You know the holiday season is fast approaching when the world’s top wine critics start announcing their top wines of the year.  The team at JamesSuckling.com tasted an astonishing 9,000 wines, and Suckling himself tried 7,500. With the exception of Champagne, Australia and New Zealand, which are covered for the website by Australian wine critic Nick Stock, Suckling reviews wines from all over the world and in 2015 travelled to wine regions in France, Italy, Chile, Argentina, Spain, and the United States!

The list of his top 10 wines in 2015 is an interesting compilation because to come up with the rankings, value for money and availability were considered alongside point scores. (None of the wines in the Top 10 scored less than 96 points.) Priced at US$70 or below, these are wines that can still be found for sale on WineSearcher.com.

The Flametree SRS Walcliffe Chardonnay 2014 from the Margaret River is the only Australian wine to make the top 10 list, coming in at no. 9.  Auscellardoor has it for the lowest price on WineSearcher.com- $48.90 per bottle.

This wine has been widely acclaimed. It was a star performer at the 2015 James Halliday Chardonnay Challenge, where it was awarded 97 points and rated the leading Western Australia Chardonnay of the Challenge. Wine critic Campbell Mattinson also gave it a terrific review:

96 Points. Chardonnay to blind the weary drivers. Nothing else can set fire to this glass. Score is irrelevant. This wine is wonderful. Flavour and funk. Tropical fruit, grapefruit, white peach, pear. Struck match notes scorch over pristine, mouthwatering fruit. Length. Poise. Precision.– Campbell Mattinson, The Wine Front, 26 August 2015.

2010-frescobaldi-castelgiocondo-brunelloSuckling’s Wine of the Year in 2015, the  Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo 2010, is still available from Nick’s Wine Merchants for $99.99 per bottle.

Suckling describes the wine as “an outstanding example of the extraordinary 2010 vintage for Brunello di Montalcino, showing wonderful balance, refinement and structure as well as freshness. It’s a harmonious wine that gives so much pleasure now but will improve for years ahead.”

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to snap up a few of the critics’ top picks. So far I haven’t been disappointed! Click here to see James’s full list of the Top 100 Wines in 2015.

By Merrill Witt, Editor