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…
2016 Cantina Bolzano Alto Adige-Südtirol Müller-Thurgau Eisacktaler: Retail $18. 100% Müller-Thurgau, which is a hybrid of Riesling and Madeleine Royal, named after the cultivator, Hermann Müller from Thurgau Switzerland. Golden yellow in the glass with distinct lemon-lime and more than a touch of minerality. Good fruit with a honeyed note on the palate, plenty of acidity, and a flinty finish. This is another argument for the simple fact that there is not enough M-T produced in this world. Here’s calling for more. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2017 Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC: Retail $9. Pale yellow with a slight green tint, with minerality, lemon, and lime on the nose. The palate is clean and refreshing with good fruit and a really bright acidity. A refreshingly uncomplicated wine. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC: Retail $10. 100% Montelpuciano. Under screw cap. Much like the Trebbiano, this wine is designed to please. Please the masses. And please them now. Not a wine to hold onto for any length of time, but it does have a dark ruby color, with blackberry and plum on the nose. Even given the tariff, this is a big wine with a ton of dark fruit (thanks to the variety), and would certainly be a crowd-pleaser, particularly after open for a period of time. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio DOC: Retail $19. 100% Falanghina. Perhaps one of the more recognizable wine labels from the Italian peninsula, this Southern Italian is bright, round, and sumptuous with its straw-yellow (with a slight green hue) color and aromas of white-flower and pineapple. The palate is tart and inviting, with a solid citrus fruitiness, a mouth-coating texture, and a mineral-driven finish. A stellar white from a country with which I am increasingly becoming enthralled. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2014 Koyle Costa Pinot Noir Colchagua Valley, Chile: Retail $30. I have been to Chile exactly once—I was invited on a press trip a little over a year ago—and I loved the country, the food, the people, and the capital, Lisbon. During my week there, I did not taste much Pinot Noir since most of the wine growing regions are in hotter areas, which are generally not conducive to Pinot Noir production. This wine, though, comes from vineyards that are a mere nine kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, which serves as a natural cooling agent for the vines. Good fruit, plenty of acid, and a slightly above average finish. While this is not a game changer kind of wine, it is a nice change of pace from the often overly fruity new world Pinots and the overly austere (and ridiculously priced) old world (particularly Burgundy) versions. Solid effort. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2016 Real Compañía de Vinos Tradición Verdejo, Spain: Retail $12. 100% Verdejo. Fairly dark in the glass with plenty of peach and pear on the nose. Good acidity on the palate, but also round and supple. Every time I try a Verdejo, I always state that I need to drink more of it (but never seem to listen to myself). A fantastic alternate to the steady stream of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc while not breaking the budget. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Herdade de São Miguel Colheita Seleccionada, Alentejo, Portugal: Retail $18. 50% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Touriga Nacional, 10% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ah, Alentejo! I was there last year and the area is simply glorious. Fairly dark with oodles of dark berries and plum, cassis, and anise on the nose. The palate is simply delectable with luscious fruit, a bit of tar, some earthiness, and plenty of verve. There are some chewy tannins on the backend, which suggests this could use some time in the cellar (1-2 years). Nonetheless, this is a tremendous bargain, and no, I am not influenced in any way that it reminds me of my glorious trip to the region last year. At least I think. I’m pretty sure. Yeah. That’s it. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2016 Wairau River Pinot Noir Marlborough New Zealand: Retail $25. While I have been to Chile, New Zealand? Ain’t never been there, they tell me it’s nice. Although the island nation is perhaps better known for its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir is quickly catching up. Fruity and spicy, but far from over-the-top (like I find some of the aforementioned Sauvignon Blancs from the country), this is a pleasant sipper, with tart fruit and a bit of earth on the palate. Again, not a world beater, but I have always seen the Kiwis as peace-lovers (which the world could use a lot more of). Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 points.