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.
2018 Domaine Bousquet Virgen, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina: Retail $15. 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 a higher level 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.
2016 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc Sonoma County, CA: From 375. Retail $15 (for 750). 100% Sauvignon Blanc. As one might expect, this is a fruity and fun wine. It does not cause intense introspection, but it does encourage one to seek food and a group of friends to share. Raspberry and anise with a healthy dose of black pepper, this is not a wine to sip, but one to drink. Heartily. We (and I purposely include myself) tend to over-analyze wine. We try to intellectualize what is but a beverage. We try to give it other-worldly qualities and grant it earth-shattering properties. But, at its core, it’s just a beverage. A tasty beverage that occasionally requires introspection or reflection, but it is still a beverage meant to bring joy to those who drink it. And this wine does. Put down your pen, your pipe, your parchment, and enjoy, hopefully with someone you can tolerate. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2016 Cecchi Morellino di Scansano La Mora: Retail $15. 90% Sangiovese and something else (I could not find that anywhere on the interwebs). I first encountered Andrea Cecchi a couple of years ago, and he was one of the nicest (and best dressed) people I have ever met. Subsequent meetings did nothing to alter that perception. This wine, from the extreme western region of central Italy, is delightful. Sure, it is not all that complex, but it is fruity, tart, and with enough intrigue to demand another glass. Bravissimo. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2017 Mas Igneus Priorat FA 104, Spain: Retail $25. 100% Garnacha Blanca. Light straw color with a golden tint, the nose is defined by golden delicious apple, a bit of wet rock, and a splash of petrol. The palate is juicy and full of nice tart fruit, a dash of acid (although could use a tad more), and hints of chalkiness. Delicious. I have not had many white wines from Priorat, but this is particularly delightful and would love to explore the style and region more. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2014 Mas Igneus Priorat FA 206 Vinyes de Coster, Spain: Retail: $30. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cariñena, Syrah, Garnacha Negra. Dark in the glass with dark berry fruit, cassis, anise, and spice. Yum. The palate is reservedly fruity, if that makes sense, with earth, tartness, an ounce of spice, and plenty of tannins. A lovely wine. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2017 Domaine de Lafayette Brouilly, Georges Dubœuf Selection, Beaujolais, France: Retail $22. 100% Gamay. This bottle arrived with a host of other Dubœuf wines on a June afternoon. In Houston, every afternoon in June is decidedly very hot. Not hot as in “uncomfortable” or even “unbearable” but closer to “Biblical.” When I opened that case of wine, I noticed immediately that several of the corks were protruding and some of the labels (like this one) were stained with wine. Not good. I alerted the importer, complete with photos, that these wines were likely cooked. She agreed and intimated that I could expect another shipment when it was cooler (which in Houston means October, if we’re lucky). Nonetheless, I held on to these bottles for no other reason than to explore what “cooked” wines taste like. A funny thing happened, though, this wine is fabulous: dark in the glass with purple and black fruit on the nose, plenty of luscious fruit on the palate, and a delightfully lingering finish. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2018 Lucky Rock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Country Cuvée, CA: Retail $17. I have stated countless times on this forum that I am not a fan of Sauvignon Blanc. I have asked myself again and again 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 to Excellent. 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.