Vinography Unboxed: Week of 12/25/22

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 (and last for 2022) installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included a couple of cheerful, fresh, and greenish tangy Sauvignon Blancs from Viña Leyda, in Chile. I had a hard time deciding which one I preferred, but I think in the end, the wine from the new single-vineyard coastal project won out by a hair.

Next, I’ve got a few more wines to recommend from the new (to me) producer Newfound Wines. I reviewed a couple of their bottles last week and the ones I tasted this week were just as excellent. In particular, they’re Semillon, which is a grape that gets much less attention here in California than it should. It’s usually blended into Sauvignon Blanc (often with excellent results) but really it can, and should, stand on its own more. Don’t miss their Grenache, either.

Limited Addition Wines is also receiving a second week of coverage for their tiny-production, quirky wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Thanks to them I have now tasted my first domestically produced rendition of the Mencia grape, which I usually enjoy from producers in northern Spain. It was tasty, though not quite as delicious as their Gamay, Jura-inspired red blend, or their Cabernet Franc. Fans of crunchy red wines will enjoy all these wines.

On the richer red front, I’ve got a nice red blend from the heel of Italy’s boot to offer below, as well as a tasty Shiraz from Australia’s McLaren Vale.

But the star of the red wine show this past week was undeniably the latest (not quite, but just about ready to be released) flagship wine from Cathy Corison: her always spectacular Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Displaying its usual restraint and elegance, along with the near-perfect balance that came with many 2019 wines in Napa, this is a stellar, old-school expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, from an old vineyard in St. Helena that yields precious little fruit. As usual, it is built for the long haul, and will evolve and improve for two or three decades.

OK, notes on all these and more below.

Tasting Notes

2021 Viña Leyda “Coastal Vineyards – Garuma” Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley, Chile
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of lime zest, cut grass, and green apple skin. In the mouth, tangy green apple and lime zest flavors mix with cut grass and a hint of gooseberries. Excellent acidity. Faint salinity. 13% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2022 Viña Leyda “Reserva” Sauvignon Blanc, Leyda Valley, Chile
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine smells of cut grass, lime zest, and gooseberries. In the mouth, tart green apple, gooseberries and lime pith flavors mix with lime juice and a touch of grapefruit. Bright and juicy with excellent acidity. 13% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15

2020 Newfound Wines Semillon, Napa Valley, California
Pale gold with a hint of hazy green in the glass, this wine smells of lemon and white flowers. In the mouth, lemon pastry cream and white floral flavors have a nice zip to them thanks to excellent acidity and a nice silky texture. Hints of citrus zest linger in the finish. Subtle, but delicious. This wine will get richer with age. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.

2019 Newfound Wines “Scaggs Vineyard” Grenache, Mt. Veeder, Napa, California
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of candied strawberries. In the mouth, gorgeous crunchy flavors of strawberry and flowers have fantastic acidity and a surprisingly muscular grip for a wine this pale in color. Hints of redwood bark and red licorice linger in the finish. Excellent. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $53. click to buy.

2020 Newfound Wines…

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