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: Sauvignon Two Ways, Chardonnay Any Day, If It Doesn’t Sparkle, It Doesn’t Matter.
2017 Bacigalupi Vineyards Brillante Blanc de Noir, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $72. 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay. There is a lot to discuss here and I will start with “Bacigalupi” which has to be considered one of Sonoma County’s Grand Cru vineyards. Some of the best Russian River wines I have tried (particularly Chardonnays, it seems) have come from this vineyard. I think it is fairly safe to say that I have never heard of a sparkling wine that incorporates honey in the dosage (the sugar and wine that is added after disgorgement in order to achieve the desired tartness/sweetness). I am not sure what it adds here, but this is a particularly rich and layered wine. Plenty of fruit (wild strawberry and fresh cherry), a bit of minerality, and plenty of toasty, yeasty notes (three years on the lees). The palate is quite rich and nearly completely dry (3 g/l of honey added) with lovely fruit notes, a fervent sparkle, and a tartness that lingers for quite some time on the palate. Yowza. I thought I had U.S. sparkling wine pretty much figured out, but whoa, this is Outstanding. 94 Points.
2019 Latentia Winery Ca’ di Prata Prosecco Rosé Extra Dry Millesimato DOC, Italy: Retail $18. 86% Glera, 15% Pinot Noir. For me, the just is still out on rosé Prosecco–2019 is the first year that it was allowed and while there have been several fine wines I have tried (including this one), I am in a bit of wait and see as to how this all turns out. While labeled as an “Extra Dry” (which is sweeter than “Brut”–yeah, I know, confusing), this quite pale sparkler is quite delicious. I would have initially guessed “Brut” as this comes off fairly dry with subtle aromas of red fruit and yellow apple. Tart and on the road to refined, this by just about any measure is a fine sparkler and a decent value.
Very Good. 89 Points.
NV Latentia Winery Ca’ di Prata Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry: Retail $18. 85% Glera, 15% “Other Varieties.” so, I have mentioned more than I can count that when opting for Prosecco, the clear route is DOCG as these are the more serious wines from the region. Typically, as is the case here, they are not *that* much more expensive than the machined farmed DOC wines, but the upscale in quality is significant. Pale straw with a delicate bubble, this wine is more peach than apple, more hyacinth than acacia, more spicy than mineral. The palate is not “sweet” by any means, but it is certainly soft around the edges. And those edges? Yowza. Plenty of fruit paired with tangy acidity, both softened by that kiss of sugar. Fantastic. Excellent. 91 Points.
These next three wines come from a new producer in the Puget Sound appellation of Washington. Not only had I never had a wine from the region (and I am pretty sure I did not even know about the AVA), but it introduced me to Siegerrebe, a grape developed in Germany in the 1920s by crossing Madeleine Angevine and Gewürztraminer. It translates into English as “Victory Vine” due to its extremely high yields. Based on the two I tried, it makes a fabulous wine and Öömrang presents it in a beautiful bottle (although 75 bucks?).
2018 Öömrang Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, WA: Retail $75. Glass closure. 100% Siegerrebe. There is a ton to get to here. First, this is a new brand with no distribution, whatsoever. I am sure that will change, but I am not sure how quickly. Second, this is the first wine I have tried from the Puget Sound appellation in Washington state. In fact, I had no idea that the appellation even existed. Third, this wine is not cheap–the bottle is beautiful, the label is compelling, but $75 for a wine that most will have difficulty pronouncing? Fourth, this is the first Siegerrebe I have ever tried and, well, I really like it. Quite tropical with guava, kiwi, a touch of Gewürz florally (one of this hybrid’s parents), and even some grapefruit on the nose. It is also a bit savory, with decided mineral notes, and a slight hint of celery seed. Lovely. The palate is quite austere, tart, with subtle fruit but also swagger. This was purchased fruit (starting in 2019 it is all estate)–who knew there was a bunch of Siegerrebe in Puget Sound? I know I will be searching out more. Excellent. 91 Points.
2019 Öömrang Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, WA: Retail $75. Glass closure. 100% Siegerrebe. Beautiful bottle. This is now, officially, my second Siegerrebe, the first being the 2018 from Öömrang. This wine, however, represents the first year of estate fruit and it is quite different from the 2018. First, it is a shade or two darker in the bottle and glass and while it is still quite tropical, there are also tree fruit notes (pear and peach). Equally austere as the 2018, but this is somehow richer, with more body and heft. Still tart, fruity, and layered, this is clearly the best Siegerrebe I have ever tasted (I have tasted two). Bravo. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2019 Öömrang Müller-Thurgau, Puget Sound, WA: Retail $75. Under glass stopper. 100% Müller-Thurgau. This is now the third wine that I have tried from this relatively new producer on Puget Sound and all three have been impressive. This Müller-Thurgau is quite tart, even a bit overly so–the acidity is off the charts. Tons of citrus on the nose as well as the palate, with touches of minerality and a slight green, vegetal aspect that is compelling. I do not drink a ton of Müller-Thurgau, and while there are a host of positive attributes here, it might just be a tad too tart. (I never thought I would say that. Ever.) Very Good. 89 Points.