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Global Drink Wine Day: 15 wines to discover

To celebrate Global Drink Wine Day, we highlight a selection of 97-point wines from Decanter World Wine Awards to discover classic styles and global benchmarks.

The catch-all wine appreciation day, Global Drink Wine Day is held annually on 18th February.

Familiar favourites like Bordeaux blend, Barolo or Argentinean Malbec might come to mind as your celebratory wine of choice and there are many top examples to choose from when searching DWWA results but to narrow down the selection, we have put together a list of some of the competition’s highest-scoring wines from classic regions and grape varieties, as well as some perhaps less familiar styles to discover.

Tasted and rated by our expert judges at Decanter World Wine Awards 2023, here you can explore a selection of 97-point sparkling, white, rosé, red, sweet and fortified wines from across the globe well worth seeking out…

Global Drink Wine Day: 15 wines to discover

Sparkling

Albet I Noya, El Corral Cremat Brut, Penedès, Penedès, Spain 2012
Best in Show, 97 points
Here’s the perfect bottle to introduce those in the fine-wine community to the potential of Catalunya’s fine sparkling wines, both in terms of intrinsic quality and the significant aesthetic alternative they offer to the high-latitude mainstream. This pure-Xarello wine from the 2012 vintage is straw-gold in colour. Fruits? Look out for yellow stone fruit in place of apple and grape – yet there’s a huge amount to enjoy, too, in the wine’s allusions to meadow grasses in high summer, to sweet crumble toppings, to the perfumes of wild flowers. The palate is broad, expansive and detailed, and structure here too is assured not just by mellow stone fruit acidity but by that sinewy perfumed length. This is sparkling wine which contrives to be nourishing at the same time as it refreshes – and makes an admirable food partner, too. Alcohol 12%

Gusbourne, Blanc de Blancs , Kent/Sussex, United Kingdom 2018
Best in Show, 97 points
All our wines are tasted and judged against their peers in the principal judging week of DWWA – but making the final selection for our Top 50 Best in Show enables the Co-Chairs to make some category comparisons. The chance to look at an outstanding English Blanc de Blancs against a peer from Champagne this year was instructive. This wine’s colour is paler still than the Champagne Blanc de Blancs, though the mousse is no less fine-grained. The aromatic fruit and flowers apparent in this wine’s scents seem to have seeped from beds of cool, almost icy moss – Chardonnay restraint is redoubled in these high latitudes. Acidity once again provides the architecture of flavour, but it’s what is engraved in that acidity which intrigues: orchard fruits combined with an almost severe citrus purity, a seaside freshness, and an unmistakable stoniness, too, which lingers and detains after the fruits subside. It’s a wine of remarkable assurance and accomplishment. Alc 12%

De Saint-Gall, Orpale Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Brut, Champagne, France 2008
Platinum, 97 points
A cascade of bruised apples, figs and toasted nuts with a stylish, smoky quality. Elegant and complex, showing tension and finesse from the brisk, linear acidity and understated, silky mousse. Very complete, seductive and long. Alc 12.2%

White

Kyanos Wines, Orycton, Santorini, Aegean Islands, Greece 2021
Best in Show, 97 points
The Cycladic island of Santorini has not one but two wines in our 2023 Top 50, crafted in diametrically opposed styles. This wine is piercingly dry: the style that most of us are familiar with. Ancient Assyrtico vines, grown in curled basket form as protection against incessant winds and an unrelenting sun, send their roots deep into the pumice and tephra soils of the island, a caldera edge left by the catastrophic eruption of the island (formerly called Thera) around 1600 BC. The result is a white that seems to have a more ‘mineral’ character than any other on earth. Including aromatically, as you’ll see when you dip your nose into a glass of this smoky-stony white, as well as in its flavour: a distinctive, thick-textured mouthful in which lemon and lemon pith mingle with a salty, mineral-oil richness. Magnificently original, effortlessly indigenous: you’re in for a treat if you have never tried a dry Santorini white before. Alc 14.5%

Vinarija Vinčić, Grašac, Fruška Gora , Srem, Serbia 2020
Best in Show, 97 points
We’ve grown used to seeing Graševina (whose many synonyms include Laški Riesling, Welschriesling and Riesling Italico, though the variety has no genetic link to Riesling itself) from Croatia in our competition in recent years, but this year the Graševina which emerged as our judges’ favourite comes from Serbia, where the variety’s name is Grašac. It’s clearly happy in the Danubian hills of Fruška Gora, giving ample varietal character without ever descending into caricature. This carefully crafted version is pale silver-gold in colour, with scents in which the characteristic soft gassiness of the variety is held well in check, to the benefit of honeyed grape and pear. On the palate, you’ll find it pure, long, refined, faintly smoky-savoury, textured and tapered: a fine-dining, white-tablecloth version of this demotic charmer. Alc 13%

SUNTORY, Suntory From Farm Tomi No Oka Koshu, Yamanashi, Chubu, Japan 2021
Platinum, 97 points
Tempting green apple, pear, peach and lime with a vibrant lift of zingy mint and white pepper and a mesmerising burst of lemon acidity. Harmonious and complex with a playful saline cheekiness to finish it off. Alc 12%

