2005 Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet. $??
2007 Lioco Sonoma Coast Charles Heintz Vyd. Chardonnay. $45
2004 Movia Goriska Brda Veliko Bianco. $37
2007 Movia Goriska Brda Lunar. $49
2006 Ramey Carneros Napa Valley Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay. $62
2005 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Art Series Chardonnay. $67
2006 Flowers Sonoma Coast Andreen-Gale Chardonnay. $60
2008 J. Hofstätter Alto Adige Kolbenhof Gewurztraminer. $60
2007 C. von Schubert Mosel Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling Auslese (375ml). $50
2006 Dönnhoff Felsen Türmchen Riesling Spätlese. $40
2007 Dr. Loosen Mosel Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese. $28
2007 Dr. Loosen Mosel Erdener Prälat Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel (375ml). $50
2007 Hermann J. Wiemer Finger Lakes Dry Magdalena Vineyard Riesling. $30
2004 Joh. Jos. Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Auslese Riesling. $56
2007 Cantina Terlano Alto Adige Lunare Gewurztraminer. $54
2008 Craggy Range Martinborough Te Muna Road Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. $25
2008 Gaia Santorini Wild Ferment Assyrtiko. $25
2007 Peay Sonoma Coast Estate Chardonnay. $50
2007 Pierre Morey Meursault Les Tesson. $100

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2007 Domaine Faiveley Meursault Les Charmes. $130
2007 King Estate Oregon Domaine Pinot Gris. $22
2008 Buil & Giné Rueda Nosis. $16
2007 C. von Schubert Mosel Maximin Grünhäuser Abtsberg Riesling Spätlese. $32
2007 Hermann J. Wiemer Finger Lakes Dry Riesling. $20
2007 Nigl Kremstal Kremsleiten Riesling. $40
2003 Nigl Kremstal Kremsleiten Riesling. $40
2008 Gaia Santorini Thalassitis. $22
2006 Schiopetto Collio Sauvignon. $30
2007 Pierre Morey Meursault Les Terres Blanche. $100

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2007 Domaine Faiveley Murcurey La Framboisiere. $38
2006 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Prelude Vineyards Chardonnay. $29
2007 Qupé Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Hilside Estate Roussanne. $40
2007 Felton Road Central Otago Block 2 Chardonnay. $49
2008 Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. $18
2007 Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling. $22
2007 Kilikanoon Clare Valley Mort's Reserve Watervale Riesling. $30
2007 Schloss Johannisberg Rheingau Grunlack Riesling Spätlese. $58
2007 Schloss Johannisberg Rheingau Riesling QbA. $32
2008 Aveleda Vinho Verde Quinta da Aveleda. $9
2008 Boutari Santorini . $18
2008 Cantina Terlano Alto Adige Classico Pinot Bianco. $18
2008 Casa Marín San Antonio Cipreses Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. $??
2008 Casa Marín San Antonio Laurel Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. $??
2008 Concha y Toro Casablanca Valley Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc. $26
2008 Maycas del Limarí Limarí Valley Chardonnay. $21
2007 Schiopetto Collio Pinot Grigio. $30
2007 Swanson Napa Valley Pinot Grigio. $??
2007 Bouchard Père et Fils Beaune Premier Cru Clos St-Landry. $55

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2008 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Semillon. $20
2008 Penfolds Adelaide Thomas Hyland Riesling. $14
2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Cabernet Sauvignon. $38
2007 Sheldrake Point Finger Lakes Dry Riesling . $??
2008 Aveleda Vinho Verde Alvarinho. $9
2006 Boutari Santorini Kallisti Reserve. $20
2008 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay. $16
2007 Deloach OFS Russian River Valley Chardonnay. $32

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2007 Schloss Gobelsburg Kamptal Steinsetz Grüner Veltliner. $??


Red Wines


RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9.5 AND 10
2005 Willams Selyem Russian River Valley Litton Estate Pinot Noir. $100. Click to buy


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2006 Achával-Ferrer Medrano Finca Mirador Malbec. $95. Click to buy
2006 Cos Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico. $32. Click to buy
2004 Elvio Cogno Barolo Vigna Elena. $70.
2001 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva Il Margone. $45.
2005 Mazzei Maremma Toscana Tenuta Belguardo. $60. Click to buy
2007 Peay Sonoma Coast Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir. $52. Click to buy
2006 Quinta do Portal Douro Grande Reserva. $38.
2005 Qupé Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido X-Block Syrah. $100. Click to buy
2005 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon. $140. Click to buy

