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.
NV Cockburn Porto Special Reserve, Portugal: Retail $20. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz. I do not drink much port these days since I have avoided most sugar in my diet. Still, I realize I miss port (or is it the sweetness?), it’s rich fruit, depth of flavor, and incredible balance. Here we go. No, this is not the best port I have tried, but at twenty bucks (probably under $15 on the shelves?)? One could do a whole lot worse. Very Good. 88 Points.
2019 Experience Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $27. 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot. This is precisely the kind of wine I struggle to evaluate as I don’t ever think I would consider buying it as it is simply not my style. So my dilemma: do I judge it personally or look at it as to how it might be received? There is little doubt in my head that this would be a crowd pleaser for the “regular” non-wine-geek crowd. It is fruity, tart, comes off as a tad sweet (no residual sugar figures given), and has just enough acidity to whet one’s appetite. I get all of that. Popular. But. It seems to me a bit extracted and forced. Yeah, all the elements are there and, like I said, a bunch of people will like this wine, but it is just not my style. For what it is trying to be? 89 points. For what I see it to be? 87 points. Very Good. 88 Points.
NV Ferrari F1 Limited Edition, TrentoDOC, Italy: Retail $40. 100% Chardonnay. This is a special edition bottling to celebrate Formula One racing uniting with Ferrari as the official sparkling wine for the series. While the standard Ferrari Brut is a fine sparkler and a great representation of the TrentoDOC region, this F1 Limited Edition is both richer and deeper in flavor. More brioche than citrus on the nose and palate with a zingy tartness that pairs well with all that yeastiness. Yum and close to a Whoa. Really close. Excellent. 92 Points.
2017 Jordan Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, CA: Retail $65. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec. While I am far from an expert when it comes to all things Jordan, I have been receiving samples for a few years now and I like to think I have a decent hold on what the house is trying to do at this point. Like the Chard, this is a fabulous quaff regardless of price, but rather remarkable given the cost. Darker in the glass than I expected with rich dark berry fruit, black pepper, clove, and juniper berry. The palate is quite approachable; sure, there is plenty of fruit, but it is far from dominant. Rather, the tartness is the story here, followed by a juiciness that is a Jordan hallmark. The finish is lengthy and layered and the slight tannic presence suggests short-term cellaring. Excellent. 91 Points.
2020 Öömrang Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, WA: Retail $75. Glass closure. 100% Siegerrebe. Beautiful bottle. This is now, officially, my third Siegerrebe, the other two being the 2018 and 2019 vintages from Öömrang. This wine, like the 2019, is from estate fruit and is equally delightful. Fairly dark in the glass, decidedly yellow, even approaching golden. The nose exhibits both tropical and tree fruit notes (pear and peach) with a slight nutty element (almond?). The palate is quite tart, on the verge of bracing with incredible fruit, great depth, and an incredibly long finish. As the only Siegerrebe wines I have ever tried have come from this winery, I really have no idea what the variety “should” taste like. But. Regardless of variety, this is a fantastic wine. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2019 Prats and Symington Douro Post Scriptum de Chryseia, Portugal: Retail $30. Big ass bottle. 56% Touriga Franca, 33% Touriga Nacional, 7% Tinta Roriz, 4% Tinta Barroca. Although I have never been to the Duoro, I feel like I have had my fair share of wines from the region. While it made its name in Port, in recent years, the focus has switched to dry red wines. Great dark red fruit, a bit of spice, even some anise on the nose. The palate is classic old world with subtle fruit, balanced with a zingy tartness, and a touch of spicy verve. While this is fantastic on its own, grab some pork, beef, or even grilled chicken, and this would soar a bit higher. Excellent. 90 Points.
2018 Ramey Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $70. Under DIAM10. I am not entirely sure how I came across this bottle, but I am sure glad that I did. From the legendary Ritchie Vineyard, no doubt one of this country’s Grands Crus. Light yellow straw in the glass with equal doses of lemon curd, vanilla, and subtle oak. Whoa. Balance is also the calling card of the palate with lovely fruit, fantastic tartness, and an incredible depth that is highlighted by the smoothness that the oak imparts. While I am no proponent of heavy oak on Chardonnay, I do think that the best Chards have some oak treatment (here, the wine is aged for 20 months on oak, 25% new). Fantastic.
Outstanding. 93 Points.