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Top 100 from Wine Spectator

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spork5150 Nov 15, 2008 03:00 PM

As you probably already know, the Wine Spectator magazine just released their "Top 10 wines of 2008" this past week. Answer me this because I find it rather amusing...How come a wine sounds so much more enticing when it pops up on this chart? I was just at a wine tasting event and people were sampling the Seghesio 2007 Zin which was just ranked #10 on the list. Most people trying it did not like it, but when the sales person noted that it was #10, it suddenly became likable. People ordered cases! There was also, a Portuguese wine that came in at #3. I've actually had this wine way back in January and thought it was spectacular. People thought I was crazy. Now my local wine guy is sold out completely. Here's another example of a wine tha nobody wanted, but now it's the hardest thing to find. Any comments?

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    Chefsquire RE: spork5150 Nov 15, 2008 03:31 PM

    I have always really loved the Seghesio. Not being a oenophile, I don't care to spend more than $20 a bottle. The Seghesio was always one of my favorites and was just flirting with that price point. I wonder if retailers will jack up the price a bit.

    To answer your question, I think it just comes down to insecurity. A lot of people don't want to go out on a limb and fall for a great lesser-known wine at a lower price point and have their tastes challenged by someone who "knows more."

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chefsquire
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      spork5150 RE: Chefsquire Nov 15, 2008 03:44 PM

      My guy is still at $20...I think it will be better in a year. I agree with what you're saying about insecurities. It is the funniest thing to hear from people.
      "This taste like ass...#10?? I'll take 2 cases!"

    2. OCKevin RE: spork5150 Nov 15, 2008 05:37 PM

      I'm amazed at the oligopoly of taste the Wine Spectators and Robert Parkers have when it comes to their influence on the wine collecting public. Wine is food. Just like some people don't like onions with their burgers, some people don't like tannins or don't like sweetness. I am a little bit disheartened when I hear stories about how people grabbed armfuls of Seghesio with one eye affixed on the WS Top 100. I'd love it if, as a lark, WS put a Boons Farm-esque wine on the Top 100 just so people would blindly buy it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: OCKevin
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        Adsvino RE: OCKevin Nov 16, 2008 06:04 AM

        True, but the Seghesio this year is a good wine for the money (I paid under $17). Very good cheap zin.

        1. re: Adsvino
          OCKevin RE: Adsvino Nov 16, 2008 09:06 AM

          I found it for $18 at the local Bevmo! And, yes, I bought a bottle, too. I think it will go nicely with Thanksgiving turkey. I wasn't dissing the wine, so much as I was commenting on the guy in Spork's story who bought the stuff even though he didn't like it.

        2. re: OCKevin
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          spork5150 RE: OCKevin Nov 16, 2008 06:15 AM

          Agreed...I grabbed a bottle of Grand Reserve Malbec from my wine guy last week for $14. No ratings to speak of, just good Malbec at a great price. I constantly remind my friends that it is all about what you like. You can't convince me that a $100 taste better than anything under $50. Have you ever heard another comsumer "bragging" that they share the exact same palate as Robert Parker? That's great...because I want to drink a wine that taste like pencil lead and saddle bag leather seats. Not to mention that Parker is a huge chain smoker. You know what that does to your taste buds.

          1. re: OCKevin
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            mengathon RE: OCKevin Nov 16, 2008 08:03 PM

            It makes complete sense once you accept the fact that the wine drinking public, as a whole, has no clue. Not just when it comes to the nuances, but also when it comes to their own preferences.

            1. re: OCKevin
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              grantham RE: OCKevin Nov 16, 2008 11:08 PM

              I so agree, OC Kevin. It's all about what one likes. I have a couple of cases of Seghesio 2002 in my wine cellar, which I love, but isn't disappearing rapidly because my wife categorically dislikes Zinfandel these days. With so many wonderful available wines, no matter what the rating, we won't be acquiring more Seghesio.

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              zin1953 RE: spork5150 Nov 16, 2008 07:09 AM

              Same thing happens EVERY year. What's different this year?

