USA: Five Stimson Lane Wines Make 'Top 100' List
Stimson Lane's Columbia Crest winery led the way with three wines on the prestigious list. They are: the 1996 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (37th on the list); the 1998 Estate Chardonnay (79th); and the 1997 Estate Merlot (83rd).
Stimson Lane's Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State's oldest winery, placed its 1999 Eroica Riesling on the Spectator list (No. 76), as well as its 1996 Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (59th on the list).
No other wine company in the world placed as many wines on the Spectator list this year. The Wine Spectator tasted more than 11,000 newly released wines in blind tastings during the year 2000, of which 1,550 rated 90 points or better. Those were the initial candidates for this year's Top 100 list.
''This is such great news for our winemakers and for Washington State,'' said Ted Baseler. ''The Wine Spectator list is highly respected, so to have five of our wines on their top wines of the world list is quite an honor. This is just further evidence that Washington State is emerging as one of the premier wine-growing regions in the world.''
Baseler also congratulated Piero Antinori of Tuscany, whose 1997 Toscana Solaia placed No. 1 on the new Wine Specator list with a ``98'' score. Antinori's family has been making wine for 26 generations, and this is the first time an Italian wine has placed first on the Spectator list.
Antinori and Stimson Lane together make another highly rated red wine, Col Solare, using grapes from Stimson Lane's Columbia Valley vineyards.
Columbia Crest winemaker Doug Gore and his staff were ecstatic at the Wine Spectator Web site posting, which will soon appear on newsstands in a year-end issue of the magazine.
''There are so many people here at Columbia Crest who were responsible for our having three wines in the top 100,'' said Gore. ''Everybody, from the people in the vineyards to the viticulturalists to the folks in the cellar and the bottling room -- all of them deserve credit.''
Erik Olsen, white winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle worked with Germany's legendary Ernst Loosen to craft the Eroica Riesling, which received a ``91'' score this year, the highest rating Wine Spectator has given an American-made dry Riesling in history.
''What an honor. I can't wait to cable Ernst in Germany,'' said Olsen.
Olsen and Loosen also made Single Berry Select, using Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling grapes, harvest late in 1999 when they were perfect for making a classic dessert wine in the German trockenbeerenauslese style.
That wine just received a ''97'' from the Wine Spectator, the highest rating ever given a Washington State wine of any kind. Moreover, no other American white wine has been rated higher than Single Berry Select in the 25 years Wine Spectator has been scoring wines.
The Wine Spectator Web page noted Friday that ''the final rankings of the Top 100 Wines (from the 1,550 wines that received scores of '90' or better) were determined by evaluating each wine on four criteria: quality (as represented by score); value (as reflected by price); availability (as measured by production or, in the case of international wines, by amount imported to the U. S.; and an X-factor we call excitement.''
Steve Burns, executive director of the Washington Wine Commission, extended his congratulations to Stimson Lane Friday, saying, ''This placement of five wines on the new Wine Spectator list is quite a tribute to Washington State.''
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