The Best Red Wines of 2023 | Wine Enthusiast
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The Best Red Wines of 2023

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Restaurant wine lists tend to lump bottlings into red and white sections, but seasoned drinkers will readily argue that merely describing a wine as “red” is laughable in its vagary. A garnet-hued Nebbiolo from Italy’s Barolo region offers a wildly different drinking experience than, say, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is all to say: The red wine category is vast, and you could spend a lifetime drinking through it and still discover new varietals and flavor profiles.

The red wines that made this year’s Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines of 2023 reflect that variation. There is a trio of Pinot Noirs, which hail from locales that stretch from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and California’s Russian River Valley to Central Otago in New Zealand. A suite of Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley and Washington State’s Columbia Valley. Noted examples of Barolo, Californian Zinfandel, Austrian Blaufränkisch and Oregon Syrah. It’s a grouping of excellent wines that are not a reflection of this year’s top-scoring and most expensive bottlings, but rather those that roused our tasters’ excitement and imaginations.

Here are the top red wines of 2023. (In the mood for something else? Here are the best white wines of 2023.)

Best Italian

Ratti 2019 Serradenari Nebbiolo (Barolo)

This wine expresses itself with aromas of wild cherries, tart red plums, dried violets and oolong tea leaves. The palate is elegant and almost dances across the mouth, leading with ripe red fruits that give way to savory flavors of fresh bay leaf, clove and balsam. Drink 2025–2040. Editor’s Choice. 97 Points  — Jeff Porter


Best New Zealand

Rippon 2019 Rippon Mature Vine Lake Wanaka Pinot Noir (Central Otago)

From arguably the most gorgeously located biodynamic vineyard in the world, this Pinot is a head-turner. Aromas change in the glass, expressing various aspects of site and variety: first succulent currant and blueberry fruit, then florals and a hint of mushroomy undergrowth, then scrubby dried herbs growing beside a lake and snowcapped mountains. The palate is elegant and juicy, with silky softness and floral delicacy. You’re almost surprised when the tannins rush in to cinch it into place. This is one of Rippon’s finest Pinot’s to date. Drink now–2030. Editor’s Choice. 97 Points  — Christina Pickard

$72 Rippon

Best Sonoma Valley

Convene By Dan Kosta 2021 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)

This wine from one of Kosta Browne’s founders shows just-ripe black cherry and blackberry flavors that are compelling and delicious. Moderate tannins and good acidity lift the fruit across the palate and through the finish. Beautiful aromas of black fruits, rose petals and violets continue to echo. Editor’s Choice. 97 Points  — Jim Gordon

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Best Napa Cab

Duckhorn 2019 Monitor Ledge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

With a crème de cassis flavor and a velvety texture that soothes the palate, this rich and indulgent wine is easy to love. The charming black fruits, baking spices and cassis notes are well matched by rounded tannins. Best through 2033. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — J.G. 

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Louis M. Martini 2019 Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)

Deep and concentrated blueberries, dark chocolate and espresso flavors fill out this powerful but polished wine whose firm but gentle tannins will carry it to a long life. It’s the top-of-the-line Cabernet from the now Cabernet-centric 90-year-old winery. Best from 2027–2040. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — J.G. 

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Best Syrah

Cayuse 2020 En Cerise Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley (OR))

The wine’s blackberry and tangerine aromas blend with equally compelling notes of espresso, saline and leather. Joining dark raspberries on the palate are flavors like tart red apples, bergamot tea and peppered bacon. Lemony acidity with tannins on the plush side. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — Michael Alberty

$ Varies K&L Wines

Best Austrian

Markus Altenburger 2019 Gritschenberg Blaufränkisch (Leithaberg)

Smoldering charcoal note opens up this velvety red, followed by notes of ganache and cassis. Its core is pretty muscular, as this firms up with the ripe tannins, begging for a bit more time and patience, but nevertheless, it is still quite impressive at this stage. The wine shows a slight perky mineral on the distinctive finish. It will benefit from cellaring, yet with the right meal, it would be a great companion. Best after 2025. 96 Points  — Aleks Zecevic

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Best Malbec

Stolen Owl 2019 Malbec (Knights Valley)

So powerful and so gentle at the same time, this opulent wine from a standout new producer was a small, two-barrel lot. It frames indulgent black figs, blueberries, dark chocolate and tobacco flavors in posh but firm, ultra-fine tannins. Best through 2030. 96 Points  — J.G. 

$55 Stolen Owl

Best Oregon

Big Table Farm 2021 Cattrall Brothers Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills)

I have the highest respect for the Cattrall family and the vineyard it began planting in 1972. This wine honors that legacy, from its dialed-back alcohol and jitterbug acidity to its plush tannins and long finish. Look for aromas and flavors of dried cherries, blackberries, aged balsamic, bacon fat and lavender in between. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — M.A.

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Best Zinfandel

Carol Shelton 2020 Albini Zinfandel (Russian River Valley)

With the grip of a Nebbiolo and the herbal spice of a Sangiovese, this captivating wine brings an Italian flair to California Zinfandel. Moderate tannins brace vivid raspberry, black cherry and cranberry flavors while fresh thyme and dried-grass notes add complexity. Best from 2025–2032. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — J.G. 

$ Varies Wine-Searcher

Best Washington State

Dossier 2021 Flagship Index Red (Columbia Valley (WA))

The Flagship Index is a devastatingly dark Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot-driven blend, with aromas of blackberries, blueberries, fennel and a trace of brisket. The wine’s black-cherry compote, orange-peel and Assam tea flavors are supported by sturdy tannins and frisky acidity. Serve with lamb chops and any Nick Cave album. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — M.A.

$110 Dossier

Best Santa Barbara

Melville 2021 Estate Syrah (Sta. Rita Hills)

This is cool-climate Syrah at its finest, full of energy, umami and spice. Concentrated aromas of boysenberry and white and black pepper make a juicy nose. The palate wraps generous, complex flavors of berry, rosemary and clove into a grippy package. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points  — Matt Kettmann

$ Varies

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All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.