Vin Connections Top Wineries (December 2003)

IN THIS ISSUE

The Top Wineries from the Wine PocketList 2004 Wine Buying Guide

We spend a lot of time talking about (and drinking!) individual bottles of wine. But this holiday season, we thought we’d add to that and feature some of the top wineries who made it into our recently published book, the Wine PocketList 2004 Wine Buying Guide.

Picked from the over 1700 wines from more than 1000 wineries featured in the book (the “best of the best” culled from our comprehensive online database), you can rely on the wineries we’ve profiled below to consistently produce great wine. They won’t disappoint.

This Month’s Reader Question:
“…which wineries should I look for that produce consistently good wines?”

This Month’s Wine Pick:
25 Wines from 5 of the top producing wineries of 2003 
DFJ: Accessible, Fruity Reds
Dry Creek: Old Vine Artistry
Ch. Ste. Michelle: Astounding Variety
Rosenblum: For Zinfandel Lovers
Penfolds: The Ultimate Wines from Down Under

This Month’s Quote:
Enjoying Wine is About Much More Than What You Drink….


THIS MONTH’S READER QUESTION

Finding Consistently Good Wine from Top Producing Wineries

Q. “I can’t always find the bottle I came for when I’m at the store. And sometimes I’m in a rush. If I just want to grab a bottle, which wineries should I look for that produce consistently good wines?”
Rory O’Byrne, Vancouver BC

Each of us has our “favorites” we turn to regularly. Most of us find these over the years, as wine after wine from a particular vineyard satisfies us, year after year. But how can you find those wineries whose wines you’re certain to love time and again without the trial and error?

For those of you who subscribe to the Wine PocketList online, (or who’ve purchased the book) it’s simple; we have dozens of ways to search for, sort and compare wines. The 10 wineries we’ve picked below are some of the best, and the most prolific.

Winery NameCountryIndividual Wine Grades
1Ch. Ste. MichelleUSAA+, A, A, A-, A-, A-, A-, A-, A-, A-, B+
2PenfoldsAustraliaA, A, A, A, A-, A-, A-, B+
3RidgeUSAA, A, A, A-, A-, A-, A-, B+, B+
4Dr. LoosenGermany A+, A+, A, A, A-, A-, A-
5Columbia CrestUSAA+, A, A, A-, B+, A, A+
6RosenblumUSA A+, A+, A, A, A-, A-, B+, B+, B+, B+, B+
7RosemontAustralia A, A, A, A-, A-, B+, B+
8Artesa USAUSAA, A, A, A-, A-, B+, B+
9DFJPortugalA, A, A, A-, A-
10Dry CreekUSAA, A, A-, A-, B+

These great wineries aren’t the only ones to produce the “best wines,” as our database and book feature many hundreds other incredibly luscious wines from smaller or less prolific vineyards. After all, hundreds of wineries in the book alone sport more than one A- or better rated wine.

Of course, if you subscribe to the Wine PocketList, you’ll enjoy access to all the top wineries – and all their wines. But if you’re looking for a “sure bet” here’s a handful of wineries whose wines consistently represent the best value and quality you’ll find. Whether you’re a fan of luscious Zinfandels or light, crisp Rieslings, these wineries mean you no longer need to guess. They’re all good!

So taste your way through this holiday season with great wines that you – and your friends – are certain to savor.

[Do you have a wine-related question you’d like to ask? If so, contact us and you may see it answered in an upcoming issue!]


VINCONNECTIONS DECEMBER WINE PICKS

Twenty-Five Wines from Five Great Wineries

This month, we feature wines from five of the top, top-producing wineries of 2003. You’ll find them producing consistently great wine across a range of Varietals. Enjoy!

DFJ: Accessible, Fruity Reds from Portugal

2000 DFJ, Roriz/Merlot, Tinta Roriz-Merlot
Estremadura, Portugal
IE: A$10, Grade A
WPL: B
2000 DFJ, Grand’Arte Alicante Bouschet
Estremadura, Portugal
IE: A$20, Grade A
2000 DFJ, Grand’Arte Touriga Nacional
Estremadura, Portugal
IE: A$30, Grade A
WPL: S
2000 DFJ, Tinta Miuda-Cabernet Sauvignon
Estremadura, Portugal
IE: A-$9, Grade A-
WPL: B
2000 DFJ, Touriga Nacional-Touriga Franca
Estremadura, Portugal
IE: A-$23, Grade A-

