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Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 13, 2015

Hello, and welcome (back — I’ve been too busy to open boxes lately) 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 Rieslings from Ontario Canada, which is producing really super wines that no one seems to know about here in the US. Unfortunately that goes for distributors, too, which means they’re tough to get ahold of.

A new wine project in Oregon’s Willamette Valley called Vinum Ferus caught my attention with this rosé of Pinot Noir that is quite savory and delicious. I’ll be looking forward to tasting other wines from this young producer.

It’s been some time since I tasted through the Flower’s Winery portfolio, but if their 2012 Camp Meeting Ridge Pinot is any indication, they’re really doing great work these days.

For those into big rich Cabernet, you’ll want to check out the latest vintage of Continuum, from Tim Mondavi. I think I prefer the 2011 to the 2012, but this is a solid wine to be sure.

Finally, check out a few new releases from Kingston Family Vineyards in the Casablanca Valley in Chile. Their Lucero syrah, in particular is worth seeking out.

All these and more below. Enjoy!

2013 Thirty Bench Riesling, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lime oil and green apples. In the mouth, wonderfully bright green apple and lime juice flavors mix with crackling acidity and a wonderfully balanced sweetness. The wine gives an overall impression of being off-dry, though I suspect the acidity masks some of the sweetness. In any case, a perfectly delightful and picture-perfect Riesling. 10.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $??

2013 Cave Spring Riesling, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
Palest gold with a hint of green, this wine smells of linalool, pear, and a touch of mandarin orange juice. In the mouth, green apple, pear, and mandarin orange flavors have a nice mineral backbone and SweetTart juiciness to them. A chalky sensation lingers in the finish. 11% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2013 Kingston Family Vineyards “Sabine” Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of white flowers, cold cream, and butter-roasted apples. In the mouth, lemon curd, apples, and a hint of buttered popcorn have a snappy, zippy bounce to them thanks to excellent if a bit angular acidity. The wine leaves a chalk dust dryness in the mouth. Needs a year to settle, I’d guess. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $??

2014 Vinum Ferus Rosé of Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pale salmon pink in color, this wine smells of strawberries and rosehips. In the mouth, crushed green herbs, rosehips and alpine strawberry flavors seem filtered through a lovely crushed stone minerality. Citrus peel notes linger in the finish with a hint of sweat or saline that is quite charming. 12.13% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $18. click to buy.

2012 Flowers “Camp Meeting Ridge” Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, California
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wonderful briary raspberry and raspberry leaf. In the mouth, beautifully sweet raspberry and cherry flavors are touched with a hint of cedar and vanilla, and backed up by the savory flavors of crushed dried herbs. Wonderfully balanced and pure with juicy acidity and nice depth. An incredibly beautiful wine. 12.9% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $90. click to buy.

2012 Continuum Proprietary Red Wine, Napa Valley, Californa
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and tobacco. In the mouth, sweet cherry, chocolate, tobacco and the vanilla of oak mix in a pleasing and rather ripe concoction. The purity of the fruit is quite compelling despite leaning towards the high octane side of the spectrum. Good acidity and length. 15% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $195. click to buy.

2013 Raptor Ridge “Barrel Select” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberries and black raspberries. In the mouth the fruit leans towards the darker, bluer end of the spectrum, and a nice earthiness layers in underneath the fruit. Good acidity and length. 12.5% alcohol. Closed with stelvin. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2013 Raptor Ridge “Shea Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of candied raspberries and a hint of mushroom. In the mouth, bright and tart sour cherry, raspberry, and redcurrant flavors mix with a hint of crushed herbs and a nice wet chalkboard minerality. Faint tannins dust the edges of the mouth. Excellent acidity. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $54. click to buy.

2013 Kingston Family Vineyards “Tobiano” Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberries, cherries and wet earth. In the mouth, lively and pure raspberry fruit mixes with a darker earthier note that is accentuated by dusty tannins. Dried herbs surface in the finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2013 Kingston Family Vineyards “Alazan” Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of candied raspberry rolled in wet earth and crushed green herbs. In the mouth the wine has dusty tannins that wrap around a core of cherry and raspberry fruit tinged with green leaf. Excellent acidity and length. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $32. click to buy.

2013 Kingston Family Vineyards “CJ’s Barrel” Syrah, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Dark purple in color, this wine smells of cassis and blueberry jam. In the mouth, dark cassis and blackberry fruit is dusted with the faintest layer of tannins as flavors of white pepper and a touch of earth lingers in the finish. Excellent acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $??

2013 Kingston Family Vineyards “Lucero” Syrah, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Very dark purple in color, this wine smells of wonderfully floral cassis and blackberry fruit. In the mouth, gorgeous flavors of cassis and blackberry have a black pepper spiciness that wonderfully counterpoints the candied violet note that sings above the dark fruit. Rich without being heavy, intense without being jammy. Great acidity and length. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.