              15 Replies
              1. re: zin1953
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                anewton RE: zin1953 Nov 16, 2008 07:39 AM

                I have to admit: I like lists. Not that I agree with all of WS's recommendations, but I think lists are fuel for good, fun debate. I always like arguing about those Rolling Stone lists "100 greatest....(i.e. rock guitarists) of all time."

                Guess I'm just a list geek. Having said that, I don't think the WS list is a bad list. One could easily choose 10 different wines for top 10 and it would have just as much validity. But 2005 was a great year for Bordeaux, and accordingly, WS chose 3 Bordeaux among their top 10 (along with a couple of CdP). One thing I like about the WS list is that all of the wines are widely available; therefore, it is not a teaser list (i.e. "only 100 cases of this mind-blowing Barolo were exported to the US, and they were sold out before this issue ever went to press").

                FWIW, I have enjoyed the Seghesio in years past (have not yet tried the 2007), but I can't imagine it being in my top 10 by any stretch, regardless of the price. Mind you, maybe the 2007 has taken a 'quantam' leap forward.

                I was happy to see the Quinto do Crasto old vines riserva getting acknowledged. I have been a big fan on Douro table wines since attending a tasting a few years ago at the Vancouver International Wine Festival, "Get Down with the Douro Boys." The winemakers from many up-and-coming Douro estates were on hand to talk about the region and their winemaking philosophy, and it was one of the more educational tastings I have ever attended (and the wines were good across the board).

                1. re: anewton
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                  anewton RE: anewton Nov 16, 2008 09:36 AM

                  Yes, some people are beholden to the myth of the 'expert', and will defer their own judgment to that of people 'in the know.' I guess we have all done this at some time in our lives. When I first got into wine I was definitely a 'points junkie' and would look for wines that both WS and RP had given a favourable review. And I do not disregard points altogether; it is simply that points are only one of many tools I use to inform my wine-purchasing decisions. Certainly I have come to enjoy certain wines that do not achieve a high score from WS or RP.

                  Ironically, WS's own columnist Matt Kramer is quite critical of those who buy wines based on points alone; I enjoyed a column he wrote a few years ago poking fun at people he knew who would only purchase wines that received 90+ points from a wine reviewer and would only serve wines to guests that received 95+ points in a major wine publication.

                  1. re: anewton
                    TonyO RE: anewton Nov 16, 2008 10:58 AM

                    It will be interesting to see what happens to the Seghesio pricing. I have been a fan for years based on consistentency, QPR, the varietal correctness of their Zins, and that it is readily available. My guess is that the price won't move much, not too many people will "discover" this wine as it is nearly every store (at least in Vermont), and things will get back to "normal" next year when the rating will likely "drop" from 93 to 90 thus moving them on the list (or possibly off of it). I will continue to applaud their efforts at providing a highly enjoyable wine at under $20 no matter what the "experts" have to say.

                  2. re: anewton
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                    zin1953 RE: anewton Nov 17, 2008 04:04 AM

                    Lists are always quite popular with consumers, and they are (for the most part) a major PITA for retailers. Many of the wines have been sold out for months (e.g.: shortly after they were released back in February or March), but many consumers do not understand this is a "compilation list" of wines released over the past 12 months. Some get very upset, even angry, when the retailer is sold out.

                    Many retailers privately dread the release of the Speculator's "Top 100" list, and lay in extra stocks of Excedrin . . .

                    Then, there are always the wines that make you say, "WTF?? How did THAT get on the list???"

                    So, 1) as someone who spent far too long ITB, as it were, I have always hated that list; 2) as a consumer, I can understand the excitement it generates. I just generally ignore it/don't bother to look at it.

                    But that's just me.

                    Cheers,
                    Jason

                    1. re: zin1953
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                      bubbles4me RE: zin1953 Nov 18, 2008 06:57 AM

                      Gotta say as a retailer I'm with Jason on this one, hate the list. We will now be fielding phone calls and pissing off customers right and left when we have to tell them "That wine has been sold out for months" it is such a pain and half the time we look at the wines on the list we go, "WTF?!"....

