OK, so here's what I know about 100-point wines:
Last summer I had a chance to taste some Quilceda Creek. We tried a '95, an '02 and the new release of table wine. The wine was good. Really, really good actually. We were tasting, and very much enjoying, when Josh Hansen of Small Vineyards Imports dropped by with something he was excited about. Small Vineyards does mostly artisinal Italian wines, fabulous book, for those who aren't aware. The wine he brought had a boring, gray label. Sorry, don't remember the producer, but I do remember it said that it was table wine from the Val d' Aosta. What he poured for us though was an experience that wine geeks live for. Oh, my god! My mental notes recall sweaty gym sox, indescribably beautiful fruit, and that bright, balanced acidity that the Italians have down like no one else. Gym sox? Yes, I'm one of those guys who thinks a touch of brett makes a good wine more complex, and better. The wine was light in body, delicate even, but incredibly, UNBELIVEABLY intense, in a way that the heavy hitters only dream about. It was a BALANCED wine. Needless to say, everyone forgot about the QC, and instantly! Later I took home the 1/2 bottle of the QC table wine that was left over, grilled some burgers, and I had a very, very nice evening.
I don't mean to rain on Quilceda Creek's parade. Not at all. I only use that wine as an example because it's the only 100-point wine I've ever tasted. Quilceda Creek makes beautiful wine, it's just not really my style. I certainly have an old-world palate. I admit that freely. Although I like wines like QC, it doesn't ignite my passion like a really great French or Italian. There's a lot of terrific wine coming out of Washington and California, and I'm glad that some folks around here are getting some strong recognition. For myself though, I think that by and large, our domestic winemakers have a lot to learn about elegance and balance. 100 points? For someone, maybe. Me - not even close.
For the table wine from Italy, Josh brought in a couple cases. It wasn't cheap - probably would have retailed for $110 or so. An unknown producer of table wine from Val d' Aosta on the shelf at that price? Would have never sold, ever. I imagine the wine all went to the SV staff, and maybe a few people who were, uh, made aware. It was just one of those things that fell through the cracks, and a great memory for all us who got to taste it. I'm just glad I was there!
ND: '04 Valpolicella Classico, Giuseppe Lonardi (another Small Vineyards import)