Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/22/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included some more new releases from Minus Tide, the tiny operation run by three college friends in Mendocino County. While their Chardonnay was decent I got more excited about their crunchy Carignan and their two distinctly cool-climate Syrahs, which both sported lovely white pepper spice aromatics.

In addition to those wines, this week continued last week’s theme of “neighbors” as I worked through the remaining wines from Aperture Cellars and Acorn Winery, which basically sit across the road from each other south of Healdsburg.

From Acorn, I can recommend their reliably tasty Acorn Hill field blend of many different varieties and their Heritage Zinfandel, which itself is also a field blend, though Zinfandel dominant. Both wines express admirable honesty and demonstrate the magic of co-fermented field blends in terms of creating harmonious complexity in the glass.

From Aperture, I can recommend the soil-specific Chenin Blanc which, while not singing with varietal character, is extremely tasty, along with several Cabernet Sauvignons. The first is the winery’s less expensive “Soil Specific” Cabernet, which offers bright fruit and a lovely buoyancy of character. The two single-vineyard-designated Cabernets are a bit more serious and powerful and demonstrate why people enjoy winemaker Jesse Katz’s wines so much. These two Cabernets pull off the great trick of being both powerful and elegant, juicy and rich without being too much of either. They’re outstanding expressions of what Sonoma’s Alexander Valley can deliver in terms of quality, and world-class incarnations of Cabernet Sauvignon. I just wish they came in lighter bottles, which would suggest the winery cared more about the environment than a luxury image.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2020 Aperture “Soil Specific” Chenin Blanc, North Coast, California
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon peel and Asian pear. In the mouth, wonderfully bright lemon and pear, and grapefruit flavors are simultaneously ripe and racy, with an aromatic sweetness and a crackling, mouthwatering acidity. Very tasty. Made from vines planted in the 1940s. Barrel-fermented, then aged in 80% stainless, 20% neutral oak. 12.1% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $26. click to buy.

2019 Minus Tide “Manchester Ridge Vineyard” Chardonnay, Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino, California
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of vanilla and grapefruit pith. In the mouth, flavors of lemon peel, butterscotch, and grapefruit juice have a nice silky texture and good brightness thanks to decent acidity. There’s a tiny hint of toasted, woody bread on the finish. 13.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $42. click to buy.

2019 Minus Tide “Feliz Creek Vineyard” Carignan, Mendocino County, California
Dark hazy garnet in the glass, this wine smells of boysenberry pie and ripe blueberries. In the mouth, juicy flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, and black cherry have a faint powdery tannic texture and a hint of green herbs shot through them. Made in a glou-glou style for easy drinking with-a-chill, there’s a sour cherry note on the finish. Excellent acidity. 14.1% alcohol. Closed with a synthetic cork. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $32. click to buy.

2019 Minus Tide “Perli Vineyard” Syrah, Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino, California
A hazy dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blackberry, cassis, and white pepper. In the mouth, wonderfully spicy notes of white pepper mix with ripe and unripe blackberry, and notes of dried herbs. Faint powdery tannins gain stiffness as the wine heads to a long finish. I suspect this wine will blossom with some age. 13.6% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $39. click to buy.

2019 Minus Tide “Valenti Vineyard” Syrah, Mendocino Ridge, Mendocino, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of meaty black cherry and blackberry. In the mouth, smoked meats and dried flowers mix with blackberry and blueberry flavors that are shot through with green herbs. Decidedly savory and very aromatic with excellent acidity. On the lean side, but quite tasty. 13.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $39. click to buy.

2017 Acorn Winery “Alegría Vineyards – Acorn Hill” Red Blend, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry, cedar, dried flowers, and a touch of earth. In the mouth, flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and dried herbs have a nice fleecy tannic texture and good acidity. Easy-drinking and delicious. Shows the magic of the field blend, in this case a cofermentation of Sangiovese, Syrah, Viognier, Canaiolo, and Mammolo. 14.3% alcohol. 192 cases made Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $48. click to buy.

2018 Acorn Winery “Alegría Vineyards – Heritage Vines” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blackberry, black cherry, and licorice. In the mouth, juicy black cherry, blackberry, Worcestershire sauce, and licorice flavors have a leathery tannic texture to them and excellent acidity that keeps the mouth watering, as the wine finishes with notes of sweet blackberry pie. There’s a touch of heat in the finish as well, but not enough to really bother. While this is labeled Zinfandel, it is really a traditional mixed-backs field blend of 78% Zinfandel. 11% Alicante Bouschet, 9% Petite Sirah, and 2% of a bunch of other varieties (Carignan, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Syrah, Black Muscat Cinsault, and Grenache all planted together in 1890. The grapes are all harvested together and fermented together. 14.7% alcohol. 295 cases made. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/22/22

2019 Aperture “Soil Specific” Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry and blackberry fruit. In the mouth, extremely juicy cherry and blackberry flavors mix with a hint of cocoa powder and licorice. Faint, putty-like tannins stiffen through the finish and there’s a hint of plum skin that lingers in the finish as well with its characteristic sour tang. Quite tasty. Includes 3% Merlot and 1% Malbec, all aged for 18 months in 55% new French oak. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2018 Aperture “Oliver Ranch” Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, tobacco leaf, and cocoa powder. In the mouth, rich cherry fruit is shot through with meatier, savory notes and hints of dried herbs and flowers, while wrapped in a fleecy blanket of tannins. Cocoa powder, licorice, and tobacco linger in the finish. Excellent acidity. Aged 22 months in 80% new French oak. 14.5% alcohol. Comes in a much heavier bottle than needed, weighing 1.75 kg when full. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $150. click to buy.

2018 Aperture “Del Rio Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Inky garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, cassis, and cola. In the mouth, rich black cherry and cola flavors are juicy with acidity and backed by gauzy wispy tannins that powder the inside of the mouth. Both rich and powerful but also juicy and supple, this wine walks a deliciously fine line. Aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. 14.7% alcohol. Comes in a much heavier bottle than needed, weighing 1.75 kg when full. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $150. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/22/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/15/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included a few new releases from Aperture Cellars, the Sonoma-focused brand started by young winemaker Jesse Katz and his photographer father, Andy Katz (whose images I’ve featured regularly here on the site). The Sauvignon Blanc they sent through was incredibly intense and expressive and bound to impress anyone who’s looking for fruit in their Sauvignon Blanc, while at the same time keeping us acid freaks happy with its zippy crispness. We’ll come back to Aperture again below as we get into the big reds.

In the meantime, let’s spend a little time in the hammock with three tasty bottles of rosé. The first two are made by the same winery, Center of Effort located in Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County. COE, as they are sometimes known, is the reincarnation of Lawrence Vineyards, one of the first major vineyard sites to be planted in the region. The current owners, Bill and Cheryl Swanson, have basically made COE their retirement project, elevating it to new heights with a talented team, including winemaker Nathan Carlson. These two rosés are quite similar in style and expression. The estate wine, named “Effort” is slightly silkier and more refined, but the Fossil Point delivers wonderful bright, juicy crispness that will please the perennial pink drinker.

The third rosé on offer is the work of a tiny little project between three young college friends named Minus Tide. Recently begun, this little label is making some lovely, restrained wines that showcase fruit from Mendocino County. Their rosé of Carignan has a lovely sour-cherry tanginess that I really enjoyed. The trio also sent through their Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir, which was quite tasty, especially for anyone (like me) who enjoys some of Pinot Noir’s more secondary aromas that emerge with some time.

