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….
2014 Casal Thaulero Orsetto Oro Trebbiano d’Abruzzo D.O.P.: Retail $10. 100% Trebbiano. A classic Italian variety, Trebbiano (known as Ugni Blanc in France) is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, but one does not see a ton of it on the shelves, at least here in the U.S. Golden color in the glass—would be even considered on the dark side for a Chardonnay. Part exotic (pineapple), part citrus (lemon rind), the wine is round and full on the palate—this is far from an acid bomb. Pleasant drinker with nice flavors while not being overly complex. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Cecchi Chianti Classico: Retail $15. 100% Sangiovese. Tasted with the 2013 Cecchi Chianti Classico. More violet in the glass and much more red fruit driven (and no funk to speak of) in the glass and this continues onto the palate. Far from new world-type fruit, this is still much fruitier than the ’13. While this was also fantastic with the pasta, the 2014 would be much better as a stand alone, cocktail party/wedding wine than the ’13. This really is very nice, particularly for the price. Bravomissimo! Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2012 Cesari Amarone Della Valpolicela Classico: Retail $45. 75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara. A touch of funk with dark berry fruit, anise, and some tobacco. On the palate this is not an overbearing Amarone by any means, in fact I might even classify this as “delicate” as an Amarone. But all is relative. Still voluptuous with fruit, mocha, and plenty of verve. Amarone is a tough category. There is such a wide range both in complexity and quality but this fares well with both. Giddy-up! Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2013 Jean-Luc Colombo Terres Brulées Cornas: Retail $60. 100% Syrah. I spent my first bit of time in the Rhône this last summer, but given one of the friends I made there, I am certain I will be back soon. Hopefully, I will have the chance to venture a bit north along the river to Côte Rotie and Cornas where Syrah reigns supreme. After considerable time open, this was amazing: red fruit with earth and tobacco, wonderfully balanced and decidedly old world. It is amazing how the French (and, yes, the Italians) can make a gorgeous wine that is not constantly in your face espousing its own virtues. Bravo. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
N.V. Cono Sur Brut Sparkling Wine Bio-Bio Valley: Retail $15. 95% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir. Como Sur is a fairly big producer in Chile on its own, but when you consider it is a subsidiary of Concho y Toro, you realize it is a really big producer. I was surprised to discover that this was a Charmat method sparkler—why? I am not really sure, but you do not see a bunch of them outside of Prosecco. Still, this is a solid wine: bright, cheery, and a bit nutty, this goes past pleasant and close to delightful. I have never been to Chile, but this winery is a must-see. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2009 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes Hermitage Les Jalets: Retail $25. 100% Syrah. One of the leaders in Rhône wine production, Jaboulet has its hands in many appellations. This Syrah is delightfully old-world in style: austere, brooding, and earthy. Some dark red fruit on the nose with an acid driven palate accented by jammy red berry fruit. The finish is tart and earthy, and some seven years out, there is no need to wait any further. Drink up! Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2015 Cantina Kellerei Tramin Pinot Grigio Südtrio Alto Adige: Retail $15. Bright and expressive with explosive citrus on the nose. On the palate, I have not had many Pinot Grigios as nuanced as this: great acidity, considerable minerality, and several layers of complexity. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.