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 Cattleya Chardonnay Alma de Cattleya, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $28. Under DIAM5. This is now the fifth consecutive vintage of the Alma de Cattleya Chard I have sampled, and it is another fantastic wine. Perhaps not as exciting as the 2020 iteration, but this is quite nice in its own right. Quite light in color, but not in aromas: intense citrus, both lemon and lime, and hints of oak and minerality. The palate has nice fruit and an intense acidity, but might need some time to settle down a bit as it seems a tad disjointed right now. Still, Excellent. 90 Points.
2021 Herdade do Esporão Vinho Regional Alentejano Monte Velho Branco, Portugal: Retail $12. 40% Antão Vaz, 40% Roupeiro, 20% Perrum. “Esporão” on the label is literally all I need to know that the wine is going to be good, if not outstanding. Even at the lower price points, the quintessential Alentajano producer delivers bottle after bottle. Case in point. Sure, this is not a wine to cellar for decades, but it is fruity, well-balanced, and delicious. Lovely citrus aromas of grapefruit and lemon zest, along with wet rock, lemon blossom, and just a hint of honey. As mentioned, quite balanced on the palate with subtle fruit, complementary tartness, and an above-average finish. Fantastic. Excellent. 90 Points.
2021 Herdade do Esporão Vinho Regional Alentejano Monte Velho Rosé, Portugal: Retail $12. Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Syrah. Agglomerated stopper. I have waxed (hopefully, at least somewhat poetically) about my affinity for Alentejo in general and Esporão in particular, so no need to delve into those waters again (but both are amazing, FYI). The estate consistently produces wines that are both of high quality and great value every vintage. This medium pink rosé, for example, is quite fruity on the nose with plenty of strawberry and cherry, with just a slight mineral note on the backend. The palate is tart, fruity, crispy, and focused. And refreshing. If this does not brighten up your afternoon, I am not sure what will. Very Good. 89 Points.
2020 Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo DOCG, Italy: Retail $28. Under DIAM3. 100% Greco di Tufo. Perhaps the best-known Greco in the world, this straw-yellow wine is quite fragrant in the glass with lemon rind, white acacia flower, and a distinct mineral aspect. The palate is fresh and pleasant with good fruit up front and a weighty mouthfeel. The acidity peeks through on the mid-palate, struggling with the fruit for dominance all the way to the medium finish. Very Good. 89 Points.
2019 Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Italy: Retail $26. Under DIAM3. 100% Fiano. As with just about everyone who tastes a bunch of wine, I am firmly in the camp that I should be trying a lot more Fiano. Every time I pop a cork of this variety found primarily in Campania and Sicily, I swear I’m going to get more of it. Pale straw in the glass with lemon, lime, and green apple on the nose. The palate is bright and focused with a lovely balance between the fruit and the tartness and an added mineral aspect that really comes through on the finish. Excellent. 90 Points.
2020 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina, Italy: Retail $22. Under synthetic stopper. 100% Falanghina. Pale straw in the glass with plenty of tree fruit, particularly pear and peach on the nose. Quite fruity and tart on the palate with a nice roundness to it as well. While this is not the most sophisticated white wine I have come across this week, it certainly is a quaffable wine that will work well with a variety of lighter dishes. Very Good. 88 Points.
2019 Silk Road Qvevri Rosé, Napareuli, Kakheti, Georgia: Retail $13. 60% Rkatsiteli and 40% Saperavi. Made using the ancient Qvevri method, which uses large qvevri (essentially amphora) which are buried in the ground for fermentation. I am not all that familiar with the wines from Georgia, and I believe this is my first rosé from the country. Quite dark in the glass, close to a red, even, with really dark fruit aromas, spice (even some cinnamon?), and a bit of earth on the nose. The palate is a bit austere, but with some dark, even really dark fruit, and a touch of tartness. At 13 bucks, there is really little risk here, and while this wine will not change your life, it is Very Good. 87 Points.
2020 Virgen del Galir Godello Valdeorras Pagos del Galir, Spain: Retail $19. 100% Godello. Under DIAM1. I do not have a ton of familiarity with Spanish wines, particularly the whites, but I have dabbled here and there. This beauty comes from the Valdeorras region in Galicia and is fantastic. Bright peach and quince fruit on the nose with a fantastically rich mouthfeel; fruity, tart, but also round and layered. Yowza. Again, I have very little experience with wines from this region, but this bottle is particularly captivating. Excellent. 91 Points.