Perhaps on the opposite end of the Pinot spectrum, the latest release from EnRoute (part of the Far Niente family of brands) is all about primary, ripe fruit, bursting as it is with cherry and raspberry.

When people ask which wineries to visit near Healdsburg, I often send them to two wineries, right across the road from each other and as different as night and day.

Acorn Winery has been run for decades by husband and wife Bill and Betsy Nachbaur. They make reasonably priced, old-school field blends that have little adornment, and offer a winery and tasting room that exudes down-to-earth charm and hospitality. I tasted their Sangiovese (which is really a field blend) and their Axiom Syrah this week and can recommend both, especially the Syrah which will appeal to anyone who enjoys the more savory side of the grape.

Just across the road, lies the sleek, modern winery of Aperture Cellars, with gorgeous architecture, lighting, landscaping, and decorated with the stunning photographs of Andy Katz. In addition to the Sauvignon Blanc above, I tasted their Sonoma “Soil Specific” Red Wine this week, which is plush and juicy, as well as their pricier, allocated SJ Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2020 Aperture “Soil Specific” Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California
Light yellow-gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of lemon rind and cape gooseberries. In the mouth, intense passionfruit, citrus zest, and candied green apple flavors have a bright aromatic sweetness and excellent acidity. Quite intense and mouthwatering. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost : $40. click to buy.

2021 Center of Effort Rosé of Grenache, Edna Valley, Central Coast, California
Pale peachy pink in color, this wine smells of watermelon rind and unripe strawberries. In the mouth, juicy and bright watermelon and berry flavors are silky but also crisp and zingy thanks to excellent acidity. A quintessential example of a Grenache rosé. Which means: quite delicious. Made with 100% estate fruit. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2021 Fossil Point Rosé of Grenache, San Luis Obispo, Central Coast, California
Pale peachy pink in the glass, this wine smells of wet stones and watermelon rind. In the mouth, watermelon flesh and rind flavors mix with a bit of citrus peel and a hint of herbal bitterness that lingers in the finish along with citrus oil. Made by Center of Effort with fruit from friends and neighbors. 13.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $16. click to buy.

2021 Minus Tide “Feliz Creek Vineyard” Rosé of Carignan, Mendocino County, California
Light coppery pink in the glass, this wine smells of sour cherry and citrus peel. In the mouth, silky flavors of sour cherry and strawberry have a nice snappy brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity. Ripe cherry flavors linger in the finish. Pretty. 13% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $26. click to buy.

2019 Minus Tide “Manchester Ridge Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Mendocino Ridge, California
A faintly hazy medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of wet redwood bark, red apple skins, earth, and raspberries. In the mouth, raspberry and red apple skin flavors mix with cedar and dried flowers as gauzy tannins float wispily in the corners of the mouth. Excellent, orange peel acidity. Tastes fairly evolved, as if it got a lot of air before bottling. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $48. click to buy.

2019 EnRoute “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet cherry and raspberry jam. In the mouth, sweetish raspberry and cherry flavors have a silky texture and faint cotton-ball tannins that buff the edges of the mouth. Good acidity and length, just more on the riper side than I’d like, with just a hair too much oak influence, though it is relatively well integrated. Many will appreciate the richness of fruit, however. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2018 Acorn Winery “Alegría Vineyards” Sangiovese, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of earth and cherry and cocoa powder. In the mouth, cherry and cocoa powder mix with the sweetness of oak. Muscular tannins have a leathery grip and the wine finishes with a hint of wood. Good acidity. A field blend of 26 different clones of Sangiovese co-fermented with Canaiolo and Mammolo. 14.1% alcohol. 240 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $42. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/15/22

2018 Acorn Winery “Alegría Vineyards – Axiom” Syrah, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark garnet with purple highlights, this wine smells of wet metal, blackberry, and blueberries. In the mouth, flavors of iodine and rust mix with dark berries and deeper earth notes. Very savory and deep, with a faint note of incense. Brooding. Includes a small amount of Viognier. 14.2% alcohol. 310 cases produced. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2018 Aperture “SJ Ranch Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
An inky, opaque garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and cola. In the mouth, powdery tannins hang in a haze around a core of cherry cola fruit, tightening over time. Excellent acidity kicks in midway across the palate and flavors of cocoa powder and cola linger in the finish with a hint of salty black licorice. Ripe. Aged for 22 months in 90% new French oak. 14.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost : $150.

2019 Aperture “Soil Specific” Red Blend, Sonoma County, California
Opaque dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blueberries and black cherries. In the mouth, juicy boysenberry and black cherry flavors have a bright acidity and a very supple, velvety tannic backdrop. Fruit forward but not massively ripe, this is a lush expression of fruit, for those who are looking for such things. There’s just a tiny bit of heat in the finish. A blend of 40% Malbec, 32% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Aged for 18 months in 45% new French oak. 14.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost : $60. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/15/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 4/24/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a bunch of fun wines, starting with an unusual aged Riesling from California’s master of esoterica, Matthew Rorick at Forlorn Hope. I’ve described Rorick as the “crazy cat lady” of California winemakers, for his inability to pass up the opportunity to make a wine from the (often) obscure grapes he continues to come across. Riesling doesn’t qualify as an obscure grape, but Rorick chooses to age his in the barrel and bottle for a wee bit longer than most. This 2014 is his current release.

Speaking of white wines with a little age on them, I’ve also got a really lovely rendition of Grüner Veltliner from Santa Barbara pioneer Kathy Joseph at Fiddlehead Cellars. Joseph also has a habit of holding wines back and releasing them with a bit of age on them, which is true for this varietally-true Grüner, as well as the Pinot Noir I also tasted this week, which is named for the mile marker closest to her driveway in the Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara.

I’ve also got a final couple of wines from the group sent to me by Burgundy producer Maison Eduoard Delaunay, including their Chassagne-Montrachet bottling, as well as a Premiere Cru Pommard, both of which are worth seeking out if you’re in the habit of paying three-figure prices for bottles.

Lastly this week I’m excited to have gotten the chance to taste the 2018 Chianti releases from the venerable Barone Ricasoli, which are all excellent, but especially their single-site wines highlighting some exceptional vineyards with distinct soil profiles. Ricasoli can trace its history back to the 11th Century, making it the oldest winery in Italy and one of the oldest in the world. They are undisputed masters of the Chianti form, and these top bottlings are worth seeking out as delicious reminders that Chianti deserves just as much attention as the more expensive Tuscan wines nearby that get far more attention and acclaim.

Tasting Notes

2014 Forlorn Hope “Amerikanischen Kobold – Kick On Ranch” Riesling, Santa Barbara, California
Light greenish-gold in the glass with a faint haze to it, this wine smells of unripe apples and mandarine orange pith. In the mouth, candle wax, wintersweet blossom, lemon oil, and a hint of diesel have a wonderful silky complexion and a delicate, filigreed acidity that sneaks up on you a bit, eventually leaving a very wet slate minerality lingering in the finish along with a touch of musk. Very distinctive and interesting. 11.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $36. click to buy.

2016 Fiddlehead Cellars “Fiddlestix Vineyard” Grüner Veltliner, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
Pale greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of honey and chamomile flowers. In the mouth, chamomile, lemongrass, and honeysuckle flavors have a nice purity and classic character, while hints of pear skin and citrus linger in the finish. Excellent acidity and brightness. This is one of the more varietally correct renditions of Grüner I’ve had from California. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2018 Edouard Delaunay “Le Village” Chassagne-Montrachet, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Light greenish-gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon curd, butterscotch, and vanilla all layer together with a hint of citrus oil over the top of a nice wet-pavement minerality. Good acidity, but could be better. 13% alcohol. 2088 bottles made. Score: around 9. Cost: $105. click to buy.

