Walking through Total Wine in Boca Raton last night, I felt like Homer Simpson in the Land of Chocolate. I simply didn't have enough hands to grab everything I wanted. And then I came across this: Wine Spectator's Top 100 Releases of 2009.
For a reasonable $5.95 a copy, this glossy, perfect-bound mag runs down the best of 2009's wine alumni. Each wine has scored more than 90 points, and many are extraordinarily reasonable.
The top wine? Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Reserve 2005. It retails at just $27 a bottle.
Other notable, cheap entries in the 100 include
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a $12 bottle of Allram Gruner Veltliner Qualitatswein Trocken Kamptal Strassertaler 2007, a sweet German wine that's a mouthful in more ways than one. Brancott Sauvignon Blanc Malborough Reserve 2008, a crisp bottle from New Zealand, costs just $18.
This year's hot grape of the moment, Viognier, makes an appearance at number 39 with a $19 bottle of Yalumba Eden Valley 2008. And a bunch of sub-$20 bottles round out the bottom 50, including Shoofly's Shiraz Adelaide 2007 ($14), Trimbach Riesling Alsace 2007 (stellar at $18), and Monte Antico's 2006 Sangiovese-Cab-Merlot blend ($12).
The best news? Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can get the entire Top 100 for free online.
But what I suggest is making the trip to Total Wine and picking up a copy. Once that's in hand, you can flip through the pages and pick up many of the bottles right there in store, leaving you to feel a lot like our favorite Simpson in Boozetopia too.