                    2. re: anewton
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                      lawdog262 RE: anewton Nov 17, 2008 09:22 AM

                      I don't think the list is meant as the Best 100 wines of the year. Its the wines, wineries/regions and type of wines that WS most wants to generate buzz for and about. Accessibility both in terms of price and avialability is a major consideration.

                      It would be more fun if they also did other lists: e.g., top 20 for your cellar, top 20 from South America, 50 for under $50 etc.

                      1. re: lawdog262
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                        zin1953 RE: lawdog262 Nov 17, 2008 12:06 PM

                        The list is EXACTLY that: the TOP 100 of the year.

                        1. re: zin1953
                          Frodnesor RE: zin1953 Nov 17, 2008 01:35 PM

                          I think lawdog is partly right - the list is not intended as the "Best 100" wines of the year but also includes factors such as value and availability. To quote from the source ->

                          "In 2008, we reviewed more than 19,500 wines from around the world in blind tastings. More than 5,300 of them earned outstanding ratings (90 points or higher on our 100-point scale). We then narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by case production or cases imported); and an X-factor we call excitement. But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect our editors' judgment and passion about the wines we tasted."

                          While WS will not acknowledge it, I do think that promotion of certain regions and, perhaps, certain wineries, also factors into the equation.

                          But if they were solely picking the "Best 100" wines they would presumably just take the 100 highest rated wines and call it a day. Which would not be nearly as dramatic.

                          1. re: Frodnesor
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                            zin1953 RE: Frodnesor Nov 18, 2008 06:05 AM

                            No, you're right -- I'm wrong. It is not JUST the best 100 wines of the year. They have some weird "formula" for including "X" while not including "Y," but -- well, let's just say, it's a formula that is VERY flexible in its application.

                            ;^)

                            1. re: zin1953
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                              lawdog262 RE: zin1953 Nov 18, 2008 06:13 AM

                              James Suckling's blog indicates that price was a very important factor this year, given the economic situation.

                              1. re: zin1953
                                Frodnesor RE: zin1953 Nov 18, 2008 06:27 AM

                                Some would say "Where X = Advertising $ spent by wine producer." I'm not among those conspiracy theorists. There have been a multitude of WOTY's from producers who have probably never run a single ad in WS.

                                1. re: Frodnesor
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                                  zin1953 RE: Frodnesor Nov 18, 2008 06:56 AM

                                  >>> There have been a multitude of WOTY's from producers who have probably never run a single ad in WS. <<<

                                  There is no "probably" about it. There HAVE been a multitude of WOTY's from producers who have DEFINITELY never run a single ad in WS.

                                  That wasn't what I was referring to; rather, it was their statement that a wine has to be produced in a sufficient quantity to qualify (their explanation of why Fonseca and Taylor were included one year, but not Quinta do Noval Nacional, despite identical scores). Yet there appears to be great flexibility as to what exactly constitutes a sufficient quantity.

                                  OTOH, advertising MAY explain some inclusions over the years, despite the publication's protestations to the contrary. It's not a conspiracy, per se. It's a widespread (and convenient) observation among people ITB, generally a fall-back observation to explain some truly weird picks.

                                  1. re: zin1953
                                    Frodnesor RE: zin1953 Nov 18, 2008 08:01 AM

                                    I know the advertising conspiracy theory wasn't what you were referring to. I also know what you mean when you say the availability factor (to say nothing of the "X factor") seems to be pretty arbitrarily applied.

                                    My impression is that they try to stick with wines that are over 5,000 cases produced esp. for the top 10, but invariably something will make its way on the list with a significantly lower production, usually - it would appear - to bring the average price down (e.g., Quinta do Crasto in 2008, Ridge Santa Cruz Chard in 2007, Kosta Browne RRV Pinot in 2006).

                                    The KB is probably one of the more comical examples of this, as unless you can get it from the mailing list it seems you will pay a markup of 2x+ from the "release price" if you can find it retail.

                                    FWIW, also somewhat in WS's defense, it does not appear that they simply mechanically apply the original point rating, release price and availability to come up with the list, but rather apparently do retaste and re-evaluate. Otherwise, for instance, it would be hard to explain how Ch. Pontet-Canet could be #7 (96pts/$100) while Ch. Malescot-St.-Exupery (97pts/$100) could be #18.