2021 Troon Vineyard “Kubli Bench” Rosé, Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon, Oregon
A pale, faintly hazy peach color in the glass, this wine smells of watermelon rind and strawberries. In the mouth, silky flavors of berries, watermelon, and citrus peel have a nice crisp bite to them thanks to excellent acidity. There’s a faint creaminess to the wine, but that doesn’t keep it from being refreshing and bright. A blend of 55% Malbec, 35% Tinta Roriz, and 10% Cunoise all biodynamically grown and organic. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed and then ferment and age in neutral oak barrels. 11.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2018 Edouard Delaunay “Les Fremiers” Pommard Premier Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of flowers and forest berries. In the mouth, gauzy tannins wrap around a core of raspberry and violets with hints of fresh herbs and a touch of earth. Very pretty, with excellent acidity. 13.5% alcohol. 1481 bottles made. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $120. click to buy.

2015 Fiddlehead Cellars “Seven Twenty Eight – Fiddlestix Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
Medium ruby in the glass with a faint haze, this wine smells of raspberries and orange peel. In the mouth, juicy raspberry, red apple skin, citrus peel, and dried herb flavors have a nice bright juiciness thanks to excellent acidity. Faint wispy tannins stay mostly at the edges of perception, as bright raspberry and citrus peel notes linger in the finish. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $46. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 4/24/22

2018 Ricasoli “Castello di Brolio” Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of woodsmoke, soy sauce, red berries, and a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, leather, cherries, dried flowers, and red apple skin have a light leathery tannic texture and excellent acidity that leans towards citrus peel. A nice stony backdrop to the tasty fruit and herbs. 14% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $65. click to buy.

2018 Ricasoli “CeniPrimo Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio” Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of grilled meat and dried flowers and cherries. In the mouth, salty flavors of cherry and raspberry mix with dried herbs, dried flowers, and bacon. Powdery suede-like tannins coat the mouth. Grown in ancient Pliocene-Pliestocine fluvial soils. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $165. click to buy.

2018 Ricasoli “Roncicone Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio” Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of bacon fat and incense. In the mouth, faintly salty flavors of cherry, grilled pancetta, red miso, and dried flowers are bursting with acidity and have a lovely freshness. Hints of fresh herbs linger in the finish, along with that gorgeous saline character. Faint tannins. Quite delicious. Grown on ancient sandy Pliocene marine deposits. 14% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $78. click to buy.

2018 Ricasoli “Colledilà Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio” Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of cherry and strawberry fruit shot through with a hint of grilled meat. In the mouth, salty, extremely juicy flavors of citrus peel, cherry, raspberry, and dried herbs have an incredible citrus tang thanks to electric acidity that keeps the mouth watering along with the natural salinity of this wine. Outstanding. Faint tannins. Grown on higher-elevation calcareous clay loam sedimentary soils. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $75. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 4/24/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 4/17/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a couple more sparkling wines from Raventos i Blanc, the Penedes-based producer who left the Cava appellation behind to make site specific wines with indigenous grapes and never looked back. I’m particularly fond of their Textures de Pedra wine which is a you-might-not-notice-it’s-so-pale gris de gris wine made from darker skinned mutations of some local grapes as well as some red grapes. It’s got wonderful salinity and berry qualities that make it well worth the price.

I also tasted the latest orange wine from Troon Vineyard up in Oregon, which is a tasty, if unusual combination of Vermentino, Riesling, and Roussanne. Like many orange wines, it improves with some air.

I’ve got two more wines from Neely Wines, a tiny producer in the Santa Cruz Mountains. While I’ve reviewed their Bee Block Chardonnay, which was good, this week I’m featuring their “Special Selection” from that vineyard which is even better, in part because it offers a stronger perception of acidity. Their Pinot is nice too, especially if you’re looking for a more lean, savory interpretation of the grape.

Sticking with Pinot Noir for a moment, let’s look at a couple of wines from the Burgundy producer Maison Eduoard Delaunay, a relatively old name in Burgundy that was revived in 2017 when descendents were able to buy back their family domaine. They now make a wide portfolio of wines, including the Beaune Premier Cru and the Charmes-Chambertin I tasted this week. It’s hard not to love the Charmes in all its elegance and refinement, but that price tag…. Ouch. However if you’re in the habit of spending three-digits on bottles, this one won’t disappoint.

Lastly I received two new releases from Ashes and Diamonds in Napa, which employs two separate superstar winemakers to make different wines for them. The 2018 Cabernet Franc made by Steve Matthiasson is tight and savory and needs some time I think, but will reward those looking for the more herbal side of Cabernet Franc. The Mountain Cuvée, made with fruit sourced from the famed Bates Ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains is more approachable at this point in its evolution, and it will only get better over time.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2018 Raventos i Blanc “De La Finca” Cava Blend, Spain, Penedes
Light gold in the glass, with fine bubbles, this wine smells of lemon pith, lemon oil, and sea air. In the mouth, a soft mousse delivers flavors of crushed nuts, vanilla, Meyer lemon, and a hint of sourdough bread, all juicy bright with excellent acidity and a lovely saline note. This wine is a blend of Macabeu, Xarel·lo, and Parellada from various plots around the Raventos property, most of which feature calcareous soils studded with marine fossils. Fermented in steel and aged for 30 months on the lees with no additional dosage. 12% alcohol. Disgorged January 2022. Score: around 9. Cost: $39. click to buy.

2017 Raventos i Blanc “Textures de Pedra” Cava Blend, Spain, Penedes
A light bronze color in the glass with fine bubbles, this wine smells of raspberries, orange peel, and a touch of ocean breeze. In the mouth, wonderfully saline flavors of orange peel, lemon pith, honey roasted nuts, and vanilla mix with a lovely floral quality and that fantastic seawater saltiness. Technically this is a vin gris, made with all dark-skinned varieties – Xarel·lo Vermell, Bastard Negre, and Sumoll. 12% alcohol. Disgorged November 2021. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2021 Troon Vineyard “Kubli Bench Amber” White Blend, Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon
A cloudy dark gold in the glass with a hint of amber, this wine smells of wet leaves, citrus peel, and Asian pear. In the mouth, chalky flavors of orange peel, Asian pear, pear skin, peach, and sarsaparilla have a light grip to them and nice acidity. A blend of 50% Vermentino, 10% Roussanne, and 40% Riesling. Made with biodynamically grown organic grapes. 12.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2019 Neely “Bee Block Special Selection” Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of lemon and pomelo pith with a hint of white flowers. In the mouth, a nice stony citrus pith, lemon curd, and cold cream quality pervades, with excellent, filigreed acidity and a long finish. 13.1% alcohol. 98 cases made. Score: around 9. Cost: $55.

2019 Neely “Picnic Block” Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries, herbs, and a hint of something more vegetal. In the mouth, red berry flavors are shot through with dried herbs, earth, and a touch of peeled willow bark. Barely perceptible tannins. Good acidity. Definitely on the lean side of fruit. 12.2% alcohol. 127 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $45. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 4/17/22

2018 Edouard Delaunay “Les Grèves” Beaune Premier Cru, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of forest berries and wet earth. In the mouth, raspberry and even a little alpine strawberry flavor mixes with wet earth and sweet oak. Good acidity and the faintest of tannins. I wish the wood were not so present in the wine. 13.5% alcohol. 3240 bottles made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $85. click to buy.

