EP 928 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wines of 2010 – Part 2

Gary Vaynerchuk and Josh Greene, editor of Wine & Spirits conclude the tasting of the Top 5 Wines of 2010.

Wines tasted in this episode:

2007 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir
1987 Lopez De Heredia Tondonia Rioja Reserva
2007 Domain Leflaive Batard-Montrachet

Links mentioned in todays episode.

Latest Comment:

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luca bercelli


Thank god for Gary Vaynerchuk!
This guest might be the best guy in the world but boy, is he boring. Unlike our man, he comes across as elitist, and definitely someone I wouldn’t want to get stuck in a bar with. Makes me appreciate GV all the more.

Tags: burgundy, review, Riesling, Rioja, Video, white, wine, wines

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  • Riz welcome 🙂 so nice to have u with us!

  • Latour90 ..THANK YOU!

  • U like the wine glass switch 😉 lol

  • Agreed!

  • Thank u so much and thnx for commenting 🙂

  • Taco, thank u!

  • Cellarrat5

    I might have to agree with you here. I would have to go back and watch a few of my favorites, but this had so much “finger on the pulse of the wine world” talk and the nerddom factor was through the roof. These are the shows that really broaden my worldly knowledge of wine and give me a glimpse into a couple wines that I probably will never get to try (specifically the 430 bone Chard). Personally, it is always awesome to watch you trade notes and talk wine with someone who has been in the industry as long as you GV, and who has somewhat of a similar background regarding pallet and over all wine knowledge. Keep ripping face.

  • Cellarrat5

    Fantastic show, I pity all those who for some do not watch guest shows. Been catching up on WLTV all morning/afternoon, too bad I have a cold otherwise I would go out and try to find as many of those wines as I can afford!

    QOTD: I would say at the moment I am a 60-40 (60 lower 40 higher). I am not scared of alcohol, in fact, all the wines I help make are at or above 14.5. But I do think balance is key. If there is too much heat, or the wine does not have the structure or fruit to counter the alc% then I usually will give that wine a pazzzzzz. That being said, I do enjoy a well rounded voluptuous fruit warhead every once and a while. I think they tend to get a bad name, depending on where peoples pallets lie and which country/region they come from.

  • Two of my favorite shows have been the two with Josh. Great stories, insight and simplicity. I really wish I could be there in the room to be lucky enough to try some of those wines.

    The key for me with the alcohol is I want to know that it is there, but it should not be in the top couple things that I notice. The rare occasion is a dinner that has an entre that really needs some power to compete with it. That being said, I am probably 90 lighter 10 heavier. And with that I think I will open a Riesling. Enjoy and keep the great shows coming.

  • RobinC

    16 percent is too high especially for a pinot noir. Other than that I think it’s pretty situational. Wine can be like a frozen daquiri of a mai tai (sp.?). They taste so good you can’t perceive the alcohol and you drink a lot and then you can bs sorry for several days. The main issue with alcohol for me is that I don’t want to get sick. But I don’t not drink if the alcohol level is high. Ultimately I don’t really have anything of particular value to say on the subject.

  • Anonymous

    QOTD- I buy wines with no regard to alcohol content. I do prefer wines with less alcohol because I can drink more over an evening with getting pissed.

  • Valentin

    QOD: I don’t buy wine by alcohol level. However the alcohol has to be kept in check by the extract, aromas etc. Some wine varietals can do this job better than others. Hence I would never buy a Riesling at 13.5% whereas I would by a Zinfandel or Syrah at 16.0%.

  • Sam

    I look for 13 something % usually. I’ll buy wines into the 14 and 15 range if I hear good things about it, but if I’m choosing between two otherwise equivalent bottles, I’ll go for the lesser alcohol content. With bourdeaux type wine, where 14% is the rule, if I see something in the 13s, I’ll try it on that reason alone.

  • Andre_hm

    QOTD: I don’t usually even look at alcohol content. I will check it out if I smell/taste alcohol in excess of what I would be expecting. I’m yet to taste 15-16% that I enjoy.

    Coming from the land of Port and living in the land of 60% brandy (Hungary), alcohol is not a problem, just like it controlled in wine.

  • Hey Guys

    Awesome show. I love Josh’s honesty and the obvious knowledge he’s got going on.

    QOTD: I suppose that I prefer lower alcohol wines. I’m quite sensitive to heat so often notice the alcohol in badly made, over the top wines. But all that said and done for me the alcohol % isn’t a big consideration when shopping. Different wine style have different % and key is the balance of the wine and not the alcohol listed on the bottle and to drink a wine that appropriate to the situation (both mood and food).


