Basser's Top 20 Wines of 2022
Every year, Emily and I taste over 1,000 wines. (We know it’s a tough job) We take detailed notes, and we rate the 20 best in November regardless of price. Below are our 2022 Top 20 wines.
#20- 2021 Nickel and Nickel Truchard Chardonnay $41.99
A month or so back, we were doing a tasting using Far Niente, and I expected to be blown away by their big cabs (They are excellent), but the wine that really caught my eye was the Truchard Chardonnay. Balanced, Elegant, and extremely easy to sip. *The Oak Knoll Cabernet was exceptional, as well. I went back and forth on which to use for this list. Both are equally deserving.
#19- 2016 RHYS Alesia Anderson Valley Chardonnay $39.99
Emily and Glenn are “obsessed” with the Dave Mathews Band. You can find different DMB quotes around the store and most days you can listen to the band playing when you come in to shop.
#18- 2015 Terralsole Brunello DOCG $54.99
Terrasole Brunello is one of the true standards of the region. The 2015 was an exceptional vintage and this is an exceptional wine in every way. Layers of strawberry, and cherry, with a touch of minerality that makes it extremely seductive. Slow cook some stew or short ribs and pop this amazing brunello!
#17- 2018 Penfolds 389 Cabernet/Shiraz Blend $64.99
I feel like Penfolds is one of, if not the most underrated winery in the world. I could have picked 3-4 wines from this producer, that’s how good they are. I know they are known for Grange, but for the money 389 is my top choice. The Cabernet gives the wine shape and structure and the shiraz gives it a spice that makes it extremely interesting to drink.
#16- 2018 Pahlmeyer Jayson Chardonnay $46.99
I have been a huge fan of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay for years, but Jayson’s quality has started to catch up to the big brother. I was able to compare this to some “big gun” chardonnay and it showed extremely well. This is not your big “oaky/buttery chard” it’s Napa’s version of premier cru burgundy.
#15- 2020 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Vielles Vignes $39.99
Faiveley has been one of my favorite burgundy producers for many years and the Mercurey was the standout this year. Elegance and balance personified.
#14-2020 Vieux Télégraphe Châteauneuf Du Pape $99.99
I fell in love the moment I was able to drink this wine. The wine is young, but wow it did not disappoint…and it will only get better! I really feel like if Americans gave Chateauneuf a chance it might be one of the best-selling categories in the store. It’s an international style that anyone would love. Very limited supply.
#13- 2019 Animo 2018 Estate Napa Valley Cabernet (Atlas Peak)
I truly wish everyone who buys cabernet with us would buy this wine at least once. It’s silk. It’s one of the wines when you take in the nose…you know instantly it’s a mountain cab. This winery was recently sold, so there is a good chance Animo won’t exist (Under the same label) after 2- 3 more vintages, so grab and collect them while you can. Winemaker- Michael Mondavi, the icon.
#12- Justin Justification Red Blend (Cab Franc/Merlot) $49.99
This was one of the top Paso Robles wines I tasted this year. The Cab Franc is rich and dark-fruited with a great spice element. The Merlot is lush and clean and gives the wine a very smooth, long finish. Justin did an amazing job this year…both Cab and Isosceles are also excellent but Justification was the one that I wanted to sit on the couch and drink. We have this wine on sale at the store for the week. $39.99 on 4 bottles.
#11- 2020 William Selyem Sonoma County Pinot Noir $64.99
When Emily and I lived in upstate NY, Selyem had a small tasting room where they sent wines. Amazing right! Emily and I would go and enjoy them, BTG, before the prices got a bit higher. This 2020 brought me back to the wines I fell in love with so many years ago. If you are a Pinot Noir drinker…this is your sunshine.
#10- 2017 Keenan ‘Mernet’ Red Blend $99.99
Michael Keenan showed up with his “A” game this year. All the wines were amazing at the show, but for me, the Mernet was the show-stopper. A red blend with the perfect mix of intensity/balance. This is a wine you want that 2nd glass of because it keeps getting better as you’re enjoying it.
#9- 2020 Jaffelin Pouilly-Fuisse $29.99
Our salesperson John tasted us on the Jaffelin (Double Blind), and I picked this Pouilly-Fuissé as a Puligny Montrachet. When he told me the price, I nearly lost it. One of the absolute best values in Burgundy. Chardonnay how it was meant to be. Grab a couple of bottles for the holiday, and you will blow your company away, I promise.
#8- 2017 Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona Brunello $57.99
Sometimes in a tough vintage, a gem really stands out…and this is it. Ciacci Brunello is the best of the vintage, no question. The wine is just coming into its own with notes of cherry and tobacco. Grab a great steak and pop this one….because, in a few years, this wine will be over $100
#7- 2019 Peter Michael ‘Belle Cote’ Chardonnay $109.99
I could pretty much put Peter Michael on every top 20 list, until the end of time. They are consistently one of the best Chardonnay producers in the world. The Belle Cote is close to perfection, I mean it. It’s a new world in style (a little more Oak and butter then the RHYS) but with exceptional balance and acidity. If I had won the 2 billion…I’d be the new owner of Peter Michael winery.
#6- 2016 Heitz C-91 Napa Valley Cabernet $89.99
A perfect combination of story and wine. A single vineyard from the original Heitz planting that they only have made twice in 4 decades. The wine is a powerhouse cab with Beautiful blueberry notes with touches of chocolate. I love the story too… Search up Heitz C-91 and watch the video on Youtube of how they discovered and remade this amazing original Heitz wine. This wine needs some time (Cellar for now) Extremely limited. We sold out of this wine, but I was able to get a few more bottles.
#5- 2021 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc $27.99
Cliff Lede’s quality has gone up every year, but this is the best Sauv Blanc they have ever produced. Creamy and rich with amazing softness. Emily is a huge Sauv Blanc drinker (So I try them all the time), and this one stood up above the rest this year.
#4-2017 Hedges Estate Red Mountain Syrah $37.99
When Hedges winery walked in the door, I did not think I would ever be putting their wine in my top 20. I have always thought of Hedges as just a very solid “Everyday wine.” I was very wrong. This Syrah is from Red mountain, it’s grown biodynamically, and it’s rich, dark-fruited, earthy, and spicy. All for under $40. I strongly considered putting this wine #1 based on the price-to-quality ratio alone.
#3- 2017 Bruno Giacosa Barolo “Falletto ” $199.99
We used this Giacosa wine at our dinner at Tavalino, and it blew the whole room away. A monster wine that will get better and better with time. I typically tend toward Giacosa Barbaresco (They drink young), but this Barolo was very special. Notes of cherry, plum, and black licorice. Cellar for 2-3 more years. Extremely limited.
#2-2017 Garesio Nizza Barbera $27.99
A $27.99 wine that is complex and luxurious. This wine is drinkable now, perfect with food, and is the 1st Barbera since La Court that really made me think about how good Barbera can be. Notes of soft cherry and strawberries thruout. Only 550 cases were made!!!! Poetry in a bottle. Enjoy with a plate of pasta or a great charcuterie board. (Board Yum, of course) Very limited supply.
#1- 2016 Ladera Napa Valley Estate Cabernet $89.99
Without a doubt, one of the best values in cabernet in the US. As Napa wines get extremely expensive, Ladera makes a wine that could easily be $200 per bottle. The wine is bold and extremely well structured, it has notes of blueberry and cassis, and the finish seemingly goes on forever. If you love big, bold, in-your-face Napa Cabs….for 1/2 the price it should be, Ladera is your wine.