Best wine list for 2004

From the United States to the Ukraine, the leaders of one billion people were up for grabs in 2004. With voting a hot topic, elected officials serve as the lens for this year’s best wine list. While my usual lists focus on wines under $10, this year-end list gives me a chance to recommend some more expensive selections still bearing in mind good values (or QPR as it is known in wine geek parlance: quality to price
ratio) even at higher prices. While I had lots of good—and good value—wines in 2004, I do fear for 2005 as wine consumers start to feel the full effect of the weak dollar. Here are some tips for buying in 2005: stock up at spring and fall sales to make your wine dollar stretch farther; venture off the beaten path; think red, drink red; try dry rosé; try new wines (the weak dollar will
force some foreign producers to repackage); take a peek at Portugal. As well as producing some seriously good wines, 2004 also included big stories in sports, jail sentencing, television and other areas that had irresistible wine pairings. Cheers! —Dr. Vino

Best wines, mayors
Mayors have limited budgets and provide lots of services aimed at making voters happy-all while keeping an eye on the price. Fortunately, many wines are available in this category. For American mayors, an excellent choice is the House Wine 2002 from Magnificent Wine Co ($10) a big red blend from Washington State. For those foreign or cosmopolitan mayors the I Portali, Basilicata, Aglianico del Vulture, 2002 ($10) represents great value from the boot of Italy, the Las Rocas de San Alejandro, 2002 ($9) of old vine Grenache from Spain, and the Duboeuf Julienas Flower Label
2003 ($10) all have a refinement and delicacy well above their price point (read: they drink like $30+ wines). More specifics on these wines are available in my lists of best wines under $10.

Best wine, governors
Governors preside over bigger budgets than do mayors for the most part. The most notable governor of 2004 was the "Govern-ator" in California so what better than to start this group with one from his native
Austria: Nussberg Alte Reben, Wiener Wein, 2002 ($13). Gruner Veltliner is an excellent white worth trying anywhere you used to drink oaky Chardonnay; this one is a particularly good value. Another Teutonic white worth seeking out
is the Fitz-Ritter Gewurztraminer Spatlese, 2003 ($14), whose gentle spice notes compliment Thai fusion food.

With prices rising faster than the hilly countryside in Priorat, savvy buyers are turning to Montsant. L’Alleu,
2000 ($15) is a silky-smooth bargain blend of Grenache, Caringan, and Cabernet Sauvignon. But as a category this year’s group red winners (and in the next) are the Oregon 2002 Pinot Noirs. Incredibly yummy stuff. Patricia Green, Oregon,
2002 ($18), Ponzi Willamette Valley ($26) St. Innocent Willamette Valley ($26), and Bergstrom Oregon ($24) were all excellent examples of American Pinot Noir.

you can call me gov

Best wines, presidents
Presidents go for the very best and even if they are teetotalers, they still need to impress the guests. Impressing is easy with the E. Guigal St. Joseph, lieu dit, 2001 white ($30). A blend of Marsanne and Roussanne from the Northern Rhone, the spectacular aromas of white peach and oak yield to a voluptuous texture and long finish that will easily satisfy and intrigue heads of state. Another intriguing choice is the Quinta do Vale Meao, 2000 ($40) a dense, concentrated red wine made entirely of Portuguese grape varieties in the Duoro region.

Check out my interactive map of NYC wine shops

Best wine for the Defense Department
Shafer, Relentless
2001. ($55) A blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah, this profound and indefatigable wine comes from Shafer’s prime hillside vineyard. Although it’s expensive, with a budget such as theirs, no one will notice.

Best wine for Red Sox fans

Chateau d’Yquem, 1918 ($1,029). This bottle is from the vintage of their last World Series victory. How sweet it is!

Best wine for Howard Dean
Any grands crus Bordeaux from the 2000 vintage. The quality—and the prices!—would
make anyone scream.

Best wine for ousted corporate executives who have to give back bonuses

Three Thieves, Zinfandel, NV, 1L jug ($9.99)

Best wine for Martha Stewart
During the trial: Turley,
Old Vines 1997 ($50). The 16% alcohol helps the trial.
In jail: Big House Red, 2002, $8 (or 20 packs of cigarettes)
Upon release: Louis Roederer, Cristal, 1990, ($150) by the case!

Best wine for Kobe Bryant
Chardonnay. Feeling the pressure from the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) crowd, Chardonnay’s popularity has declined. But not as precipitously as Kobe’s whose jersey used to be the top seller and now has dropped to 90th.

Best wine for owners of an iPod
Pinot Noir. The hottest product in consumer electronics needs the new "hot wine." And thanks to the movie
, Pinot Noir is the new darling of California. Move over Merlot! Here comes something better! (and more difficult to do well)

Best ‘wine’ when Donald Trump declares "you’re fired"

Boone’s Farm, NV, Sun Pink Peach, ($2.49). Very affordable while in bankruptcy (like Trump’s Taj Mahal casino).

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3 Responses to “Best wine list for 2004”

  1. […] list of best wines from 2004 is up on Find out not only which wines I thought were great values last year […]

  2. […] at sale times to expand their wine dollar and rise in the ranks. Cheers! -Dr. Vino Also see the 2004 best wine list and […]

  3. […] the Dr. Vino list of best wines in […]


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