I ground the coffee, boiled the water and poured into the French Press. I slipped a polar fleece vest over my ice blue, silk, loungey thing. Looking like quite the morning apparition, I plodded down the stairs to collect the paper, praying my neighbors were still asleep. I climbed back up the stairs, happy to have completed the mission in privacy. Once back inside my apartment, I plunged the coffee, pour in the heated milk and opened the paper. Did you ever think you were going to get this intimate with me? Mid-cup, I saw yet another FULL PAGE ad for the Wine of the Year from the Wine Spectator in the Times and realized that I forgot to look. So, to make amends, I headed to the computer and fired up the Wine Spec site to find out who was the champ. Clos des Papes Chateauneuf de Pape. Chateauchamp of the year. I really liked that wine in the 90's when it was affordable in its pre-Parkerized era. But now that it's $75 + a bottle, I haven't tasted it in quite a while. I'm sure it's big and bold and dense but perhaps still safe from new oak and does not have a 'marketer' or an advertising budget so I assume the tasting group at WS really did like it. What's not to like. But what IS a Wine of the Year? On their video presentation they explained their choice as one that was unanimous. it was the wine that they all agreed on at a tasting! That seems so peculiar to me. The wine of the year was from a tasting and not from drinking? And, the wine of the year was a collective decision? Thatís politics, not passion. A mass decision for the masses doesn't seem to be fueled with enough emotion to warrant full page ads in the Times for several days running. I mean if Bruce Sanderson said, the wine he could not get out of his head, the wine that haunted him all year was the Chateauneuf du Pape, I might be curious. And so I thought about the issue of The Top Wine. I thought. I rode my bike. I DID NOT GO CONTRA DANCING (all dressed up and just couldnít do it even though I love it so much. You know, balance and swing and sweat and gypsy and waltz and pass through.) instead I went to Margot at the Wedding (commendable but disappointing) and thought some more. The top wine of the year to me is one that I couldnít have survived the year without. The wine of the year has to be something I am happy to drink every day. It is a wine that gives as much comfort as my favorite books or sweater. It is home in the best sense and never fails to excite, and I can afford it. For me the top wine is the one that pulled me out of the trenches. The previous year it was a 2005 Clos Roche Blanche Gamay. This year? Ladies and Gentlemen, .... Clos Roche Blanche again, their Arpent Rouge! From the red zinger of grapes, Pineau d'Aunis. I might add that Pierre Rovani, remember him? Used to work for Robert Parker? Well, Rovani a few years back, referred to the grape that grows beautifully in the Loire as a "talking dog. It can speak but it was nothing to say." I believe, I drained the market of every last bottle. Bring on the talking dogs. I am sorry about that. But what could I do? My survival was at stake.