Hello from the bottom of the samples pile. This is the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles of wine that have crossed my doorstep recently. I’ve recently done a seriously large amount of unboxing, and some tasting to boot, so Unboxed will become a bit more regular again.
This week we’ll start the list with three wines from a relatively new entrant into the American market, and a new entrant into its home market. Lenikus is a new producer of a very old style of wine called Wiener Gemischter Satz. These wines are white field blends grown and made within the city limits of Vienna, Austria.
Unfortunately these wines are so new in the market, they’re not available online and I don’t know how much they cost. But I wanted to review them so you can keep your eye out for them. Their distinctive labels with odd creatures on them are tough to miss.
Closer to home, the Dutton-Goldfield winery continues to produce just outstanding Pinot Noirs and their Emerald Ridge vineyard is becoming one of my favorites. This one is bursting with flavor.
Moving over the mountains to Napa, we’ve got a couple nice selections this week, including the latest vintage of Continuum, which is Tim Mondavi’s project up on Pritchard Hill.
My favorite Napa wine from the pile this week was the Flora Springs Trilogy, however, both for its impeccable balance in 2010, but also for the fact that it punches well above its weight for being less than sixty bucks.
2011 Lenikus “Erinnerungsgarten Gemischter Satz” White Blend, Vienna, Austria
Pale yellow gold in color, this wine smells of pineapple and pomelo pith. In the mouth flavors of grapefruit pith, lemon zest, and green apples take on a slightly bitter edge. Good acidity keeps the wine fresh, but the bitterness lingers in the finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $??.
2011 Lenikus “Bisamberger Gemischter Satz” White Blend, Vienna, Austria
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of orange blossoms and pastry cream. In the mouth, wonderfully smoky flavors of orange peel, grapefruit, and a hint of mango mix with a deep stony quality that is quite arresting. Gorgeously silky, the wine matches the beauty of its texture with excellent acidity. 12% alcohol. Score: between 9strong> and 9.5. Cost: $??.
2011 Lenikus “Der Bisamberg Gemischter Satz” White Blend, Vienna, Austria
Light greenish gold in color, this wine smells of white flowers and honeydew rind mixed with roasted nuts. In the mouth, flavors of melon, green apple, white flowers, and wet stones swirl in a mysterious melange on the palate. Notes of pomelo pith and herbs linger in the finish. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ ??.
2009 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch Emerald Ridge Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry, raspberry, and pomegranate. In the mouth, the raspberry and cranberry fruit has a zippy brightness to it thanks to excellent acidity. Notes of sour cherry enter the finish, even as a sweet aromatic note floats through the mouth. The faintest of tannins linger with the sour cherry. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $58. click to buy.
2009 Domaine Habrard Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France
A cloudy medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sour cherries, blackberry, and black cherries. In the mouth flavors of blackberry and wet earth have a nice simplicity to them as notes of cassis and licorice linger in the finish. Faint, powdery tannins lightly dust the mouth. Good acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.
2009 Native9 “Rancho Ontiveros Vineyards” Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of brown sugar, forest floor, and raspberries. In the mouth, bright raspberry and black tea flavors mix with notes of mulling spice and forest floor amidst jubilant acidity. Zingy and bright, the wine has a hint of bitterness in the finish that reads as slightly herbal. Nice balance. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $55. click to buy.
2007 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy
Medium to dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of prunes, chocolate and a hint of sandalwood. In the mouth, the wine has a high toned quality with cherry and raisin and prune flavors backed by a darker earthier chocolate note. Hints of cedar and sandalwood linger in the finish, as do powdery tannins. Somewhat disjointed as a wine, but the elements give some pleasure. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.
2010 Continuum Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cassis, black cherry, and chocolate. In the mouth sweet cherry and chocolate are married to notes of smoky espresso and well-integrated new oak. Bright acidity keeps the fruit fresh and supple, powdery tannins add to the silky texture. A touch too much wood for my taste, but undeniably a polished, pretty wine. 14.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $170. click to buy.
2010 Flora Springs “Trilogy” Red Wine, Napa Valley, California
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and tobacco. In the mouth, deep black cherry and cassis flavors are wrapped in a suede throw of tannins. The fruit turns sweet in the finish, with well integrated new oak lending a hint of vanilla to the dark fruit and cocoa powder. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $53. click to buy.
2010 Signorello Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cassis with a hint of blackberry. In the mouth black cherry and blackberry flavors mix with tacky, muscular tannins and a nice earthy or forest floor note. The oak signature of this wine is quite faint and well integrated. Good acidity and balance. 14.4% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $80. click to buy.
2010 Shafer Vineyards “One Point Five” Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District, Napa, California
Inky garnet in color, this wine smells of ripe cherry and tobacco. In the mouth, cherry, cassis, and tobacco flavors are wrapped in a fleece blanket of tannins. Bright acidity keeps the wine fresh, though there is a touch of heat in the finish, perhaps not surprising at 15.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $72. click to buy.