Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/5/22

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 installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This past week included some of my absolute favorite California Pinot Noirs around, but before we get there, let’s not overlook a couple of fantastic value-priced white wines.

I’m a sucker for volcanic wines of all stripes, but there’s nothing quite like a crisp white wine from the volcanic soils of Sicily. For $15 you can’t possibly go wrong with a wine that does feel like something of a secret, the “La Segreta” white wine from the esteemed folks at Planeta, one of Sicily’s largest producers. It’s crisp and citrusy and vaguely salty and everything you want in a refreshing white. I highly recommend it.

The folks at Troon Vineyard in Oregon have dedicated themselves to any number of worthy pursuits, such as regenerative organic and biodynamic farming and minimizing their carbon footprint. But they’ve also made a strong commitment to keeping fine wine affordable, which is one of the ideas behind their Druid’s Fluid line of wines, which offers a white blend and a red blend each for $25, and each pretty darn tasty.

Now, about those Pinots. A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the “entry-level” Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Katy Wilson’s personal label LaRue Wines. This week I’m reviewing two of her heavy-hitter, single-vineyard wines. Except “heavy-hitter” is exactly the opposite of what these wines are, in all their silky, poised elegance and phenomenally juicy fruit. If you’re in the market for the upper echelons of California cool-climate Pinot Noir you definitely should have these wines on your radar.

Australian wine has had a hard time of it recently, after something of a consumer and trade backlash to the fruity ripeness and higher-alcohol trends of the early 2000s. But there is (and was always) more to Australian wine than the bruiser Barossa Shiraz. Yes, many places there get a lot of sun, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to make wonderfully balanced, acidity-driven wines, and most people have no idea about some of the cooler climate zones in the country. I’ve got three Australian Shiraz wines this week that are all aiming for a bit more of balance, either through where they’re grown (e.g. the cooler Clare Valley) or how they’re made.

My favorite of the three was the Paradox Shiraz from Yalumba, made from the heart of the northern reaches of Barossa Valley, but picked early, with the idea of preserving acidity and achieving a more savory-style of wine, which I think they have done admirably. The Tellurian “Pastiche” Shiraz has likewise a more herbal freshness to it, along with its juicy blackberry fruit, and comes across as nicely balanced. The Killakanoon has perhaps a more classic ripe flavor profile, but is backed by positively zippy acidity, keeping the slightly more raisinated flavors from sitting heavily on the palate.

Last but not least, I’ve got an honest-to-goodness heavy hitter for you, in the event that you’re in the market for serious brawn. From the offensively heavy bottle to the 16.4% alcohol, there’s nothing small or timid about this wine, including it’s name: “Kissing Vipers.” A Grenache from the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Barbara’s Santa Maria Valley, this bottle from the project known as Terre et Sang is aspiring very much to the Sine Qua Non aesthetic, both from a packaging perspective as well as the wine inside the bottle. Having said that, it’s surprisingly well-balanced for its ripeness, though I would suggest it be drunk earlier rather than aged for very long.

Notes on all these wines below.

Tasting Notes

2021 Planeta “La Segreta Il Bianco” White Blend, Sicily, Italy
Pale straw in color, this wine smells of chamomile, lemon…

Source :

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/5/22  
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