Between a cornucopia of varietals, processes, and climates, ranking individual wines is a difficult job, but someone’s got to do it. Wine Spectator is one of the most trusted names in wine criticism – so when they release their Top 100 Wines list every year people take notice. This year, Wine Spectator’s pick for 2011 Wine of the Year goes to Kosta Browne’s Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009.
This was not a decision taken lightly. Wine Spectator magazine’s editors faced the arduous task of sampling over 16,000 new releases (more than 5,400 of which boast an “outstanding” rating of 90 points or higher) over the course of several independent blind tastings. The editors then had to whittle their findings down based on a combination of four essential criteria: value, quality, relative availability, and the intangible X-Factor, which the magazine describes as “the excitement generated by a rising-star producer, a benchmark wine or a significant milestone for a wine region.”
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That Kosta Browne won the top prize is no easy feat, either – Wine Spectator relates the Sonoma-based winery’s story as one of true passion for the craft. Its creators, Dan Kosta and Michael Browne, come from no formal training or legacy in the winemaking world. They simply followed a dream to make great pinots as best they could. But with a rapidly growing business and 66 wines clocking in at over 90 points, they’re doing something right.
5,818 cases were made of this pinot noir, which Wine Spectator describes as ripe, concentrated, and full-bodied, with “a complex mix of black cherry, wild berry and raspberry fruit that's pure and persistent, ending with a pebbly note and firm tannins.” Interested parties can pick it up for around $52.