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Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 1, 2015

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week’s trove of bottles included a very nice Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina that I might delight even the most jaded palate. There were a few nice Pinots in there, too, from Dutton-Goldfield, Sojourn Cellars, and Foursight wines out in Anderson Valley.

Finally, I dug up a couple of bottles that have been languishing for some time hidden underneath some others that showed quite well in their age-mellowed state, thanks to tiny producer Blue Rock Vineyards in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley.

All these and more below!

2011 Palacios Remondo “Placet” Viura, Rioja, Spain
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of buttered popcorn and cold cream. In the mouth, juicy buttered popcorn, lemon curd, white peaches, and cold cream flavors have a nice harmony, but don’t necessarily taste like white Rioja to me, even though it is 100% Viura. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2012 Sojourn Cellars “Sangiacomo Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried flowers, green herbs, and raspberry fruit. In the mouth, rich, even faintly sweet, raspberry and cranberry fruit flavors are tinged with a green herbal note that leans towards green willow bark, perhaps suggesting some whole cluster fermentation. Faint tacky tannins grip the top of the mouth as the wine finishes green and herbal. Good acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $54 click to buy.

2013 Tomero Torrontes, Mendoza, Argentina
Light yellow gold in color, this wine smells of rose petals, and green melon. In the mouth, smooth and silky flavors of melon, papaya, and exotic citrus have a nice weight on the palate and a faint spicy kick at the end. Very pretty, though a little more acid would make it outstanding. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: click to buy.

2012 Foursight “Charles Vineyard – Clone 5” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Very light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and raspberry leaf. In the mouth, crystalline flavors of raspberry and green herbs mix with a beautiful earthy and wet stone minerality. Faint but muscular tannins add complexity. Excellent acidity. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: click to buy.

2013 Foursight “Charles Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of golden apples and a hint of citrus. In the mouth citrusy apple flavors have a light bouncy quality thanks to bright acidity. Tasty but not profound. 13.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: click to buy.

2012 Sojourn Cellars “Durell Vineyard” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Light to medium yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of pineapple and lemon curd. In the mouth, lemon curd and cold cream flavors have a nice silkiness, but perhaps not enough acid to make them shine. Good flavor but falls a little flat. 14.3% alcohol. 275 cases produced. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $48 click to buy.

2009 Chateau du Moulin-a-Vent Gamay, Moulin-a-Vent, Beaujolais, Burgundy, France
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of ripe plum and mulberries. In the mouth gorgeous mulberry and black raspberry flavors are wrapped in gauzy tannins and underscored by a deep forest floor earthiness. Notes of pepper and dried herbs emerge on the finish. Rich. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: click to buy.

2008 Blue Rock Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of grapes and raisins and dark cherry fruit. In the mouth, juicy black cherry and raisin flavors mix with a faint cedar quality. Powdery tannins are quite subdued on the palate. 14.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: click to buy.

2009 Blue Rock Vineyards “Baby Blue” Red Blend, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark ruby in color, this wine smells of cherry, tobacco, and wet earth tinged with fennel seed. In the mouth, very pretty, bright cherry, cedar, and cola flavors take on a fennel seed quality again as they linger on the finish. Excellent acidity and faint, tacky tannins round out a nicely balanced package. A blend of 39% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Syrah. Score: around 9. Cost: click to buy.

2011 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch – Freestone Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberries and cherries. In the mouth, juicy cranberry and sour cherry flavors have a wonderful SweetTart quality to them along with a deep wet chalkboard minerality. Excellent acidity and faint but muscular tannins round out the package. Lovely. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: click to buy.

2011 Dutton Goldfield “Azaya Ranch Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Marin County, California
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of crushed raspberry and raspberry leaf shot through with crystalline rainwater and peeled willow bark. In the mouth, gorgeous stony flavors of raspberry and cranberry fruit have a faint herbal tinge to them even as they crackle with acidity. Deeply rocky and wonderfully fresh and bright, this wine is a fantastic mouthful from start to finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: click to buy.