Prime 100 Wines of France 2023






Our No. 1 French wine: the Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Alsace Grand Cru Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain 2021.

Everybody is aware of how costly the most effective French wines are to purchase, like our world Wine of the 12 months, the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée N.26. It’s an incredible 100-point wine but it surely prices about $235 a bottle.

So it could come as a shock that our French Wine of the 12 months is a pinot gris, and its value is round simply $90 a bottle. The right-scoring Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris Alsace Grand Cru Rangen de Thann Clos Saint Urbain 2021 hails from Alsace’s Rangen winery, an ultra-steep, low-yielding grand cru website with volcanic stony soils. Domaine Zind Humbrecht’s 2.5-hectare plot of biodynamically grown pinot gris produced a superb and impeccably balanced expression of the range in 2021, attaining an amazing smoky and salty minerality that makes this wine considered one of a sort.

Olivier Humbrecht of Domaine Zind Humbrecht with work by the German artist Sandro Kopp exhibiting (from prime to backside), the attention of his father, Leonard, his personal eye and that of his son Pierre-Emile, who made the right pinot gris.

2021 was a singular classic in Alsace, with ultra-low yields. “We misplaced plenty of grapes attributable to downy mildew and early spring frost,” mentioned the proprietor of Zind Humbrecht, Olivier Humbrecht, whose son, Pierre-Emile, made the 2021 pinot gris . However producers like Domaine Zind Humbrecht who have been uncompromising of their choice made distinctive wines. Many agreed that it was their finest classic for pinot gris in a really very long time.

Affiliate Editor Claire Nesbitt and Senior Editor Stuart Pigott style in Champagne.

And whereas the three,500-bottle manufacturing of the Pinot Gris Clos Saint Urbain 2021 was too small to qualify it for our World Prime 100 listing, which required a minimal manufacturing of 500 circumstances of 12 bottles (we require manufacturing of 250 circumstances of 12 bottles for our Prime 100 nation lists), it’s nonetheless extensively distributed and readily discovered on Wine Searcher.

The opposite 11 Alsatian wines on this 12 months’s Prime 100 will also be discovered for lower than $100. Amongst them are enormously concentrated dry wines just like the Domaine Barmes-Buecher Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Hengst 2021, at No. 3, and the Muré Riesling Alsace Grand Cru Vorbourg Clos Saint Landelin 2019 at No. 7.


Marie Kim-Suckling, left, strolling the grounds of Lafite.

James tasting 2020 at La Mission Haut-Brion in Bordeaux.

Alsatian pinot noirs within the Prime 100 embody choices from Albert Mann (No. 17 and No. 87) and Melanie Pfister (No. 43). These firmly stand their floor amid the ocean of white from France.

Slotting in at No. 2 in France is our World No. 1, Laurent-Perrier’s Grande Cuvée N.26 NV. One other perfect-scoring wine, it’s a mix of three distinctive vintages within the area – 2012, 2008 and 2007 – that collectively create a compelling, electrical and timeless providing. It highlights Champagne’s golden period in an age of warming vintages.

There are 9 different Champagnes amongst our French Prime 100, together with one other multi-vintage, the Krug Champagne Grande Cuvée 171ème Version NV (No. 48), however the highly effective 2008 classic additionally confirmed sturdy, inserting the Dom Pérignon Champagne Rosé Classic 2008 at No. 64, the Marguet Champagne Bouzy Grand Cru Brut Nature 2018 at No. 76 and the Lanson Champagne Clos Lanson Further Brut 2008 at No. 84.

Left: The Marne River in Epernay, within the coronary heart of the Champagne area. | Proper: Krug Champagne director Olivier Krug with a few of his newest releases.

We excluded another prime Champagnes, just like the Henri Giraud Champagne Argonne Brut Rosé 2013, due to their excessive costs. Wines just like the Marguet Champagne Bouzy Grand Cru Brut Nature 2018 (No. 76) and Château de Bligny Champagne 6 Cepages Brut Nature NV (No. 88), nevertheless, are breathtaking examples that may be discovered at round $80.

