Wine Decisions Made Easy Thanks To Wine Enthusiast Magazine

In 2012, members of the Wine Enthusiast Magazine tasting panel reviewed more than 15,500 wines from around the world. Tasting that many wines isn’t easy, but keeping track of them all and remembering what to buy next time you’re at your favorite retail shop is an even more difficult task.

Luckily, Wine Enthusiast Magazine has got us covered. Knowing there’s nothing quite like an end-of-year list to sum up the best of the best, they offer three distinct guides for all of your wine needs: The Top 100 Best Buys (wines for $15 or less, published in November), The Top 100 Cellar Selections (age-worthy, highly-rated collectibles, published in early December), and now, The Enthusiast 100 (Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2012.)

This year they have created a special visual breakdown of the stats behind the Top 100 Wines of 2012 available in this infogaphic: Behind The Enthusiast 100

I had an opportunity to interview Wine Enthusiast Executive Editor Susan Kostrzewa about their selections and some other nosy questions!

When you first started drinking wine, what kind was your favorite??

Like many fledgling wine drinkers, I gravitated towards sweet wines. I used to love a wine called Thousand Flowers from Hop Kiln Winery in Sonoma County. I also drank a lot of Rochioli Pinot Noir, also from Sonoma. They still produce delicious wine.

When does your process to pick the 100 Wines start each year? Can you briefly describe the process?

We gather together top-scoring wines from our Buying Guide database, then the Tasting Director and editors review the list and cull it down to represent what we consider some of the best, most interesting, most newsworthy wines of the year. Some are especially good values, some are fantastic for aging, and some are just so unique that the editors want readers to know about them.

As the executive editor of Wine Enthusiast you must have quite a selection at home, what is your favorite varietal? 

That's a very tough question, because I have so many wines I love, and my choice often depends on the mood, the meal, and the people with whom I am drinking. For a versatile and fresh white, I consider Greek Assytriko from Santorini a reliable go-to. For all-around elegance and food-friendliness, red Burgundy. I also enjoy sparkling wine, ranging anywhere from vintage Krug or Cristal to affordable Cava from Spain.

What is the best advice to can offer when selecting wine for a guest?

Well, if it's about choosing a wine for the dinner you are preparing, the best choice for a guest is whatever will go well with your dish. But if it's just about choosing a wine you think the guest will enjoy regardless of food, think about their overall personality and food palate. Think about what spirits and beer they might like. I have friends who drink whiskey, like a good hearty beef stew and drink stout, and for them I'd probably gravitate toward a bigger red. For my friends who tend to like lighter fare, cocktails and beer, I'd choose a lighter red or a white wine. The other option is to challenge them and go for something totally different than they might know, so it depends on how much you want to expose them to something new.

Do people bring you wine when they come to your home?  Because that would terrify me!!

They definitely do! I encourage it, regardless of their knowledge or interest in wine. I like nothing more than experimenting with new wines and enjoying them with my friends. They know I have an open mind and would never judge them. Wine is supposed to be fun, not a firing squad!

Join their conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WETOP2012 to tweet about all of their top lists from the past year.

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