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High 100 Worth Wines of 2023 In keeping with James Suckling

High 100 Worth Wines of 2023 In keeping with James Suckling

The James Suckling team tasted more than 41,000 wines in 2023 and shortlisted the best 100 top value wines for our delectation.

2023 was a record year for JamesSuckling.com, with more than 41,000 wines tasted and the best of them making it onto our Top 100 World Wines 2023 list – or managing to find a spot on one of our 13 Top 100 country lists. These were chosen for their “wow” factor, availability and price, as well as their high ratings.

Our list of Top 100 Values Wines of 2023 is even more focused, narrowing in on especially affordable wines that impressed us during the year. While the prices of these bottles may vary depending on where you are in the world, they should be widely available for $40 or less. This list proves that it isn’t necessary to spend lots of money to drink great wine in 2024. As a value reference, we turned to Wine Searcher, but the price-score metric wasn’t the only one we used – production volume and global availability were also considered.

Take our No 1 wine, for instance. The Muré Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Vorbourg Clos Saint Landelin 2019 is a stunning Alsatian riesling with massive structure and power that can be found for around US$33. It’s made from grapes grown biodynamically on a south-facing, terraced section of the grand cru vineyard Vorbourg, has amazing fruit concentration, a chalky minerality and a long, diamond-bright finish. It’s probably the best dry white that Thomas and Veronique Muré have made, according to JamesSuckling.com’s Stuart Pigott, and it also finished as the No 7 wine on our Top 100 Wines of France 2023 list and No 26 on our Top 100 World Wines list.

Riesling continues to represent fantastic value in our tastings and leads the charge with 20 wines on the Top 100 Value list. Most of these are from Germany, like the No 2 Hees Riesling Nahe Römerstich Trocken 2022, a super-concentrated, aromatic yet weightless bottling, and the No 4 Martin Müllen Riesling Mosel Kröver Paradies Spätlese Trocken 2022, a minerally, slaty and pure expression produced from vines planted just after World War I. Both are from an extremely hot and dry season in Germany, where the hardy riesling grape did better than many other varieties.

You mightn’t be surprised to find a couple of rieslings from Austria (Nos 17 and 24), plus one from Northern Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region on this list. Three rieslings from New York State are also among the top 100, including the 10th-placed Red Newt Cellars Riesling Finger Lakes The Knoll Lahoma Vineyards 2020, the last vintage produced of this incredibly focused and racy single-parcel wine.

We love a serious chardonnay and even more so when it can be found at under $30, like the No 6 El Enemigo Chardonnay Mendoza 2021. It’s a flinty, phenolic and structured expression and shows all the depth and minerality of a $100 Burgundian counterpart.

It’s one of a dozen chardonnays that made it on to this list. Among these, we continue to be impressed by the value proposition of our eighth-placed wine, the Beringer Chardonnay Napa Valley Private Reserve 2021, which hails from the otherwise high-cost Napa Valley region. It’s another phenolic, full-bodied and agile chardonnay that retails at an average price of about $40.

Of the 14 countries represented on this list, New Zealand rises above the rest in its ability to produce fantastic wines at reasonable prices. The island nation placed 18 wines on this list, with plenty of world-class chardonnay and pinot noir that won’t break the bank, complex sauvignon blancs from Clos Henri (No 26) and Dog Point (No 32), and top-notch syrahs like the 14th-placed Trinity Hill Syrah Hawkes Bay Gimblett Gravels 2021, which only costs $20.

Chasing New Zealand with 15 wines each were Germany and Chile, followed by Argentina with a dozen. France came on strong with nine wines, with solid contributions from Beaujolais, including the No 9 Domaine Anita Moulin-à-Vent La Rochelle 2021, which is made from gamay vines of up to 50 years old from one of the top Beaujolais crus. This is a wine that displays fantastic concentration and structure, and while it was matured for a year in Burgundian oak, the price is much more reasonable than Burgundy’s grand cru, premier cru and even village wines.

From France’s southern Rhône valley, our fifth-placed wine is one that wowed us, exacting the words “Mon dieu, this is delicious!” from our colleague Ned Goodwin when he tasted it. The Domaine Gramenon Côtes-du-Rhône La Sagesse 2020 is a fruit-driven and fresh grenache produced from biodynamically grown, 60-year-old vines. It’s not the most collectable or complex wine, but it’s immensely drinkable and affordable.

Spain, the United States and Italy collectively contributed as many wines as New Zealand, including our No 3 wine, a syrah from Tuscany. The Stefano Amerighi Syrah Cortona 2020 gives Côte-Rôtie a run for its money, according to Goodwin. It’s an extraordinarily aromatic wine, abounding in spice, charcuterie and black olive aromas. It’s also from biodynamically farmed vines and can be found internationally for just over $30.

Rounding out our Value Top 100 List are wines from Australia, Portugal, South Africa and Austria, plus one from Slovenia. But we must make special mention of a wine from Hungary in seventh place. The Sauska Merlot Villány Kopár 2017 is unique on our list for being the only merlot. It can be found for under $20, even while displaying so much complexity, structure and length. It’s one for the cellar.

Several exciting value wines may be a little different from what you usually drink but are well worth seeking out: a dry German muscat at No 11, produced from 50-year-old vines; a tawny port at No 54; perhaps the best-ever Chilean petit verdot at No 39; and skin-contact wines like a Slovenian bottling at No 36, as well as the
Nos 47, 53 and 67 bottles.

Although the last couple of years have been a wonderful return to pre-Covid travel, dining out and mingling, we’re ever conscious of unpredictable world events and uncertain economic outlook. And though wine prices may be volatile in the New Year, the Top 100 Value Wines list is your safe haven.

We urge you to buy and uncork many of the great value wines on this list while we continue to uncover even more affordable, high-quality bottles in 2024.

James Suckling Picks Top Five Best Value Wines to Try

MURÉ RIESLING ALSACE GRAND CRU VORBOURG CLOS SAINT LANDELIN 2019 – 98 points

One of the dry riesling stars of the 2019 vintage in Alsace, this marries the power and massive structure we associate with these wines to a stunning vitality that makes this as uplifting as it is impressive. The best-ever dry wine from this producer?

See Also

HEES RIESLING NAHE RÖMERSTICH TROCKEN 2022 – 98 points

Very cool and restrained at first, but with aeration in the glass the enormous aromatic spectrum of this great dry riesling opens up like a bandoneon. Enormous length, but with astonishingly little weight for all this intensity.

STEFANO AMERIGHI SYRAH CORTONA 2020 – 98 points

This springs from the glass with a crescendo of violet, clove and summer red fruits, with pithy dark cherries and plums. Anise, black olive and charcuterie, too. This is a doppelganger for a modernist Cote-Rotie, such is the flare and polish.

MARTIN MÜLLEN RIESLING MOSEL KRÖVER PARADIES SPÄTLESE TROCKEN ** 2022 – 97 points

A sleek giant packed with concentrated slatey minerality and stone fruit aromas. What a stunning interplay of complete ripeness and finesse this has on the medium-bodied palate.

DOMAINE GRAMENON CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE LA SAGESSE 2020 – 98 points

Mon dieu, this is delicious! Hedonistic grenache, yet with such refinement and freshness that I could gulp the entire bottle in about two glasses! Arguably not the most complex wine, but certainly the most complete and dangerous.

Source: Prestige Online

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