If the wines on this list are not Best Buys and are not Cellar Selections, then what exactly are they? In short, they represent the most diverse and dynamic segment of the wine industry. They are wines that offer extraordinary quality at prices that still represent affordable luxury. They are mostly wines that can be consumed over the near term, although some will undoubtedly benefit from cellaring.
In compiling our annual Top 100 lists, we go beyond simple evaluation of numeric scores and pricing. We also consider availability, buzz and balance. While availability is straightforward, buzz refers to a wine’s newsworthiness or excitement factor, and whether it represents notable trends in the wine market. This year’s Number One wine is a prime example, combining high quality (95 points) with reasonable price and availability ($42, 475 cases), but then adding to its intrigue are a superstar winemaker’s own label, a vineyard designation and an underappreciated variety from California.
Balance means that within the limits of what we tasted over the past year, we’ve tried to include wines that not only represent many different regions and grape varieties, but also vary in style. You’ll find wines from 11 countries and more than 20 varieties, sparkling and still wines, table, dessert and fortified wines. One of the things we value most in the wine world is diversity, and this is one way of applauding it.
To see our picks for the top 100 wines of 2008, click the download button below.