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Of all the white wine grape varietals, surely the one which has spread the furthest and is most widely appreciated is the Chardonnay. This green skinned grape is now grown all over the Old and New Worlds, from New Zealand to the Americas, from England to Chile, and is one of the first varietals people think of when considering white wine grapes. Perhaps this is because of its huge popularity which reached a peak in the 1990s, thanks to new technologies combining with traditional methods to bring the very best features out of the Chardonnay grape, and allow its unique qualities to shine through. Most fine Chardonnay wines use a process known as malolactic fermentation, wherein the malic acids in the grape juice are converted to lactic acids, allowing a creamier, buttery nature to come forward in the wine. No grape varietal is better suited to this process than Chardonnay, which manages to balance these silky, creamy notes with fresh white fruit flavors beautifully.
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.