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 the latest set of sparkling wine releases from Raventos i Blanc, the superstar sparkling producer from Cava that doesn’t label their wines as Cava. Their objection is the lack of geographical specificity available with the Cava designation (not to mention the fact that their very serious—and expensive—wines bear very little resemblance to the cheep and cheerful bubblies with Cava on the label). In fact, they’re not labeling their wines as anything other than sparkling wine from Spain these days, but that doesn’t change how good they are. All four wines are excellent, but the two older vintage, long-tirage wines are definitely a cut above and represent the pinnacle of Spanish sparkling.
Last week I reviewed a bunch of less-common white wines from California for my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, including a few from a brand new to me, Union Sacré. This fantastic little wine project is the brainchild of Philip Muzzy and Xavier Arnaudin, two friends who decided to play around a bit and make a Riesling, and then the next thing you know they’ve got a whole portfolio of Alcace-inspired wines that are all delicious. My piece for Jancis was only about single-variety wines that weren’t Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, or Pinot Gris, which meant I couldn’t review Union Sacrés Pinot Gris or their Edelzwicker white blend both of which are recommended enthusiastically below. Everything these guys make is excellent.
The folks at Quintessa sent along a couple of wines recently. Their 2020 Red Wine, a rare bird in Napa, and a beautiful expression of a vintage that wasn’t for many people. They also sent along their Sauvignon Blanc, Illumination, which doesn’t quite reach the heights of their flagship red, but is a nice expression of the variety.
Sticking with Cabernet for a moment longer, the folks at Wynn’s Coonawarra sent their Limited Release Cabernet, which offers a nice combination of ripe fruit and minty herbal notes at a price tag that doesn’t hurt.
Lastly, I’ve got two Zinfandels to recommend from Quivira in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. The Anderson Ranch bottling is wonderfully bright and juicy, and comes in a perfectly ordinary bottle that is perhaps slightly heavier than average, but not offensive. The Black Boar Zinfandel, on the other hand, I like slightly less for the wine in it, and significantly less for the fact that it comes in a bottle that weighs more than the wine inside. I don’t understand how Quivira, a blatantly sustainability-focused brand can in good conscience put their wines in glass that heavy. Bottles that weigh more than the wine inside are a big middle finger to the environment, and undermine any brand’s claims at sustainability and eco-consciousness. SMH.
Notes on all these wines below.
2020 Raventos i Blanc “De la Finca – Vinya dels Fòssils” Sparkling Wine, Spain
Pale gold in the glass with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of green apple, grapefruit pith, and nougat. In the mouth, a voluminous mousse delivers flavors of apple, pear, grapefruit pith, and a hint of nut skin. Excellent acidity and a faint chalky texture linger in the finish along with a hint of toasted sourdough. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $27. click to buy.
2019 Raventos i Blanc “Textures de Pedra – Blanc de Negres – Vinya Més Alta” Sparkling Wine, Spain
Pale gold in the glass with a hint of bronze and very fine bubbles, this wine smells of apples, butterscotch, and wet pavement. In the mouth, a silky mousse delivers flavors of baked apples, roasted nuts, citrus pith, and a hint of nougat. Excellent acidity. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost:…
Source : https://www.vinography.com/2023/09/vinography-unboxed-week-of-9-17-23