Wine Spectator’s Top Stories Mirror Vibrant Year In The World Of WineJanuary 4, 2012
No one can call 2011 a dull year—and that held true for the wine world as well, as demonstrated by Wine Spectator’s list of most popular stories for the year. News pieces like U.S. consumers’ sticker shock over the potentially classic 2010 Bordeaux vintage were big draws, as were tasting reports revealing excellent 2009 Pinot Noir and Zinfandel releases from California, along with more great value bottlings from around the world. And, ensuring things stayed lively, Wine Spectator editors and columnists provided forums for debates on everything from the world’s most underrated wines to alcohol levels to why local wines don’t appear often on restaurant wine lists.
Among the most viewed news and features on Wine Spectator.com, Matt Kramer made a splash by declaring in his most-read Drinking Out Loud column that he’d stopped buying “expensive” wines and was selling off prestige bottlings—not for the money, but because they no longer held his interest. Top news items included the sale of Sonoma’s historic Seghesio winery to Crimson Wine Group, a comprehensive report on the volatile 2011 wine harvest across the Northern Hemisphere, and the 30th anniversary of Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Awards, which christened five new Grand Award winners: Eleven Madison Park and Gilt in New York, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas, the Pluckemin Inn in Bedminster, N.J., and Restaurante Rekondo in San Sebastián, Spain.
Highlights from the year in tasting reports were led by Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2011—which crowned Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009 as the Wine of the Year—as well as barrel tastings of the highly lauded (and highly priced) 2010 vintage in Bordeaux, a stellar 2009 vintage in California Pinot Noir and 15 promising 2009 California Zinfandels.
Meanwhile, Wine Spectator’s Editors’ Blogs in 2011 featured exclusive reporting and commentary—notably James Laube’s uncovering of Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo as the buyers of Robert Mondavi’s Napa Valley residence. James Molesworth offered thoughts on Bordeaux 2010 and questioned why the local food movement hasn’t spread more quickly to wine among New York restaurants, while Bruce Sanderson made hits with his in-depth exploration of Brunello di Montalcino and notes on Burgundy’s Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2008. Tim Fish challenged preconceptions in his widely read “A 100-point Cabernet for $15?” post, and Harvey Steiman delved into the fundamental question of “What Makes a Wine a Wine?”—taking on misleading, but legal, wine labeling. Take a look back at the best of Wine Spectator’s 2011 vintage.