  • plcb

    QOTD: The only time I look at the alcohol percentage is when it’s CA Zin or an Australian red wine. Generally I assume a wine is 12-14%, unless it’s CA Zin, Australian or other end of the spectrum, Vinho Verde. I don’t want it to be too high. I’m a light weight and I generally stop after 1 (maybe 2 glasses with a nice meal) whether it’s 9% or 16%.

    Great show!!

  • Charlie Matthews

    Awesome show Gary, the two of you are great together – and it’s not just the quality of the wines, it’s the quality of your shared observations – learned much.

    QOTD – prefer big, but it better be under control, too much heat is a dead give away of too much ‘make-up’.

  • Joel Benedict

    My mouth is watering wanting to taste the Leflaive.

    Alcohol should not be the focus of a wine. If I can tell a wine is domitated by alcohol that takes some enjoyment out of it. I prefer the more old world styles with less emphasis on alcohal and letting the terroir and varietal do the talking.

  • Great show as usual, but I agree with others in ranking this among the best. The lineup of wines was just sick- as a Seattle guy who’s in the industry, I appreciate seeing the Andrew Will get some love (BTW Gary, it’s pronounced like “shampoo”), and also the more esoteric stuff like the Lopez de Heredia. The restaurant I work at carries their Rose (the current vintage is the 2000) but it’s naturally a tough sell. Definite geek wine. I’m looking forward As far as alcohol levels are concerned, my palate tends to prefer lower alcohol wines about 90% of the time, I’d say. When I went down to Napa/Sonoma in May, we stopped at Ridge and were treated to .375s of 1987 and 88 Monte Bello. Aside from being delicious (as expected), what surprised me about these two wines were the alcohol levels- 11.7% and 12.9% respectively. Wine made in this now less-popular style of lower alcohol is just better, in so many ways. The subtleties and nuance has an opportunity to shine when it isn’t being masked by fruit and oak. It’s so much better with food. You just don’t really see wine, especially from California, made like this anymore. Even old world producers are kicking up the alcohol levels. It’s really a shame.

  • Anonymous

    Great show. One of the best I’ve seen. Definitely top 3 on the nerd/learning factor.QOTD: I don’t pay much attention to alcohol levels. I used to be impressed by high alcohol levels in wines like Amarone, but when everybody started making high alcohol levels I stopped noticing or getting impressed. After watching WLTV for some time I’m starting to get interrested in the topic, and I’m sure that with forums like this and with people like GV the trend will turn in the near future. Reading other’s comments it’s obvious that the trend has turned amongst wine nerds some time ago, so it’s just a matter of time before mass market follows.

  • Oakmon’s BF
  • Anonymous

    Great series.
    QOTD: I’m a big 12-13.5% guy. I think they show more depth and complexity and as I progress in my wine journey I prefer complexity. High alcohol wines often ruin the finish as well which I am not a fan of.

  • John__J

    Josh is one of my fav guests you’ve had on
    Qotd: I appreciate all from 5.5 to 17% if the quality and balance is there. But I start to get pretty leery when the abv breaches 14%.

  • Anonymous

    this should be an annual traditional, I loved them both years

    Had a 92 LdH Vina Tondonia, Had Mustard, had like a “Passion Fruit Gummy Bear”

    Um guess Ill be buying some Andrew Will thanks guys =p [btw great price at local wine store in Vancouver, Canada which is surprising]

    qotd: Does it matter no, but looking at real alc numbers can give me an idea of what Im going to expect like riesling if its going to be dry/sweet, or two napas one 13.5 and one 14.5 Ill probably pick the 13.5 for balance. I like Balance myself “Delicious factory wines are great in a party setting but myself I like Sour Cherry Brunello for example

  • Anonymous

    QOTD: Alcohol level really has no effect on how I buy wine. I generally don’t even look at it until I’ve started drinking. The only thing I care about is balance. If the wines got the stuff to stand up to the alcohol it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s at 8% or 17%.

  • I also loved this show and really enjoyed the back and forth between you and Josh. It is good for you to have another experienced taster to trade opinions. Alcohol makes a big difference for me. I will put something back on the shelf at 15%. I have really gotten to like 12-13% for my regular dinner wine, but I find the high alcohol stuff too fatiguing and gives me too much of a buzzy headache.

  • Mark McNabb

    Great show! I think Peter Michael makes some Chard from Cali that really capture what you were talking about—a lot of flavor without the hugeness of most other Cali wines.

  • Anonymous

    GrrrEAT tow-parter with a fantastically knowledgeable two-time guest. Thanks for breaking out the big-gun wines, Josh.

    QOTD: I have to say that I believe there is a time and a place for every type of well-made wine, including the bombastic-and-over-the-top high alcohol examples from hotter growing regions. However, in my regular drinking rotation, I am usually a 90% fresher, higher acid wine drinker (whether white or red) and 10% blow-the-doors-off-my-palate high octane and extract red/white drinker.

