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 Grüner Veltliner
Stretching 250 miles south from the San Francisco Bay to Santa Barbara County is the Central Coast Wine Region, a coastal sprawl responsible for about 15% of California’s total wine production. In the northern parts of the Central Coast, Chardonnay tends to dominate the plantings, with Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon also playing significant roles. The cool, maritime-influenced climate along with the fertile and gravely soil contribute to Chardonnay’s crisp acidity and citrus flavors, and the extended growing season yields concentrated Merlot and Cabernet. Some of the top northern Central Coast AVAs include, Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey. South of Monterey, the Paso Robles AVA has garnered fame for its wines produced from Rhône varieties, Cabernet and Zinfandel. At the southern end of the Central Coast, Santa Barbara County (made famous as the backdrop for the…
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.
The Willamette Valley Wine Region is one of the most influential wine producing regions in all of Oregon as well as the entire Pacific Northwest. The region spans from the Columbia River in the north all the way down to Eugene in the South. It is by far Oregon’s largest AVA and is dominated by plantings of Pinot Noir and smaller amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. The Willamette Valley is subdivided into six smaller appellations: Chehalem Mountains AVA, Dundee Hills AVA, McMinnville AVA, Ribbon Ridge AVA, Yamhill-Carlton District AVA and Eola-Amity Hills AVA. According to our Willamette Valley Wine Guide the mild, cool and somewhat moist climate provides ideal conditions for Pinot Noir, creating wines that are often considered the bridge between California and Burgundy style. The Pinot Noirs from this area tend to have black cherry and…