2022 Top Wine Picks

Raise Your Glass

A few of the Chattanooga area’s experts share their top choices for wine in 2022 – plus, tips on how to pair, pour, and savor flavor like a sommelier.

Laruen LaMacchia from Athens Distributing Company's Wine Picks for 2022

 

Lauren LaMacchia headshot

Lauren Lamacchia
Fine Wine Manager
Athens Distributing Company

Sparkling

1. Roederer Estate Brut 

Anderson Valley, California

Establishing itself as one of California’s premier sparklers, the Roederer Estate Brut builds on the 200-year-old winemaking tradition begun by their French counterpart, Champagne Louis Roederer – makers of the famed Cristal. This wine is crisp and elegant with complex pear, spice, and hazelnut flavors, and it’s fresh and lightly fruity with elegant bubbles that roll across your palate. This is a perfect bottle to pop open for a date night or celebrate a great achievement, but don’t forget that the Roederer Estate Brut is not just for toasting! It’s also wonderful for brunches, sushi, and my all-time favorite: fried chicken.

 

White

2. Gundlach Bundschu Dry Gewürztraminer 

Sonoma Coast, California 

“GunBun” for short, Gundlach Bundschu is California’s oldest continuously family-owned winery to date. All of their wines are exquisite, but their Gewürztraminer is one that stands out. Full-bodied and bone-dry, the bright finish offers lingering lemon-lime flavors, a hint of nuttiness, and classic varietal spice. Enjoy this wine with a wide array of foods, including anything with some spice, and don’t forget a bottle for Thanksgiving. This wine is a sure crowd-pleaser.

 

Red

3. Girard Artistry Red Blend

Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley-based Girard could easily have the motto “high-quality wines at affordable prices.” For over four decades, Girard has produced a red blend from their best barrel lots using the five primary Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. It is in the blending process of this wine that they feel “Artistry” finds its best representation. This wine is fresh and focused with aromas of red fruit on the nose, while blackberry, cherry, and notes of coffee on the palate lead to a long and velvety finish. This wine makes a great pairing for fattier cuts of meat, such as ribeye or braised short ribs. 

 

Rosé

4. Mont Gravet Rosé   

Languedoc, France

Mont Gravet Rosé is made from a grape called Cinsault that is sourced from Languedoc, which is located in Southern France. It is a wonderfully fresh and fruit-forward dry rosé with lovely aromas and notes of raspberry and blackberry on the nose and palate that will leave you wanting more after every sip. It is a wonderful “anytime” wine and a delicious aperitif. It’s a great pair with salads, fish, and even barbecue. This wine is affordable and delicious, which is my all-time favorite pairing. 

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Alison Matera at Riverside Wine & Spirits 2022 Wine Picks

 

Alison Matera headshot

Alison Matera, WSETdip
General Manager
Riverside Wine & Spirits

Sparkling

1. Castell de Sant Pau Cava Brut Nature, Méthode Traditionnelle NV

Penedès, Spain

This lovely, crisp, and refreshing bubbly is made in the trendy style of the most sought-after grower champagnes: with no dosage or added sugar (thus the “brut nature” nomenclature). It’s produced with Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo grapes from Cava DO (Catalonia-Penedès). A bright floral and yeasty nose opens to a soft and citrusy palate sporting notes of green apple, pie crust, and lemon zest.  It has a beautifully dry and balanced finish that has ample round richness thanks to a full 24 months on the lees. This is yet another example of why Cava is a favorite sparkling wine for budget-conscious wine lovers.

 

White

2. Exmuros Terre de Brézé Saumur Blanc 2019

Loire Valley, France

Terre de Brézé is a white wine revealing a beautiful pale yellow color with golden reflections. You’ll find a balanced nose bringing complexity around citrus fruits. On the palate, it is lively with pleasant length, exciting the taste buds with fresh stone fruit and flint flavors. This Chenin Blanc of noble origin captivated me from the first nose with a mineral bouquet – fine and elegant. Its aromas of quince jelly titillate the wet stone, and its long, juicy finish with lime blossom and fresh almond is a delight.