  • A_S

    One of the greatest guests ever!

    Alc level doesn’t mean anything when I buy wine. I like big & bold zinfandels with 15+, I like rieslings from Mosel at 7-9%. As long as it’s nicely integrated and doesn’t take over the other flavors.

    These days I buy and drink wines with the following alc.
    Low alcohol (7-10% alc vol.) : 20 %
    Medium (10-14% alc vol) : 40 %
    High (14+ alc vol) : 40 %

  • R Polotski

    Absolutely great episode !! Enjoyed it, enjoyed it, enjoyed it !!!

  • Anonymous

    GV – Great two parter, I must say I am truly jealous of the wines you got to taste! Bring this guy back next year!

  • Kvolk

    To me this show hit all the things I like about WLTV…great guest who can go head to head with you on wine knowledge and personality with out being you, total inside baseball talk about wine and producers, and wines I wouldn’t be able to sit and taste but I still walk away with a lotl of knowledge and would be able to order if I ever had that opportunity. So knowledge, energy, and both guests equally invovled and engaged…..I have watched it twice now just so you know I did like….

  • Anchor Wines

    Here are some results from a Riesling Blind Tasting. New York State, and Wiemer, well done…

    Riesling World Cup Blind Tasting

    Embracing World Cup fever, my friends Justin and Danielle organized a blind tasting of Rieslings from around the globe. Twelve Rieslings representing nine different countries competed in a head to head blind tasting competition. We were asked to taste each wine and jot down our impressions, notes, and scores. Then at the end we ranked our top three favorites in order, as well as our least favorite wine. Please read my additional recap below, but here are the final results!

    Riesling Cup Winners:

    Winner: 2009 Donnhoff, Nahe, Germany
    Runner up: 2007 Pegasus Bay, Waipara Valley, New Zealand
    Consolation: 2008 Wiemer, Semi Dry, Fingerlakes, NY USA

    Last Place: 2008 Trimbach, Alsace, France

    Complete wine list:

    1. 2006 Chono Reserva, Bio Bio Valley, Chile
    2. 2007 Gamla, Galilee, Israel
    3. 2007 Substance, Columbia Valley, Washington USA
    4. 2008 Gobelsburger, Kamptal, Austria
    5. 2008 Trimbach, Alsace, France
    6. 2006 Leeuwin Artist Series, Margaret River, Australia
    7. 2008 Montinore, Almost Dry, Willamette Valley, Oregon USA
    8. 2008 Wiemer, Semi Dry, Fingerlakes, NY USA
    9. 2009 Donnhoff, Nahe, Germany
    10. 2007 Pegasus Bay, Waipara Valley, New Zealand
    11. 2007 Cave Spring, Niagara Peninsula, Canada
    12. 2009 Adam, Hofberg Kabinett, Mosel Valley, Germany

    For most people when they think of Riesling, they think of it as a sweet wine, but in fact, Riesling can be sweet, semi sweet, or dry. And sometimes, somewhere in between one of these descriptors. The wines in this tasting were arranged from highest alcohol content to lowest. So number one was the highest with number twelve being the lowest. The thinking and general rule of thumb being the higher the alcohol content the drier the Riesling, the lower the sweeter it will be. I would say that the wines did tend to get sweeter as we went along with the last wine certainly being the sweetest but in the first half the wines tended to be dry to semi sweet, whereas the wines tended to be semi sweet to sweet in the second half. In this sense Riesling can be a difficult wine to choose because the style can be so different, but the general rule of thumb on alcohol level versus sweetness seems to be a good starting place. I personally found the driest wines to be very dry and tart with predominantly citrus flavors. Wines 1, 4, 5, and 6 representing the driest versions. Wines number 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 I think could be categorized as semi sweet to varying degrees. While wine number 12 I would say was by far the sweetest, I think that wines 7-11 could fall into the borderline semi sweet to sweet category. At any rate, it really depends on what you like, I personally found the dry Rieslings too tart for my palate, and I really like the number 12, the sweetest, but would maybe serve it as a more light dessert wine. I think the top scoring wines represented a good balance of crispness and a just slightly sweet honeyed quality. As refreshment after a hot summers day, I think that hint of sweetness is pretty tasty! Try a Riesling or two, you might be surprised, especially since New York State?s Finger Lake region represents one of the best places in the world to produce this interesting wine.

    Tags: riesling

  • Anchor Wines

    Tondonia is amazing. If you want something a lot more affordable and still very similar, try their Vina Gravonia. Simply amazing. My favorite white of all time…

  • Anonymous

    GV, great stuff, Josh needs to be back next year, for sure!!!

    QOTD – I think it is all about time and place. Some of the higher alcohol wines have great balance too… were I forced to answer this, I would say my preference is normally distributed with a mean of 12.5%…

  • ben from boston

    wow, how did i miss that. this is awsome. thanks for the link man.