Bordeaux landed the very best variety of wines of any French area on our Prime 100 listing, with 54. Most have been from the nice and cozy and dry 2020 classic, aside from d’Yquem’s fascinating dry white wine from 2021 (No. 100.)

2020 was the third, and presumably finest, of a implausible trio of vintages together with 2018 and 2019. The reds from the 12 months are wealthy and structured but harmonized and refined. Prime examples are the Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan 2020, the Château La Fleur-Pétrus Pomerol 2020 and the Château Figeac St.-Emilion 2020, at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, respectively. The latter two, from Bordeaux’s Proper Financial institution, are each good wines that may be discovered for below $300, whereas the Domaine de Chevalier is only one level off however is superb in each high quality and common value, at round $85.


Left: Trying towards the Alps from the highest of the Hill of Hermitage. | Proper: The right Ermitage from M. Chapoutier.

Wines from the Rhone Valley excelled this 12 months, too, with 15 wines on the listing, together with two from the identical extremely esteemed website, one a pure syrah and the opposite a pure marsanne, each biodynamically grown from the nice and cozy 2020 classic. The M. Chapoutier Ermitage L’Ermite 2020 (N. 10) is an ideal expression of Hermitage, a masterpiece of mountain freshness, focus and minerality. The mix of depth and freshness additionally wowed us in M. Chapoutier’s Ermitage Blanc De L’Orée 2020 (No. 38). Alongside these giants, take a look at thrilling wines just like the Domaine Gramenon Côtes-du-Rhône La Sagesse 2020 (No. 13) for its drinkability and unbelievable worth (at simply $27), subsequent to an array of sturdy showings from the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation.

There may be little Burgundy on the listing owing to its whopping value factors on the prime and even middling ranges. As we’ve mentioned earlier than, less-esteemed appellations like Marsannay signify higher worth for cash. Each Domaine Charles Audoin’s Les Favieres 2021 (No. 52) and Au Champ Salomon 2021 (No. 56) are single-vineyard Marsannay stars with fragrant complexity and focus retailing at round $50 a bottle.

Anita Neveu of Domaine Anita together with her good Moulin-a-Vent.

In the meantime, the highest crus of Beaujolais make stunningly concentrated wines at a fraction of the value of their Burgundian neighbors. We included six on this 12 months’s listing at a median value of $29, with the Domaine Anita Moulin-à-Vent La Rochelle 2021 main the way in which at No. 9 with its immense wave of darkish, spicy cherry fruit and unbelievable construction.

The wonderful 2020 Savennieres wines from Domaine FL together with the Chamboreau (heart), present what the chenin blanc grape is able to.

And at No. 8, the Domaine FL Savennières Chamboureau 2020 is an instance of what the chenin blanc grape is able to: stress and power, with an exquisite interaction of fruit and moist stone minerality. Additionally from the Loire Valley is the Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Première Trie Moelleux 2020 (No. 65), a wonderfully candy expression of the grape.

As at all times, our prime 100 lists give attention to rankings, value and availability within the world market, plus the wine’s “wow!” ingredient – what makes us shut our eyes in awe once we take a sip. Value was strongly factored into selecting this 12 months’s France Prime 100. The wines beneath all have a minimal manufacturing of 250 circumstances of 12 bottles, and every has a median value of beneath $400 on Wine Searcher. However the general common value for all 100 wines on this listing is about $136, and half  be discovered at beneath $100, so there may be loads for all to hunt out and luxuriate in.

– Claire Nesbitt, Affiliate Editor

Notice: The listing of wines beneath is comprised of bottles tasted and rated in 2023 by the tasters at You may type the wines beneath by nation, classic, rating and alphabetically by vineyard title. It’s also possible to seek for particular wines within the search bar.

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