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.
2015 Amici Cellars Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $25. I was cleaning up my office the other day and I found this bottle among my samples. When I get a new sample, I put it into Cellar Tracker so that I can better keep track of all the bottles I need to taste. Well, you know where this is going: this bottle was not on my list. Oops. But I am glad that I found it as it was delicious: Fresh-squeezed lemon, green apple, olive, and oak on the nose. Even though this was aged for 11 months in French Oak (40% new), this is far from a “traditional” California Chardonnay. Well-balanced between fruit, acid, and oak, this is fairly light on its feet and quite delightful. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
NV Pasqua Prosecco Romeo & Juliet Passione e Sentimento, Italy: Retail $15. 100% Glera. I have sampled several of the wines in the Pasqua portfolio and they all have been tasty. This Prosecco falls into that description. It is not a world-beater, but it is certainly a solid performer at this price-point. Pale straw with a slight green tinge and a really muted nose of green apple. The palate is quite festive with a good sparkle, nice fruit, and that classic Prosecco acidity. This is not the most complex wine I have had from the region, but it doesn’t need to be. Great for everyday quaffing. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2015 Sosie Roussanne Vivio Vineyard, Bennett Valley, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $38. Just about every time I taste a Rousanne, I wonder why I do not drink more wines from this tasty variety. I then immediately answer my own question: there is not a whole lot of it grown, particularly in this country, and most of it is blended with other white Rhône varieties like Marsanne and Viognier. It is also not the easiest vine to grow, so most winegrowers don’t bother. Too bad. For when it is done right, like this wine, the results are fantastic. Golden in the glass with tropical notes and a bit of beeswax, the palate starts off rather round, but a rush of acidity flows in on the mid-palate. Juicy and ripe, this is more than just a pleasant diversion from the usual suspects. It is delicious. I am not a fan of the Big Ass Bottle, though. Very Good to Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2015 Sosie Pinot Noir Spring Hill Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $46. This is my second wine from a brand that is certainly new to me. The first was the Roussanne (above), which was both delicious and a New World interpretation of an Old World variety. This is a continuation of the theme and this is equally as tasty. The bright dark cherry with a bit of earth on the nose reveals its New World origins. The palate exhibits that New World fruit initially, but it is notably more subtle than most Pinots from the U.S. A wave of earth comes through on the mid-palate, lasting to the finish, reminiscent of a juicy Pommard, perhaps. One problem: another really, really heavy bottle, which makes absolutely no sense since it serves no purpose other than jacking up the carbon footprint(and price) of this otherwise lovely wine. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2016 Two Angels Petite Sirah Red Hills Lake County, CA: Retail $27. Under screw. As one might expect with a Petite Sirah, this is inky-dark in the glass with cassis, blackberry, and even mocha on the nose. The palate is fruity, rich, and powerful, with said fruit flavors, a dash of earth, and plenty of heft. Petite Sirah is generally not for the faint of heart and this is no exception–while this is certainly not my preferred style of wine, I can see how it has its appeal. Excellent. 90-92 Points.