Pinot Noir
Tasted: 268 I Reviewed: 93
Tasted: 436 I Reviewed: 138
American New Releases
Tasted: 426 I Reviewed: 127
Imported New Releases
Tasted: 628 I Reviewed: 133
Tasted: 1,758 I Reviewed: 491

Winter is a time to hunker down with Aussie shiraz; you'll find a selection of 44 recommendations starting on page 66, part of our broad tasting of Australian wines from riesling and roussanne to grenache and cabernet (p. 60). Among new releases, our focus this time of year continues through the Southern Hemisphere, with Argentine malbec (p. 79), Chilean carmen¸re (p. 82), New Zealand sauvignon blanc (p. 84) and South African shiraz (p. 86) all offering some exceptional drinking.

Closer to home, we've selected fourteen wines as our Best Pinot Noirs of the Year (p. 50), many from the featured tasting that follows. Six of those fourteen grow in the Russian River Valley and down river in the hills above Jenner, on the far Sonoma coast (for more on Russian River pinot, check out Rod Smith's article on page 32). You'll also find a number of richer reds, from great zins (p. 78) to cabernet-based blends (p. 74), all ready to warm your February.

An organizational note: In the past, within any particular category, we've grouped together all the wines recommended from an individual producer. With this issue, we have simplified the listings so that all wines within a category are listed by score, from the highest recommendation down. As always, our tastings are conducted blind, with outside panelists selecting the wines for recommendation, and inside critics providing their perspective with the ratings and notes. For complete details on how we taste, please turn to page 53.