Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/19/23

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 couple of fun wines from a little family-run estate in the Penedés region of Spain, named Parés Baltà. Run by two brothers and their wives, with the women handling the winemaking, they’ve dedicated the estate to being as organic and low-intervention as possible. Their wines are lean, pure, and wonderful expressions of place. Their Electio Xarel-lo is a stony expression of this grape usually used for Cava, and their Grosella is a crunchy, quaffable interpretation of the rare local red grape Sumoll.

I also opened a Vermentino from Two Shepherds Winery, which comes from the little Dunnigan Hills AVA in Yolo County, west of Sacramento. It’s crisp and creamy all at once, and a fun and refreshing interpretation of the grape that the French call Rollé.

Pinot Blanc is one of the world’s most under-appreciated white grapes, but it has increasingly become a focus in Germany, which is churning out some excellent examples of what they call Weissburgunder. This one, by Familie Friedrich Becker, gets the French version of the name, but offers the wonderfully crisp and cool qualities that can only come from a region like the Pfalz in Germany.

Sticking with cool river valleys in Germany for a moment, the folks at Winebow (one of America’s largest and most successful import companies) have teamed up with Moselland of Bernkastel-Kues (the largest landowner in the Mosel valley) to create a cleverly-named higher-volume brand called Clean Slate. It offers value-priced, decent-quality Mosel Riesling for anyone who enjoys that classic flavor profile. For $10 what’s not to love?

Last week, I authored a look at what’s going on in the Santa Lucia Highlands for Jancis Robinson’s online subscriber base, and offered tasting notes on 30 or so of the best wines being made in the region. But there were some tasting notes that ended up on the cutting room floor, including some older vintages of the Pisoni Estate wines that Jeff Pisoni was kind enough to offer up for tasting.

Finally, continuing in the Pinot Noir vein, I’ve got another recent release from La Folette winery in Sonoma.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2021 Parés Baltà “Electio” Xarel-lo, Penedés, Spain
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of citrus pith and lemon peel with a hint of white flowers and wet chalkboard. In the mouth, bright lemon peel, green apple, and crushed stones have a brilliant zingy brightness thanks to excellent acidity. Organically produced. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $60.

2021 Two Shepherds Vermentino, Dunnigan Hills, Yolo County, California
Palest greenish gold in color, this wine smells of citrus pith and fior di latte gelato. In the mouth, citrus pith, white flowers, and a hint of vanilla all gush with juicy acidity that lingers in the finish with notes of grapefruit and a faint creaminess. Made with certified organic grapes. Fermented with native yeasts. Aged half in a neutral barrel, half in stainless steel. 11.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $22. click to buy.

2020 Familie Friedrich Becker Pinot Blanc, Pfalz, Germany
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and white flowers. In the mouth, lemon juice, pastry cream, and grapefruit flavors have a wonderful mouthwatering brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity. A faint saline note lingers with the grapefruit in the finish. Very tasty. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $22. click to buy.

2021 Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Near colorless in the glass, this wine smells of mandarin orange oil and honeysuckle. In the mouth, faintly sweet flavors of mandarin oranges, honey, and wet…

Source :

Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/19/23  
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