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 Alexandria Nicole Cabernet Sauvignon Alderdale Estate Grown Destiny Ridge Vineyards: Retail $42. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Big Ass Bottle (B.A.B.). I have not had many wines from this appellation; in fact, it has been less than a couple of handfuls. Thus, I took particular interest in this wine as I opened it on an otherwise innocuous Thursday night. Meh. The wine was rather flat and nondescript, so I literally put a cork in it and resolved to address it the following day. Much, even “much, much” better. Dark in the glass, with dark red fruit, cedar, spice (black pepper), and a splash of eucalyptus. The palate is delightful: fruity with waves of vanilla, spice, and a touch of heat (14.4% ABV). While watching the news (depressing), I feel the need for a big steak. A Ribeye. A NY Strip. Even a filet. But the steak needs to be big. And juicy. And you need to justify the hefty, environmentally irresponsible bottle. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2015 Brooks Pinot Noir Cahiers, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $60. I have visited scores and scores of wineries over the past couple of decades and I like to think that there is some sort of connection with nearly every one of them. I try my darndest to talk to the people on the ground and get an understanding of the place. There are times that I am more successful than others, of course, but that does not deter me from my quest. While it is certainly difficult to quantify, I believe that I have made no better “connection” with a winery than I have with Brooks. Why? The story is simply so compelling, It also helps that the wines are fantastic: bright cherry fruit with bits of eucalyptus, earth, and mint on the nose. The palate is initially fruity and ripe but quickly evolves into a more retrospective bent with acidity, salinity, and a meatiness that yearns for food. Whoa. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.
2016 DeLille Cellars D2, Columbia Valley, WA: Retail $45. 59% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot. A merlot dominant blend with all five of the Bordelais varieties, this is fairly dark in the glass with dark red fruit, pepper, and spice on the nose. The palate is fairly reserved with fruit, tartness, and a touch of spunk on the finish. This paired well with the NY Strip and could possibly benefit from short-term cellaring. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2000 Osborne Porto Vintage, Portugal: Retail $75. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca. I don’t have a ton of experience with Port, particularly vintage, but this is certainly solid. The nose of dark berries (blackberry, cassis), anise, and floral notes. This is certainly a pleasant quaff but by no means retrospective or deep. Solid for a Thursday night. 88 Points. I had only had a sip of this wine upon opening and literally put a cork in it. Three weeks later, I decided to have another go. Whoa. Blackberry pie baked over an open fire, with a bit of heat on the nose, but the palate? Whoa. Rich, lush, sweet (but not unctuous), complex, and that is all before the finish. Whoa. I do not drink a ton of port, but this is near the top of those that I have tried. Excellent to Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2017 Tongue Dancer Chardonnay Pratt Vineyard, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $ OK. Full disclosure. I consider James and Kerry Forbes MacPhail friends. We have been known to email, instant message, text. I would like to think that despite our “relationship” I remain fairly objective. Having said that, this is good. Very Good. Excellent. Outstanding. Maybe more. Pale straw in the glass with lemon, a bit of vanilla, and ripe green apple. The palate? Whoa. I spent a bit of time trying to determine if this is more Chassagne or Puligny (or maybe Corton Grand Cru?). Regardless, this is baller, gangster, and/or killer depending on your generational bent. Simply? Whoa. And that is an objective assertion (I’m pretty sure). Excellent to Outstanding. 93-95 Points.