Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/5/24

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 week included mostly red wines, but before we dive fully into red, we should make a stop poolside for the “Red C” rosé from Covenant Wines in Berkeley. It’s what you want in a rosé: zippy, crisp, and delicious. It also happens to be Kosher for Passover, if you care about that sort of thing.

Dutton Goldfield sent along a bunch of new wines recently, and today I’m reviewing their Docker Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir from Mendocino County, and their Morelli Lane Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley. Of the two I preferred the Pinot which felt slightly more balanced, but both offer lovely expressions of fruit.

Staying in the Pinot genre for a moment, I can heartily recommend the two latest releases from Alma Rosa in Santa Barbara. While the wines are slightly on the richer side of Pinot, they both crackle with acidity and offer two interesting expressions of the Santa Rita Hills AVA and its beautiful diatomaceous earth and sand terroir.

Also of the Pinot persuasion, the cheekily named “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch” Pinot Noir from Fowles Wine in the Victoria region of Australia is tasty, and a good value, I just wish they hadn’t shipped such a heavy bottle across three oceans for me to taste it. No winery should be using bottles that weigh more than the wine inside, and certainly not those producing $20, screwcapped Pinot Noir.

Let’s finish off this week with some serious Cabernet Sauvignons.

The first is the top vintage bottling from William Cole Vineyards in Napa, their “Cuvée Claire” and it’s a rich and reasonably well-balanced expression of Cabernet that will age beautifully. It’s got slightly more oak expression than I’d like, but I’m betting a couple of years of bottle age will swallow that up nicely.

And lastly, I guess Flora Springs has been making these single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons for a few years now, but I have only recently been introduced to their trio of top bottlings. The 2021 vintage (my favorite California vintage in a very long time) has produced a stellar set of wines that will satisfy any top-tier Napa Cabernet lover.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

2023 Covenant Wines “Red C” Rosé of Grenache, Lodi, California
Palest peach in color, this wine smells of peaches and strawberries. In the mouth, zippy peach and berry flavors mix with citrus peel as excellent acidity keeps the salivary glands working in overtime. There’s a faint salinity here, and a nice chalky texture. 12.3% alcohol. Kosher for Passover. Non-mevushal. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2021 Dutton Goldfield “Docker Hill Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Mendocino County, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark cherry fruit and new oak. In the mouth, juicy black cherry and cranberry fruit are shot through with the sweet vanilla of oak. Lightly cottony tannins buff the edges of the palate. Very good acidity. I just wish the oak were less prominent. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $49. click to buy.

2021 Alma Rosa “Caracol” Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry, earth, and aromatic herbs. In the mouth, wonderfully juicy raspberry and cherry flavors mix with dried herbs and dusty earth. Dried herbs and a hint of sweet oak linger in the finish. Nicely put together, with great acidity. 14.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $85.

2021 Alma Rosa “El Jabali” Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. In the mouth, juicy black raspberry and cranberry flavors…

Source : https://www.vinography.com/2024/05/vinography-unboxed-week-of-5-5-24