Steven Thompson of Analemma Wines in the Atavus vineyard. The old Washington State site was the source for his debut sparkling wine, one of this year’s Top 100 selections. (Photo: Jon Bonné/The Chronicle) With The Chronicle’s annual Top 100 Wines coming this weekend, we wanted to give you a preview of this year’s themes and some of my top selections.
Sauvignon Blanc One of the slight changes to this year’s Top 100: While for several years I’ve featured one wine from each category, I haven’t explained why that wine happened to land the extra attention. This year, we decided to put those wines in a bit more context — to explain what made them especially distinctive among the thousands of wines I taste each year.
Chenin Blanc Other wines may have impressed me equally, but each of these both stood out as particularly unique and represented a defining theme in the current state of West Coast winemaking. As I go through the long process of trimming the list to size — from more than 200 contenders to about 150, then 120, then 105, and then the last few painful cuts — certain wines remain obvious choices. Each of these was a standout at the start, and their gleam never dimmed.
Late Harvest Chenin Blanc (dessert Wine)
I’ve been trotting the globe in pursuit of wine, food and travel stories for over 13 years. From the vineyards of New Zealand to the press houses of Champagne, I’ve met a world of fascinating people who have stories to share. In between adventures I review restaurants for The Atlantan and contribute to several global and national outlets including: USA Today, Decanter, Men’s Book and TravelChannel.com. I've also co-authored a travel guide (The Everything Guide to Ireland), edited a city guide for Atlanta (Northstar Media) and worked as a Senior Editor at The Wine Report. I was recently awarded the MAGS Association Magnolia Award for excellence in writing and editing and currently hold a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Intermediate Certificate.
Rosé Contact Katie Kelly Bell The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Sauvignon Blanc It is probably safe to say that I drink more wine than the average person; it’s part of my job (of all the darn luck) to open countless bottles of wine and compare and contrast them. Unfortunately, I do taste a lot of uninspired plonk. This annual column celebrates those wines that made me do a double take; the wines that I kept coming back to over the course of a tasting. They aren’t necessarily “perfect”, they just wowed me—in a sea of choices, these wines made an impression. A few of the selections made the list because of their value for the buck, delivering a terrific varietal example at terrific price. All of these wines are drinkable now, but many have the potential to age for several years, if not decades. I live for the moment, so I suggest “Carpe Vinum”—drink ‘em now. Note—they are not listed in any specific order.
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Cabernet Shiraz had a chance to email with Griffin prior to her visit to learn about the winery where she was raised and now raises her two daughters. Full details on this week’s Summit Lake Vineyards and Winery events follow below, along with The Story of Summit Lake written by Griffin’s mother Sue Brakesman.
Rosé Summit Lake was established in 1971 when my Dad, Bob Brakesman, purchased the property. He had recently graduated with a degree in engineering, but had fallen in love with wine and the wine making process his senior year in college. He started looking for property in the valley and was shown the property up in Angwin. It had been abandoned for about 30 years, but had some old pre-prohibition Zinfandel on it. I think he felt it was fate since it was the same dollar amount that he had just inherited.
Champagne creates a festive holiday mood like no other wine. The story behind its complex flavor might surprise you.
Shipping Wine To India But it also presents itself as complete and finished, a wine as a singularity, from the exclamation mark of the pop of its cork, to the manner in which it sits tall and proud in a fluted glass.
Cabernet Shiraz By and large, Champagne is one wine made of many wines, gathered together then put into a bottle and sent through a second fermentation. Only a very few Champagnes are constructed from one wine alone.
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