SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

The Onslaught of Top 100 Lists

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Around this time of year, wine periodicals around the country roll out their  take on the Top 100 Wines of the Year.  The short list (of lists) includes:

I know some folks who religiously take these lists to their local wine shop, hoping to add one of the “top 10 wines of the year” to their wine rack.

But how much stock should you put in these lists?  Not a whole heck of a lot.  While it can be an interesting conversation starter for your wine geek friends (“Did you know that a Washington Cab was Spectator’s top wine of the year?”), putting together these list is more art than science.  (For a really interesting take on the different Top 100 lists, see PalatePress’s recent write-up).

Trying to figure out if top reviewers could agree on the best wines of the year, I set up a small experiment.  I compared the Spectator and Enthusiast Top 100 lists, and found that only 1 wine appeared on both lists:

2005 The Royal Tokaji Wine Co. Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos Red Label

This Hungarian beauty was No. 44 in Spectator, and No. 42 in the Enthusiast.

Ten different wineries had wines (though different varietals, vineyards, or vintages) in both lists:

  1. Merry Edwards (California)
  2. Fattoria di Felsina (Italy)
  3. Two Hands (Australia)
  4. Brancott (New Zealand)
  5. Chateau Ste. Michelle (Washington)
  6. Loosen Bros. / Dr. Loosen (Germany)
  7. Concha y Toro (Chile)
  8. Bodega Catena Zapata (Argentina)
  9. Livio Felluga (Italy)
  10. Bodegas Emilio Moro (Spain)

This is a surprisingly low amount of overlap, and should make you think twice about whether or not these Top 100 lists really mean much of anything.


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