Favorite Wines of 2022

by artfuldiner on January 15, 2023

in Artful Diner Mini Review, Breaking News, Opinion, Wine, Wining and Dining

Wine 3I tasted an interesting array of wines in 2022, from a variety of different countries. Of those, the 8 listed below – 4 white; 4 red – are particularly recommended.

Please note that prices quoted are approximate, depending upon where the wines are purchased; and, of course, all are subject to change. The prices in states other than Pennsylvania can vary significantly from retailer to retailer. So, it would certainly be to your advantage to spend some time surfing online for the best price point.


Arneis 20202020 Almondo Roero Arneis Bricco delle Cilliegie (Italy): Roero is a small viticultural area in the northeast corner of the province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The area’s claim to fame is Arneis, a fragrant pear-perfumed white wine grape that is responsible for 77% of the vineyards’ plantings. Indigenous to Roero, Arneis has been cultivated here since the 1400s.

The Almondo family has carefully tended the vines of Arneis for generations. The old vines of the single vineyard, Bricco delle Ciliegie, are rooted in the sand that was once an old ocean bed. Building upon the legacy of his talented father, Giovanni, Domenico Almondo has taken this small family winery to such new heights that he is now considered one of the best winemakers in Italy.

I have tasted numerous vintages of Almondo Roero Arneis Bricco delle Ciliegie, but the 2020 is truly special. Wine writer Antonio Galloni of Vinous called it “one of the great whites of Italy.” The major problem with Almondo’s wines is that the quantities are just too small to satisfy the demand each year. As of this writing, the 2020 is available from several sources online, retailing in the $25.00 – $30.00 per bottle range.

 Santorini Assyrtiko 20182018 Boutari Assyrtiko Santorini (Greece): The Boutari family has been producing wines from Greek varietals since 1879. Since the very first vintage, the family has become a pioneer of Greek wines, now crafting wines from six different regions, utilizing grapes that are grown nowhere else in the world.

And nothing could be more indicative of Boutari’s winemaking prowess than the 2018 Assyrtiko Santorini, their benchmark treatment of Greece’s iconic white wine grape. Wine writer Jeb Dunnuck bestowed a whopping 96 points (100-point scale), noting: “It’s deep, rich, medium-bodied, and concentrated on the palate, with perfectly integrated acidity and a monster of a finish. It’s pure class.”

This wine will not be easy to find – but it’s definitely worth the effort. If the 2018 is unavailable, go for any other vintage you can lay your hands on. In the $30.00 – $50.00 range, depending upon the year.

 Cambria - Katherine's Vineyard Chard 20192019 Cambria Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay (California): Family-owned and sustainably-farmed, the Cambria Estate Winery, is a remarkable property, with each wine bearing the Cambria name grown, produced, and bottled on the estate. With vineyards dating back to the early 1970s, Cambria Estate helped to establish California’s Santa Maria Valley as a world-class wine producing region.

The critical acclaim for the 2019 Cambria Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay has been nothing short of spectacular. Wine critic Antonio Galloni of Vinous bestowed 94 points and called it “fabulous… This class Santa Maria Chardonnay hits all the right notes.” The 2019 is medium-bodied, plush, creamy, and easy to drink… And there’s just enough oak to gently caress rather than smother those fragile fruit flavors.

The price is a real crowd-pleaser as well, retailing in the $15.00 – $20.00 range. Available online from various sources and via special order from Pennsylvania State Stores.

 Essay Wines of South Africa - Riaan Moller, Winemaker2021 Essay Wines Chenin Blanc (South Africa): The term “Essay” is a play on words, as it refers to the popular abbreviation for South Africa (SA)… But the word also implies “assemblage,” or the blending of elements to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

The 2021 Essay Wines Chenin Blanc consists of 72% Chenin Blanc, with the addition of 17% Roussanne & 11% Viognier, giving the wine an impressive aromatic “lift” and touch of richness on the palate. According to the producer, 2021 was a warm and dry season that produced smaller berries with enhanced flavor concentration. Warmer day-time temperatures combined with cooler nights resulted in perfect fruit quality, demonstrated in both excellent flavor intensity and fresh acidity. The wine is perfect on its own for warm weather quaffing or as an aperitif; but it also pairs exceedingly well with a wide variety of foods, especially Asian entrées and salads. (Pictured: Riaan Möller, Winemaker)

And the price is quite a delight as well. 2021 Essay Wines Chenin Blanc retails around the $10.00 mark. Be sure to check online for the best price point.


