Here are our favorite wines in 2022 – Part 2. You might recall that in early January we revealed our favorite 20 wines last year. We compiled our list after tasting hundreds of wines in 2022. These 20 wines made a lasting impression. However, at that time, we simply published a list of the wines, with links to their wineries. Therefore, over the next few weeks, we will be sharing more details about these wines. Read on for Part 2.
Our list of Favorite Wines in 2022 – Part 2 (in alphabetical order by winery)
- Clif Family 2019 Estate Zinfandel, Napa Valley (California)
- DeLille Cellars 2019 Chaleur Estate Red (Washington)
- Henschke 2016 Tappa Pass Shiraz (Australia)
- JM Cellars 2021 Pinot Noir Amphora (Washington)
- L’Ecole 41 2018 Ferguson Estate (Washington)
Clif Family 2019 Estate Zinfandel, Napa Valley
Clif Family 2019 Estate Zinfandel, Napa Valley is a killer wine – one of the best Zins we’ve tasted, with each sip a delight. It was a perfect wine to pair with turkey last Thanksgiving. First, it displays the true character of the grape. Next, this 100% Zin is elegant, clean, well-balanced, and created smiles at our dinner table. Aromas of berries, licorice and spices lead into a soft palate of more berries, cherries and minerality.
The grapes grow on the north side of Howell Mountain, at a site named “Le Colline,” Italian for “the hills.” At 1,170-foot elevation, the volcanic soils and the climate make it an ideal location for Zinfandel. Clif Family owners Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson source the grapes from CCOF Organic and Napa Green certified vineyards in the Howell Mountain and Oak Knoll District AVAs. Subsequently, winemaker Laura Barrett crafts her wines with minimal intervention for a true expression of the grape.
DeLille Cellars 2019 Chaleur Estate Red (Washington)
DeLille Cellars 2019 Chaleur Estate Red (Washington) displays intensity and richness from old-vine Cab Sauv (64%), Merlot (24%), Cab Franc (10%) and Petit Verdot (2%). Whoa, this opulent blend offers notes of dark berries, cherries, chocolate, coffee, licorice and spices. Founded in 1992, DeLille Cellars and its Chaleur Estate Red have history in Washington, as the pioneer Bordeaux-style blend created in the state. We first tasted this vintage of Chaleur Blanc at Taste Red Mountain in Woodinville last April, and later bought some after a visit to DeLille’s stellar tasting room later last year.
Henschke 2016 Tappa Pass Shiraz (Australia)
The exceptional Henschke is a 157-year-old family-owned winery located in Keyneton, South Australia, in the Eden Valley wine region of the Barossa. Our 2019 visit to Henschke’s Cellar Door was one of the highlights of our trip to Australia and New Zealand. Consequently, it was an experience that will always be remembered – we discovered amazing family history, lovely people and outstanding wines. We tasted the 2015 vintage of Tappa Pass on our Australian cruise, right before we visited Henschke. So, of course, we asked to taste the recent 2016 release at the Cellar Door. Tappa Pass is a serious wine that is both lush and powerful. The nose opens with beautiful aromas of blueberries, plums, blackberries and spices, echoed on the palate along with signature Syrah black pepper flavors. We loved this wine so much, we brought some home with us and finally opened one last year. Simply gorgeous.
JM Cellars 2021 Pinot Noir Amphora (Washington)
JM Cellars talented winemaker John Bigelow is the only Washington winemaker to create Pinot Noir from California grapes. He sourced the Pommard clone from notable Doña Margarita Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. During a visit to JM Cellars Maltby tasting room last spring, we tasted the initial vintage of his Pinot Noir Amphora 2020, and were hooked. Then, John poured us this 2021, which is 100% Pinot Noir produced in a clay amphora from Montecchio, Italy. The Pinot benefits from the low-iron content in the clay, which is great for aging the wine. As a result, pretty aromas and flavors of strawberries, spices, orange zest entice, with a pop of pepper, freshness and salinity.
We’re fans of all of John’s wines – in addition, he’s one of the friendliest, kindest winemakers we’ve ever met. And he’s always got some new project going – we can’t wait to see what’s next.
L’Ecole 41 2018 Ferguson Estate (Washington)
L’Ecole 41 2018 Ferguson Estate (Washington) is one of 20 of our favorite wines that made a lasting impression in 2022. And L’Ecole just released the 2020 vintage, which marks their 10th vintage since their inaugural, award-winning vintage in 2011. Pre-release pricing is available on 3-bottle minimum purchases through the end of this month. During our last visit to the Walla Walla schoolhouse, L’Ecole released the 2018 Ferguson Bordeaux-style blend. What a head turner. This is a gorgeous, intoxicating wine – rich, complex and expressive.
Ferguson 2018 blends Cabernet Sauvignon (55%) with Merlot (24%), Cabernet Franc (11%), and 5% each of Malbec and Petit Verdot. Layers of bold, dark fruit flavors combine with notes of espresso, dark chocolate, licorice, graphite, spice and black tea. As well, this beautiful blend showcases crushed-stone minerality, influenced by the volcanic basalt soil from its namesake Ferguson Estate Vineyard, which L’Ecole planted with a focus on sustainability at the outset. We adore the entire portfolio from L’Ecole 41 – a must-stop visit in Walla Walla.
Summary: Favorite Wines in 2022 – Part 2
In conclusion, our list of 20 Favorite Wines in 2022 consists of bottles from many wine regions in the world. Some of them are special-occasion wines because of their high quality and high price point. Others are special good-value wines that we enjoyed throughout the year.
We encourage you to try some of them and check out the wineries’ websites for more information. Further, have a look at Part 1, with details of the first five wines on our list.
Margot and Dave