Vinography Unboxed: Week of 2/11/24


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 another tranche of the latest releases from Rhys Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which truly has produced an epic vintage of wines in 2021, that I believe sit among the very best wines made on the North Coast for that year.

Both their Anderson Valley wines and their Santa Cruz Mountains wines (red and white) are fantastic. Their Bearwallow Chardonnay has a fantastic zip and wonderful floral tones, while their Pajaro Vineyard and Horseshoe Vineyard are positively brimming with energy and sapidity that makes the mouth water and all but compels another sip (or gulp!). These wines are sold primarily to their mailing list, so the prices below are secondary market prices, which cn vary considerably depending on the outlet. But if you can get your hands on any of these wines, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I also tasted a very nice Chardonnay from Berkeley’s Covenant Winery, which has a lovely balance between richness and zing, and will satisfy a wide range of Chardonnay lovers, especially if they happen to keep Kosher.

Inexpensive Pinot Noir is tough to come by these days, as the grape gets more popular, land gets more expensive, and inflation continues to affect the supply chain. That makes the latest offering from Rare North, at a mere $25, a real gem. It’s got everything Pinot lovers want, wrapped in a lovely crystalline quality.

I’ve also got another wine from Bluestone Vineyard in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to suggest this week: a competently made Merlot that offers a nice expression of fruit melded to sweet oak.

Finally, coincident to the courtroom drama that played out over the last couple of weeks in Napa, I’ve got a Hoopes Family Syrah, which is ripe and rich, but not over the top, meaning it won’t be mistaken for a coastal, cool-climate version of the grape, but that it has enough acid and lift to be pleasurable to drink.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2022 Covenant Wines “Lavan” Chardonnay, Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma, California
Pale yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon curd and pastry cream flavors have a smooth, silky brightness thanks to excellent acidity. Clean, bright, and tasty. 13.9% alcohol. Kosher for Passover. Non-mevushal. Score: around 9. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2021 Rhys Vineyards “Bearwallow Vineyard” Chardonnay, Anderson Valley, California
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and orange peel with a hint of wet chalkboard. In the mouth, beautifully brilliant lemon peel, lemon curd, and candied orange peel flavors mix with a more floral orange blossom quality as the wine moves silkily across the palate. Excellent acidity and a hint of vanilla in the finish. Outstanding. 13.2% alcohol.  Score: around 9.5. Cost: $82. click to buy.

2021 Rhys Vineyards “Home Vineyard” Pinot Noir, San Mateo County, California
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, lovely pure flavors of cherry and cranberry are wrapped in gauzy tannins and enlivened by juicy acidity. Fresh, bright, and pure.13.9% alcohol.  Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $110. click to buy.

2021 Rhys Vineyards “Porcupine Hill” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and pomegranate fruit. In the mouth, lightly fleecy tannins wrap around a core of bright cherry and raspberry fruit shot through with forest floor and citrus peel. Fantastic acidity and freshness. Notes of dried herbs linger in the finish. Gorgeous. 14.1% alcohol.  Score: around 9.5. Cost: $120. click to buy.

2021 Rhys Vineyards…

Source : https://www.vinography.com/2024/02/vinography-unboxed-week-of-2-11-24