Wine Talk

Snooth User: John Andrews

SF Chronicle Top 100

Posted by John Andrews, Jan 1, 2010.

There is always speculation around motive and agenda when it comes to the Top 100 from the Wine Spectator so it always nice to see the 'Top' lists from other outlets. Being a California resident I am always intrigued by the San Francisco Chronical Top 100. It is California biased but Oregon and Washington are represented. For me, being a local and working in the local industry these rankings hold more meaning for me than the WS Top 100. Take a look and let me know what you think.


Reply by dmcker, Jan 1, 2010.

Thanks for posting the link, John. I've also tended to like their views and rankings of wine better than WS's over the years, though WS spreads themselves much thinner by trying to cover the entire world.

I definitely agree with the bulk of their sparkling wine recommendations. Many of the chardonnays, too--haven't had any Mt. Eden for awhile, though I drank cases and cases of Martin Ray's wines back in the '80s. Guess I'll have to chase some more down, and that Mayacamas should be exquisite 10 or so years down the line. A couple of sauvignon blancs I'm curious to try, but without having tasted several it looks like California still has a ways to go with that varietal. Though I definitely want to try Matthiasson's Napa White that seems from the description to be pulling together SB, semillon and other varietals in a Bordeaux/Northern Italy style.

Regarding the reds, there are several pinot noirs that I personally know to be quite good in the list (Au Bon Climat, Litorrai, Copain, Evesham Wood, Domaine Drouhin), and others they've made me want to try. Among the syrahs, the Neyers, Peay and Arnot-Roberts I also know to be superb, and plenty more I want to taste. Amongst all the cabs they mention I've only had the Spottswoode, Dominus, Chappellet and Louis Martini, each of which are very good in their own way (and will be even better in several years, though the Martini is more to drink now). Plenty more to chase down in that large list....And amongst the Zinfandel, etc. category, I've only had the Ridge Geyserville (as good as they say) and the Turley, both which will benefit, IMHO, from cellaring. Some interesting bottles worth a huntdown on that list, as well.

A very good listing from the SF Chronicle, I think, and good counterbalance to the likes of a WS, as you say, John. Sometimes I do wish I was living in California now, not least because of the easy access to all that great wine....

Reply by dmcker, Jan 1, 2010.

So John, what specifically did you like, or not like, on their list?

Reply by amour, Jan 2, 2010.

Thank you very very much for the link.
I have only recently started looking seriously and frequently at anything besides FRANCE.
(Of course I took a general interest over the years and tasted globally and extensively.)
But my specialty has always been FRANCE.
Of special interest to me was mention of POET'S LEAP !!! I LOVE FUN NAMES and when I came upon POET'S LEAP in the wine shop ...I hought that it would be fun to serve it up at my next POETRY READING!!! But...alas..!!! I DID NOT PURCHASE ANY.

Reply by John Andrews, Jan 2, 2010.

I will write more later (I'm off to work at Loxton in a bit) but the things that really intrigued me about the SF list:

- Sparkling was right were I expected but was surprised at the exclusion the prestige bottleings from Schramsberg, Domaine Carneros & Roederer.

- I was impressed of the list of 'other whites' showing that the west coast has more than Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc

- I like how Amador county wines are now sneaking into the lists. I think it speaks to the rising quality of fruit and production there

More when I get back.

Reply by amour, Jan 2, 2010.

Just starting a more serious interest in USA wines and really learning from everyone and especially ones like you who are at the HEART OF THE US WINEWORLD!!!

Reply by dmcker, Jan 2, 2010.

John, were you really surprised that they included Poet's Leap? It is a very legitimate riesling, IMHO, compared to 90% of what's passed of as such on the West Coast.
At first glance (I did only skim the list once, and fairly quickly at that) it looked like the only Long Shadows wine on the list, though, so perhaps its choice was representative of all seven of that 'winery's' offerings. I certainly like Shoup's new efforts better as wines to drink than most of the range of the Stimson Lane group wines back when he was running them, though a definite case could be made for him being the right man at the right time to consolidate and take the region's wine industry through rises in level.

Reply by VegasOenophile, Jan 2, 2010.

At least they admit in their introduction part of the feature, that it is a ranking of wines of the west coast. Otherwise, the "egocentrism" for lack of a better word, would utterly undermine any credibility for making such a list. Given that they are showing all the love to their "home grown" product, I concur with many of the wines listed.

I do agree that it's nice to have other sources besides Wine Dicta... uh, Spectator, deciding what we should be buying and drinking. I will admit I do reference WS and Robert Parker often, because more often than not, they lead me in a good direction. I do often though enjoy certain things they they didn't seem to. Such is the subjective nature of wine and why we all love it and why this site is so diverse and fun to participate in!

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