Each year at this time, Wine Spectator releases their list of the top 100 wines of the year. The list always contains a handful of Washington wines. Here is their pre-amble to the list:
“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.”
Obviously there is a great deal of subjectivity to the list, but it still is a somewhat fun exercise and, more importantly for the wine industry, drives sales.
For the year 2008, the Washington wines represented on this list were as follows:
No. 61 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2005 93 pts $30
No. 48 DeLille Doyenne Aix Red Columbia Valley 2005 93 pts $37
No. 42 Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2005 92 pts $25
No. 25 Andrew Will Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2005 94 pts $58
No surprise to see Januik, DeLille, and Andrew Will as each has been a heavy hitter in the industry for some time. The inclusion of Amavi 2005 Cabernet, an excellent accomplishment for this winery, is also not surprising. Earlier this year I wrote about the usual nexus between the rating and the price point of this wine. Eric McKibben, General Manager/ Partner at Amavi Cellars followed up with some interesting information which you can see here. Amavi’s 2006 Cabernet is every bit as good in my opinion. See my review of it here.
Overall having four wines in the Top 100 is about the norm for Washington over the past few years. 2007 had four – Quilceda Creek Cabernet 2004, Owen Roe Ex Umbris 2005, DeLille D2 2004, Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot 2004. 2006 also had four – Quilceda Creek Cabernet 2003 at Number 2, Spring Valley Uriah 2005, Ch. Ste. Michelle Chardonnay 2004, Novelty Hill Cabernet 2003. I had thought the number might increase a bit this year given the excellence of the 2005 vintage but…
As for finding these wines, most have released more recent vintages. However, some of the older vintages can still be found. As noted in a previous post, the Amavi Cabernet 2005 is long gone from the shelves. I have seen the Januik, Andrew Will, and DeLille not too long ago, so you may still be able to find a bottle of them somewhere if you do some searching.