Decanter has published a list of ‘12 vineyards to rule them all‘, featuring some of the greatest vineyards across the globe, after consulting a selection of leading wine world experts.
After much debate and discussion, the final dozen takes wine lovers on a journey across the international wine world, from Burgundy and Barolo to Napa Valley, via South Australia and Argentina – to name just a few destinations.
Not everyone will agree with the choices made, of course.
It’s a list that is inevitably subjective, and that’s before one tackles the thorny topic of defining terroir, as Andrew Jefford notes in a full explanation of the process involved in selecting just a handful of names from so many candidates.
His article, including exclusive commentary from experts on the 12 vineyards chosen, is now available to Decanter Premium subscribers.
Great wines are not only produced from single vineyards, and there are plenty of world-beating wineries, areas and entire regions that are not represented.
‘Our valiant contributors have fought their way through a blizzard of challenges to come up with this dozen, but we fully expect the list to be criticised and challenged again,’ Jefford writes.
‘We still think it’s worth doing – as a talking point, as a focus for reflection, as an incentive. And for fun.’
Napa’s To Kalon site makes the cut for its important legacy in California winemaking and its ongoing ability to consistently produce top-scoring Cabernet-based wines, as Decanter’s Napa Valley correspondent, Jonathan Cristaldi, highlights in his commentary.
In South Australia, ‘gnarled 162-year-old Shiraz vines on Henschke’s Hill of Grace vineyard carry a vinous story like no other,’ writes David Sly, a specialist food and wine writer and editor based in Adelaide.
In Europe, the famous names of Petrus in Bordeaux and Musigny and Montrachet in Burgundy are included, alongside several other prestigious sites, such as Clos des Goisses in Champagne, Scharzhofberg in Germany’s Mosel and Macharnudo in Spain’s Jerez region.
The list also represents wines at a range of prices. Domaine Leroy’s Musigny Grand Cru is one of the world’s most expensive wines, for instance. Macharnudo, meanwhile, is a source of Sherry styles and still wines that include bottles at around £50 or less, shows Decanter’s feature on the dozen sites selected.
Greatest vineyards: a snapshot of the Decanter dozen
Locations below are not ranked in any particular order.
Clos des Goisses
Location: Mareuil- sur-Aÿ, Champagne, France
Owner: Maison Philipponnat
Size: 5.83 hectares (ha)
Grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay (approximately 80/20 ratio).
Hill of Grace
Location: Keyneton, Eden Valley, South Australia
Owners: Stephen and Prue Henschke, Henschke Wines
Grape varieties: Shiraz, Riesling, Semillon, Mataro.
Location: Hermitage, northern Rhône
Owners: Bernard Faurie, Cave de Tain, Delas, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, Domaine Marc Sorrel, M Chapoutier, Paul Jaboulet Aîné
Grape varieties: Syrah 19.2ha, Marsanne 0.5ha, Roussanne 0.2ha.
Location: Jerez, NW of the city
Owners: Valdespino (Grupo Estévez), Harveys (Fundador), González Byass, plus others
Dominant grape variety: Palomino Fino.
Name of vineyard: Montrachet (in Puligny); Le Montrachet (in Chassagne)
Location: Côte de Beaune, Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France
Size: 8ha (half in Puligny, half in Chassagne)
Grape varieties: Chardonnay
Principal owners: Multiple domaines. Biggest landowner in Puligny is The Marquis de Laguiche (2.06ha, produced with Maison Joseph Drouhin). Biggest landowner in Chassagne is Domaine Baron Thenard (1.83ha).
Name of vineyard: Musigny (lieux-dits La Combe d’Orveau, Les Musigny, Les Petits Musigny)
Location: Côte de Nuits, Côte d’Or, Burgundy, France
Grape varieties: Pinot Noir (10.20ha), Chardonnay (0.65ha)
Principal owners: Multiple domaines. Biggest landowner is Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé (7.12ha).
Location: Monasterio, Gualtallary, Uco, Argentina
Owner: Monasterio del Cristo Orante Size
Grape varieties: Malbec (2.8 ha), Cabernet Franc (1.2ha), Chardonnay (<0.3ha).
Location: Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Owners: Famille Jean- François Moueix 80%, Alejandro Santo Domingo 20%
Size: 11.5ha (10.5ha currently under vine)
Grape varieties: Merlot 100%.
Location: Thann, Alsace, France
Owner: Zind-Humbrecht, Schoffit, Wolfberger
Grape varieties: Pinot Gris 57%, Riesling 32%, Gewurztraminer 10%, Muscat 1%.
Location: Wiltingen, Saar, Mosel, Germany
Owners: Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Scharzhof, Van Volxem, Vereinigte Hospitien, Von Hövel
Grape varieties: Riesling.
Location: Oakville, Napa Valley, California, USA
Size: 339ha, with 274ha planted to vine
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon
Owners: Constellation Brands Inc (177ha); Opus One Winery (41.27ha); Beckstoffer Vineyards (33.59ha); Detert Family Vineyards (7.28ha); MacDonald/Horton (6.07ha); University of California, Davis (5.26ha); Napa Valley Grapegrowers (0.32ha); Wilsey/Traina (0.08ha).
Location: Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy
Grape varieties: Nebbiolo >98%, Dolcetto 1%, Barbera 0.5%
Owners: Anna Rosa Regis, Ettore Germano, Figli Luigi Oddero, Giacomo Anselma, Giovanni Rosso, Guido Porro, Luigi Pira, Massolino, Poderi e Cantine Oddero, Terre del Barolo (Arnaldo Rivera).