The march on tackling samples continues and today I’m focused on wines that stood out from the pack. Some of these are Tuesday night pizza wines, some weekend sipping wines, and some are special occasion. Here are my notables:
NV Domaine Bousquet Sparkling – this is a value-oriented organic sparkling rosé which is a blend of 75 percent Pinot Noir and 25 percent Chardonnay that is sourced from vineyards in Argentina. I tasted notes of citrus, green apple, and tropical fruit.
Since 1982, the Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has produced sparkling and Pinot Noir done in an Old World style in the Arroyo Grande Valley AVA.
NV Laetitia Brut Cuvee Sparkling
It’s a fun sparkler with notes of apple, melon, fresh baked bread, lemon, pear and a nice minerality. It’s a mix of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc.
NV Laetitia Brut Rose Sparkling
Made of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this was full of juicy berries, peach, citrus, brioche and a lovely minerality.
It’s a nice little sparkling that talks about being low in sugar and calories. It’s a good aperitif wine with notes of apple, citrus and tropical fruit produced in the Charmat method.
Rose Gold is a rosé made from the Côtes de Provence style. This is one that is easy to drink with notes of ripe berries, apricot and rose petals. The founder of the winery, Casey Barber, a fellow Dallasite loved the style of wine and decided she could make a good one. She succeeded.
2020 Lucy Rosé by Pisoni Vineyards
Made by Pisoni Vineyards with $1 donated to breast cancer research from every sale, this was bursting with strawberry, citrus, flowers, cherry, and tangerine with a nice minerality.
2020 Be Human Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
This is a 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon rosé from Horse Heaven Hills. It had notes of pomegranate, cranberry, citrus, and herbs. A great summer rosé.
2018 Yacoubian-Hobbs Dry White
My obsession with Armenian wine continues. This white blend is 50 percent Voskehat, 30 percent Khatuni and 20 percent Nazeli. It had notes of white flowers, peach, orange blossoms, fig, spice and a great minerality. I wrote about the red last week.
2019 Upshot by Rodney Strong White Blend
Upshot is described as a final positive outcome and is a wine that brings together the blends from different vineyards and regions in California. It’s a blend of 53 percent Grenache Blanc, 18 percent Pinot Noir, 16 percent Gewurztraminer, 8 percent Viognier and 5 percent Sauvignon Blanc. And it’s from all over the state 53 percent from Paso Robles, 16 percent Mendocino County, 14 percent Lake County, 9 percent from Sonoma County and 8 percent from Monterey County. I tasted peach, apricot, white flowers with a nice minerality.
2019 Scaia Garganega/Chardonnay Trevenezie
The winery is located near Verona. I tasted white flowers, citrus, tropical fruit, apples, and banana. Well balanced softness and tanginess, making it easy to drink and intriguing. It’s a well-balanced white with a blend of 55 percent of Garganega and 45 percent Chardonnay.
2018 St. Supery Napa Valley Estate Oak-Free Chardonnay
The winery is a 100% estate grown, sustainably farmed winery in Napa Valley. I tasted green apple, tropical fruit, apricot and orange and lemon rinds. It’s a nice drinking Chardonnay.
2018 Nik Weis St. Urbans Hof St. Riesling
Founded in 1947, Nik Weis – St. Urbans-Hof is considered a leading winery in the Mosel region. Since 2000, the Riesling winery is member of Germany’s renowned VDP (Association of German Quality Wine Estates) and five of the individual cru wines as classified as wines from great Sites (VDP.Grosse Lage). It was fun to try a different style of this varietal.
This Riesling had notes of stone fruit, green apple, citrus and a stony minerality.
2018 Nik Weis Mosel Riesling Dry
This wine had the same fresh fruit, but also had notes of fig and spice.
2018 River Road Chardonnay Reserve
River Road Family Vineyards and Winery is a family owned in the Russian River Valley. This was a creamy wine with notes of green apple, lemon peel, pear, vanilla, and white flowers.
2019 The Paring Sauvignon Blanc
The Paring was created in 2006 to give the makers of JONATA and the Hilt wines, the ability to innovate. Using vineyard blocks from each estate from Santa Barbara regions, the Pairing is a blend of all three. It’s nuanced with notes of lemon, grapefruit, peach, and melon notes.
2019 ONEHOPE Rutherford Estate Sauvignon Blanc
ONEHOPE has a great story. The winery was founded with idea that for every bottle sold they would give back to local and global causes. With $7 million donated, they also source from top winemaking regions. This Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc had notes of grapefruit, pineapple, tropical fruit, and herbs. Lots of aromatics and minerality in this wine.
Lombardy was founded in 2013, by Tony & Christine Lombardi, who wanted to honor a family tradition of grape growing, wine, food, and history. The winery makes several wines from top vineyards in the Sonoma Coast.
This was a crisp Chardonnay with notes of pear, peach, lime, citrus, vanilla, and honeysuckle.
Utopia Vineyard and Winery is a family-owned producer of small-lot, handcrafted wines located in the Ribbon Ridge American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the Northern Willamette Valley, Oregon.
I tasted crisp apple, pear, saline, tropical fruit, and stone fruit.
2020 KB by Knights Bridge Estate Chardonnay
This Burgundian style Chardonnay delivered notes of peach, pear, flowers, citrus, honeycomb, and fresh baked apple strudel.
