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 Azienda Agricola Corvezzo Prosecco, Veneto, Italy: This is my second go around on this wine and while I liked the first bottle, this iteration comes off as slightly better, particularly since it seems less sweet than I remember (a good thing), but all the other notes remain pertinent: “Fairly light in the glass with loads of green apple and a hint of wet rock. The palate comes off as a tad sweet but there is good acidity and a touch of depth. A solid wine in a category that frankly is often disappointing.” Very Good. 89 Points.
2020 Azienda Agricola Corvezzo Rosé Prosecco, Veneto, Italy: Retail $13. Glera and Pinot Nero. “Organic & Vegan.” While rosé Prosecco is relatively new to the wine-tasting world, many (including me) are no stranger to the Corvezzo brand. This is the second iteration of the rosé, I believe, and although I did not taste the 2019, this 2020 is a fabulous effort. Citrus (mostly lime) and floral notes dominate the nose (along with a cleansing mineral aspect), but the palate is more red fruit in nature. Yes, that mineral aspect persists–a bit of a wet rock vibe in the mouth, with a spunky sparkle and a lengthy finish. A tad sweeter than I think it needs to be, but this is fabulous. Excellent. 90 Points.
2020 Azienda Agricola Corvezzo Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie Organic & Vegan, Veneto, Italy: Retail $13. Heavy bottle. Under screw cap. Pale straw with a bit of a green tint in the glass with a bit of a lemon-lime Sprite thing going on aroma-wise. On the palate, this comes off as a bit sweet, which might be a byproduct of the intense fruitiness, but nonetheless…. Round, fruity, a bit flabby, but quaffable in a “I don’t really mind what I am drinking” kind of way. Good. 86 Points.
2020 Cline Cellars Zinfandel Ancient Vines, Contra Costa County, CA: Retail $16. 100% Zinfandel. I have mixed feelings about Zinfandel, “America’s Grape.” First and foremost, I embrace it, particularly when it is focused and done well. Second, I prefer my Zin when it is made with at least a modicum of restraint; far too often the variety is left to grow with reckless abandon and the result is usually, well, reckless. This Zin, by the venerable producer Cline, is right down the middle. Sure, there is a ton of fruit and sure, it comes off as a bit extracted, but there is plenty to champion here. Fruit, verve, tartness, and a touch of complexity are all present, but the combination of those components falls just a tad short (if only a tad). Very Good. 89 Points.
2020 Metz Road Pinot Noir Riverview, Monterey County, CA: Retail $36. Heavy Bottle. Under cork. Medium color, ruby red not really close to translucent, with aromas of black cherry, a mineral note, and an herbal quality (sage?). The palate is wonderfully fruity, but not in a fruit-bomb kind of way at all–this celebrates the fantastic Californian climate (at least for now) with bits of spice and a balancing tartness. Very nice. Excellent. 90 Points.
2018 Qupé Grenache, Santa Barbara County, CA: Retail $30. Under screw cap. 33% Whole Cluster. While not all that familiar with Qupé, I have taken a lap or two with their wines and while rarely blown away, they have all been consistent: solid, tasty, and honest. Black cherry (on the verge of Kool-Aid) on the nose with a hint of earth and a splash of spice. Good fruit on the palate as well (but much less Kool-Aid-y) with high-tartness and above-average depth. Falls just short of “Excellent”. Very Good. 89 Points.
2019 Sokol Blosser Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, OR: Retail $38. Under DIAM5. Fermented in concrete egg (20%) and oak barrels (80%, 20% new), then aged in both concrete and oak for 10 months. Yellow straw in the glass with pineapple, lemon curd, a mineral aspect, and white flower. The palate is quite nice, with nice fruit, a bit of weight, balanced acidity, and a lengthy finish. A very nice Chard from one of my favorite wine regions. Excellent. 90 Points.
2019 Sosie Cabernet Sauvignon Charlie Smith Vineyard, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Valley, CA: Retail $75. Big. Ass. Bottle. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I have been sampling Sosie wines for some time now and I am always impressed (and I am not talking about the overly heavy bottles they use). Quite dark, on the verge of gloomy, with oodles of dark fruit parading on the nose: plum, blackberry, cassis. Close to a whoa right there. The palate is fruity, yes, but also complex and intriguing: layers of fruit, spice, earth, tartness. I could perhaps wax about this wine for some time, but the end result is that it is both approachable and sophisticated. I don’t often fawn over Sonoma Cabernets, but this one is worthy. And then some. Whoa. Outstanding. 94 Points.