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Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Enthusiast 100: By the Numbers

 
Friday, December 12th, 2008 at 4:12:12 PM
by Erika S., Wine Enthusiast Companies

Each year during holiday time, the editors of Wine Enthusiast Magazine compile their much-anticipated Top 100 Wines lists. They are printed in the January issue which hits news stands in a few weeks but we’ve released a sneak preview to e-mail subscribers. (If you are not a subscriber and you’d like to be, please submit your e-mail address here) Four lists are created: The Enthusiast 100, Top 100 Cellar Selections, Top 100 Best Buys, and Top 50 Spirits (coming soon). Perhaps the most buzzworthy is the Enthusiast 100, which represents the most diverse and dynamic wines available, offering extraordinary quality at the price of affordable luxury.

The lists not only provide invaluable advice on what-to-drink, they are a great snapshot of the most celebrated wine regions of the world. Are French wines still as revered as in the past? Is Chile producing anything noteworthy? The Top 100 lists provide some insight. Looking at varietal, region, and price, I created some charts of the list:

Top Varietals in the Top 100– # Of Wines

Pinot Noir

12

Chardonnay

9

Red Blends

9

Bordeaux Blend

8

  Tempranillo

7

Riesling

6

Syrah

6

Cabernet Sauvignon

4

Sangiovese

4

Bordeaux White Blend

3

Shiraz

3

Sparkling Blend

3

Zinfandel

3

Malbec

2

Merlot

2

Portuguese Red

2

Rhone White Blend

2

Sauvignon Blanc

2

Semillon

2

Countries in the Top 100– # of Wines

USA

46

France

15

Italy

11

Spain

9

Australia

4

Argentina

3

Austria

3

Germany

3

Portugal

3

Chile

2

New Zealand

1

Price Ranges

Wines <$20

6

$20-$50

62

Wines >$50

32

As demonstrated above,

•    Tempranillo, often called “the Cabernet of Spain” is popular this year with 7 Tempranillo listed in the Top 100
•    American Syrah took center stage as demonstrated by the Phoenix Ranch Syrah from Napa Valley, the #1 wine.
•    Pinot Noir remains the most popular grape variety on the Top 100 list with 12 Pinots in the Top 100 this year and 10 last year
•    American wines reigned supreme this year with 46 wines in the top 100 from the U.S., largely due to the large presence of Washington State wines on the list
•    Analyzing the price of the wines, 62% of wines are under $50 and most wines fall into the $20-$50 category. Washington State is offering a lot of the value on the list.

What do you think about the Top 100 wines of 2008? Are these observations reflections of larger trends or just a snapshot in time?

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2 Responses to “Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Enthusiast 100: By the Numbers”

  1. 1 Steve Heimoff said:

    I don’t think they’re indicative of larger trends. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet-based wines are still the top, as they have been for, oh, the last 300 years or so. I guess that’s why they’re referred to as noble varieties (along with Riesling and, maybe, Syrah). I think it’s going to be very difficult to Tempranillo or Semillon or Portuguese reds or Rhone whites to break out of the bottom of the pack, except for certain limited bottlings in their home countries.

  2. 2 Robert Barzallo said:

    I’m always openminded to improved varietals and I’m not surprised by the recent upsurge of Tempranillo. The last one I personally enjoyed and recommend Clos Du Bois, 2004 Reserve Tempranillo from the Alexander Valley Region in California. Just keep an open mind and you’ll be surprised at what you can find during some wine tasting excursions.

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