Editors' ChoiceApril 12, 2017

Best Wine

At first mention, the pairing of golf and wine might seem odd, but the bond is strong. From southeastern Australia to South Africa's city of Stellenbosch to California's central coast, almost anywhere you find great wine, you'll likely find great golf. To borrow Ben Hogan's famous quote, the secret's in the dirt. It's also no coincidence that some of the biggest golf celebrities have offered their names—and wallets—to producing vintage bottles worthy of any cellar. Here are the best of the best (listed by varietals and grapes used in blends).

Keep in mind that we didn't make a recommendation for every type of varietal, so we apologize if your favorite type of wine isn't on this list—sorry, pinot noir fans. If there wasn't a particularly good "golf-inspired wine" representing a certain grape or blend, we left it off our list. How adamant are we that we selected the best of the best? None of the wines selected scored below 85 on a scale of 1 to 100 by Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast, and all but one scored 90 or higher.

If you want to taste them for yourself, remember that the year on the bottle is as important as how it was stored (cool, dry place). However, if you can't find that particular vintage, there's a decent chance that other years bottled under the same label might be similarly pleasing. Some golfers also have their wines produced by larger wine-making companies. So if you can't get your hands on the golf wine you want, some of their other offerings might suit your taste. In the case of our recommendations, some should be fairly easy to find, but others, because they were bottled in fairly limited quantities, might be difficult to track down.

Blended red (cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot, petit verdot, malbec): Jack Nicklaus Private Reserve 2009, $55
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Blended red (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot, malbec, cabernet franc): Ernie Els Stellenbosch 2005, $94
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Blended red (cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot): Ernie Els Cape Winemakers Guild 2012, $89
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Bordeaux (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, malbec): Mouton Cadet Ryder Cup Selection 2014, $15
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Chardonnay: Annika Chardonnay Livermore Valley 2009, $40
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Sauvignon blanc: The Goose, Upper Langkloof, 2011, $16
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Shiraz: Greg Norman Australian Estates Reserve 2009, $30
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Syrah: Greg Norman California Estates Camatta Hills Vineyard Reserve 2008, $40
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