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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.

Australia

Henschke, Hill of Grace 1998

‘I don’t know if I have ever tasted a better young Shiraz from Australia,’ says Adams. ‘While it is infanticide to drink it now, it is seductive. It has remarkable primary fruit flavours and depth, but also a sense of origin and terroir. It will develop for at least another 20 years.’ £2,000 (case 12)

Lindemans, Bin 1590, Hunter Valley 1959

One of the oldest wineries in Australia, and known as a pioneer of new style wines, the older bin wines reveal a much more classic tone, appreciated by Len Evans among others. £100+

Seppelts, Riesling, Eden Valley 1982

£50

North America

Martha’s Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon 1974

‘On my 50th birthday,’ Goldberg recalls, ‘Pat Cetta gave me this Cabernet. King of the Schmoozers, Pat had a heart bigger than the Ritz. The minty, autumnal red sent my dry-aged beef and hash browns heavenward.’ £500

Monte Bello, Ridge 1991

Adams rates this as one of the greatest and most accessible Cabernet-Merlot blends he has ever tasted from the New World. ‘There is a silkiness and texture which is almost ethereal and an intensity of fruit and minerality which marks out all world-class wines,’ he says.

£100+

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Cask 23, Cabernet Sauvignon 1985

When this wine first appeared, long before cult Cabernets, Helen Turley, and ultra-ripe fruit bombs, it went off the charts. Unlike many of California’s great wines, it is now at its peak. £300

Spain

Vega Sicilia, Unico 1964

Vega Sicilia’s ‘exclusive’ reputation was formed in 1915, when it was only obtainable if one was a friend of the family. The 1964 has enormous complexity and deep, dark fruit. ‘Still on the young side, but opening up beautifully,’ says John Radford, and thus trumping the 1970 Unico.

£325

Dominio de Pingus, Pingus 2000

This iconic estate in the Ribera del Duero is run by Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck. Its flagship wine is 100% Tinto Fino aged in 150% French oak for up to 20 months. £23

Hungary

Crown Estates, Tokaji Aszu Essencia 1973

£265

Royal Tokaji, Szt Tamas, 6 Puttonyos 1993

This first growth Tokaji from the wonderful 1993 vintage is a favourite of Beverley Blanning MW. ‘The incredibly rich, sweet palate combines smooth, cool, mushroomy flavours and zesty, orange marmalade fruit,’ she says. ‘It is full, with deliciously refreshing acidity and endless length.’

£45: 35cl

Austria

Emmerich Knoll, Gruner Veltliner, Smaragd, Wachau 1995

£30

New Zealand

Ata Rangi, Pinot Noir 1996

£23

Port/Fortified

Cossart Gordon, Bual 1914

‘With a haunting perfume of caramel and crystallised violets, this is a perfectly effortless harmony of gently sweet yet intensely-concentrated fruit, taut defining acidity, absolute clarity of flavours, silky texture and, above all, a seemingly inexhaustible persistence of scent,’ says Michael Schuster. ‘Utterly ravishing.’ £500

Emilio Lustau, Manuel Cuevas Jurado, Manzanilla

Amontillada Radford’s favourite sherry has ‘delicious hazelnuts on the nose, delicate butterscotch and a nutty, savoury palate. Completely dry.’

Fonseca, Vintage Port 1927

Along with the other Fonseca standout vintage of 1977, this is such a good port, reckons Norm Roby, it shouldn’t be drunk with cheese or a cigar. ‘It is a wine to savour on its own’ £400

Graham’s 1945

1945 is an amazingly consistent and luscious vintage. ‘Like heavenly treacle and yet still full of red fruit,’ says Sutcliffe. ‘Unsurpassable.’ £600

Henriques & Henriques, Malmsey 1795

‘Everything good old Madeira should be,’ writes Radford, ‘with the richness teased out by maturity, an elegant perfume and a palate which seemed to go on for ever. One of only two wines in my life which I have marked 20/20.’ £700

HM Borges, Terrantez, Madeira 1862

‘Rare grape, great vintage. Unquestionably the most magnificent of the many old vintages I have tasted and, once opened, would remain drinkable for days, even months,’ says Broadbent. Warm amber; over-whelming, lingering bouquet; great concentration and persistence.’

£400

Quinta do Noval, Nacional 1931

£2,000

Taylor’s 1948

‘One of the finest ports ever made: still deep, intense; magnificently evolved bouquet; sweet of course, exquisite and lingering,’ writes Broadbent.

Also highly rated: 1935, 1927 Taylor’s

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