1) Ok, I sort of get it when Wine Spectator or one the other big-time Wine publications put out their Top 100 Wines of the Year editions, at least they have a whole slew of reviewers sampling thousands of wines. Some effort went into trying to make sense of this years wine releases and if they didn’t drink every wine available, they probably came close to hitting 50% of the wines. But so many of the lists out on the internet and in the daily papers seem so random.
2) Is there any criteria for all these Top Wines lists? Most people seem to be piggybacking on the reputation of the Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast and a few others. If you personally seriously sampled 500 wines (and probably less) this year, you experienced somewhere between 3% and 6% of this years vintage. You can’t have a meaningful Top 100 or even a Top 10 when you leave out 95% of the available wines.
3) Why is it that every Top Value Wine list I see never features wines that are actually inexpensive or wines that you can reasonable expect to find on the shelves of your local wine shop. A $40 bottle of Champagne may be good but it does not qualify as a value and why are they telling me about a wine from Italy that they only imported 100 cases into one regional market and is never, ever going to show up in my town. When they do mention a reasonably priced wine that is readily available, it is usually a wine that while it is good, is really no better than about 20 other similar wines.
4) I am biased on this one, but most if not all of the big name Wine Reviewers get truck loads of wine given to them. All the producers want them to give their wines a try. If someone is giving me all the free expensive wines I can handle, I probably won’t pay too much attention to under $20 wine, either. Almost all of the “bang for the buck” wines, the ones that sell for $10 but taste like they should sell for much more get overlooked. The $40 Cabernet Sauvignon that gives the Big Name Cabs a run for their money almost always make the list. But the $3.99 Sauvignon Blanc that can compete with the $15 Sauv Blancs never makes the list.
5) If 10 wine drinkers get together and are asked, “What is your favorite wine this year,” you will get 10 vastly different answers. There is no definitive yearly Top 100 or Ten 10 ranking of wine that you could get 2 people to agree with, much less have a general consensus. So, stop publishing all these silly lists this time of year, I know people buy boatloads magazines with any kind of Top Whatever lists and Top 10/Top Whatever internet sites get a stupid amount of hits. But these Top Wine lists give the wrong impression, the wines that make these lists are exceptional and the wines that don’t find their way on to the lists are somehow not as good. I understand the major wine magazines don’t intend for their lists to be seen as law, but really more of a starting point for discussion. But, many of these other wine lists are so flawed in their criteria or culled from a sample of wines that is far too small to have any practical use. Wine is not a collective experience, it is a personal experience, the only end of the year list that matters is your own. Ignore everyone else’s Top Wine list, they will just irritate you.