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 bunch of fun wines, starting with some lovely mountain wines from Cantina Kurtatsch in Italy’s Alto Adige region. One of the oldest cooperatives in the region (founded in 1900), Kurtatsch is a collective of 190 different growers across 190 hectares (470 acres) of vineyards in the region. Their Müller Thurgau and Schiava are both textbook examples of the form, and wonderfully fresh with balance and poise.
From a little farther south in Italy, I’ve also go the Masciarelli Trebbiano Riserva, which sees a lot of new oak, and likely needs some time to settle before it blossoms into its potential.
Winemaker Jesse Katz (of Aperture and Devil Proof fame) has signed on to make the wines for a new project in Oregon named “The Setting.” I’ve got their Chardonnay and their Pinot Noir to recommend this week. I prefer the Chardonnay to the Pinot Noir, but was a little mystified at both wines, neither of which has the word “Willamette” on the label anywhere, nor the offical Chehalem Mountains AVA where they are grown.
Merry Edwards (now owned by Louis Roederer) send along a few wines recently. This week I’ve reviewed their sonoma coast Pinot Noir as well as their single-vineyard Richaven Pinot Noir, replete with a nasty-heavy bottle designed to convey luxury quality and pricing. Both wines are on the rich end of the Pinot Noir spectrum (no pun intended).
Last but not least, I got a chance to have my first taste of the Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah! wines, which are the second act of winemaker Hardy Wallace, formerly of Dirty & Rowdy Wines. These wines are made in a natural wine ethos, but treated with enough care and sulfuring to avoid being funky. Instead they’re simpy honest, unvarnished, playful, and delicious, with a bias towards bright acidity and juicy fruit character. Both the old vine Grenache and Carignane were my favorites this week, but all four of the wines recommended below are excellent.
Notes on all these below.
2021 Cantina Kurtatsch Müller Thurgau, Südtirol Alto Adige, Italy
Pale greenish with hints of gold, this wine smells of white peaches, white flowers, and grapefruit. In the mouth, wonderfully crisp flavors of citrus pith, Asian pear, peach, and white flowers have a faint chalky minerality that is quite compelling. Clean and bright, with a hint of lightly bitter citrus pith lingering in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $22. click to buy.
2022 Masciarelli “Marina Cvetic – Riserva” Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of poached pears, honey, and white flowers. In the mouth, pear flesh mixes with citrus peel as wet pavement minerality accompanies a faint chalky texture. Very good acidity. Comes across as slightly austere and a little compressed on the palate, thanks in part to spending 12 months in new French oak. My guess is that it will open up with time, but for now, it is a bit narrow. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $60.
2021 The Setting “Chehalem Mountain Vineyard” Chardonnay, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith, a hint of struck flint, and lemon oil. In the mouth, faintly smoky lemon oil, grapefruit pith, and resinous flavors have a bright zippiness thanks to excellent acidity. There’s a faint chalky texture in the finish. Bright and lean. Very tasty. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $65. click to buy.
2021 The Setting “Chehalem Mountain Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and a hint of blackberry. In the…
Source : https://www.vinography.com/2023/12/vinography-unboxed-week-of-12-10-23