Best Wine 2023: Year In Review

Best Wine 2023 Year In Review


It is that time of the year for me to share my list of the best wine 2023, my year in review. Besides the various in-person and Zoom tastings I attended here in Los Angeles this year, I traveled to North Carolina to discover the Yadkin Valley’s Surry County Wine Trail and The Crest of the Blue Ridge AVA. I ventured to New Brunswick, Canada, to discover the cool-climate wines influenced by the tides. My journeys always take me to the Central Coast to discover new wineries since the area is my favorite place within two hours of my home.

The wine is listed in categories. The wines chosen represent only those I sampled during the year. I wrote about most of them in one of my articles on the Written Palette or for another outlet. Others will be in an article that comes out in 2024.

Best Wine 2023 – Sparkling Wine

Y by Yoshiki Brut Champagne blending Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. I found an elegant, delicate Champagne with soft, tiny bubbles.

Y By Yoshiki Champagne
Y By Yoshiki Champagne

Mia Nipote: This label from the Lineage Collection of Steven Kent Winery leans in an Italian bent. The most unique is the Sparkling Barbera, created using méthode champenoise. One finds fresh, ripe fruit accentuating the flavors and aroma of this sparkling wine.

The Lineage Wine Collection Sparkling Barbera
The Lineage Wine Collection Sparkling Barbera

Best Wine 2023 Whites

Coquelicot Grüner Veltliner: This Grüner showcased light fragrant aromas and exhibited subtle hints of citrus on the palate. It delivered a fresh, crisp, and appealing wine.

Coquelicot Gruner Veltliner
Coquelicot Gruner Veltliner

Fontanavecchia Taburno Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2022. I found a well-integrated, fresh wine from Campania with aromas of tropical melons, stone fruit, and lemongrass. On the palette, I tasted the wine’s minerality and salinity.

Jefferson Vineyards Petit Manseng Virginia 2021: I found a bright wine with high acidity and lemony and zesty flavors. On the nose, aromas of honey and tropical fruit prevailed.

Jefferson Vineyards Petit Manseng
Jefferson Vineyards Petit Manseng

Robert Hall Cavern Select Chenin Blanc Shell Creek Vineyard: The grapes come from 60-year-old vines in the Paso Robles Highlands—the Chenin Blanc ages in concrete, stainless steel, and puncheons. I found a light wine with citrus flavors and hints of apple and pear.

Rancho Viñedo Doña Martina Chardonnay 2018:  I found a citrusy and savory Chardonnay with hints of apples, stone fruits, and lemon zest.

Refugio Rancho Malvasia Bianco: With its floral aromas of orange blossom, the wine displays stone fruit and citrus flavors.

Refugio Ranch Malvasia Bianca
Refugio Ranch Malvasia Bianca

Roblar Fume Blanc: I found a refreshing wine with apple, pear, and citrus flavors.

Buttonwood Sauvignon Blanc:  Aging in French oak and adding a smidgeon of Semillon brings out virtues of this variety. The wine exhibits a bright demeanor with hints of lemon and nice acidity.

Buttonwood sauvignon Blanc - Best Wine 2023
Buttonwood Sauvignon Blanc

Winegarden Estate L’ Acadie Blanc: This Ontario hybrid is known as the chardonnay of the Maritimes. L’Acadie Blanc displays light, fresh flavors of pineapple and pear.

Winegarden L' Acadie Blanc
Winegarden L’ Acadie Blanc

Best Wine 2023 Whites From North Carolina

Marked Tree Gruner Veltliner: This North Carolina winery’s Gruner has notes of stone fruit and apple.

Marked Tree Gruner Veltliner
Marked Tree Gruner Veltliner

Souther Williams Vineyard Gruner Veltliner: I found a citrusy wine with lovely lemon essence.

Souther Williams Gruner Veltliner
Souther Williams Gruner Veltliner

Jones Von Drehle Viognier 2022:  This North Carolina Viognier expresses subtle hints of honeysuckle.

Jones Von Drehle Petit Manseng 2021:  This North Carolina wine exhibits some viscosity and stone fruit flavors.

Round Peak La Petite Vendage 2022:  This North Carolina wine offers a crisp and fruity take on Vidal Blanc.

Round Peak La Petite Vendage
Round Peak La Petite Vendage

Best Wine 2023 – White Blends

Vega Vineyard & Farm Bianco White Wine Blend:  The wine combines Albariño, Marsanne, and Vermentino. I found a fragrant wine with flavors of pear and apple.