Four Vines honors the anti-establishment views of the Central Coast’s eccentric personalities. The winery talks about making interesting wine, for interesting people.
2019 Four Vines Naked Chardonnay
I tasted apple, peach, pear, caramel and a nice minerality.
2018 Troon Vineyard Cuvée Pyrénées
This blend of 70 percent Tannat and 30 percent Malbec delivers tons of fruit with notes of raspberry, black fruit, currant, tea, and smoke. It will benefit with another year or two in the bottle, but drinks great today.
I owe Kuhlman Cellars an apology. As many of you know, I have a closet where I store most of my wine samples. The box from Kuhlman slipped behind other boxes, so this is an exceptionally late review. Kuhlman Cellars which opened in 2014, is the passion of Chris and Jennifer Cobb who had a background in farming and managing a nearby vineyard. The Kuhlman Cellars name was derived from the Kuhlman Creek which originates on their family farm and ultimately empties into the Pedernales River, and they are based in Hill Country.
I tried two wines from Kuhlman Cellars. In the 2016 Kuhlman Cellars Reserve Merlot, I tasted tobacco, vanilla, black fruit, cherry, and it was balanced on the palate.
The second was the 2017 Kuhlman Cellars Sangiovese. Lots of purple flowers, herbs and fruit make this lighter wine very easy to keep sipping.
From the Chehalem Mountains in Oregon, the winery is one of the oldest wineries in the region.
Their name, Chehalem, translates to Valley of Flowers in the Native American language, Calapooia. The winery follows the example set centuries ago to treat the land with great care and farm sustainably. I tasted earth, fruit, spice and red charry.
Chemistry is the brand that comes from Stoller Family Estate and Chehalem Winery, two of Oregon’s top producers. They are meant to be accessible wines high quality Willamette Valley vineyards. I tasted berries, earth, Asian spice, and cranberry.
You’ve heard the saying the to become accomplished at something you need to invest 10,000 hours of practice. The winery clearly met the criteria with decades of experience from Red Mountain in Washington state. This blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc delivers notes of raspberry, mocha, clove, vanilla, and licorice.
2018 10000 Hours Cabernet Sauvignon
It’s a bold wine with notes of plum, mocha, cherry, vanilla, and chocolate. It’s well balanced and super drinkable.
2018 Upshot by Rodney Strong Red Blend
This blend of 37 percent Zinfandel, 34 percent Merlot, 20 percent Malbec, 5 percent Petit Verdot and 4 percent Riesling shows notes of blackberry, black cherry, spice, and herbal notes. It’s well priced and easy to drink.
2018 Dixie & Bass Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
This was a Bordeaux-style Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot red wine blend from grapes in the Columbia Valley. It had lots of fruit, herbs, Asian spice, and a juicy, fruit-driven red with crushed raspberry, dark fruit, herbs and baking spice flavors.
2018 Be Human Cabernet Sauvignon
They describe the winery as providing wine for humans — for our tapestry of voices and choices. The wine had notes of cherry, mocha, currant, and herbs. I wanted to eat it with Italian food, but that’s my choice.
This wine is from Monterrey with notes of caramel, red fruit, vanilla, earth, and oak.
Another standout Pinot Noir. It was nuanced and I tasted cranberry, cherry, earth, and herbs.
Located in the Côte de Saint-Émilion, Château Lassègue dates to the 18th Century. Owned by the Jackson (Family Wine) and the Seillan families, it’s a great representation of the wineries second label.
The Les Cadrans de Lassegue has notes of pomegranates, rose, purple flowers and blueberry. It’s silky and drinks great right out of the bottle.
Flora Springs was founded in 1978, but grapes were first planted in the Napa vineyard late 1800s.
2018 Flora Springs Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon
Wild boars are part of the reason Napa and Flora Springs chose to choose to the name the vineyard after the animal, showing the balance between farmers and the earth. The cabernet was special with lots of dark fruit, spice, licorice, vanilla, and chocolate. It’s special and it’s a great way to honor a special occasion.
I still remember my 2020 “a ha” moment when I first tried these wines. The winery was purchased by Michael Polenske in 2003, where it was known originally for growing grapes from some of the top California vineyards. The vineyard source is the D4 block at Stagecoach.
Blackbird started making wine in 2003 with a small crush not claimed by its clients and received great critic reviews. The winery is terroir-driven with a focus on Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon with a focus on making wines in the Right Bank region of Bordeaux with well-known Consulting Winemaker Aaron Pott. It continues to be swoon worthy.
The 2017 Blackbird Contrarian is a blend of 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 29 percent Cabernet Franc and 1 percent Merlot, this wine exudes power. It has notes of tobacco, coffee, plum, cherry, earth, and mocha. It’s plush and delicious.
2017 Blackbird Vineyards Illustration
This was an insanely decadent wine with violets, plum, chocolate, plum, caramel, mocha, and caramel. It’s a blend of 49 percent Merlot, 28 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 23 percent Cabernet Franc. It was plush, rich, and lovely.
It’s funny – I was feeling so proud of myself and here comes a knock at the door with another big wine delivery. Hoping that the last two weeks have gotten me in a mode to continue to conquer my world of samples. And remembering I am lucky to be able to try all these amazing wines.