Hello and welcome to my weekly dig through the pile of wine samples that show up asking to be tasted. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.
This past week included a wonderfully bright and zippy and deeply stony expression of the volcanic terroir of Italy’s Soave region. The Inama Family has been making wine for 50 years and has become one of the standard-bearers for Soave and its Garganega grape. This particular wine is a single plot of pergola-trained vines grown in old fractured basalt, and is as pitch-perfect an expression of Soave as you’ll ever find. I highly recommend it.
I received two vintages of an unsual skin-fermented Pinot Gris recently, grown in the far north of California. Humbolt County is better known for its marijuana and redwoods than for its wine, but Adrian Jewell Manspeaker and his wife Lily grew up there, and feel strongly about its potential as a winegrowing region. I was fairly impressed with the 2020 vintage of their Joseph Jewell Pinot Gris, done in a strong ramato style to the point that it is a definite rosé in character. The 2021 has a bit more funk to it, which may appeal to some, but I preferred the cleaner 2020 wine.
The 2020 vintage of John and Tracey Skupny’s Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc (formerly North Coast, now just a California appellated wine) offers its usual great value for the money, with classic varietal character, restrained winemaking, and general deliciousness.
I got a decidedly Sine Qua Non vibe when I unboxed a group of samples from the brand new producer Terre Et Sang recently. In particular I was dismayed at the pretentious weight of the bottles, which clock in at 1.8 kilograms apiece. The wines I can recommend this week are almost on opposite ends of the Syrah spectrum, one from the old X block at Bien Nacido, with lots of whole cluster and low alcohol, the other a rich, ripe brawny bottle of fruit.
Lastly, I was sent a bunch of wines from Truett-Hurst winery, one of the more unusual wineries in Sonoma County. Just looking at its website, you’d think it was a small family-run estate winery, with 26 acres of vineyards focused on organic and biodynamic wine production. That’s true. On the other hand, it’s also a public corporation that has historically made several hundred thousand cases of wine every year, many of them private labeled brands for grocery stores and retailers, including Trader Joes (though this part of its business was apparently sold in 2018). It’s hard to reconcile those two realities, just as it’s hard to know exactly what is in the bottle you’re drinking, unless it bears the “Estate” designation like the Petite Sirah below, which presumably means certified organic and biodynamic production. Of the wines I sampled this week, my favorite was the Rattler Rock Zinfandel, which had more of a red fruit character and great juiciness.
Notes on all these and more below.
2020 Inama “Carbonare – Vecchie Vini” Garganega, Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apple and lime zest. In the mouth, bright and delicious lime and lemon flavors mix with green apple skin and wonderfully crackling wet stone minerality. Fantastic acidity and brightness, with a long saline finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $27. click to buy.
2020 Joseph Jewell “Ryan Vineyard – Skin Fermented” Pinot Gris, Humboldt County, California
Light ruby in the glass, this wine smells of citrus peel, wet earth, and plum. In the mouth, bright plum and citrus notes mix with a hint of dried flowers and herbs. There’s a light tannic grip to this wine, which along with good acidity makes for a nicely balanced and complex mouthful. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.
2021 Joseph Jewell “Ryan Vineyard – Skin Fermented”…
Source : https://www.vinography.com/2022/11/vinography-unboxed-week-of-11-13-22