All tastings reported in the Buying Guide are performed blind. Typically, products are tasted in peer-group flights of from 5-8 samples. Reviewers may know general information about a flight to provide context—vintage, variety or appellation—but never the producer or retail price of any given selection. When possible, products considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.
*Products deemed unacceptable (receving a rating below 80 points) are not reviewed.
The Pinnacle of quality
A great achievement
Often good value; well recommended
Suitable for everyday consumption, often good value
Can be employed
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Discover New Regions for Riesling
The Alsace wine region is virtually unique in France in that producers are allowed to put the grape variety on the label of their appellation contrôlée wines. It is also unique in that the grapes are both German and French: Riesling and Gewürztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Sylvaner. These are not light wines, but they have a combination of fruitiness and richness quite different from the German models just across the Rhine. Although primarily dry, some are sweet, so consult individual Alsace wine reviews to see in which style each wine is made. Our Alsace wine guide contains hundreds of Alsace wine ratings.
Located in western Upstate New York is the Finger Lakes Wine Region. The AVA encompasses 11,000 acres of vineyards and is subdivided into the smaller Cayuga and Seneca Lake AVAs. A number of deep glacial lakes are found throughout the region, which helps to retain heat in the vineyards and ultimately extends the growing season. White varieties tend to fare better than reds due to the area’s cooler climate. This leads to the production of clean, intense Rieslings and mineral-driven, lean Chardonnays. Not only have the wines gained popularity over the last decade, but so has the area in general. With its scenic views and plenty of cozy tasting rooms, the region has become quite the tourist attraction. For more information on the wines of the region, be sure to check out our Finger Lakes Wine Guide.
Spanning across the central and southern areas of Washington State lies the Columbia Valley Wine Region. It is the state’s largest AVA, covering nearly one-third of the state’s landmass. The wines of the region have been described as having the potential to combine the structure and finesse of the Old world wines with the approachable fruit and ripeness of the New World style. Our Columbia Valley Wine Ratings illustrate the improvement in quality of these wines over the last decade or so. The main white grape varietals grown in the region are Chardonnay and Riesling which are discernible by their vibrant fruit and crisp acidity. The red varietals are predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with a recent increase in Syrah particularly in the Columbia Valley sub region Walla Walla. It was the Merlot craze of the 1990s that sparked the…