Vega Vineyard Bianco White Blend

Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Côte d’Orange 2022:  This Seyval and Frontenac Gris blend reveals strawberry flavors.

Best Wine 2023 – Rosé

Masciarelli Rosato IFT Colline Teatine DOC Linea Classica: This Rosé is produced from the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo grape. The wine delivers rose petals and strawberry aromas. The palate is citrusy, with a little spritz revealing delicate cherry flavors.

Masciarelli Rosata
Masciarelli Rosata

Vega Vineyards & Farms Rosato: This Rosé comprises a unique blend of Dolcetto, Barbera, and Vermentino. The grapes harvest when the Vermentino is ripe. I found wonderful flavors of red berries.

Vega Farm and Vineyard Rosato
Vega Farm and Vineyard Rosato

Saracina Rosé of Grenache 2022: I found wonderful floral aromas with hints of cherry greeting you. On the palate, the wine displays refreshing, crisp raspberry flavors.

Saracina Mendosino County Rosé
Saracina Mendosino County Rosé

Bells Up Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir: This Rosé gets its name from Franz Liszt’s “Symphonic Poem No. 3: Les Preludes”—an estate Rosé composed of various clones of Pinot Noir. I found a gorgeous colored and luscious Rosé with aromas of strawberry and savory flavors of strawberry and watermelon.

Bells Up Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir
Bells Up Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir

Notre Vue Rosé of GSM: This Sonoma County wine defines elegance in a glass. The wine is lovely, and the bottle is created from a special glass, adding elegance to the Rosé and creating a beautiful keepsake or vase with its chic design and quality.

Notre Vue Rosé of GSM
Notre Vue GSM Rosé

Jolo Winery and Vineyards: This wine represents North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley. Jolo Pink was the top winner of the American Fine Wine Rosé Competition in Florida. Combining Chambourcin, Vidal Blanc, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Traminette, Pink delivers a crisp, elegant, Provencal Rosé with flavors of strawberry and grapefruit.

Jolo Pink
Jolo Pink

Marked Tree Chloe: Another North Carolina Rosé but from the Crest of the Blue Ridge AVA. Chloe combines Cabernet Franc and Lemberger. The Cabernet Franc uses the Saignee method.  The Lemberger is blended in and fermented in oak barrels. I found a Rosé with fresh berries and savory dried herbs.

Marked Tree Chloe
Marked Tree Chloe

Best Wine 2023 Reds

Pinot Noir

Native9 2014, 2016, and 2018 Pinot Noir: Native9 Pinots are characterized by floral perfumes, and on the palate, they are distinguished by ripe red fruits accented by subtle spices.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Eleven Eleven X-I Cabernet Sauvignon 2020: This wine comprises 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% mix of Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. I found a balanced and softer Cabernet; red and dark fruits combine to produce a wine with an elegant, smooth texture.

Eleven Eleven XI Cabernet Sauvignon
Eleven Eleven XI Cabernet Sauvignon

Rancho Viñedo Cabernet Sauvignon 2018: With its smooth demeanor and nice balance, the wine displayed blue and black fruits and hints of savory spices.

Canada de Los Pinos Cabernet Sauvignon
Canada de Los Pinos Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Franc

Buttonwood Carbonic Cabernet 2020: The carbonic process produces a fresh, fruit-forward, low-tannin red wine. In this case, a fresh and bright wine with flavors I describe as boysenberry meets cranberry.

Buttonwood Winery Carbonique Cabernet Franc Best Wine 2023
Buttonwood Winery Carbonique Cabernet Franc

Jones Von Drehle Cabernet Franc 2017: This North Carolina wine reveals subtle nuances of raspberry and black pepper.

Grenache

Refugio Ranch Grenache: The grapes come from the youngest vines on the property and deliver fresh, fruity qualities.

Malbec

Domaine Bousquet Gaia Nouveau Malbec: This Argentine wine is created with carbonic macerations

Merlot

Jones Von Drehle Merlot 2017: This North Carolina wine is fruit-focused with black cherry and mocha.

Other Reds

Veritas Winery Petit Verdot: This Virginia wine combines Petit Verdot primarily with Merlot. On the first sip, the wine seemed big. As the wine airs, it softens, and the acidity comes through with floral aromas and hints of dark fruit. The wine is intense and concentrated, with blackberry and black currant flavors and hints of tobacco and baking spices.