                                    As another example, the Concha y Toro Don Melchor seemed to many to be a dead ringer for WOTY (96pts/$69/18,000 cases), but clearly some people are less fond of this wine than others ->
                                    http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Blo...

                                    1. re: Frodnesor
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                                      zin1953 RE: Frodnesor Nov 18, 2008 09:37 AM

                                      I am NOT at all sure they re-taste, but certainly the example you cite -- Ch. Pontet-Canet (#7/96pts/$100); Ch. Malescot-St.-Exupery (#18/97pts/$100) -- is one of those that leaves most people in the trade scratching their collective heads . . .

                                      Cheers,
                                      Jason

                                2. re: zin1953
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                                  lawdog262 RE: zin1953 Dec 5, 2008 07:29 AM

                                  fyi: Wine Spectator.com also posts a list of the top 100 scoring wines, the vast majority of which are too expensive for most people to afford.

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                        mikek RE: spork5150 Nov 16, 2008 04:18 PM

                        I actually just picked up a bottle of the 2004 Clos Apalta at my local wine shop (on sale at $50 too). Maybe I will pick up a bottle of the 2005 as well and have a nice mini-vertical tasting in a few years' time.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: mikek
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                          rickym13 RE: mikek Nov 16, 2008 10:42 PM

                          good luck finding it for anywhere near $100 for '05

                          1. re: rickym13
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                            mikek RE: rickym13 Nov 17, 2008 05:42 AM

                            My local wine shop has it for $70...

                            1. re: mikek
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                              rickym13 RE: mikek Nov 17, 2008 05:12 PM

                              if you can still get them for $70.....got get them...run!
                              they are going for over $120+ on secondary mrkt now and i won't be shocked if it reaches $150

                              1. re: rickym13
                                Frodnesor RE: rickym13 Nov 18, 2008 06:24 AM

                                Wine.com was selling it for $70 (1 bottle limit) the day the WOTY was announced. They are now sold out. My local Total Wine was selling for $90 that day. Sokolin is now listing for $130 (not currently in stock). Silly.

                            2. re: rickym13
                              invinotheresverde RE: rickym13 Nov 17, 2008 06:38 AM

                              My restaurant currently has the '05 for $95, but probably not for long.

                              I'm bummed, because I love this wine and neglected to stock up. The price is about to triple...ugh.

                              1. re: invinotheresverde
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                                lawdog262 RE: invinotheresverde Nov 17, 2008 09:05 AM

                                I bought two bottles of it two months ago at one of the leading wine stores in So. Cal. They had it stocked in their Patagonian ghetto, not ven in the cellar and on the same floor as the liquour.

                          2. ibstatguy RE: spork5150 Nov 17, 2008 01:42 PM

                            there is absolutely NOTHING that I like about the WS 100 list. It has served to screw up prices of wines that I once enjoyed and causes people to act like complete boneheads by serving to exalt wines to riduclous levels.

                            30 Replies
                            1. re: ibstatguy
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                              clayfu RE: ibstatguy Nov 18, 2008 09:28 AM

                              prices aren't affected for any of the wine other than #1. (usually). If it's outside of the top 10 you won't see a raise in price at all.

                              http://clayfood.blogspot.com

                              1. re: clayfu
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                                zin1953 RE: clayfu Nov 18, 2008 09:39 AM

                                Uh . . .

                                a) "Prices aren't affected for any of the wine other than #1."

                                b) "If it's outside of the top 10 you won't see a raise in price at all."

                                Which is it? Is the price ONLY affected for #1? Or are the prices of the Top 10 affected???

                                1. re: zin1953
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                                  spork5150 RE: zin1953 Nov 19, 2008 02:47 AM

                                  Here in CT, as I'm am sure it is in other states, you have a few big box store that dry up the CT market by buying up everything else on the list. They in turn escalate the prices way above what they normally should be. Supply and demand? I try to stick with my local guy who keeps his prices steady all year. The one problem he told me was that on the Bordeauxs the price to buy now vs. at the beginning year has gone up drastically. Ex: to buy the #7 wine now costs him well over the suggested price by the WS. But if you want it, you will pay like most everything else on that list. I've seen prices go up to $30 a bottle for the Seghesio in CT from big box guys.

