Wine Making

Wine Spectator Top 100 wines of 2021

Imagine having a delivery of 10 of the world’s most exciting wines of 2021 delivered to your door right here in Aspen. Fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you … but only if you enter the Top 100 in the Wine Spectator competition.

That’s right, someone who logged in and registered through the Wine Spectator website before December 22 will win and receive the 10 wines that the magazine considers to be the best releases of 2021 (details in the “Participate” box). The complete list of the Top 100 2021, including n ° 1 to 10, can be found in the December 31 issue of the magazine on sale now in wine shops and newsstands.

These wines include the Dominus Estate Napa Valley ranked # 1 in 2018, made by legendary Bordeaux producer Christian Moueix from grapes sourced from the Napanook vineyard, which was originally planted in 1838 by George Yount, the namesake of what is now the booming wine town of Yountville. . I haven’t tasted this wine (and now it will be in so much demand that I probably never will), but its good faith makes it a perfect choice for the top spot on the list. And at $ 269, according to the price of the Spectator, it is the second most expensive bottle of the Top 100 behind a 2008 vintage Brut champagne (naturally) from the house of Krug, which ranked No. 2. 99. These bubbles can be purchased for just over $ 300 a bottle.

Speaking of cost, the price of the top 10 bottles (if you could find them, which you can’t) is a pretty modest $ 1,444, which is less than $ 150 a bottle. But keep them well in the cellar at the proper temperatures and their value should skyrocket over the years. Of course, the real value lies in the wine itself. If I were to win the bonus (and yes, I register every year but I haven’t had a Golden Ticket yet), the joy would be to have the opportunity to experience these exquisite traffic jams for myself. There are other bottles on the list that I have shared with you, editorially speaking, and I would love to drink them again.

One of these wines was one of the cheapest in the Top 100, Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico 2018. In November we published an article on a virtual tasting with Roberto Stucchi Prinetti. Roberto not only makes the wines of Badia a Coltibuono, but he is also a member of the family that has owned and operated the estate and winery since 1846. The wine we tasted was the 2019 vintage, but you see the picture. The Spectator notes that the Chianti “finds a nice youthful balance at the end, where a mouth-watering acidity wanders,” a beautiful description of a wine that takes you to Tuscany for just $ 22.

2013 Heitz Cellars Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

We’ve also noted in the past that Carlton McCoy, a former wine program student at Little Nell, left Aspen for Napa a few years ago (my time flies in the wine world) to become Managing Partner of Lawrence Wine. . Domains, the flagship of which are the wines of Cave Heitz. The 2016 release of Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Martha’s Vineyard – one of the most beloved American wines of all time – is number three on the list. If he had reached the top of the ladder, no one would have been surprised.

“It’s always a great honor to be recognized by the industry for the work you do,” McCoy said of the rankings. “Our teams are young and focused and take their jobs very seriously, so I’m delighted to have this praise from Wine Spectator. What I have always admired about WS is that they always taste wines blind, which is extremely rare in today’s world.

Interestingly, while this year’s # 1 ranked Dominus wine received a 97 point rating from the post (and 99 points from Robert Parker and 100 perfect points from James Suckling, if that tells you anything), this no. It wasn’t even the highest wine ranked in the Top 10. The 2018 Chateau Pichon Longueville Lalande Pauillac and Le Chiuse Brunello di Montalcino 2016 both got an extra point to finish with 98, the top-rated wines in the estimated 10.

Besides, I’ve always wondered why this offer was not for the 12 best wines of the year, a full case if you will. It just seems to make more sense in wine parlance. But I guess these guys know what they’re doing.

When Wine Spectator, America’s bi-monthly wine bible, originally crafted the Top 100 list in 1988, it was created to provide a service to readers to help them navigate their way through the wines of the world. . Since then, the list has grown into a powerful force in the industry. Being in the Top 100 can make an unknown brand both profitable and relevant.

While it might seem like a fun process to taste and evaluate wines, it can be a long and arduous journey for those at the publication whose job it is to narrow the world’s wines down to the bottom 100. The tasting team begins with over 5,000 wines that have scored 90 or more points in the past year. These wines represent vineyards, regions and successful vintages from around the world.

The aim is to provide a list of wines that are not only tasty, but also excellent value for money, which can reasonably be found in wine shops and which have great stories behind them. Or, as we say at The Spectator, wines that bring “quality, value, availability and enthusiasm” to the table. The wines are tasted blind and rated on different criteria. Once the best wines have been identified, they are then subjected to a thorough examination so that the final classification can be determined.

While you might assume that only the most expensive wines are on the list, the reality is that the list is actually pretty even. This year there were 15 triple-digit wines (including seven Napa Cabs), but there were also 25 named wines – a quarter of the list – which can be had for $ 25 or less. The cheapest wine, at just $ 13 a bottle, was a 2020 Rapaura Springs Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Classic from New Zealand. He arrived at No. 41.

Beyond a simple wine ranking exercise, reading the list can offer readers a fun way to explore and learn more about wines. And the Wine Spectator website has an excellent collection of individual videos on the top 10 bottles, as well as videos explaining the selection process and contextual characteristics of wines. They have also included the Top 100 lists since their inception 33 years ago.

Maybe one of us will be successful in the draw this year. Let’s make a pact, dear reader: I win, I share. You win, you do the same. I can’t wait to toast you with a glass of Dominus.

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