Saturday, January 19, 2008

The real bargains: Best wine values of 2008

Why wait for the Wine Spectator 2008 top 100 list?! What are the best wine bargains for 2008?

Well, first let me say, this will be a work in progress. We've got a pretty high hurdle for "wine value". And that means only an occasional wine here and there will meet the cutoff. So this list will grow as 2008 moves along. So I'd suggest you bookmark, furl or otherwise capture this posting url if you'd like to check back throughout the year.

For the time being, some of your best wine bargains for 2008 will also be the wine bargains we reviewed and identified at the end of 2007. Many of them remain available at retail and you can find them in this post.

As we have done before, let's start by defining "wine value". We define a good value wine as a wine where perceived quality exceeds cost. To assess this on Spirit of Wine, we simply compare the number of ***'s in each rating to the number of $$$'s.

When the ***'s meet or exceed the $$$'s, that is a good value wine. An exceptional value occurs when the wine quality rating exceeds the cost level by two or more categories.

Keep in mind that virtually every wine reviewed in Spirit of Wine is one that was pre-selected based on a positive reputation. In fact, in most cases where one of our reviewed wines has a traditional rating (eg, Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, etc), that rating is 90 or better. So high values within Spirit of Wine already represent the "best of the best". We're tough graders.

Based on Spirit of Wine ratings, and based on the definitions above, below are the real bargains for 2008 wines (with links to reviews). They're sorted from highest ratings first. Scan the list below for wines in a style you like - you'll be assured of outstanding value . And remember, click here for the complete list from last year.

Three star best values:

Review and Rating: ***+ $ R. H. Phillips EXP Syrah, 2004, CA

Review and Rating: ***+ $ Bartenura Moscato, 2007, Provincia di Pavia, Italy

Review and Rating: *** $ Checkered Cab Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003, South Australia

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