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 first two wines I tried this week were white wines from Spain. For some reason, I thought that they would be the perfect wines to taste while watching the World Series. Perhaps this is why the Astros lost?
2018 Bodega Alanis D.O. Ribeiro Gran Alanis, Spain: Retail $14. 85% Treixadura, 15% Godello. Slightly golden in the glass, citrus and tropical notes, with a bit of minerality. The palate is fruity and scrumptious, with plenty of fruit, acidity, and verve. Nice. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2018 Rectoral Do Umia Rías Baixas Pirueta, Spain: Retail $14. 100% Albariño. I have an affinity for Rías Baixas–tart, racy, flinty. All of that is here in this golden straw-colored wine. But there is also a roundness that is both atypical and enticing. Nice flavors and a tasty finish. A home run for the price. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
The next two bottles were from a bit further East: the Italian Penninsula. I did not have any special occasion to open these bottles. Oh wait, yes I did! It was Tuesday (or was it Thursday?).
2013 Doga delle Clavule (Tenuta Caparzo) Morellino di Scansano, DOCG, Italy: Retail $18. 100% Sangiovese. Tight, small, red berry fruit (red currant, cranberry) and mint aromas escape from a fairly dark crimson wine. The palate (after 24 hours open–upon opening it was rather non-descript) is tart and bright initially, with only a slight amount of intrigue on the mid-palate. The finish is fine, even fun, but falls short of fantastic. This is not a mind-blowing wine, but give it some time, or even decant it, and you will be happy, I would wager. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Umani Ronchi Rosso Conero DOC San Lorenzo, Italy: Retail $18. 100% Montepulciano. Dark and velvety in the glass with oodles of dark and red berry fruit, peppermint, and a smidge of forest floor. The palate tends toward the austere side, with tart, even very tart fruit, that menthol aspect, and drying tannins. I did not expect the tannins. Solid, even more, perhaps, particularly given the price point. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
Last, I opened three bottles from “home” but they come from fairly drastically different areas. That is a fact, in the current political climate, that was not lost on me.
2016 Michael-David Vineyards Cabernet Franc Inkblot, Lodi, CA: Retail $35. First, it is a Big Ass Bottle (B.A.B.) that serves absolutely no purpose other than to increase the wine’s carbon footprint. I love the people at Michael David, but this bottle is ridiculous. Getting past that, this is one of the fruitier, darker Cab Francs I have ever tried. All blackberry and vanilla on the nose, and the palate is much of the same–it is far closer to the flavor profile of a Petite Sirah than a Cab Franc, which I guess is not a bad thing unless you were looking for that classic BF kind of wine. It’s hard to assess since I do “like” the wine, but it certainly pushes the envelope on what it means to be a Cab Franc, and then there is the B.A.B. Ugh. 88. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2014 Milbrandt Vineyards Syrah The Estates Wahluke Slope Vineyard, WA: Retail $75. Another wine from a part of Washington that I have yet to visit. What does that mean? Not much other than there are a lot of wine regions in this world and it might take some time to visit them all. Until then, I will taste. Happily. Dark. Inky dark. New moon, 3 a.m., about to rain crazy buckets dark. The fruit? Dark. Crazy dark. Imagine a blackberry patch. Find the darkest berry you can, and then imagine it about 27 times darker. Yeah. Dark. And this is a Syrah, not a Petite Sirah or a can of motor oil. the palate, though, is also dark (surprise?), but surprisingly relatively, lig–, well, not sooo dark. In fact, it is quite lovely: fruity, spicy, grippy, and, well, dark. Dark wines need love too. Very Good to Excellent 89-91 Points.
2017 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $50. Opened. Poured. Um…. To say this was a bit closed and tight is to say that the Pope is a bit Catholic. The wine, though, was made by two of my favorite people in the world, so, yeah, I took another sip, then another pour, and several more swirls. Yeah. Closed. Tight. It happens. So I put a cork in it and prayed (OK, I’m not all that religious, but I may have said a few words to no one in particular). And…boom. The nose opened up with evidence of cherry fruit and earth, and the palate? Holy cow: fruity, rich, tart, lovely. Give this a year or three and thank me later. Excellent to Outstanding. 92-94 Points.