                                  1. re: spork5150
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                                    mikek RE: spork5150 Nov 19, 2008 05:18 AM

                                    I saw the Seghesio at $36 while doing some shopping at Whole Foods last night, a nice jump of about 40% from last week

                                    1. re: mikek
                                      TonyO RE: mikek Nov 19, 2008 03:36 PM

                                      If one of the local wine merchants charged $36 for Seghesio Sonoma Zin (#10), they wold lose my respect and more importantly, my business. I buy 2-3 cases of that wine every year and the price was the same as last year (and the year before). Some people still have ethics and appreciation for their customer base.

                                      1. re: mikek
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                                        Chefsquire RE: mikek Nov 19, 2008 04:49 PM

                                        Notice you said Whole Foods - not surprising. WF is the biggest ripoff.

                                        1. re: mikek
                                          Frodnesor RE: mikek Nov 19, 2008 07:43 PM

                                          Are you sure it was the same wine? Seghesio does have several different zin bottlings at different price points. This just seems absurd, as there is plenty to go around (68,000 cases), you can still get it straight from the winery for $24, and there are tons of online retailers selling it for around $20. Indeed wine-searcher shows at least 50 retailers selling it for under $25.

                                          1. re: Frodnesor
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                                            mikek RE: Frodnesor Nov 19, 2008 07:56 PM

                                            I am fairly certain it was, I know it was the Sonoma County Zinfandel, perhaps it was a different vintage?

                                            1. re: mikek
                                              Frodnesor RE: mikek Nov 19, 2008 09:12 PM

                                              The "base" Sonoma County bottling has been at around $20ish for several vintages and the 2007 rated in WS is the most recent (and very current) release. They also do an "Old Vine" from Sonoma County which is priced at $36 from the winery. I suspect that's not a coincidence and that you were looking at the Old Vine.

                                              The base bottling draws some but not all of its grapes from old vines, while the "Old Vine" is all from 50+ yr old vines (with the average being 90 yrs).

                                        2. re: spork5150
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                                          zin1953 RE: spork5150 Nov 19, 2008 06:04 AM

                                          Yes, that was sort of my point: price hikes DO affect many more wines than just the #1 selection . . . .

                                          1. re: zin1953
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                                            lawdog262 RE: zin1953 Nov 19, 2008 07:43 AM

                                            If the list increases demand -- which it does -- and increases prices -- which it does, it should be good for retailers bottom line, if not the bottom whine. They can move wine that otherwise would not move quickly and at higher price points. In this economy, I think that should be worth putting up with some customer complaints that an item was sold out [and if the complaint was that it was never stocked, well, that strikes me as a legitimate complaint]

                                            At my local store, it was pretty obvious that the Top 10 moved very quickly as they were posted on WS website.

                                            1. re: lawdog262
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                                              zin1953 RE: lawdog262 Nov 19, 2008 11:53 AM

                                              Your response is one of those that "looks good on paper," and -- unfortunately -- is a far cry from reality when it comes to majority of wine merchants.

                                              Please let me explain, and please keep in mind I am speaking in generalities of the WS Top 100 over the years, and not this specific 2008 edition . . .

                                              First of all, by "wine merchants" I mean places like The Wine Country, near you in Signal Hill, rather than "stores which sell wine" like BevMo, CostPlus, supermarkets (Von's, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc.) and "big box stores" (Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, Costco, etc.). I'm sure you will agree that there is a huge difference between these two.

                                              Secondly, many of the wines are typically sold out, and have been for a considerable time -- some as early as February 2008. So when people, many of them people who have never before set foot into "X" (a wine merchant of particular note), and ask for a bottle of Chateau Cache Phloe -- a wine that is released every spring -- and that merchant has received their allocation, and sold through it by March or April . . . not only is it frustrating for the retailer not to have what a potential customer wants, but all too frequently, customers walk away thinking that the quality reputation of "X" is, sadly, nothing more than bull$#!+ . . . many will not listen as to why the retailer doesn't have this wine, that it has been sold out for six months, etc., etc., they simply walk out thinking you're full of it.

