Log In / Join Now

Top 100 Wines of 2003: 11-40

Posted: January 20, 2004

Top 100 Wines of 2003: 1 | 2 - 10 | 11 - 40 | 41 - 70 | 71 - 100 | Full List in PDF Format

Wine Score Price
11. TWO HANDS Shiraz Barossa Valley Bella's Garden 2002 96 $40
Michael Twelftree and Richard Mintz founded Two Hands in 2000 with a dedication to both quality and value. Their Garden Series showcases wines they believe demonstrate the signature styles of different areas of Australia: Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Clare Valley. Winemaker Matt Wenk, formerly of Nepenthe, makes the wines at the Two Hands winery, located in the Barossa Valley. 1,500 cases made. From Australia. Tasting Note
12. AUBERT Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Ritchie Vineyard 2001 95 $50
Winemaker Mark Aubert has demonstrated his talent both with his namesake winery and with Colgin, which produced two of the top 2000 Cabernets. This wine comes from the Ritchie Vineyard, which was planted more than 30 years ago on the Sonoma Coast. Aubert attributes the complexity of this wine to Ritchie's low-yielding, mature Chardonnay vines. 702 cases made. From California. Tasting Note
13. SPRING VALLEY Uriah Walla Walla Valley 2001 94 $40
The Corkrum family has been farming in the Spring Valley area for more than 100 years. They named this wine after an ancestor, Uriah Corkrum, who farmed there in the late 1800s. Spring Valley Vineyards, founded in 1999, makes wines from its 40-acre vineyard first planted in 1993. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the Uriah was aged 17 months, chiefly in new French oak barrels. 900 cases made. From Washington. Tasting Note
14. CLOS DU MARQUIS St.-Julien 2000 94 $30
Some might call this a second wine, but it comes from a different, 110-acre plot of vineyards not deemed suitable for grand vin Léoville Las Cases. Although it's like a separate estate, it's run with the same passion and discipline by proprietor Jean-Hubert Delon. If you don't want to splurge on Las Cases, try some of this. 20,000 cases made. From Bordeaux. Tasting Note
15. CHÂTEAU LA ROQUE Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St.-Loup Cupa Numismae 2000 93 $18
Jack Boutin, owner of Château La Roque, was among the first to offer quality bottlings from the Pic St.-Loup cru, a subarea within the Languedoc region. His Cupa Numismae blends 60 percent Syrah with 40 percent Mourvèdre, aged in new oak barrels. The cuvée takes its name from the inscription on a centuries-old gold coin found in the vineyard. 4,700 cases made. From Languedoc. Tasting Note
16. SMITH WOODHOUSE Vintage Port 2000 95 $52
The 2000 Smith Woodhouse contains grapes grown in the 42-acre Quinta da Madalena vineyard and the Quinta de Carris vineyard. The grapes were harvested in early October, late for the Douro, and with low yields that resulted in this rich, ripe Port. The father and son team of Peter and Charles Symington oversee the winemaking here and at Graham, which also made our Top 100 this year. 4,000 cases made. From Portugal. Tasting Note
17. H. DÖNNHOFF Riesling Spätlese Nahe Niederhäuser Hermannshähle 2001 97 $48
Helmut Dännhoff has increased this estate to 31 acres since taking over in 1971. The Hermannshähle vineyard is roughly 80 percent slate, with sandstone and volcanic soils. Here, Dännhoff farms 60-year-old Riesling vines. He works traditionally, fermenting in neutral oak casks, with indigenous yeasts, then bottles after about six months. 250 cases made. From Germany. Tasting Note
18. ALBAN Syrah Edna Valley Reva 2000 94 $44
John Alban capped a successful first decade focusing exclusively on Rhône varietals with a trio of brilliant 2000 Syrahs. Alban proved his mastery of this grape even in a late, wet, cool year with a hugely successful, deeply extracted Reva bottling (named after his mother). This wine comes from Alban's family-owned, 60-acre Edna Valley vineyard. 850 cases made. From California. Tasting Note
19. PRATS & SYMINGTON Douro Chryseia 2001 94 $40
The 2001 vintage of Chryseia is the second from this collaboration between one of Portugal's top Port families, the Symingtons, and Bruno Prats, a winemaker and former owner of Château Cos-d'Estournel. A variety of indigenous grapes are blended, relying heavily on Touriga Nacional. One of the winemaking goals for Chryseia is to prevent overoaked flavors, so the wine spends a maximum of eight months in barrel. Although new French oak is used, the 400-liter barrels limit the oak influence. 3,000 cases made. From Portugal. Tasting Note
20. CHATEAU SOUVERAIN Chardonnay Russian River Valley Winemaker's Reserve 2001 93 $25
Each year, winemaker Ed Killian isolates the most expressive lots of Chardonnay, all from purchased grapes, to be bottled as Winemaker's Reserve. In 2001, the Westside Farms Vineyard anchored the blend, providing 80 percent of the fruit, with additional grapes purchased from the Sonoma Foothills and Sangiacomo vineyards. The selected lots ferment in mostly new French oak barrels. 1,958 cases made. From California. Tasting Note
