What is the Best Wine?



The warm silky elegance of a quality Merlot, the velvety spice down your throat of a deep purple Syrah, the crispness of still green pear on your palate of a slightly chilled Chardonnay. With people, all over the world having different taste profiles, preferences and knowledge, how would someone go about figuring out the best wine. If we were to crown the King of wine, what would it be?

Do we base it on historical significance? In that case, one could go with the Phoenicians who would cultivate the wine and begin to spread it around the world. But, with varietals that likely don’t exist anymore, you’d have to look at the earliest versions of what we drink today. In that case it would be Cabernet and Primitivo from that time period.

Do we base it on country? Americans and French would see wine from a totally different point of view and have different expectations for their wines. The French, would of course say the best wine in the world would be a Bordeaux or maybe a Burgundy, or maybe even Champagne (they have a lot of good choices). Whereas a Spanish Winemaker would almost come to blows with a French winemaker over Tempranillo being the better wine. In fact, there would be a heavy argument within France just based on where you asked the question. In the Rhone, Syrah or Grenache might be the answer, in the North up in the Alsace region, Riesling might get a few votes.

Do we base it on sales? With that approach, you have narrowed the field to Chardonnay and Cab. Since most American consumers buy wine at their local grocery store, the pickings are usually slim, this is why you support good online wine shops and local brick and mortar wine shops to improve your overall selections and quality.

Do we base it on cost? In most instances, it would be safe to assume that higher cost = better wine. You would easily say that a Ferrari 458 is a much more prestigious car than a 2010 Toyota Camry even though the Camry outsells the Ferrari, the Ferrari is more expensive and therefore more sought after and dreamed about. In this scenario, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Lafite, Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon from 1941 and some quality Brunello’s would fit the category.

The truth is, there is no “perfect” way to decipher this. While many wine scholars agree that there are 18 NOBLE grapes, there are no chosen winners.

The Reds
  • Pinot Noir
  • Grenache
  • Merlot
  • Sangiovese
  • Nebbiolo
  • Tempranillo
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Syrah
  • Malbec
The Whites
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Riesling
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chenin Blanc
  • Moscato
  • Gewurztraminer
  • Semillon
  • Viognier
  • Chardonnay

We know that the answer must come from the list above, but which one is king?

To be fair to the process I believe we need to have a King and a Queen, one each from the red and white categories.

To have the best taste of each one of the wines made from the NOBLE grapes, you need to ensure you are decanting the wines properly or if that is not something you have the time, knowledge about or kitchen space available to do so, use a proper aerator to bring out the best in each of the wines you taste.

I encourage everyone to try the wines from the list above and make your own determination as to which is best and can be crowned King and Queen of grapes.

If you were to ask me; to consider sales, popularity, historical significance, wines available in many if not all countries, and overall quality I would award the throne to:

KING: Cabernet Sauvignon
QUEEN: Chardonnay


But of course, you might choose differently, which is the beauty of wine.


Eric Leckey
Certified Sommelier, WSET III, CSW

Published on October 30, 2017