  • in which show the best wine,is name is hermann riesling dry 2008.this wine is too good for another wine.dear so keep sharing more and more do it man bye take care thanking you dear…..

  • Anonymous

    Just like last year this guest was super entertaining. He is insanely knowledgeable, great show.

  • Gary – Josh is hella-interesting to listen to and uber-educated about wine. Quite possibly my fave guest of the year. Great wines too!…QOTD – I don’t pay to much attention to the alcohol level when purchasing. I quite often go back and check it out on the bottle if I feel a lot of heat when drinking it.

  • Tectonus

    Very interesting show and great guest. The Rioja wine deserves special mention. Winaries that keep their traditions regardless of what’s happening globally now deserves more respect than ever. In the long term, it is also a clever decision, since that helps differentiate from the overcrowded “international style”.

    QOTD – It will highly depend on acidity. I have tried very alcoholic wines in the middle of the summer that doesn’t feel alcoholic at all because of the freshness the acid provides. But in general, I notice a trend of lowering the alcohol a bit, at least for reds. I’ve seen many winaries here in Chile returning to a range of 13.5% to 14% (even for higher end reds) after nearly a decade of alcoholic bricks. The 2010 harvest will naturally come in this new fashion.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent guest – good to see him back on the show.

    QOTD – generally I prefer lower alcohol levels.. it’s quite rare that I will buy anything that hits 15%. I love German rieslings, which are often 7-8%, and old world reds that usually sit in between 12.5-14%. Things like Mollydooker that hit 17% are just ridiculous.. and not in a good way.

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic guest, and I’m incredibly jealous to be unable to taste those wines with you guys.

    QOTD: I’m usually turned off by particularly hot characteristics on the palate, but do enjoy the big Zins and Cabs with hearty grilled meat. My favorite is when a wine feels as close to perfectly balanced as I can find. I don’t drink much low-alcohol sweet wine at all.

    My question of the day: I’m gearing up to take the first tier of the Court of Master Sommeliers course and exam. I’m currently an assistant manager at a WineStyles in Macon, GA, but I’m looking to travel and work elsewhere. With about 4 years in the wine industry (one as a distributor sales rep, three as assistant manager here), any recommendations on employment hotspots in the industry?

  • Great show! Enjoyed the guest… man am I jelious of your job… 5 amazing wines that not just anyone can have! Cant believe you still spit a $400+ wine!

    QOTD: I am not that fussed about Alc levels… but for normal wine… on a normal day… Less that 15%

  • Fatherthechair

    Just caught up on a half a dozen eps on iTunes, now catching up on comments. Great episode! I’m definitely going to check out New York state wines. QOTD, I don’t generally check the alcohol level before I buy, but I will tend to look at the label when I’m drinking something like a Zin where the levels are sometimes way up there. If it seems hot, I’ll look at the label.

  • Anonymous

    Just awesome! Love when Josh is on. Like how you hooked MOTT up with a taste. Keep up the good work.
    QOTD: Never even think about it unless the wine is garbage.

  • Anonymous

    Really enjoyed this one. Totally bummed I had to work during the Tasting out here.

    Alcohol doesn’t usually come into play, but mostly I enjoy more light to medium-weight wines.
    Like Gary, The 15%+ Zin/Cab or Petite Verdot will come out at a party, but for everyday I’ll do a 11-14 % Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir or Cote du Rhone.

  • Dmcdaniel19780

    Riz is 100% correct..Ravines Dry Rieslings are dry….REALLY DRY..would love to hear your opinion on their age worthiness Riz. Was in the Finger Lakes over Columbus Day and was really impressed the depth of quality from Rooster Hill, Shaw, McGregor and a special shout out to Dr. Frank..every thing from their most recent vintages is unique and distinctive. Dr. Frank also makes some spectacular bubbly from both Pinot Noir and Chard, with the Pinot based bubbly being one of my faves.

    On a side note, you can get Williams Selyem at their sister winery Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY

  • Dmcdaniel19780

    I was lucky enough to have tasted a variety of Wiemer wines including the Magdalena at an industry event. Truly a big wine on the pallet…big fruit with plenty of balance. The ’08 vintage will be looked upon as the vintage that is going to put the Finger Lakes on the map.

  • TommyB

    QOTD: I like my wines to have lower alcohol levels: love my light rieslings, prefer my bordeaux to be below 13%, don’t want my whites to have much over 12%… not that this stops me drinking high alcohol wines! They just have to be in balence thats all.

  • Anonymous

    Great episodes! I’m pleased to see Josh back on- one of your best all-time guests!
    QOTD: Lower alcohol is my preference. Higher alcohol has to be balanced carefully to avoid turning the wine into little more than light-duty liquor.


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