2018 Edouard Delaunay Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Côte de Nuits, Burgundy, France
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and a touch of smoked meats along with fresh chopped herbs. In the mouth, wonderfully wispy tannins wrap like tendrils around a core of raspberry, herbs, dried violets, and a touch of forest floor. Lovely citrus peel notes emerge with the floral qualities in the finish. Very pretty. 14% alcohol. 1161 bottles made. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $350. click to buy.

2018 Ashes and Diamonds “No. 5” Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cocoa powder, green bell pepper, and cherry. In the mouth, bright cherry fruit mixes with green bell pepper and a hint of roasted nuts and cocoa along with chalky, mouth-coating tannins and very good acidity. Very savory in quality with just a hint of smoky allure. Will doubtless open up over the next 5 years. Contains 23.5% Merlot. Aged for 19 months in 30% new French oak. 13.4% alcohol. 950 cases made by winemaker Steve Matthiasson. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $75. click to buy.

2018 Ashes and Diamonds “Mountain Cuvée No. 4 – Bates Ranch Vineyard” Red Blend, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, dried flowers, and wet earth. In the mouth, gorgeous black cherry fruit mixes with a hint of black olive and violets. There’s a wonderful savory, saline quality to this wine with lovely licorice and floral notes that linger in the finish. Supple, fleecy tannins hang around the edges of the mouth, leaving the fruit to give its silky sweetness the spotlight. A very elegant wine, with excellent acidity and potential for longevity. A blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 18% Cabernet Franc from the Bates Ranch Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains aged for 19 months in a combination of American and French oak, 35% of which was new. 13.4% alcohol. 800 cases made by winemaker Diana Snowden Seysses. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $105. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 4/17/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/27/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included some truly excellent wines, and something that wasn’t quite a wine. Let’s start with that unorthodox little number by Kivelstadt Cellars in Sonoma. Owner Jordan Kivelstadt has been in the wine business for a long time, and like many during the pandemic, he found himself with some time on his hands. He started playing around under the moniker KC Labs, and given that one of his vineyards was part of a larger farm that also grew apples he thought, why not combine them? It makes a certain amount of wacky sense in a way, the bright acid-driven flavors of a just-ripe Gravenstien apple have more than a little in common with the flavors of Sauvignon Blanc. Combine the two and violá, you get Gravignon Blanc. It ain’t profound, but boy is it tasty and fun.

Kivelstadt wasn’t the only one using the pandemic as a time for experimentation. Arpad Molnar, his brother Peter, and their friend Michael Terrien run Obsidian Wine Company, formerly known as Obsidian Ridge, after their property in Lake County that contains extraordinary quantities of that volcanic glass. While their winery has become known for its excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Chardonnay from another property they have in Carneros, Arpad and Peter, along with their late father, are originally from Hungary, and have maintained an affinity for the wines and sensibilities of the “old country.”

When the pandemic came around, they decided to go down what they would later refer to as The Rabbit Hole. Basically, they just started playing around with some things they remembered from home, and handing them out to their wine club members for feedback. Some of the things they did were so popular, they’ve decided to make them available nationwide, including their version of what they used to call “farmer’s Champagne” back home. The pétillant naturel Pinot Noir they call Pezsgö (which means “sparkling” in Hungarian) is a good example of why there’s a big pét-nat craze right now. It’s bright, refreshing, and super fun.

Shifting gears a bit, and heading into top-tier Pinot Noir for a moment, I’ve got a number of 2020 releases from renowned producer Williams Selyem. These wines are a poignant reminder of the quality of a vintage “that could have been.” The year 2020 was, of course, a horrific fire year on the West Coast, and quite a few producers, from Napa, to Sonoma, to the Santa Cruz Mountains will have little or no wine to sell from that vintage, thanks to smoke taint. But as many commentators like myself have been pointing out, the vast majority of the producers on the North Coast value their reputations and customer relationships far too highly to release smoke-tainted wines. Those wines that do hit the market will invariably be just fine, having been double and even triple checked by their makers before bottling. In the case of their Sonoma County, Central Coast, and Russian River bottlings, Williams Selyem’s wines are more than just fine, they’re fantastic. Along with these regional bottlings, I also tasted a bottle of their Westside Road Neighbors Pinot, which is often one of my favorites each vintage. The 2020 did not disappoint. In addition to these Pinots, I also tasted their Fanucci-Wood Road Vineyard Zinfandel, which offers a lot of fruit for those who are looking for that sort of thing.

Lastly, continuing a theme from previous weeks, I’ve got some lovely old-vine Gamay from some producers in the Beaujolais village of Moulin-á-Vent. All those wines are worth seeking out for their blood-orange, boysenberry and herb goodness, but I think my favorite this week was actually the least expensive of the four, the really nice bottling from Château Bonnet.

I’ve also got one more wine review tucked in there this week, a fine little Malbec blend done in an old-school style from the young Eduardo Imberti in Mendoza, Argentina. He’s a friend of a friend, and his wines aren’t available in the US at the moment, but he’s looking for an importer. He only makes a few hundred cases of wine, and doesn’t even seem to have a web site, but I enjoyed this bottle he sent me. I can put you in touch if you’re an importer who’s interested.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

NV Kivelstadt Cellars “KC Labs – Gravignon Blanc” Cider, California
Pale yellow gold in the glass, this… wine?…cider?… Wine-cider? smells of baked apples and lemon pith. In the mouth, bright appley lemon flavors have a nice bright snap to them thanks to very good acidity. There’s not much complexity here, but the flavors are quite tasty. Would make a hell of a spritzer with some bubbly water added, but I’d be quite content to drink this on its own, well-chilled. It’s Fun! A blend of organic Gravenstein apple juice and organically farmed Sauvignon Blanc, co-fermented in neutral French oak. 10% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $27. click to buy.

2021 Obsidian Wine Company “Pezsgö” Pet-Nat of Pinot Noir, Carneros Napa, California
A light, hazy ruby in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of cherry and raspberries and a touch of orange peel. In the mouth, a fairly robust mousse fills the mouth and delivers bright cherry and sour cherry flavors along with hints of raspberries. Bright and cheery, and quite tasty, with a hint of citrus peel in the finish. This wine is a pet-nat of Pinot Noir that was bottled before fermentation completed, allowing the finish of fermentation to naturally carbonate the wine. 12% alcohol. 750 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $36. click to buy.

2020 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, California
A medium, slightly hazy garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and raspberry pastilles. In the mouth, faintly candied flavors of raspberry and cranberry are bright and juicy and shot through with orange zest and hints of flowers. Juicy, boisterous, and bright, this is a hard wine not to love. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $75. click to buy.

2020 Williams Selyem “Central Coast” Pinot Noir, San Benito County, Central Coast, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blueberries and black raspberries. In the mouth, juicy and bright black raspberry and blueberry flavors are zippy thanks to excellent acidity. Faint tannins are barely perceptible in the background, as notes of flowers and citrus peel linger in the finish. Quite pretty. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $75. click to buy.

2020 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries, cherry, and citrus peel. In the mouth, wonderfully bright and juicy flavors of raspberry and citrus peel, and sour cherry are positively mouthwatering thanks to excellent acidity. Faint, gauzy tannins stiffen a little through the finish, as flavors of flowers and citrus peel linger. Excellent. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $90. click to buy.

