If you’ve followed our Best of Year issue over the years, you may have detected a change in title here, and a third section a few pages further on. It’s not mere cosmetics: This year, for the first time, we have separated the top Cellar Selections from the list of top-rated wines of the year. The 100 wines listed below are of such outstanding quality and craftsmanship that cellaring them for a few years is an option, but all are ready to be enjoyed now. Read the notes carefully for that information.
You’ll also notice that in all three sections the wines are not listed in strict order, according to descending score. Numeric score is just one factor in assembling these lists. We also considered price, availability, newsworthiness and excitement. And we strived for balance, in terms of geography, grape variety and type—a somewhat even distribution of red and whites, still and sparklers, not forgetting fortified wines and dessert wines. Producers, too, were portioned: There is only one bottle per brand, even if a certain producer scored well throughout the past year. One light caution before you charge out to your retail store, magazine in hand: These wines were reviewed throughout the year, and both price and availability may have changed.