A Few Recent Tastes XLI

2018 Ricca Terra Vintners Nero d’Avola Riverland Rudi Vineyard Small Batch. Gauzy purple to garnet coloration, full and dark rims. The nose is a little unsettled but wouldn’t call it volatile, muddy earth and damp leather, gingerbread, ripe to overripe cherry and plum fruit scents, enough there to enjoy but it doesn’t stay in one place long enough to do so. Light to medium-bodied, the feel similar to the nose, turbulent more than volatile. The sour red fruits feel dominant, buoyed by acidity. Violet-led florality haphazard. Savory herbs. Maybe a touch hollow in the mid-palate. It’s a likable wine with decent flavor. But for close to $30 there’s more than enough tough competition from Italy at half the price. Which seems to be the case throughout the “new world” when it comes to relatively minor European grape varieties. (Screwcap)

2016 Sandlands Trousseau Sonoma Coast. Has a kind of washed out rose coloration, almost salmon nearer the rims, there’s no lack of cleanliness but it does seem semi-gauzy. Ripe nose which suggests a note of caramel, strawberry to raspberry scents, still there is an ashen, dusty quality too, autumn leaves, wedge of lemon, there’s a lot of moving parts and no conductor so you just sit back and sniff. Light to maybe medium-bodied, only because there is some tannic grip. A lot more floral here, muskiness aided by that toffee to caramel element. Fluffy expansiveness in the cherry, red berry fruit. Some tea leaf. This is the kind of wine where I buy three bottles, drink one immediately and throw the other two down in the cellar and forget them. Then one day “oh shit” and by then likely too late. So I congratulate myself on catching this at the right time and not waiting for a moment of profundity never to arrive. Delivered what it should.

2015 Turley Zinfandel Fredericks Vineyard Sonoma Valley. The purple core pushes on into opacity, rims just about shifted out of ruby into a dull crimson red. Pleasing grill smoke and ginger root at first in the nose, while it is running a little hot the juiciness of the raspberry, strawberry scents puts out the flame, green apple too, the licorice found on release is still there as it gets earthier, light cleansing sensation which freshens. Medium-bodied, a bit more wiry than before, editing out the unnecessary sentences. Blueberry joins the red berry fun, sour and zippy. Anise, maybe sage, that fresh scrubbing herb stuff. The vanilla and caramel do slow it down through the finish. But then if lifts into a mentholated perfume. On release this was one of my top 2015 Turleys and while I preferred it a little more then this still shows why.

2015 Ser Winery Cabernet Pfeffer Cienega Valley Wirz & Siletto Vineyards. Glistens in the glass, a darkly bright cranberry red to light violet in color, fine degree of transparency. Nose of strawberry liqueur to kirsch before peppery with some sweaty horsehide thrown in (to me the good kind), solid smoked meatiness, finishes up with a dry twigginess and I could see some bell pepper sneaking in there once the fruit fades, found this a nice olfactory first introduction to the grape. Light to medium-bodied, that red fruit has a sappiness which gives it length. Tannic punch accrues after multiple sips. Nice lemony twist at the finish. Tar and sweet cigar leaf fill out the end too. Drinkable and off-center enough to keep me coming back for another little sip. Grapes sourced 64% Wirz Vineyard, 365 Siletto Vineyard.

2015 Lagier Meredith Zinfandel Mount Veeder Tribidrag. Fresh purple core, further out any ruby-garnet turning more to scarlet, remains richly hued throughout. Buttery toast to butterscotch notes in the nose dampen the expressivity of the red berry scents, strong anise laden lift, seems to offer more licorice then menthol, can see this developing a dried fruit nature over time. Medium-bodied, here the acidity saves the day by shunting aside the buttery oak. Cranberry, raspberry to blueberry fruit with a grapey side as well, not especially juicy. Menthol and sweeter garden herbs the main supplement. Turns slightly peppery through the finish. Not really getting the citrus element found on release, would say preferred the experience then over today.

2018 Idlewild Dolcetto Mendocino Fox Hill Vineyard. Glowing garnet to violet core, more of a bright cranberry red at the rims, transparent in spite of the saturated hues. The nose has a smoky, almost leathery quality to it, earthen fire pit, sour bing cherry shot, the florality doesn’t quite ramp up, not unpleasant to sniff but it’s a stripped to the bone experience for sure. Light-bodied, brawny tannin and to a lesser extent acidity, closely mimics the nose overall. You could throw in a dash of strawberry, raspberry to the cherry, struggles to kick across the finish line. Stony dry earth, not any funk and loses most of the smokiness in the nose. Air time does soften it some, just not enough.

