Tuesday, November 11, 2008


The countdown has begun – the Wine Spectator Top 100 is slowly being revealed, starting yesterday with the #9 and #10 wines unveiled, and today, #s 7 & 8. Alas, as it is every year, my teeth begin to grind a bit harder, and I’m pulling more and more clumps of hair out of my scalp, the WS Top 100 list is truly THE bane of my existence as a buyer. Simply put, this list is simply a compilation of reviews and scores that have spanned the course of the magazine’s previous year’s worth of ratings, and many of these wines have already come and gone in the market. However, there are those wines that have just now been released, and it is those wines that we buyers clamor over each other, like rats in a tomb, trampling each other for the last bit of sustenance left behind.

Yet I digress. The real sadness this year comes from the #10 wine in the list – the Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel 2007 ($19.69 special). A month ago, when I was told that the state of KY’s allocation for the next 6 months was 108, I asked for a pallet – that 51% of the market share more-or-less. I’m not too greedy, but I was told that this was it until March. Suffice it to say I had a bit of foresight that even I couldn’t have lucked into on a normal day.

And there’s the rub. This is it. All that I have to sell my customers until it’s gone. And with my staff already huge Seghesio disciples, consider it GONE. So too, however, will be this wine under $20. Now that the big fat accolades have been heaped on this venerable Sonoma producer – already known for some of the best Sonoma Zins out there – the 2008 vintage will most definitely be over $30. I mean, the ego has been inflated, so surely the retail price will be as well. And access to this wine will be even more difficult, if not near impossible.

Yeah! So one could argue that while the WS Top 100 list is good for business, it’s bad for brands long-term, at least when it comes to affordability.

No comments: