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 some preparation for summer, in the form of a few bottles of bright crisp juiciness.
First off, take a look at the Stoller Family Vineyards rosé of Pinot Noir, which begs for a hot afternoon on which to be served ice cold. It’s nice to see people making pale, crisp, pink wines that are picked for the purpose of being rosé.
Also in the snappy department you’ll find two German Rieslings this week. The first, from the Pfalz is lean and mean, and could do with another year in the bottle, but if you like your Rieslings dry and a bit mouth puckering, the A. Christmann will satisfy. For those (like me) who appreciate just a touch of sugar with their bracing acidity, look no further than this Selbach Oster selection this week, which is a real winner.
In the red department, there’s a Pinot worth enjoying, as well as an unusually savory Napa Cabernet, and a red blend from the south of France that is so Biodynamic, it is made in a winery created from hemp. No kidding.
All this and more below. Enjoy!
2014 Kingston Family Vineyards “Sabino” Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of pineapple and lemon zest. In the mouth, juicy flavors of pineapple, lemon rind, pink grapefruit and a touch of cold cream have a nice brightness thanks to very good acidity. Nice silky texture, and long citrusy finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $26.
2013 A. Christmann Riesling Trocken, Pfalz, Germany
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of pears and mandarin orange oil. In the mouth, bright and lean flavors of mandarin oranges and unripe pears have a tart, mouthwatering finish thanks to excellent acidity. Notes of citrus pith linger in the finish. Dry. 11.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $20. click to buy.
2012 Selbach Oster “Zeltinger Himmelreich” Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken, Mosel, Germany
Light gold in color, this wine smells of honeysuckle and Asian pears. In the mouth, bright lemony pear and green apple flavors have a bright zing to them thanks to fantastic acidity. A faint sweetness makes the mouthwatering finish quite appealing and inviting. Excellent balance with a nice wet stone underbelly. 11% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.
2015 Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Rosé, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Palest baby pink in the glass, this wine smells of watermelon rind and berries. In the mouth, juicy flavors of strawberry and watermelon rind have a nice juicy citrus bite to them, along with a silky texture. Great acidity and a clean finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.
2013 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and cold cream with a touch of new oak. In the mouth, bright and silky flavors of lemon, pink grapefruit and cold cream mix with a nice underlying minerality and a faint backdrop of oak. Fresh and juicy, thanks to very good acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $32. click to buy.
2013 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet cranberry and cherry fruit. In the mouth, bright cherry and cranberry fruit has a nice cedary sweetness to it with excellent acidity and a touch of herbs on the finish. Faint tannins linger for a while with those green herbs. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.
2012 Cornerstone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of rich black cherry and tobacco. In the mouth the wine has a wonderful savory black olive character in addition to black cherry and tobacco flavors. Silky, powdery tannins float wispily at the edges of the mouth, while the silky, slightly saline flavors slide across the palate. Excellent. 14.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.
2011 Chateau Maris “Continuite de Nature” Red Blend, Minervois La Liviniere, Languedoc, France
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet black cherry compote. In the mouth, black cherry, cassis, and wet earth flavors are rich and ripe and very silky. The wine succeeds in avoiding a raisined character, but a bit more acidity would make it livelier. Smooth and ripe. 15% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.