 

Red

3. Château Guiot Numa 2015

Costières de Nîmes, France

This is one of my favorite wineries in the Rhône. Here, you’ll find 95% Syrah and 5% Grenache from 50-plus-year-old vines. Double-sized barrels (500L) are used to lessen the oak impact, and only 20% new oak is used. The Syrah explodes with aromas of violets, dark blackberries, and cherries along with cocoa and smoky anise notes, which is backed up by the juicy, peppery Grenache. Whiffs of sun-dried thyme and eucalyptus accent intensely ripe cassis and mulberry in this glossy, concentrated wine. It’s luscious and fruit-forward yet nuanced by lingering veins of violet candy and bramble. Persistent but neatly integrated tannins frame the finish. It drinks beautifully already but should hold through 2025. 

 

Rosé

4. Manzone Vino Rosato 2020

Piemonte, Italy

Nebbiolo Rosato is from Piemonte in Northwest Italy. The local Nebbiolo grape is also used to make the famous reds Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo Rosato is dry, crisp, floral, and mineral. This wine is deep pink, and you’ll find classic Italian red berry flavors with delicate notes of spice, flower, and cherry. It’s impressively complex and silky on the palate, with a long and mouthwatering finish. Nebbiolo Rosato has a well-balanced acidity, making it very versatile for food pairing. This is an all-year-round rosé!

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Imbibe 2022 wine picks

 

Brian Leutwiler headshot

Brian Leutwiler
General Manager
Imbibe

Sparkling

1. Il Borro “Bolle di Borro” Brut Rosé IGT 2013

Tuscany, Italy

If, by fancy, you find yourself in the Italian city of Siena, and you are craving a fantastic bottle of sparkling rosé, head due east up to the high hills until you reach the beautiful town of Arezzo. There you will find the Il Borro estate, which is situated in the Chianti Colli Aretini region. This large wine-making estate had been abandoned years ago upon the death of its owner, but in 1993, the property – which includes a medieval village – was purchased by Ferruccio Ferragamo, who hails from one of Italy’s most famous fashion houses. All of the rundown vineyards were meticulously replanted, and the Bolle di Borro is their premium dry sparkling rosé, made following the same stringent rules as France’s Champagne region. Would we expect anything less than this classic rosé from Ferragamo?

 

White

2. Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin “Clos des Allées” Muscadet 2018

Loire Valley, France

This dry, beautifully crisp white gem from the Loire Valley is made from the local grape Melon de Bourgogne, which is renowned for having the ability to capture and express the minerality of the soil it grows in. But, to confuse any visiting outsiders, the locals call the grape Muscadet, which is short for the official name for the region: Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine. Here, the Luneau-Papin family produces stunning wines that follow organic and biodynamic principles and are part of the portfolio of the iconic natural wine importer Louis/Dressner. The wine is aged on the “lees,” the dead yeast cells that are responsible for starting the fermentation process. Sur lie aging imparts depth and complexity to the wine, and the slight sediment you will notice as you finish the bottle is an expected and welcome by-product.

 

Red

3. Paul Lato “Matinee” GSM 2018

Santa Barbara County, California

The 2018 Matinee consists of 54% Syrah, 42% Grenache, and 4% Mourvèdre and has stunning aromatic complexity. Explosive, dense layers of fruit married with nuances of saddle leather await the fortunate wine lover who happens upon this gem. Paul Lato graces the back label of each of his wines with his personal expression: “with love and gratitude.” With the small amount of wines he makes each vintage, the fortunate few consumers who get to taste one of Paul’s wines will have a keen appreciation for that phrase.

 

Rosé

4. Domaines Ott “BY.OTT” Rosé 2020

Côtes de Provence, France

The BY.OTT 2020 dry rosé is easily the finest moderately priced rosé that has crossed my desk in the last three years. No wonder, since it hails from the fabled home of dry pink wines – the magical Côtes de Provence in Southern France. What’s more, it is made by the iconic Provencal winery Domaines Ott. The renowned sense of elegance that shows forth from all the rosés this famous producer crafts is at once recognizable, followed by a surprising richness of depth and complexity. White peach, apricot, and mango are all present, but my favorite surprise was the subtle yet captivating essence of citrus zest (think orange peel), which lingered on my tongue for over a full minute. Allow yourself a quick trip to the magic that is Provence … without having to leave home.

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