Vinography Unboxed: Week of 1/14/24


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 past week included what I consider to be a pitch-perfect rendition of Sauvignon Blanc from one of the world’s top cooperative wineries, Kurtasch in Italy’s Alto Adige region. Beautifully green and crisp, this is a wine that over-delivers for its modest price.

I’ve got two Chardonnays to recommend this week, one from Lavinea up in Oregon which is very much on the leaner side of Chardonnay, with little apparent wood influence. The other, from Merry Edwards is a bit fuller-bodied, but still holds an edge of brightness that helps keep things refreshing instead of unctuous. The folks at Merry Edwards also sent along their flagship Meredith Estate Pinot bottling with its nasty heavy bottle. I hope the new owners, Maison Louis Roederer get rid of those bottles soon.

There aren’t a lot of very good rosé wines made in Napa Valley, mostly because people don’t want to pick their red grapes early enough to make what I consider to be a “proper” rosé. Instead, if they make them at all, most people simply bleed off a little juice from their red fermentations (known as saignée) as they are getting started and call it a day. If not done carefully, this can yield a bitter, angular wine without enough acidity. I’m not clear whether the rosé I tasted this week from Hoope’s Vineyard in Napa is made from a saignée or not, but if it was, winemaker Aaron Pott did it quite deftly, resulting in a very tasty pink wine, and one of the better Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated rosés I’ve had in a long while.

I’ve got a few Pinots to recommend to you this week, ranging from the super-lean, lots-of-stems version from Darling Wines that will appeal to those seeking lower-alcohol, high-acid, savory incarnations of Pinot Noir, to the richer, plusher version of the grape in the Covenant Landsman bottling from Carneros that, like all the winery’s products, is kosher for Passover. The single-vineyard Pinot Noir bottling from the Elton Vineyard by Lavinea sits somewhere in between these two wines, though it leans more to the cooler, zippier side of Pinot Noir.

Speaking of cool and zippy, I really enjoyed the rendition of Sangiovese I tried this week from Broc Cellars that tastes like it might have been partially carbonically macerated, so bright and boisterous is its fruit. It was clearly picked early with the intention of making a more fun and less ageworthy version of the grape, but the results are quite delicious.

While we’re still in the lower alcohol zone of cool-climate wines, Darling also sent along their Syrah from the same Sonoma Coast site as their Pinot Noir, and it’s a beautifully perfumed wine that has a nice balance between fruitier and stonier qualities.

To wrap up, I’ve got two more substantial red wines to recommend. The first is a Tannat-based red blend from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley by Jump Mountain Winery. Despite calling it a more substantial wine, it’s actually quite modest in alcohol level, and the wood that has been used on it is pretty well integrated.

When it’s made well, Montelpulciano can be a real winner, as the 2019 Marina Cvetic Riserva from Masciarelli proves. Perfectly ripe but not over-ripe and nicely aged, this wine delivers dark juicy fruit that has this great citric kick to it that lasts for a very long time in the finish. It’s a wine with great poise and class.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2022 Kellerei Kurtatsch Sauvignon Blanc, Südtirol-Alto Adige, Italy
Pale straw in color, this wine smells of green apples and gooseberries. In the mouth, wonderfully bright and juicy green apple, gooseberry, and kiwi flavors have an electric zippiness thanks to excellent acidity and a…

Source : https://www.vinography.com/2024/01/vinography-unboxed-week-of-1-14-24