Our Favorite Wines from the Past Year

best top wine wines reviews 2022 beverage dynamics tasting panel

For our final wine panel of 2022, we asked panelists to recall their favorite wines they drank in 2022. These are the most-memorable bottles popped in the past 12 months, representing many different vintages, styles and areas of the wine world.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Kyle Swartz at 763-383-4447, or email him at kswartz@epgacceleration.com.

Rating System

Five Stars (100-92): A top-flight wine, superior in taste and character, and providing a superior price/value ratio.

Four Stars (91-86): A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back.

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Five Stars

(98) Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus 2017 (CA)

Five classic varietals for a Bordeaux blend are selected from nine of their best estate lots. Each lot was fermented and aged separately for 12 months, then aged an additional 12 months after the blending process in French oak. The result is a beguiling puzzle that pulls you in all the right directions — unctuous, complex, rich and balanced — all perfectly done and in complete harmony. Flavors of dark chocolate, black fruits complement the rich oak and vanilla notes. Saved this for a petite filet dinner, with garlic mashers and creamed spinach — who needs dessert! ($75.00)

(97) Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (CA)

I decided to repeat my experiment from before with another 1994 from my cellar to taste and compare side by side with the current release here. Building on the house style, Winemaker Kevin Hall has done it again. 95% cab is layered with touches of merlot, while hints of cab franc, malbec and petit verdot add fruit notes and seamless complexity. The ‘94 still had remnants of fruit and showed great structure — patience was rewarded here. The 2020 has beautiful dark fruit notes, firm tannins and a rich, elegant finish. These two were the highlight of this year. ($27.99)

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(97) Nicolas Joly Savennieres Les Vieux 2019 Chenin Blanc (France)

This is not your everyday sipper. Organic and made from select ancient vines. Complex, with honeyed stone fruits laden with zesty citrus and light spice. Fresh almond and flint with a creamy texture and long lush finish. It should age well for at least 10 years. Enjoy with seared curried scallops. ($75)

(97) Jean-Michel Guillon & Fils Les Crais Gevrey-Chambertin 2018 (France)

A seductive wine that opens with aromas of wildflowers and red fruits. The palate is overwhelmed with gorgeous flavors of sage-dusted raspberry, ripe plum and the gentlest caress of dark chocolate. A hint of earthiness on the generous finish completes the mission. ($69.99)

(96) Caterwaul Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (CA)

Bursting with notes of ripe black cherry, dark chocolate and crushed blackberries, laying down a silky mouthfeel before surrendering to a finish kissed with hints of cocoa powder and toasted oak. Made by deliciously talented Thomas Rivers Brown, this wine is a winner from a challenging vintage. ($59.99)

(95) Rex Hill Jacob-Hart Estate Chehalem Mountains 2017 Pinot Noir (OR)

Silky blue and black fruit, baking spices, mushroom and cedar lead to dusty tannins and a long luxurious finish. Sip it with grilled salmon. ($85)

(95) Domaine R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut NV (France)

A dazzling blend of 80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay. A wonderful nose of toasted bread and tropical citrus flirts with the senses. Wonderfully vibrant in the mouth, showing flavors of ripe apple, pear nectar and lemon zest, before finishing with a delicate touch of toasted almonds. A tremendous value. ($44.99)

(95) Altesino Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (Italy)

A wine that can exceed your expectations. The 2013 took a few minutes to open up, but when it did, it was singing. The aromatics of earth, tobacco and leather were met on the palate with rustic notes of fruit and tannin. I was actually sad when I realized the bottle was empty. ($65)

(94) Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Estate Riesling 2016 (NY)

This bottle shows how this grape, when made well, has such longevity. Vibrant aromatics of mineral and fruit on the nose. On the palate, every time I took a sip, there was a new nuance to enjoy: fruit, rock, acid, body. If I tried this blind, I might have thought it was from the Mosel. Lovely. ($24)