                                              Third, for those wines which may still be in inventory (and there always are some, just as there always are some that have been sold out long ago), I have always regarded raising your prices as a "no win" situation. Your regular customers, who have been buying Chateau Cache Phloe for, say, $19.99 all along, now feel like you are ripping them off when it goes up to $29.99. In some cases, you are: you paid $160/case; the wholesale price hasn't changed; you're just pocketing an extra $10 per bottle. In some cases, however, you're not: the wholesaler just jacked the remaining inventory up to $240/case; you sold out at the old price, but your new inventory is costing you 33% more! Either way, you get blamed for the price hike!

                                              Then, there are the people who are not regular customers. All they know is that the Wine Speculator says the price is $19.99, and you're charging $29.99, $39.99, or more . . . you sneaky little rip-off artist, you!

                                              So while it IS true that there may appear to be an opportunity for increased profits, most retailers will tell you it is not. You'd rather make a customer for life, and get repeat business, than "rip him off" once and have him (or her) never come back. Again, it's the difference (IMHO) between a "wine merchant" and "a store that sells wine."

                                              Cheers,
                                              Jason

                                              1. re: zin1953
                                                Frodnesor RE: zin1953 Nov 19, 2008 12:24 PM

                                                I'll add one more thought. The List undoubtedly generates customers who only want to buy something "on the List." For the reasons described above, a retailer may not have the exact wine that is "on the List". But they very well may have several other wines that are similar to the wine that is "on the List." However, the customer doesn't want something *like* the wine "on the List", they want the wine that's "on the List". Why? Because it's "on the List." Indeed, if the retailer were to try to help the customer find an appropriate wine by asking appropriate questions such as "What is it that you like about Wine "X""?, the customer as likely as not will be unable to give a meaningful answer beyond "Because it's on the List."

                                                All of which must make for a dissatisfying experience for both customer and retailer.

                                                1. re: Frodnesor
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                                                  zin1953 RE: Frodnesor Nov 19, 2008 01:04 PM

                                                  Amen to that!

                                                  1. re: Frodnesor
                                                    ibstatguy RE: Frodnesor Nov 19, 2008 01:19 PM

                                                    exactly

                                                  2. re: zin1953
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                                                    spork5150 RE: zin1953 Nov 19, 2008 01:49 PM

                                                    Every state is different. CT did not get there distribution of Seghesio until last month. Also, there prices are regulated by the state. I agree with the "customer for life" philosophy...that's why I shop where I go. I'm getting a fair price and helping my local guy out.

                                                    1. re: spork5150
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                                                      zin1953 RE: spork5150 Nov 19, 2008 01:56 PM

                                                      "Every state is different."

                                                      How true, how true . . .

                                                      1. re: spork5150
                                                        TonyO RE: spork5150 Nov 19, 2008 03:41 PM

                                                        2007 Seghesio just hitting the shelves in Vermont. I'm waiting for the remaining 2006 (very good) to be discounted due to "The List" !

                                                      2. re: zin1953
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                                                        lawdog262 RE: zin1953 Nov 20, 2008 12:29 PM

                                                        Never been to Wine Country. How does it compare to Hi-Times?

                                                        I am sure that there are gripes both reasonable and unreasonable about the list. Admittedly, I'm not a merchant, but it strikes me that the list creates interest in specific wines and types of wine, and that can only be a good thing for the industry.

                                                        1. re: lawdog262
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                                                          zin1953 RE: lawdog262 Nov 20, 2008 02:18 PM

                                                          Let's just say that Wine Country is the best store in between West LA and Orange Co.

                                                          >>> but it strikes me that the list creates interest in specific wines and types of wine, and that can only be a good thing for the industry. <<<

                                                          IF only that were true . . .

                                                          However, what happens -- and this happens with every issue of the Speuclator or Advocate, but BY FAR is much worse with the "Top 100" annual list -- is that people come in looking for the 2012 vintage of Chateau Cache Phloe. They don't want the 2011 or the 2010, and they certainly don't want the 2013. Neither do they want Chateau Money Bags, or Domaine Penny Pincher. And if you don't have the 2012 Chateau Cache Phloe . .. OFF THEY GO, to the next store in search of that ONE wine . . . nothing else.

