I always get excited in December when The Wine Spectator publishes a list of 100 wines that it considers the most interesting and exciting wines of that year. Quite often I get the satisfaction of having already discovered the wines that they like the most, and quite often the issue gives me ideas about wines that I would like to buy. The "winner" is, of course, the "wine of the year," the top wine in the list.
Last year, the top wine was the Joseph Phelps Insignia. Previous winners have included Château Rieussec (2001), Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape (1999), Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (1997), Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cépages (1996), Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron Pauillac (1989), Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Private Reserve (1986), Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection (1990), Antinori Toscana Solaia (1997), and Penfolds Shiraz Grange (1990).
This year I have decided to make a prediction about the winner for 2006 -- Château Léoville-Barton 2003. The Wine Spectator gave Château Léoville-Barton 2003 a score of 98 when they reviewed it last month. At $75, it will be a relative bargain particularly if it wins!
I like to drink wine and dislike the notion of wine as an investment tool, but I can't help thinking that with all the favorable press, the price of this wine is going to soar! Buy all you can afford! (Robert Parker likes it very much too, and suggests that it is "realistically priced" at $75.00. He also suggests it should be cellared and forgotten for at least seven years.)
I remember a retailer once sadly saying that if a wine scores more than 90 in the Wine Spectator, he can't buy it. And if it scores less than 90, he can't sell it!
The sad thing is that it is already impossible to find, and my guess is that the price will double very quickly. If you think I am wrong about this, post your prediction in a comment.
I have several years of Château Léoville-Barton in my cellar, including the very highly rated 1982.