Wine Spectator Top 100

It’s always exciting to see the ‘Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines list’, which for the year 2023 was revealed in November 2023. These wines were judged based on quality, value, availability and ‘excitement’.

Wine Spectator is an American magazine that specialises in wine, wine culture and wine ratings, founded in 1976 by Marvin R. Shanken. Ever since its first publication it has played an important role in promoting and uplifting wine from across the world and of course educating their readers. 

Every year since 1988, the publication’s editor has selected 100 of the most exciting and high-quality wines, ranking them using a specific scoring system which includes value based on price as well as availability of the product in the USA. Of course, being based in Indonesia, my first reaction upon seeing the 2023 list was to see which of their ‘Top 100 Wines’ are available in Indonesia. Of course, having read their expert recommendations, I made time to review some of these Indonesia-available choices myself and share my tasting notes with you!

Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac 2020

Ranked #3

Produced by Chateau Lynch-Bages 1855 Grand Cru Classe in Pauillac at Medoc Bordeaux, this wine is  a classic Bordeaux blend. As we know, Bordeaux wine making regions are separated into ‘Left Bank’ (south) and ‘Right Bank’ (north), separated by the Gironde Estuary. The Left Bank includes the Medoc wine region and whilst Left Bank wines are normally blends, Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape of the territory, which we find with the Chateau Lynch Bages Pauillac. 

The 2020 blend is made up of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, wine is aged in 75% new barrels for 18 months. This wine has a beautiful deep ruby colour; in its aroma is a pronounced combination of perfect black fruit of the blackberry, black cherry, cassis, sweet baking spices, liquorice, and sweet cigar box; and there are many layers upon the palate, featuring a harmony of oak influences, fruity and smokey, with spices and a very fine tannin that gives it a velvety texture. You can taste the chalky minerality which is typical of the terroir, with intense fresh medium-plus acidity. Upon tasting it is long, intense yet well-balanced. This is a delicious glass of red, one that will have you driving for another pour. Certainly, a wine that has great ageing potential.

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines 2023

Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2022

Ranked #15

The Marlborough region in New Zealand is a cool climate region suitable for the growing of Sauvignon Blanc, with its intense fruit and herbaceous flavour. The combination of climate and terroir, as well as the viticulture and winemaking practices, are what make Astrolabe shine with quality.

Ranked 15 on this year’s list, the Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2022 was very aromatic, showcasing gooseberry, melon, white peach, lime and herbaceous notes. Fresh-cut grass, green capsicum, white stone and gunpowder were also present in the wine’s terroir. On the palate it displayed fresh fruit, high acidity, with a light body but with so many layers and a persistent finish. This is exceptional white has a superb balance of dry and fruity, with a noticeable freshness in every sip.

Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Laurène 2021

Ranked #16

Produced in the beautiful Dundee Hills in Oregon, the terroir, climate, altitude and aspect of this region has as much influence on the grape as Burgundy vineyards. Domaine Drouhin even use the same wine making techniques found in Burgundy, maximising the fruit components and the influence of this unique terroir, utilising the gravity method.

The 2021 Pinot Noir Laurène displays a medium ruby colour, with an expressive fresh red fruit, such as raspberry, cherry, cranberry and a hit of rose petal and aromatic black in the aroma. There’s a pronounced and fresh high acidity in the freshness of the fruits, like a plate of summer berries upon the palate, with hints of sweet spices, mellowed down with a taste of milk chocolate, soft and round tannin that silkily coats the palate as well. This wine shows a very nice balance of fruit, terroir and oak integrated in the wines. Definitely potential for ageing. 

Vina Santa Ema Carmenere Peumo Amplus One 2019

Ranked #84

Produced in the Cachapoal Valley, Chile, where warm climates and cool breezes from Lake Rapel allow for the healthy growth of the big-bodied Carmenere grape. Originally planted in the Medoc region of Bordeaux, France, this distinct variety is nowadays rarely found in France and has become associated with Chile, where the largest planting of the grape is found. The Ampus One by Santa Ema is predominantly Carmenere, balanced with a blend of Syrah and Carignan.

This wine displays a deep ruby colour, with some violet highlights on the rim. Blackberry, dark plum, cassis with green pepper characteristics, hits of chocolate and tobacco are all exuded from this wine’s rich aroma. Upon the palate, you may taste dried herb or even Earl Grey tea. The wine is fresh and fruity, with a layer of complexity that comes from baking spices and herbs, quite intense on the palate, but the round tannins bring this intensity down making it really enjoyable. I tasted this wine alongside the Export Director of Vina Santa Ema, Philippe Marc, during an afternoon on Jimbaran Beach. Salud, Philippe! Cheers for sharing this beautiful wine with me!

Exploring the editor’s picks for Top 100 Wines of 2023 has been a superb exercise, resulting in honestly one of the greatest tasting flights I have experienced in one sitting. A few of these Top 100 are available in Indonesia, but those I’ve shared with you today definitely are, so if you’re keen to savour Wine Spectator’s recommendations, you know which to try.

To see the complete list please visit

Ni Nyoman Kertawidyawati

Ni Nyoman Kertawidyawati

WSET Certified Educator / Head of Hatten Education Center Check as Widya just recently launched the fun education card deck for easy and fun learning.