2019 Bedrock Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard. Basic yellow hue of good richness and arguably better shine than most immediate competition. Nose of spiced apples, lemon peel and a healthy stoniness, very clean and possessed of unadorned directness. Full-bodied, taut, you almost feel it stretched across the palate. Fine acidity level, contributes to overall dryness. Turns minty here along with the ginger, cinnamon spice of the nose. Citrusy in a general sense. Strongest element remains the damp stony character. The apple, pear, apricot fruit stable with no loss through the finish. its sheer volume keep it reverberating through the finish. Quite enjoyed it, makes me wish I had bought a bottle to lay down. (Composite Cork: Diam30)

2019 Ser Winery Vermentino Arroyo Seco Cedar Lane Vineyard. White gold hue, on the pale side, somewhat flat surface but solid appearance in the glass. Nose of lemon zest, licorice, mukhwas, and a slight touch of whipped cream, fully ripened apricot, peach to pear scents, doesn’t get close to tropicality. Medium-bodied, doesn’t strike me as particularly acidic, however, it has traction and grip. Thankful for the lemon to orange citrus upping its game here, helps bring cut and thrust. Stream water sort of stoniness. Same white pit fruit, maybe more apple than pear and a glance of pineapple. Pleasing enough flavors, just finding the texture flatfooted. Finishes a bit short. (Composite Cork)

2019 Desvignes Morgon La Voute Saint-Vincent. Cherry red shading slightly to violet in the core, sparkly. Minerally and almost smoky quality to the nose, a little grassiness alongside lemon zest, more pungent than juicy strawberry, watermelon, raspberry fruit scents. Medium-bodied erring towards lighter, feels a touch tannic yet there’s plenty of sappiness to make the berry fruit cling to your mouth pores. The citrusy component more consistent here. That minerally tang most obvious at the finish. Vague bubblegum note. Understanding that this is Desvignes’ entry level bottling it’s more than just a quaffer albeit easy to quaff. The stoniness and ash really linger past the final sip.

2002 Breton Bourgueil Nuits d’Ivresse. Bright rose red to violet, trim and spotless, no hue loss at the rims. Tar and cigar ash swell up first in the nose, some animal sweat and bell pepper but nothing offputting for me, celery seed, the core of maraschino cherry has shrunken but stays steady at its current level of intensity. Light-bodied, here its age shows most readily. It’s not drying out per se but the strapping muscles are gone in favor of a well-integrated, harmonious, if quiet, experience. Cedar, leather and peppercorn, not as smoky as the nose and less apparent bell pepper. After giving it time to open there’s surprisingly high sap to the strawberry, cherry fruit. Thumbs up, time to drink ’em if you are holding.

2014 Didier Morion Saint-Joseph Lléandre. Blackish core with as much blood red as purple to it, more straightforward brick red rims, fine cleanliness. There’s a lean snap to the cherry, red currant scents, more energy than ripeness, more animal hide than leather, more herbaceous and green than meadowy, things are in the proper place here but it lacks graciousness. Light-bodied, does gain some heft on through the finish, the opposite of the usual trajectory. Sour fruit, sour grapefruit accents, stone. Not sensing much, if any, oak. Clean enough, nothing feral nor volatile. If I had to sum it up in one word “boring” comes to mind. But there’s a lot worse than that out there.

2016 Château Jérémie Ferrandière Corbières Les Laisses. Dark purple to garnet red while retaining general transparency, flushed rims. There’s an evasiveness to the nose, muddy earth and peanut shells at first, then almost nothing before dark berry to currant fruit appears with a light floral gloss, cannot speak to its élevage but not sensing any oak. Medium-bodied, fairly smooth and integrated start to finish. Again, neutral with ripe if contoured dark berry fruit and the same floral mist. No funk, expected a bit of citrus but didn’t get any. Would have to characterize it as a “bistro wine” for lunch fare or picnicking and such. Perfectly acceptable and that’s that. Unspecified usage and percentages of Grenache, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre. (Composite Cork: Diam3)

1998 Boxler Riesling Brand. Sparkly, more bronze than gold now, strong rims, lively despite the aged hue. More wax and lanolin to the nose than honey, deserves time to open, wet to oily stone more than any diesel, orange marmalade, perhaps just beginning to evince a yeasty side, sage and marjoram, mostly orchard fruit pit type scents but there’s a tang which suggests a generalized tropicality. Medium-bodied, the acidity keeps it firm and focused, here rather than in the nose the lactose type of stuff seems more advanced. Would characterize it as more savory than sweet. Those garden herbs, a sort of molten minerality to stoniness, black tea leaf lead the way. Sour lemon to blood orange citrus. Sourness in the mixed white fruits too. Displays fine balance, best guess is just inching past its highest apex, losing some fruit.

2001 Gunderloch Riesling Rheinhessen Nackenheimer Rothenberg Auslese AP #7. Fully bronzed, pools deeply into the glass, layered, very nice shine and cleanliness as well. Boisterous nose, manages to achieve balance and parity among the rubber, candied orange peel, honey, has a kind of asphalt smokiness, glance of leafy garden herbs, the fruit scents rich but not quite tropical and stay in the apricot, peach, pear range, overall grows more muscular with air. Full-bodied, again more muscular than heavy. Less impact from the acidity than in its youth but does hold it together. Here you get the mango, guava complement to the peach and apricot. Deeply honeyed, brown sugar. The tangerine to lemon citrus somewhat defanged by age. Being served colder helps it keep its shape. Minty finish. There might be upside yet but it would be on a plateau. Big wine. (10.0% ABV is somewhat telling given Prädikat).

