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Critically Acclaimed Wine Pocket list

Wine Guide - Price guides for old wine, perfect for your wine selection. The Wine PocketList is a guide to top-rated wines, using our system to deliver solid, usable ratings. We've rated thousands of wines, with new wines added continually as they are released and judged.


Fine Cooking
Rosina Tinari Wilson, Fine Cooking, March 1996

I love to buy wine because I love to drink wine. But even though I know a lot about wine, shopping for it can still be mystifying, frustrating, and ultimately wallet draining.

That’s why I really like Quarterly PocketList of Top Rated Wines for $15 or Less, a guide to hundreds of great wines that cost $15 and under. The Pocketlist’s editor, John Vankat – a botany professor with a love for wine and an eye for value – surveys the major national wine publications to find wines that are both inexpensive and well regarded.

To earn a place in his guide, a wine must receive a cumulative score of 88 out 100 or better (86 or 87 if they’re widely sold), a numerical rating used by the wine industry. Based on these ratings and his own tastings, the wines receive a letter grade; only those that receive a B+ or better go into the guide. Each issue rates more than 500 wines, all drinkable now. The ratings are presented in a straightforward, easy-to-read format.

The Pocketlist’s issues alternate between domestic and imported wines. In the international issues, the wines are arranged geographically, including such lesser-known areas as Argentina, South Africa, and southern France, as well as the expected Bordeaux, Chianti and Australia. In the American issues, the wines are categorized by varietal, the dominant grape used to make the wine.

In the American issue I reviewed, I was pleasantly surprised to find many lesser-known varietals from smaller producers, such as the wonderful Navarro Gewürztraminer from Mendocino, the Havens Syrah from Carneros, and the delectably sweet Elysyim Black Muscat by Quady. Though these are well worth a special search, the PocketList conveniently highlights those wines with a wide distribution, which really helps when you’re trying to buy a bottle in the middle of nowhere.


 

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"You, too, can play the game – and buy a decent bottle of wine without having to choose the pretty label….."
"The Wine PocketList [is] a truly superb guide for wine stocking and selection on a reasonable budget."
"There is nowhere near enough good wine to go around. It is a lesson that I have never seen spelled out in a beginner's guide."