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Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Top 5 of 50 Best Wines of 2004
Out of more than 6,000 wines reviewed in Wine Enthusiast this year, our editors have narrowed the field to our 50 favorites. These are not the 50 highest-scoring wines, but numeric rating played an important role in selecting them.

Price, availability, newsworthiness and excitement joined score among the criteria that shaped the Top 50.  We also maintained our tradition of diversity:  We limited the number of appearances for each brand to a single wine, and chose bottles that represent a wide range of styles.

Our Top 50 includes sparkling wines, fortified wines and dessert wines in addition to red and white table wines.

Naturally, the list is weighted toward the regions and types of wines that figured prominently in our coverage during the last 12 months. How could we deny multiple spaces to California’s 2001 Cabernets? Likewise, Italy’s 1999 Brunellos are landmark wines that should be part of many collections.

Readers who view this year-end list as a shopping guide may discover that many of the wines reviewed early in the year have already sold out or are now more expensive. The market doesn’t wait to make corrections, and the most desirable wines disappear quickly. Rather than chase down individual wines from our list, it might be better to use our Top 50 as a prospect list—an indicator of areas to explore or producers to try. We think if you do that, you’ll discover gems that even we haven’t run across yet.

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