The Fine Line of My Sample Wines: A Global Snapshot of My Third Quarter Favorites

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Sample Wines

It’s time for another sample round up and I found that a theme emerged for me this quarter.  I either completely loved them completely or I didn’t.  This time, a much lower percentage than usual of the wines that I tried made the cut.  But the ones that I loved, I really loved.  I hope that you seek these out and enjoy them.


Sample Wines

NV Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs – this Blanc de Blanc champagne is delicate with notes of apple, lemon meringue, apricot, almond, stone fruit, white flowers, almond and pastry.


Sample Wines

2017 Luca & Lewellen Rosé of Pinot Noir – a structured rosé with notes of strawberry, watermelon, raspberry and citrus with a great minerality.

Sample Wines

2017 Stoller Pinot Noir Rosé– the Stoller family wines turned my head a year ago, so I was excited to try the samples when they arrived this year.  I was impressed once again.  This was a balanced rosé with layers of depth and notes of watermelon, strawberry and cranberry with tropical fruits and a great acidity.

Sample Wines

2017 Inman Family Endless Crush Rosé of Pinot Noir – the winery describes this wine as being addictive and I must say that I concur after my first taste.  This wine has notes of strawberry, watermelon, red ruby grapefruit, juicy orange and is more of a French style of rosé with a brilliant minerality.

Sample Wines

2017 Pace Rosanebbia Vino Rosato – this was a spicy and fruity rosé due to the Nebbiolo with notes of red cherry, strawberry and stone fruit with a nice minerality and structure.

Sample Wines

2017 Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé – notes of spice, ripe berries, rose petals and notes of orange.  Very floral and mineral.

Sample Wines

2017 Scheid Vineyards Pinot Noir Rosé – this was a dry rosé that is perfect with or without food.  It was nuanced with raspberry, cherry, cranberry, strawberry and rose petals.  Another structured wine with a good minerality.

Sample Wines

2017 Rosato Roccafiore – this 100% Sangiovese rosé from Umbria had notes of raspberries, pomegranate, rosewater and bright cherry. This has a crisp minerality.  Drink alone or enjoy with food.


2016 JACK Winery Reserve Sauvignon Blanc –  I first sampled JACK Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc, created by former Major League teammates Chris Iannetta and Vernon Wells in 2012, at the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Sonoma in 2017.  The name JACK uses the initials of their children–Jayce, Ashlyn, Christian and Kylie–and is a tribute to their shared passion for family.

This is a big and nuanced, single vineyard Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc with notes of pineapple, pear, flowers, honeycomb, citrus and a creaminess that is a blend of 88% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Musqué.  It is delicious.

Sample Wines

2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Fume Blanc – a blast of citrus with Meyer lemon, grapefruit and lemongrass with tropical fruit, cucumber and a nice minerality.

Sample Wines

2017 Colterenzio Gewürztraminer Alto Adige DOC – notes of tropical fruit, honey, spice, stone fruit, lemongrass, lychee and spice.  This is a great wine.

Sample Wines

2016 Metz Road Chardonnay – this was a balanced Chardonnay with apples, citrus and tropical fruit with balanced oak and vanilla.

Sample Wines

2017 Stoller Chardonnay – this is a Chablis style Chardonnay that is aged in all stainless steel.  I tasted notes of lemon, apple, herbs, ginger and a great minerality.  I loved this wine.

2016 Jordan Chardonnay – Jordan Chardonnay always remains steadfast and true.  The elements of a great Grand Cru Chablis with the notes of citrus, tropical, lemon, wet stone, stone fruit and pear keeps you smelling, sipping and savoring that next sip.

2016 Chehalem Three Vineyard Pinot Gris – I tasted notes of citrus, pear, jasmine, ginger, tropical fruits, lemongrass and spice with a great acidity.

2016 Bouchard Pere & Fils Pouilly-Fuisse – What an elegant Pouilly-Fuisse.  Notes of peach, apple, minerality, vanilla, flowers and citrus.  Gripping minerality and begging for fresh shellfish.


2015 Sostener Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands – my first exposure to this Pinot from Sostener, a collaborative project between Steve McIntyre (of McIntyre Vineyards) and Michael Thomas (of Wrath) with a vision of producing affordable, premium-quality Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Meaning “to sustain” in Spanish, the name Sostener not only evokes the local heritage of the Salinas Valley, but also symbolizes a dedication to sustainable viticulture and winemaking.

I tasted plum, raspberry, strawberry, cherry cola, leather and floral notes.  I really enjoyed this Pinot.

