There are a surprising number of wine encyclopedias and wine bibles in the world; Food & Wine’s Wine Guide 2010 is not one of them. Because who wants to haul a 10-pound tome to a wine shop? F&W’s Wine Guide is pocket-size, portable and answers the vital question: What’s worth buying? New York City–based writer Anthony Giglio, who tasted through 4,000 wines to arrive at the 1,100 winners in this book, covered each and every important winemaking region in the world, recommending bottles $8 and up. Wine-industry insiders from around the globe also contributed reports, describing intriguing trends (like emerging value-oriented regions in Spain, Italy and California) and anticipated vintages. To order the guide, go to foodandwine.com/books.
Wine Advice & Pairings:
News From Our Wine Insiders
A couple of so-so vintages (2006 and 2007), coupled with the Bordelais insistence on charging high prices for those wines (go figure), hasn’t made buying Bordeaux a very appealing prospect recently. Smart Bordeaux fans are waiting instead for the 2008 vintage, a good year that—if château owners have any sense at all—should be released in 2011 at more realistic prices. Meanwhile, look for top bottles from 2002 and 2004. There are deals to be had in these vintages as retailers make space for new wines.
Burgundy is notoriously challenging for wine buyers, with dramatic variation in vintage, high prices and hundreds of small producers. The good news is that the current economic conditions have driven down Burgundy prices to some degree. Add to that the fact that in the most recent vintages, reds from 2006 and whites from 2007 are already drinking very well, and it’s clear that right now is a good time to buy Burgundy.
Much has been written about all the inexpensive, top-quality wines coming from southern Italy, but new bottlings are always appearing from emerging regions. One is Sicily’s Etna, where the Nerello Mascalese grape produces reds that recall the subtlety of red Burgundy; another is Calabria, which is producing complex but affordable bottlings from the Gaglioppo grape. In Italy’s famed Piedmont, the spectacular 2004 vintage is now sharing shelf space with extraordinary Barolos from 2005 and Barbarescos from 2006.
Anthony Giglio on Southern Italian Wines
Spain continues to be a source for some of the world’s great red wine values, particularly from the up-and-coming Alicante region. A more unlikely development is Spanish ice wine—dulce de frío—from producers like Gramona, in Penedès, and Bodegas Vidal Soblechero, in Rueda.
Difficult vintages like 2008—cool and rainy during harvest time—make it important to buy wines from excellent producers. New names to watch include Van Volxem, Daniel Vollenweider, the organic producer Clemens Busch, and, in a category that’s getting more interesting by the year, Pinot Noir specialist Ziereisen.
The news in both Chile and Argentina is the surprising number of terrific wines being made from not-the-usual-suspect grape varieties. Producers in Argentina are making elegant Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. In Chile, winemakers are beginning to create superb bottlings from Pinot Noir and—unexpectedly—Malbec, the signature grape of Argentina.
The state continues to add new regions that offer lovely wines at more affordable prices than premier zones such as Napa. Happy Canyon, an eastern corner of the Santa Ynez Valley, is gaining acclaim for brisk, vivid Sauvignon Blancs—look for wines from Margerum Wine Company, the Ojai Vineyard and Fiddlehead Cellars—as well as for impressive Cabernets like those from new producer Star Lane.
According to winemaker Chris Ringland of R Wines, “The 2008 vintage was extremely good, even though there’s word around that it was a climatic disaster. I think we’ll see it wasn’t what people were expecting.” Beyond the country’s marquee grapes, Chardonnay and Shiraz, look for Mediterranean blends like those by Spinifex, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from wineries such as Redbank and Frankland Estate.