The Most Wonderful Wine of the Year (2022)

Ok. So it’s that time again. Baring any stunning wines tonight/tomorrow (which for me is unlikely given the tail end of the festive flu - not a hangover euphemism), it’s that time where we mull (alas not literally) our favourite wines of the year. I’ve had a really lucky year wine wise this year, in no small part due to the huge generosity of people coming to the South West London community wine dinners. There’s been some cracking wines across all the meals, and also my dipping my toes back into travelling and starting to drink some of the wines I’ve been buying EP at last. It’s a really tough choice, but for me the winner is…

Le Grappin Beaune Premier Cru Les Greves 2018

When Le Grappin send out their “pre-release” offer, they also send out a matrix of which of their wines are drinkers and which ones you should hold on to, with an underline for ones that a drinking particularly well at the moment. This wine is the first wine of their’s I’ve bough EP that reached the hallowed drink now underline status. Drunk with friends in April words like “the best white wine I’ve ever had” were used by several people round the table., Complete, Complex and indescribably good (at least for someone with my vocabulary, or lack there of).


Very difficult, there have been many wonderful wines (and some ‘meh’ bottles - mostly from Majestic).

Red = López de Haro Classica Gran Reserva, Rioja 2004 Truly outstanding Rioja, with masses of length, complexity & interest, yet also extremely pleasurable to drink.

White = Ilha do Pico ‘Frei Gigante’, Pico Açores 2018 All manner of herbs, salinity, hazelnuts, melons, yet totally dry and fresh. One to look out for if it ever graces TWS lists again. Honourable mention to Muscadet producers: Les Bêtes Curieuses, taking Muscadet easily up to Premier Cru level and higher.

Sparkling = Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2012. A rare Champagne which is actually worth the price tag providing you pay less than £35.

Whisky = Ledaig (peated Tobermory) cask strength, 2 x half bottles, one bourbon the other a wine cask. Part shared with a very generous TWS member direct from the distillery. Scotch Whisky seems to be at the very worst dip in its cycle with abysmal quality / price ratios. Yet these Ledaig’s absolutely shine out.


Well, it was fun reading through my wine notes of 2022 - especially highs and lows of Omicron reporting earlier on, not to mention the vagaries of the weather :tornado: It really is like a mini-diary… anyway - as @lapin_rouge says - it’s so difficult to home=in on just one bottle… so I’m going for 3, and I chose ones that both me and my partner-in-drinking (and other things) were equally wowed by:

Chignin-Bergeron ‘Harmonie’, Jean Vullien et Fils 2018 - Ripe, spicy, honeyed, orchard-y with perfect balance between Alpine freshness and fruit generosity. Harmony by name and by nature. Thanks again to Mike Franklin for buying this for me in Savoie.

Close second white was Lemberg, Hárslevelü, Tulbagh 2019 a complex mix of aromas and flavours, with layers of discovery and interest. It was definitely a wow wine!

Gabriëlskloof Landscape Series Cabernet Franc, Bot River 2017 - smoky, fruity, savoury, earthy, tangy, spicy, balsamic… Shows what amazing wines Cabernet Franc can produce.

And special mention to Christmas Day’s Syrah ‘Classic’ Jean- René Germanier, Valais 2018 which was one of those bottles you just don’t want to end… beautiful!


I’ve had some excellent wines in the last 12 months but I think the best was the Chateau Poujeaux, Moulis-en-Medoc, 2005 I bought from Cave de l’Aiguille a relatively new wine shop in Chamonix.

The first bottle I bought was drunk in Chamonix and was so good I returned for another 2 (they only had one case but at €55 I couldn’t afford the lot!). I had one of those two back home recently and it was still equally brilliant and now I’m looking forward to the remaining one!

[Incidentally that is also where I got the Harmonie for @Inbar]


As Strawpig says, it’s been a year of great drinking including many lovely bottles opened by others at wine dinners.

My boring answer to this would be 1989 Huet Haut Lieu Moelleux Premiere Trie. Boring in the sense that this would have been the same answer for the last three years since I nabbed a case of this when it was listed here a few years ago. Not a boring wine though, this would be my desert island wine I think if I could only take one case of something with me.

So a proper answer for 2022 is 2009 Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Spatlese. Glorious rich wine that has found a perfect pitch and was an exemplar of what great riesling can be. Better still I had this twice, both times out at dinner with really good friends, with lovely food to pair it with.


as @Inbar says what a sobering (not intended) exercise to re-read one’s notes from the year. My choice was the easiest. My wife and I drank our last bottle of 1989 Chateau Cheval Blanc (purchased EP from Harvey’s of Bristol, remember them?) in order to celebrate our 51st! Drinking perfectly too I might add.



