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The Top 10 Expert-Approved Wines To Buy This Year: Wine Spectator's Top 100

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines is an annual list that garners significant attention and interest in the wine industry. This list, compiled by the experts of Wine Spectator, a prominent wine publication, represents what they consider the best wines of the year based on quality, value, availability, and the "X-factor" of how much excitement and interest the wines generate.

The selection involves thousands of wines tasted by Wine Spectator's reviewers over the course of the year. Based on taste, wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Apart from taste, they also consider other factors such as price affordability, the number of cases made, and the wine's overall uniqueness also play a significant role.

What we like about it is that it has global representation, and often features wines from a variety of regions around the world, showcasing a diverse range of styles and grapes and also emerging regions. Given the aging potential for many of these wines, the list also offers recommendations on when is the most ideal timeframe to open and drink these wines.

This year we continue to have a mix of both new styles and classics. A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc cracked the Top 10 for the first time, along with an Aglianico from southern Italy and two Pinot Noirs from California’s Sonoma Valley. As for the familiar classics, there are two Bordeaux wines and a Napa Valley Cabernet.

Let’s check out the notable Top 10, starting from the tenth place.

10. Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2022

US$23. Ideal for drinking now.

 

 

Starting from the 10th, there’s the Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2022. This is from Greywacke winery in New Zealand’s Marlborough region, well-recognised indeed for its vibrant and intense Sauvignon Blancs.

The winery was started in 2009 and its winemaker, Kevin Judd, is one of the Marlborough region’s pioneering winemakers who has also founded Cloudy Bay winery.

Distinctive, succulent and wonderfully complex, offering stone fruit flavors on a rich, smooth and mouthwateringly juicy frame, with notes of honeysuckle, honey-preserved ginger, creamy lemon curd, ripe mango and flowers. Hints of spices linger on the long, expressive finish.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

9. Résonance Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2021

US$40. Ideal for drinking now.

 

 

Next up, we have an American Pinot Noir. Founded in 2013 in Oregon's Willamette Valley, Résonance Winery is the American wine project of one of the most renowned wine producers in Burgundy - Maison Louis Jadot.

The vineyard was discovered by winemakers of Maison Louis Jadot about 10 years ago, and they were so impressed by the wines produced from its fruit. Jacques Lardière, a respected winemaker from Maison Louis Jadot, came out of retirement to contribute his expertise to Résonance, working with winemaker Guillaume Large. Résonancefocuses on Pinot Noir that showcases the region's terroir. Like other Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs, these tend to have balance and a profile that includes red fruit, subtle earthiness, and a refined use of oak.

Precise and elegantly structured, with detailed raspberry, savory tea and crushed stone accents that gather richness and tension toward refined tannins.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

8. Château Pichon Baron Pauillac 2020

US$165. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2030 through 2045.

 

 

Château Pichon Baron is a distinguished Bordeaux estate winery focusing on rich, full-bodied, and concentrated wines, with a blend dominated by high ratio of Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is a Second Growth winery under the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification, in the Pauillac appellation of the Bordeaux region. The vineyard spans 73 hectares planted primarily with Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The wines reflect the terroir of Pauillac, known for its deep gravel soils, which contribute to the depth and complexity of its wines.

Interestingly, the wine estate has been owned by AXA since 1987, a well-known French insurance company.

This has a very large-scaled yet properly proportioned core of cassis, plum and blackberry fruit flavors that are remarkably pure and focused. Buried deep within is a sleek, vibrant iron spine that drives the finish as the fruit keeps pace. Extra savory, tobacco and cedar nuances fill out all the remaining available space. A towering wine, with a buttoned-up feel.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

7. Antinori Chianti Classico Marchese Antinori Riserva 2020

US$50. Blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2026 through 2047.

 

 

Based in the sunny Tuscany region of Italy, the Antinori family has been involved in wine production for over six centuries and is one of the biggest names in Italian wine. They are respected for their innovations in winemaking, as well as for producing high-quality wines such as their Chianti Classico, as well as their famous contribution to the ‘Super Tuscan’ wine movement represented by their original Tignanello.

Their Chianti Classico is a primarily Sangiovese-based wine with a refined structure of red fruits, floral notes and a classic Tuscan earthiness.

A sleek, elegant red, with fine purity to the aromas of cherry, black currant, iron, olive and tobacco. Shows new oak on the palate, lending both spiciness and structure offset by ample fruit and texture. Ends with a balanced, complex finish.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

6. Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2019

US$175. Best from 2025 through 2040.

