Suckling’s ‘Perfect Wines’ could lift spirits this Lockdown Christmas

“It’s been a tough year for all of us and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. But a glass of terrific quality wine certainly helps us through…” James Suckling, November 2020 (Suckling’s Top 100 wines of 2020)

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James Suckling’s top 100 wines of 2020

James Suckling, one of the world’s most influential wine critics, has released his annual ranking of Top 100 Wines of the Year. The 2020 edition is heavily influenced by regions more readily identified for wines for ‘quaffing’ rather than for their supreme quality investment wines. It might make the shopping list of Festive tipples for this most extraordinary Christmas!

Suckling’s Top 100 Wines are selected from those he has tasted this year and his review refers to the unusual times the industry and the world at large is living through during 2020. We echo his opening comment quoted above and his observation that:

“It’s a golden moment for wine lovers with so many outstanding quality wines made from around the world in every style and price.” James Suckling

The quality overall was incredibly high with a third of the ranking achieving the perfect 100-point score and the remainder more than 98. His premier ten wines hail from Argentina, Austria, Australia, Chile, Germany and Italy. This is not to say that we don’t recognise that some of the very best wine producers in the world are sited in these countries but the traditional wine-growing regions of France are unrepresented in Suckling’s Top Ten. It is heavily weighted towards Germany, with second, sixth and seventh place and an Austrian Riesling making fifth.

Suckling’s Top Ten Wines of 2020

No. Region Wine Vintage Score
1 Argentina Chacra, Pinot Noir Trenta y Dos, Mendoza 2018 100
2 Germany Schloss Johannisberg, Riesling Grulack Spatlese Rheingau 2019 100
3 Italy Pertimali (Livio Sassetti) Brunello di Montalcino 2016 100
4 Australia The Schubert Theorem, The Standish Wine Company, Barossa Valley 2018 100
5 Austria Weingut Knoll, Dunsteriner Ried Schutt Riesling 2019 100
6 Germany Wittman, Westofener Morstein Riesling GG Rheinhessen 2019 100
7 Germany Donnhoff, Dellchen Riesling GG Nahe 2019 100
8 Italy Tassi, Brunello di Montalcino, Franci Riserva 2015 100
9 Argentina Cheval des Andes, Mendoza 2017 100
10 Chile Casa Lapostolle, Clos Alpata, Colchqua Valley 2017 100

Source: JamesSuckling.com – Our 2020 Top 100 Wines

The Vin-X Analysis of James Suckling’s Top 100 wines of 2020

Overall Germany produced 17 of Suckling’s top 100 top wines. Whilst some of us of a certain age may reflect back to the arrival of Blue Nun and Black Tower onto the lunch table in the 1980s, the very best Rieslings of Germany and Austria today are quite outstanding and now grabbing some attention in the secondary market.

Probably more predictable, Argentina, Chile and Italy produced wines that made Suckling’s top ten and Chacra, Pinot Noir Trenta y Dos, Mendoza 2018 afforded Argentina the claim of being the region to be home to Suckling’s Favourite Wine of 2020. With two Argentinians and one wine from Chile making the top ten, South America’s evolving wine industry is driving quality and broadening its appeal.

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Italy produced the most wines to make the complete list of 100, with 20 ranked, not unsurprising given its significant growth in trade on the secondary market and Liv-ex this year. This is in part due to the region’s exemption from Trump’s Tariffs imposed in October 2019, but also down to the fine wine market’s growing recognition of Tuscany and Piedmont’s superb quality wines which still offer great value to fine wine appreciators, collectors and investors.

Australia also demonstrated its increasing profile as a producer of great quality wines, just pipped by Italy with one wine to make the top ten and 19 in the overall list of 100.

France was very poorly represented in James Suckling top 100 wines of 2020, given the prolific production of supreme quality wines and rich heritage – but this could be in part down to which wines Suckling and his team tasted this year. We mustn’t forget that that whole ranking was scored between 98 – 100 points. Highest up the 2020 list was Henri Giraud Champagne Argonne Brut 2012 ranked 56, followed by Chateau d’Yquem 2017 at 57. Bordeaux 2017 was also represented by Cos d’Estournel (77), Trotanoy ( 61), Margaux (79) and Vieux Chateau Certan (89). Remarkably, Dom Perignon’s 2010 vintage Champagne brought up the rear, ranking 100th.

We single out the Bordeaux and Champagne wines rated because they are generally actively traded in the secondary market and are therefore of interest to investors. Notably, they are in the main from 2017 vintage tastings and very young. But the positioning of these wines in the lower half of the ranking is perhaps also indicative of current market trends with more demand for Italian wines and interest in emerging markets. See our earlier blog for commentary on the current regional share of trade on Liv-ex.


For more information on which fine wines to include in your portfolio contact us on 0203 384 2262.