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Top 10 wines of 2022

Having tasted thousands of wines spread across 20 competitions for this year’s Global Wine Masters, I have picked out a top 10 wines of 2022 – and one sparkling.

The following selection are based on my favourites from across the blind tasting series, with each wine representing the bottle I’d most like to take home from our range of competitions – and I’ve tried to limit myself to one sample per tasting.

Please read on to see the top 10; click here to read more about The Global Wine Masters, and scroll down to see the list of competitions planned for 2023 – which will include some new ones, such as The Global Sangiovese Masters and The Bordeaux Masters, both of which I’m very much looking forward to taking part in.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck, Vintage, 2014 – in magnum

  • Producer: Piper-Heidsieck
  • Blend: Pinot Noir 55%, Chardonnay 45%
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Dosage: Brut
  • Price Category: £50+
  • Approx UK Retail Price: £130
  • Medal: Gold

The Champagnes on the market today are varied and delicious, and 2022’s Masters for this indulgent and high-priced sector of the drinks market yielded more high scores than ever before, and particularly among the prestige cuvées. However, for price-to-quality-ratio reasons, I’ve selected a drop from the vintage category, and a magnum – because it’s the best format for fine fizz. Well done Piper-Heidsieck for crafting such a delicious Champagne, and for the equivalent of £65 per standard 75cl bottle.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Champagne Masters 2022:

Tasted from magnum, this 2014 expression from Champagne Piper-Heidsieck is magnificent. The large format enhances its fresh, smoky character, yielding a fizz loaded with the delicious flavours of roasted coffee bean, grilled hazelnut, orange peel and crisp apple, and a texture that manages to be both creamy as well as zesty and chalky. Delicious now but could certainly be kept for five years plus. 

Stoneleigh Icon Chardonnay, 2021

  • Producer: Stoneleigh
  • Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Grape varieties: 100% Chardonnay
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Approx. retail price: £40
  • Medal: Master

Such was the quality of entries in this year’s Global Chardonnay Masters, it’s really hard to pick out a sole wine from the competition. However, I’ve settled on this one for its complexity, depth and freshness, as well as striking label, and somewhat surprising source – Marlborough (while New Zealand is well known for crafting delicious Chardonnay, many of its top-scoring drops hail from Hawke’s Bay).

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Chardonnay Masters 2022:

Rivalling The Pioneer from Marisco Vineyards when it comes to top Chardonnay from Marlborough is this flagship expression from Stoneleigh – called Icon – which, it should be noted, gained a slightly higher overall score than the former wine, making it the best performer from this region in 2022 (if only just). What’s so appealing about the Icon is its combination of freshness and texture, with the wine exhibiting a touch of viscosity along with a tangy edge. Flavour-wise there’s cashew, peach and tangerine, toast, and vanilla, with a touch of grapefruit zest too.

Weingut Aigner, Gruner Veltliner Reserve Ried Frechau Elitar, 2019

  • Producer: Weingut Aigner
  • Region: Kremstal, Austria
  • Style: Dry
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Price: £20-£30
  • Medal: Gold

This Austrian white wine featured in our Autumn Tasting, in which it won over me and my fellow judges for its richness and balance, as well as suitability for sipping as the nights draw in.

Here’s my tasting note from The Autumn Tasting:

An ideal white for autumn, this is Gruner Veltliner on steroids, with masses of juicy peach and ripe pear fruit, orange blossom, even a touch honey, then a peppery edge on its warming, gently zesty finish. Intensely-flavoured and oily, this is a wonderfully indulgent form of refreshment.

Gatt Wines, High Eden Riesling, 2018

  • Producer: Gatt Wines
  • Region: Eden Valley, Australia
  • Style: Dry (5.51 g/l)
  • ABV: 12%
  • Price: £20-£30
  • Medal: Master

We weren’t short of wonderful Rieslings in this year’s Masters for this great grape, including fine samples from Germany and Austria, but for value and quality it was a drop from Australia that excited me the most. Made by Gatt Wines using Riesling from Eden Valley, it wowed for its toast and lime flavours, slightly viscous texture, and zesty, bitter, bright, bone-dry finish.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Riesling Masters 2022:

An intensely-flavoured Riesling, with notes of toast and a touch of TDN*, lime and lemon fruit, then tangerine and a hint of marmalade – this is deliciously complex. Texturally, there’s a lovely richness to the mouthfeel, but an amazing brightness too, with a bone-dry finish, featuring lingering zesty citrus characters and a touch of crushed chalk too.