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2006 Achával-Ferrer Mendoza Quimera Bordeaux Blend. $42
2005 Brokenwood Hunter Valley Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz. $125
2005 Buil & Giné Monstant Baboix. $28
2005 Catena Zapata Adriana Vineyard Malbec. $100
2007 Cos Sicilia Nero di Lupo Nero d'Avola. $29
2005 CVNE/Contino Rioja Graciano. $150
2006 d'Arenberg McLaren Vale The Ironstone Pressings. $75
2006 d'Arenberg McLaren Vale The Footbolt Shiraz. $20
2005 Delas Frères Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette. $68
2004 Elvio Cogno Barolo Ravera. $46
2005 Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico Riserva. $30
2007 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru. $??
2005 Kilikanoon Clare Valley Attunga Shiraz. $250
2007 Lioco Anderson Valley Klindt Vineyard Pinot Noir. $45
2006 Louis Jadot Gevrey- Chambertin. $40
2006 Moric Burgenland Alte Reben Neckenmarkt Blaufränkisch. $95
2006 Peay Sonoma Coast La Bruma Syrah. $45
2004 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Barolo Nei Cannubi. $115
2006 Quinta do Noval Duriense Cedro do Noval . $30
2006 Shafer Stags Leap District Napa Vly. One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon. $70
2005 Swanson Oakville Napa Valley Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon. $75
2004 Vietti Barolo Rocche. $125
2005 Vietti Barbaresco Masseria. $95
2006 von Strasser Diamond Mountain District Napa Vly. Post Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. $75
2007 Willams Selyem Russian River Valley Westside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir. $65
2006 Yalumba Barossa Valley Lyndoch Shiraz. $70

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2006 Andrew Rich Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. $30
2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. $115
2007 Bouchard Père et Fils Vosne-Romanée. $45
2006 Calera Mount Harlan Mills Vineyard Pinot Noir. $45
2006 Calera Mount Harlan Reed Vineyard Pinot Noir. $45
2007 Concha y Toro Marqués de Casa Concha Peumo Carmenère. $22
2005 Craggy Range Hawke's Bay Sophia Bordeaux Blend Gimblett Gravels Vineyard. $60
2005 CVNE/Contino Rioja Reserva. $65
2005 Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon. $175
2005 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. $175
2007 Domaine Faiveley Clos de Cortons Faiveley Grand Cru. $170
2007 Drew Sonoma Coast McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir . $45
2007 Drew Anderson Valley Fog-Eater Pinot Noir. $45
2007 E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape. $50
2006 Evening Land Sonoma Coast Occidental Vineyard Pinot Noir. $150
2008 Felton Road Central Otago Block 3 Pinot Noir. $75
2006 Flowers Sonoma Coast Andreen-Gale Pinot Noir. $48
2005 Frutos Villar Toro Muruve Reserva. $22
2006 L'Ecole No 41 Walla Walla Valley Apogee Pepper Bridge Vineyard. $50
2006 Louis Jadot Corton-Grèves Grand Cru. $75
2004 Louis M. Martini Sonoma Valley Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. $85
2006 Moric Burgenland Alte Reben Lutzmannsberg Blaufränkisch. $95
2007 Moric Burgenland Sankt Georgener Blaufränkisch. $48
2007 Pierre Morey Pommard Grands Epenots Premier Cru. $200
2006 Quinta do Portal Douro Colheita. $18
2006 Ramey Napa Valley Annum Cabernet Sauvignon. $85
2006 Ravenswood Sonoma Valley Old Hill Zinfandel. $60
2006 Ridge Dry Creek Valley Lytton Springs Zinfandel. $35
2005 Saviah Columbia Valley Laurella. $35
2006 Saviah Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon . $28
2006 Shafer Napa Valley Relentless. $70
2006 Skouras Greece Megas Oenos Cabernet Sauvignon-Saint George . $26
2006 Skouras Grand Cuvee Nemea. $26
2006 Storybook Mountain Napa Valley Eastern Exposures Zinfandel. $45
2005 Storybook Mountain Napa Valley Seps Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. $65
2006 von Strasser Diamond Mountain District Napa Vly. Cabernet Sauvignon. $70
2006 Willams Selyem Sonoma Coast Precious Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir. $90

