Vineyards

Week of 10/03/21: Vinography

Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples begging to be tasted. I’m happy to bring you the latest installment from Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the best bottles that have come through my door recently.

This week featured a cheerful wine that bears the longest name of any grape variety in the world: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico. Phew. I’m exhausted just typing it. But luckily, it’s a refreshing bite of citrus and pear that gets the job done for $ 15.

Perhaps a little more serious would be the new Rhone-style white blend from Troon Vineyards in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Their blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier has a nice complexity and a nice acidity. Below, I also review their red Rhône blend, which is just as pleasant. So check them both out.

The venerable Williams selyem estate sent in a few current releases this week, including their Lewis MacGregor Vineyard Chardonnay, which does this interesting tip of being sort of rich and lean at the same time, and two of their best Pinot Noirs from a single vineyard, including the Weir Vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands and the famous Rochioli Riverblock in the Russian River Valley. Weir’s bottling is spectacular and ready to drink now or to improve for another decade. The Riverblock bottling is characteristically rich, and inflected with the citrus quality of this site’s orange peel, and could do with a few years (5-7, ideally) in the bottle before drinking.

I received an Argentinian Malbec from the Uco Valley in Mendoza that I had never heard of before, and I was surprised at how tasty it was, much more earthy, even mushy than the fruit of vibrant blueberry you’d expect from Argentinian Malbec. I’m not sure it’s totally successful, but it’s quite interesting.

Speaking of salty, the latest version of Smith-Madrone has its usual quotient of umami-rich fruit for anyone interested in old-school Napa Cabernet.

For those looking for something more traditionally daring Napa-style, I also have notes on the latest Cabernet from Faust, which will envelop you in a cloak of darkness and flavor.

It’s all for this week. Notes on all of these wines follow below.

Tasting notes

2020 Garafoli “Serra del Conte” Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Marche, Italy
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of lemon zest and chamomile tea. On the palate, juicy and lively flavors of lemon and pink grapefruit mingle with a hint of Asian pear. Silky texture, with good acidity. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screw cap. Note: approximately 8.5. Cost: $ 14. click to buy.

2020 Troon Vineyard “Côtes du Kubli Blanc – Cowhorn Vineyard” Mélange Blanc, Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon
Clear gold in the glass with green reflections, this wine smells of lemon cucumber, white flowers and star fruit. On the palate, juicy flavors of lemon cucumber, peach, citrus marrow, golden apples and a hint of dried herbs have a nice, slightly tannic grip, as well as excellent acidity. A blend of 55% Roussanne, 25% Marsanne and 20% Viognier cultivated in biodynamics. 12.6% alcohol. Note: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ 35.

2019 Williams Selyem “Lewis MacGregor Estate Vineyard” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, CA
Light greenish gold in color, this wine gives off an odor of pomelo marrow and pastry cream. On the palate, the lively flavors of lemon curd and candied pink grapefruit present a beautiful liveliness thanks to an excellent acidity, but also a beautiful silky texture. There’s a richness here, but it’s nicely balanced by the acid, making for a creamy and satisfying palate. 14.4% alcohol. Note: approximately 9. Cost: $ 100. click to buy.

Pinot Noir Williams Selyem “Weir Vineyard” 2019, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino, California
With a medium cloudy garnet color, this wine gives off a scent of sweet cherry and raspberry. On the palate, beautifully aromatic flavors of raspberry pastilles, raspberry leaf and fresh flowers float on the palate with light powdery tannins coating the tongue. Exceptional acidity, balance and complexity. 13.9% alcohol. Note: approximately 9.5. Cost: $ 100. click to buy.

2019 Williams Selyem “Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine gives off notes of black cherry and raspberry with hints of orange peel. On the palate, rich flavors of cherry, raspberry and orange peel mingle with a touch of cedar and earth. Notes of dried herbs persist with a note of orange zest on the finish. Excellent acidity. Light and adherent tannins. 14.1% alcohol. Note: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ 140. click to buy.

2019 Troon Vineyard “Côtes du Kubli Red” Red Mix, Applegate Valley, Southern Oregon
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine gives off slightly meaty flavors of blackberry and boysenberry. On the palate, powdery tannins coat the mouth and gradually flex their muscles, tightening around a core of black cherry and blackberry tinged with dried herbs. Excellent acidity and a slightly tart cherry note on the finish. Blend of 84% Syrah and 16% Grenache grown in biodynamics. 12.7% alcohol. Note: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ 45. click to buy.

2019 Coen “Reserve” Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blueberries and a struck match. On the palate, savory flavors of blueberry and iodine mingle with black fruits, earth, leather and bloody meat. Interesting in an umami sense, but not completely complete for me. Those who appreciate quite tasty wines can however enjoy it. Fermented in steel then matured for 13 months in French oak barrels. 13.9% alcohol. 2000 cases of obscene weight bottles made. Weighs 1.71 kg when full. Note: approximately 8.5. Cost: $ 45.

2018 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, California
Opaque inky garnet color, this wine smells of black cherry and cassis. On the palate, thick and rich flavors of black cherry, cassis and licorice are enveloped in a mellow blanket of tannins. There’s enough acidity here to get things moving, but the wine comes across as a huge black cloak thrown over the palate. With lingering licorice root on the finish. Tall, muscular and brooding. 14.9% alcohol. Note: approximately 8.5. Cost: $ 80. click to buy.

2018 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Napa, CA
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar, black cherries, tobacco and earth. On the palate, the black cherry and forest soil flavors have wonderfully juicy acidity and a distinctly salty umami character which is quite convincing. Wonderfully earthy, with hints of graphite and espresso on the edges, this is old-fashioned Napa Cabernet in all its flavorful goodness, reminiscent of the days when wines were made in large redwood vats. 14.3% alcohol. Note: approximately 9. Cost: $ 62. click to buy.


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