2020 Williams Selyem “Westside Road Neighbors” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, wonderfully bright flavors of raspberry, dried flowers, citrus peel, and blood orange have a fantastic zip thanks to excellent acidity, along with a gauzy tannic texture that adds depth to the wine. Notes of dried herbs and citrus peel linger in the finish. Excellent. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $125. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/27/22

2019 Domaine Paul Janin et Fils “Héritage” Moulin-á-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of rich cherry and mulberry fruit. In the mouth, wonderful boysenberry and dried herb flavors are shot through with hints of citrus peel and dried flowers. Smooth, and with a stony underbelly, this wine is quite delicious. Made from 100-year-old Gamay vines in organic conversion. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2019 Château Bonnet “Vieilles Vignes” Moulin-á-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and boysenberries. In the mouth, blood orange and boysenberry flavors have a nice citrus brightness to them as well as an earthy backdrop that adds complexity. Very faint tannins. Very good acidity. Made from 60-year-old Gamay vines in organic conversion. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2019 Domaine Richard Rottiers Moulin-á-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Light to medium garnet in the glass headed towards ruby, this wine smells of cherry and orange peels. In the mouth, cherry, blood orange, and dried flowers have a nice leathery tannic texture to them. Excellent acidity. 50-year-old Gamay vines. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $26. click to buy.

2019 Thibault Liger-Belair “Les Vieilles Vignes” Moulin-á-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of horse manure and dried herbs. In the mouth, flavors of blood orange mix with boysenberry, barnyard, and dried herbs. A hint of citrus peel lingers in the finish along with the scent of potting soil. Lightly muscular tannins. Made from 85-year-old Gamay vines. Organically farmed. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $34. click to buy.

2020 Eduardo Imberti Red Blend, Mendoza, Argentina
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blueberries, licorice, and black cherry. In the mouth, black cherry and blackberry flavors are shot through with a lovely wet earth quality. Excellent acidity, and a citrusy note lingering in the finish. Savory and a little brooding, the wine has a nice honesty to it. A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, and Cabernet Franc, each fermented separately before blending. 13.1% alcohol. 4000 bottles made. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Not currently exported, looking for a US Importer.

2020 Williams Selyem “Fanucci-Wood Road Vineyard” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark purple in the glass, this wine smells of ripe blackberry pie and flowers. In the mouth, sweetish flavors of blackberries, blueberries, and a touch of cocoa powder have a nice bright juiciness to them thanks to excellent acidity. Notes of licorice and ripe blackberry linger in the finish with just a hint of oak. A little rich and ripe for my taste. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $100. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/27/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/20/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included a bunch of really excellent wines, some of them quite special. We can start off with the labor of love that is the estate of Mas de Serral, an ancient farm in the Penedes region of Spain that Pepe Raventos has been rehabilitating for several decades. This roughly 4.75-acre vineyard is studded with 16-million-year-old sea fossils and has only been worked with a horse. Raventos decided to make a single wine from the site, and age it for an impressive 100 months on the lees. The 2010 vintage I was sent is the current release of the wine, which demonstrates the power and longevity of the grapes that are better known for their role in cheap and cheerful Cava wines. Mas de Serral is quite the opposite, serious and contemplation-worthy.

Sticking with Raventos for a moment more, another of this family’s ambitious projects is the rehabilitation of the Can Sumoi property, high in the hills of Penedes. This ancient farm has a history of growing grapes going back to 1645, and is now the site of an organically farmed, low-intervention wine project that has been turning out some very impressive wines. I got the very latest (read: you might find their previous release still in stores) of their wines, and they’re all great. I’ve had the appropriately named Perfum white blend and their tasty blend of Sumoll and Garnatxa (which is just so much cooler in Catalan than in Spanish, no?) before. These latest vintages are great, too. But the real star of their recent releases is their rosé, which is a snappy and delicious mouthful but with some interesting personality that makes it quite intriguing. While these may be “natural” wines, they are all clean and bright and quite delicious, and I highly recommend them, especially because they’re relatively great values.

I’ve now clearly become a target for the folks in Moulin-à-Vent, who keep sending me wine. Not that I’m complaining about having to taste generally very good bottles of Gamay on a regular basis, mind you. I opened three bottles this week, one of which was sadly quite corked. But the remaining two were delicious, and coincidentally from the same single-vineyard site. I favored slightly the Domaine Merlin bottling, which had a cleaner brightness to it, the Maison Le Nid demonstrating a bit more obvious oak influence and a slightly riper character. Both, though are very tasty.

Let’s jump over to Italy now and spend some time with some young and accessible Nebbiolos. I opened a few Langhe Nebbiolos this week, my favorite of which was the ethereal and delicate Perbacco bottling from the venerable Vietti. Amazingly accessible in its youth, what this wine lacks in structure it more than makes up for in juicy exuberance. Both the Picotener from Enrico Serafino and the Martinenga from Marchesi di Gresy are more structured, tightly wound interpretations of Nebbiolo that are drinkable now, but will reward some more cellaring.

Sticking with Nebbiolo but heading west from Piedmont to the high-altitude valley of Valtellina, the Tenuta Scerscé Rosso di Valtellina from Cristina Scarpellini is a beautiful expression of mountain Nebbiolo, and has that alpine crunchiness that comes with an alcohol level of a mere 12%. Scarpellini is a relative newcomer to the region, having established her winery in 2008, but her wines are tremendous.

Lastly, I’ve got a bottle of proprietary red wine from Gamble Family Vineyards they call Paramount. The blend of Paramount changes a bit every year, as Tom Gamble and his winemaker Jim Close select parcels of fruit from the roughly 175 acres that Gamble farms sustainably across the Napa Valley. The 2018 vintage is a beautiful blend of the primary Bordeaux varieties, and shows great restraint both in ripeness and oak usage, making it very appealing from my perspective.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2010 Mas Del Serral (Pepe Raventos) Cava Blend, Penedes, Spain
A light to medium bronze-gold in the glass with medium bubbles, this wine smells of butterscotch and pears. In the mouth, a velvety, but fading mousse delivers flavors of baked apple, citrus peel, and a hint of wet chalkboard. The finish is pithy with a hint of dried herbs. Good acidity and a nice savory complexion. This 4.75-acre vineyard was planted in 1954 and features deeply fossilized calcareous marl soils. It is a field blend of Xarel-lo and Bastard Negre. Disgorged in September 2021. 12.5% alcohol. Only 2047 bottles made. The wire cage and cork are wax-dipped, which is horribly annoying. I actually sliced my thumb open with my wine knife trying to get the damn stuff off. Grrrrrrr. Score: around 9. Cost: $160. click to buy.

2021 Can Sumoi “Perfum” White Blend, Penedes, Spain
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, green melon, and green apples. In the mouth, green apple, lime flower, and citrus pith notes have a wonderful tangy brightness thanks to excellent acidity and are backed by the faint texture of wet stone. Crisp and delicious and deeply mineral. Made without added sulfites. A blend of 50% Moscatel, 30% Macabeo and 20% Parellada. 11.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2021 Can Sumoi “La Rosa” Rosé, Penedes, Spain
Palest baby-pink in the glass with a hint of peach, this wine smells of watermelon rind and unripe berries. In the mouth, crisp and bright flavors of watermelon and watermelon rind, hibiscus, and a few light floral tones are fantastically mouthwatering thanks to excellent acidity, and after a very stony quality to the wine, there’s just a tiny hint of creaminess in the finish. Outstanding. A blend of 50% of the red grape Sumoll, and 30% of Parellada, and 20% Xarel-lo, both of which are white grapes. Made without added sulfites. 11.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2019 Can Sumoi “Sumoll Garnatxa” Red Blend, Penedes, Spain
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of boysenberries and dried flowers. In the mouth, wonderfully juicy boysenberry and huckleberry flavors are shot through with floral notes. Ethereal, barely perceptible tannins brush the edges of the palate, and excellent acidity keeps the fruit fresh and lively across the palate. Very pretty. A blend of the indigenous Sumoll red grape and Grenache. 13% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $22. click to buy.