2001 Leitz Riesling Rheingau Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland Spätlese Trocken AP #14. Darkening into bronze but not there yet, good shine as well as fullness into the rims, would call it “visually matured.” Moderate amount of oil slick unto diesel in the nose, undone by a huge dose of coconut custard and butterscotch, develops a mintiness with air, the pear, peach, apple scents basic and not finding much tropicality on hand. Full-bodied and arguably heavy, the acidity is so-so thus that custard element in the driver’s seat here too. Mild bitter nuttiness through the finish. It’s “Trocken” in terms of ABV but still tastes sweet. Enjoying that mintiness as well as some naval orange notes. In spite of the sweetness the fruit seems an afterthought. A nice enough wine but certainly nothing special.

2019 Grosjean Valle d’Aosta Torrette. Bright and shiny ruby to cranberry red, arguably violet core, dances nicely in the glass. Upon opening there is barnyard funk which dissipates over time, meadow to mountain scrub feel, dryish earth and grasses, quiet florality, mixed red berry scents, maybe smokier as it opens. Light-bodied, the firm tannin not overpowering, speaks immediately as a “country wine.” More life to the strawberry, raspberry here, supported by a burst of white grapefruit. But that in turn may damper the florality. Fresh, clean finish, good tingle left behind. Can be consumed during casual sipping but would show better with food. 80% Petit Rouge, remainder unspecified percentages of Vien de Nus, Doucet, Fumin, Mayolet. (Composite Cork: Diam5)

2020 Nathan K. (N. Kendall Wines) Cabernet Franc Finger Lakes. Hyper saturated and glowing, black light purple core to beet red rims with a pinkish edge, clean transparency. From the first sniff the bell pepper element leaps right out of the glass, minerally if not salty smelling, dried tobacco leaf, something suggestive of soy, good thrust to the currant, cherry fruit scents, the area I worried most about going in. Light to medium-bodied, enough structure to extend the general presentation into the finish. The sour cherry, dark berry fruit front loaded for the most part. Savory herbs and stone, has some movement to it but wouldn’t call it fluid. The bell pepper adds to tang while less obtrusive than in the nose. Overall, I liked it well enough and found it “true to type” if one is allowed to say that.

2019 Dr. Konstantin Frank Rkatsiteli Finger Lakes. Crystal clear and brilliant white hay, while all but hueless it sparkles in the glass. Serene nose of stream water and pebbles, crisp pear, apple to apricot fruit scents, mint and orange peel, develops a light nuttiness as it warms. Medium-bodied, I have had mixed results in the past with this bottling but this immediately feels more compact and fluid. It does have a certain bitterness which could turn off some but liking the pucker it brings. Nuttiness stronger here along with citrus component. Apricot and peach flavors. Zesty reverb at the end, plenty of energy. (Screwcap)

2015 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Botanica. Dark ruby to garnet red, enough so to blend fully into the violet shaded core, zero dropoff at the rims. Spicy nose of gingerbread, coriander, anise, the jammy blackberry to raspberry scents convey little juiciness, slight touch of brine, too monolithic for any dewy lift. Full-bodied, sort of tannic but by the same token could just be the density of the material. More creamy oak influence here. Not sure if it’s the oak but finding some astringency through the finish. Cherry cola, black raspberry to strawberry fruit, once more has flavor but no wet juiciness. Overall “steamroller” effect with little grace or nuance. Not digging it.

2011 Efesté Merlot Yakima Valley Red Mountain Klipsun Vineyard Upright. Dense and dusky purple, barely gets to more crimson red to fashion any rims, looks to be advancing some. The smokiness in the nose at first evokes grilled meats but then it settles more into a heavy char oak toast, mint and menthol give it lift, good thing since someone pooped on the ground, straight-up currant, cherry scents, nothing unusual here. Medium-bodied, perhaps slimmer than expected but pleasingly so. Buttermilk, coconut oil, toffee make the first impression and then the mintiness. So, if one may say so “the script” is followed. Savory red currant, Italian plum to cherry fruit. Moderate tannin, I cannot tell if more natural or wood based. Cocoa powder perfume at the end. Purchased expecting something akin to what I got, just wanted to revisit the vibe.

Loved this wine 7-10 years ago, but haven’t had it since. Not surprising it’s still tasty.

As always, your notes are fantastic, Marc.

Aww, thanks Mssr. Manning. I learned at the feet of giants such as yourself and not blowing smoke. I can still conjure up the feeling of reading wine boards 20 years ago and wondering when I’d be worthy of posting a TN. Boxler Brand Riesling remains an Alsatian benchmark for me. Consuming a bottle is almost painful because it has to become reality rather than possibility.

Probably long before you actually did. I’m an Accountant trying to write wine notes. You actually write very well. [cheers.gif]

I don’t have anything too old anymore, but do have a couple of bottles of 2010 Brand K. Trying to be patient, but it’s been calling my name for a bit…