Top 100 Wines – Jon Bonne


“Sparkling wine on these shores is in the midst of a sea change not unlike what’s happening in France’s Champagne, except perhaps earlier on the curve.

Less than a decade ago, a handful of well-known labels were making wines mostly in volume. Today, just as with the best Champenois growers, there is a commitment to uniqueness — to specificity instead of uniformity. (It’s why so many of these wines list the dates when they were disgorged: finished and sealed with a cork.) That’s true of all the small producers here; a number of other projects like Under the Wire are so young their wines are hard to find on shelves. At the same time, a few larger names, like Roederer, are determined to elevate quality in an impressive way, even as others seem to have fallen behind in the game.

The boom in pink wine needs no explanation, and if there are fewer this year, it’s only because so many other compelling things are happening on this coast — wines like the Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris, which is darker than many rosés, but made from vaguely pink rather than red grapes. Such a wine doesn’t neatly fit in any category except delicious.

2013 Red Car Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir ($20, 12.7%): Carroll Kemp took a big step forward with this year’s releases, including the 2012 Platt Vineyard Pinot, but Red Car’s pink wine deserves particular praise. It’s a deep, pensive effort, with crisp cherry-ice fruit and a delicate floral aspect, but also exuberant flavors that linger.”

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