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.
2019 Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, CA: Retail $13. Heavy Bottle. Under screw cap. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 % Syrah, 1% Petite Verdot. Dark in the glass with an abundance of fruit, mostly dark, and fairly extracted. The palate is similar: tons of fruit, a bit sweet, good tartness. While this wine certainly has some mass appeal, it is a bit over-the-top for me. Very Good. 87 Points.
NV Ferrari Brut, TrentoDOC, Italy: Retail $28. 100% Chardonnay. It has been a few years since I have tried a Ferrari, but as I mentioned in the last note, the wine is incredibly consistent. Bright citrus fruit both on the nose and the palate with a fine sparkle, great tartness, and just the right amount of yeastiness. I have been a fan of the sparklers from Trentino for a while now, and there is a reason that Ferrari sits atop that heap. Excellent. Excellent. 90 Points.
2019 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Chardonnay Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $35. DIAM10 closure. Surprisingly golden in color with a lemony, nutty nose, that is both inviting and complex. The palate is tart with both the fruit and that nutty component that is intriguing and politely asking for food. The finish is on the tart side, but also lengthy, and suggesting that this wine might continue to improve, at least in the short term (3-5 years?). I have had a few Jordan Chards at this point and this seems to be a slight departure as it comes of as a bit less rich, less opulent. But it is also a bit more food friendly: seared scallops anyone? Excellent. 91 Points.
2020 Raeburn Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $25. I have been tasting Raeburn for a few vintages now, and this falls in line with the common theme: solid wine, respectable price, plenty to love. Fairly light in the glass with faint red berry fruit, a hint of spice, and some mineral notes. The palate is equally subtle, similar, perhaps, to an Old World wine w (slightly) more fruit. Great tartness, a bit of depth, and an above-average finish. Nice. Very Good. 89 Points.
2020 Roaming Dog Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, WA: Retail $13. Under screwcap. This is the second edition of this wine from the Aquilini family, relatively recent players in the Washington wine scene (they, among other significant holdings, own the Vancouver Canucks). While the appellation is Columbia Valley, the vineyard is apparently just across the street from the Red Mountain AVA. Really good fruit on the nose with some citrus but mostly golden delicious apple. The palate is fruity, a bit creamy, but not at all oaky (7 months in stainless). I am guessing that there might be a touch of residual sugar, but it is by no means sweet, with decent acidity and an above-average finish. I am fairly certain this has gone through at least partial malolactic fermentation (thus the creaminess) so this falls somewhere between the much-maligned “cougar juice” and the rather austere (in my opinion) un-oaked Chardonnays that are rather prevalent. For around ten bucks? You betcha. Very Good. 89 Points.
2019 Sosie Rossi Ranch Blanc, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $35. Big Ass Bottle. 52% Roussanne, 27% Grenache Blanc, 21% Marsanne. A medium yellow in the glass with a rich nose of melon, lemon, pineapple, and guava. Throw in some beeswax, honey, and just a bit of spice: classic Rhone-style white nose. The palate is rich and unctuous, with a waxy characteristic that coats the mouth. Good fruit, weight, and balance, all leading to a lengthy finish. Wonderful from start to finish with the exception of this stupid, ridiculously heavy bottle. Come on, do better. Excellent. 92 Points.
2017 Sosie Pinot Noir Spring Hill Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $45. Big Ass Bottle. Under cork. I have tasted several wines from Sosie at this point, most of them Rhone varietal wines. In fact, this is only the second Pinot (the first was a 2015 a handful of years ago). The website states that this is the winery’s “old world, more restrained, earth-driven [Pinot].” While this is certainly on the reserved side for a California Pinot, it, at least for me, is full-blown Sonoma Pinot Noir. Rich Bing cherry fruit, eucalyptus, and some Christmas spice on the nose. The palate is certainly fruity, but it is understated, buoyed instead by the zingy tartness and an earthy undertone. Excellent. 91 Points.