Wine Spectator is out with its Top 100 Wines list for 2014, including wines from producers wordwide, and only one California wine cracked the Top 10 this year.
Lompoc's Brewer-Clifton 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills came in at No. 8.
One of the winery's founders, Greg Brewer, says when he found out about the ranking he was just as thrilled for the Lompoc area as he was for his winery.
Brewer-Clifton sources the grapes for the winning vintage from the acclaimed Santa Rita Hills appellation (AVA). Brewer says he's watched this area grow from its first plantings to official recognition as an officially designated growing region, and is happy to see the positive feedback its grapes are now receiving.
The region is known for its unique soils and cool ocean-influenced climate. But, Brewer is hesitant to say exactly which element makes this region a special place to grow award-winning grapes.
"It's human nature I think to always look for the silver bullet of what that x-factor hook is, and it's really a combination of circumstances," said Brewer. "Just like anything else—be it music, art, fashion, whatever—it's not one single color, it's not one single note, it's kind of the unity and the collection of everything."
Not a single Napa or Sonoma County wine made the list's Top Ten. The next California wine to make the list was at No. 11, Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Top Ten are as follows:
- Dow Vintage Port - 2011
- Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love - 2012
- Prats & Symington Douro Chryseia - 2011
- Quinta do Vale Meao Douro - 2011
- Leeuvin Chardonnay Margaret River Art Series - 2011
- Castello di Ama Chianti Classico San Lorenzo Gran Selezione - 2010
- Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape - 2012
- Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills - 2012
- Concha Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Don Melchor - 2010
- Château Léoville Las Cases St.-Julien - 2011