This comment from @Bluebeard set me thinking - what are the best wines in the world for different varieties? How many are by consensus?
I was also pondering that as I wrote it! How about (in descending order of how unarguable this seems to be):
Pinot - DRC RC
Grenache - Rayas
Cabernet Franc - Rougeard
Merlot - Petrus
Nebbiolo - Monfortino
Aligote - Ponsot Monts Luisants
Sangiovese - Soldera
Some grapes are usually blended (Yquem is probably the world’s best Semillon, but has 20% Sauvignon Blanc), or have a few obvious exponents (e.g. is Chave or Grange a better Syrah/Shiraz)?
I’d argue that G-Max is the consensus best dry Riesling, but can’t say it’s the world’s greatest Riesling - maybe joint title with Egon Muller?
This is a great little book I picked up a while back. Doesn’t rank “the best” of each variety but has a similar theme of must try wines for the bucket list. Needless to say I have many dog-eared pages ready for my big lottery win. Available on Amazon.
But how many mere mortals actually tasted it…? Surely a consensus can only be reached if enough people have a go…?
The formula is surely Variety x Vintage x Producer isn’t it?
Moreover it’s all decidedly subjective. In order to nominate any given wine, for a start the nominator needs to have drunk it themselves, but for me such an occasion lingers in the memory banks as a total experience drawn from it, which not only includes the prerequisite wine - including the vintage as @Tannatastic points out, but also the circumstances:- the occasion, ambience and location. I’ve had many amazing such experiences but they can’t be boiled down to just the wine. So for me, sorry, a bit of a dud thread. But will be interested in others’ replies, none the less.
Unless there are some measurable criteria for evaluating the “best” wine I don’t see how you can ever choose the best. You might find a “widely agreed to be the best”, or “one of the best” but never an absolute best.
You can measure the fastest 100 metre sprint time, and have a world record. I very much doubt you would ever have someone agreed as the most elegant or beautiful runner in the world.
It’s all tosh.
All that matters is what you like. Who cares if critics and revieweae say another wine is better.
I reckon many highly rated wines are so rated because they’re expensive, and they’re expensive because they are bought by people with too much money but not enough conviction of taste, who need to be told what is fashionable.
My best wine is the next one I open.
A pointless exercise IMO. How many people will have drunk DRC? What is the marginal ‘betterness’ of it compared to a similar wine at a tenth of the price. Quality/price is not a linear equation beyond a certain point.
If a large number of wine experts (not the likes of me) agree over a period that x wine is consistently the best of y variety, that would indicate to me that there is a consensus of opinion (ie widely agreed to be the best), which is what I was driving at.
Sorry I’ve upset so many people with what was only intended as a general musing.
I don’t think anyone is upset! Just have a different view…
@CCouzens no need for apologies, lively discussion (aka disagreements) are what makes this board a fun place to be.
I’m in no way upset.
Agree with @MarkC that there is no upset here…!
It’s actually a really interesting question; to take the DRC example - it may well be that a whole load of respected critics taste it every year, and think it is the best Pinot on earth, the benchmark against which all fine Pinots should be judged. But if none of us - regular wine lovers - can access this wine, what’s the point of this assessment?
Incidentally, Andrew Jefford wrote about this very issue, following a DRC tasting. The piece is called ‘Some Useless Notes’ - and his point, I guess, is that he’s writing poetic tasting notes, though he’s aware that very few people will actually get to taste the wines.
I often feel the same skimming through Decanter’s latest fantabulous Bordeaux tastings - ‘Amazing vintage X revisited’. 100 point scores for all the usual suspects - the very suspects I will never be able to afford, so after the initial read of a few notes - it’s back to assessments of wines I will actually drink one day, should I choose to. Some will, inevitably, become my own Best Wines in the World.
A friend who used to own a restaurant in a ski resort in France sold a couple of bottles (of DRC) to a table of Russians. His profit on the two bottles paid his staff wages for the season!
I can well imagine!
I sometimes wonder if producers of such illustrious - now almost mythical! - wines don’t feel frustrated from time to time that many wine enthusiasts will never get to try their wines. It can’t all be the pleasure of profit, surely, when you’re a dedicated vigneron and want to share the fruits of your labour and love? Or maybe I’m just naive…
I know some prodicers have very strict allocation rules .
I believe DRC get their importers to take note of who each bottle gets sold to and if you are caught flipping your allocation you get no more.
I have always been led to believe this is why so many auction lots do not show the bottle numbers in the pictures, so their owners do not get allocations removed.
I suppose it is pointless to think about drinking Romanee Conti. But moderately ridiculously priced wines? How many restaurant meals, or good bottles would you have to forego in order to drink a bottle of Cheval Blanc from a good year? Or a good vintage of Dom Perignon? I think that at a certain level the best are still worth it.
The question has been answered here
and it’s not DRC😘
Wine is something to be enjoyed, shared with friends, drunk on special occasions and remembered.
I’d much rather remember the dodgy Rose from my wedding than DRC…