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The beautiful rolling hillsides of the Champagne region of France have, for hundreds of years, been producing many of the world's most famous wines. The sparkling white wines to come out of Champagne's prestigious wineries have conquered the world, and are drank in celebration across the globe. The vast majority of the region is under vine, and grows predominantly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varietals, which are usually blended together by master wine-makers in order to make their recognizable and widely loved produce. The north-easterly region of Champagne has a relatively cool climate, and quite a lot of rainfall, making it far from ideal for ripening grapes. However, the presence of heavily forested areas in the region helps maintain a balanced temperature, and the generations of expertise the wineries hold clearly produces excellent results in spite of the climatic problems.
Year in, year out, France enjoys its prestigious reputation as the producer of the finest wines in the world. With a wine making history which spans several thousand years and owes its expertise to the Romans, it comes as little surprise that this most highly esteemed of the Old World wine countries continues to impress and enchant both novices and experts to this day. Despite the rise in quality of wines from neighboring European countries, not to mention the New World, the French wine industry continues to boom, with up to eight billion bottles being produced in recent years. However, France prides itself on always putting quality before quantity, and the wide range in fine produce is a testament to the dedication and knowledge of the wineries across the country. Indeed, from rich and complex reds to light and aromatic white wines, French wines are as varied and interesting as they are enjoyable to drink, making this country a firm favorite for wine lovers across the globe.
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.