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 tasting included a most wonderful, mineral wine made from Xarel lo, the grape predominantly responsible for most Cava wines, but here turned into a fantastically bright still wine by one of the most prestigious of Cava producers, Raventos i Blanc.
Speaking of bright, I’ve also got two German Rieslings this week, both of which have fantastically redeeming qualities.
Don’t miss the basic Pinot Noir from Thomas Fogarty, which is anything but basic, nor the juicy and crisp rosé from Bonny Doon, whose mix of southern Rhone grapes, both red and white, makes for a heck of a delicious, crispy glassful.
Finally, I continue to be impressed with the wines from Gundlach Bundschu in Sonoma, and their latest Merlot will doubtless please anyone looking for a rich but not overdone red at a nice tariff.
All these and more below!
2012 Foursight “Charles Vineyard” Semillon, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of bright lemon curd and a hint of yellow flowers. In the mouth bright lemon curd and chamomile flavors have a slightly waxy overtone. Excellent acidity. 13.2% alcohol Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost $28. click to buy.
2012 Raventos i Blanc “Silencis” Xarel lo, Penedes, Spain
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, lemon pith, and pink grapefruit. In the mouth, bright lemon juice and grapefruit juice have a nice zingy kick thanks to excellent acidity. Very fresh and bright. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost $18. click to buy.
2012 Clemens Busch “Vom Grauen Schiefer Trocken” Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of unripe pear, wet chalkboard, and a hint of citrus pith. In the mouth, unripe pear, apples, and tangerine zest mix with the faintest hint of honeysuckle sweetness. Nice acidity. 12% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost $32. click to buy.
2012 Baron Knyphausen “Kiedrich Feinherb Kabinett” Riesling, Rheingau, Germany
Palest gold with a hint of green, this wine smells of tangerine zest and wet stones. In the mouth honeysuckle and asian pear flavors mix with the bright juiciness of tangerine. Citrus zest lingers in the finish. Excellent acidity. 11% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost $??
2013 Bonny Doon Vineyard “Vin Gris de Cigare” Rosé, Central Coast, California
Pale coppery salmon pink in the glass, this wine smells of hibiscus and wet chalkboard. In the mouth, watermelon rind and strawberry flavors have a nice brisk snap to them thanks to excellent acidity. Clean and crisp. A blend of 55% Grenache, 23.5% Mourvedre, 10% Roussanne, 7% Cinsault, 2.5% Carignane, and 2% Grenache Blanc. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost $17. click to buy.
2014 Domaine Saint Aix Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, Provence, France
Pale baby pink in color, this wine smells of alpine strawberries and rhubarb compote. In the mouth, bright raspberry and citrus peel brightness mix with crisp juicy fruit and mineral notes. Just what you want in a rosé. 12.5% alcohol Score: around 9. Cost $19. click to buy.
2012 Gundlach Bundschu Merlot, Sonoma Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright plummy cocoa powder and black cherry. In the mouth, juicy black cherry and cocoa powder have a hint of espresso and tobacco to them. Faint, sandpapery tannins scrape the back of the palate. Nice acidity and juiciness. Decent finish. 14.6% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost $28. click to buy.
2012 Thomas Fogarty Winery Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of smoky raspberry and cedar aromas. In the mouth, bright raspberry and juicy cranberry fruit have a smoky, faintly tannic quality. Mysterious and interesting. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost $35. click to buy.