A.A. Badenhorst - The Curator2019 A.A. Badenhorst The Curator Red Blend (South Africa): A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines is a small wine producer in the Swartland, a large wine region about 40 miles north of Cape Town in the Western Cape. Former Rustenberg winemaker Adi Badenhorst and his cousin, Hein, bought the Kalmoesfontein Farm in 2008. The farm has 69 acres of mostly old bush vines, planted in the 1950s and 60s on granite soils. Chenin Blanc, Cinsault, and Grenache make up the majority of the vineyard, with other grape varieties brought in from other vineyards in the area.

The estate’s 2019 Curator is a blend of Shiraz, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre, and received a 92-point rating from Vinous, which called it “a fine red blend with good persistence and plenty of personality.” If you’re a red wine lover, trust me, you’ve just found your new “house” wine.

Available from various sources on line at about the $12.00 mark.

Touzot, Frederic2018 Domaine Touzot Bourgogne Pinot Noir (France): The Touzot family domaine is located in the northernmost part of France’s Mâcon region of Burgundy. Their 209+ acres of vineyards are planted with 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir.

The Touzot Mâcon Villages is a benchmark of this appellation. The Bourgogne Rouge comes from a south-facing parcel of old vines. The grapes are hand-harvested, destemmed, and given a twi-day cold maceration before fermentation begins. The wine is then aged in casks (10% new; the balance 1-5 years old) for twelve months. The wine is lightly filtered and not fined before bottling in early spring. The production is about five hundred cases. The wines exhibit the color, taste, and texture that are similar to the more expensive Pinot Noirs produced in the Côte d’Or.

The 2018 Domaine Touzot Bourgogne Pinot Noir is a rustic, concentrated Pinot Noir with significant fruit intensity. Pale ruby in color, medium-bodied, dry & tart, with subtle tannins and balanced acidity, the 2018 is mellow but powerful, with a decided hint of bitterness that is quite pleasing to the palate. The price is also rather pleasing as well… $19.99 at Pennsylvania State Stores. (Pictured: Frédéric Touzot)

Feudo Montoni Nero d'Avola2019 Feudo Montoni “Lagnusa” Nero d’Avola (Sicily): Feudo Montoni was first established in the 1400s. The Sireci family has run the property since the late 1800s and it is now in the hands of the third generation. The name of the vineyard is Lagnusa, which means “that which is lazy and produces small quantities” in Sicilian. Today, of course, we know that a vineyard that produces less quantity also creates higher quality. The 100% Nero d’Avola grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks where they then mature for twenty months. The wine sees another four months in barrel before bottling.

The result is a highly-rated wine that is silky smooth and seductive on the palate. If you have never tasted Nero d’Avola, this wine would make a wonderful introduction. Offered from various sources online from $18.99 – $24.00, this is a fabulous wine at an equally fabulous price point.

 Nasiakos Agiorgitiko 2019 (2)2019 Nasiakos Agiorgitiko Red Wine (Greece): The vineyards of the Nasiakos families lie in the heart of the two largest and most important wine regions of Greece. Leonidas Nasiakos is the viticulturalist, winemaker, and producer of the wines that bear his name. Under the Nasiakos label, 6,500 cases of wine are produced from the indigenous appellation varietals such as Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko.

Of particular importance is Agiorgitiko, the most widely planted red wine grape in Greece. It is one of the most commercially important indigenous varieties; and it can exhibit a wide range of characteristics, from soft to very tannic, depending upon factors in the growing and winemaking processes.

The 2019 Nasiakos Agiorgitiko is most definitely of the latter persuasion… In the glass, mesmerizing aromas of vanilla, blackberry, and currant quickly capture your attention, carried over to invitingly ripe fruit flavors on the palate. This is a wine with a surprisingly light – almost ethereal – touch. It goes down smooth & easy and is also marvelously food friendly.

A lovely wine on all counts, it retails around $15.99.


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