Rosé

Château D’Esclans, Côtes de Provence, Provence, France 2021
Best in Show, 97 points
One of the biggest challenges facing our judges every year are the daunting flights of rosé. We want to find the best, but when quality (as is the case, almost uniquely, for rosé) is defined by understatement, nuance, suggestion and a drinkability hard to gauge in the tasting context, then the levels of concentration required on the part of judges are considerable. After no fewer than three succeeding rounds of scrutiny, this wine emerged above its peers thanks to its impeccable grain and nuance. Look out for pristine fresh red fruits balanced by a surreptitious richness on the nose. On the palate, the misty sheen of fruit meets the quiet vitality of soft-focus strawberry and redcurrant. The use of Rolle and Tibouren in the blend brings creaminess, marrow and just enough warmth and glycerol to the wine to carry it through repeated sipping without every cloying or catching. Masterful composition, for those who care to look. Alc 13.5%

Moulin De La Roque, Natu’Roque, Bandol, Provence, France 2022
Platinum, 97 points
Tantalising notes of peach melba, mandarin and red liquorice framed in a fuzzy spritz of vibrant acidity and mouth watering freshness. Remarkably elegant and stylish with an enlivening burst of pink grapefruit on the long finish. Alc 13%

Red

Damilano, Lecinquevigne, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy 2019
Best in Show, 97 points
The second of our brace of 2019 Baroli is the darker of the pair, perhaps the result of having spent only 24 rather than 36 months in wood. It, too, is a wine of gentleness and refinement, with bright plum fruits and warm spice both apparent in the aromas, within the context of an aromatic profile both seamless and harmonious. It’s ample in the palate yet round-contoured, with acidity here as important an element of the wine’s structure as is tannin. The tannins, indeed, are unintimidating and supportive – but resonant and flavoury, too, in best Barolo style. The overall impression of an easy-rolling roundness is underscored by the wealth of fruit which sings through the palate. For all that, this is a serious Barolo which could easily take five to ten years’ further ageing: an ideal introduction to the pleasures of the 2019 vintage in this emblematic Piedmontese region. Alc 14.5%

Evans & Tate, Redbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia 2018
Best in Show, 97 points
This is the slightly older of our two Margaret River Best-in-Show Cabernets, made after the warm, Indian-summer vintage of 2018, considered exceptional for Cabernet. You wouldn’t know it was two years older than its 2020 regional sibling by its colour, which remains an opaque black-red. The summer warmth is very much apparent in the wine’s aromas, though: a broad, structured upland of currant, plum, black cherry and bramble fruit with just a little menthol to bring freshness and dimension. On the palate, the wine is acid-balanced and smooth, once again throwing a spotlight on those long, complex fruits. It’s amply accessible already, though its fruit qualities will certainly hold for some years yet. Alc 14%

Terrazas De Los Andes, Origen Los Chacayes Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina 2021
Best in Show, 97 points
Few wines produced outside Europe can match the drama and intensity of the best Malbecs from Argentina, so our judges were delighted to find two outstanding examples to include in this year’s Best in Show selection. Perhaps unsurprisingly, both come from the Uco Valley, with its high altitudes and propitiously low-vigour, rocky soils. This wine, the younger of the two, is midnight black in colour with the classically perfumed fruits of Malbec, partnered with an almost meaty aromatic depth which gives the wine singularity and character. One the palate, it is astonishingly deep, perfumed and resolute, with remarkable fruit intensity: pure, driving damson and sloe which powers through the palate to subside in a wave of dark chocolate. The tannins are ample; indeed they seem almost prodigious at first; but their softness is such that, by the time you’re enjoying the post-damson chocolate, they’ve almost disappeared of their own accord. Show-stoppingly good. Alc 14.1%

Château Malescasse, Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France 2020
Platinum, 97 points
Alluring sweet cassis, plum and blackcurrant aromas with a mellow texture and poised tannins beautifully bonded to refined currant and cedar fruit core. The subtle use of oak sits elegantly on the lingering finish. A class act. Alc 13.5%

Sweet & Fortified

Blandy’s, Terrantez, Madeira, Portugal 1978
Best in Show, 97 points
All of Madeira’s ‘noble’ varieties are now rare on the island, but none more so than Terrantez: it has ‘virtually disappeared’ according to Robinson, Harding and Vouillamoz’s Wine Grapes, with just 2 ha said to remain. Meanwhile, stocks of Madeira’s greatest vintage wines, even from the second half of the C20, are now a rarity in their own right – all of which means that the chance even to taste this wine, let alone pass judgement on it, is a fast-vanishing privilege. What might you expect if you can arrange a small glassful with friends? It’s a pale walnut in colour, with aromas which evoke the rarified scents of the multi-levelled ageing lodges as much as anything fruity. Like all fine Madeiras, though, the wine is fresh, clean, almost bracing, and mysteriously marine, as if the wide Atlantic — and the tar and saltpetre of its now-lost sailing ships — was somehow brimming in the glass, too. In the mouth it’s medium sweet, burnished, tangy and very long, with its inner tension and almost shocking concentration the result of acidity, sweetness and the oxidative complexities brought by long ageing. As the wine leaves the mouth, it’s not sweetness that you’ll remember and cherish but acidity itself: flavoury, long, almost fiery, unquenchable and challenging. Alc 21%

Weingut Korrell, Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling, Eiswein, Nahe, Germany 2021
Platinum, 97 points
Emblazened with mouthwatering honeyed peach and apricot fruit, lemon curd and dried blossom with a tingling knife-edge acidity and seamless minerality which pierces through the staggeringly intense sweetness. An utterly mindblowing experience not to be missed. Alc 6%

Shabo, Limited Edition Muscat Ottonel, Odessa, Ukraine 2016
Platinum, 97 points
Captivating mulled orange, marzipan and peach marmalade bathed in a subtle elegance of bergamot and spice. Enduring and rich with a mouth coating power and an oozing contrast of bracing acidity which freshens and enhances. Excellently done. Alc 15.6%


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