The Random Samples—9/9/2022

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 WaysChardonnay Any Day, If It Doesn’t Sparkle, It Doesn’t Matter.

2021 Georges Dubœuf Beaujolais Nouveau, Burgundy, France: Retail $12. Synthetic stopper. 100% Gamay. I am a complete moron, or at best an utter hypocrite. I have spent most of my wine drinking life professing that Beaujolais Nouveau needs to be consumed in the 5-6 weeks following its release. It is released within a few weeks after the grapes are brought in, traditionally a wine to celebrate the harvest. So by the end of November? Sure. The end of the year? OK. At the end of August the following year? Um, well, no. So what happened, you ask? The simple answer is that this got lost in my samples pile (not entirely honest, but close enough). Another factoid: I am an unabashed fan of all things Dubœuf and this wine is pretty darned good. Nouveau, when consumed upon release, is supposed to be fresh, fruity, uncomplicated. This bottle? Bingo, it is all of those things. And I might just be slightly disappointed about that–since nine months out, this is still all of those things. And more. I might need to adjust my assertion about the need to consume Nouveau quickly. Very Good. 88 Points.

2019 La Crema Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $25. Agglomerated stopper. Part of the Jackson Family Wines Empire and a common wine on grocery store shelves across the country. Despite that, it is pretty darned good. Medium color, translucent, nice nose of fresh cherry and boysenberry. The palate has good fruit up front, followed by a distinct tartness, and a fairly lengthy finish. For around twenty bucks at most locations? You certainly could do much worse than this La Crema Pinot Noir. Very Good. 89 Points.

2017 Riva Leone Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy:  Retail $25. 100% Nebbiolo. Despite the fact that I am drinking a ton more Italian wine these days, very little of it comes from Piedmont. Too bad, since I really love Nebbiolo (as any Pinot Noir lover should). Translucent ruby in the glass with oodles of dark cherry, black earth, rose petal, and cinnamon on the nose, seemingly marrying the profiles of New and Old World. Somewhat surprisingly, the palate has the same approach with plenty of juicy cherry fruit but in a leaner, reserved way. All that fruit is balanced by the acidity, a dab of tannin, and plenty of earth. Really a delightful wine. Excellent. 91 Points. 

2019 Siduri Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $30. Under screw cap. Siduri was a gateway winery for me as it was one of the first California Pinots that I had tried. I visited their tasting room often, swallowed my disdain for the Dallas Cowboys, and spoke to co-founder and winemaker Adam Lee (who is an obnoxious Cowboys fan) on a number of occasions. I was an unabashed fan. Unlike many other Siduri lovers, however, I was thrilled when Adam and (then) wife Dianna sold the brand to Jackson Family Wines several years ago. I was thrilled for the Lees (they got a boatload of cash for all of their hard work) and for JFW as they acquired a premium brand. I was worried, though, as many a like transaction resulted in, well, disaster. Not the case thus far–Siduri is doing quite well, thank you very much. This Willamette Valley wine, at thirty bucks, is an entry-level wine and I dare say that it is better than the equivalent wines produced by Siduri when Adam was at the helm. Rich fruit, great tartness, surprising depth, and a tasty finish. What else would one want? Excellent. 91 Points.

2021 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Amber, Applegate Valley, OR:  Retail $35. 50% Vermentino, 40% Riesling, 10% Roussanne. Under DIAM5. Golden, even, yes, amber in the glass with a load of yellow apple, white flower, beeswax, and baking spice. Whoa. The palate is fruity, yes, but balanced with acidity and plenty of spice. If you are into orange wines this might not be orange enough for you. And for those not at all familiar with the genre, this might be a little too funky. For cautious admirers of the style like me this is a Goldilocks wine. Just right. Excellent. 92 Points.

2020 Troon Vineyard Vermentino Amphora Amber, Applegate Valley, OR: Retail $60. Under DIAM10. One of the first two wines produced in this country (both made by Troon) under the Regenerative Organic Certification, the world’s most demanding protocol. A light golden, even copper in the glass with lovely notes of citrus, beeswax, yellow flower, Christmas candle, and a touch of funk (I love the funk). The palate is impressive with subtle lemon, that funk (I love the funk), a perfumed note, and plenty of tartness. Really a wonderful wine. Outstanding. 93 Points.

2018 Quinta do Vesuvio Douro Pombal do Vesuvio, Portugal: Retail $30. 50% Touriga Franca, 45% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Amarela. More and more producers in the Duoro are making dry wines from the region and if this wine is a representative, I can’t wait to taste more. Fruity (bright cherry, cassis, and even blackberry), some anise, dark spice, a mocha note, and an attractive herbal aspect (rosemary? thyme?). The palate is wonderfully balanced between the fruit and the acidity resulting in a perfectly wonderful quaff. Excellent. 91 Points.

About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Gamay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Roussanne, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Vermentino, Wine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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