The September issue of Seattle Metropolitan magazine is coming out this week and contains this year’s Top 100 Washington wines list. This is the fourth year that I’ve had the pleasure to write this article for the magazine.

This year’s list was drawn from over 600 submissions, meaning that making the list was more competitive than ever. Truly – were it not for space issues – we could have extended it to two hundred wines and still maintained an extraordinarily high level of quality.

We made a number of changes to the list this year – partly out of an interest in mixing things up and partly out of necessity. As in previous years, wines were tasted in varietal sets and scored using a 100-point system to create the list. However, unlike previous years, we did not publish these scores to avoid any conflicts with my work for Wine Enthusiast.

This made a new approach to the format of the list a necessity. The result: Rather than creating a straight one to one hundred list based on numerical point scores (and ordering based on score, price and overall excitement) as in previous years, this year’s list is divided up into a series of sub-lists which were created based on the same factors. These lists – which were determined subsequent to the tastings – are as follows:

Top 15 – The top wines tasted regardless of category or variety, the best of the best.
Rising Stars
Cabernet Sauvignon
Food Friendly Favorites
Varietal Whites and Blends
Red Blends
Bang for the Buck
A Sense of Place
Unsung Heroes of Washington Wine

In addition to these lists – which comprise the Top 100 – there are also lists for Top Wines $25 and Under and Top Wines $15 and Under.

My hope is that – though the wines listed do not have scores attached – dividing them up into these sub-lists will help provide context. Dividing the list up in this manner also had secondary effects, creating some additional diversity for the wines therein and showing groupings.

In addition to the Top 100 list, the issue also contains a list of five wine road trips written by Allison Williams. Subscribers were sent the issue over the weekend. It will be on Seattle area newsstands this week and available on-line at the beginning of September.