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….
2017 Terrapura Selection Pinot Noir Itata Valley, Chile: Retail $16. Under screw. Fairly dark for a Pinot with aromas of dark red cherry, a bit of eucalyptus, and a touch of funk. On the palate, on the thin side, but with good flavors. This is not mind altering, but it has solid flavors and a decent finish. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2015 Cono Sur Reserva Especial Pinot Noir Valle de San Antonio, Chile: Retail $15. Fairly light in color, but bold in aromas with dark cherry, raspberry, and a delicate earthiness. The palate is quite fruity, with cherry dominate but considerable acidity as well. Another solid effort by Cono Sur, regardless of price. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Luca Bosio Langhe Arneis DOC: Retail $14. There was a time that I looked at most Italian whites with more than a modicum of disdain; they all seemed to be rather flabby and lacking in the depth, intrigue, and flavor departments (see Pinot Grigio, writ large). Well, a funny thing happened on the way to judging and entire country’s output of a particular color of wine: they got better. Over the last couple of decades, perhaps, Italian white wines have improved rather dramatically. And this wine imported by my friends at Quintessential Wines is a case in point. Pale straw color in the glass with pineapple, citrus, white flower, and a smidge of funk. The palate is quite tart with some minerality and subtle fruit. Not the most memorable white I have had from Italy, but this is tasty, fun, and a good indication as to how far Italian whites have come. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2015 Kay Brothers Basket Pressed Grenache McLaren Vale, Australia: Retail $40. 90% Grenache, 7% Shiraz, 3% Mataro. Under screw. When I hear “Australian wine” my first thoughts, honestly, are either “big fruity mess” or “over-extracted swill.” Now, I know that is far from fair, particularly since I have actually tasted scores of fine Australian wines, but most (all?) of them are not available in this country. I received this screw-cap topped wine from the fine people from Quintessential Wines. Fairly light in the glass with red fruit aromas (strawberry and cherry). On the palate, all that delicious fruit that was suggested on the nose. Wonderful, yet all in balance, and the fruit is simply delightful. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2017 Corona de Aragon Garnacha Blanca, D.O.P. Cariñena, Spain: Retail $10. 87% Garnacha Blanca, 13% Chardonnay. I was not excited to see that the synthetic stopper was extended out of the bottle by at least a half an inch. Once I got over that, however, the wine was fairly good, particularly given the price. Slight gold color with good fruit aromas–mainly tree fruit (peach). Good fruit and tartness on the palate as well, and while it is lacking a bit of depth and weight, it is a pretty darned-good effort for a sawbuck. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Herdade de São Miguel Colheita Seleccionada Rosé Alentejo, Portugal: Retail $18. Aragonez, Touriga Nacional. More orange with a pink hue than the OPPOSITE. Fairly tight with faint red berry fruit. The palate is subtle as well, with nice tart strawberry and good weight. A solid wine. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Bodegas San Valero Origium 1944 Garnacha Rosé, Cariñena DOCP: Retail $10. 100% Garnacha. Fairly dark for a rosé. In fact, I could maybe be convinced that this is a light red rather than a “pink” wine. As one might expect from a Garnacha: red and black berry fruit with just a touch of funk, this introduces itself as a serious wine that happens to be, well, pink. Good fruity palate, with ample tartness and a pinch of finesse. Very nice. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Cecchi La Mora Vermentino Maremma Toscana DOC: Retail $20. I am a big fan of Vermentino (known as Rolle in the south of France), as it is quite versatile: an easy sipper by the pool or on the patio, and a welcome addition to a table with light cheeses, seafood, chicken, and even pork. I am also a fan of Cecchi, one of the larger producers in Tuscany, but clearly dedicated to quality. This wine, a relatively new project for Cecchi, is a case in point. Straw yellow color with golden and green notes, and lemon/lime aromas paired with tropical fruits. Good acidity and minerality with a solid finish. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.