The (Under $20–Except One) “Random” Samples—12/6/2019

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 ComeSummer 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.

2018 Domaine Bousquet Virgen, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $13. 35% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc. Dark, fruity, peppery nose leading to an aptly similar palate. But there is more than a modicum of intrigue here: fruity, with depth, subtle tannins, and a ridiculously good finish. Look, this is not a top-tier “go-to wine” but don’t fall asleep–this is top-notch Cab at a lower shelf price. OK, this will not change the trajectory of your otherwise mundane existence, but it is pretty darned good. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2017 Bodegas Latúe By Latúe, Cabernet Sauvignon, Spain: Retail $12. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Under screw. Dark berry fruit, a bit of spice (black pepper, for sure) on the nose–not necessarily “deep” but certainly pleasant. The palate is much the same: fruity, a tad spicy, and well within the “pleasant” realm. OK, this will bever be your “special” wine or your “I-Need-to-Impress” kinda-wine. Nope, this is your Tuesday night and I can’t find a corkscrew wine. And in that role it is perfect. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.

2017 Bodegas Latúe La Mancha, Tempranillo, Spain: Retail $13. Under screw. Peppery and red fruity (with raspberry, predominantly) on the nose and subsequently, on the palate. Perfectly pleasant and quaffable, with adequate acidity and fruit. A perfect choice for a large group or a mid-week meal. Good to Very Good 85-87 Points.

2018 Bodegas Latúe Airén La Mancha, Spain: Retail $12. It would not take many fingers to count how many Airéns I have tried despite the fact that it is fairly widely planted in Spain. The reason? Well, I have not visited a single wine region in Spain and frankly, I find many of the whites produced in the country a little lacking. This wine is perfectly quaffable, though, from the first twist of the screw-cap. Light in the glass with a slight green hue, the nose is a little funky and wonky with some green apple eventually breaking through. The palate is tart and refreshing, but certainly lacking in depth. Good to Very Good 85-87 Points.

2018 Bodegas Latúe By Latúe, Verdejo, Spain: Retail $13. Under screw. Unlike the Airén, I have had quite a few Verdejos, both foreign and domestic. Like the Airén, however, there is a bit of funk masking the Granny Smith apple on the nose. The palate is quite lively with plenty of fruit and tartness as well as some depth on the mid-palate. This is perhaps my favorite of the white wines I received from Latúe and I would not hesitate to have this on my table. Very Good. 87-89 Points.

2014 Bodegas Latúe Vino de la Tierra de Castilla Latierra, Spain: Retail $30. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Syrah. Like all of the Latúe wines I received to sample, this touts itself as “Organic.” That is all fine and dandy, but the bottle weighs about seventeen pounds so any “good” done to the environment by farming organically has been more than offset by the stupid heavy bottle. Ugh. And that is too bad since the wine is quite good. Very Good. Excellent, even. Fruity (but far from extracted) and earthy (but far from “green”), the nose is simply lovely with spice and even hints of anise. The palate is delightful: balanced with fruit, acidity, and some silky tannins–this really is a nice wine. But that bottle…grrrrrr. Excellent. 90-92 Points.

2018 Lucky Rock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Country Cuvee, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $17. I have stated countless times on this forum that I am not a fan of Sauvignon Blanc. I have asked myself numerous times why that is the case, but I have yet to come up with a reason that makes any sense. While this wine will likely not change my opinion on the variety, it certainly tries to get me headed in that direction. Light straw color, grassy, a hint of cat pee, and plenty of citrus–your prototypical Sauv Blanc nose. The palate is sharp but not scathing, bright but not brutish, and mineral but not monotonous. For the price? One could fare far, far worse. Very Good. 88-90 Points.

2018 Pedroncelli Friends.white, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $15. ~60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Gewurztraminer. Under screw. Designed to be an easy drinker/porch pounder, this has a touch of residual sugar to help balance the relatively high tartness here. Fruity and fragrant, with tree fruit and white flower, this goes down far too easy. It was also a hit with my mother-in-law which makes it a wine to remember and keep in stock. Very Good. 87-89 Points.



About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Airén, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Verdejo, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

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