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.
2014 Castel Sallegg Moscato Rosa, Sudtirol – Alto Adige, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy: Retail $40 (375 ml). 100% Moscato Rosa. Since I started writing my blog over seven years ago, I had three rules that I don’t think I have violated: publish at least three times a week (but only if it is quality work), don’t use overly colorful language, and if someone sends a bottle of wine, taste it in a timely manner. Well, unless 20 months is “timely” it seems as though I may have slipped up on that last edict. I don’t drink a ton of dessert wine (or really any at all), but that is no excuse. I mean I have had this so long even the communications group that sent me the wine is no longer in business. As for the wine, I am pretty sure this is my first Moscato Rosa, and that is too bad since this is delicious. It is decidedly not pink, and not even a light red–it’s fairly dark but still translucent with a floral, juicy, and sweet nose. Sweet, but not cloying at all, with fantastic fruit and wonderful acidity. the finish lingers and entices. This is wonderful, and at only 11%, not a night ender. Excellent. 92-94 Points.
NV Chambers Rosewood Muscat Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia: Retail $20 (375ml). 100% Muscat à Petits Grains Rouge. There was a time that I consumed a fair amount of dessert wine. Perhaps needless to say based on the previous comment, those times are no longer. I am not sure if I am a trend-setter or a trend-follower, but I find dessert wines difficult to place in my current paradigm in which I need to drop a few pounds and added calories are an extravagance that simply does not jibe with said goal. Nonetheless, I received this sample several months ago, and I needed to find time to try it. Well, that was tonight. Golden amber in the glass with ripe raisin and peach in the glass. The palate is fruity, rich, ripe, and sherried with incredible acidity and plenty of heat (18.0%). As I mentioned, I am not a dessert wine hound, but this is particularly nice. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2016 Citra Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Ferzo, Abruzzi, Italy: Retail $26. Fairly dark in the glass as one would expect from the variety, with black and dark red fruit on the nose. The palate is juicy, fruity, and big with dark fruit (plum, blackberry) predominant. I have yet to have a Montepulciano that has “wowed” me (although this comes closer than most), but that falls in line with the genre as well–this is a wine that is meant to be consumed with dinner, preferably with a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, a steak Florentine, or a good old pizza. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2018 Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns, France: Retail $14. 75% Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault. Ferraton has been in business in the Côtes du Rhône since the end of World War II, and has been gradually expanding its holdings since, and now is one of the leading producers in the reason. Pale pink, strawberry fruit, a bit of citrus on the nose. The palate is tart and clean with ample fruit (strawberry again), tartness, and a healthy dose of minerality. Nice. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu, France: Retail $25. 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. There is a sea of wines that come from the Côtes-du-Rhône and a lot of it is, frankly, not all that great. Thus, knowing producers is of utmost importance and Ferraton is one to know–solid from top to bottom, this is one to recognize and remember. Dark in the glass and on the nose with cassis, blackberry, and blueberry. Fruity on the palate as well, and that is the focus. Sure, there is some depth and earth, but this is all about the fruit. Enjoy. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo, DOCG Italy: Retail $30. 100% Greco di Tufo. Golden in the glass which is a bit surprising given its relative youth, but expected regarding the variety. Melon and honeysuckle on the nose and fruity initially on the palate, followed by a flintiness and eventually tartness. I used to bear a mighty grudge against Italian whites. Wines like this make me re-evaluate. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.