Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/30/23

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 lot of refreshing wines of many colors, so let’s dive in!

Spottswoode Winery in Napa makes two Sauvignon Blancs, one from their estate that as fantastic as it is pricey, and another one that is more reasonably priced, easier to get ahold of, and sourced from various vineyards they don’t own. It also happens to be nearly as delicious as their estate wine, so I’m happy to recommend that this week.

I’ve also got three different Chenin Blancs to recommend from France’s Loire Valley. The first, a Savennières from Domaine du Closel is wonderfully bright and stony. The other two are Vouvrays from farther east in the Loire Valley, and are just slightly riper in character, though still deliver wonderful refreshment. Of the two, I liked the more brisk Domaine Sebastien Brunet (a steal at just $18) just slightly more than the Domaine Philippe Brisebarre, but I’d happily drink a bottle of both without thinking twice.

The Ribeira Sacra region of Spain is high on my bucket list of wine regions that I have yet to visit, so I was quite excited to see this Paul Hobbs and Antonio López Fernández collaboration wine, Alvaredos-Hobbs, show up in the samples pile. It was wonderfully bright and saline, but also with richer riper fruit flavors making it quite compelling.

When winemaker Stewart Johnson dropped off a bottle of his latest Kendric Vineyards Viognier on my porch, he said offhandedly, “Oh, you’re probably going to ding me for the bottle weight, so I should explain.” Johnson knows that I dislike heavy glass and its carbon footprint, and he went on to tell me that he was still unable to order his normal glass bottles thanks to continued pandemic-related supply chain issues, so he cast about for an alternative and found some surplus glass that someone else was reselling at half his usual bottle cost. “So when you think about it,” said Johnson, “I’m something of an environmental hero for putting their wastefulness to some use, right?” Unfortunately buying surplus glass doesn’t do anything about the carbon footprint of moving that glass around once it’s got wine in it, but Johnson gets points (and avoids castigation) for his secondhand sourcing, for sure. Oh, and the wine? It’s delicious, and easily one of the best renditions of the Viognier grape in California.

Troon Vineyard makes regular appearances here in my Unboxed feature both because they regularly send me wine and because the wines are very good. The latest set they sent were particularly tasty, one and all, from their palest-of-pale rosé, to their easygoing-but-clearly-in-form orange wine, to their crunchy porch-pounder version of Grenache. All, of course, bioynamically produced and grown with certified Regenerative Organic farming.

There’s another rosé in the lineup this week I can recommend, from the small producer Minus Tide Wines, it’s a rosé of Carignan from Mendocino County, and just what you might want on a hot day.

Lastly, I have one red wine to offer you this week, a blend of international grape varieties from the Bolgheri region of Tuscany by Podere Sapaio that is rich in flavor, while at the same time, nicely dry and herb inflected, and likely to satisfy those who enjoy big red wines but don’t want them sweetish at all.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2022 Spottswoode Winery Sauvignon Blanc, California
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of passionfruit and green apples with a hint of white flowers. In the mouth, bright green apple and passionfruit flavors have a nice lemon-lime citrus note to them as well, with a silky texture and excellent acidity. Crisp, fresh, and delicious. A combination…

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Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/30/23 Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/30/23 *Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/30/23