As a wine professional, writer , and blogger I taste over 500 wines each calendar year. I use many for my events, wine lists or enjoyment at home, and some simply don't pass my test. Here is my annual review of some of the best I've tasted in 2012:
United States - California
1. 2009 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet
2. 2010 Morgan "Twelve Clones" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
3. 2009 Buhler Napa Valley Chardonnay
1. NV Stephane Coquillette Premier Cru Champagne
2. 2010 Domaine de Pajot Blanc
3. 2009 Feraud - Brunel Cotes du Rhone Villages
1. 2008 Polazzo Montanari Ripasso
2. 2009 Vecchia Cantina Nobile di Montalcino
3. 2010 San Simone Pinot Grigio
Inernational - Other
1. 2009 Amado Sur Cabernet - Barnardo - Syrah Blend (ARG)
2. 2010 Tora Bay Suavignon Blanc (NZ)
3. 2008 Tait Ballbuster Red Blend (AUS)
Overall Wine Of The Year:
Stephane Coquillette Premier Cru Champagne
Top Restaurant Wine Lists of 2012:
1. Station Square Ristorante - Chef Ottavio Musumeci completely renovated and upgraded his list and earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for his efforts! The list is comprehensive and innovative.
2. Vernon's Cafe - Been one of the best in this area for a long time. Dennis Huston does an amazing job managing this extensive list and keeps it fresh with new offerings regularly. Another Spectator Award of Excellence winner.
3. Avalon Golf and Country Club - Brian Henderson's lists at both the Squaw Creek and Buhl Park locations are excellent. The glass pours at Buhl are proabably the best BTG list in our area. The BTB list is a little Cabernet heavy, but also offers an extensive list of French selections.
Two Up and Coming Restaurants for Wine Lovers in 2013:
1. The Magic Tree - A diverse and eclectic list of wines that is focused on value. They also have an amazing selection of 20 craft beers on tap!
2. D'Vino - The new fine dining restaurant located in the lower level of Alberini's. They are planning some great things with wine / food pairings in 2013!
I hope you all have a great New Year! I'm looking forward to more great wine, beer and food experiences in 2013!!