The Top 100 Wines of 2002: 11-25

Dec 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.

11. DOMINUS ESTATE Napa Valley 1999  95 points, $109

It has been 20 years since Christian Moueix began his Dominus project in Napa Valley. This 1999 ranks among the top Cabernet-based wines of the vintage. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grown in the Napanook Vineyard, the source of Napa's historic Inglenook Cabernets. 7,000 cases made.

12. ROBERT MONDAVI Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve 1999  94 points, $125

Mondavi adds another great Reserve to its list of outstanding vintages for this wine. Winemaker Geneviève Janssens relies heavily on Cabernet Sauvignon (85 percent) with small portions of the other four Bordeaux varieties. The Oakville AVA, especially Mondavi's To Kalon vineyard, is the main grape source, with Stags Leap and Carneros adding support. 20,000 cases made.

13. CHÂTEAU LAFITE ROTHSCHILD Pauillac 1999  95 points, $141

This celebrated first-growth made the wine of the vintage in 1999. Owned by several members of the Rothschild family and managed by Eric de Rothschild with Christophe Salin, Lafite relies on Cabernet Sauvignon for its understated power, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot making up the balance. 22,500 cases made.

14. DOMENICO CLERICO Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 1998  99 points, $71

Domenico Clerico, a self-taught vigneron, owns vineyards in three of Monforte d'Alba's crus -- Ginestra, Pajana and Mosconi (the source of his Percristina bottling) -- but it's this beauty from the 6.7-acre Ginestra parcel that garners the highest ratings. An additional 3.7 acres come into production with the 2001 vintage. 1,400 cases made.

15. RUDD ESTATE Chardonnay Carneros 1999  93 points, $35

Leslie Rudd, principal owner of gourmet food chain Dean & DeLuca, created this winery in 1996. This is Rudd's last bottling of the Carneros Chardonnay, which was made from purchased grapes and was aged for 12 months in French oak, half new. This is Rudd's debut in the Top 100. 2,800 cases made.

16. COLUMBIA CREST Chardonnay Columbia Valley Grand Estates 2000  90 points, $11

Columbia Crest is a perennial favorite for value, represented here by this lovely Chardonnay. Winemaker Doug Gore ferments some grapes in French barrels, some in American oak, some in stainless steel. Gore's master blend results in one of the best and most affordable Washington Chardonnays year after year. 185,000 cases made.

17. SPRING VALLEY Uriah Walla Walla Valley 2000  94 points, $40

From 2 acres of Merlot planted in 1993, Spring Valley has grown to 39 acres of vineyards. Dean and Shari Derby own the property; son Devin and his wife, Mary, make the wines. Their debut vintage was 1999. The Uriah is a blend of Merlot (60 percent), Cabernet Franc (34 percent) and Petit Verdot (6 percent), and is made entirely from estate-grown grapes. 1,200 cases made.

18. CHATEAU SOUVERAIN Merlot Alexander Valley 1999  92 points, $17

The majority of the fruit for this Merlot comes from Souverain's estate vineyard in northern Alexander Valley, a site which ripened evenly thanks to the long, cool '99 growing season. The wine was aged for 12 months in a combination of French and American oak. 27,000 cases made.

19. PLANETA Chardonnay Sicilia 2000  94 points, $34

The younger generation of the Planeta family -- Alessio, Francesca and Santi -- took over management of the 600-acre estate 10 years ago. The Chardonnay, made from estate-grown grapes, debuted with the 1994 vintage. Fermentation and aging in French oak, half new, results in a Burgundian style. 6,700 cases made.

20. SILVERADO VINEYARDS Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1999  91 points, $35

This Cabernet Sauvignon contains 6 percent Merlot and 4 percent Cabernet Franc, with fruit sourced from two Napa Valley vineyards -- the Disney Vineyard and the Mount George Vineyard. Jack Stuart has been the winemaker since Silverado was founded, in 1981. 16,934 cases made.

21. CIACCI PICCOLOMINI D'ARAGONA Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso 1997  97 points, $60

Former estate manager Giuseppe Bianchini inherited this 1,200-plus acre estate in 1985 when the previous owner died without heirs. Bianchini sold part of it to finance new vineyard plantings, which now total 80 acres, with additional olive groves and woodlands. This is the highest-scoring wine to date from this winery. 2,500 cases made.

22. ALTESINO Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 1997  98 points, $89

Owned by Milan entrepreneur Giulio Consonno and managed by Claudio Basla, this 160-acre estate contains four crus -- Altesino, Saltennano, Due Porti and Montosoli. This 100 percent Sangiovese wine hails from the 14-acre Montosoli Vineyard, arguably Montalcino's top site. Following traditional techniques, this Brunello matures in older oak casks. 2,200 cases made.

23. CAPEZZANA Toscana Ghiaie della Furba 2000  94 points, $45

Reputed to date from Roman times, this estate belonged to the Medici and later the Rothschild families; the current owner, Contini Bonacossi, acquired it in 1922. This red blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah) spends one year in barrique and one year in bottle prior to release. 3,250 cases made.

24. CASANOVA DI NERI Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 1997  95 points, $65

Owner Giacomo Neri runs this 890-acre estate bought by his father, Giovanni, in 1971. The estate vineyards cover a total of 75 acres, and Neri currently produces two single-vineyard Brunellos -- Tenuta Nuova and Cerretalto -- with the Tenuta Nuova the more forward wine. 4,580 cases made.

25. KIONA Cabernet Sauvignon Washington 1999  92 points, $24

Kiona has consistently made good Cabernets, but the 1999 vintage gave owner-winemaker Scott Williams a chance to showcase the Red Mountain appellation. This area has come a long way since the early 1970s when Kiona founding families Williams and Holmes drilled irrigation wells through 500 feet of solid rock and brought in electricity from 3 miles away. 4,000 cases made.

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.