In its 26th year of publication, choosing my Wines of the Year for 2023 was as challenging as ever. I managed to taste widely, with bottles opened at home, informal tastings and professional tastings, supplemented by virtual meetings with winemakers (for me, that has been one positive outcome enforced by the Covid lockdowns).
As always, I invited visitors to wine-pages.com to send in their own nominations for publication on the site. Around 40 list of Visitors’ Wines of the Year can be enjoyed here.
Tom’s Wines of the Year 2023
Click to read full tasting notes for Tom’s Wines of the Year.
What a difference a year makes! Last year there were several red Bordeaux wines in my list, including Red of the Year, but this year sees not a single one. It reflects tasting opportunities that I had, but also that I am not quite so obsessed with Bordeaux as I once was. Great Bordeaux is still a thing of absolute beauty, but I guess my tastes have swung to slightly lighter reds, whites and sparkling wines.
Some wines in the list are very expensive. If quality-to-price ratio was the only criteria they may have been ousted by less expensive alternatives, but this is meant to be my personal best of the best from 2023’s drinking, so that was not a consideration.
As in 2022, my dud is de-alcoholised wine. I am sent lots of these to taste and they range from awful to OK. None are very good. What I really dislike is marketing speil that tries to convince us that it is indistinguishable from ‘normal’ wine. The Hardy’s was a serious culprit here; waffling on about it being made “By carefully selecting parcels of the best wines,” which retained “natural flavours and body.” I found it to be yet another generic and pretty characterless drink, and travesty of good Chardonnay.
Finally, my thing of the year. In many countries equality is still a long way off, with discrimination based on race, gender, age, sexuality, religion and disability. My husband and I have been together for 38 years, but for the first 30 of those could not be legally married. Britain can be reasonably proud of its progress during my lifetime.
Congratulations to the Runners Up
With the sheer number of excellent wines tasted, I’ve allowed myself my usual indulgence of a baker’s dozen that so very nearly made it, so congratulations to all:
- Champagne Legras & Haas, Les Sillons Extra Brut 2013, France
- Exton Park, Blanc de Blancs 2014, England
- Stefano Zoli, Verdicchio di Matelica 2022, Italy
- Domaine Kientzler, Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg 2019, France
- Greywacke, Wild Sauvignon 2011, New Zealand
- Smith & Sheth, CRU Howell Vineyard Chardonnay 2021, New Zealand
- Yalumba, The Tri-Centenary Grenache 2018, Australia
- Wynns, John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, Australia
- Domaine Albert Mann, Grand P Pinot Noir 2020, France
- Tedeschi, Marne 180 Amarone della Valpolicella 2019, Italy
- San Felice, Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva 2010, Italy
- Henriques & Henriques, 15 Year Old Verdelho, Portugal
- Quinta do Noval, 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal
See the Wines of the Year nominations from visitors to wine-pages
Submissions for 2023 are now closed.