There is a concept in statistics known as the “random sample” which is basically a randomly selected subset of a population that you use to estimate the characteristics of the entire population. The theory is rather simple: you do not need to measure, contact, observe every member of a population to make educated guesses about that population–you only need a tiny segment (if selected randomly).
That is a good thing since coming in contact with every member of the population can be pricey. Depending on how confident you want to be with your estimate, you can really reduce the expense of conducting a study.
What does this have to do with wine?
Basically nothing, but I have been out of the classroom for some time now, and felt like giving a little statistics lesson.
There are samples in the wine world, though the meaning is certainly different: Wine samples are sent (by wineries, PR firms, distributors, etc.) so that writers will taste or “sample” them and subsequently wax poetically about their attributes.
Or something like that…
I have been getting a few more samples these days (which means that either I am doing something right, or more likely, those who send out samples have substantially lowered their standards) and I usually try and group them into some sort of “theme”: Drink Them and It Will Come, Summer is Here, So That Means (More) Rosé, If It Doesn’t Sparkle, It Doesn’t Matter. Despite my best efforts (and certainly subject to timing issues), I have been left with a few “random samples” that have yet to be a part of any post.
It took me a while to get there, but…
So here are a few such “random” samples:
Venegazzù Montelvini Prosecco Asolo DOCG: Retail $15. A representative of the winery sent me this bottle, and I was happy to try out some more Prosecco. The wine was a pale yellow with fairly big bubbles in the glass, emitting a bright an lemony nose. On the palate good acidity and a touch of sweetness and a nutty finish. Wines like this help me to forget (if only briefly) my champagne obsession. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2010 Matetic Corralillo Pinot Noir: Retail $28. I received this wine from the importer/distributor and really did not think much about it at the time. Yes, I am a Pinot fan. But Pinot from Chile? I knew next to nothing about it (it might have been a little closer than “next to” nothing). Since I really did not have any other samples to group it with, I had it on its own one night with some grilled chicken. Wow. A bit dark as Pinots go, but bursting with great red berry flavors. Perhaps the midpalate was the most compelling of all aspects of this wine–after that initial burst of fruit, there were some subtle, but ample tannins and a bit of earthiness that matched the smokiness of the chicken perfectly. Medium to long finish. In the end, I was quite surprised by this wine. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
The following two wines were sent to me by the International Wine of the Month Club. The premise of the club is a familiar one–you sign up for one of the many options and then every month (or less often, if you so desire) a few bottles are selected by their staff and sent to your home. A nifty way to be exposed to different wines and regions.
2011 Domaine du Grand Tinel Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc: Retail $40. It has been a while since I have had a CdP Blanc–they just aren’t all that available in PA (I will skip the long diatribe). When I got this as a sample, I was certainly surprised and excited. Fruity and flowery right out of the bottle, and pineapple, spice, and a bit of lavender past the lips. Above all, the wine comes off as incredibly balanced with an impressively long finish. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2010 Casa Silva Carménère Reserva: Retail $15. One of the darker wines I have seen in a while–inky almost black. The nose gives off a bit of black cherry and some game meat (lamb). Big and rich on the palate with tons of fruit with a bit of backbone. A bit hot all the way through but only 14%. After about an hour, this developed a really intriguing coffee component. This is a fantastic choice for pizza, BBQ burgers or a rich pasta. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
The next two came from Banfi, the large Italian producer, who has holdings all over the world. These two wines are both from Chile (looks like that could have been a theme–oh well), the Sauvignon Blanc from the San Antonio Valley, the Cabernet from the Central Valley.
2012 Emiliana Sauvignon Blanc Novas Gran Reserva: Retail $16. Twist and pour. Lemon curd and a bit of a grassy note leads to a whole lot of tartness on the palate. I do not have a whole lot of experience with Chilean wines, but this is a solid effort. Nice balance leading to a respectable finish. At $16, this is certainly a viable option for an every day Sauvignon Blanc. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2012 Natura Cabernet Sauvignon: Retail $11. There is a prominent cherry coke aroma as I drop my big old beak into the glass with a bit of vanilla thrown in. Past the lips, this is not complex by any means, but there is some fruit, and a touch of depth. This is a solid option for pizza night, but maybe not for the night you propose to your significant other (of course if he/she is a bit of a frugal type and is always looking for a good value wine, this could be the ticket!). Good 83-85 Points.