                                                          If the Speculator raves about the 2007 Seghesio Zinfandel, you don't want the 2006, nor do you want the 2007 Zinfandel from any other winery. "If that other winery's Zin was so good, how come THEY weren't in the Top 100?"

                                                          Think cocktails. There are some people who will just order a Martini, and not care what gin is used, while others will be very specific with the brand, and if the bar/restaurant doesn't have that brand in stock, they'll pass of the Martini (or Margarita or Manhattan or . . . or . . . ) and order something else. Same thing with Scotch drinkers or those who are devotees of single malts, Bourbon, etc. This is even more so when it comes to the Top 100 . . .

                                                          Cheers,
                                                          Jason

                                                          -----
                                                          Wine Country
                                                          2301 Redondo Ave, Signal Hill, CA

                                                          1. re: zin1953
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                                                            spork5150 RE: zin1953 Nov 23, 2008 05:38 AM

                                                            The list does spark interest in certain varietals. But going along with what zin1953 touched on, not wanting a past vintage versuses one that was on the list....2 years ago, when 2001 Brunellos were all over the list, people were scrambling around to get what ever they could. I listened to conversation between a clerk who was trying to explain to a customer that the 2001 were not even ready to drink yet and that a 97 would be the better choice. Same goes today with some of the CDP's that appear on the list. Gotta have them vs being able to drink them. If you are one of those consumers that just buys to impress your friends, you miss out on the intent the wine maker had for that wine, unless you have plans to cellar something like that. I am happy that a wine like the Quinta da Crasto was so high on the list because it will bring attention to Portuguese wine and the tremendous values in that category.

                                                            1. re: zin1953
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                                                              lawdog262 RE: zin1953 Dec 5, 2008 07:39 AM

                                                              It makes perfect sense for a customer to want a listed wine rather than of a previous vintage. Using the Brunello example of a poster in this thread, of course some one would want a 2001 [an incredible vintage] as opposed to a 2002 [a poor vintage], or a 2005 Bordeaux over a 2004.

                                                              With regard to creating interest in other types of wine, the price increases caused by demand evidence the increased interest.

                                                              Anyway, thanks much for the info on Wine Country. I'll check it out.

                                                              1. re: lawdog262
                                                                Frodnesor RE: lawdog262 Dec 5, 2008 07:56 AM

                                                                *It makes perfect sense for a customer to want a listed wine rather than of a previous vintage.*

                                                                More true of some wines than others. For Brunello, sure there's a significant difference between 2001 and 2002. But what about the Clos Apalta which was this year's WOTY? The '05 WOTY vintage got 96 points, but the past several years were no slouches either (at least by WS standards): '04/93pts '03/94pts; '02/93pts; '01/95pts; '00/94pts.

                                                                So is there really any good reason to be paying a huge premium for '05 while sneering at prior vintages? (Mind you I've never had the wine, so I couldn't tell you).

                                                                Same is true for the Seghesio - the '07 was 93pts, but past vintages were nothing to sneeze at either '06/91pts, '05/90pts. This is a wine I have had - it's a reliably good zin and for $20-25 I'd happily buy any of these vintages (indeed would likely prefer an older one with a little bottle age).

                                                                I'd be willing to bet that 90% of the people insisting on a particular vintage of one of these wines wouldn't even be able to tell you which was which in a blind tasting.

                                                                1. re: Frodnesor
                                                                  z
                                                                  zin1953 RE: Frodnesor Dec 5, 2008 10:00 AM

                                                                  >>> So is there really any good reason to be paying a huge premium for '05 while sneering at prior vintages . . . <<<

                                                                  To quote Ronald Regan (gawd I never thought I'd do THAT!), "Oh, there you go again!" bringing logic into it . . . .

                                                                  The MAJORITY of consumers -- not, of course, refering to anyone on these pages -- want the xxxx vintage, period! They don't want to xxxw, nor to they want the xxxy -- it's the xxxx that got the write-up and THAT'S the one they want!

