An Atheist, a Zombie and Ted Cruz Walk Into a Bar: The Upcoming Top 100 Lists from Wine Spectator and Yours Truly, Plus Lady Linda and Henriot Usa

Wine Bottles

In a few short weeks, the Wine Spectator will once again regale us with their compendium of top rated wines for the year, a greatest hits if you will, of the top rated wines.  It is this list that makes retailers crazy, in that the majority of these wines have come and gone from the market, and are no longer available – most of the producers have moved into the next vintage, if not the vintage after that. And in true “if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em” fashion, I’ve morphed my little top 40 list into a top 100 (going on three years now), which comes out annually on November 9th – the date of my birth (and the wrecking of my mother’s uterus forever).

Comparing my list to Wine Spectator’s is a bit like comparing a picture of a naked Eric Idle to a real-life naked Sarah Palin.  Where I am going with that analogy I no longer know.  It’s essentially an apples-to-oranges scenario, but you get the idea (and a free trip to therapy).  My list is nothing more than a loose-attempt at ranking experiences, a foolish endeavor to be sure, whereas Spectator’s list is really a greatest-hits compilation, a series of reruns airing during Sweeps week.

I once had an email argument with Thomas Matthews, who wondered why, as a retailer, would I be bitching about the added sales the list would give us, and I tried in vain, to get him to understand that the issue was that 90% of the list was already gone, and telling customers “no we don’t have it” did nothing to boost our bottom line.  The point went over like a lead banana.

I guess the same could be said for my list, which this year features a lot of wines not even available in this market (SW Ohio, N Kentucky, SE Indiana).  Yet I make no allusions to there being any sort of definitive greatness; these are simply my humble opinions, that’s it.  I am more fan boy than critic.  I review wines sure, but I do it more as an enthusiast than an evaluator.  I love wine, even the bad ones.  They are like the Ed Wood’s of the wine business – except maybe for that If You See Kay Cab, that wine still sucks.

In the meantime, Lady Linda dropped in with a few from Henriot USA:

Champagne Henriot Brut NV.  Grade=Outstanding.  Gorgeous apple mousse, hints of vanilla bean, mineral and sourdough.  A very sexy Champagne.

Val de Vid Condesa Eylo Reuda 2011.  Grade=Very Good.  Tart, lemon custard notes with hints of kiwi, wet stones and white pepper.

William Fevre Chablis AOC 2012.  Grade=Very Good.  I like this wine, but there is a flabbiness at the finish that is disappointing.  Would like a lot more acid with this one.

Bouchard Pere et Fils Bourgogne Blanc 2010.  Grade=Very Good.  Soft apple and pear notes with hints of lime, wet stone, allspice and sea salt.

Bouchard Pere et Fils Bourgogne Rouge 2011.  Grade=Very Good.  Sour cherries, mulberry jam and hints of violets and red tea leaves.

Villa Ponciago Fleurie 2011.  Grade=Outstanding.  Lots of dark cherry and plum notes, this has some bright tannins amongst loads of red fruit characters.  I love this Gamay, even though it comes from Italy (ha-ha).

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