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The sparkling wines of Champagne have been revered by wine drinkers for hundreds of years, and even today they maintain their reputation for excellence of flavor and character, and are consistently associated with quality, decadence, and a cause for celebration. Their unique characteristics are partly due to the careful blending of a small number of selected grape varietals, most commonly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. These grapes, blended in fairly equal quantities, give the wines of Champagne their wonderful flavors and aromas, with the Pinot Noir offering length and backbone, and the Chardonnay varietal giving its acidity and dry, biscuity nature. It isn't unusual to sometimes see Champagne labeled as 'blanc de blanc', meaning it is made using only Chardonnay varietal grapes, or 'blanc de noir', which is made solely with Pinot Noir.
This year marks the 28th release of Wine Spectator's Top 100 list, which celebrates the outstanding wines of the past year. Every year since 1988, Wine Spectator has compiled a list of the most exciting wines we've reviewed over the past 12 months.These 100 wines reflect significant trends, recognize outstanding producers and spotlight successful regions and vintages around the world.
Wine Spectator evaluates wines released from last December through the end of this November, with their selections prioritizing quality (based on score), value (based on price) and availability (based on the number of cases either made or imported into the United States). Since 2015, they have also been including an unquantifiable "X" factor, which can be anything from internet buzz, to creativity, to plain fun.