2019 Domaine Merlin “La Rochelle” Moulin-á-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of faintly meaty mulberries and cherries. In the mouth, faint, gauzy tannins wrap around a core of berry fruit shot through with dashi, for a delicious umami character. Good acidity and a faint saline character make this very drinkable. The La Rochelle vineyard was planted in 1937 and is worked exclusively with horses. This wine’s alcohol percentage was unreadable on the label and the producer’s website was not forthcoming. Score: around 9. Cost: $30.

2019 Maison Le Nid “La Rochelle” Moulin-á-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Medium to dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of crushed stone and cherry fruit. In the mouth, deeply stony cherry and mulberry fruit have a suede-like tannic texture and a remarkable citrus peel brightness that lingers in the finish, puckering the cheeks. There’s a lot to like about this wine, but it has an emerging, overt wood influence that can, unfortunately, be tasted in the back of the mouth. I think it will improve with time. The La Rochelle vineyard is planted with 75-year-old vines. 14% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/20/22

2019 Tenuta Scerscé “Nettare” Nebbiolo, Rosso di Valtellina, Lombardy, Italy
Pale ruby in the glass with orange highlights, I’ve seen some rosés darker than this. The wine smells of struck match, orange peel, and strawberry jam. In the mouth, fantastic acidity keeps things quite fresh, as flavors of strawberry and herbs mix with citrus peel and red apple skin. Lovely, and delicious. This wine is grown in ancient stone-walled terraces at roughly 1300 feet above sea level. It is hand-harvested and aged in concrete tanks. A mere 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2019 Vietti “Perbacco” Nebbiolo, Langhe, Piedmont, Italy
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of bright strawberry jam. In the mouth, flavors of strawberry, dried flowers, and dried herbs are wrapped a light flannel blanket of tannins. Excellent acidity and beautiful freshness. Not profound, but beautifully pleasurable with incredibly restrained tannins. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $29. click to buy.

2018 Enrico Serafino “Picotener” Nebbiolo, Langhe, Piedmont, Italy
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of cedar and juniper layered over red fruit. In the mouth, muscular tannins wrap around a core of orange peel, strawberry, and cedarwood. Good acidity and some fairly serious grip. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2019 Marchesi di Gresy “Martinenga” Nebbiolo, Langhe, Piedmont, Italy
Light ruby in color, this wine smells of struck match and strawberry pastilles. In the mouth, tangy sour cherry and strawberry flavors are wrapped in a muscular skein of tannins that flex as the wine finishes with hints of woodsmoke and dried citrus peel. No shrinking violet, this wine has its share of brawn. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $27. click to buy.

2018 Gamble Family Vineyard “Paramount” Bordeaux Blend, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match, black cherry, and cola. In the mouth, black cherry, cola, plum, and a touch of smoked meat flavors have a nice brightness to them and a merciful lack of obvious wood flavor. Excellent acidity. A blend of 33% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and 4% Petit Verdot. 707 cases produced. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $90. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/20/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/6/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included a couple of wines from Neely Wine, a small, family-run outfit that is following in the great tradition of Stanford faculty running wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation of California. The winery owns and farms the Spring Ridge Vineyard, which begins in Portola Valley and heads up the eastern flanks of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Both their Chardonnay and their Pinot Noir have a nice lean vivacity to them and show great restraint in winemaking, highlighting the fruit rather than the barrel.

The rest of this week’s wines are something of a comparison panel, of sorts, engineered by the folks at Wines of Chile, who decided to send me six Cabernet Sauvignons, three from the Colchagua Valley and three from the Maipo Valley.

As a result, we have to do a little geographical explication.

The Maipo Valley is the closest major wine region to Chile’s capital, Santiago, right in the middle of the country, that proximity having made it one of the first wine regions to be planted in the country. Maipo tends to be warm and dry, and the vineyards are mostly set into the foothills of the Andes Mountains, which provide a little cooling elevation and are responsible for the alluvial gravel that led early French viticulturalists to suggest to the recently independent Chileans that they should plant the Bordeaux varieties.

The southern border of the Maipo Valley is formed by another (much larger) East-West valley known as the Rapel Valley. The Rapel is split into two separate wine regions, and the southern portion is known as the Colchagua valley. The slightly lower elevations of this valley, higher annual rainfall (than Maipo), and its fertile soils have meant this region has long been some of Chile’s best agricultural land. But Colchagua possesses very similar soils to Maipo, thanks again to the ever-present Andes, and the seemingly infinite number of rivers that run down out of the Cordillera. Given its previous focus on traditional agriculture, Colchagua is a relatively newer wine region, with fewer big names than Maipo.

It’s interesting that the Chileans sent wines from these two regions as a compare-and-contrast, as they’re actually quite similar in the broadest terms, not unlike asking someone to compare and contrast Oakville and St. Helena in Napa. It’s tough to generalize (or alternatively extrapolate) much difference from just a few wines. It might be much easier to compare the individual sites of each vineyard than it would be to compare the two valleys.

But, strictly speaking about the six wines below, I found the wines from Colchagua to exhibit slightly more herbal, savory tones, while the Maipo wines tasted slightly riper and fruitier. Across the six, I enjoyed the Echeverria and the Torres wines just slightly more than their compatriots, though all were pretty tasty, with some being excellent values.

I must note with some prejudice that the Echeverria wine comes in an offensively heavy bottle, one of the most egregious I have experienced in some time. The glass itself weighs more than a kilogram, a ridiculously ostentatious statement that clearly suggests the winery cares more about its branding than the environment.

That’s all for this week!

Tasting Notes

2019 Neely “Bee Block” Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of lemon pith and white flowers. In the mouth, lemon curd and lemon pith have a very nice snap to them thanks to good acidity and faint hints of tropical fruits like papaya and mango lingering in the finish. 13.3% alcohol. 595 cases made. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $46. click to buy.

2019 Neely “Hidden Block” Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry and raspberry fruit. In the mouth, bright redcurrant and raspberry flavors have a hint of pomegranate and a green and dried herb savoriness that is appealing. There’s even a slight saline quality to the finish. 12.5% alcohol. 254 cases made. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2018 Terranoble “Gran Reserva” Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of faintly smoky earth and red fruits. In the mouth, juicy cherry and herb flavors mix with a hint of licorice and dried flowers. There’s a faint saline quality to the wine. Also faint tannins. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2016 Echeverria “Limited Edition” Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and tobacco leaf. In the mouth, the wine has a stony purity to it, with cherry and tobacco notes mixing with cola and a nice earthiness. Excellent acidity and very fine-grained tannins. 14% alcohol. Comes in a stupidly heavy bottle weighing 1.86kg when full. One of the worst I’ve seen. Score: around 9. Cost: $26. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/6/22

2018 Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cut grass and bright cherry fruit. In the mouth, cherry, green herbs, and a hint of green bell pepper mix underneath a gauzy haze of tannins. Good acidity. Certified sustainable. 14% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $17. click to buy.