* TDN stands for 1,1,6-Trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene – the compound in Riesling responsible for petrol-like aromas

Garrus, 2020

  • Producer: Chateau d’Esclans Domaines Sacha Lichine
  • Region: Provence, France
  • Grape varieties: 55% Grenache, 45% Vermentino
  • ABV: 14%
  • Approx. retail price: £150
  • Medal: Master

Whether it’s in a blind tasting or at the dinner table, Garrus has never failed to disappoint. Yes it’s expensive, particularly by rosé standards, but it’s so delicious, versatile, and easy to drink – somewhat dangerously so. If the price puts you off, its baby brother called Les Clans is made in a similar style – ie employing old-vine, barrel-fermented Grenache – and retails for less than £50. It just lacks the depth and finesse of Garrus.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Rosé Masters 2022:

When it comes to Garrus, the original is still the best. This was the first rosé to be made like a fine white Burgundy or Bordeaux blanc – fermented and aged in a mixture of new and used oak barrels to create a wine with a creamy taste and texture, and the potential to age and develop over time after bottling. It was also the brand that started the category of luxury rosés, as the first non-sparkling pink drink to retail for more than £100 a bottle. And it was the best-performer in the inaugural Global Rosé Masters, and has consistently been the highest-scorer in this competition. The appeal lies in its brilliantly-balanced mix of ripe fruit, fine oak, and freshness. One sip, and the wine gradually unfolds, revealing flavours of peach and pear, pomegranate and pink grapefruit, then orange zest mingling with creamy vanilla and toasted marshmallow. As for the feel of this rosé, there’s a slight richness to the wine, with an oily weight to it, but a bone dry, chalk and citrus finish, which ensures it still serves as a refreshing rosé. 

Marimar Estate La Masia Pinot Noir, 2018

  • Producer: Marimar Estate
  • Country: United States
  • Region: Russian River Valley
  • UK retail price: £44.99

I love the Chardonnays and Pinots from California’s Marimar Estate, where the wines are expertly made by Miguel Torres Snr’s daughter, Marimar, but it’s this Russian River red, called La Masia, that I rate the most.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Pinot Noir Masters:

A brilliant producer of fine Pinot Noirs from California, Marimar Estate – which is owned by famous Spanish wine leviathan Torres – has impressed us again, and this time with its La Masia expression, which uses grapes from the Russian River. Ripe, but far from heavy, there are flavours of chocolate and cherry, with some dried grass, tomato and toast, complemented by a medium-weight mouthfeel, and a dry, finely tannic finish to ensure you salivate, and desire another sip.

Chamlija, Django, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2019

  • Producer: Chamlija
  • Country: Turkey
  • Region: Strandja Mountains
  • ABV:  15%
  • UK retail price: £125

I always enjoy surprising wine lovers with the reds and whites from Turkey’s Chamlija, serving them blind to friends and colleagues and then asking for their views, which are always positive. Then I reveal the source to shock them, and show them the labels, which are also surprising. While Chamlija makes fantastic Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay, it was this Cabernet Sauvignon that featured in our Autumn Tasting this year, and scored brilliantly against an eclectic set of high-quality samples.

Here’s my tasting note from The Autumn Tasting:

Who would have thought Turkey’s Strandja Mountains would be the source of such fine Cabernet Sauvignon? But Chamlija have proved that this verdant, altitudinous part of the eastern Med to be ideal for Cab, exemplified so well in this Django expression, with its black fruit, spice, dark chocolate and fine-grained mouth-coating tannin.

Penfolds BIN 707, 2019

  • Producer: Penfolds
  • Region: McLaren Vale, Coonawarra, Barossa Valley, Padthaway
  • Country: Australia
  • Approx. UK retail price: £450

As we reached the end of a day’s tasting for this year’s Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters a sample passed our lips that set our pulses racing. It was this, an outstanding wine, blending Cabernets from fine, old vines from across Australia’s greatest regions.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters:

The top-scoring wine of the competition, this flagship pure Cabernet from Penfolds is an outstanding expression of the grape, and a beacon of brilliance from Australia. Hailing from the 2019 vintage, this is an early taste of a powerful, fine wine with a long life ahead of it, but that does not prevent it from being a delicious drop now. It starts with notes of fresh fruit, from dark cherry to fresh currants, followed by fleshy red, blue and black berries, before the flavours progress to notes of creamy vanilla, then cocoa powder, and coconut shavings, before the appealing characters gradually subside to leave a fine-sandy-textured finish – there are plenty of dry tannins to refresh the mouth. 

Church Road 1 Syrah, 2020

  • Producer: Church Road
  • Region: Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
  • Grape varieties: 100% Syrah
  • ABV: 14%
  • Approx. retail price: £60
  • Medal: Master

While we had so many wonderful wines from the Barossa in this year’s Global Syrah Masters, I’ve settled on this beautifully balanced, smooth and peppery red from Hawke’s Bay – a relatively new source of fine Syrahs, but certainly one that rivals the greatest places for this grape, be they based in the Northern Rhône or South Australia.