(94) Chateau De Thauvenay Sancerre 2020 (France)

Beautiful floral notes blossom from the glass as candied mango, lemon sorbet and pineapple flavors lay down a luxuriously lively river of fun on the palate. Well-balanced fruit and acidity begs to be paired with shellfish and a beach. ($22.99)

(94) Frederick & Jacob Cabernet Sauvignon (CA)

Created by renowned and historic Napa Valley producer, Beringer Vineyards, this wine has a mouthfeel like velvet. Black currants, white pepper and huckleberry dominate this wine, and a lingering finish leaves you wanting more. ($59.99)

(94) Alexander Valley Vineyards Sin Zin 2019 (CA)

In 1978, Hank Wetzel created one of the first “pop” zins, and this 41st release shows the continuing evolution in complexity and value. Sourced from six of their favorite vineyard sites. Each lot was kept separate through de-stemming and fermentation, then aged for 14 months in American oak. Beautiful color, great complexity and a smooth lingering finish. Wonderful color with spice notes of black pepper and vanilla. We paired this with a carbonara dish instead of our favorite chianti, and were richly rewarded ($24.99)

(93) Petites Secondes Pinot Noir (OR)

A great example of a classic pinot from the Willamette Valley region. Overripe cherries and cola on the nose with subtle notes of licorice and anise. This is delicious and tart. Would be a great addition to any holiday table. ($37.99)

(93) Joseph Phelps 2017 California Pinot Noir (CA)

Not being familiar with the Phelps pinot, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was California fruit and acid with a touch of a Burgundy accent. The ripe fruit was prevalent, but elegantly subdued. The tannins have had time to relax in the bottle on this 2017, so it was ready to drink. The wine was balanced with fruit, tannin and acid, with a long, lingering finish. ($55)

(93) Castell Castell Silvaner 2020 Trocken (Germany)

The aromatics were of citrus and stone fruit. On the palate, the wine was pleasantly mouthwatering, crisp and inciting. Notes of golden delicious apple, lingering finish. Bonus points for being 12% ABV. This wine held its own with a vegetarian Shepard’s pie made with French lentils and portobello mushrooms. ($22)

(93) Laboure Gontard Chablis (France)

This impressive white wine from Burgundy opens with racy notes of nectarine, pear and peach. It’s light bodied, but with a noticeable acidity and roundness that would accompany any charcuterie board. ($34.99)

(92) 2020 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc (France)

Beautiful bio-dynamic Alsatian dinner wine. Crisp and dry with pronounced citrus melon, peach, green apple and a touch of fresh floral notes. Good body with a great long finish. Excellent value, too. ($22.99)

Four Stars

(91) Conundrum Red (CA)

This red blend comes from the Wagner family, makers of Caymus, and overdelivers at this price point. The nose is full of bright red fruits and a luscious mix of tart raspberry and earth. The tannins are welcoming with an impressive linger and a hint of cocoa powder. ($19.99)

(91) Fountain Grove Chardonnay (CA)

This is a wine that will please every chardonnay lover. The palate is full of tropical fruit and melon notes rounded out by hints of oak and butter. A staple for any dinner party. ($34.99)

(90) Domaine Cheveau Saint-Amour Villa Violettes 2019 Gamay (France)

An extraordinary bargain! Nuances of red berries, chocolate, tobacco and leather on both the nose and palate. Opens to a long, deep satisfying finish. Rich, aged cheeses will love this wine. ($28)

(90) Vennstone Pinot Noir (CA)

Rich purple red in color with a hint of meatiness on the nose. The finish is easy and approachable, full of notes of black and blue berries. ($19.99)

(90) TULI Chardonnay (CA)

Buttery with crisp acidity and juicy notes of pineapple and apricot. This wine would complement a wide variety of foods, and delivers a great chardonnay for the price. ($32.99)

Want more reviews? Our wine panels in the past year have included:

Feature photo by Elisha Terada on Unsplash.

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