Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/9/23

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 week included a whole bunch of pink wines. But before we get into that hue, I can recommend a sparkling wine from the Russian River producer Inman Family Wines. Winemaker and owner Kathleen Inman has made a fresh-tasting extra-brut wine from a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Further south, in the cool Santa Cruz Mountains, consulting winemaker Shalini Sekhar makes Neely Wines from their vineyard in Portola Valley. Their Holly’s Cuvee Chardonnay has a nice balance to it with notes of herbs and minerality.

OK, shall we talk pink wine? I got a handful of rosatos from Italy recently, thanks to importer Dalla Terra. They’re all very good, and an excellent reminder not to have Provençal tunnel vision when it comes to refreshing pink wine. In particular, the rosatos of Puglia in the heel of Italy’s boot are especially excellent, as the two wines from Masseria Li Veli this week demonstrated. Both the Torrerose, which is made from Negroamaro, and the Susumaniello rosatos are excellent. The Susumaniello, in particular, has this gorgeous floral quality that will sweep you off your feet.

Farther north, the pink wines from Capezzana in Tuscany, Garofoli in the Marche, and Scaia in the Veneto are all very tasty, as well as excellent values.

There’s also a domestic rosé to pay attention to, thanks to a bottle of Grenache-dominant rosé from Quivira, the organic producer in Dry Creek Valley.

Moving into reds, I’ve got another mountain Grenache to recommend from producer Edio Vineyards at Delfina Farms in El Dorado County, who have a crunchy, stony interpretation of the grape in this bottle.

From lower elevations, I can recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon from Sutro Wines in Alexander Valley, a producer who is maybe better known for their Merlot.

Finally, Rosemary Cakebread sent along her Gallica estate Cabernet Sauvignon from 2020, a vintage that many in Napa Valley did not produce. This wine is quite elegant and poised, though perhaps not quite as dynamic as it could be. I can’t wait to taste the 2021 version.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2018 Inman Family Wines “Luxe Cuvée – Extra Brut – Inman Sisters” Sparkling Wine, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light yellow-gold in the glass with coarse aggressive bubbles, this wine smells of freshly cut apples and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon peel, apples, and a faint chalkiness turn slightly salty as the wine finishes. The mousse is extremely voluminous, almost too much so, filling the mouth even with a delicate sip. Good acidity, with a tart green apple note in the finish. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 13% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $90. click eto buy.

2020 Neely “Holly’s Cuvee” Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Light to medium yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and yellow herbs. In the mouth, lemon peel, lemon curd, and pomelo flavors have a nice yellow-herb tinge to them. Delicate acidity (wish there was more) supports and balances the fruit and herbal tones. Faint sense of minerality. 13.9% alcohol. 44 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $55.

2022 Masseria Li Veli Susumaniello Rosato, Salento, Puglia, Italy
Pale salmon pink in color, this wine smells of peonies, strawberries, and citrus peel. In the mouth, bright berry and floral flavors have a satiny texture and light tannic grip. Excellent acidity and brightness. Extremely refreshing, balanced, and alluring with its floral perfume. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $26. click to buy.

2022 Masseria Li Veli “Torrerose” Rosato, Salento, Puglia, Italy
Light baby-pink in color, this wine smells of strawberries and watermelon…

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Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/9/23 Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/9/23 *Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/9/23