Wine Spectator Announces Its 2011 Wine of the Year

Wine Spectator Announces Its 2011 Wine of the Year (Graphic: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--For the first time, a Pinot Noir from California has been named Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Year. The Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009 was chosen from among the more than 16,000 wines reviewed by Wine Spectator in blind tastings in 2011, for its classic score, its reasonable price and the role the winery has played in the rapid rise of Pinot Noir in the pantheon of California wines.

“Part of Kosta Browne’s appeal is its unique history,” explains Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator. “This small Sonoma winery was founded just over a decade ago by two waiters who pooled their tips so they could make wine. Since 2002, Dan Kosta and Michael Browne have made 66 wines that have earned 90 points or higher—though they don’t own a single vine and make wine in a rented warehouse. In 2009, the greatest vintage yet for California Pinot, the team made 11 outstanding Pinots, including our Wine of the Year for 2011, which scored 95 points and was released at $52.”

The full list of the Top 100 will be published in the Dec. 31, 2011-Jan. 15, 2012, issue of Wine Spectator, available on newsstands beginning on Dec. 6. It is also available at The 2011 list includes wines from 12 countries, with an average score of 93 points and an average price of $44. The complete list of Top 10 wines is detailed below.

Wine Spectator’s Top 10 Wines of 2011

1. Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009 (95 points, $52, 5,818 cases made)

2. Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Kathryn Hall 2008 (96 points, $90, 2,450 cases made)

3. Domaine Huët Vouvray Moelleux Clos du Bourg Première Trie 2009 (96 points, $69, 760 cases made)

4. Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino 2006 (96 points, $50, 7,000 cases made)

5. Dehlinger Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2008 (95 points, $50, 1,050 cases made)

6. Baer Ursa Columbia Valley 2008 (95 points, $35, 1,095 cases made)

7. Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional Douro 2008 (95 points, $55, 2,188 cases made)

8. Domenico Clerico Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2006 (96 points, $90, 1,500 cases made)

9. Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage La Guiraude 2009 (94 points, $55, 650 cases made)

10. Château de St.-Cosme Gigondas Valbelle 2009 (94 points, $58, 1,175 cases made)

In 2011, Wine Spectator editors blind-tasted more than 16,000 new releases. To determine the Top 100, the editors apply four criteria: quality (as represented by score); value (as reflected by release price); availability (measured by case production, or, for international wines, the number of cases imported); and an X-factor the editors call excitement. No equation determines the final selections; these choices reflect the editors’ judgment and passion about the wines tasted by Wine Spectator in 2011.

For more information about Wine Spectator and its Top 100 wines of 2011, please contact Thomas Matthews, executive editor, at

About Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a publication that reaches more than 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses a web portal (, mobile platforms, and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 16,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications also publishes Cigar Aficionado, Food Arts, Market Watch, Whisky Advocate and Impact Newsletter.

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Wine Spectator
Thomas Matthews, 212-684-4224, ext. 366
Executive Editor

Release Summary

Wine Spectator Announces 2011 Wine of the Year


Wine Spectator
Thomas Matthews, 212-684-4224, ext. 366
Executive Editor