The world’s best wine
credits: Dollar Photo Club

The world’s best wine

It seems that everything needs to have a best, a biggest, or a #1. Currently there are competitions for practically everything, and when it comes to wine, it’s not any different. We many times hear that this or that wine is the world’s best because it won an international prize, a medal, or received high rates given by renowned critics or specialized magazines. But I wonder if there is actually a fair way to define the best wine of all? Is it that important to know that?

Another thing I often question is: would it actually be possible to pick a wine and one wine only, amongst the many wine types out there? I mean, there are red, white, rosé, sweet, sparkling, and many others. Could we actually say a given red wine is better than an excellent white wine, or that a good champagne is better than a vintage port?

Lately we’ve had wines highlighted in international competitions, showing up in the media with the title of the world’s best. Of course few people were worried about checking what kind of competition these were; how the samples were picked; who the judges were; and how the tasting process was carried out. These are important matters, once they define the event’s and the prize’s prestige.

I’m not trying to belittle any of these prizes, even though I say that a wine which got a title in a contest isn’t necessarily the world’s best wine, but rather that contest’s best wine. Contests as these obviously can’t include all the existent wines. It’s hard to imagine a contest in which all the available wines were analyzed, and how and by whom the jury would be formed.

On the other hand, we have scores and distinct publications, such as magazines and guides, from which the wines get points or some other kind of qualification. Amongst the most famous scales is the 100-point one. These grades are sometimes granted by a person, while sometimes they are classified by a jury formed by more people. I believe the last one may be the best way of judging the quality of a wine.

These scores have become commercially influential, since a wine which has got high scores can significantly implement its sales, and in many cases, its price. That’s why many companies use the scores as a sale strategy (in some cases as their only strategy), which by the marketing’s point of view, may be considered poor. In my opinion, these scores do not contribute to the wine’s culture. I’m not a fan of this type of qualification, even though the subject should be discussed in more detail some other time.

What we also have are the sentences used to somehow define which wine’s best. The arguments are usually more poetic than technical, as for example: “The world’s best wine is the one you like the most.” This is a sentence that can create profound discussion, since personal taste is very important when it comes to drinks in general.

Therefore, I believe the wine you like the most is simply that: your favorite wine. But you liking it the most doesn’t necessarily make it the world’s best wine. There are several parameters that should be analyzed in order to determine its quality.

In short, what I frequently say to all my customers and friends is that we must bear in mind that the wine is there to be enjoyed. Scores, medals, and prizes are not as important as your moment.

Lastly, I would like to finish this article with a sentence I heard a few years ago, of which I quite like: “There’s not the best wine in the world. Rather, there’s the best wine in your world.”

Mario R. Leonardi

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