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  • February 15, 2024 3 min read

    The Top 40 Wines of 2023 is finally out after 1 and a half months (we are late again). 2023 had been a busy year of consolidation with supply disruptions and cost increases making the wine universe somewhat smaller. Some smaller wineries had unfortunately priced themselves out of the market simply because they lack the clout to raise prices in tandem with cost jumps.

    Nonetheless, we continue to find value in many small wineries who consistently make wines that punch above their price categories, so even as the price-quality gap has narrowed, customers are still content to open their wallets. Wineries like Borthwick Vineyards (Borthwick Pinot Gris at No. 6) is a fine example of an excellent producer that flies under the radar. The winery is located in the North Island (NZ) region of Wairarapa, which is most famous for the premium winery hub Martinborough. Being located outside prime estate zone means less marketing power to up prices. On the other hand, the winery operates on land the family has owned for nearly a hundred years, so the singular largest cost component of running a winery had been taken care of a long time ago. This means the winery can focus on making good wine, without fearing that the next vintage could be the last if they don't raise prices. 

    Other wineries took the opportunity during the slowdown to recalibrate and retell their stories. Taltarni Dynamic Cabernet Sauvignon (No. 17) from famed Taltarni Vineyards in Pyrenees (Victoria, Australia) is part of the Dynamic range that the winery launched to demonstrate their winemaking expertise. Previously the winery was cranking out wines in whatever price categories the export markets demand. In the process, Taltarni kind of lost direction and produced wines that weren't exactly Taltarni standard. The slowdown allowed the winery to take a step back to reassess its direction, and the result was a wine like Dynamic Cabernet Sauvignon, which is fruit forward, approachable and crucially over delivers on the price.

    There are similar stories in 2023. It's been a pleasure compiling the Top 40 Wines of 2023 list and figuring out why each entry ticks the boxes for our customers. We hope you enjoy drinking them as much as we had putting them together. We look forward to seeing what new wines could catch our attention and ignite our curiosity in 2024.

    Have fun as always!

     Rank   Wine  Vintage   Price
    1 Chateau Minuty Prestige Rose 2022 $59.00
    2 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2022 $59.00
    3 Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2018 $79.00
    4 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2015 $99.00
    5 Achaval Ferrer Mendoza Malbec 2021 $69.00
    6 Borthwick Pinot Gris 2021 $45.00
    7 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Seleccion Especial 2015 $159.00 
    8 Vinos Sanz Finca la Colina Sauvignon Blanc 2021 $63.00
    9 Ca Dei Frati I Frati Lugana 2021 $59.00
    10 Stags' Leap Napa Valley Chardonnay 2022 $69.00
    11 Philipponnat Royale Reserve Brut Champagne NV $119.00
    12 Jurtschitsch Gruner Veltliner Terrassen 2022 $59.00
    13 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva 2018 $74.00
    14 Rust en Vrede Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 $69.00
    15 Xavier Cotes Du Rhone Rouge 2019 $53.00
    16 Donnafugata Dolce & Gabbana Isolano 2020 $72.00
    17 Taltarni Dynamic Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 $49.00
    18 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 $53.00
    19 Collazzi Liberta Toscana Rosso 2019 $69.00
    20 1853 Old Vine Estate Heritage Grand Reserve Malbec 2017 $79.00
    21 Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella 2019 $99.00
    22 Domaine Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Rouge 'La Moussiere' 2019 $109.00
    23 Whispering Angel Cotes de Provence Rose 2021 $59.00
    24 Greywacke Wild Sauvignon 2021 $69.00
    25 Arzuaga Navarro La Planta 2019 $60.00
    26 Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut Champagne NV $119.00
    27 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 $149.00
    28 Domaine Vincent Bouzereau Meursault 2021 $129.00
    29 Clarendelle Rouge By Haut Brion 2016 $60.00
    30 Bastianich Calabrone 2018 $99.00
    31 Schild Estate Barossa Valley Merlot 2019 $55.00
    32 Robert Weil Spatlese Riesling 2021 $90.00
    33 Torresella Pinot Grigio 2021 $45.00
    34 R Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 2011 $99.00
    35 La Mozza Aragone 2015 $99.00
    36 Domaine Faiveley Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2020 $69.00
    37 Puchang Rkatsiteli 2021 $88.00
    38 Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne NV $89.00
    39 Alaine Jaume Grande Garrigue Vacqueyras 2021 $68.00
    40 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino 2019 $175.00

    Prices and vintages shown in this table are correct as at the date of this article and may change subsequent to this date.

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