Here’s my tasting note from The Global Syrah Masters 2022:

This outstanding Syrah from the superb and historic Hawke’s Bay producer that is Church Road hails from its Redstone Vineyard – a prized, early-ripening site taking its name from the iron-rich volcanic ash that gives a rust-coloured staining to the stones of this former riverbed. The wine is a wonderful expression of fine Syrah in its youth, with plenty of potential to age and develop greater complexity in three to five years’ time. It’s crammed with fleshy plums and red berries, with a hint of cherry stone too, then notes of tapenade and white pepper, cedar and dark chocolate, as well as a touch of toast too. The fruit is pristine, and the wine’s structure wonderfully fine, with a chalky-textured tannin and a bright acidity, giving this juicy red a dry and fresh finish.

Lapostolle, Clos du Lican, 2019

  • Varieties: 100% Syrah
  • Region: Apalta, Chile
  • ABV: 15.5%
  • RRP: Approx £95

There were plenty of first-rate wines in this year’s Chile Masters – with the country’s great Cabernets tasting better than ever – but it was the Syrahs that really surprised me in 2022, and above all this new expression from Lapostolle. It was so delicious, I finished the sample later that day with dinner, and, I probably shouldn’t admit this, without any help from my wife (and that was despite its 15.5% ABV).

Here’s my tasting note from The Chile Masters 2022:

Joining the likes of Montes Folly and Pangea is this, the first release of the single-vineyard Clos du Lican from Lapostolle. Made from 18-year-old Syrah vines planted on the mountainsides of Apalta, this new entry to the icon Syrah scene is magnificent. The fruit is wonderful, but so is the structure – there’s plenty of tannin, but it’s fine and ripe, giving a creamy texture to the wine. While the Montes Folly is dominated by black fruit, this is all about red and blue berries, and is generally softer, and slightly sweeter. Complementing these traits is vanilla pod, caramel, and a touch of cracked black pepper. The only downside is a slighly spirity edge to the finish: there’s 15.5% ABV.

Remírez de Ganuza Reserva 2009

  • Producer: Bodegas Remírez de Ganuza
  • Grape varieties: 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Pieles de Viura Malvasia
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Approx. retail price: £95
  • Medal: Master

For a longtime I’ve been fan of great Reserva Rioja, and years of blind-tasting wines from this part of Spain has only strengthened my devotion for this somewhat unfashionable region, and style – that is, among fine wine lovers and collectors. But if you need to convert the discerning drinker who’s wedded to cru classé reds from France, then Remírez de Ganuza is the producer to do it, and especially when it comes to their remarkable Reservas.

Here’s my tasting note from The Rioja Masters 2022:

The best Reserva of 2022’s Rioja Masters, Bodegas Remírez de Ganuza is the one to beat. Now more than 10 years old, this outstanding wine is drinking beautifully now, with plenty of mature characters, from leather and sweet balsamic, along with stewed fruit, and even a note of berry compote. Complementing these flavours is a touch of cedar, dark chocolate and spice, as well as a lovely texture, that starts fleshy and finishes chewy and fresh. A great Rioja, and a fine wine that’s ready to drink. 

The Global Masters: the tastings taking place in 2023

After tasting thousands of wines in 2022, the Masters series returns bigger than ever. Four new competitions mean our expert judges will taste more top wines than ever before.

For more information contact Sophie Raichura +44 7772 019932 or visit for more information.

  • The Global Merlot Masters 2023 NEW 20 January February March 2023
  • The DB & SB Spring Tasting 2023 20 January February March 2023
  • The Prosecco Masters 2023 17 February March April 2023
  • The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2023 17 February March April 2023
  • The Champagne Masters 2023 24 February March The Champagne Report
  • The Bordeaux Masters 2023 NEW 24 February March The Bordeaux Report
  • The Global Organic and Vegan Wine Masters 2023 17 March April May 2023
  • The Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2023 17 March April May 2023
  • The Global Rosé Masters 2023 14 April May June 2023
  • The Global Sparkling Masters 2023 14 April May June 2023
  • The Global Syrah Masters 2023 19May June July 2023
  • The Global Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio Masters 2023 19 May June July 2023
  • The Global Fortified Masters 2023 NEW 23 May June August 2023
  • The Global Sangiovese Masters 2023 NEW 16 June July The Italy Report
  • The Beer and Cider Masters 2023 23 June July August 2023
  • The Global Malbec Masters 2023 21 July August September 2023
  • The Wine Travel Retail Masters 2023 28 July August September 2023
  • The DB & SB Autumn Tasting 2023 18 August September October 2023
  • The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2023 25 August September October 2023
  • The Rioja Masters 2023 25 August September The Spain Report
  • The Global Chardonnay Masters 2023 15 September October November 2023
  • The Global Grenache Masters 2023 22 September October November 2023
  • The Global Riesling Masters 2023 20 October November December 2023
  • The Low & No Alcohol Wine Masters 2023

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