World of wine

Winter is usually a quite time in the world of wine. The fall harvest is in sitting quietly in barrels maturing. In this blog we will take a look at WineSpectator’s top 100, the business of wine as it impacts our buying power, and some good stuff cheap.

The Business Side of Wine

annual planning processConsumers spending habits have changed slightly in the last few years with a slight decline in purchases of wine under $10 and a new sweet spot of $10 to $25.  In my view some of this is driven by distributor pricing rather than folks looking to spend more.  The $ value proposition has changed and it is more difficult to find really good value from large productions.  Some of this is driven by weather and some by price of vineyards. 

Large corporations have been paying heavy premiums for wine companies and in one case a wine with no vineyard.  Constellation Brands paid $315 million for Meiomi.  Meiomi does not have vineyards but had managed to grow its brand from 90,000 cases to 700,000 a year at a $22 price point.  Having tried the wine I was impressed with this Pinot Noir. 

Per WineSpectator  – California Cabernet Sauvignon enjoyed a strong year—6 percent of the wines reviewed earned classic scores and 52 percent were outstanding—and a price increase to match: $142 a bottle for a wine rated 90 points or higher, nearly 30 percent higher than in 2014.  This has not gone unnoticed in my cellar or my writings.  While the economy is stronger it remains fragile. Most of the folks I come across are looking for wines in the teens not in the hundreds.  It will be interesting to follow this trend and I will continue to try and find the biggest bang for your hard earned dollar.

WineSpectator’s top 100

top 100I reviewed the top 100 as I do every year and in a few years I was able to score the wine of the year. Always a thrill to sip these wines as they are wonderful.

The other thing the top 100 helps with is identify strong growing regions. The numbers provide insight into where you can find great value allowing one to purchase with better confidence.

You will find top wines from California 2012 vintage, Oregon’s wonderful 2012 Pinot Noirs, Italy’s 2010 wines, and Washington State .

Growing regions not well represented because of growing conditions – France, New Zealand or Australia. That said you will find some good stuff cheap from New Zealand and Australia in their current offerings.

As for France the growing condition in 2013 remain poor and the wines are overpriced based upon conditions. The worst was the first growth Petrus from the 2013 vintage priced at over $2000 per bottle that rate at the bottom of the top reds at 92 points. You can buy a case of the wine of the year or a bottle of the overpriced Petrus. You should wait until the 2014 vintage is on the market.

The Sauternes from France for 2013 loved the growing conditions and are outstanding.

The top four wines

  • Peter Michael – Oakville Cab Au Paradis 2102
  • Quilceda Creek Cab Columbia Valley Washington 2012
  • Evening Landing – Pinot Noir – 2012
  • Li Poggione Brunello 2010

A few wines from the list you might find:

  • Meiomi Pinot Noir – $22 –
  • Vina Carmen – Cab – 2012 gran reserve $15
  • Chateau St Jean – Cab – Alexander Valley 2012 $30

Of note:

A Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of NY. Money is being spent in the region to develop the vineyards and wine processing. A great way to spend a weekend away from Boston or NY to visit and enjoy the wineries.

Wines to buy now

Light whites to enjoy with oysters, goat cheese to sushi or light fish / salad

Chateau Michelle DR Loosen Riesling Erotica – a perennial favorite priced at $18 at Costco in North East.

You will find nice apricot and peach and mineral flavors.

Giesen Savignon Blanc – Marlborough 2014

Crisp, light-bodied, intense and refreshing, offering a beam of lime-centered citrus flavors that show a touch of grassy green notes, with passion fruit and peppery floral tones on the finish. Drink now. 200,000 cases made.

St .Urbans-Hof Rieslings Mosel 2014

This features a silky texture to the flavors of lavender, elderflower and Fuji apple, with plenty of creamy notes. The lush finish is long and airy. Drink now through 2018. 10,000 cases made.

Chardonnay – the universal white wine of choice by many

Four Vines Chardonnay – Naked Unoaked –

This offers a mix of citrus-infused green apple, pineapple and mango notes, presented in a fresh, snappy style, with flavors that linger on the finish. Drink now through 2019. 50,000 cases made.

Chateau Ste Michelle – chardonnay $11

On the lighter side, with lemon curd and spice flavors on a sleek frame, picking up fresh green fig notes as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2018. 950,000 cases made

Castle Rock Chardonnay $10

Effusively fruity and juicy, with rich pear, honeydew and tropical flavors front and center. There’s little or no oak evident. Drink now. 33,756 cases made

A to Z Wineworks Chardonnay $14

Bright, crisp and appealing, with juicy pear and citrus flavors, finishing with polish. Drink now. 35,335 cases made.

Lindemans Chardonnay – Australia – $6

A spicy style, this offers pear and floral flavors on a soft-textured frame, finishing with peppery notes. Drink now. 145,000 cases imported.

Reds to enjoy with pizza to prime steak

Montgras Cab – Colchagua Valley 2013 $12

Offers a spicy aroma, with ripe, rich flavors of dark plum, blackberry and cherry. The dried mint and mineral notes are well-balanced, and the finish lingers with chocolate and cardamom accents. Drink now through 2017. 40,000 cases made.

Charles Smith Merlot Washington $12

Fresh, vivid and appealing, with floral overtones around a polished core of currant and cranberry flavors, lingering deftly. Drink now through 2019. 120,000 cases made

14 Hands Cab $12

Supple, ripe and expressive, with a touch of quinine to the generous plum and currant fruit, lingering deftly. Drink now through 2018. 500,000 cases made.

14 Hands Hot to Trot Red $10

Smooth in texture, with a plush feel to the meaty black currant and spice flavors, finishing with gentle intensity. Merlot, Syrah and other red varieties. Drink now through 2019. 770,000 cases made

Alamos Malbec $13

This red features bright plum and crushed blackberry flavors, with savory dried herbal notes. Espresso and dark chocolate accents appear on the chunky finish. Drink now through 2017. 600,000 cases imported

Castle Rock Pinot Noir $13 ( Costco $11 or so)

A refreshing, clean and vibrant effort, centered on crisp, structured dark berry, spice and light oak notes. Drink now through 2019. 88,815 cases made.

By | 2017-03-06T12:04:49-04:00 February 23rd, 2016|wine|0 Comments

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