                                                                  Period.

                                                                  Now you and other enlightened folk may realize there isn't a huge difference between a a score of "93" and "91" (in fact, I would postulate there is NO difference at all; it is well within the "margin of error," as they say). But you are not the average consumer. Trust me.

                                                                  >>> I'd be willing to bet that 90% of the people insisting on a particular vintage of one of these wines wouldn't even be able to tell you which was which in a blind tasting. <<<

                                                                  Same thing . . .

                                                                  Cheers,
                                                                  Jason

                                                                  1. re: zin1953
                                                                    TonyO RE: zin1953 Dec 5, 2008 03:44 PM

                                                                    Some people act as if there will be some sort of "revealation" in tasting a high scoring wine. "And here is the 96 point wine, prepare to be forever changed by this experience and to hell with any wine under 90 points from this day forward" ! I'll admit, I do read some reviews as I find it interesting reading (in some cases) and am more interested in the tasting notes than the actual score itself. What I find interesting is that the vast majority (97% I would guess) of all wines reviewed score at least an 80. So basically every wine is at least good ? I have tasted some of these wines and would score them "awful" (not varietally correct, weak, diluted, etc.). I keep my notes based on a scale of "A" - "F" (or "WOW ! " - "SUCKS !"). Call me simple, I've been called worse !

                                                                    1. re: TonyO
                                                                      z
                                                                      zin1953 RE: TonyO Dec 5, 2008 07:50 PM

                                                                      As I've said before, the scoring system I used as a corporate wine buyer for 104 stores was:

                                                                      IFC - In-f***ing-credible
                                                                      GSM - Good $#!+ Maynard (my homage to Dobie Gillis)
                                                                      PGS - Pretty Good $#!+
                                                                      DNS - Does Not Suck
                                                                      DNPIM - Do NOT Put in Mouth!

                                                                      and STW - Shoot the Winemaker (for wines that should have been good, had the winemaker not messed it up!)

                                                2. re: clayfu
                                                  ibstatguy RE: clayfu Nov 19, 2008 01:24 PM

                                                  clayfu - I've been buying wine a bit longer than you (my guess from your blog and ebob stuff) so I've had a bit more time to observe how people respond to this damn list. Jason and Frodnesor make excellent observations about the problems, below.

                                                  Best,

                                                  1. re: ibstatguy
                                                    r
                                                    RicRios RE: ibstatguy Nov 19, 2008 07:52 PM

                                                    "below"

                                                    Above.

                                                    1. re: RicRios
                                                      g
                                                      grantham RE: RicRios Nov 19, 2008 09:26 PM

                                                      Whether or not you obtain a "coveted" or "top 100" wine, the great thing about this country, and the wine industry, is that there are indeed, very many other "fish in the sea." Good luck.

                                                      1. re: RicRios
                                                        ibstatguy RE: RicRios Nov 20, 2008 02:39 PM

                                                        ;-)

                                                3. TonyO RE: spork5150 Nov 23, 2008 07:19 AM

                                                  In reading the original post again, I must say that anyone that doesn't like a certain wine after tasting it, learns it is #10 on a "list", and then proceeds to order a case is, simply put, a moron. Can you imagine the ramifications if Oprah ever puts out a wine list ? I say let your palate be your guide and the world will be a better place.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: TonyO
                                                    r
                                                    RicRios RE: TonyO Nov 24, 2008 01:47 AM

                                                    I entirely agree.

                                                    Unfortunately 99% of all consumers, or at least 99% of all American consumers, fall hostage to the big 3 M's ( same initial as in Moron ):

                                                    Marketing
                                                    Marketing
                                                    Marketing

                                                    A fantastic product with no market presence is doomed to fail. That is, unless we are talking of some esoteric item that gets produced in minimal quantities. And I'm not talking necessarily wine here. Just have Oprah push Jason's favorite Chateau Cache Phloe and you'll see.

                                                  2. The Chowfather RE: spork5150 Nov 25, 2008 01:54 PM

                                                    easy ordering for list fans

                                                    https://www.b-21.com/top100-08.asp?de...

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