If the wines on this list are not Best Buys and are not Cellar Selections, then what exactly are they? In short, they represent the most diverse and dynamic segment of the wine industry. They are wines that offer extraordinary quality at prices that still represent affordable luxury. They are mostly wines that can be consumed over the near term, although some will undoubtedly benefit from cellaring.
In compiling Wine Enthusiast's annual Best lists, they go beyond simple evaluation of numeric scores and pricing. They also consider availability, buzz and balance. While availability is straightforward, buzz refers to a wine’s newsworthiness or excitement factor, and whether it represents notable trends in the wine market. This year’s Number One wine is a prime example, combining high quality (95 points) with reasonable price and availability ($42, 475 cases), but then adding to its intrigue are a superstar winemaker’s own label, a vineyard designation and an underappreciated variety from California.
Balance means that within the limits of what Wine Enthusiast tasted over the past year, they’ve tried to include wines that not only represent many different regions and grape varieties, but also vary in style. You’ll find wines from 11 countries and more than 20 varieties, sparkling and still wines, table, dessert and fortified wines. One of the things Wine Enthusiast values most in the wine world is diversity, and this is one way of applauding it.
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