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 one of my favorite obscure genres of wine: still white wine made from Pinot Noir. I don’t know who made the first such wine, but the first one I had was at the hands of winemaker Tony Rynders when he was working at Domaine Serene in Oregon. The one I tasted this week was from Waits-Mast Family Cellars, and it delivered the mind-bending berry and citrus flavors, combined with a nice silky texture that is the hallmark of this wine, which is made simply by treating Pinot Noir like a white grape. That means pressing whole clusters of it and fermenting the pale juice on the lees in stainless steel.
This week I also tasted a number of wines from Uruguay, a country that is unfortunately off the radar for most wine lovers. If you’d like a quick overview, check out my introduction to Uruguayan wine, penned after my first visit to that wonderful country. The truth of the matter is that Uruguay produces some fantastic wines, and I’m sure they’ve only gotten better and more interesting in the 8 years since I’ve been there.
As a case in point, let’s look at this beauty of a white blend by Cerro Chapeu, who give their combination of Trebbiano and Malvasia from the far north of the country a little bit of skin contact and let it positively gush stone fruit and bright citrus.
Juanicó makes an interesting blend of Albariño, Verdejo, and Chardonnay into a citrusy herbal melange that satisfies beautifully, especially for the price.
On the darker side of things, the Prima Donna oak-aged Tannat from Stagnari offers the nicely bright but rich fruit and fine tannins that characterize the Tannat grape when it is treated well. Likewise, the Auguará Special Reserve Tannat from El Capricho provides a nice earthy and stony backdrop to its dark fruit, and with slightly better-integrated wood than the Stagnari bottling.
The star of the Uruguayan selection this week, however, was undoubtedly the single-vineyard Tannat from Bodega Garzón. This wine is the picture of refinement, with wonderful earthy tones married to the wine’s stony core, wrapped in the dark fruit and powdery tannins that take their very etymology from the Tannat grape. The Garzon winery, owned by Chilean billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni, has been, from day one, a no-expenses-spared attempt to demonstrate the potential of Uruguayan wine. I’d say they’re doing a fine job of it.
Closer to home, let’s finish up with a couple of red wines from Markus Niggli’s Markus Wine Co. Both have slightly more wood influence than I would like at this point, but his “Blue” blend of red grapes is dark, spicy and juicy with excellent acidity, while his “Ancient Blocks” Carignane from the Nicolini vineyard shows a textbook expression of the grape variety with its cherry cola notes and wonderful orange peel acidity.
Notes on all these below.
2021 Bodegas Cerro Chapeu “Castel Pujol – Folklore” White Blend, Cerro Chapeu, Rivera, Uruguay
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of grapefruit pith and white chalkboard. In the mouth, wonderfully stony flavors of wet chalkboard, lemon pith, Asian pear, and white flowers have a crisp brightness thanks to excellent acidity. Quite tasty. A blend of 70% Trebbiano and 30% Malvasia with a bit of skin contact. 11.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $22. click to buy.
2022 Juanicó “Don Pascual Coastal White” White Blend, Uruguay
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of candied lemon peel and chamomile. In the mouth, bright lemon peel and lemon pith flavors mix with a hint of chamomile and green apple. Juicy and bright with a light pithy bitterness in the finish. A blend of Albariño,…
Source : https://www.vinography.com/2023/12/vinography-unboxed-week-of-12-24-23