21. CHÂTEAU DE FLAUGERGUES Coteaux du Languedoc La Méjanelle Cuvée Sommelière 2000 92 $13
Château de Flaugergues' vineyards lie adjacent to its beautifully manicured gardens, under the watchful eye of owner Henri de Colbert. Round pebbles of the former Rhône delta make up the soils of the La Méjanelle area in the Coteaux du Languedoc. This terroir and the region's Mediterranean climate offer favorable conditions for the Syrah (70 percent) and Grenache (30 percent) used to make the Cuvée Sommelière, which sees no oak aging. 6,000 cases made. From Languedoc. Tasting Note
22. KUMEU RIVER Chardonnay Kumeu 2002 92 $27
The Kumeu River Chardonnay put this winery-established in 1944 by the Brajkovich family-and region on the map. Winemaker Michael Brajkovich chooses Chardonnay from five different vineyard sites. Three are estate-owned, the other two managed by Kumeu River. The grapes were hand-harvested, whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented with indigenous yeast, and then put through malolactic fermentation. Kumeu River is one of a growing number of New Zealand wineries using screw cap closures. 600 cases imported. From New Zealand. Tasting Note
23. MOCCAGATTA Barbaresco Basarin 2000 96 $60
Moccagatta's Basarin vineyard combines a southern exposure with soil composed of gray marl and sand. These factors contribute to the grapes' ripeness, resulting in the concentrated fruit flavors found in the wine. The grapes are fermented in steel vats, but aged in French oak barriques. 550 cases made. From Piedmont. Tasting Note
24. CHÂTEAU LANGOA BARTON St.-Julien 2000 94 $50
The sister property of Léoville Barton, 42-acre Langoa Barton is owned and managed by Anthony Barton and his daughter Lilian. The 2000 combined 72 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 percent Merlot and 8 percent Cabernet Franc, aged for 20 months in French oak barrels, half of which were new. 7,580 cases made. From Bordeaux. Tasting Note
25. CHÂTEAU LAGRANGE St.-Julien 2000 93 $33
Under the ownership of Japanese giant Suntory since 1984 and managed by the affable Marcel Ducasse, Lagrange got a complete makeover in the 1980s. Although the blend usually relies on a significant proportion of Petit Verdot, Ducasse felt it was too strong in 2000, and chose to go with Cabernet Sauvignon (76 percent) and Merlot (24 percent). 25,000 cases made. From Bordeaux. Tasting Note
26. MOUNT EDEN Chardonnay Edna Valley West Slope Edna Ranch 2001 91 $12
Mount Eden has bottled a Chardonnay from the MacGregor Vineyard for 16 years, yet this is the first vintage in which winemaker Jeffery Patterson made a Chardonnay from the adjacent Edna Ranch vineyard. This debut bottling is fermented and aged in French and American oak and aged sur lie in barrels for nine months before bottling. 4,362 cases made. From California. Tasting Note
27. CASANUOVA DELLE CERBAIE Brunello di Montalcino 1998 94 $54
Cerbaie's Brunello sources grapes from the estate's best vineyard sites, the majority of which are located on the hill of Montosoli, just outside the fortress town of Montalcino. This area holds a number of the town's premier vineyards, favored for their southwestern exposure and natural barriers to the north and west that shelter the hillside from climatic extremes. Meticulous vineyard management and careful manual selection of the grapes at harvest contributed to the complexity of the '98. 2,250 cases made. From Tuscany. Tasting Note
28. MULDERBOSCH Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2003 92 $20
Mulderbosch was founded in 1989 when winemaker and owner Mike Dobrovic bought a 118-acre farm. Mulderbosch produced its first vintage in 1991, and now totals 98 acres of vineyards. Dobrovic has led this winery to the top of South Africa's white wine production with his consistently superb Sauvignon Blanc. 11,500 cases made. From South Africa. Tasting Note
29. CHÂTEAU BOUSCASSÉ Madiran Vieilles Vignes 2000 93 $30
The Brumont family has grown grapes at Château Bouscassé for 300 years. Current proprietor Alain Brumont, who also owns nearby Château Montus, slashed yields by one-third to focus on quality. The soils here are clay, producing sturdy reds from the low-yielding Tannat vines, whose average age is 100 years. This 100 percent Tannat red is aged in one-third new oak. 6,600 cases made. From Southwest France. Tasting Note
30. E. GUIGAL Hermitage 2000 97 $60
This is the first vintage for Guigal's Hermitage to include not only purchased wines, but grapes from the recently acquired Domaine de Vallouit and Domaine J.-L. Grippat vineyard holdings. Grapes from eight different vineyard sites in Hermitage were destemmed, fermented in steel tanks, and then aged for two years in traditional vats prior to bottling. 4,580 cases made. From the Rhône. Tasting Note
