James Suckling and his team tasted more than 22,000 wines from around the world in 2018. Here are 10 outstanding bottles that shone the brightest

1 / 10

Ridge Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Monte Bello 2015

Stunning depth, power, purity and elegance. The blackcurrant and plum are fresh and intense on the nose, with blueberry and gentle herbal notes too. The palate has a keenly articulated array of vibrant tannins that holds long, fresh and pure. It invokes a sense of wonderment at the finish. So long and so pure. This blend of 77 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 11 per cent merlot, 7 per cent petit verdot and 5 per cent cabernet franc is just at the start of a wonderful journey. Try from 2021. 100 points

2 / 10

Dönnhoff Riesling Nahe Dellchen GG 2017

An enormous spectrum of fruit aromas, from peach and grapefruit to wild strawberry and pineapple. However, that doesn’t prepare you for the mind-blowing concentration and brilliance on the palate. Filigree finish in spite of the profound minerality. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification for sustainable viticulture. Drink or hold. Limited production. 100 points

3 / 10

Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarosse Saint-Emilion 2015

This is extraordinary. There has never been a wine like this here since the famous 1990 or underrated 1989. Violet, flowers, stone and limestone. Oyster-shell undertones. Full-bodied, muscular and so structured. A phenomenal wine that reminds me of the great Bordeaux of the 1950s. Try in 2026. 100 points

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4 / 10

Marchesi Antinori Toscana Solaia 2015

The nose is truly phenomenal, with currant, blackberry, rose and violet. So perfumed. Full-bodied, and everything is in check and in harmony. Polished tannins that last for minutes. Purity and focus. Is it the greatest Solaia ever? So drinkable already, but this is a wine for ages ahead. 100 points

5 / 10

Taylor’s Vintage Port 2016

This is really the most amazing young Taylor’s I have ever tasted. Full-bodied and lightly sweet with super power and intensity. So racy and focused, yet this has such muscle and intensity. Needs at least eight years to show you everything it has to offer. Drink in 2025. 100 points

6 / 10

Clos Apalta Valle de Apalta 2015

There is a subtle complexity on the nose with currant, berry, fresh herb and wet earth aromas; cut fresh flowers, too. Full body, dense and powerful. Incredible character here with such purity and polish. It goes on for minutes. Formed, sculptured yet soulful. A monumental wine for Chile. Unbelievable. More powerful than the 2014, which was 100 points as well. A blend of 46 per cent carmenere, 30 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 19 per cent merlot and 5 per cent cabernet franc. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Better in 2022. 100 points

7 / 10

Tyrrell’s Hunter Valley Old Patch Shiraz 2017

More depth than its Four Acres. This old plot was planted in 1867 and it has excelled in vintage 2017. The nose carries pristine aromas of raspberry, red plum and mulberry in gently spicy repose. The palate unfurls layers and layers of lightly spiced red- and dark-fruit flavours with tannins that seem to hold endlessly on the finish. Pitch-perfect and noble. An essay in grace and charm. Akin to grand cru Burgundy and maybe Musigny too. This really ought to be left alone for a decade. 100 points

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8 / 10

Château Canon Saint-Emilion 2015

Seductive. The nose draws you in deep. It’s like staring into a well of pristine dark cherry, dark plum, blackberry and mulberry. The oak is perfectly subsumed. The palate’s flawless with immense depth and power, and it’s so balanced as to appear to float. Immaculate fresh dark berry and plum flavours. Silky and deep, ribbon-like finish. Perfect. Best from 2022. 100 points

9 / 10

Le Macchiole Bolgheri Scrio 2015

A stunning syrah; the real McCoy for the variety. The depth of aroma takes your breath away with bark, tea leaves, peppermint, dried rosemary, thyme, sage, pressed violet, cedar, creme de cassis, blackcurrant and lavender. The palate is incredibly tight and yet profound in its delivery of flavours. Full body, layer upon layer of fruit of every colour on the spectrum, pinpoint acidity and a finish that seems endless. Drink in 2025 and way beyond. 100 points

10 / 10

Château Bélair-Monange Saint-Emilion 2015

Blue fruit, mineral, lavender and liquorice aromas are wonderful. Full body and ultra-refined tannins with an integration and refinement that make the wine seamless and beautiful. The powerful tannins hide from you at first, but what structure in the end. It goes on for minutes. Try in 2024. 100 points

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