The rejuvenation of a winery founded four decades ago. A new estate created in an area where no vineyards existed. These are just two stories behind the impressive list of 100 wines whittled down from the thousands of bottles tasted by Wine Spectator editors in 2017.
Of the nearly 17,000 wines reviewed this year, more than 5,600 rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale. From that starting point, we looked for wines that excelled in four criteria: quality (based on score), value (price), availability (cases made or imported into the U.S.) and, most importantly, a compelling story behind the wine, something we call the X-factor. Many high-scoring wines didn’t make the list because of limited quantities and high prices, a reflection of ongoing trends in the greater wine world.
The result is our Top 100 of 2017, a group that includes time-tested vintners, new labels, up-and-coming regions and a diverse range of grape varieties—a microcosm of the wine world today. On this year’s list, the average score held firm at 93 points, while the average price is $43—down from $46 each of the past three years.
Most of this year’s list comes from three countries—the U.S., France and Italy—though there are geographical newcomers, too. Overall, U.S. wines account for one-third of our class of 2017, with California leading the way. The 2015 vintage in France resulted in a strong presence from the Rhône Valley, Loire Valley and Burgundy. The Italian contingent hails from nine different regions. We hope you will enjoy our Top 100 as a guide to wineries to watch in the coming months and years.