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 Argyle Brut Rosé, Willamette Valley, Oregon: Retail $50. 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay. I have been a fan of Argyle for some time now–close to two decades. I have had numerous vintages of their standard Brut as well as many of their higher end still Pinot Noirs. I am a fan. An unabashed fan. This is the first Brut Rosé that I remember having tried, however. Great pinkish-salmon color with a healthy froth and a fine bubble, highlighted by zesty pomegranate and mineral notes on the nose, with other red berry fruit in the background. The palate is tart and bright, with a vibrant fizz and a poignant acidity. Great fruit, near impeccable balance, and a lengthy finish. Fantastic. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2016 Cornerstone Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley: Retail $30. Some say that Sauvignon Blanc is Napa’a white wine and it is hard to argue with that assertion, but much of it is being pulled out for its more profitable offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice tropical fruit primarily with considerable minerality (crushed rock). The palate is simply fantastic: brilliant acidity and more than ample fruit (pineapple and peach). The minerality is also present as is plenty of depth on the mid palate and finish. This is a fantastic SB, among the best I have tried this year, and proof that the variety can thrive in Napa and should be preserved. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2016 Hess Select Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast, California: Retail $11. Stainless steel. Pale yellow with a rich nose of citrus (both lemon and lime) with a side of tropical fruit and a dash of minerality. On the palate this is a big, zesty, muscular Sauvignon Blanc. No subtlety here at all. Big fruit, high acid, full-throttle. If you like that style of SB, you will no-doubt enjoy this one, particularly the price tag. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Hess Select Pinot Gris California: Retail $13. When I see “Gris” instead of “Grigio” I have to admit that I get a bit giddy as it usually indicates that the wine is more of the Alsatian style (rich, round, full-bodied) as opposed to the curiously popular Italian style (rather thin, tasteless, and boring). Stone fruit (pear and peach) along with a noted flintiness. On the palate, this follows suit, with sweet peach and zingy pear. There is plenty of acid here to counter the round fruit, but this is decidedly in the Alsatian camp. And I like it. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2016 Hess Select Chardonnay Monterey County: Retail $12. Pale to medium yellow in the glass with aromas of yellow apple, pineapple, and lemon rind. There is also a touch of oak, which is far from over-powering. The palate is rich, full, overly round, and on the verge of buttery. Still on the lighter side of “traditional” California Chardonnay, but decidedly in that camp. For the price? A solid option for those looking for the more traditional style. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2017 Left Coast Cellars Estate White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon: Retail $24. 91% Pinot Noir, 9% Pinot Blanc. Almost colorless in the bottle with champagne-like aromas of tree fruit (pear and peach), but also classic Pinot aromas of white cherry and earth. On the palate, this is simply delightful: tart, fruity, but also with depth and character. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
These last three wines I received several months ago, and was waiting for a good time to open them–it is always fun to have a vertical, but one of the keys is to try all the wines at one sitting.
2004 Parducci True Grit Petite Sirah Reserve, Mendocino County, California: Retail $50. 97% Petite Sirah, 3% Viognier. Dark in the glass as one would expect from a Petite Sirah (PS), with blackberry fruit and forest floor dominant on the nose. Good fruit (albeit a touch stewed) and surprising acidity for a PS of this age. The tannins are essentially integrated, and the finish is on the lengthy side. Nice. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2005 Parducci True Grit Petite Sirah Reserve, Mendocino County, California: Retail $50. 92% Petite Sirah, 8% Grenache. Dark and luscious in the glass with plum, blackberry, and oodles of black pepper. The palate is rich as well, but earthier than the 2004 with some tar and tobacco. The big difference, though, is the 2005 has some pretty pronounced tannins, still, over a decade out. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2006 Parducci True Grit Petite Sirah Reserve, Mendocino County, California: Retail $50. 94% Petite Sirah, 4% Grenache, 2% Syrah. Slightly lighter (but only slightly) than the other two, with plenty of dark berry fruit, but also a heavy dose of meatiness. More austere (if that is even a word used to describe PS), but still with plenty of fruit, but also chalky dry tannins and a lengthy finish. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.