Each year, wine lovers around the globe eagerly await the release of Wine Spectator’s top wines list. These showcase the best of the best, those fabulous drops that are sure to impress even the most ardent oenophile (wine lover).
Right at the top of the list, the top ten wines are the absolute creme-de-la-creme, and there’s no greater honor for a winemaker than to nab a place here.
Like with other years, the 2019 Wine Spectator top ten is a varied and delightful mix of exquisite wines. Covering different varietals, origins and price points, the diversity of the list reflects the current state of the industry.
Whether you enjoy these on an epicurean tour or in the comfort of your own home, consider this your “wines-to-try” list of 2020. With big name stalwarts alongside relative newcomers, it shows that we currently live in an exciting time for wine.
Let’s take a look at the top ten.
10. Viña Almaviva Puente Alto
Grabbing tenth place on Wine Selector’s ten best wines of 2019, this Chilean red is a masterclass in red blends. With a powerful yet elegant palate, complete with dark fruit and spice along with dried herbal notes, there’s no doubt this is a worthy inclusion on the list of premier wines of the year.
A rich and complex red, grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot come together to create a symphony of well-structured flavors. Perhaps best of all, this 2016 vintage is already drinking well, although it will also develop through until 2034 if you’re looking to cellar.
Points: 95 | Price (recommended): $130
9. Penfolds Shiraz Barossa Valley RWT Bin 798
This wonder from Down Under continues to assert its assert its dominance, with Penfolds once again proving why they’re the Australian producer of choice. This luscious wine offers sublime fruit notes, with ample dark fruits including blackberry, blueberry and dark cherries, along with hints of amaretto, clove and lavender.
This unique flavor profile showcases the best of the Barossa Valley, a region known for its unapologetic flavor and bold Shiraz. We have no doubt that this 2016 varietal will take its place amongst the wine greats for years to come – Wine Selector suggests cellaring this vintage through to 2034 for best drinking.
Points: 96 | Price (recommended): $150
8. Château Pichon Baron Pauillac
An unapologetic red that’s not afraid to announce its arrival, this French drop is soaking in luscious fruit flavors. Rich dark fig and black currant notes are weaved in with tobacco and singed alder, creating a complex and earthy palate that’s sure to delight.
Hailing from one of the most historic and respected vineyards in Bordeaux, this 2016 vintage boasts plenty of body and complexity. It’s a wine to be enjoyed from start to finish, and preferably with a little bit more age – it will do well from 2025 to 2040.
Points: 96 | Price (recommended): $176
7. Ramey Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros Hyde Vineyard
A modest run of just 1,256 cases means that there are a lucky few who get their hands on this exquisite white. Showcasing the best of the Napa Valley’s terroir, this white boasts a powerful underlying structure paired with intense flavors throughout.
Green fruits including pear, apple and ripe citrus are up front with this exquisite wine, while a spicy and textured finish creates depth and interest. This 2016 vintage no doubt represents the best of the new Californian approach to Chardonnay and heralds a new era for this grape. A couple of years’ age – from 2021 to 2025 – will give the flavor even more time to develop.
Points: 95 | Price (recommended): $65
6.Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Its inclusion will surely not surprise those wine lovers in the know; this French varietal has been a stalwart of the luxury market for some time, and it just seems to get better and better.
Although the 2016 vintage is youthful in feel, there’s an underlying complexity that will see this wine through for years to come. To see the best of it, Wine Selector suggests cellaring this from between 2023 and 2040.
The underlying structure of this wine has the elegance we have come to expect from this powerhouse of French winemaking. With extravagant red fruits paired with hints of licorice and singed mesquite, it has complexity and intrigue in spades.
Points: 97 | Price (recommended): $105
5. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley L’Ermitage
If you’re on the lookout for an exquisite wine to drink in the short term, then this should be your new go-to. Drinking well immediately, this exquisite Brut is both extravagant and well-balanced, making it your perfect go-to for those special occasions.
A bouquet of fruit flavors laced with ginger and spice with hints of hazelnut and Asian pear makes this an exceptional wine for those special occasions. It’s undoubtedly the best of Californian bubbly, and this 2012 vintage is not to be missed.
Plus, the quality of this drop defies the modest price tag.
Points: 95 | Price (recommended): $148
4. Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Reserve
This is a piercing wine that isn’t afraid to announce its presence – loudly. Tightly wound, this wine features a jolt of red berries including cassis, raspberry and bitter cherry. Balancing out the crisp fruit is hints of alder and iron, as well as tobacco on the finish.
This exemplary Californian wine is the quintessential Cabernet Sauvigon from the Napa Valley. With strong fruits up front and a fully body, it’s the region in a bottle. With a relatively modest production of 4,800 cases, this is a vintage to keep your hand on. It will cellar well from between 2022 to 2038.
Points: 96 | Price (recommended): $150
3. San Giusto a Rentennano Chianti Classico
The modest price tag on this fabulous wine defies the exceptional flavor and quality it presents. Showcasing the best of the region, the 2016 vintage is a highly balanced wine with complexity and uplifting talons. A strong base of violets, black berries and black currants give it an exquisite base, while it also has an earthy, mineral character.
To give it a little more time to balance, Wine Spectator recommends cellaring until between 2021 and 2043.
Points: 95 | Price (recommended): $36
2. Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Verdeer
With a modest run of just 2,250 cases made, only a lucky few get their hands on the mouthwatering Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2015 vintage of this Napa Valley favorite is a true delight, showcasing the best of the terroir in the Mount Verdeer region.
At present, the wine is tightly wound, with strong hints of delicious dark fruits like black currant, plum and dark blueberries. Other notes including bay leaves and charcoal increasingly complement the fruit as this varietal ages. Give it a few years (to 2023 – 2040) and this will be a total showstopper.
Points: 96 | Price (recommended): $125
1. Château Léoville Barton
In a big coup for this delightful Bordeaux winery (in the St.-Julien appellation, to be precise), the Château Léoville Barton has taken out the top gong on the Wine Spectator list. It’s the pinnacle of a long career for the family behind this winery, which is one of the oldest family-run establishments in Bordeaux.
The 2016 Château Léoville Barton sums up everything there is to love about the St. Julien appellation. This fabulous wine simply bursts with pastis-soaked dark fruits, while a pinch of bramble goodness adds depth. So too does the ganache and tar undertones, completing the palate perfectly.
It may be hard to resist sampling this delicacy now but cellaring to between 2025 and 2040 will help bring out even more depth, smoothness and flavor.
Points: 97 | Price (recommended): $98
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