Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Wine Spectator Top 100 list for 2009 is out, and my regular customers are just starting to blow up the phones. It is frustrating because it takes a lot of work to find out what is still available in the market, get it all in the stores, in our systems, priced and placed on the shelves, a list compiled and posted online, our staff trained on what there is, how much there is and where it’s at in the stores, and so on. All for a little bit of wine that will be almost completely sold out in a week or two.

As much as I bitch and moan about Spectator, their ratings, and their subversively elitist bent on the wine biz, I have to say that it is my last blast of fun when it comes to wine buying – at least during the holidays. With the constant shopping of our local competition, our Ohio competitors, trying to stay ahead of the whole extra tax thing this year, and just the usual keeping everything we sell a lot of in stock, it’s tough to allocate even a small amount of time to look for things like the WS Top 100 wines. Yet this year – perhaps coincidentally due to the large amount of more value-oriented selections – I was able to get a hold of the most Top 100 wines I have been able to get in the past 10 years. You can actually take a look at the list at

What intrigued me the most was that there were a lot of Australian wines on the list, which seemed extremely fortuitous considering the recent doo-and-gloom reports circulating about how abysmal the Australian wine business is right now. The presence of such wines as #14 Two Hands Bella’s Garden 2007, #24 Penfolds St. Henri 2005, #39 Yalumba Viognier Eden Valley 2008, and the values of Shoofly, d’Arenberg, Peter Lehmann and Heartland have to be a real shot in the arm for the industry Down Under right now.

And I had a vicarious sense of pride in seeing all the Washington state wines in there (#1 Columbia Crest, #26 Cayuse, #33 Novelty Hill, #36 Efeste, #38 Chateau Ste. Michelle, and so on. It was a beautiful thing.

So I guess I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this list. While it drives me crazy, and has for a decade at least, it is still a guilty pleasure to hunt these down and land a few. Hopefully, my customers will appreciate the acquisitions.

No comments: