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.
The following wines, though, represent wines that I received to sample that I somehow forgot about to one extent or another. When I was organizing my sample “pile” this week, I realized that there were “several” that I have had for a lot longer than was intended. This is the first installment of trying to set that record right.
2015 Domaine Bousquet Ameri Single Vineyard, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $28. 65% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 5% Merlot. Good friends sent me this last fall and apparently, I was waiting for “the right time.” That was this week, I guess. From a single vineyard at 4000 feet above sea level from the largest organic winery in Argentina. Dark in the glass with plum and blueberry, juicy and rich on the palate with a bit of spice, acid, and a hint of tannin. I have had a number of wines from this producer and I dare say it’s one of their best. Domaine Bousquet is doing an incredible job in a country that, well, could use some help. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2017 Concha Y Toro Casillero Del Diablo Red Blend, Chile: Retail $12. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Carménère. I received this wine from the largest producer in Chile, and perhaps the single best maker of value wines in the world, to taste in conjunction with Halloween. Oops. Dark and fruity with a bit of an extra red note, and a touch of smoke. This is not the most sophisticated wine I’ve had this week, but it’s fruity with good acidity and was a nice pairing for our mid-week BBQ. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2017 Odfjell Orzada Carignan, Valle del Maulle, Chile: Retail $20. 100% Organic Carignan. This winery was founded by a Norwegian Ship Builder who decided to make wine in Chile (#OffCourseMuch?). Made with organic grapes. Dark in the glass with blackberry, anise, and pepper, and equally dark on the palate–tons of fruit (dark), spice (pepper), and a bit of earth. Normally I shy away from this style of wine, on the big side, certainly dark, and brooding. But it’s good, even damned good. And it could use a steak. A fairly big one, which, fortunately, are rampant in Texas. Very Good too Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2013 Odfjell Aliara Red Blend, Valle Central, Chile: Retail $40. 65% Carignan, 20% Syrah, 15% Malbec. One of the higher echelon wines from the Norwegian Ship Builder, which is also made with organic grapes. A bit funky on the nose (which is fine with me; I love the funk) with dark fruit and a bit of spice. The palate is fruity, but reserved, tart, and balanced. A step above the Orzada. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2017 Tinto Negro Malbec Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $20. 100% Malbec. Sourced from some of Argentina’s highest vineyards, this Malbec is a solid representation of the region’s variety. I am not sure what is going on in the country, but the wines seem to be holding up well, at least for now. Fruity with a bit of funk on the nose (I love me some funk), but all fruit on the palate. A crowd pleaser for sure. Drink in the short-term. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.
2014 Tenuta di Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum Toscana IGT: Retail $32. 72% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot. A moderately priced “Super Tuscan” with plenty of fruit (raspberry and fruits du bois), spice, and anise on the nose. The palate is well-balanced with the ample fruit, earth, and tartness all in concert. A bit “dirty” on the finish (plenty of earth notes), but it is lengthy and appetizing. This is my first foray into this wine, and hopefully it will not be the last. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2015 Vermont Primus The Blend, Apart, Colchagua, Chile: Retail $18. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Carménère, 25% Merlot, 8% Petite Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. From one of the larger producers in Chile, the wine is fairly brooding in the glass, with oodles of dark red and black fruit on the nose, with black and white pepper, campfire smoke, and vanilla. Rich and fruity on the palate, particularly after being open for a while, with plenty of depth and noticeable tannins. After some time open, this is pretty spectacular, particularly given the price. Excellent. 90-92 Points.