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Every year since 1988, Wine Spectator has compiled a list of the most exciting wines we’ve reviewed over the past 12 months. These 100 wines reflect significant trends, recognize outstanding producers and spotlight successful regions and vintages around the world.
In 2011, our list was selected from more than 16,000 new releases our editors rated in our independent blind tastings. More than 5,400 of these wines earned outstanding or classic ratings (90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's 100-point scale). We narrowed the list down based on four criteria: quality (represented by score); value (reflected by release price); availability (measured by cases made or imported); and what we call the “X-factor”–the excitement generated by a rising-star producer, a benchmark wine or a significant milestone for a wine region. But no equation determines the final selections: These choices reflect our editors’ judgment and passion about the wines we tasted.
In this year’s list, 12 countries are represented, and quality remains high, with an average score of 93 points. The average price per bottle dipped from last year from $48 to $44, compared with a $70 average for 90-point wines reviewed this year. We hope that you enjoy this list of exciting values, emerging stars and time-honored stalwarts and that our Top 100 of 2011 leads you to more deeply explore the world of wine.