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.
2014 Viña Eguía Rioja Reserva, Spain: Retail $15. 100% Tempranillo. Perfectly delightful with fruit (albeit reserved), acidity (prominent), and a decent finish (a bit brief). As a Rioja, this checks all of the boxes: reserved fruit, tanginess, a bit of earth, some tannin. This likely will be better in a few years, and maybe even better a handful of years after that, but right now, it is fruity and fanciful. Nice. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Herdade do Esporão Douro Minas Quinta dos Murças, Portugal: Retail $24. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão. Quite fruity on the nose with red fruit, floral notes, and a balsamic reduction thing going on. The palate is equally fruity, but also with a zingy tartness and some grippy, chalky tannins on the backend. This is perhaps not a mind-blowing, life-changing kind of wine, but it is a perfectly delightful wine, that would pair lovely with an array of food: burgers, pizza, grilled meat, BBQ, tailgates. While adding a bit of sophistication. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2018 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio Terra Alpina Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Italy: Retail $18. While I only am familiar with a few of the producers from the area, this certainly has to be one of my favorites. And this wine is a good reason why: quite fruity (pear, peach) on the nose with a bit of flint. The palate is quite luscious–not your typical Pinot Grigio, it certainly seems more Pinot Gris in style. Rich, bright fruit, great acidity, lengthy finish. Tasty. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2006 Bodegas Muriel Rioja Fincas de la Villa Gran Reserva, Spain: Retail $22. 100% Tempranillo. It’s not every day that I receive a sample that is more than a dozen years old, but this was one. In a classical Rioja packaging, this is perhaps more modern than traditional with juicy fruit, balanced acidity, and mostly integrated tannins. From start to finish, this is quite lovely. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2016 Provenance Vineyards Deadeye, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $60. 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec, 0.5% Petit Verdot. Great dark berry fruit, anise, a touch of heat join together in the glass and persist once on the palate with a richness that was, frankly, unanticipated. Rich, yet fun and fruity, with some noticeable (but far from overpowering) tannins. Initially, I thought this should be consumed rather soon, but I revisited the bottle not one but two days after opening, and it was even better. Delicious. Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2018 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Estate Old Vines, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Germany: Retail $16. Bright tangerine, lemon, and mango, with a healthy shot of petrol on the nose–fruitier than most Mosel Rieslings that I have experienced. The palate is sweet, but not unctuous in any way. Tart, refreshing, and fruity. Really fruity. But, repeat after me: fruity is a good thing. This is a fun wine. Really fun. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.