It is time for another edition of “Random Samples”–I occasionally get samples from marketing agencies and/or producers, and these can often be grouped together into some sort of over-arching theme: Drink Them and It Will Come, Summer is Here, So That Means (More) Rosé, If It Doesn’t Sparkle, It Doesn’t Matter.
Other times, I get just a bottle or two that do not have any apparent connection or link. Instead of holding on to those bottles until the “right” combination comes along, I decided to link all these “random” bottles together, making their own category (and, being the math geek that I am, “random sample” has a bit of a double entendre to it).
The following three wines come from Concha Y Toro and I have said for some time now that Concha Y Toro, despite being one of the largest producers in the world and the largest in South America, really does a nice job. These three wines served to further that impression of mine.
2014 Casillero del Diablo Carménère Chile: Retail $10. Fruity and even meaty with blackberry, raspberry, and a touch of beef jerky, this would be a fine choice for that next summer barbecue coming up. While this wine will likely not cause your socks to be knocked off, it will not cause you to blow a gasket for having spent too much. Don’t get me wrong, this is a solid quaff that I would suggest to anyone who is looking for a decent wine for under $12. This is not necessarily the wine to impress your neighborhood wine geek, but I am pretty sure if you served it to him or her without showing the label, he or she would pretty quickly want to know where to buy it. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2015 Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay Chile: Retail $10. Lemon lime, pineapple, and a tiny bit of funk. This is a bargain wine, perhaps, but it really delivers, and then some. Good to great acidity, fruity, not requiring a ton of introspection, but I really like this wine. At the end of the day, if you have ten bucks to spend, you really can’t go wrong here. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2014 Casillero del Diablo Malbec Chile: Retail $9. Blackberry fruit and a bit of earth on the nose with the fruit persisting onto the palate. This is not a mind-blowing Malbec, but it is perfectly fine and would play well at large events (think weddings), for it is economical, but really delivers. After a day open, this improved considerably. Fruitier, a bit deeper, and a longer finish. Again, this is not a world-beater, but for the price? This is a solid option. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
The next two wines come from Ferraton Père and Fils, which, since 2006, has been owned by Chapoutier, the large Rhône producer.
2015 Ferraton Père et Fils Samorëns Côtes du Rhône Blanc: Retail $18. 60% Grenache Blanc, 40% Clairette. A solid CdR Blanc from top to bottom: pineapple and white flower abound. Quite viscous and full for a wine of its class. This is a fine example of what I feel is an under-represented variety; Grenache Blanc packs a ton of flavor and brilliant tartness, while the Clairette rounds out that acidity a bit and adds some body and plumpness. Very nice. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2015 Ferraton Père et Fils Samorëns Côtes du Rhône Rosé: Retail $12. 75% Grenache, with the remaining 25% from Syrah and Cinsault. Wonderful mélange of tart strawberry, rhubarb, and floral aromas. Bright, fleshy, refreshing, and inviting with juicy fruit, good weight, and impressive depth. This is what a rosé should be in so many ways and for $12? Holy crapola. Buy this now. Period. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
The last wine comes from the rock-star producer Nik Weis of St. Urban’s Hof in Leiwen Germany in the Mosel. I have visited the winery a couple of times, and I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Nik a couple of months ago in New York (story to come shortly).
2015 Nik Weis Selections Urban Riesling Mosel: Retail $15. Nik recently started these more budget conscious wines with an eye toward early consumption and approachability. Goal achieved. Slightly sweet, but brilliant acidity and focus. At this price? For this quality? This should be on your grocery list. Very Good. 87-89 Points.