It’s always memorable to go through our tasting notes for the year. We recorded the notes during a wide range of tasting experiences, from trying new wines at home, to dinner parties with friends, to trade tastings, industry conferences, educational programs on regions of the world and events with wine groups.
Whatever the occasion, the company and the quality of the wine and food, we felt fortunate to continue expanding our organoleptic experiences. Here are a few favorites from the year in two categories: the higher-priced wines and then a few values.
On the former, it is all French. I was fortunate to get to know the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhone early in my wine education adventures. On Burgundy, I have the pleasure of heading the wine committee for the local chapter of the Chevaliers du Tastevin. This gives me the opportunity to taste more older Burgundies than I would otherwise, enhanced by tasting with friends who are generous with sharing wines from their cellars.
I enjoy older wines on weekends and look for values to enjoy during the week and to have for casual events, such as barbecues. I’m always searching for fine quality wines under $25 from anywhere in the world. I’m pleased to see the array growing in numbers. For keeping up with my finds, I post notes during the week on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and do an occasional monthly roundup.
For full disclosure, I avoid young, high alcohol fruit bombs. They do well in tastings, but most are hard to match with food (hence my prejudice toward Pinot Noir, including from New Zealand, California and Oregon).
Food and wine are a magical match, to the betterment of most occasions. We will continue to search for new combinations in 2022. A toast to a 2022 of new discoveries throughout the year for all of us.
Favorite Red Wines
- 2002 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Light-mid ruby, amber edges; viscous (14.0 alc); red fruit, animal, earthy, strawberry, cedar nose; mid+ acids, medium tannins; deep fruit; long rich complex red fruit and earth finish. w/filet. 17.5-18 UC Davis score, 93-94 other scores.
- Nicely evolving St. Estephe, 2000 Château Cos d’Estournel ($80 in 2004). Mid-dark garnet, amber edges; ripe, rich, berry, cassis, cedar and leather nose; pronounced; mid-plus body; medium, evolving tannins; long, deep fruity, multi-layered finish. w/veal sweetbreads. 17.5-18/93-94.
- Guigal, 2006 Ermitage, Ex Voto. Dark ruby; complex red fruit nose; peppery, oak, spice, leather; long rich red fruit finish, hints of wood; needs time. 17.5/93.
- Second growth St. Julien 1995 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou (70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc). Mid-ruby, brick edges, not sharp; cedar, tobacco, cassis, sweet red fruit nose; mid-body; balanced; softening tannins; mid-minus intensity; good Cabernet fruit and flavor; hints of wood on the semi-short finish. Probably peaked. w/tri-tip. 17.5/93.
- 2007 Gérard Raphet Chambertin-Clos de Bèze. Mid-ruby, brick edges; red fruit, animal, musk, wood nose; mid-plus acids, tannins; good depth; long red fruit, gamey finish. 17-17.5/92-93.
- 2010 Domaine Michel Mallard & Fils Corton-Maréchaudes. Mid-ruby, brick edges; red fruit, wood, earth nose; mid-acids; medium plus tannins; opens with air; long rich finish; multi-layered. w/veal chops. 17-17.5/92-93.
- 2004 Domaine Georges Mugneret-Gibourg Echézeaux Grand Cru. Pale brick; gamey, earthy, red fruit nose; medium acids, tannins; good depth; long rich dark cherry and musk finish. 17-17.5/92-93.
- 2012 Maison Albert Bichot Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos Domaine Long-Depaquit ($56 in 2014). Mid-dark gold; pronounced stone fruit nose; secondary of citrus, wine lees, then honey and vanilla; dry; medium alcohol; medium-full body; pronounced stone fruit, wine lees flavor, hint of slate; long lush finish. w/swordfish.18/94.
- 2010 Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos. Light-mid green gold; citrus, stone fruit, wet stone nose; mid-body; medium-plus acids, but balanced; fine fruit; long semi-crisp, round and rich finish. 17.5/93.
- 2016 Domaine Bouard-Bonnefoy Puligny-Montrachet Les Aubues ($72 in 2020). Mid dark gold; spice, nutmeg, citrus, oak nose; mid body; mid acids; deep fruit; rich deep lush finish, multilayered. 17-17.5/92-93.
- Classic Sonoma Chardonnay from old vines. 2013 Hanzell Chardonnay. Last bottle from cellar. Sharp mid-gold; honey suckle, stone fruit, vanilla, wine lees nose; mid-body; softening acids; long rich lush finish. As noted before, Meursault-like. w/halibut. 17-17.5/92-93.
Favorite Value Reds
- $15 value Barossa Valley, Australia, 2018 Schild Estate Shiraz. Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); peppery, red fruity, blackberry jam, ripe grape nose; mid-body; balanced; medium tannins; good Shiraz fruit; long fruity semi-tight finish. w/beef. 16-16.5/90-91.
- 2019 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Sonoma County, $20. Mid-garnet, viscous (14.8 alc.); ripe grape, fig, red fruit, bramble, blackberry jam nose; mid-plus acids; full tannins; mid-full body, good Zinfandel fruit; long semi-chewy finish. w/beef. 16-16.5 UC Davis scale, 90-91 other scales. 16-16.5/90-91.
- Lodi, Calif., 2018 Michael-David Vineyards Zinfandel Earthquake, $24. Dark purple, viscous (15.5 alc.); ripe grape, brambles, wood, blackberry, prune, fig nose; mid-body; mid-plus tannins; deep fruit; long semi-chewy, berry and wood finish (aged in American oak, 83%; French, 17%). w/beef, burgers, grill. 16-16.5/90-91.
- Good value Yarra Valley, Australia, 2018 Yering Station Shiraz – Viognier (98-2%), $19. Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.0 alc.); ripe grape, prune, wood, black fruit, wood and peppery nose; mid+acids; full tannins; bigger style; long black fruit and wood finish; slightly hot. w/meat, pizza, pasta. 16-16.5/90-91.
- Value Italian blend 2018 Argiano Non Confunditur Toscana IGT, $18. 50% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese. Mid-garnet, viscous (14% alc.); herbaceous, red fruit, berry and wood nose; mid-plus acids, tannins; moderate depth; long semi-hot, semi-chewy, berry and wood finish. 16/90.
Favorite Value Whites
- Rich Mosel 2019 Bollig-Lehnert Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese, $23. Sharp, mid-dark gold; floral, star jasmine, pineapple, stone fruit nose; mid-plus body; off-dry; mid-acids; mid-plus depth; long, rich stone fruit finish. Very good quality. w/pot stickers and stir fry. 16.5/91.
- Good value Aussie, Edna Valley, 2020 Pewsey Vale Vineyard Riesling Dry Riesling, $14. Sharp mid-green gold; citrus, lime, floral nose; dry; mid-plus acids; 12.5 alc.; mid-body; pronounced flavors, citrus; medium, crisp, fruity finish. w/cheeses, breads. 16/90.