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Washington Wine Report is an independent publication focused on bringing Northwest wine to you and bringing you to Northwest wine. Our goal is:
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Reviewed Wineries

Okay, so Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2008 just came out a month ago. Is it too early to start thinking about what Washington wines will be on there for 2009? No.

In a previous post regarding Amavi’s 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, I wrote about the nexus between the price and score of this wine. That is, the wine received a very high score for its price point. This wine was subsequently in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2008.

I also recently wrote about how the 95 point or higher score was a bit of a magic number for expensive wines in terms of making the Top 100.

There is now a second Washington wine that hits this same score and price point nexus. The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon recently received a 95 point rating from Wine Spectator. This is a rare accomplishment for any Washington wine from this magazine. Ninety-five points or higher is considered a “Classic” wine by Wine Spectator’s standards. However, for a wine that is under $30 – the 2005 Reserve Cabernet comes in at $27 – it is almost unheard of. How much so?

Searching Wine Spectator’s database for red wines under $30 that have received a rating of 95 points or higher produces the following list:

Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon Washington 1998 96pts $25
Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon Washington 1990 96pts $26
Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon Washington 1991 95pts $29
Leonetti Merlot Washington 1992 96pts $25
Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2005 95pts $27

That’s right. Only five wines have ever received this rating or higher at this price point. Moreover, none has received this rating since 1992. Finally, all of the wines that have were releases from Leonetti.

This puts this wine in an elite crowd and makes it a virtual lock for Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2009.

Now here is the catch. It will be extremely difficult for you to find. Most stores do not have it on the shelves as they have not received it yet (they have the 2004 currently). And after the review came out the winery sold out quickly. The fact that Columbia Crest had a Christmas special shipping for $0.01 helped. So if you want to find a bottle, you will have to do some leg work.

Thanks to some of the above by my partner in wine crime, I will be reviewing this wine in a subsequent post.

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