The Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast, two of the most prominent wine-centric magazines in the U. S., recently published their picks for the best wines from around the world released in 2009. Both lists of 2009’s best wine offerings include a number of Italian wines and it’s interesting to look at exactly what wines were included in the two lists. However, before reviewing the results a few comments and comparisons of the two magazines’ selections would be in order.
While the Wine Spectator’s list of the top 100 wines for 2009 is well diversified by country, perhaps not surprisingly the largest number of wines selected are from the United States. Specifically, a third (33) of the top 100 wines are from the U.S., most from California but a goodly number are from Washington and Oregon.
Italy comes in second with a total of 19 wines in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 picks while France garners 16 listings, Australia 9 and Spain 6.
The Wine Enthusiast’s list of the top 100 wines for 2009 is even more heavily weighted with U.S. wines. A little less than half (46) of the top 100 selections are from the U.S., most from California although Washington and Oregon are also well represented. France comes in second with 12 wines in the top 100 and Spain is third with 10 wines. Italy comes in fourth with only 8 wines in the top 100.
The Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast selections also vary significantly in the regional distributions of Italian wines included in the two listings. 15 of the 19 Italian wines included in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 listing are from Tuscany. 2004 was a very good year in Tuscany in general and particularly good in the Montalcino zone that culminated in a number of award-winning Brunello wines. 2006 was another outstanding vintage in Tuscany that resulted in Chianti Classico and Bolgheri wines with wonderful balance and structure.
Only 2 Barolos are included in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 listing even though 2005 was a good year in the Piedmont, very similar to the highly-regarded 1998 vintage. The remaining two Italian wines in the Wine Spectator’s top 100 listing are from the Alto Adige and Friuli regions.
By way of contrast, only one wine from Tuscany is included in the Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 listing. However, one-half (4) of the 8 Italian wines in the Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 picks are from the Piedmont region. The remaining 3 Italian wines are from the Sicily, Friuli and Veneto regions.
It is interesting to note that there is no overlay in the selections for the best Italian wines of 2009 put forward by the two magazines. One would think that a few Italian wines, at a minimum, would be included in both lists. But not one Italian wine appears in both lists and a casual perusal of the entire 100 selections from both listings indicates that not one wine from anywhere is included in both lists.
While the lack of agreement between the two seems strange and a little unsettling, it can be explained by something as simple as different initial collections of wines utilized in the selection process. It would be extremely difficult for any one organization to sample and systematically rank all new wines released from around the world in any year. Each organization develops its list of the top wine picks based on their reviews of wines submitted to them over the course of the year.
The Wine Spectator, for example, indicates that its staff tasted more than 17,000 new releases in the process of developing its list of the top 100 wines for 2009. While this is a impressive number of wines it still represents only a fraction of the total new releases from wineries around the world that sell to the general public. The Wine Enthusiast also developed its list of the top wine picks from its collection of newly-released wines tasted over the course of the year, which will not necessarily be the same group of wines utilized by the Wine Spectator in its selection process.
Or at least I hope that’s the reason why there is so little similarity between the selections put forward by the two magazines.
In any event, here’s the listings of the Italian wines included in the top 100 wines for 2009 as proposed by both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines.
|Italian Wines in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2009|
|5||96||Barone Ricasoli||Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio||2006||$54|
|7||96||Renato Ratti||Barolo, Marcenasco||2005||$44|
|8||99||Fontodi||Colli della Toscana Centrale, Flaccianello||2006||$110|
|11||96||Poggio Il Castellare||Brunello di Montalcino||2004||$50|
|13||95||Fattoria di Felsina||Toscana, Fontalloro||2006||$52|
|15||97||Marchesi di' Frescobaldi||Brunello di Montalcino, Castelgiocondo||2004||$65|
|16||97||Uccelliera||Brunello di Montalcino||2004||$65|
|27||97||La Massa||Toscana, Giorgio Primo||2007||$65|
|30||93||Sette Ponti||Toscana, Crognolo||2007||$35|
|35||93||Viticcio||Chianti Classico Riserva||2006||$32|
|46||92||I Greppi||Bolgheri, Greppicante||2007||$28|
|49||95||Tenimenti Luigi d'Alessandro||Syrah, Cortona Il Bosco||2006||$70|
|61||90||Monte Antico||Toscana, Sangiovese-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon||2006||$12|
|70||90||St Michael-Eppan||Alto Adige, Pinot Grigio||2008||$15|
|79||91||Livio Felluga||Collio, Pinot Grigio||2008||$24|
|81||95||Paolo Scavino||Barolo, Carobric||2005||$90|
Source: "The Top 100", Wine Spectator Magazine (December 31, 2009) p. 42.
|Italian Wines in Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2009|
|6||93||Michele Chiarlo||Barbaresco, Reyna||2006||$40|
|55||92||Le Salette||Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, I Progni||2006||$31|
|77||93||Livio Felluga||Colli Orientali del Friuli, Terre Alte||2007||$70|
|90||92||Gianfranco Alessandria||Barbera d'Alba, Vittoria||2006||$34|
|94||92||Felsina||Chianti Classico, Rancia Riserva||2005||$35|
Source: "The Enthusiast 100 2009", Wine Enthusiast Magazine (December 31, 2009) p. 30.
January 4, 2010
Read other selections from About Italian Wines.