There just aren't enough days in the year to drink all the good wine. Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2014 is always my go-to list, but I also have personal favorites. They aren't necessarily the highest-rated, but these wines left an impression with me for all sorts of reasons—the mood I was in, the people I was with, the food I was eating. Some I tasted blind, others I didn't.
Narrowing the list to just 10 was the real challenge; the order is alphabetical. WineSpectactor.com subscribers can read more detailed reviews by clicking on the links.
Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley 2012 (95 points, $42)
A knockout red that's a modern take on the hearty old California field blends.
Père et Fils Clos Vougeot 2006 (93, $200)
Dark and brooding on release, it's starting to bloom now.
Zinfandel Sonoma County 2012 (91, $24)
A great Zin at a great price.
Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 (93, $90)
Fleshing out after 10 years in the cellar. Rich, supple and earthy.
Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2012 (88, $34)
Sleek and wonderfully complex, with notes of citrus, mineral and oyster shell.
Sorì San Lorenzo 2011 (94, $500)
What power, yet loads of finesse.
Champagne Grande Cuvée NV (95, $179)
Champagne doesn't get much better.
Paysan Mourvèdre San Benito County Rosé Pierre's Pirouette 2013 (91, $19)
A dry California rosé that puts many French pinks to shame.
Symington Douro Chryseia 2011 (97, $55)
A wine that truly shows the Douro is making rockin' still wines.
Zinfandel Napa Valley Hayne Vineyard 1994 (95, $27)
Remarkably bold and youthful for a 20-year-old wine.
I also asked a few California winemakers to name their favorite wine of the year. You'll notice not one wine is from California. This is a worldly wine bunch, of course, and perhaps a tad shy about picking one friend's wine and ignoring another's. Either way, it's a fascinating list.
Officer, Carlisle, Sonoma County: Dow Vintage
Port 2011 (99, $82)
(Officer swears he fell in love with this wine before Wine Spectator named it the No. 1 Wine of 2014. He wouldn't lie, I'm pretty sure.)
What's your favorite wine of 2014? I'd like to hear.