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 Bel Colle Barolo Simposio, Italy: Retail $60. 100% Nebbiolo. Let’s be honest: one day one, I was was a heckuva lot closer to depressed than impressed with this wine: it was rather listless and non-descript. So I corked it and set it aside. Well, what a difference a day makes: blackberry fruit, eucalyptus, earth, rose petal on the nose, with plenty of fruit, acidity, and tannic grip on the palate. This could easily go another 5-10 years, but it is pretty tasty now (on the second day). Excellent. 91-93 Points.
2018 Henry’s Drive Chardonnay H, Padthaway, Australia: Retail $28. Slightly golden in the glass with citrus and peach on the nose once the screw-top is popped. The palate is tart and precise, with good fruit, plenty of lip-smacking goodness, and a lengthy finish. There is only the slightest oak influence, despite spending eight months in French oak (only 25% new and those were large puncheons). This is subtlely stunning, if that is a thing–give it a bit of time and serve it slightly below cellar temperature (50-54 degrees). Lovely. Excellent. 89-91 Points.
2017 Herdade de São Miguel Colheita Seleccionada Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal: Retail $18. 50% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Touriga Nacional, 10% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky dark in the glass, with blackberry and plum. The palate is quite rich and fruity with oodles of blackberry, some mint, and spice (including black pepper). This is a fruity, fun wine, that is better slightly chilled. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.
2017 Herdade de São Miguel Art.Terra Amphora, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal: Retail $22. 50% Aragonez, 40% Trincadeira, 10% Moreto. Another fruity selection from Alentejo which is really climbing in my already lofty estimation of the region. Fermented and aged in the traditional enormous clay amphorae from the region, this is oozing bright red and blackberry fruit. There is also a slightly oxidative note from the open-top amphorae, but it melds in nicely. There is also a bit of tannic grip on the finish–this wine could be held in the short-term, but it is delightful right now. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2018 Herdade de São Miguel Sao Miguel do Sul, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal: Retail $14. 50 % Aragonez, 30% Alicante Bouschet, 15% Trincadeira, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Extremely fruity and a bit of funk on the nose (I love the funk). The palate is also quite fruity with plum and blackberry from start to finish. While this is not exactly my favorite style of wine, I can see how this would be a crowd-pleaser. And it’s from Alentejo, which is fun to say and even more fun to visit. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Herdade de São Miguel Escolha dos Enólogos, Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal: Retail $20. 40% Alicante Bouschet, 30% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional. Ah, Alentejo. Sigh. I visited a couple of years ago and it is a magical place with breathtaking country-scapes, wonderful people, and delicious (and affordable) wines. Case in Point. Dark fruit, a bit of vanilla, balanced acidity, and mostly integrated tannins. This is lovely right now, but could easily go another half-dozen years. Excellent. 90-92 Points.
2018 Two Hands Shiraz Angels Share, MacLaren Vale, Australia: Retail $30. 100% Shiraz. Deep, opaque, almost black color with intense blue and blackberry fruit, spice, and black pepper on the glass. The palate is uber-fruity, with blackberry and plum predominant. Rich and luscious with little evidence of tannin, this is for the short-term consumption. Enjoy. Very Good to Excellent. 88-90 Points.