2017 Viña Aquitania “Lazuli” Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and a hint of black olive. In the mouth, that fruity-and-savory quality continues with cherry, black olive, herbs, and a hint of tobacco wrapped in a gauzy haze of tannins. Good acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2018 Los Vascos “Cromas – Gran Reserva” Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of slightly smoky green herbs and red fruit. In the mouth, cherry and green herbs mix with dried sage and a touch of licorice root. Good acidity, very faint tannins, and a touch of heat in the finish. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2018 Miguel Torres “Reserva Especial Cordillera de los Andes – Parcela Coluvión” Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, Chile
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match, black cherries, and cola with just a hint of fresh green herbs. In the mouth, cherry cola flavors mix with a touch of cinnamon and cocoa powder. Quite pretty. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $23. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 3/6/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/27/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included a few wines that qualify as excellent values, starting with the Stemmari Grillo from Sicily, which is a nice, lemony expression of the grape and an excellent buy at $11 a pop.

That’s all for white wines this week. Ready for the reds?

The folks at Château du Moulin-à-Vent have been sending me a bunch of wines lately, and this most recent wine is one of their small parcel selections. The Les Vérillats vineyard is about 10 acres in size and features very shallow sandy soils. The vines are between 50 and 65 years old, and they have yielded some wonderfully savory, mineral-inflected Gamay. This wine is tasty now but it will be superb in a few years, I think.

Some folks in Chile wanted to send me a bunch of Cabernets but a Carmenere also slipped into the box by pure accident. That’s a bit ironic, given how for decades the Chileans thought Carmenere was actually just finicky Merlot. I guess it’s always slipping in without people noticing. The Gran Reserva from Terranoble is a pretty serious and substantial wine that will satisfy a lot of red wine lovers, and for the price tag of $20, it’s a steal.

Alice Sutro‘s wines from her family’s Alexander Valley estate are always reliably good. I received two recent releases this week, and of the two the Cabernet is my favorite, but it will benefit from a few years in the bottle if you have the patience.

Duckhorn‘s 40th anniversary Howell Mountain Cabernet also showed up this week, and as one might have expected, it offered powerful, polished confidence in the glass, though with a surfeit of oak from my perspective. Nonetheless, it’s a well-made wine that will satisfy many.

Much more in tune with my sensibilities was the 2018 from Smith-Madrone, made by the Smith brothers high on Spring Mountain. Mountain fruit, high acidity, and a restrained old-school character mean this wine is built for the long haul. And returning to the value conversation, at only $60 it’s a relative steal in a valley where the average price seems to be three digits these days.

Lastly, I got a couple of really outstanding Syrahs from Andrew Latta in Washington State. Latta got his start as a globe-trotting sommelier but kept finding that he was most excited about the Washington state wines he was putting on his list. So he jumped ship, so to speak, and put down roots, buying fruit to make his first wines in 2011, and gradually ratcheting up production every year since. Latta takes a very traditional approach to his winemaking, using natural yeasts and aging for a long time in mostly neutral, large barrels, letting the vineyard sites and the grapes do the talking, and they don’t speak so much as sing. The two Syrahs he sent are complex and stony and wonderfully restrained while at the same time being powerful and expressive. I highly recommend them.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy.

Tasting Notes

2019 Stemmari Grillo, Sicily, Italy
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of golden apples and choux cream. In the mouth, lemon curd and vanilla custard have hints of apple and butter to them, along with a faint aromatic sweetness. Decent acidity but could be brighter. There’s just the barest hint of a little salinity. 13% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $11. click to buy.

2019 Château du Moulin-à-Vent “Les Vérillats” Gamay, Moulin-à-Vent, Beaujolias, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of mulberry and boysenberry fruit. In the mouth, the wine has a quite stony quality, with the fruit leaning decidedly savory, as boysenberry and strawberry flavors mix with earth and pavement. Faint herbal and dried floral notes linger in the finish. Faint, gauzy tannins that gain more muscle through the finish. Excellent acidity. Quite tasty, but I’d guess this wine will blossom with some time in the bottle. 65-year-old vines in organic conversion.13% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2018 Terranoble “Gran Reserva” Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match, plum, and cherry. In the mouth, bright plum and cherry fruit are backed by a hint of cedar and powdery, fine-grained tannins. Excellent acidity keeps things quite fresh in the mouth as notes of herbs linger with the fruit. Refined and poised. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2019 Sutro “Warnecke Ranch” Merlot, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of plum and black cherry. In the mouth, hints of cedar and orange peel mix with plum and plum skin flavors under a fleecy blanket of tannins. There’s a crushed nut quality too, that lingers with the grip of the tannins in the finish. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2019 Sutro “Warnecke Ranch” Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and cassis. In the mouth, black cherry fruit is juicy and bright with excellent acidity even as it is wrapped in a stiff muscular skein of tannins that grip the palate firmly. Well-integrated wood shows up as the faintest aroma in the finish. Refined and powerful, this wine needs a few years in the bottle to fully express itself. 15% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $64. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/27/22

2017 Duckhorn “40th Harvest” Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa, California
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and cola nut and cocoa powder. In the mouth, flavors of black cherry and oak swirl under a felt-like blanket of tannins. The wood stands out in the finish, slightly parching the mouth. Good acidity, just a bit too much oak for my taste. 14.5% alcohol. 2000 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $105. click to buy.

2018 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and plum skin. In the mouth, juicy and fresh flavors of black cherry and plum are shot through with mint and other green herbs, with hints of oak peeking through an herbal-savory quality that also shows some flavors of iodine. Fine-grained tannins flex their muscles as the wine finishes. Excellent acidity. Built for the long haul, in the old-school style. 14.3% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $59. click to buy.

2017 Latta Wines “Dana Dibble – Freewater Rocks Vineyard” Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of meaty black cherry and blackberries. In the mouth, savory, even saline flavors of black cherry and roasted meat mix with dried herbs and flowers as faint-but-muscular tannins flex in the background. Excellent acidity.14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2017 Latta Wines “Lawrence Vineyard” Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, a hint of camphor, and earth. In the mouth, juicy flavors of blackberry and earth have a savory, dried herb quality along with a faint smokiness. Deeply savory and with fine-grained, stony tannins. Excellent acidity. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/27/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/6/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week’s dive into the samples pile yielded more than the normal share of wines that weren’t good enough for me to review here on Vinography. So I’m bringing you the list of wines that were good enough, but it’s a bit shorter than normal.

We’re going to start the week off with some bubbly, the first of which is a very nice Cremant de Bourgogne from the inimitable Jean-Charles Boisset, whose family is the region’s largest producer of Cremant de Bourgogne. To be honest, this is one of the better examples of the form that I’ve had. Specifically made to pair with caviar, hence the name, it’s got great balance and finesse.

In addition, I’ve got two sparkling wines from Raventos i Blanc, who are one of a handful of producers seriously changing the game in Spain’s Cava region. In fact, these wines are deliberately not labeled as Cava, and are instead sparkling wines from the Conca del Riu Anoia region, which Raventos has fought hard to establish as an apellation in its own right. Both wines from Raventos are very good, but the rosé is particularly excellent.

I’ve also got a few Pinots this week, one from Dutton-Goldfield and two from Coventina, a producer in Oregon’s Rogue River Valley. The Coventina wines were interesting, but suffer from big-bottle-syndrome, weighing far more than they should. Somewhat oddly, the standard Pinot Noir bottle weighed more than the reserve, but that could be simply a variance in fill-levels.

