This is the fifth year running that Seattle Met has celebrated 100 top wines produced in our region. If this year is like previous ones, we will be awash in comments from wine lovers who question our methods. Why are some highly respected wineries not even mentioned? How can the palate of one person, Sean P. Sullivan of the Washington Wine Report, be given so much authority to name the wines? Aren’t point systems worthless? Glad you asked.

In creating our top wine list, we took an approach of inclusion. In 2011, 739 Washington wineries produced 12 million cases of wine. All of the wineries, through the newsletter of the Washington State Wine Commission, were invited to submit wines for consideration. Participating wineries were self-selecting and paid no fees to enter: All told, we received 531 wines from 195 wineries. 

As for the single taster vs. panel of experts debate, there are pros and cons to both. A tasting panel might guarantee that a winning wine has broader appeal, but broader appeal can also mean a more conventional wine. A single taster can be compared to your favorite movie or restaurant critics: You get to know their sensibilities. Whether you share Sean’s taste in wine or not, you can make your own informed choices based on his reviews. 

When it comes to scoring, the widely used 100-point system is as loved by some as it is loathed by others. Yes, the difference between a 93-point and a 92-point wine may be minute and debatable, but the system allows the taster to set certain criteria and follow them, which means that each wine was treated as fairly as possible. What’s not debatable is that Washington is producing a lot of great wine and we’re here to tell you about some of the best.

In other drinking news, we’ve all been wondering: Wasn’t booze supposed to be cheaper now? The Power Lines piece on page 45 about the unexpected impact of the new liquor law marks the first appearance in these pages of our exciting new partnership with the editors of the political blog PubliCola, Josh Feit and Erica C. Barnett. I’ve been a fan of PubliCola’s commitment to original
reporting and healthy civic debate since its beginnings in 2009, so I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and Erica into the Seattle Met family. You’ll be seeing their work in these pages every month, on the newly rechristened blog PubliCola at Seattle Met (publicola.com), and at regular events like the fizzy debate they hosted in July over the SoDo arena proposal.

Lastly, we’re more than a little excited around here. We have a new website! The all new supercharged seattlemet.com, now better, faster, and easier to use! 

Why yes, that was the sound of champagne corks popping.

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