The Random Samples—11/11/2022

Posted on  by the drunken cyclist

It is time for another edi­tion of “Ran­dom Samples”–I occa­sio­nally get sam­ples from mar­ke­ting agen­cies and/or pro­du­cers, and the­se can often be grou­ped together into some sort of over-arching the­me: Sau­vig­non Two WaysChar­don­nay Any Day, If It Doesn’t Spar­kle, It Doesn’t Mat­ter.

2018 Alpha Ome­ga Caber­net Sau­vig­non Vine Trail Sunshi­ne Valley, Oak Knoll Dis­trict, Napa Valley, CARetail $300. Big ass bottle. 100% Caber­net Sau­vig­non. A whi­le back I recei­ved a couple bottles of wine from the Vine Trail folks and, as a cyclist, it was a cau­se that appea­led to me. But at $300? Well beyond my pri­ce ran­ge. Initially, this was extre­mely tight, with not much fruit (or anything else for that mat­ter) on the nose or pala­te. So I let it sit. For a whi­le. Once I retur­ned to the wine (a day later), holy cow. Not only were the­re ood­les of fruit (mostly dark: plum, cas­sis, black­berry), but also spi­ce (clo­ve, black pep­per, car­da­mom), depth, and length. Whoa. The pala­te is sur­pri­singly tart, even tart-dri­ven, with all that fruit, con­si­de­ra­ble depth, and noti­cea­ble tan­nin on the finish, which was qui­te lengthy. Whoa. Outs­tan­ding. 94 Points.

2019 Be Human Caber­net Sau­vig­non, Colum­bia Valley, WA: Retail $18. 94% Caber­net Sau­vig­non, 6% Petit Ver­dot. Barrel aged for 19 months in 33% new Ame­ri­can oak. This is now the second vin­ta­ge of this wine and this 2019 is a nice follow-up to the inau­gu­ral 2018. Dark in the glass with ripe black­berry, plum, and a bit of cas­sis high­light the very fruity nose with hints of black pep­per and clo­ve. The pala­te is even frui­tier than the nose (which I did not think would be pos­si­ble), will all the afo­re­men­tio­ned dark fruit, but also a slight Kool-Aid extrac­ted aspect, which is only a slight detrac­tion. Qui­te good. Very Good. 89 Points.

NV Domai­ne Bous­quet Brut Rosé Métho­de Tra­di­tio­ne­lle, Tupun­ga­to, Uco Valley, Men­do­za, Argen­ti­na: Retail $15. 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Char­don­nay. I tried the stan­dard Brut yes­ter­day, so I thought I would pop the rosé today whi­le wat­ching the Astros in the pla­yoffs (sin­ce it is not cham­pag­ne, I figu­red I was not jin­xing the game with a pre­ma­tu­re “celebration”–yes I actually thought about that). Nice nose with a pre­do­mi­na­te bis­cuity natu­re, follo­wed by some red berry fruit, and a bit of mine­ra­lity. The pala­te is qui­te fruity as well as tart, with a pretty good balan­ce bet­ween the two. Lis­ten, no one is going to con­fu­se this with a Grand Cru cham­pag­ne, but at fif­teen bucks? this easily qua­li­fies for a qua­lity every­day drin­ker kind of bub­bles. Very Good.Very Good. 89 Points.

2019 Cattle­ya Syrah The Initia­tion Sobe­ra­nes Vine­yard, San­ta Lucia High­lands, CA: Retail $70. Under cork. Heavy bottle. I do not have an exten­si­ve expe­rien­ce with Ame­ri­can Syrah north of fifty bucks, but I am always willing to dive in. Initially, after pop­ping the cork, this was, honestly, not very good. Tart, acrid, on the ver­ge of offen­si­ve, this was a Yow­za in the deci­dedly wrong direc­tion. Having been down this road a num­ber of times over the cour­se of my wine jour­ney, I deci­ded to put a cork in the bottle and revi­sit it the follo­wing day. Good idea. Still qui­te tart, but a day later the fruit is more pro­mi­nent and, well, tasty. Holy cow. Fruit, tart­ness, balan­ce, depth, length, Yeah. Decant or at least wait a bit. This is really fan­tas­tic. Outs­tan­ding. 93 Points.

2019 Cattle­ya Char­don­nay Call to Adven­tu­re Pratt Vine­yard, Rus­sian River Valley, CA: Retail $80. Under cork. Fer­men­ted and aged in French oak (30% new) for 11 months. I have been sam­pling Bibiana’s wines for seve­ral years now, but this is the first time, I belie­ve, that I have tried her pre­mium line. Whoa. This comes from the Rus­sian River Valley’s Pratt Vine­yard, which many (inclu­ding me) con­si­der being an Ame­ri­can “Grand Cru” site. I have tas­ted dozens of wines from the vine­yard, and this rates right up the­re with the best. Bri­lliant straw in the glass with lovely apple, pear, and tro­pi­cal notes (pineap­ple, lemon merin­gue pie). Add in some honey­suc­kle, a kiss of oak, and roas­ted, sli­ced almonds. Whoa. The pala­te is nothing short of deca­dent: rich, laye­red, unctuous, and full-bodied, this wine is both ele­gant and mus­cu­lar with a depth that cha­rac­te­ri­zes the best wines from Sono­ma. As I said, this was my first time with this wine, and I truly hope it is not the last. Outs­tan­ding. 95 Points. 

2019 Cha­sing Rain Caber­net Sau­vig­non, Red Moun­tain, WA: Retail $25. 100% Caber­net Sau­vig­non. I have chro­ni­cled nume­rous times in the spa­ce the vir­tues and cha­llen­ges around the Aqui­li­ni brand in Washing­ton sta­te. The Cana­dian family bought up a ton of acrea­ge in Washing­ton sta­te and within a brief time star­ted crea­ting fan­tas­tic wines. Case in point: A $25 Cab from Red Moun­tain? Unheard of. Great fruit, tart­ness, and more than a modi­cum of ver­ve do more than most wines at this pri­ce point.
On the other hand….
The pala­te is nice, even qui­te good, but lacks some of the inten­sity and depth that the nose por­tends. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fun, fan­tas­tic wine, but honestly, given the repu­tation of Red Moun­tain and the his­tory of this brand (albeit qui­te brief) I expec­ted more, bor­de­ring on much more. Very Good. 89 Points.

2018 St. Fran­cis Zin­fan­del Old Vines Tres Vie­jos, Sono­ma County, CA:  Retail $52. Big ass bottle. As one would expect from a Sono­ma County Zin­fan­del, the­re is plenty of fruit on the nose, mostly dark (plum, black cherry, black rasp­berry), but some red fruit (cherry) sneaks in along with some spi­ce (clo­ve) and plenty of black pep­per. The pala­te is equally fruity, again, most of it dark, which results in a somewhat broo­ding natu­re to the wine. And the­re really is nothing wrong with broo­ding (at least when you are tal­king about wine). Exce­llent. 91 Points.






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