Dry Creek: Old Vine Artistry from Sonoma County, California

2001 Sauvignon/Fumй Blanc, Dry Creek, Fumй Blanc DCV3,
Dry Creek Valley
Sonoma County, California, USA
IE: B+,B, A-, A$18, Grade A-
WPL: BBC
2000 Sauvignon/Fumй Blanc, Dry Creek, Fumй Blanc,
Reserve, Dry Creek Valley
Sonoma County, California, USA
IE: A$18, Grade A
2001 Zinfandel, Dry Creek, Old Vines
Sonoma County, California, USA
IE: B+$21, Grade B+
2001 Zinfandel, Dry Creek, Heritage Clone
Sonoma County, California, USA
IE: B+$15, Grade B+
1999 Meritage, Dry Creek, Dry Creek Valley
Sonoma County, California, USA
IE: A-$28, Grade A-
WPL: S

Ch. Ste. Michelle; Astounding Variety from Columbia Valley, Washington

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ch. Ste. Michelle
Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
IE: B+$15, Grade B+
WPL: W
2002 Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Ch. Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris
Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
IE: B+$13, Grade B+
WPL: W
2001 Riesling, Ch. Ste. Michelle, 2001 Dry Riesling
Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
IE: A-$14, Grade A-
WPL: B
2001 Riesling, Ch. Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen, Eroica
Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
IE: A-$20, Grade A-
2000 Syrah/Shiraz, Ch. Ste. Michelle
Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
IE: B+$15, Grade B+

Rosenblum: For Zinfandel Lovers, from Alameda, California

2001 Mourvedre, Rosenblum, Continente Vineyard
San Francisco Bay, California, USA
IE: A-, B+$18, Grade A-
WPL: BBC
2001 Zinfandel, Rosenblum, Rockpile Vineyard,
Dry Creek Valley
Sonoma County, California, USA
IE: A+, A-$26, Grade A
WPL: S, BBC
2001 Zinfandel, Rosenblum, Planchon Vineyard
San Francisco Bay, California, USA
IE: A, A-, A-, A-, A-$19, Grade A-
WPL: BBC
2001 Zinfandel, Rosenblum, Carla’s Vineyard
San Francisco Bay, California, USA
IE: A, A, A$23, Grade A
WPL: BBC
2001 Zinfandel, Rosenblum, Eaglepoint Vineyard
Mendocino County ,California, USA
IE: A-, A-$28, Grade A-
WPL: S, BBC

Penfolds: The Ultimate Wines from Down Under (Australia, Mate!)

2000 Syrah/Shiraz, Penfolds, Shiraz-Mourvиdre, Bin 2
South Eastern Australia
IE: A-, B+$11, Grade A-
WPL: W, BBC
2000 Syrah/Shiraz, Penfolds, Thomas Hyland Shiraz
South Australia
IE: A-$18, Grade A-
2002 Riesling, Penfolds, Reserve Bin, Eden Valley
South Australia
IE: A$18, Grade A
2002 Chardonnay, Penfolds, Thomas Hyland, Adelaide Hills
South Australia
IE: B+$15, Grade B+
1999 Cabernet Sauvignon, Penfolds, Bin 407
South Australia
IE: A$26, Grade A
WPL: S

Wine Quote

Enjoying Wine is About Much More Than What You Drink… Happy Holidays!

‘The wines that one remembers best are not necessarily the finest that one has tasted, and the highest quality may fail to delight so much as some far more humble beverage drunk in more favorable surroundings.”
H. Warner Allen, A Contemplation of Wine.


DEFINITIONS AND GLOSSARY


Understanding our System

Grade: [A-]
Our grades represent a composite score developed using our proprietary system to blend wine quality and scoring information.

Vintage: 1999
This describes both the year of the actual grape harvest as well as the year the wine was made.

Price: $12
The prices quoted in the WPL are the “suggested retail prices” quoted by the wineries and the distributors. Though these are close to what you’d pay at the winery, you’ll often find discounts of 20% and more off these prices at retail.

Individual Evaluations: IE: A, A-, B+
This represents the number of individual reviews and ratings on which the composite grade is based, primarily representing individual reviews in top wine periodicals converted to our scale, and ratings by our tasting panel.

Wine PocketList Exclusive Categories: WPL: BBC, W, S, B
These are four exclusive WPL categories, and many wines rated by the PocketList will fall into one of these special designations.

[W] Widely Available:
These wines typically have bottling of 20,000 cases or more, making them widely available in most regions of the U.S.

[BBC] Top Buy-by-the-Case:
Based on multiple, outstanding reviews and a solid history, these are wines you can purchase by the case to grow your cellar with confidence today, and into the future!

[B] Bargain Wines:
Top-rated wines for $10 or less. Most of these can go head to head with a typical $30 bottle sporting a fancy label . . . and beat it hands down.

[S] Splurge Wines:
For most of us, spending more than $20 on a bottle of wine isn’t something we do lightly. These are wines that, while more expensive, are well worth the price.

Oksana C
Author: Oksana C

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