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 Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Tupungato Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $15. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Organic grapes from a relatively new producer with French roots, but they sure have made a splash with an emphasis on organic grapes and international varieties. Beautiful crimson in the glass with black and red berry fruit, a splash of earth, and a dash of tar. The palate is inviting, with good fruit upfront, an earthy mid palate, and nice acidity on the finish. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2017 Domaine Bousquet Chardonnay Reserve, Tupungato Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $18. While I have been to Mendoza, I was there for a total of maybe 37 hours, so my direct knowledge of the region is limited. What is not limited, however, is the flavor in this screw cap closed bottle. Made with organic grapes, the wine has intense tropical and citrus aromas and just the slightest hint of oak (I was unable to verify the percentage of oak, so I am relying on my rather prominent proboscis). The palate is rich and luscious, with intense fruit, balanced acidity, and minimal signs of oak. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2017 Domaine Bousquet Malbec Reserve Tupungato Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $18. 85% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 5% Syrah. Organic grapes. While Malbec has all but disappeared from Bordeaux (although still doing quite well in Cahors), it has relocated to South America where it is doing thriving, thank you very much. This wine from organic grapes is a lovely crimson with dark fruit (cassis a go-go), plenty of earth, and freshly paved asphalt. The palate is a bit dark and brooding, with plenty of rich plum and blackberry, integrated tannins, and near perfect acidity. Yum. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2016 Campuget 1753 Syrah Costières de Nîmes: Retail $20. 100% Syrah. Nîmes is a great city in Southern France, if you ever have the chance, you should go. Having said that, the appellation associated with the city is, well, a bit lacking. Why is that? There is not enough space in this note to address that issue. This wine? It is certainly solid with good fruit, nice acidity, and enough depth to incite a touch of intrigue. For the price (available for as little as $14 in some markets), this is a fine choice. It is tough to beat though, particularly after being open for a bit of time. A healthy decant would be wise. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2017 Chapoutier Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Blanc: Retail $15. Blend of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Macabeu. Pale lemon with beautiful citrus aromas, tart and inviting on the palate, with vibrant acidity and a lengthy finish. Fantastic, particularly the price. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2017 Tyrrell’s Wines Sémillon Hunter Valley, Australia: $23. 100% Sémillon. Screw cap. I don’t get the opportunity to drink a lot of Australian wines, and even less Sémillon. So an Aussie Sémillon? Yeah. Not too many. Very fruity nose of tropical fruit and a bit of salinity. The palate is subtle, but there is plenty of fruit, nice acidity, and plenty of body. This falls into the “riper” style of the variety and is, simply, lovely. Great with fish tacos or out by the pool. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2016 Pazo Cilleiro Albariño, Rìas Baixas, Spain: Retail $20. Quite dark in the glass, in fact this might be the darkest Albariño I remember trying. Great citrus and pear on the nose and fruity up front on the palate, and surprisingly full-bodied. Sure, there is plenty of that Rìas Baixas tartness, but there is also a roundness, a fullness here that coats the gums. This leads to a longer than average finish, that ends with more than a healthy dose of minerality. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2017 Vila Nova Vinho Verde Portugal: Retail $14. 50 % Loureiro, 25% Azal, 25% Avesso. Vinho Verde has a special place in my heart for a simple reason: I served it at my wedding. While no one would say that a bottle of Vino Verde would blow your mind, it will certainly quench your thirst while not emptying your wallet. Golden straw in the glass with tropical notes: guava, papaya, and a hint of lemon. The palate is slightly sparkling (as are all from the appellation) with intense, tart citrus. As Vinho Verde goes, this is a particularly tasty one. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.