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Wine Spectator Announces Its 2015 Wine of the Year

A California red from a stunning vintage crowns the Top 100 list

Posted: November 13, 2015

A Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from a small, excellently located vineyard in Oakville has been selected as Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year for 2015, the highest ranking in the magazine's annual Top 100 list of the most exciting wines. The Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Au Paradis 2012 (96 points, $195) epitomizes the modern style of California Cabernet and validates the excitement surrounding the 2012 vintage.

Wine Spectator's editors chose the Top 100 from more than 18,000 wines reviewed in the magazine’s independent blind tastings in 2015. Selections are based on quality (score), value (release price), availability (the number of cases made or imported into the U.S.) and what Wine Spectator calls the “X-factor”—the excitement generated by the wine.

The Cabernet Sauvignon from Au Paradis vineyard is Sir Peter Michael’s newest offering, and his first from Napa Valley. The Britain-born, self-made tech tycoon has already established his winery as a benchmark in Sonoma County for his Bordeaux blend Les Pavots, along with stellar Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. With his purchase and upgrades of the rocky Au Paradis site, he now takes his place in the top rank of Napa producers. In only its second vintage, the wine speaks of its site, farmed and vinified to perfection by an experienced team capturing the brilliance of a bountiful vintage.

As a textbook example of the way passionate investment, technical skill and an outstanding vineyard can create compelling wines, the Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Au Paradis 2012 is Wine Spectator's 2015 Wine of the Year.

For more information about the Wine of the Year, and to learn about the wines that earned the rankings just behind it, please view our full Top 100 package.

While this completes the countdown of the Top 10 wines of 2015, there are 90 more to come. A full list of the entire Top 100 will be posted on Monday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m. ET.

Details on all Top 100 wines can be found in Wine Spectator’s special Top 100 issue, on newsstands Dec. 1.

Ross J Whitehead
Lynbrook, NY —  November 13, 2015 7:17pm ET
Congrats to Sir Peter Michael and the entire team at Peter Michael. I have collected their wine for a long time, and have never been disappointed. I will celebrate this weekend by opening a 2001 Les Pavots.
Adam Makowski
Boston, MA —  November 24, 2015 2:03pm ET
First and foremost, congrats to Peter Michael. I have always enjoyed his wines. Solid across the range of Chardonnay to Cabernet, and everything in between.
But I must say that I am a little perplexed as to how/why
this wine was chosen as the #1 WOTY, as it does not fit the model/slogan of WS.

The #1 WOTY is supposed to be one of great price/quality/ratings ratio. There were several other great 96-98 point wines under $60/bottle.

This admission shows that the magazine is catering to the more high end oenophile (0.1%'ers), and not the every day wine consumer.

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