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Vinography Unboxed: Week of 6/21/20

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 excellent values from Italy among other places. Two of them came from Gioacchino Garafoli, a dynastic producer in the Marche that’s been making wine under their last name since the late 1800s. Their Verdicchio and their Rosé of Montepulciano are both steals at $15 and under as is their red Montepulciano named Piancarda. Their slightly elevated, oak-aged Verdicchio is also worth paying attention to.

Sticking with Italy for the moment I’ve also got a couple more wines from Veneto producer Inama. Their Vigneti di Carbonare Soave Classico has a faint whisper of wood to it and is quite lemony tasty, while the difficult-to-pronounce “Bradisismo” blend of Cabernet and Carmenere is also quite tasty in its herbal, red fruit goodness.

I’ve reviewed the wines of Acumen previously, but their newest Sauvignon Blanc has just been released, and it’s worth a look for classic lemon-lime essence.

The Jordan Chardonnay is likewise dependably tasty, and a relative bargain at $35.

The real star of this week, however, is a small production rosé made by Kathleen Inman in the Russian River Valley. It’s deliciously bright, juicy, fruity, and snappy, with that gorgeously silky texture that Pinot Noir rosé can have if treated right. This is a wine picked and pressed for rosé, and its worth the slightly higher tariff you’re paying for basically single-vineyard pink Pinot Noir.

In addition to all these, I’ve got Flora Springs’ Merlot and Jordan’s Cabernet below as well, both solid examples of their form.

Tasting Notes:

2017 Inama “Vigneti di Carbonare” Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy
Light gold in color, this wine smells of ripe golden apples warmed by the sun. In the mouth, juicy pear and lemon pith flavors have a hint of butteriness to them, and a touch of butterscotch in the finish. Excellent acidity makes the mouth water and a nice wet chalkboard minerality lingers for a while. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $29. click to buy.

2019 Acumen “Mountainside” Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and grapefruit. In the mouth, lemon and lime flavors mix with a touch of cut grass and sweet celery. Good acidity and length, with a hint of herbal bitterness in the finish. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2019 Garafoli “Macrina” Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC, Marche, Italy
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and pears. In the mouth, zingy lemony pear and apple flavors have a nice wet chalkboard background to them. Floral notes linger in the finish. 13% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15. click to buy.

2017 Garafoli “Podium” Verdicchio, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC, Marche, Italy
Pale yellow-gold in color, this wine smells of lemon and grapefruit pith with a hint of oak. In the mouth, flavors of lemon and grapefruit mix with a touch of buttery vanilla. Good acidity and length. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2018 Jordan Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of buttered popcorn and lemon curd. In the mouth, lemon curd and grapefruit flavors have a nice brightness thanks to very good acidity. A faint hint of toastiness lingers in the finish with notes of lemon curd and grapefruit pith. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2019 Inman Family Winery “Endless Crush – OGV Estate” Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Pale baby pink in color, this wine smells of strawberries and watermelon rind. In the mouth, juicy watermelon rind, berries and hibiscus have a fantastic bright snap to them thanks to excellent acidity. Crisp, clean and quite delicious, a tiny bit of kumquat lingers with the berries in the finish. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2019 Garafoli “Komaros” Montepulciano Rosato, Marche, Italy
Pale ruby pink in color, this wine smells of watermelon rind. In the mouth, crisp and bright flavors of watermelon rind and hibiscus have a nice bounce thanks to excellent acidity. A faint sour cherry note lingers in the finish. Pretty. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $12. click to buy.

2017 Inman Family Winery Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth, cherry and cedar and raspberry mix with an earthier, forest floor quality. Faint tannins dust the edges of the mouth as the wine lingers with a touch of dried herbs. Good acidity and length. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $68. click to buy.

2016 Inama “Bradisismo” Red Blend, Veneto, Italy
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and chopped green herbs and a touch of green bell pepper. In the mouth, flavors of cherry and cola mix with green herbs and touch of dark earth. Excellent acidity and fine grained, dusty tannins. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Carmenere. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2017 Flora Springs Merlot, Napa Valley, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and black plum. In the mouth, plummy cherry and cassis mix with chocolate and a touch of tobacco. Good acidity and well-integrated wood leave a mocha note in the finish. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2017 Garafoli “Piancarda” Rosso Conero, Marche, Italy
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry and a touch of woodsmoke and leather. In the mouth, black cherry and blackberry flavors have earthier, leathery notes but excellent acidity that gives a citrus kick to the dark fruit. Leathery tannins feel somewhat restrained around the edges of the mouth. Hints of herbs in the finish. Made with the Montepulciano grape. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $16. click to buy.

2016 Jordan Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma, California
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and cola. In the mouth, black cherry and cola flavors are smooth and nestled into a gauzy bed of tannins. A hint of herbs lingers in the finish, with a fresh, medium-bodied feel to the wine, thanks to its restrained 13.8% alcohol. Good acidity, but not super dynamic. Even-keel and pleasant. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $58. click to buy.