Wine is a beautiful thing, in large part because it’s subjective. Each of us is unique, and so too is the way we approach, interpret and appreciate wine. Enjoying wine can be as structured as a formal wine tasting, or as simple as enjoying a glass over conversation with friends. Taste preferences and perceptions vary from person to person, and ultimately it comes down to whether or not you, personally, enjoy what’s in the glass in front of you. There are very few right and wrong answers when it comes to wine, and that keeps things interesting!
Thanks to the subjectivity of it all, it’s virtually impossible to state unequivocally that one wine is objectively better or worse than another. However, there are many factors that affect the quality of a wine, from the vineyard to the winery and how it’s aged, stored and served. Factors such as these have a massive impact on the quality, demand and price of the finished wine. With the caveat of subjectivity in mind, we will now try to answer one of the most difficult questions in all of wine: What is the best red wine in the world?
What is the best red wine in the world
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer, for many reasons.
- Wine is an agricultural product and the character and quality of any given wine will vary from one vintage to another – a wine that is outstanding in this year’s vintage may dip in quality next year due to adverse weather conditions, disease or any amount of other mitigating factors.
- The subjective nature of wine tasting and wine criticism means that even wine experts are often divided when it comes to specific wines. What could be a 100-point wine for one critic may be considerably less for another. Different wine competitions and awards have different criteria and some may simply favour producers that have more money to spend on submitting samples.
- The fact that the best red wines in the world usually require extensive ageing means it’s difficult to judge its potential quality at time of release.
- There’s also the simple fact that most of the top red wines are in profoundly short supply, and command insanely high prices. This means that few people will ever get to taste them, let alone drink them – and what is wine for if not for drinking?
With all of this in mind, the sensible conclusion would be to say that the best red wine in the world is the one that you like the best, that gives you the most pleasure. If that’s not enough, however, and you really want to try some of the wines that are widely considered the best of the best, we’ve put together a list of contenders for you.
Contenders for the best red wine in the world
- Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée Conti is often called the best red wine in the world. The estate itself, Domaine de la Romanée Conti, is Burgundy’s best producer, and this is its best wine. You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the 2001 vintage will set you back almost €15,000 a bottle.
- Château Petrus and Le Pin are the best of Pomerol, arguably the most prestigious region of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant reds are made on the best soils in the region in absolutely tiny quantities. Either Petrus 2003 or Le Pin 2006 could make a strong argument to be the best red wine in the world.
- Spanish heavyweights Pingus and Vega Sicilia can certainly lay a claim to the title. These are the top estates from the Ribera del Duero region. Pingus 2012 scored a perfect 100 points from Robert Parker, and Vega Sicilia Unico 2000 was not far behind with 99 points from Guía Proensa.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. The wine world is vast, and there are hundreds – if not thousands – of wines that could claim to be the best red wine in the world. Bordeaux, Burgundy and Ribera del Duero all have many more strong contenders, as do many of the other great wine regions of the world.
What do you think is the best red wine in the world? What makes it the best? We want to hear from you!