Greatest vineyards: Decanter names 12 ‘to rule them all’

Decanter greatest vineyards, featuring the Müller family's Scharzhof estate.
The Müller family’s Scharzhof estate house at Wiltingen, with the vineyards rising behind.

Decanter has published a list of ‘12 vineyards to rule them all‘, featuring some of the greatest vineyards across the globe, after consulting a selection of leading wine world experts.

After much debate and discussion, the final dozen takes wine lovers on a journey across the international wine world, from Burgundy and Barolo to Napa Valley, via South Australia and Argentina – to name just a few destinations.

Not everyone will agree with the choices made, of course.

It’s a list that is inevitably subjective, and that’s before one tackles the thorny topic of defining terroir, as Andrew Jefford notes in a full explanation of the process involved in selecting just a handful of names from so many candidates.

His article, including exclusive commentary from experts on the 12 vineyards chosen, is now available to Decanter Premium subscribers.

Great wines are not only produced from single vineyards, and there are plenty of world-beating wineries, areas and entire regions that are not represented.

‘Our valiant contributors have fought their way through a blizzard of challenges to come up with this dozen, but we fully expect the list to be criticised and challenged again,’ Jefford writes.

‘We still think it’s worth doing – as a talking point, as a focus for reflection, as an incentive. And for fun.’

Napa’s To Kalon site makes the cut for its important legacy in California winemaking and its ongoing ability to consistently produce top-scoring Cabernet-based wines, as Decanter’s Napa Valley correspondent, Jonathan Cristaldi, highlights in his commentary.

In South Australia, ‘gnarled 162-year-old Shiraz vines on Henschke’s Hill of Grace vineyard carry a vinous story like no other,’ writes David Sly, a specialist food and wine writer and editor based in Adelaide.

In Europe, the famous names of Petrus in Bordeaux and Musigny and Montrachet in Burgundy are included, alongside several other prestigious sites, such as Clos des Goisses in Champagne, Scharzhofberg in Germany’s Mosel and Macharnudo in Spain’s Jerez region.

The list also represents wines at a range of prices. Domaine Leroy’s Musigny Grand Cru is one of the world’s most expensive wines, for instance. Macharnudo, meanwhile, is a source of Sherry styles and still wines that include bottles at around £50 or less, shows Decanter’s feature on the dozen sites selected.

See the full article on Decanter Premium

Greatest vineyards: a snapshot of the Decanter dozen

Locations below are not ranked in any particular order.

Clos des Goisses

Location: Mareuil- sur-Ay?, Champagne, France
Owner:  Maison Philipponnat
Size: 5.83 hectares (ha)
Grape varieties:  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay (approximately 80/20 ratio).

Hill of Grace

Location: Keyneton, Eden Valley, South Australia
Owners: Stephen and Prue Henschke, Henschke Wines
Size: 8ha
Grape varieties: Shiraz, Riesling, Semillon, Mataro.

Les Bessards

Location: Hermitage, northern Rho?ne
Owners: Bernard Faurie, Cave de Tain, Delas, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, Domaine Marc Sorrel, M Chapoutier, Paul Jaboulet Ai?ne?
Size: 19.9ha
Grape varieties: Syrah 19.2ha, Marsanne 0.5ha, Roussanne 0.2ha.


Location: Jerez, NW of the city
Owners: Valdespino (Grupo Este?vez), Harveys (Fundador), Gonza?lez Byass, plus others
Size: 800ha
Dominant grape variety: Palomino Fino.


Name of vineyard: Montrachet (in Puligny); Le Montrachet (in Chassagne)
Location: Co?te de Beaune, Co?te d’Or, Burgundy, France
Size: 8ha (half in Puligny, half in Chassagne)
Grape varieties: Chardonnay
Principal owners: Multiple domaines. Biggest landowner in Puligny is The Marquis de Laguiche (2.06ha, produced with Maison Joseph Drouhin). Biggest landowner in Chassagne is Domaine Baron Thenard (1.83ha).


Name of vineyard: Musigny (lieux-dits La Combe d’Orveau, Les Musigny, Les Petits Musigny)
Location: Co?te de Nuits,…

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Greatest vineyards: Decanter names 12 ‘to rule them all’  
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