That’s all for this week. I hope the hit rate is higher next week.

Tasting Notes

NV JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset “Caviar Blanc de Blancs” Cremant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France
Pale greenish gold in the glass with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of citrus pith, sea air, wet chalkboard, and a hint of apples. In the mouth, a voluminous, silky mousse delivers flavors of melted butter, citrus pith, golden apples, and a touch of butterscotch, all suffused with a faint floral sweetness. Quite pleasant, with nicely rounded edges and very easy to drink. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $47. click to buy.

2019 Raventos i Blanc “Blanc de Blancs” Cava Blend, Conca del Riu Anoia, Penedes, Spain
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, golden apples, and a hint of butter. In the mouth, a soft, voluminous mousse, delivers flavors of bright apple, florals, and a touch of citrus pith, with notes of pomelo lingering in the finish. Clean, crisp, bright, and dry. A traditional blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada, with (for the first time) about 5% of Malvasia de Sitges blended in.12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2019 Raventos i Blanc “De Nit” Rosé Cava Blend, Conca del Riu Anoia, Penedes, Spain
Palest peachy pink in color with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of rosehips, citrus peel, and berries. In the mouth, a soft, silky mousse delivers flavors of citrus peel, unripe strawberries, and rosehips. Tangy, mouthwatering finish with excellent acidity and just the barest hint of salinity. Tasty, with a nice savory complexion. A blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada, with some Monastrell blended in for color. 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $24. click to buy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Angel Camp Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry, cherry, and new oak. In the mouth, flavors of cranberry and cherry are shot through with the nutty vanilla flavors of oak, which linger with a bit too much prominence in the finish for my taste. Decent acidity. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $75. click to buy.

2016 Coventina Pinot Noir, Rogue River Valley, Southern Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of candied cherries. In the mouth, sweetish cranberry and cherry flavors have a very faint tannic structure and a touch of cedar and citrus peel. Not horribly complex, but doubtless a crowd-pleaser. Slightly softer acidity than I’d like. 14.5% alcohol. In a ridiculously heavy bottle, weighing 1.76 kg when full. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $35.

2016 Coventina “Reserve” Pinot Noir, Rogue River Valley, Southern Oregon
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries, cherries, and dried herbs. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and raspberry are shot through with traces of oak and its vanilla-and-toasted-mocha qualities. Good acidity and a nice faint citrus peel note feature in the finish along with the wood and raspberry. Barely perceptible tannins. I wish I tasted less wood here. 13.8% alcohol. In a much heavier bottle than it needs to be, weighing 1.65 kg when full. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/6/22 appeared first on Vinography.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 1/23/22

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included a bunch of new releases from Dutton-Goldfield winery in Sonoma’s Green Valley. I tasted through three of their 2019 Chardonnays, each offering its own unique flavor profile, but my favorite was the wine from the chilly Devil’s Gulch vineyard in Marin County.

The two Pinots from Dutton-Goldfield were both excellent, and showcase wonderful balance and juiciness. I was less excited about their Zinfandel, but it is a well-made and tasty wine.

While still on the Pinot train, I’ve got an inexpensive organic Pinot from Barra of Mendocino to recommend. Finding decent Pinots under $25 is getting harder and harder, and this one is not only tasty, but organically farmed.

Moving towards the darker end of the spectrum, I can recommend Cornerstone Cellars’ Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon as a solid rendition of the form. The same can be said for the ever-reliable Laughing Magpie Shiraz from d’Arenberg. I’ve also got an interesting Heathcote Shiraz from Tellurian as well.

Last, but not least, I’ve got an interesting wine to share with you from the uber-ecological producer Chateau Maris in France’s Minervois region. Fully biodynamic, with vineyard work done by horse, this estate also features a winery constructed entirely of hemp bales. A major innovator in the space of environmental impact and carbon footprint, Maris continues to try new approaches to reducing their carbon footprint, of which this wine is their latest. Topped with a screwcap instead of cork, and shipped via sailboat across the Atlantic, it represents more of a gesture than a true logistics solution. Be that as it may, the wine is tasty, definitely worth the money, and the makers are worthy of respect for everything they’re trying to do. I like the label a lot, too.

Tasting Notes

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Devil’s Gulch Vineyard” Chardonnay, Marin County, California
Pale greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of white flowers and lemon curd. In the mouth, zippy bright floral lemon juice, lemon pith, and a hint of vanilla custard or crème brûlée have a nice silky texture and filigreed acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $55. click to buy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Rued Vineyard” Chardonnay, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and grapefruit pith. In the mouth, bright lemon curd and candied lemon flavors have a zingy bright acidity and a faint touch of vanilla. Zippy and bright with a silky texture and just a hint of toasted oak 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9 . Cost: $55. click to buy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Walker Hill Vineyard – Dutton Ranch” Chardonnay, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, lemon curd, lemon pith, and golden apples. In the mouth, juicy flavors of lemon curd, golden apple, and grapefruit juice have a faint toasty note with hints of vanilla. Excellent acidity and length. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9 . Cost: $50. click to buy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Emerald Ridge Vineyard – Dutton Ranch” Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry and raspberry fruit. In the mouth, juicy raspberry and cranberry flavors have a tang of pomegranate and a hint of cedar and dried herbs. Faint, gauzy tannins barely register. Excellent acidity. 13.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $68. click to buy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Van Der Kamp Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma, California
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and cherry layered over forest floor aromas. In the mouth, bright cherry and cranberry flavors have a fantastic juicy acidity and faint herbal tones, along with the faintest of powdery tannins behind them. Excellent acidity and balance. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $68. click to buy.

2019 Barra of Mendocino Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, California
Light to medium ruby in the glass with garnet highlights, this wine smells of raspberry and earth. In the mouth, somewhat muted flavors of raspberry and earth mix with a hint of herbs and a touch of citrus peel. Decent acidity. Not as dynamic as it could be, but there’s nothing wrong with this wine. Certified organic. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2019 Dutton-Goldfield “Morelli Lane Vineyard – Dutton Ranch” Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of boysenberry and blackberry fruit. In the mouth, tangy boysenberry and blueberry flavors mix with a touch of licorice and black pepper. That peppery spice lingers in the finish along with a tangy plum skin quality that accentuates the juicy acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 1/23/22

2017 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga, Napa, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry, cola, and cocoa powder. In the mouth, cherry cola flavors mix with licorice and a touch of herbs. Decent acidity and powdery, but grippy tannins. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $85. click to buy.

2020 Chateau Maris “Naïve” Grenache, Minervois, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of strawberry jam and cherries. In the mouth, juicy strawberry and cherry flavors have a nice faint powdery texture and very fresh acidity that accompanies hints of herbs and dried flowers in the finish. Biodynamic with no added sulfites. Shipped to the US by sailboat. 14.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. 1499 bottles made. Score: around 9 . Cost: $48. click to buy.

2015 d’Arenberg “Laughing Magpie” Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberries and white flowers. In the mouth, flavors of blackberry and a hint of apricot mix with orange peel and sawdust. Grippy, leathery tannins coat the mouth. Contains 6% Viognier. 14.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2017 Tellurian “Tranter” Shiraz, Heathcote, Victoria
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black olives and licorice. In the mouth, faintly salty notes of licorice, blackberry, and prunes have a nice acidity but also some alcoholic heat in the finish. Vines were planted in 2003. 14.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $42. click to buy.

The post Vinography Unboxed: Week of 1/23/22 appeared first on Vinography.