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There are few regions in the world with stricter regulations in regards to wine production and grape varietals than those found in Bordeaux, France. Here, in the home of the world's finest wines, the type and quality of grapes used is of utmost importance, and the legendary wineries which work on the banks of the Gironde river have mastered the careful art of juice blending to find the perfect balance for their produce. Whilst there are six 'official' Bordeaux grapes, the two key varietals for almost every fine Bordeaux wine are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and with good reason. Whilst Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are renowned for their acidity and astringency, strong fruit and spice flavors and full body, Merlot grapes are notably rounded, soft, fleshy and lighter on tannin. The combination of these two varietals, along with a small percentage of (commonly) Petit Verdot or Cabernet Franc, is the perfect balancing act – the two grape varietals cancel out each others weaker points, and accentuate all that is good about the other.
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.