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100 Wines to Try before you Die

It’s the connoisseur’s favourite dinner party subject: what’s the best wine you’ve ever tasted? We recruited the world’s top experts to come up with the most awe-inspiring wine list you’ll ever see.

Loire

Domaine des Baumard, Clos du Papillon, Savennieres 1996

‘Wonderfully fragrant and aromatic nose, enormous complexity on the palate,’ says John Radford. ‘Delicious, fresh and perfectly balanced’. £15

Moulin Touchais, Anjou 1959

£130

Rhône

Andre Perret, Coteau de Chery, Condrieu 2001

The only wine to feature the rare, but increasingly popular Viognier grape. £40

Chapoutier, La Sizeranne 1989

The power of this Hermitage is such, that years after he first tried it, Roby can vividly recall the ‘darker than dark hue, with herbs, minerals, and spices packed into an immense frame.’ £35

Chateau La Nerthe, Cuvee des Cadettes 1998

A £60 bottle from the imposing Châteauneuf estate.

Chateau Rayas 1989

Full of ‘soft, velvety truffles, mushrooms and spice,’ says Sayburn of this exemplary Châteaneuf-du-Pape. £265

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage Blanc 1978

When it comes to historic French estates, they don’t come much better than Chave, whose family has been in business since 1481. Although mainly red producers, the family owns 5ha of white vines. This Roussanne-Marsanne blend, known for its apple and quince flavours, gets more opulent with time.

Guigal, La Landonne 1983

Guigal ages its single-vineyard Côte-Rôtie for 42 months in new oak. But it’s worth the wait, says Lawther: ‘A truly noble wine, full of power and vigour with a sumptuous bouquet that expresses the complexity of age and still lively quality of the fruit.’ £50

Guigal, La Mouline, Cote-Rotie 1999

Jaboulet, La Chapelle, Hermitage 1983

Regional France

Chateau Montus, Prestige, Madiran 1985

In the early 1980s, Madiran was barely known as a wine region. One man changed that – Alain Brumont, of Bouscassé. ‘In 1989 I met Alain Brumont and was impressed’ says Jim Budd. This wine was confirmation of this promise. Made from 100% Tannat, it was full on the palate with lovely texture and great length.’ £45 Montus’ 2000 La Tyre was also nominated.

Domaine Bunan, Moulin des Costes, Charriage, Bandol 1998

This small coastal region in Provence produces arguably Provence’s best wines. Predominantly tannic, they are mainly made from Mourvèdre and count Andrew Jefford as a big fan.

£10

Italy

Ca’ del Bosco, Cuvee Annamaria Clementi, Franciacorta 1990

‘The best ever vintage of Maurizio Zanella’s Chardonnay-Pinot Bianco-Pinot Nero cuvée, this has everything that you could wish for in a classic sparkling wine; complexity, texture, length, and bags of energy,’ says Richard Baudains. £60

Cantina Terlano, Terlano Classico, Alto Adige 1979

‘Bottles from the legendary reserves of this Alto Adige winery periodically emerge to demonstrate their defiance of the ravages of time with incredible arrays of aroma, freshness and vitality. Unforgettable,’ proclaims Baudains.

Ciacci Piccolomini, Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino 1990

‘Ciacci may have lost its way in more recent years but the 1990 Riserva remains one of the few really “great” Italian wines I’ve enjoyed,’ says Michael Palij MW. ‘Divine – a dazzling combination of power and complexity.’ £40

Dal Forno Romano, Amarone della Valpolicella 1997

An amazing blockbuster: ‘Super concentrated black fruits, liquorice, powerful and muscular weight in mouth’, says Sayburn.

£1,000 (case 12)

Fattoria il Paradiso, Brunello di Montalcino 1990

Gaja, Sori Tildin, Barbaresco 1982

£200

Tenuta di Ornellaia 1995

In a relatively short period of time, the Antinori family, joined latterly by the Mondavis, have established a cult Bordeaux blend in a part of Tuscany better known for Sangiovese. Such is the lure of the Ornellaia name today that its wine has been the subject of several fraud scandals. £45

Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia 1985

Only a few bottles of this magical wine are still in circulation. It is hard to think of anything in Italy to beat it. ‘Still in perfect form, this is sheer, unequivocal greatness,’ reckons Baudains. £900

Germany

Donnhoff, Hermannshole, Riesling Spatlese, Niederhauser 2001

The genius of the winemaker, Helmut Dönnhoff, is other-worldy,’ says Howard G Goldberg. ‘His flavours bring tears to the eyes.’

£22

Egon Muller, Scharzhofberger TrockenBeerenAuslese 1976

‘Orange tawny; indescribably lovely bouquet and perfect balance of fruit, lime honey and acidity.’ So says Michael Broadbent. £50

Fritz Haag, Juffer-Sonnenuhr Brauneberger, Riesling TBA 1976

£70

JJ Prum, Trockenbeerenauslese, Wehlener Sonnenuhr 1976

This Mosel estate – dedscribed as ‘superlative and legendary’ by Hugh Johnson was a popular choice, with votes also coming in for the 1990 Prum TBA and 1988 Prum Riesling Auslese. £50

Maximin Grunhaus, Abtsberg Auslese, Ruwer 1983

This estate was Andrew Jefford’s first case buy of great German wine. ‘Bought in 1985, it was all drunk by 1992 or so,’ he says. ‘But I still remember its gossamer grace and dewdrop limpidity. It taught me that, even in wine, less can mean more.’ £30

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