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The Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines for 2008 begin !

12 November 2008
Each year, Wine Spectator editors survey the wines they’ve reviewed over the past 12 months and select the most exciting for Top 100.

In 2008, they reviewed more than 19,500 wines from around the world in blind tastings. More than 5,300 of them earned outstanding ratings (90 points or higher on 100-point scale). They then narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by case production or cases imported); and an X-factor they call excitement. But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect their editors' judgment and passion about the wines they tasted.

Fourteen countries are represented, making the 2008 list the most diverse group in the history of the Top 100, which debuted in 1988. Quality remains high, with an average score of 93 points, consistent with the past two years. With the dollar weak early in the year, however, prices increased, pushing this year's average to $52 per bottle.

Following wines are:

Top 7 : Château Pontet-Canet
Pauillac 2005
96 points / $100
20,830 cases made

Top 8: Château de Beaucastel
Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005
96 points / $95
15,000 cases made

Top 9: Mollydooker
Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love 2007
95 points / $90
2,596 cases made

Top 10: Seghesio
Zinfandel Sonoma County 2007
93 points / $24
68,000 cases made

The top 20 Bulgarian wines of 2008 have already been classed, but we will have to wait until November 21 to find out which one will receive the title of Bacchus' Bulgarian Wine of the Year 2008. On October 31 2008, before the afternoon's final round of tastings, Bacchus, the Bulgarian wine and gourmet culture magazine and initiator of the contest, held a news conference at Vintage Club in Sofia at which the the first-annual competition was explained, and at which the international jury shared its opinions on the country's wines.

Of the more than 250 Bulgarian wines rated by Bacchus over the course of a year (October 15 2007 to October 15 2008), some 70 to 80 received ratings of 85 points or more on a 100-point scale. Of those, the best 50 were then evaluated by the competition tasting panels, with the 20 top going on to the final round, held on October 30 and 31.
Present for the last step were international experts in the wine field: the British wine guru Steven Spurrier of the magazine Decanter, he who was responsible for organising what has become known as the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, in which a blind tasting preferred California wines to French; Greek oenologist Maria Xanthopoulou; Portuguese wine critic Rui Falcão, part of the team of the magazine Blue Wine and a member of Fédération Internationale des Journalistes et Ecrivains des Vins et Spiritueux (FIJEV); and Italian oenologist Arrigo Depaoli, president of the tasting commission of the Pisa region chamber of commerce. From the Bulgarian side, jury members were wine consultant and founder of Yana Petkova; Lyubomir Stoyanov, maître d'hôtel of Grand Hotel Musala Palace and holder of the title Best Bulgarian Sommelier 2007; Bacchus wine editor Julia Kostadinova and Emil Koralov.
At the official ceremony to be held on November 21, in addition to naming the Wine of the Year, awards will be given to the top white, rosé and dessert wines.
For most of the international members of the jury, the October 30 evaluations were their first time experiencing Bulgarian wine. Their general persuasion, however, was that Bulgaria would do well to emphasise its native grape varieties, like Melnik, mavrud and rubin (these being reds) or dimyat and misket (whites).

The wines that made it into the top 10 are (in alphabetical order):

Enira Reserva 2006 (Bessa Valley)
Maxxima Private Reserva 2003 (Maxxima Cellars)
Nobile Rubin 2006 (Logodaj)
Question Mark 2007 (Katarzyna Estate)
Roto 2006 (Terra Tangra)
Santa Sarah Privat 2006 (Santa Sarah)
Solitaire Elenovo merlot 2006 (Domaine Boyar)
Terra Tangra Cuvee 2006 (Terra Tangra)
Terra Tangra Grand Reserva 2006 (Terra Tangra)
Vinissimo American Barrel 2006 (Rachev & Son).

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