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 included a few of the recent releases from superstar winery Williams Selyem. My favorite of the bunch is their Westside Road Neighbors, which rarely fails to please.
A couple of wines from Medlock Ames in Alexander valley also showed relatively well this week, as did a Chardonnay from Oregon.
But the real star this week, sadly very hard to find online (call the winery if you’re inclined) was the brand new rosé from Kutch Winery. This is a seriously epic pink wine that you need to try. Good luck tracking it down!
Finally, I dragged a German Riesling out from under the pile, a nice example from the Rheingau that’s just begging for some Chinese food.
All this and more below. Enjoy!
2015 Medlock Ames “Bell Mountain Estate” Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Palest blonde in color, this wine smells of green apple candy. In the mouth, bright green apple flavors have a slightly sweet, candied aspect to them, and good (but not great) acidity to back them up. Fresh and green, but missing a little snap and complexity. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $27. click to buy.
2014 Stoller Family Estate “Reserve” Chardonnay, Dundee Hills, Oregon
Palest blonde in the glass, to the point of being nearly colorless, this wine smells of lemon curd and cold cream. In the mouth, flavors of lemon curd and cold cream have a nice snap to them, and a bit of nicely integrated oak lingering in the finish. Slightly rich, but with good acidity and balance. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $27. click to buy.
2015 Kutch Pinot Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California
Palest baby pink in color, this wine smells of wet chalkboard, watermelon rind, and rosehips. In the mouth, juicy rosehip, hibiscus, and tangy exotic citrus flavors blossom on the palate and vibrate with electric acidity. A tiny hint of salinity emerges on the finish along with a burst of citrus oils and zest that pushes salivary glands into overdrive. This is one stellar bottle of pink that should be consumed in ice cold multiples. Yowza! One of the best California rosés I’ve had in some time. 12.3% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $??
2014 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of bright cherry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth cherry and cranberry flavors are bright with juicy acidity and are backed by a light cedary, woody quality that is charming. Faint tannins grip the palate as the wine finishes slightly bitter. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $65. click to buy.
2014 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of dried flowers and raspberry pastilles. In the mouth, flavors of raspberry and crushed herbs mix with lightly leathery tannins and zingy, citrusy acidity. A tannic grip remains along with the citrus in the finish. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $90. click to buy.
2014 Williams Selyem “Westside Road Neighbors” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries, dried flowers, and cherry compote. In the mouth, flavors of dried flowers, raspberries and a hint of wet earth are nestled into suede-like tannins that persist along with citrus notes in the finish. Excellent acidity and balance. Very pretty, nuanced, and delicious. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $90. click to buy.
2013 Medlock Ames “Snakepit” Red Blend, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry pie and tobacco. In the mouth, intense cherry and black cherry flavors have a bitter chocolate edge to them, along with a bit of an espresso bite. Faint tannins dust the mouth and gain strength through the finish, which is a bit angular and sharp. Give this one a little time. A blend of 72% Merlot and 28% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.9% alcohol. 474 cases produced. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $60. click to buy.
2012 Schloss Johannisberg “Grünlack” Riesling Spätlese, Rheingau, Germany
Palest gold in color, this wine smells of honeysuckle and tangerine oil. In the mouth, moderately sweet flavors of asian pear, honeysuckle, and mandarin oranges are backed by finely filigreed acidity that could be a little more brisk to my taste. Nice flavors, though, and still quite young. 7.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $48. click to buy.
2013 Broadside “Ephemera” Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California
Dark purple in the glass, this wine smells of cassis and blackberries and black cherry. In the mouth, the wine is juicy with excellent acidity and flavors of blackberries, blueberries, and black cherry. The fruit is boisterous, and given a little structure by fine grained, subtle tannins, but lacks some complexity and depth, which it may gain with a little time. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $??.