2016 Stoller Pinot Noir – another wonderful representation of Dundee Hills Pinot Noir.  Lots of red fruit, earth, Asian spice and cherry cola that pays off in a complex and elegant wine.

2016 Chehalem Three Vineyards Pinot Noir – cherry pie filling, earth, Asian tea, black fruit and spice.

2016 Andriano Schiava Vernatsch Bocado – notes of strawberry, cherry, flowers, nuts and baking spice.  A very easy drinking wine.

2016 Troon Sangiovese – Troon Vineyards Winery, an insider’s secret in Southern Oregon, makes wines inspired by the Mediterranean coasts.  An Oregon winery making wines influenced from varieties from Madiran, Cahors, Bandol, Languedoc, Priorato, Campania and Sardegna?  Yes, and they are doing it well.

This Sangiovese was elegant with notes of red and black fruit, forest floor, black team, dried herbs and spice.  I couldn’t stop drinking this wine – every sip was an expression of fruit, earth and herbs.

2016 Scheid Vineyards Dolcetto – there are only 100 cases of this wine produced, so I’m not sure if this wine can be found, but if you can find it, buy it.  It’s deep, dark and dense with notes of black and red fruit, pepper, herbs and licorice.

2015 Scheid Vineyards Petite Sirah – notes of violets, blueberry, blackberry leather and spice with a nice acidity.

2014 Alta Vista Terroir Selection Malbec – a big Malbec with notes of cherries, vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, plum, blackberry, spice and vanilla.  It’s intense and full bodied.

2012 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano  — notes of blackberry, spice, blueberry, raspberry, licorice, mint, spice and mocha. This is an easy drinking Barola with a nice silkiness.

2015 Feudi di San Gregorio “Rubrato” Aglianico Irpinia – a lovely Italian red from Irpinia with wild strawberries, rich cherries, blackberry, licorice, spice and a lovely minerality.

2015 Flora Springs Trilogy — The genesis of Trilogy, one of Napa Valley’s first Bordeaux-style red blends, dates back to 1984 when the family decided to select the highest quality wine lots culled from estate vineyards in Napa Valley.  Trilogy continues to be sourced exclusively from the Komes-Garvey estate vineyards, and in 2015 this wine brings together 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 8% Petit Verdot from St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville.

This wine is an elegant and rich one with notes of blackberry, black cherry, plum, currant, chocolate, vanilla, Asian spices , oak and mocha.  It’s gorgeous!

2015 Treana – this iconic Paso Robles blend has notes of blackberry, cranberry, violets, cinnamon, baking spice, mocha, vanilla and spice.  This is a wine that I would love to try in another 10 years because I know it will evolve gracefully.  Treana, the original label, is described by the Hope Family Wines as “the sum of elements that influence our wines: the land that our family farms, the warm California sun that nurtures, and the cooling ocean breeze that balances.  These elements combine to create the perfect growing conditions for our grapes.” A classic Paso Robles blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, Treana Red uses fruit from the famly’s finest vineyards.

2015 Domaine Bouchard Pere & Fils Beune du Chateau Premier Cru — This lovely 2015 Beaune du  Chateau from Bouchard Père & Fils is made of 21 “climats” and produced for two centuries in Beaune. This Pinot Noir is complex with notes of red fruit, flowers, chocolate, herbs and fig compote.

2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – notes of black fruit, leather, chocolate, spice, herbs and some oak.  Drinkable today or in the future.

2014 Cornerstone Cellars Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon – luscious is the description for this Cabernet.  I tasted notes of pomegranate, chocolate, spice, blackberry, cedar and leather.  This begs for some age or decanting, but is an elegant and rich special occasion wine.

2014 Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – this iconic vineyard provides a mix of Old World craftsmanship, Bordeaux tradition and New World technology.  This cabernet is rich and nuanced with elegant layers that open with the gift of time or a decanter.  I tasted blackberry and cherry, tobacco, chocolate, violet and spice.

2015 JACK Winery Cabernet Sauvignon – this Diamond Mountain Cabernet, which is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, is a big, elegant wine that kept opening as we sipped over the evening.  I tasted black cherry, blueberry, violets, chocolate, currant, vanilla, baking spice and herbs.

Canned Wine

2017 Wrath AL Sauvignon Blanc – this is one of the best canned wines that I’ve had. While I can’t bring myself to drink it in its original container, once in a wine glass, you still get notes of pear, citrus, apple and an interesting minerality.

Dessert Wine

Blandy’s 10 Year Old Malmsey Madeira – this madeira is has notes of almonds, caramel, brown sugar, Fig Newton, molasses, chocolate and spiced orange.  It is concentrated and delicious.

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