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.
2021 Cantina Produttori di Valdobbiadene Val D’Oca Brut Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Italy: Retail $30. 100% Glera. From one of the 51 Rive, the indicated regions within the Prosecco Superiore appellation that are a step above the “standard” DOCG wines. The Rive di San Pietro di Barbozza is quite close to Cartizze, the best of all the classifications of Prosecco. Pale straw in the glass with medium-sized bubbles and a nose of lemon rind and crushed seashell. The palate is quite fruity and tart, but there is also a detectable sweetness, particularly when compared to the Zero dosage (below) that I tried right before this wine. To me, Prosecco needs that kiss of sugar–this wine works quite well. Excellent. 91 Points.
NV Santa Margherita Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut, Italy: Retail $22. 100% Glera. Perhaps better known for its ubiquitous Pinot Grigio, Santa Margherita (named after the founder’s wife) has actually been producing Prosecco longer, dating back to the 1950s. Pale straw in the glass with lemon curd and wet rock on the nose. The palate is rich, even on the verge of “very rich” with a depth of flavor that I frankly rarely find in Prosecco. I really did not want to like this wine for no other reason than I think their Pinot Grigio is over-rated (and over-priced), but this wine is really fantastic. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2021 La Tordera “Otreval” Rive di Guia Extra Brut (zero), Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Italy: Retail $22. 100% Glera. The first Brut Zero (i.e., no sugar added) made by this producer and the wine is delightful. Close to clear in the glass with only a hint of straw and a delicate, intense sparkle. Golden delicious apple and lemon dominate the nose along with a wet rock, mineral quality. The palate is fruity, quite tart, and, as one would expect, completely dry. Myriad flavors and a lengthy finish. Excellent. 92 Points.
NV Valdo Spumanti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Cuvée 1926, Italy: Retail $23. 100% Glera. The final of the four Prosseco Superiore that I tried for a Zoom about sustainability in the region. This 1926 (the founding year of the winery), is a pale straw in the glass, with yellow apple with a hint of lemon. There is a noticeable sweetness here, but it certainly works: great fruit and tartness with just enough sweetness to round it out. This is more of a prototypical Prosecco, at least for me. That, paired with the inherent quality jump over a standard DOC, and this is right in my wheelhouse when it comes to the genre. Excellent. 92 Points.
2018 Miguel Torres Cabernet Sauvignon Cordillera Reserva Especial, Maipo Valley, Chile: Retail $22. Responsible bottle. Under cork. 100%(?) Cabernet Sauvignon. My wife had some relatives in town and they said they wanted to do a wine tasting, so I pulled some Cabs from Chile and we were off. This is fairly dark in the glass with red and black fruit on the nose along with an herbal aspect (sage?) and some black pepper. The palate has really nice fruit, some spice, and a lengthy finish, with silky, mostly integrated tannins. Excellent. 91 Points.
2018 TerraNoble Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Retail $20. Heavy bottle. Under cork. 100%(?) Cabernet Sauvignon. Every time I open a bottle of Chilean wine, I think of my trip there a few years ago and wish that I had extended my stay. It is a fascinating country producing some terrific wines. Case in point. Heavy bottle aside (come on #DoBetter), this wine, which is likely on the shelves for around fifteen bucks, is certainly a bargain. Dark in color and aromas with loads of cassis, black pepper, mocha, and sage, the palate is quite compelling. Fruit abounds along with some weight, texture, and complexity. While few would mistake this for a First Growth from Bordeaux, at under twenty bucks? You have a fantastic wine and can still make your car payment. Excellent. 90 Points.
2017 Viña Aquitania Cabernet Sauvignon Lazuli, Maipo Valley, Chile: Retail $40. Big ass bottle. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I had set up a mini-Chilean Cab tasting for my wife’s niece/cousin/not-really-sure-since-I-am-not-Korean (but she calls me “uncle” if that helps) and this was the “featured” wine. Medium to dark in color with a ton going on in the glass: red and black fruit (a sweet almost over-ripe raspberry in particular), a bit of tar, sage, and forest floor. The palate is also juicy, but the fruit is more reserved, more in line with the earthy and herbal aspects. On the mid-palate, a bit of mocha hops in and adds some swagger. The finish is lengthy with just a hint of tannins at the very end. Nice. Excellent. 92 Points.