Today I’m going to talk about some of my favorite recent samples, which include wine and for the first time, spirits. I tried 28 wines and 12 of them made the list along with one gin and one vodka.
2013 Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec – this was a great expression of Malbec. Lots of berry, plum, herbs, mocha and chocolate notes. I brought this to a girl’s wine group and it disappeared quickly.
2013 Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir – this had a nice earthiness and notes of black cherry, strawberry and a nice touch of herbs.
2014 Flora Springs Merlot – this was a well-balanced merlot with plum, chocolate, berry and a bit of cherry.
Locations by Dave Phinney E and F – Dave Phinney has always had a personal mission to make the best wines possible. Now he is taking his concept that he can get great grapes from vineyards (taking out the appellation rules) across the world and use his winemaking skills to make great wines. It works. I tried several of his wines and was impressed with the result. The E blend from Spain had lots of cherry, plum, berry and spice. The F blend from France was delicious with Grenache (Roussillon), Syrah (Rhone) and Bordeaux Blend Varieties.
2012 Northstar Merlot – this merlot was velvet on the tongue with notes of raspberry, cherry and chocolate and a hint of vanilla.
2013 True Myth Cabernet Sauvignon — rich berry, dark cherry, mocha, a touch cedar. Very easy drinking.
Jolie Folle Rosé – this embodies everything that a good rosé should be. Notes of strawberry, watermelon and a great minerality.
2013 Ramey Chardonnay – orange blossom, stone fruit, buttered popcorn and floral notes make this a wonderful entry level chardonnay that keeps its balance.
2015 Martin Ray Chardonnay – this old world chardonnay had notes of white stone fruit, flowers, vanilla and was delicious.
2014 Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio – this was a nice representation of a pinot grigio. Fruity, crisp and a nice minerality makes it a great porch Summer wine.
2014 Grillo Cavallo delle Fate Sicilia DOC – this was my first experience with Grillo from Sicily and not my last. It is a very easy drinking wine with lots of white stone fruit.
For the first time, I had the chance to try the Azzurre gin and vodka. They are both made from apples, grapes and sugar cane with no added ingredients. I served these both at a dinner party and to rave reviews. I enjoyed both of them, but found myself going back to the gin as it truly was a sipping gin with lots of fruit-forward notes that also sung with specialty tonics.