Not a prestigious name, but was very impressed with this. Mixture of fruit and more evolved, savoury (olive!?) flavours, great length and complexity for the price. 2018 is in stock but 1.5% higher abv so not sure how similar it will be.


2008 Zind-Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Riesling.
Bought EP from outside TWS. Some bottle variation in the case, but the last bottle was everything I was hoping for in a mature dry alsace riesling, complex, honeyed, incredibly long finish.


This is my wine of the year, partly because I was so pleasantly surprised by it. Ten years ago I bought a mixed half case of Olivier Leflaive 2010 1er and grand crus. I think three of the six turned out to be oxidised, including the Chevalier Montrachet. Never again would white burgundy darken my shopping list!

This was the last bottle and I expected it to be shot. But it was still a pale straw colour, really concentrated and powerful but still light on its feet. Took a while to open up fully and everyone loved it with the turkey. Ironic that I felt it could go another five years easily :grin:

I know people say Chardonnay from places like Kumeu is a good alternative to posher white burgundy, but when the original stuff is good, it’s really good! Just a shame the pricing and the oxidisation rate render it so expensive.


A tricky decision, and actually I can’t really think of a ‘best’ wine of the year. However what stays in my mind is Jean François Mérieau’s Cent Visages, made from Côt (Malbec) in the Touraine. It’s floral, savoury, light, yet has depth, and is fun. Which reminds me to open another for NYE tomorrow.
Other notable mentions that I’m still getting to know are the oxidative wines from Jura (Montbourgeau En Banode, Dom. Grand Vin Jaune), Rivesaltes (Rancy) and Vin Santo (Fattorie Melini) which I’ve especially enjoyed.
Roll on '23. Things can only get better


On a personal level, 2022 was a far better year than 2021, thankfully, although my workload was heavier than I can ever recall. The latter meant that, as far as wine is concerned, I didn’t really indulge in anything too ambitious, preferring to stick to wines that I knew would be pleasurable, as well as comforting. This meant an abundance of lower level Burgundies and some Pinot Noirs from elsewhere.

Most impressive of all of them was this gorgeous specimen from California, Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills La Côte Pinot Noir 2013 (£35). Utterly magnificent, akin to a higher end Burgundy, for a fraction of the price. My biggest regret was that I only managed to snaffle one, before the word was out and all remaining stock was snapped up.

Bargain of the year had to be 2014 Bourgogne Pinot Fin, Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux. Had to be a mistake but picked up from Lay & Wheeler for around £27, when the price elsewhere seems to be £250+. Unfortunately, again, I only purchased one, not having realised what a bargain it was, until too late. A delightful and elegant wine and likely to be the only opportunity that I will have to enjoy an Arnoux-Lachaux.

In terms of hedonistic enjoyment, though, I was pleasantly surprised by how sumptuous this lovely little number was, Bouchard Père et Fils, Monthélie 2019 (£24). Sadly, now out of stock but at least I managed to secure a few more, before they disappeared.

In a similar vein, another lower end Burgundy, 2019 Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Bourgogne (£23.50), a producer that I haven’t previously come across but ding dong, what a beauty. All the main attributes of Burgundy that I love - fresh, spicy, refined fruit, just the right level of acidity and super balance, a pure delight.

Happy New Year, everybody.


It’s not been an obvious ‘stand out’ year for me, but the best were earlier in the year…

Best red: 1987 Tondonia Reserva Rioja. Aged like only Rioja can.

Best White: 2014 Clos Lapeyre Vitatge Vielh Jurançon Sec. Absolute masterclass in balancing concentration, freshness and ageability.

Best fortified: H&H 2007 Verdelho Madeira. Recommended by @Brocklehurstj … The discovery of which will probably prove to be my future financial ruin (I already have a cupboard full of Bual :roll_eyes:)

Honourable mentions to 2016 Domaine de Souch Jurançon Sec (take note Dagueneau, this is the style you’re trying to mimic, and it doesn’t have to cost so much) and Castello di Verduno 2013 Barbaresco Rabaja and 2019 Pelaverga, fabulous house style.


I’m never able to pin it down to one wine but this is my best effort.
The vertical tasting of Guido Rivella Barbaresco Montestefano where I think the 2013 was my favourite.
The 2016 Produttori del Barbaresco Asili at a Piedmont tasting.
The 2011 Produttori del Barbaresco Asili that @Embee brought to our meet up.
Not a surprise that by far my favourite region is Piedmont and Barbaresco is number 1 on my list. Stellar wines that translate the joy of wine to me.


