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Suckling names Argentine Pinot ‘Wine of the Year’

US critic James Suckling has named an Argentine Pinot Noir as his ‘Wine of the Year’, in a top 10 shortlist that includes no French wine at all and no Cabernet-dominant wines.

The critic’s top 10 wines include labels from Argentina, Germany, Italy, Austria, Australia and Chile – half of the white wines – an incredibly diverse selection and a reflection of the broadening view of ‘fine wine’ as a category.

Suckling’s previous wines of the year have tended to gravitate around Bordeaux, Napa or his beloved Brunellos though he eschewed these in favour of Chilean label Almaviva, the 2017 vintage of which was named his ‘wine of the decade’ earlier this year.

His choice of Chacra’s Pinot Noir ‘Patagonia Treinta y Dos 2018’ (1932 being when the vines were planted) this year then is something of a surprise, though it seems to confirm his budding love affair with South American wines.

More surprising still is the fact that he has chosen a ‘natural’ wine as well; from vineyards farmed biodynamically, with the wine aged predominantly in concrete and second, third, fourth and fifth-filled oak barrels, spontaneously fermented with natural yeasts and unfiltered prior to bottling.

Suckling explained that not only was it a “wonderful wine” worthy of its 100-point tag but that it also encapsulated a number of other points that have grown in importance in winemaking today, representing: “amazing value, environmentally responsible and sustainable production, clear and transparent character reflecting its ecosystem, and incredible drinkability”.

At just 600 cases produced this is not a widely available wine and Suckling suggested the 2017 and 2016 vintages as close peers should the 2018 prove difficult to find.

Liv-ex noted that the 2018 has a market price of £839 per dozen, while the 2017 is available for £804 and 2016 for £750.

The other wines in the top 10 include three from Germany (Schloss Johannisberg’s 2019 Riesling Grünlack Spätlese, Wittmann 2019 Westhofener Morstein Riesling GG and Dönnhoff 2019 Dellchen Riesling GG); two from Italy (Pertimali 2016 Brunello di Montalcino and Tassi 2015 Brunello ‘Franci Riserva’); another Argentine (2017 Cheval des Andes); one Australian (The Standish Wine Company’s 2018 ‘The Schubert Theorem’); one Austrian (Weingut Knoll 2019 Durnsteiner Ried Schutt Riesling Smaragd) and one Chilean label (Casa Lapostolle’s 2017 Clos Apalta).

This diversity is reflected across the top 100 on the list, which is dominated by Italian, Australian, German, French and American wines (in that order), as well as Argentina, Chile, Austria, Spain and Portugal.

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