Similarly to gastronomes awaiting the annual release of the “ Guide Michelin”, wine lovers, especially in North America, are eager to discover the new Top 100 list, published by the famous magazine “Wine Spectator”.
To carry out this drastic selection, over 20 000 wines are tested worldwide while only 100 wines will eventually be selected. The winners are not the best vintage wines in each region, or area, but those, produced worldwide, that offer the best value for money.
The wine’s purchase price remains unchanged in the US as long as the wine is available in the country. American wines are obviously at an advantage there, the magazine’s readership being mainly North American.
Nevertheless, this award has an actual influence on wine sales and it points to forthcoming trends on both the US and Asian markets. If the prize winners are the first to benefit from the selection, the profit extends to the different countries and regions selected.
If, till 2008, French wines had been well represented as winning one third of the awards, alas, we can’t fail to notice that from then, the numbers have steadily dropped down: only 18 wines were selected in 2009, 14 in 2010 and finally 15 in 2011, the main reason being the high purchase price of French wines in a well known context of worldwide economic crisis.
So, what can we expect for 2012?
It appears that French wines totalize 21 awards with 15 wines in the top 50 and 4 in the top 6 best wines. Besides, if Côtes-du-rhône wines are still well represented (4 awards in the top 16), Bordeaux wines are back on stage, as they should be.
6 Bordeaux wines are in the top 50 while in 2010 they had disappeared from the list.
Although we might think and hope that Bordeaux wines should get roughly 15 to 20 selections, among which 10 in the top 50 – as was the case in 2008 – let’s not turn our noses up and savour this new prospect.
Finally, should a special award be granted, I’d suggest Chateau Guiraud, first Grand cru classé of Sauternes which came fourth in 2008 and is now fifth in the selection. It is the first Bordeaux wine awarded on the list and it has got the largest number of selections in the last ten years.
In the same trend of mind, as I do appreciate this wine, I am pleased to note that Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere comes 23rd on the list.
Let’s hope that this brighter outlook in the Bordeaux wines’ situation will trigger an increase in the sales in North America and gain more visitors to the Bordeaux vineyards.
Vive les Châteaux de France！
TOP 50 Wine Spectator’s 2012
1. Shafer Relentless Napa Valley 2008
2. Château de St.-Cosme Gigondas 2010
3. Two Hands Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella’s Garden 2010
4. Clos des Papes Château neuf-du-Pape 2010
5. Château Guiraud Sauternes 2009
6. Château Léoville Barton St.-Julien 2009
7. Shea Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate 2009
8. Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley Reserve 2009
9. Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino 2007
10. Achával-Ferrer Malbec Mendoza Finca Bella Vista 2010
11. Pedestal Merlot Columbia Valley 2009
12. Domaine St.-Préfert Château neuf-du-Pape Auguste Favier Réserve 2010
13. Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional Douro 2009
14. Maysara Pinot Noir Mc Minnville Estate Cuvée 2009
15. Alban Syrah Edna Valley Patrina Alban Estate 2009
16. Le Vieux Donjon Château neuf-du-Pape 2010
17. Punset Barbaresco 2007
18. Argyle Extended Tirage Willamette Valley 2002
19. Booker Syrah Paso Robles Fracture 2010
20. Poças Junior Vintage Port 2009
21. Saxum James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles 2009
22. Cayuse Syrah Walla Walla Valley Cailloux Vineyard 2009
23. Château Canon-La Gaffelière St.-Emilion 2009
24. Elio Grasso Barolo Gavarini Chiniera 2008
25. Fontodi Colli della Toscana Centrale Flaccianello 2009
26. Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
27. Château Peby Faugères St.-Emilion 2009
28.Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast Thirty-Fifth Anniversary Vintage 2010
29. Switchback Ridge Merlot Napa Valley Peterson Family Vineyard 2009
30. Schild Shiraz Barossa 2010
31. Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2009
32. Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2010
33. Can Blau Montsant Blau 2009
34. Bertrand Stehelin Gigondas 2010
35. Romero & Miller Rioja Rentas de Fincas Reserva 2005
36. Domaine de l’Olivette Bandol 2008
37. Schloss Vollrads Riesling Spätlese Rheingau 2010
38. M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon- Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut 2010
39. Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Gris Alsace Les Princes Abbés 2010
40. Eberle Syrah Paso Robles Steinbeck Vineyard 2010
41. Folonari Chianti 2010
42. Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley 2011
43. Château de la Greffière Mâcon-La Roche Vineuse Vieilles Vignes 2010
44. Giuseppe Mascarello & Figlio Barolo Monprivato 2007
45. Georges Vigouroux Malbec Cahors Pigmentum 2010
46. Roberto Anselmi Veneto White San Vincenzo 2010
47. Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme 2009
48. Guy Saget Vouvray Marie de Beauregard 2010
49. Vecchia Cantina di Montepulciano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Leone d’Oro 2009
50. Marcassin Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard 2006