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 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $35. Under DIAM 10. Wow, this wine, which I have tasted for the last two iterations of the Largest Blind Tasting of American Pinot Noir, continues to impress. It once again clocks in as really close to a whoa with great fruit (Bing and black cherry), considerable earth (black, freshly tilled), and a brambly, almost garrigue aspect that is enthralling. The palate is, well, magnificent, with fruit initially, followed by a jolt of acidity, followed by a splash of minerality, leading to a layered, lengthy finish. Yowza. And a whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2018 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $50. B.A.B. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I have been receiving Flora Springs wines now for a few years and even though I am not a huge fan of Bordeaux varietal wines, I *love* the wines from the Napa stalwart (despite their overly heavy bottles, grrrr) and this Cab is no exception. Dark, and perhaps brooding in the glass with dark berry fruit (cassis, blackberry), plum, along with secondary notes of vanilla, chocolate, and even anise. The palate embraces much of what the nose suggests, along with an intense tartness, some earth, and integrated but still noticeable tannins. Whoa. Yeah, I am not a staunch Cabernet kinda guy, but this wine is trying really hard to convert me. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.
2017 Mustilli Falanghina Sant’Agata dei Goti Vigna Segreta, Sannio, Italy: Retail $25. Under agglomerated stopper with cork disks. 100% Falanghina. Bright yellow straw color in the glass with plenty of tree fruit on the nose (white peach, green pear). The palate is quite layered with rich fruit initially, followed by a bit of nuttiness and considerable minerality on the mid palate. The acidity waits until just before the finish to present itself, which results in a richer, rounder mouthfeel. But once that acidity kicks in, it brings the fruit back in and both are equally dominant all the way through the finish. Very Nice. Excellent. 92 Points.
2015 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Olmaia Cabernet DOC, Italy: Retail $50. B.A.B. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I received this wine from Cal d’Orcia as part of a three-pack in a wood case; a lovely presentation. While this is my first known interaction with the brand, I am certain that it will not be the last since the wines are compelling and I will certainly seek them out. This Cab is decidedly Old World in approach with dark red fruit on the nose (blackberry, plum, cassis), with some spice and earth. The palate follows the same path, with reserved fruit, impressive acidity, and an above-average finish. Very Nice.
Very Good. 89 Points.
2016 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino, Italy: Retail $60. 100% Sangiovese. Whoa. I had an inkling that this would be fantastic, but I had no idea to what degree. Day One: Dark garnet in the glass with ruby highlights, this wine, even from the pop-n-pour was off to the races. Dark and blue fruit on the nose (blackberry, plum, blueberry) with black earth, minerality, and a gondola of intrigue. The palate does not disappoint: rich, yet reserved, a bit spicy, laden with subtle fruit and intrigue. Yowza. At this point, I am going to put a cork in it and try again tomorrow; I am sure this already stellar wine will improve over-night. Day Two: Surprisingly similar to day one with not much transformation at all. If I had to find something, it does seem a bit more layered (but only a bit). While I was wrong about finding a big improvement on Day Two, I was right on Day One; this is a fantastic wine. Whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2013 Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio al Vento, Italy: Retail $150. B.A.B. 100% Sangiovese. When I first opened this, right after the 2016 Brunello from the same producer, I was expecting to be wowed, to have my socks knocked off, to be floored. Nope. This wine was as closed as I have witnessed in some time. Sure, there was fruit, there was depth, there were layers, but no intrigue, no chutzpah, no “wow.” So I literally put a cork in it, vowing to revisit 24 hours later. A day later, it was still quite shy on the nose with some lovely black and blue fruit trying to reach out to say “hello.” The palate, though, had come out to play and it was quite expressive with juicy fruit (blackberry and plum), tangible tartness, and several layers of depth all leading to considerable, yet still silky, tannins and a lengthy finish. Yowza. And Whoa. Outstanding. 95 Points.