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 2014 Pinots from the ever-consistent Dutton Goldfield, whose wines are quite dependably excellent on the whole, and their Marin county wines particularly good.
I also tasted another Pinot from Foursight Wines in Anderson Valley, whose generally light touch makes for some delicate, very light colored Pinot that I really enjoy.
For those looking for something a bit more robust (both in flavor and in price), I can recommend the Hexameter, a Cabernet Franc dominated blend from Ovid Napa Valley, a gorgeous property on Pritchard Hill in Napa (which, coincidentally was just sold this week to Silver Oak).
Finally, it might be worth looking into a little winery called Troon Vineyard in the middle of nowhere, Oregon, also known as the Applegate Valley, which turned out quite a respectable rendition of Vermentino with a dash of Sauvignon Blanc.
2014 Foursight Wines “Charles Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
Light ruby in color, this wine smells of raspberry and cherry fruit. In the mouth, raspberry and raspberry leaf flavors mix with a nice citrus peel quality and a faint tacky tannin texture that is very appealing. Notes of sweet fruit and herbs linger in the finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $48. click to buy.
2015 Tessier Winery Grenache, El Dorado, Sierra Foothills, California
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of strawberries and tea leaves. In the mouth, slightly sweetish flavors of strawberry and cherry mix with notes of herbs and a touch of milk chocolate. Interesting character. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.
2014 Troon Vineyard Vermentino, Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of freshly cut golden apples and a hint of lemon peel. In the mouth, lemon peel, lemon curd, and a hint of woody yeastiness mix with a bright citrus snap thanks to excellent acidity. Fresh and refreshing with a nice pink grapefruit note lingering in the finish. Contains 20% Sauvignon Blanc. 12.5% alcohol. Closed with screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25. click to buy.
2013 Ovid “Hexameter” Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and tobacco and chocolate. In the mouth, chocolate and cherry flavors are wrapped in a gauzy skein of fine-grained tannins. Juicy notes of cherry mix with sweet oak and a hint of graphite. The oak sticks out a bit, and there’s a touch of heat on the finish, but this is undeniably pretty. Contains some small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. 14.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $300 click to buy.
2014 Dutton Goldfield “Fox Den Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, bright flavors of cranberry and cherry mix with a nice muddy earthy background with a hint of blueberry on the finish. Faint, fine grained tannins and excellent acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $62. click to buy.
2014 Dutton Goldfield “Devil’s Gulch Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Marin County, California
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine has a slightly shy nose of wet pavement and raspberry aromas. In the mouth, juicy raspberry and cranberry flavors have a nice snap to them thanks to excellent acidity. Faint tannins drape a feathery blanket around the core of fruit. Lovely. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $68. click to buy.
2014 Dutton Goldfield “Dutton Ranch – Emerald Ridge Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Green Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and pomegranate. In the mouth, juicy cherry and raspberry fruit flavors are pure and crystalline in the mouth, while faint but muscular tannins coat the edges of the mouth. Juicy acidity and great length. 13.5% alcohol Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $62. click to buy.
2014 Ridge Vineyards “Lytton Estate” Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Inky purple in the glass, this wine smells of woodsmoke and crushed blueberries. In the mouth, blueberry and blackberry fruit flavors are cushioned in a voluminous fleecy blanket of tannin while notes of cassis linger in the finish along with the coconutty flavors of American oak. Good acidity means that this wine will be even better in 5 years. Give it some time. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.