Veritas Petit Verdot
Veritas Petit Verdot

Col D’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino Nastagio DOCG 2016: Nastagio represents a single vineyard Brunello and one of the newest additions to the portfolio. This young, high-density vineyard was planted in 2006. The wine represents a modern approach to Brunello winemaking. Aging the wine for one year in tonneaux imparts softer tannins, after which the wine transfers to a large botti, bringing out the elegant tertiary elements. I discovered a wine with depth, complexity, and excellent structure. Red fruits permeate this wine.

Col D’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG 2017: The wine exhibited fresh and fruity nuances and appeared young. I found cherry flavors that enhanced this elegant and drinkable wine that seems reliable and trustworthy for a traditional wine.

Col d'Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG
Col d’Orcia Brunello Di Montalcino DOCG

Refugio Ranch Ava Lu:  This wine combines Grenache, Grassiano, and Syrah from two estates. After barrel aging, the wine spends several months in concrete. This blend delivers a bright and fresh wine emphasizing red fruit.

Magnetic Hill Marquette 2021: This New Brunswick wine displays sweet and savory flavors because the wine uses the Appassimento style of drying the grapes, using dried grapes instead of fresh fruit.

Other Reds From North Carolina

Round Peak Nebbiolo 2013:  This North Carolina wine is subtle in its demeanor, which is why it is the winery’s signature wine.

Round Peak Nebbiolo
Round Peak Nebbiolo

Stony Knoll Master Exquisite Black Oak Stick Chambourcin 2019: This North Carolina wine came to fruition when they found an oak stave floating in the wine barrel. The flavor created a distinctive quality to the wine. Hence, the name Black Oak Stick became a series of wines.

Stony Knoll Vineyards Master Exquisite Black Oak Stick Chambourcin
Stony Knoll Vineyards Master Exquisite Black Oak Stick Chambourcin

Jolo Crimson Creek 2022:  This North Carolina wine showcases Chambourcin as balanced, vibrant, and bright. Think berry compote meets cranberry with a pinch of mocha and baking spice.

Jolo Vineyards Crimson Creek Chambourcin
Jolo Vineyards Crimson Creek Chambourcin

Shelton Vineyards Two Five Nine Tannat:  This North Carolina wine from the Yadkin Valley, is bold and balanced with dark fruit flavors and chocolate.

Best Wine 2023 – Red Blends

Kaena 2019 Hapa Red: a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Merlot and Sangiovese. This wine is best described as a cosmopolitan with flavors of blackberry.

Kaena Hapa Red
Kaena Hapa Red

Marked Tree Watershed: This North Carolina winery’s flagship wine combines Cabernet Franc and Lemberger to deliver a wine with lovely baking spices.

Marked Tree Watershed
Marked Tree Watershed

Souther Williams More Shenanigans:  The wine combines Cynthiana, Blaufrankish, Regent, and Cabernet Franc. As its title suggests, More Shenanigans is a fun wine offering aromas of tobacco and tart flavors of blackberry and bramble.

Best Wine 2023 – Dessert Wine

Artisan Uprising Moonlight Rising Apricot Brandy. Subtle hints of apricot are the essence of this yummy dessert wine.

Artisan Uprising Moonlight Rising Apricot Brandy
Artisan Uprising Moonlight Rising Apricot Brandy

Vinnie De Fruits Mistelle Honeyberry: I found a lovely fruit wine with flavors similar to blueberries.

Vinerie Des Fruits Mistelle Camerise
Vinerie Des Fruits Mistelle Camerise Honeyberry Mistelle

Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Blushing Goose 2023: This dessert wine utilizes gooseberries and offers a nice balance without being overly sweet.

Domaine Latitude 46 Estate Maple Wine: This non-vintage Maple Wine ages in oak and exhibits caramel and maple flavors.

Domaine Latitude 46 Dessert Wine Best Wine 2023
Domaine Latitude 46 Dessert Wine

Let’s raise our glasses and cheer, say goodbye to the best wine 2023, and welcome those we try in 2024. We are grateful for the new year with its optimism, excitement, and, in this case, new wine favorites. I look forward to sharing new wine discoveries for 2024.

Happy New Year!

As typical in the wine industry, most of the wines listed in this article were hosted wine samples. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.

4 Shares