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Each year, Wine Spectator editors survey the wines we've reviewed over the past 12 months and select the most exciting for our Top 100.
This annual list, which debuted in 1988, reflects significant trends, spotlights successful regions and recognizes outstanding producers. In 2009, we reviewed more than 17,000 new releases from around the world in blind tastings. More than 3,800 of these wines earned outstanding ratings (90 points or higher on our 100-point scale). We narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by case produced or imported); and an X-factor we call excitement. But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect our editors' judgment and passion about the wines we tasted.
Since 2009 was a year of economic retrenchment, we focused even more on value as we made our choices; the average price per bottle is $40, down from the past two years. Quality remains high, with an average score of 93 points, matching the previous three years, and 13 countries are represented. We hope that you enjoy this list of exciting values, emerging stars and classic wines and that our Top 100 of 2009 leads you to more deeply explore the world of wine.