31. CHÂTEAU LATOUR Martillac Pessac-Léognan 2000 92 $25
Owned by the Kressman family since 1929, the property is named for the remaining tower of a 12th century fort. The area's gravelly soils are well-suited to Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up 60 percent of this red. Merlot and Malbec round out the blend. Aging in about 35 percent new oak adds toasty notes and helps to smooth out and integrate the wine's tannins. 10,000 cases made. From Bordeaux. Tasting Note
32. ALBINO ROCCA Barbaresco Vigneto Brich Ronchi 2000 95 $65
Father and son Albino and Angelo Rocca manage their estate, aided by winemaker Giuseppe Caviola. The Brich Ronchi vineyard lies within the township of Barbaresco, and its vines range from 30 to 50 years old. The old-vine grapes and extended aging in French barriques added to the generous fruit and finesse of the 2000, which Angelo Rocca considers to be his greatest vintage yet. 2,080 cases made. From Piedmont. Tasting Note
33. LANÇON PÈRE & FILS Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaine de la Solitude 2001 93 $34
The Lançons established Domaine de la Solitude in 1450 and have been making wine since 1604. The 197-acre estate comprises a single block of vines averaging 50 years of age. Winemaker Pierre Sigaud employs micro-oxygenation to produce this racy, modern-style blend of 60 percent Grenache with equal parts Syrah and Mourvèdre. 6,500 cases made. From the Rhône. Tasting Note
34. DOMENICO CLERICO Barolo Pajana 1999 95 $75
Domenico Clerico, a self-taught winemaker, left his job as a salesman in the late 1970s to work on his family's property. He purchased vineyards in the Monte d'Alba cru Pajana in 1989, from which he sources the grapes for this wine. It ages for almost two years in 90 percent new French oak. 550 cases made. From Piedmont. Tasting Note
35. ROSENBLUM Zinfandel San Francisco Bay Carla's Vineyards 2001 92 $23
Winemaker Jeff Cohn makes his case for the influence of terroir on Zinfandel with the 16 vineyard-designated and distinctive Zinfandels he bottled in 2001. This one hails from Carla's Vineyards, from low-yielding, head-pruned and dry-farmed vines that are more than 100 years old. 2,100 cases made. From California. Tasting Note
36. YANGARRA PARK Shiraz McLaren Vale Appellation Series 2001 91 $17
This Kendall-Jackson project from Australia debuted with the 2000 vintage; beginning with the 2001 vintage they introduced the Appellation Series to showcase regional Australian character (the original Varietal Series blends grapes from different sources). Winemaker Peter Fraser blends grapes for this wine from two different subregions of McLaren Vale: the cooler Foothills/Blewitt Springs subregion and the warmer Seaview Hilltops region. 5,000 cases made. From Australia. Tasting Note
37. DR. LOOSEN Riesling Kabinett Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wehlener Sonnenuhr 2001 92 $18
Ernst Loosen, owner and winemaker of the Dr. Loosen estate, pursues a racy, minerally, fragrant style. In 2001, thanks to excellent weather in October, he was able to harvest healthy grapes with a high level of ripeness and vibrant acidity. This is among the top kabinetts of the 2001 vintage, and it's a great value, too. 1,000 cases made. From Germany. Tasting Note
38. NUMANTHIA-TERMES Toro Termes 1999 92 $21
The first vintage for this impressive pioneering bodega was 1998. Owned by brothers Marcos and Miguel çngel Eguren, it produces Termanthia, a high-priced cuvée from a 140-year-old vineyard; Numanthia, a mid-range bottling; and this modestly priced offering produced from 30-year-old vines around the towns of Valdefinjas and Toro. The wine is aged for 20 months in new French oak barrels before being bottled. 1,000 cases made. From Spain. Tasting Note
39. CHÉREAU-CARRÉ Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Château de Chasseloir 2002 90 $9
The Loire enjoyed a superb harvest in 2002, as evidenced by this Muscadet, which comes from a 60-acre vineyard planted to vines averaging 50 years old. The vineyard overlooks the Maine River, in St.-Fiacre, south of Nantes. Bernard Chéreau has overseen the production here since 1988, taking over from his father who bought the 15th century Château de Chasseloir in 1953. 15,000 cases made. From the Loire. Tasting Note
40. PATZ & HALL Chardonnay Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch 2001 93 $36
Donald Patz and James Hall enjoyed a banner year with this Dutton Ranch bottling. The grapes are sourced from four different vineyards managed by the Dutton family: Mill Station, Morelli Lane, Sebastopol and Rued. This wine also relies on three different Chardonnay clones. The grapes were hand-sorted three times to remove imperfect clusters. 3,886 cases made. From California. Tasting Note
Top 100 Wines of 2003: 1 | 2 - 10 | 11 - 40 | 41 - 70 | 71 - 100 | Full List in PDF Format

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.