Since 1988, Wine Spectator has released its Top 100 wines of the year chosen from among the thousands of wines their editors tasted the months prior. Wine Spectator notes the wines earned their distinction based on “quality, value, availability, and excitement.”
After the release of the list, the wine boards online run amok denoting how Wine Spectator got it right — or wrong. All the while, retailers race to see which wines from the list they have available for sale. In Orange County, Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, with the full inventory available online as well, makes the hunting easy for us. Its homepage, winex.com, features a Wine Spector Top 100 banner, which sends us to these coveted wines they have for us.
Given that many of the wines on the top list aren’t produced by the thousands, we are lucky to have a local retailer that makes this turnkey wine shopping for our holiday tables and gifting. As well, you can reach out the wineries directly, though odds are good you’re already too late.
Though the Top 10 wines are mainly Old World with a lean toward Italy and France, I am tickled to see Oregon’s Colene Clemens at No. 7. I had a remarkable day at Colene Clemens in 2015 with my family. This vineyard is deep in the Chehalem Mountains of the Willamette Valley with a spectacular mountain lodge for tasting. This was one of those experiences etched in my memory of great conversation, phenomenal wine, and the inkling that this newer winery was headed for great distinction. I’d definitely seek out their Cellar Club as a holiday gift. Note the amazing $26 price for this No. 7 pinot noir! I love their rose as well.
- Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri-Sassicaia Sassicaia 2015. 97 points, 17,200 cases produced, $245.
- Chateau Canon La Gaffelière St.-Emilion 2015. 96 points, 6,250 cases produced, $84.
- Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva 2015. 96 points, 2,500 cases produced, $35.
- La Rioja Alta Rioja 890 Gran Reserva Selección Especial 2005. 95 points, 4,753 cases produced, $175.
- Moët & Chandon Brut Champagne Dom Pérignon Legacy Edition 2008. 96 points, $180.
- Aubert Chardonnay Carneros Larry Hyde & Sons 2016. 96 points, 960 cases produced, $85.
- Colene Clemens Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains Dopp Creek 2015. 95 points, 3,023 cases produced, $26.
- Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016. 95 points, 7,000 cases produced, $70.
- Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna San Lorenzo 2016. 95 points, 750 cases produced, $60.
- Bedrock The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley 2016. 95 points, 600 cases produced, $46.