Annual '100' Lists Favor U.S.

California dominates 2007 Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast lists

by Tina Caputo
San Rafael, Calif.  --Each fall, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines release their rosters of 100 of the year's most highly rated, exciting wines. More than 25% of the wines on Wine Spectator's 2007 Top 100 List are from the United States--including four each from Washington and Oregon. Nearly one-third of Wine Enthusiast's Enthusiast 100 wines are from the U.S., including six from Washington and two from Oregon.

On both lists, the United States ranks first in the number of wineries included in the 100 selections, and France ranks second.

Number of Wines Included in Annual 100 Lists
(Top five countries represented on lists.)

  Wine Spectator Wine Enthusiast
United States 28 32
France 24 16
Italy 13 9
Australia 9 10
Spain 8 9
Four of Wine Enthusiast's top 10 wines are from California, including the Lancaster 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley; Chateau St. Jean 2004 Reserve Chardonnay, Sonoma County; Hartford Court 2005 Land's Edge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast; and Mount Eden 2003 Estate Bottled Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains.

Two of Wine Spectator's top 10 wines are from California, including the Ridge 2005 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountain Estate; and Robert Mondavi 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley Reserve.

The Clos des Papes 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France ($80) earned the No. 1 spot on Wine Spectator's annual list, while the Viñedos de Paganos 2004 El Puntido, Spain ($57) won the No. 1 spot on Wine Enthusiast's list. Interestingly, neither publication's top-ranking wine is included on the other's top 100 list.

Top 10 Wines of 2007
Rank Wine Spectator Wine Enthusiast
1 Clos des Papes 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France
($80/98 points
Viñedos de Paganos 2004 El Puntido Rioja, Spain
($57/96 points)
2 Ridge 2005 Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountain Estate, California
($35/95 points
Lancaster 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, California
($65/97 points)
3 Le Vieux Donjon 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France
($49/95 points
Chateau St. Jean 2004 Reserve Chardonnay Sonoma County, California
($45/95 points)
4 Antinori 2004 Toscana Tignanello, Italy
($79/95 points)
Glen Eldon 2004 Dry Bore Shiraz Barossa, Australia
($27/93 points)
5 Two Hands 2004 Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden, Australia
($60/95 points)
Bertani 1998 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Italy
($70/95 points)
6 Chateau Leoville 2004 Las Cases St. Julien, France
($90/95 points)
Domaine des Baumard 2005 Clos du Papillon Savennieres, France
($39/95 points)
7 Tenuta dell'Ornellaia 2004 Bolgheri Superiore Ornellaia
($150/97 points), Italy
Hartford Court 2005 Land's Edge Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, California
($45/96 points)
8 Mollydooker 2006 Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love, Australia
($80/95 points)
Viu Manent 2005 Songle Vineyard San Carlos Estate Malbec, Chile
($22/92 points)
9 Robert Mondavi 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve, California
($125/95 points)
Mount Eden 2003 Estate Bottled Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains, California
($38/95 points)
10 Krug 1996 Brut Champagne, France
($250/99 points)
Dr. Loosen 2005 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese, Germany
($30/93 points)
Retail prices on Wine Spectator's list range from $11 for the Yellow Tail 2005 Shiraz Reserve, which ranks No. 72, to $250 for the Krug 1996 Brut Champagne, which ranks No. 10. On Wine Enthusiast's list, retail prices range from $16 for the Finca Luzon 2004 Altos de Luzon, Spain, which ranks No. 46, to $210 for the Hugel 2005 Selection de Grains, which ranks No. 100.

The average bottle price for the wines on Wine Spectator's 2007 list is $42. The average bottle price on Wine Enthusiast's list is $47.

The elusive "excitement" factor

Each magazine takes a different approach to compiling its annual list 100--not entirely based on the highest point scores. In comparing the magazines' top 10 rankings, it's interesting to note that there is not a single wine that is included on both lists.
Wine Spectator reviewed more than 15,000 wines from around the world in 2007. More than 3,500 of them earned outstanding ratings of 90 points or higher. The magazine's editors narrowed that list down based on four criteria: quality (score), value (release price), availability (case production or cases imported) and "excitement." The final choices were determined not by a final point tally, but by the editors' enthusiasm for the wines.

Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 selections are drawn from more than 10,000 wines tasted over the course of 2007. The wines are chosen according to quality, price, availability, newsworthiness and "excitement and buzz."

To see the full lists, visit winespectator.com and winemag.com.
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