Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Top 10 Wines of the Wine Spectator 2012, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Anthony Barton, Château Léoville-Barton and Château Langoa Barton, in Washington DC

The Wine Spectator released its Top 100 Wines 2012 list a few weeks. It is not so much a list of the best wines, but more a list of the wines that were most successful in the American market in the year 2012. It is a subjective selection and ranking of the Wine Spectator, on the basis of 4 criteria: (1) the tasting results, i.e. the quality of the wine, (2) the price-quality-ratio, (3) how the wine sells in the American market and (4) how “excited” the jury is about the wine.

About 20.000 wines were tasted and about 5.000 of them scored more than 90 points on the 100 points scale. The Wine Spectator is the most influential wine journal in the US.

The Top 10

Shafer Vineyards – Napa Valley 2008 Relentless.  California (USA), 96 points / $60 (3300 cases made) A blend of Syrah und Petite Syrah. 

Château de St.-Cosme – Gigondas 2010 Rhône (France), 95 points / $41 (3330 cases made)

Two Hands – Shiraz Barossa Valley 2010 Bella’s Garden Australia, 95 points / $69 (4000 cases made)

Clos des Papes – Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2010 Rhône (France), 98 points / $128 (5600 cases made)

Château Guiraud – Sauternes 2009 Bordeaux, 96 points / $60 (11.000 cases made)

Château Guiraud is co-owned by Count Stefan von Neipperg in St. Emilion, who also owns Château Canon La Gaffelière and La Mondotte, both promoted to the extremely closed circle of Premiers Grand Crus Classés in the new St. Emilion classification of 2013. The von Neipperg family not only owns these 3 estates in France, but also owns/co-owns 4 other estates and a property in Bulgaria. Furthermore, in Germany, the brother of Count Stefan von Neipperg runs the family winery in Wuerttemberg.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Count Stephan von Neipperg in St. Emilion

This gem of an estate in Sauternes dates back to the 15th century. It is a AOC Sauternes Premier Cru Classé en 1855.

The vineyard covers 100 hectares. Château Guiraud is known for its organic approach to viticulture. 11,000 cases made. The blend of 65 percent Sémillon and 35 percent Sauvignon Blanc comes from 35- to 40-year-old vines. Four partners - Robert Peugeot (of Peugeot automobiles), Olivier Bernard (Domaine de Chevalier), Stephan von Neipperg (Canon-La Gaffelière and others) and Xavier Planty, the estate’s longtime general manager -  acquired Château Guiraud in 2006.

What motivated you to become a shareholder in this vineyard in Sauternes ? “Being of German origin, I was introduced to icewine as well as late harvest wines and botytised wines, at a very early age. I have always been fascinated by them, and also by Sauternes, which depend on so many factors. So, the opportunity to be a part owner of Château Guiraud was not to be missed. Promoting this somewhat overlooked appellation represents a veritable challenge, and creating greater interest in great sweet white wines is my main priority” said Count Stefan von Neipperg.

See here:
The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

Chateau Léoville Barton - St.-Julien 2009. Bordeaux, 95 points / $105 (21.000 cases made)

Château Léoville-Barton and Château Langoa Barton

The Barton family, the current owners of Château Léoville-Barton and Château Langoa Barton, are able to trace their Bordeaux roots all the way back to 1722. That was the year that Thomas Barton left Ireland for Bordeaux. Like many successful owners, Barton started out as a Bordeaux negociant.

The first foray into ownership for the Barton family was in St. Estephe, with Chateau Le Boscq in 1745, which was awarded Cru Bourgeois status in 1932. In 1995, the Barton family sold it to Dourthe.

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, and Anthony Barton in Washington DC

Also in 1745, the Barton family partnered with another powerful Bordeaux family to form a Bordeaux wine negociant company, Barton and Guestier. It was controlled by the Barton family until the Seagram Group got control in 1986. Today, Barton and Guestier is part of the international wine and spirit company Diageo.

The next major purchase for the Barton family took place in 1821. That was the year they bought Chateau Langoa Barton. Following the purchase of Langoa Barton, they bought a second St. Julien estate: Culled from the vineyards of Château Leoville Las Cases, that estate became Chateau Leoville Barton, a deuxième cru en 1855. Interestingly, because no wine making facilities came with the purchase, they were forced to make the wines at Château Langoa Barton. Until today, production of both wines takes place at Langoa Barton.

When Ronald Barton, who had inherited the family’s property from his father, who was tragically killed in a hunting accident in the 1920's, died without an heir in 1986, his nephew Anthony took control of the family properties. Anthony had already moved from Ireland - where the family maintains a home - to Bordeaux in 1951.