 

 

Founded in 1978, Dunn Vineyards is a notable family-owned winery located in the Howell Mountain appellation of Napa Valley, renowned for producing Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, amongst Napa Valley wines it has one of the longest aging potentials. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is also known to be intense with rich and dense fruit flavors.

Lushly fruited, this sends waves of crushed plum, boysenberry compote and blackberry paste out from the core, with a strong undercurrent of cast iron and smoldering tobacco to boot. Grippy and dense, but with a sense of polish and a note of purity in the guise of a pretty violet echo.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

5. Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici Riserva 2016

US$73. Ideal to drink now through 2036.

 

 

Mastroberardino is one of the most celebrated wineries in the Campania region of southern Italy and has been pivotal in preserving ancient grape varieties such as Aglianico, Greco and Fiano. Fascinatingly, they also partake in the Villa dei Misteri project at Pompeii, aiming to recreate the wines of ancient Rome using traditional grape varieties and winemaking techniques.

Their Taurasi red wine is well-known for its bold flavors, firm tannins, and strong potential to age, featuring dark fruit flavors with earthy and spicy undertones.

A focused and fragrant red, leading with hints of pencil shavings, violet, tobacco and citrus that accent flavors of blackberry and black cherry fruit. This is refined and supple, fresh with lively acidity, but also shows weight and concentration, with sculpted tannins emerging on the mineral- and spice-laced finish.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

4. RAEN Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Royal St. Robert Cuvée 2021

US$70. Ideal to drink now through 2032.

 

 

Pronounced "rain," RAEN is a boutique winery founded in California’s Sonoma Coast in 2013 by winemakers Carlo and Dante Mondavi, grandsons of the legendary Robert Mondavi who was pivotal in establishing Napa Valley as a premier wine-producing region.

RAEN stands for "Research in Agriculture and Enology Naturally". While Mondavi is famous for Cabernet Sauvignons, RAEN focuses on producing the lighter Pinot Noir that that expresses the region's cool-climate characteristics. They also produce limited quantities in a way that respects nature. Their wines are made in a light and fresh style, with a backbone of pinpoint acidity and marine-influenced minerality.

Beautifully defined, with pinpoint damson plum, mulberry and blood orange notes stretched out over a frame of rooibos tea and savory accents. Mouthwatering through the lengthy, unadorned finish, which relies on tension and purity.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

3. Château Lynch Bages Pauillac 2020

US$137. Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Ideal to drink from 2026 through 2040.

 

 

Château Lynch Bages from the Pauillac appellation is a renowned Fifth Growth Bordeaux estate with more than 4 centuries of history. They are known for blends typically dominated by very structured Cabernet Sauvignon, and known for flavors of black currants, cedarwood, and earthy characteristics, and that can age gracefully for decades.

Gorgeous from the start, with cassis and violet notes leading off, followed by additional waves of black cherry and blackberry fruit as well as sweet tobacco and iron. Shows subtle savory and cedar hints that stay in the background, as the iron note pierces through the fruit on the finish. Almost approachable for the fruit, but wait if you can.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

2. Occidental Pinot Noir West Sonoma Coast Freestone-Occidental 2021

US$65. Ideal to drink from now through 2030.

 

 

Founded in 2011, Occidental specializes in Pinot Noir in the cooler parts of the Sonoma Coast of California. Its wines are intended to reflect the unique characteristics of the coastal terroir, typically offering a profile of red fruits and minerality, often with a good balance of acidity and elegance.

Boasts blackberry and plum fruit enlivened by a light savory thread, while anise and iris notes add range through the sleek, tangy finish. Shows a nice underlying mineral edge, which adds subtle tension throughout. Refined.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

1. Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2018

US$90. Ideal to drink from 2025 through 2042.

 

 

At the top of the list, we have an Argiano, a historic winery located in Montalcino, Tuscany in Italy. The estate has a rich history dating back to the Renaissance and is known for combining traditional winemaking methods with modern techniques. The estate has also shifted to organic farming.

It is well-regarded for producing Brunello di Montalcino, a prestigious wine made from the Sangiovese grape. It typically has flavors of strawberry, dark cherry and wild herbs, with good aging potential. The 2018 vintage was selected for its quality and for being highly representative of a classic Brunello.

Rose, strawberry and cherry aromas and flavors are the main themes in this red, along with wild herb, mineral and cut hay accents. Racy and full of energy, with a long, saturated finish.

– Wine Spectator’s tasting notes

The List

So there you have it – the notable Top 10 wines to stock your home cellar with this year. 

 

The full list of the Top 100 Wines of 2023 can be accessed on Wine Spectator's website here.

 

@CharsiuCharlie