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 really lovely new find in the form of a Carignan from Redwood Valley, from a producer I have never heard of named Vinca Minor. It turns out to be a husband and wife project run by Jason Edward Charles and Emily O’Hara Charles. He waited tables, got the wine bug, worked a harvest and then went to France for a couple of years before coming back to start his own thing. The Carignan is quite young yet, and needs some air if you’re going to drink it now, but best lay it down for 2 years for a very nice treat indeed. As a bonus, as you can see below, the labels for the wines are quite beautiful.
Quivira Vineyards offered up a classically styled Sauvignon Blanc this week, and there were a couple of easy drinking whites from Piemonte as well.
Getting back to reds, the other highlight this week was a lovely, smooth Nebbiolo from producer Deltetto in Roero. Smooth strawberry goodness with a hint of spices make this wine a winner for anyone who can get their hands on a bottle.
All this and more below.
2015 Gallica Albariño, Calaveras, Sierra Foothills, California
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of lemon and lime and a hint of apple. In the mouth, fresh fuji apple flavors have a nice snap to them thanks to good acidity, but there’s a weightiness to this wine that I don’t usually expect from Albariño. The flavors are nice, but the wine is missing something zippy. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $36. click to buy.
2015 Deltetto Arneis, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and citrus pith. In the mouth, green apple and citrus pith flavors have quite the zing thanks to excellent acidity. They leave a sour greengauge plum flavor on the palate along with notes of candied lime in the finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15. click to buy.
2015 La Scolca “Soldati” Cortese di Gavi, Gavi, Piedmont, Italy
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of sweet green apple. In the mouth, green apple and wet chalkboard flavors are zingy with excellent acidity. Juicy and bright and very easy to drink, this is a quaffing wine if there ever was one. Not complicated, but quite tasty. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $18. click to buy.
2015 Quivira Vineyards “Fig Tree Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc. Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in the glass this wine smells of sweet gooseberries and passionfruit. In the mouth, bright passionfruit and gooseberry flavors mix with green apple amidst the vibrating electricity of fantastic acidity. Fresh, juicy and bright. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $24.
2015 Vinca Minor Carignan, Redwood Valley, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cola and berries and a hint of struck match. In the mouth, wonderfully juicy forest berries and bramble flavors have a bright leanness to them with notes of sour cherry in the finish. Excellent acidity, and the faintest of tannins. Very young yet, and would benefit from a year or two of bottle age (plus a vigorous decanting), but quite a tasty wine. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $32. click to buy.
2011 Deltetto “Riserva Braja” Nebbiolo, Roero, Piedmont, Italy
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of strawberries and cedar. In the mouth, lovely strawberry, strawberry jam, cedar and dried floral flavors are backed by powdery tannins and enlivened by juicy acidity. Wonderfully smooth and mellow on the palate, this wine lingers deliciously through a long finish. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $22. click to buy.
2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of struck match and black plums. In the mouth, flavors of black plum and black cherry have a nice juiciness to them, without much wood influence. Good acidity and faint, supple tannins round out the picture. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $28. click to buy.
2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Hillside & Benchland Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry cola with a hint of struck match. In the mouth, cherry cola and sour cherry flavors have a nice SweetTart sourness to them in the finish. Excellent acidity. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $17. click to buy.