If it’s true excellence you seek, these 100-point wines are as close to perfect as you’ll find this year. This list includes storied Barolo and Brunello from Italy; Tokaji from Hungary; Grand Cru Champagne; and Cabernet from Napa Valley and much more.
It may be difficult to not open these gems immediately, but with time in the cellar, the payoff will be worth the wait. This curated list from our Top 100 Cellar Selections will be the perfect addition to your distinct collection.
Biondi-Santi 2012 Riserva (Brunello di Montalcino); $655, 100 points. This is the final Riserva to benefit from the late Franco Biondi Santi’s masterful hand. It boasts enticing scents of rose, underbrush, red berry, new leather and crushed mint. The chiseled palate features succulent Morello cherry, pomegranate, orange zest, star anise and a hint of tobacco, all framed in taut, polished tannins. Firm acidity lends youthful tension and keeps it impeccably balanced. Drink 2024–2062. Wilson Daniels Ltd. Cellar Selection. —Kerin O’Keefe
Brovia 2016 Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia (Barolo); $106, 100 points. Rose, pine forest, wild berry, new leather and star anise are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this drop-dead gorgeous wine. Firmly structured, elegant and thoroughly delicious, the radiant palate shows restraint and depth. It delivers juicy Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and tobacco against tightly knit, noble tannins while fresh acidity keeps it impeccably balanced. It’s focused and compelling, but hold for even more complexity. An absolutely stellar showing. Drink 2026–2056. Rosenthal Wine Merchant. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Ferreira 2018 Vintage (Port); $150, 100 points. This impressively structured wine shows a perfect balance between its powerful, spicy fruits and firm tannins. Dense tones of dark berries and smoke are rich and flavorful, bringing the wine to a perfect conclusion. It’s immensely ageworthy. Drink from 2030. Evaton, Inc. Cellar Selection. —Roger Voss
Giovanni Rosso 2016 Ester Canale Rosso Poderi dell’Antica Vigna Rionda (Barolo); $450, 100 points. This textbook, dream Barolo opens with quintessential aromas of underbrush, rose petal, dried herb and forest berry while the youthfully austere, delicious palate delivers juicy Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and menthol before a tobacco finish. Noble tannins give it a firm, polished backbone while bright acidity keeps it balanced and imparts ageworthy energy. Drink 2026–2066. Vias Imports. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Heitz 2014 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $275, 100 points. From the famous Oakville site, this aged wine spends three years in 100% new French oak, one in neutral oak and an additional year in bottle. Though it has had time to evolve, it has years to go to unfurl its core of eucalyptus, mint and cedar. It shows an unmistakable crispness of red fruit, orange peel and stone, all honed by a grippy, generous palate. Enjoy 2024–2034. Cellar Selection. —Virginie Boone
Il Marroneto 2015 Madonna delle Grazie (Brunello di Montalcino); $300, 100 points. Violet, iris, warm spice, new leather, earth and wild berry are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this tantalizingly fragrant, gorgeous red. Linear and elegant, the radiant palate shows youthful tension, boasting red cherry, pomegranate, star anise, baking spice and orange zest framed in tightly wound, polished tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2025–2040. LLS–Winebow. Cellar Selection. —K.O.
Philipponnat 2010 Clos des Goisses Extra Brut (Champagne); $386, 100 points. This famed Champagne comes from one of the steepest vineyards in the whole region, facing across the Marne river. With a blend of 71% Pinot Noir and 29% Chardonnay, the densely textured wine shows great richness, a magnificent sense of place and structure. This is a very fine wine, a monument among Champagnes, one that will age for many more years. Drink through 2030. Banville Wine Merchants. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Quinta do Vale Meão 2017 Red (Douro); $80, 100 points. This is the latest release from an estate that was founded in the 19th century by the legendary Dona Antónia Ferreira at a time when the upper Douro was almost inaccessible. This wine continues the line of magnificent wines created by her descendants. It is structured and dense yet poised. The rich dark fruit has melded with the tannins, although both will take much more time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2030. Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits. Cellar Selection. —R.V.
Royal Tokaji 2013 SZT. Tamás Single Vineyard 6 Puttonyos Aszú First Growth (Tokaj); $135, 100 points. Brilliant gold-flecked-amber in the glass, this Hungarian stunner hails from the Szt. Tamas vineyard located on one of Tokaj’s most iconic hills. It has aromas of wildflower honey, ripe peach, honeysuckle blossom, freshly sliced apricot and acacia flowers. It is an ethereal blend of Furmint, Harslevelü and Muscat. Silky smooth on entry, it offers enticing flavors of white peach, apricot preserves, honeycomb and acacia honey. It has beautiful heft on the palate with balanced acidity and crisp minerality. The elegant sweetness is perfectly foiled by bracing acidity and crispness in the finish. This is how Hungarian Tokaj Aszü wine should be made. Drink through 2045. Wilson Daniels Ltd. Cellar Selection. —Jeff Jenssen
Terre Rouge 2016 Ascent Syrah (Sierra Foothills); $90, 100 points. This is a grand, ageworthy wine from consistently stellar Winemaker Bill Easton. It delivers flavors of smoked plum, dry-aged beef and blueberry-blackberry compote wrapped in a velvety structure of superfine tannins and a full feel, while lighter, intricate spice elements weave through from the first whiff to the lingering finish. Best from 2026–2036. Cellar Selection. —Jim Gordon
Published: November 13, 2020