The news media and various entertainment, search engine and research websites are currently featuring their “Best of 2022” lists, with occasional predictions for 2023. In the spirit of sharing, here are my Top 20 Red Wines tasted during the year, listed in order of ranking in each section.
I didn’t include wines tasted with different wine organizations or tasting groups, where the organizers tended to show off their finest. My notes go from the oldest (1982 from Bordeaux) to the youngest, a 2018 Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, Calif.
- 20-year-old classic Napa 2002 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard. Mid-garnet, brick edges; viscous (14.1 alc.); red fruit, cassis, herbaceous, light mint, oak nose; medium acids; medium tannins; rounding out; good depth of Cabernet fruit; long, balanced, elegant finish. w/tri-tip. 18 UC Davis scale, 94 other scales.
- St. Helena, Calif. 2011 Anthem Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard (350 cases made, $60 in 2016, Invino). Mid-dark garnet, viscous (14.5 alc.); herbaceous, cassis, black currant, red and black fruit, berries, mint, wood (Napa nose); mid acids; mid+ tannins round out; good depth of fruit; long berry and wood finish. w/beef. 17-17.5/92-93.
- Nicely evolving Napa red, 1996 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Mid-ruby, amber edges, viscous (13.8 alc.); Napa Cabernet nose; herbaceous, cassis, red fruit, tobacco, oak, mint; balanced; medium acids, tannins, depth; long elegant red fruit and wood finish. w/tri-tip. 17-17.5/92-93.
- Napa 1997 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon ($30 in 2000). Light mid-garnet, amber edges; older Cabernet nose; mint, berries, cassis; balanced; low-mid acids; mid tannins; long, smooth berry, mint and wood finish. w/filet. 17/92.
- 2012 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Lyndenhurst ($75 in 2015). Sharp, mid-dark garnet; Napa nose; mint, cassis, herbaceous, hint of smoke; mid-body, mid-acids and tannins; softening; long rich finish. w/beef, mushroom sauce. 17/92.
- 1986 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23. Light-mid ruby, brick/amber edges: some viscosity (13.1 alc.); red fruit, herbaceous, light mint, cassis and leather nose; low-acids; low-mid tannins; a little past its prime; decent fruit still; wonderful Cabernet flavor; a little short. 17/92.
- Nicely aging Sonoma Bordeaux blend 2013 Ferrari-Carano Trésor ($44 in 2018). Mid-garnet, ruby edges, viscous (14.5 alc.); herbaceous, cassis, red currant, light oak nose; mid-acids, softening tannins; balanced; long smooth red fruit and berry finish. 17/92.
- Santa Lucia Highlands, Calif., 2018 Roar Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard ($60 in May 2020). Mid-ruby, ruby edges, some viscosity (14.9 alc.); red fruit, cedar, raspberry, pomegranate nose; mid-plus acids; mid-plus tannins; full alcohol; long, deep red fruit and wood finish. w/veal saltimbocca. 17/92.
- Sta. Rita Hills, Calif., 2013 Bonaccorsi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard ($36 in 2016). Similar to other notes. Fun to try with a little more age. Light-mid ruby, brick-amber edges; red fruit, stemmy Pinot Noir nose; strawberries, light oak; low-mid acids; softening tannins; good Pinot fruit; long semi-lush semi-hot (13.8 alc.) finish. w/pork. 17/92.
- 2001 Faiveley Corton-Clos des Cortons Faiveley. Light-mid ruby, amber edges; earthy, animal, red fruit, tobacco and wood nose; complex; mid-acids; medium-plus tannins; good Pinot depth; still a little tight; can age more; long complex finish. w/beef. 17.5-18/93-94.
- 2009 Faiveley Corton-Clos des Cortons. Light ruby; earthy, red fruit, tobacco, cedar, forest floor nose; mid-plus acids, mid-plus tannins; lush fruit; some depth; long rich finish; needs time. 17.5-18/93-94.
- 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/cassoulet. 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.
- 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.
- 1989 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande ($60 in 1991, futures). Mid-brick, amber edges, some viscosity; smokey, leather, tobacco, earth, wood, red fruit nose; mid-body; low-mid acids; mid-tannins, and softening; balanced; long elegant red and black fruit and wood finish. Still a beauty. 18/94.
- 1982 Château Cos d’Estournel. Light-mid ruby, amber edges; old nose, leather, cedar, tobacco; mid acids, mid+tannins; some depth; long semi-deep, concentrated finish; opens with air; still evolving. w/tri-tip. 17-17.5/92-93.
- 1982 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. Light-mid brick, amber edges, low viscosity (12.0 alc.); red fruit, leather, herbaceous, leafy nose; low-mid acids; medium tannins; good fruit; long balanced wood and red fruit finish. 17/92.
- 2011 Bodegas Muga Rioja Gran Reserva Prado Enea ($80 in 2020). Mid-ruby, ruby/brick edges, viscous; red fruit, wood, cherry, old world nose; mid-body; mid acids, mid-plus tannins; good depth; long red fruit, wood, slightly hot finish. 17/92.
- Nicely evolving Mendoza, Valle de Uco 2011 Bodegas Salentein Gran Vu ($40 in 2018). 73% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon. 24 months French oak. Dark garnet, viscous (15.0 alc.); red and black fruit nose; herbaceous, cedar, vanilla, spice, mint; mid-plus acids, mid-full tannins, but not hard; long deep red fruit and wood finish. 17-17.5 UC Davis scale, 92-93 other scales. Beef wine.