Best of 2017

Old vines in Ridge’s Monte Bello Vineyard

​The press date for our Annual Buying Guide coincides with harvest in the northern hemisphere. As growers set picking dates and winemakers prepare for crush, we prepare you for the season with suggestions of what’s great to drink.

Harvest throughout history has been a time of optimism and celebration, when the weather cooperates, and devastation, when it does not. In France this year, after spring frost gutted the potential crop and summer hail followed, we heard nervous optimism from growers about to start picking their grapes. Overall, this year’s wine-production figures in France are predicted to reach a record low. In California, after a torrential spring break from the drought, I saw growers grimly smiling through the record heat of late August, putting on an optimistic face for the harvest about to begin.

I won’t mention any changes to the climate, as the head of our Environmental Protection Agency tells us that would be insensitive right now. The vine, however, continues to speak. It remains the most sensitive voice of climate change, even as it survives with remarkable resilience. A vine is, after all, a vine. How little we know about its talents comes across in any number of vintages, particularly 2013 in Napa Valley, a vintage with barely any water that produced some of the most compelling wines in decades.

We will have to wait to find out how the extreme weather of this past year impacts the wines of 2017 and we may well remain optimistic, as there’s plenty of great wine to drink. You’ll fi nd a lot of it in this issue, from both classic producers and new names to check out.

Wishing our friends a successful harvest, delicious grapes to crush and some great bottles to open, we present you with our top selections of 2017.