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 couple of tasty rosés made from Pinot Noir, one from the Sonoma Coast, the other from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Both are worth seeking out.
There’s also a Chardonnay from a very cute little outfit in Oregon called Big Table Farm, who have been making individualistic, small production wines with minimalist techniques for a few years.
Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to the 2012 edition of Truchard’s Cabernet which always feels like it is from a cooler site (it is) but especially so in a year like 2012, where so many wines are thick and flabby. This wine has a wonderful lean muscular quality that is very compelling.
All this and more below. Enjoy!
2014 Stoller Family Estate Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of Asian pears and cold cream and apples. In the mouth, green apple and a hint of lemony citrus mix with a nice crisp juiciness thanks to excellent acidity. A hint of bread yeast lingers in the finish along with a nice lemon peel brightness. 13.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.
2013 Big Table Farm Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and citrus pith. In the mouth, wonderfully rich flavors of lemon curd and a hint of tropical fruit are wedded to a deeper mineral backbone. Silky in texture, the wine is slightly softer in acidity than I might like, but the flavor profile is very pretty. Moderate finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $44. click to buy.
2013 Baker Lane Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California
Palest baby pink in the glass, this wine smells of wet stone and watermelon rind. In the mouth, it is quite silky, with flavors of rosehip, watermelon rind, and wet stone slick with rainwater. A very mineral wine with a faint salinity in the finish. Quite savory and delicious. 12% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.
2013 Stoller Family Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light, bright pink in the glass, this wine smells of hibiscus, pink bubblegum, and berries. In the mouth, a combination of unripe strawberry and watermelon rind flavors have a nice crisp snap to them and a surprisingly silky texture. The finish turns more bitter than I’d like.12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $20. click to buy.
2014 Stoller Family Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light baby pink in color, this wine smells of watermelon and watermelon rind with a hint of tomato leaf. In the mouth, bright flavors of watermelon and strawberry have a nice silky aspect to them, and a brisk snap thanks to excellent acidity. Juicy and bright. There’s a hint of bitterness in the finish. 12.9% alcohol.Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.
2013 En Route “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of black raspberries and cherries. In the mouth, sweet flavors of raspberry jam and cherry mix with a hint of forest floor and the vanilla of oak. Decent acidity keeps this wine from being too jammy, but the sweet fruit definitely dominates the palate. Likely a crowd pleaser of a wine, but not enough nuance and verve to really light my fire. 14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $55. click to buy.
2010 Cornerstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain, Napa, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry, tobacco, and green herbs. In the mouth, beautifully bright flavors of cherry, tobacco, mocha, and a hint of minty green herbs have a wonderfully juicy complexion thanks to excellent acidity. The mint note lingers in the finish with a hint of cracked pepper. 14.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $70. click to buy.
2007 Groth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, Napa, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry, cedar, and oak. In the mouth, the wine has beautifully bright acidity that makes cherry and cedar flavors quite juicy, even as they remain enclosed in a fleecy blanket of tannins. Juicy and long. Earthy finish.14.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $100 click to buy.
2012 Truchard Cabernet Sauvignon, Carneros, Napa, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of crushed mint, tobacco, and dark cherry fruit. In the mouth, cherry and tobacco flavors have a hint of greenness to them — touches of both mint and green bell pepper — and a dusting of faint tannins. A juicy core of fruit makes sure this wine remains pleasing through the finish, with hints of green herbs. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $38. click to buy.