$24, 176.5 points of good weirdness

Purchased from an on-line retailer.

2012 Coquerel Verdelho, Calistoga, Napa Valley – I’ve never tried this as a dry white, welcomed the opportunity for ten bucks. Very glad I did!
Pale, almost clear color, impressive for five years. Aromas are reticent, with hints of ginger, cactus flower and a tinge of lemon. The palate offers fine texture, with very fresh, bright acidity ending with better than expected heft. The flavors match the aromas, pleasant but rather faint. I have no idea of yields, of course, or if this flavor profile is typical, but I’m a happy camper with this as a great value. Rated 89. I have no idea what will happen with more age; the acidity will certainly hold it for a long time but to what effect?

2013 Carignan, R2 Wine Company, Camp 4 Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley –
I hate it when the name is longer than the wine, but at least in this case it’s close and the name is really long.
Medium ruby color, rather light for Carignan. The aromas are heady but offer good ripe red fruits and a little touch of spice. I am a big fan of Carignan (I’ve planted more of it than Grenache or Syrah in my own vineyard), but most of those I’ve had have been from Roussillon and Languedoc and this, while good, bears little similarity. The palate is medium bodied, nicely refined with good balance and moderately intense but simple red plum flavors, backed by a faint touch of earth. The finish is fairly long. If served blind, I would be stumped and come up with a mostly Grenache blend with Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre. To me, fine Carignan has plenty of color, intensity, tannin and minerality. This is a good glass but lacking all of the above. Worth the fourteen bucks, but no more. Rated 87.5. Drink up.

Dan Kravitz