This is a phenomenal wine and potentially a contender for my WOTY also!


Agreed, obviously! For New Year’s Eve dinner last year I had a Huet Le Mont Debut Pressé 1989. All gone by the stroke of midnight, so doesn’t qualify as a 2022 wine, but the equal of the Haut Lieu. I think I may become an unofficial ambassador for 1989 Huets - they are magnificent and drinking so well now.

Plans for 2023 - open some 1989 Huet Constance currently slumbering in the cellar and some 1989 Le Mont Fin de Pressé…


Red of the year:

Honourable mentions to:


White of the year (by a mile):


Invariably my annual “wonderful” memorable wine moments are from unscripted tastings at wineries and cellar doors, typically wines I’d never had before and were much better than anticipated.

This year we did wine trips to Peru, the Jura, and a long meander across northern Italy. My top wines are all from the Italian trip…

Fizz - Mosnel Franciacorta cuvée “Satèn” NV.
Penultimate tasting in a flight of 5, gorgeous mix of brioche, hazelnuts, lemon sherbert. Left on the lees for at least 4 years before disgorgement, top notch champagne standard but at the price of a standard English fizz

White - Claudio Mariotto Timorasso, Derthona, cuvée “L’imbevibile”, 2018
Timorasso was a voyage of discovery; Mariotto along with Massa were the pioneers. His nephew , the winery manager accidentally made this cuvée with “too much” skin contact - hence its undrinkability - but turned out that timorasso is ideal to make amber-light wine

Amber - Radikon Ribolla Gialla “3781”, 2008
The pilgrimage to the legend ! And what a tasting flight we had - 9 different classic amber wines - none for sale as sold out retail. The 2008 was the supernova amongst stars

Red - Cecchetto Raboso del Piave, 2019
Probably the biggest surprise of all, it was simply a region we’d not visited before and it was vaguely on the way south to Venice so, why not… turns out Cecchetto are the main standard bearer of this unique variety and it was so good, with tannat and syrah notes, and a ridiculously under-priced point. We bought 6. The rosé brut wasn’t half bad either.


Two special wines

Buntsandstein 2017 by Enderle & Moll. Rich, complex and edgy pinot noir from nearby Baden.

Pošip Intrada by Krajančić. So much freshness and richness at once. Tropical, tart and rich, like taking your tastebuds for a spa treatment.


I was waiting for this thread.

When it comes to a red there is only one for me. This Beaujolais beauty has challenged my favourite wine affection from aged Bordeaux to Beaujolais with a little age. For me it was just one of those wines you remember.

Domaine Pavillon de Chavannes, Côte de Brouilly Cuvée des Ambassades 2018


When it comes to whites I also have a leader and again France wins but this time from the Loire Valley.

Pouilly-Fumé Mademoiselle de “T” du Château de Tracy 2019


Old World Sauv Blanc done ever so well. I’m in the New Zealand completely overdoes SB club (don’t hate me) and love the milder/calmer Loire Valley versions. This one was on song.

Looking at my notes it seems I have seriously neglected my Ports/Madeiras/Sherries in the last 12 months. Note to self - drink more fortified stuff in 2023 :grin: Oh and on that note I have a Musar 2012, so should I or shouldn’t I?


Both my wines of the year were drunk in the spring.

2004 La Rioja Alta 904 GR wasn’t just the best wine I drank this year, it was a contender for one the best wines I’ve ever had. So much complexity but you almost don’t notice it because of the integration. Everything unfolds perfectly. A wine at peak.

White of the year was 2005 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese. Gorgeous and light on its feet. I opened this on impulse not thinking it would be special. Wrong! Amazing flavours and the length was superb. Just makes me sad it takes this long for some Rieslings to reach their peak. :smiling_face_with_tear:

Honourable mention from the recent Xmas period was a Fabien Coche 2019 Auxey-Duresses withdrawn from reserves. Absolutely brilliant drinking already! I wish I’d bought loads more.


As with @strawpig, I’ve been spoilt by the SWL group. Wine of the year is therefore “wines of the year”:

Just. So. Good. Enough to make you mourn the last bottle.

For the QPR, this is shockingly bad. Anyone thinking of getting stuff from this producer in forthcoming EP campaigns should steer well clear. They do not at all make beautiful wines at great prices. Marcel is not a genius.

From the SWL group: the generously donated G.B. Burlotto 2014 from the April dinner. Outstanding.

And a wine moment: the point at which @strawpig convinced me that a 2017 Alentejo red, in its bruising infancy, would work with a hake dish. Thank you for suggesting.