On a normal Friday, I post a few tasting notes from wines that I have received as samples. On occasion, there is some (albeit loose) connection between the wines, but in most cases, the relationship between the bottles is, well, random. In the last few weeks, I have noticed that a) my samples pile is a bit out of control and b) there are several that I have had for a while. Thus, this is an effort to get to those “Missing Samples” (another statistical reference).
2017 Alto De Casablanca Chardonnay Ritual, Casablanca, Chile: Retail $18. I have said a few times that I am a fan of Chilean wines. For the most part, I guess, those wines have been red, but this is a white worthy of note. Big in style, but short on oak, this is perhaps in the proverbial “sweet spot” of the Chardonnay conundrum: great fruit, opulence, but no real evidence of wood. A solid effort regardless of price, but at under 20 bucks it renders it oh so much more enjoyable. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2016 Cline Cellars Cashmere Black, California: Retail: $25. Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Carignane. A Sonoma winery director recently told me that red blends are the new “trend” these days, but many producers, such as one of my favorites, Cline Cellars, has been well ahead of that curve. Fleshy and rich with dark fruit (plum, cassis, blackberry) and silky tannins, this wine is built for the crowd (and for early consumption). Even though those traits usually cause me to shy away, this is an alluring wine, one that I just want to keep on sipping. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2014 Eponymous Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, CA: Retail $60. 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot. B.A.B. Every now and then, I get a sample that causes me to pause and wonder if I should hold onto it for a while. Most of the time, the sender of the bottle wants me to taste it right away, and publish my thoughts as soon as possible, usually to coincide with the wine’s release. Well, while I would like to say that I purposefully held off with this wine…I just forgot about it, buried among my samples. Inky dark in the glass with exceedingly dark fruit (blackberry, cassis, plum), forest floor, and hints of spice. After a bit of time open, this improved fairly dramatically. From Very Good to Excellent. In another year or two? I would say it would be worth the wait. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2013 Pasqua Amarone della Valpolicella, Italy: Retail $45. 65% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Corvinone, 5% Negrara. Intense mocha and dried dark fruit on the nose with a bit of graphite and earth. The palate is fruity and full, with intense acidity and a bit of verve. I do not drink a ton of Amarone, but this seems to be a tad bit more reserved than most, and that is a good thing. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2012 Pedroncelli Vintage Port Four Grapes, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $20. Tinta Madeira, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional, and Souzao. The fine people at Pedroncelli sent me this wine way back in November, 2017, for a tasting that took place that winter. For whatever reason, I did not try it at the time and the bottle became buried in my samples pile. Well, I have turned over a new leaf and decided to address all those wines that suffered a similar fate. I like to think that I am friends with the fine people of Pedroncelli, but I nonetheless try to remain objective with their wines. That said, this is incredible. Intense nose of fig, plum, and rose petals with rich fruit, deep flavors, and a slightly hot finish on the palate. Really close to a whoa. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2014 Trivento Malbec Eolo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail: $80. 100% Malbec. B.A.B. Upon opening, this was quite fruity, but also really young (even given its five years past vintage). Really young initially, but with some time open, the fruit is still there (mostly red fruit from the silky dark wine), but with more depth and complexity. The retail for this wine is close to $80, and while that might be a bit steep, this is really nice. Excellent. 91-93 Points.