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2006 Andrew Rich Columbia Valley Les Vignes en Face Syrah. $35
2006 Andrew Will Horse Heaven Hills Champoux Vineyard. $56
2007 Anthill Farms Mendocino County Comptche Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir. $42
2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Tapestry Reserve. $60
2006 Dashe Alexander Valley Old Vine Todd Brothers Ranch Zinfandel. $??
2006 Delas Frères Crozes-Hermitage Les Launes. $21
2007 Domaine Faiveley Murcurey La Framboisiere. $38
2007 Evening Land Eola-Amity Hills La Source Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir. $70
2005 Frutos Villar Ribera del Duero Conde de Siruela Crianza. $23
2005 Henschke Eden Valley Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon. $100
2005 Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium. $35
2006 L'Ecole No 41 Walla Walla Valley Perigee Seven Hills Vineyard. $50
2006 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Art Series Shiraz. $30
2005 Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. $25
2005 Marqués de Murrieta Reserva. $30
2006 Maycas del Limarí Limarí Valley Reserva Especial Syrah. $24
2005 Mazzei Toscana Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi. $60
2007 Moric Burgenland Blaufränkisch. $28
2005 Penfolds Barossa Valley RWT Shiraz. $90
2007 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani Vigna Tecc. $32
2007 Raptor Ridge Yamhill-Carlton District Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir. $48
2006 Ravenswood Alexander Valley Big River Zinfandel. $35
2005 Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. $24
2007 Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Firehouse Red. $14
2007 W. H. Smith Sonoma Coast Maritime Pinot Noir. $54

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2006 Andrew Will Yakima Valley Two Blondes Vineyard. $45
2005 Beringer Napa Valley Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. $??
2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Cabernet Sauvignon. $38
2007 DeLoach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. $??
2005 Kilikanoon Clare Valley Covenant Shiraz. $40
2008 King Estate Oregon Signature Collection Pinot Noir. $25
2000 Marqués de Murrieta Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. $28
2006 Michel & Stéphane Ogier Père et Fils L'Ame Soeur. $65
2006 W. H. Smith Howell Mountain Purple Label Piedra Hill Vyd. Cabernet Sauvignon. $64
2007 Yalumba Barossa Valley The Scribbler Cabernet-Shiraz. $17

Comments (11)

10.18.09 at 12:42 PM

Alder, nice to have run into you finally in person at the event. Hopefully you've seen my post on it as well. I agree, a classy event. I couldn't go through all the wines.

Also, minor thing -- but you have E.Guigal CdP under both white and red - it was only the red, I believe.

Dylan wrote:
10.18.09 at 8:26 PM

I'm particularly impressed with the sweeping range of prices for the wines featured--one as low as $9, while another reaches into $175. There's something for everyone in there, it seems. Also, don't get me started on crawdads, Alder--I still can't forget my trip to New Orleans and that was last March.

Sean wrote:
10.18.09 at 11:35 PM

Sorry to be biased, but is anybody else out there disappointed that not a single product from Cakebread Cellars made list? The 2007 Chardonnay was a standard for me this past year.

Errol wrote:
10.19.09 at 7:07 AM

Very good event. Still a bit on the overcrowded side. I think they could use more spit buckets, no?

Alder wrote:
10.19.09 at 7:11 AM

Errol,

Yes, a little packed and, as far as I'm concerned, you can never have enough spit buckets. But compared to some tastings I've been to, they were in plentiful supply (i.e. at least one on every table).

Lego wrote:
10.19.09 at 10:30 AM

Alder,

Kind of shocked with your low rating of the Ygay. I have had and brought that wine to a few blind tastings, it has consistently shown as a top quality wine.

Phil wrote:
10.19.09 at 11:24 AM

Just interesting to note the spread of domestics whites vs. reds. Was this a representation of the variety wines at the event or more a representation of the tasters preferred profiles. Domestic Whites 10 of 67 listed or(15%) vs. Domestic Reds 44 of 108 listed or (41%) no conspiracy here just noticed the pattern and was interested in some feedback.

tannic wrote:
10.19.09 at 3:18 PM

Yawn. Seems like a list of good advertisers over the years reward meets cool winemakers I've partied with event. For that matter, why not Cakebread?

Alder wrote:
10.19.09 at 10:23 PM

Phil,

That list is essentially every wine served at the event, and every wine on the top 100 list. I have no idea how the magazine chooses its final list.

NicoRiesling wrote:
10.20.09 at 7:20 AM

Lots of Rieslings, gotta love that!

11.06.09 at 11:17 AM

Thank you for the very positive response to our wines! And of course, glad you enjoyed the event ...

Regards,

Christopher Watkins
Tasting Room Manager
Ridge/Monte Bello
Host: "4488: A Ridge Blog"

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