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In each issue of Wine Spectator magazine, our editors select wines with special qualities. Their choices are highlighted in the first pages of each issue's Buying Guide. These are the categories of Special Designations:
- Highly Recommended: The issue's most impressive wines. Includes top-scorers and wines that represent optimal purchases based on their combination of score, price and availability.
- Collectibles: Wines that will improve most from additional bottle age and that show the greatest potential to gain in value.
- Smart Buys: Wines that deliver fine character at affordable prices and that are broadly available.
- Best Values: Wines with solid scores, modest prices and wide distribution.
Up to and including the Sept. 15, 2002, issue, the Special Designations were as follows:
- Spectator Selections: Our highest recommendations in each issue. Although they are not necessarily the highest-scoring wines, they are the wines we think would make the most outstanding purchases. More expensive wines must be especially good to earn this recommendation.
- Cellar Selections: The wines we believe will improve most from additional bottle age and show the greatest potential as collectibles.
- Best Buys: Outstanding values at modest prices.
- Highly Recommended: Noteworthy wines selected from among the highest-scoring wines in the issue.