The Ten Most Affordable Wine Spectator WoTY Candidates (you can buy right now)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Go to this post to submit your entry for Scoop the Spectator 2013


I spent a little time researching which Wine Spectator Wine of the Year candidates were still available for purchase at retail.

I searched using these characteristics:
  • Rated in 2013
  • 95 points or bettter
  • $150 or less
  • 500 cases or more produced
  • Ignored unusual categories like Tokaji, Port, and Vin Santo
  • Decent availability remains according to Wine-Searcher
Here are the ten most affordable WoTY candidates you can actually buy right now:

2011 BEDROCK The Bedrock Heritage Sonoma Valley
95WS/$37/500 cases

The metrics on this one are mind boggling, and fans of Bedrock are delighting in the high marks this one received. Unless it means diminished future allocations then they're against the publicity. This is what Bedrock is known for: Incredible California wines at fair prices.

The naming convention on this one is the kind of thing that drives consumers bonkers. Typing in "bedrock heritage 2011" into Wine-Searcher and you'll get a lot of false positives. But some availability remains. Even if this one doesn't win Wine of the Year (I doubt it will) it seems like a good wine to track down.


2009 BODEGAS MUGA Rioja Selección Especial Reserva
95WS/$43/4,000 cases

I see wines from Bodegas Muga around quite a bit, but I'm not terribly familiar with their lineup. This wine has tremendous availability in the mid to high $30s so at 95 points it's definitely one to try. WoTY metrics certainly look strong but somehow it would be a surprise if this wine won.


2008 SCHIAVENZA Barolo Serralunga
95WS/$50/511 cases

I've never heard of this producer but availability is surprisingly strong given the production levels.

Wine-Searcher link

2009 FATTORIA DI FELSINA Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana Maestro Raro
95WS/$60/6,000 cases

I've enjoyed Felsina Fontalloro but haven't tried this bottling. Strong availability at around $50 and some listings below $40 even. Buy buy buy!


2004 CUNE Rioja Imperia Gran Reserva (Update: This wine was named WS WoTY 2013!)
95WS/$63/4,000 cases

It's unclear whether this 2004 was released late, or Wine Spectator just reviewed it this year. The tasting note mentions this being "firm and a bit austere" so I'm not a buyer. But it's readily available below $50.


2009 SHAFER Relentless
95WS/$63/3,300

When the 2008 was named WS WoTY the 2009 had just been released. I went out and bought 3 bottles of the 2009 for $55. Both the 2008 and 2009 are fantastic in my opinion. The 2009 has an even higher CellarTracker average rating than the 2008. If you're buying for enjoyment (as opposed to investment/flipping purposes) I say buy the 2009. There's a scattering of availability around the country in the mid to high $60s.


2010 DOMAINE SERENE Evenstad Pinot Noir
95WS/$65/6,000 cases

I've been chasing this one a while now. I've seen a few email offers from retailers for this, but by the time I'm ready to pounce on them they've sold out. Great metrics here from a well regarded producer. Still available in the $50 to $60 range and a viable contender for WoTY.


2010 DONUM Carneros Pinot Noir
95WS/$72/589 cases

I'm a buyer on this one if I can find it for around $60 fully loaded. That's a challenge, although I do see it available at Wine.com for shipping to some states (but not all). I've never tried Donum but would like to. I think this is a long shot for WoTY but I bet I'd enjoy it more than the Domaine Serene.


2010 DOMAINE CHARVIN Chateauneuf-du-Pape
95WS/$75/500 cases

2010 Rhone reds were the odds on favorite to win WoTY last year so I was shocked when the Shafer Relentless was selected. I thought for sure St. Cosme or Donjon would win. This Charvin seems to have snuck into their 2013 ratings as a web only review. I think Wine Advocate was 95+ on this one as well so it's got solid metrics even if it's a little pricey.


2010 E. GUIGAL St.-Joseph Lieu-Dit St.-Joseph
95WS/$75/665 cases

Another recently reviewed 2010, this one from the Northern Rhone. Available for as little as $57.95. I think Rhone is a huge longshot this year but if you like the style this one sounds like a good play. 95 WA as well.



Conclusion


So will one of these wines, that's sitting in plain actionable view, be selected as Wine Spectator's Wine of the Year? Imagine the arbitrage opportunity if you bought a couple cases of the winning wine and flipped it! ;)

Many of these wines haven't yet been selected as entries in this year's contest. If you haven't submitted your entry yet have a look at the list of wines that have been guessed and pick a wine that hasn't been selected yet.


Questions of the Day: Do you think any of these wines have a shot at WoTY? Which of these wines do you think are the best plays for sheer enjoyment?

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