Chateau Léoville Barton - St.-Julien

Château Léoville-Barton is a Deuxième Cru en 1855 in the Saint-Julien appellation.

There are now 47 hectares of vineyards at Château Léoville-Barton, planted with 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. Vinification is performed in the cellar at Langoa-Barton, as there is in fact no château at Léoville-Barton.

The grand vin is Château Léoville-Barton, the second wine is La Reserve de Léoville-Barton. Total production is 20.000 cases.

See more:
Vendredi du Vin #51 - Des Vins Vivants pour Fêter la Mort - Fête du Bordeaux in Washington DC, France/USA 
Fête du Bordeaux of Calvert and Woodley in Washington DC, 2012, USA

Shea - Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard Estate 2009. Oregon, 94 points / $40 (3555 cases made)

Beringer - Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2009 Knights Valley. Sonoma County, 94 points / $45 (3602 cases made)

Beringer Vineyards is the oldest continuously operating winery in the Napa Valley. In 2001, the estate was placed on the National Register for Historic Places as a Historic District.

Picture: Mainz in Germany

Jacob Beringer left his home in Mainz, Germany, in 1868 to start a new life in the U.S., enticed by his brother, Frederick, who had sailed to New York five years earlier and wrote home constantly of the grand opportunities to be found in the vast new world. New York did not appeal to Jacob, however. He had enjoyed working in wine cellars in Germany when he was younger and had heard that the warm, sunny climate of California was ideal for growing wine grapes. So in 1870 he traveled by train from the East Coast, first to San Francisco and then on to Napa Valley. To his delight, he discovered rocky, well-drained soils similar to those in his native Rhine Valley.

Jacob and Frederick together bought land in 1875 and set about making wines that compared to the best in Europe . In 1876, they founded the Beringer Winery. In 1883, Frederick permanently moved to the Napa Valley and began construction of a 17-room mansion – the Rhine House- that was to be his home—a re-creation of the Beringer family home located on the Rhine River in Germany.

Today, Beringer Winery is owned by the Beringer (Wolfgang) Blass Group from Australia. The Beringer Winery has 4200 hectares of land under vine, more than the whole Rheingau region. Incidentially, Wolfgang Blass is also a native of Germany and considered to be the “father” of the Australian wine industry.

Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona - Brunello di Montalcino 2007. Italy, 94 points / $60 (3750 cases made)

Achával -Ferrer - Malbec Mendoza 2010 Finca Bella Vista. Argentinia, 95 points / $110 (1,250 cases imported)

Achaval-Ferrer is a small winery, committed to the production of limited quantities of top red wines. Achával Ferrer is arguably Argentina's first "cult" winery, commanding prices in excess of $100 a bottle in both the U.S. and Argentina. They export 85% of their production, 40% to the USA.

The vineyards are located in the province of Mendoza. The region’s desert climate and soil conditions are ideal for the development of Malbec and other red varieties. Low yields, significant thermal gradients (warm days, cool nights), poor alluvial soils, low rainfall, high altitude and the pure Andes irrigation water, all work together to mature grapes that can be transformed into complex, deep and structured wines.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Marcelo Victoria in Washington DC

A group of Argentinean and Italian friends started this adventure in 1998. Santiago Achaval and Manuel Ferrer are the Argentinean partners. The Italian partners are Roberto Cipresso, (the winemaker), and Tiziano Siviero. Both Italians also own La Fiorita Winery in Montalcino. The other key people in the company are Diego Rosso (Vineyard and Winery Operations), and Marcelo Victoria (Sales), who I had the pleasure to meet in Washington DC.

See more:
The Wines of Argentina's Cult Winemaker Achaval-Ferrer 

schiller-wine - Related Postings

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

Terry Theise's Top German Wines of the 2009 Vintage

Germany's Top 16 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2011

Italy's Top Wines - 2011 Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia Wine Guide

Austria's 17 Best Zweigelt Wines - The 2010 Wein.pur List

5 Rieslings on the Wine Spectator Top 100 List of 2010

Top 100 of the Wine Spectator 2009 include Wittmann and Loosen Rieslings

Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

German and Austrian Wines in the Wine Spectator Top 100 2010

Vendredi du Vin #51 - Des Vins Vivants pour Fêter la Mort - Fête du Bordeaux in Washington DC, France/USA

Fête du Bordeaux of Calvert and Woodley in Washington DC, 2012, USA

The Wines of Argentina's Cult Winemaker Achaval-Ferrer  

No comments:

Post a Comment