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The Top 100 Wines of 2002: 26-40


Posted: December 4, 2002

Top 100 Overview | Wine of the Year | 2-10 | 11-25 | 26-40 | 41-55 | 56-70 | 71-85 | 86-100

Click on each wine's name to see its original tasting note.

26. HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 1999  92 points, $25

From 12 acres in 1985, heart surgeon Elias Hanna has expanded his holdings to more than 600 acres. His daughter Christine now oversees day-to-day operations. Winemaker Jeff Hinchliffe made a richer wine in 1999 by picking riper grapes from 15 separate blocks in Hanna's 60-acre Red Ranch. 4,100 cases made.

27. HARTWELL Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Estate 1999  96 points, $100

This wine debuted in 1993, when it was made and marketed by Grace Family and called Sunshine Vineyard. In 1997, owner Bob Hartwell decided to build a winery on his property, completing the facility in time for the 1999 harvest. The winemaker is Celia Masyczek. 1,300 cases made.

28. DARIOUSH Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1999  94 points, $62

Founder Darioush Khaledi grew up in Iran's Shiraz region. Khaledi bought the former Altamura winery on Silverado Trail in 1997 and is now creating an elaborate 17,000-square-foot winery on that spot. Winemaker Steve Devitt takes a minimalist approach, calling himself a winegrower because of his focus on vineyard management. 2,443 cases made.

29. PETER MICHAEL Les Pavots Knights Valley 1999  96 points, $110

Founded in 1982 and having established a reputation for Chardonnay early on, Peter Michael Winery today has become one of California's finest Cabernet producers. Les Pavots ("the poppies") is a Bordeaux-style red (68 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 17 percent Merlot and 15 percent Cabernet Franc) from a 23-acre estate vineyard located high above Knights Valley in eastern Sonoma County. 2,164 cases made.

30. ARTESA Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1999  92 points, $30

This winery was known as Codorniu Napa when it was founded in 1991 to produce sparkling wine. In 1997, it became Artesa and was converted to still-wine production. For this red, winemaker Don Van Staaveren blends fruit from multiple vineyards and subappellations in Napa Valley to get complexity of flavor. 6,950 cases made.

31. COLUMBIA CREST Syrah Columbia Valley Reserve 2000  92 points, $28

Here's a great example of why Syrah is an up-and-coming variety in Washington. Winemaker Doug Gore chose grapes from vineyards located within the Yakima Valley for aromatics, the Horse Heaven Hills vineyard for balance and complexity, and the Wahluke Slope for texture and body. A small amount (8 percent) of Grenache was added. 3,000 cases made.

32. L'ECOLE NO. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 1999  92 points, $30

L'Ecole's colorful label depicts the old schoolhouse that now serves as winery and tasting room. Founded in 1983, it has been making Cabernet Sauvignon since 1989. The 1999 bottling is a blend of grapes from several Columbia Valley vineyards, including Seven Hills in Walla Walla, and the Klipsun Vineyard. 2,030 cases made.

33. LEEUWIN Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series 1999  95 points, $65

Denis Horgan and his wife, Tricia, founded Leeuwin Estate in 1973. The Art Series represents Leeuwin's top line. Most of the vineyards that provide grapes for this wine yield less than 2 tons per acre, including the backbone of the blend, Block 20. Barrel fermenting in French oak gives the wine an opulent character. John Brocksopp is the estate's production manager. 3,000 cases made.

34. KRUG Brut Champagne Grande Cuvée NV  96 points, $140

Barrel fermentation of the base wines, uncommon in Champagne, and the addition of up to 40 percent reserve wines from older vintages combine to give this Champagne its distinctive flavor, depth and complexity. Although it's owned by Louis Vuitton-Mo't-Hennessy, co-directors Henri and Rémi Krug run this house like a small family estate. 40,000 cases made.

35. TURNBULL Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville 1999  92 points, $35

When Patrick O'Dell purchased Johnson Turnbull winery in 1993 and changed the name to Turnbull Wine Cellars, he also updated the winery and added vineyard holdings. The quality of the Cabernet has improved under the hand of winemaker Jon Engelskirger, who joined Turnbull in 1998. This wine is made from the grapes of four estate vineyards in Napa Valley's Oakville region. 8,400 cases made.

36. SHAFER Merlot Napa Valley 2000  92 points, $39

Credit Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez for making a stunning Merlot in a vintage that stumped many Merlot producers. Fernandez sources grapes from selected vineyards throughout Napa Valley, blending in small percentages of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to complement -- but not overshadow -- the Merlot character. 10,000 cases made.

37. ROSEMOUNT Syrah McLaren Vale Balmoral 1999  93 points, $50

Rosemount is the only major winery in Australia to use Syrah instead of Shiraz as the varietal name. The grapes for this wine come from 50- to 100-year-old vines planted in black loamy soils. It is aged for nearly two years in American oak prior to being bottled under the watchful eye of winemaker Charles Whish. 10,000 cases made.

38. E. GUIGAL Hermitage 1999  93 points, $55

Marcel Guigal and son Philippe built their reputation on Côte-Rôtie reds, but have since expanded production throughout the Rhône Valley. This Hermitage is 100 percent Syrah, from estate-grown grapes and purchased wine. It ages in oak for three years before being released. 7,330 cases made.

39. PAOLO SCAVINO Barolo Carobric 1998  95 points, $80

The father-and-daughter team of Enrico and Enrica Scavino have positioned this winery at the forefront of modern-style winemaking in Piedmont. They produce several single-vineyard Barolos, but the Carobric represents a blend of several well-known sites, including Bric d'l Fiasc, Cannubi and Rocche di Castiglione. 1,600 cases made.

40. PARINGA Shiraz South Australia Individual Vineyard 2001  90 points, $10

David Hickinbotham comes from a family with a 60-year tradition in Australian wine. A grower who controls 900 acres of vines in McLaren Vale and Riverland, he sought Mike Farmilo, formerly of Penfolds, to make his Paringa label. The secret to the quality is yields of less than half the normal quantity for Riverland. 20,000 cases made.

Top 100 Overview | Wine of the Year | 2-10 | 11-25 | 26-40 | 41-55 | 56-70 | 71-85 | 86-100

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