The Random Samples—3/31/2023

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.

2020 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja Organic, Spain: Retail $15. 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano. I have had a few wines from Cune, a large cooperative in Spain, and they all have been well-made and very good values. No exception here. Fairly dark in the glass, and the nose is quite fruity, on the verge of a Jolly Rancher kind of fruit. The palate follows with juicy fruit, particularly upfront, followed by some tar and earth. At fifteen bucks, one could do a lot worse. Very Good. 89 Points.

2021 Fresh Vine Sauvignon Blanc, California: Retail $19. Under screw cap. I thought I was done for the night, but I decided to pop this as it would effectively put me only five months behind in samples. So, giddy-up. More than a bit grassy on the nose with some citrus and tropical fruit, the palate is also quite fruity, green, a bit mineral, and a touch dusty. I am not a huge SB fan, but this is a solid effort. Very Good. 88 Points.

2021 Pellegrini Family Vineyards Nouveau of Pinot Noir Olivet Lane Estate, Russian River Valley, CA: Retail $40. 100% Pinot Noir. 100% Carbonic Maceration. All cards on the table: I get really nervous when I see a carbonic maceration wine outside of Beaujolais. Really nervous. Why? The folks in Beaujolais have been doing it for a while. A loooong while. In the Willamette Valley? In Lodi? In the Russian River Valley? A few heart beats in comparison. So when this bottle landed on my doorstop from the fine people at Pelligrini? I was worried. Really worried. But. It is freaking amazing. Yeah. Not the most introspective wine in the world, but there is a ton of gorgeous fruit, oodles of lip-smacking acidity, and a wine (particularly when served slightly chilled) that is just a joy to drink. Bravo. Excellent. 92 Points.

2019 Pellegrini Family Vineyards Chardonnay Skin Fermented, Sonoma Coast, CA: Retail $35. Under cork. This is the inaugural vintage for this wine, a skin-fermented Chardonnay which, frankly, you do not see all that often (if at all). According to the website, the fermenting grapes remained in contact with the skins for 14 days, which resulted in increased color (a decided golden hue), an appealing roundness (the wine also went through 100% malolactic fermentation), and an alluring depth of flavor. Since I really don’t have a comparison for this wine, it is difficult to judge, but I do know that I like it. A lot. And even more when it approached room temperature. Excellent. 92 Points.

2020 Perlino Prosecco Rosé Extra-Dry, Veneto, Italy: Retail $16? I searched, but I could not find any information about this wine online. I imagine it is close to 90% Glera with 10% Pinot Nero for the color. This is the second vintage that rosé Prosecco has been allowed, and this Perlino is a a lot of fun. A cotton candy pink in the glass with red fruit and white flower, the palate is certainly fruity, with a hint of sweetness, and overall nice balance. For the price? A solid effort. Very Good. 88 Points.

2021 Quivira Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, CA: Retail $20. 96% Sauvignon Blanc, 4% Sémillon. I have said a thousand times that SB is not my favorite variety, in fact it is very far from it, but I do enjoy it when it is well made. As this one is. Pale straw that might be more green than yellow with citrus and grassy notes on the nose. The palate is quite, even very, tart, with a lovely mineral aspect and loads of fruit. The finish, while expressive, is a bit short, but still quite nice. Excellent. 90 Points.

2021 Quivira Sauvignon Blanc Fig Tree Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, CA: Retail $30. Heavy bottle. Under cork. This is the second Quivira Sauvignon Blanc I cracked tonight and this second bottle? Whoa, nellie. Yeah, I know. I always say that I am not a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, but the unsaid word is “bad” Sauvignon Blanc. Pale straw with a hint of green and an amazing nose of melon, kiwi, and pineapple–quite aromatic. The palate is even more impressive with rich fruit that is also quite tart and has a delightful mineral aspect (now, where did I put my oysters?). The finish is both layered and lengthy. Whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.

2020 Villa Sandi Prosecco Il Fresco Millesimato Brut Rosé, Veneto, Italy: Retail $20. “Glera e Pinot Nero.” I have had many (most?) of the numerous wines produced by Villa Sandi at this point, but this is the first rosé. In my defense, this is only the second vintage of rosé Prosecco at this point, so I choose not to be too hard on myself for missing the first vintage (2019). By law (at least to this point), rosé Prosecco has to be vintage-dated, but can only be produced under the less stringent and less prestigious DOC classification. Good fruit here on both the nose and the palate, but there is definitely some sweetness here that detracts, at least in my book. Still, for under twenty bucks, this is a fine effort. Very Good. 87 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 Chardonnay, Glera, Graciano, Grenache, Pinot Nero, Pinot Noir, Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Tempranillo, Wine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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