Two-thousand-fifteen will go down in history as a record year for cider apples in my town in the Berkshires. It was also the largest blueberry crop I’ve ever harvested. In our offices in New York, it was a fruit year as well, with an abundance of wine crossing our threshold. Glen, our friend at FedEx, continued to smile and rap to himself as he tried to push more boxes through the door.
Sometime, when we were all licking our wounds after the bust of 2008, when China was considered the next frontier for fine wine and when critter labels threatened to turn the rustic pleasure of wine into a sweet plush toy, wine happened in the US. The herds of critters are suddenly scarce, China is drowning its sorrows in Burgundy and baijiu, and young Americans are drinking wine. Lots of it.
The US is once again the target market. We see that with every issue deadline, our racks full and the boxes piling up in our hallway. 15,200 wines came through our offices this year—a third of those from US producers. In San Francisco, our pipes burst, quite literally.
We won’t consider what this tasting marathon means for our purple teeth or our livers. What it means for you, however, is more choice and, if our tastings are any indication, more great wines than ever before. It was a longer, more challenging process this year to narrow down our list of the 100 Best Wines, its range ever wider, from historic Eastern European vineyards to brilliant new Western Australian sites. Even better news, perhaps, is how challenging it became to select the 100 Best Buys of the Year. There is a vast amount of delicious, affordable wine, more than anytime in the 30-plus years we’ve been publishing.
The final stretch of our marathon comes with the profiles of our Top 100 Wineries, as we set out to describe exactly how and why each producer put in a great performance this year. We’ve been researching their farming and winemaking, visiting vineyards, interviewing winemakers, trying to connect what we found so exciting in our blind tastings with what the reality is on the ground.
There’s an abundance of great wine packed into these pages. Here’s to happy reading and happier drinking.
photo by Kelly Puleio
This story appears in the print issue of Winter 2015.
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