Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/12/24

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 wines from Italy, Australia, and California, but let’s start here in California with the Albariño from Gallica, winemaker Rosemary Cakebread’s project in Napa. The winery is based in Napa but these grapes come from Lodi, and offer a slightly more generous rendition of the Albariño grape than some other places.

Also from California, I was introduced this week to a winery called Complant, a father-and-son project by long-time California winemaker Daniel Baron who spent 23 years making wine for Silver Oak Cellars, and his son, Sam. They sent along three wines this week, but their Linda Vista Vineyard Chardonnay is the first I want to talk about, as it shows some lovely restraint in oak usage and ripeness, resulting in a fresh and delicious package. I’ll get to their Cabernets in a minute.

I got a box of wines from the Victoria region of Australia recently, and have two to share today, a cracking Riesling from Best’s Great Western Vineyard and a really lovely Chardonnay from De Bortoli, which, at $20 is a remarkable value, if you can manage to get your hands on some (I couldn’t find any for sale online in the US).

Let’s take a detour to Piedmont in Italy for a moment, as I received a number of wines from Tenuta Cucco in Serralunga. They’ve been in business since the 1960s after the Stroppiana family bought one of the choicest vineyard plots in Serralunga and built a winery. In 2015, however, the property was purchased by the Rossi Cairo family, which has a long history in organic and biodynamic farming in the region.

This week I’m reviewing their Barbera d’Alba Superiore, which is a classic expression of the grape, and two of their single-vineyard Barolos, the Cerratti and the Bricco Voghera. Of the two, I slightly prefer the Bricco Voghera. All three wines will age beautifully.

Let’s finish up with some Cabernets, shall we? Rosemary Cakebreads 2021 Gallica Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is another example of why I love the ’21 vintage, with wonderful brightness and very fine tannins. I can say the same thing about the Complant 2021 vintage from the UC Davis South Station Vineyard (insider secret: it’s basically a part of the To Kalon Vineyard, but is not allowed to be labeled that way). Their 2020 wine from the same site is also excellent.

That’s all for this week, notes on all these wines below.

Tasting Notes

2023 Gallica “Terra Alta Vineyard” Albariño, Clements Hills, Lodi, California
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of lime zest and Fuji apples. In the mouth, peach and citrus flavors have a nice brightness with a hint of pomelo zest lingering in the finish. Lightly chalky with a faint minerality. Fermented and aged in a combination of steel and neutral oak. 13% alcohol. Certified organic grapes. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38. click to buy.

2022 Best’s Great Western Riesling, Victoria, Australia
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of mandarin and tangerine oil mixed with a hint of paraffin. In the mouth, juicy tangerine and Asian pear flavors mix with grapefruit and pomelo pith, as a faintly chalky texture leaves the mouth feeling clean and refreshed. Excellent acidity. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2019 De Bortoli “Estate Vineyard” Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and lemon zest. In the mouth, faintly saline flavors of lemon peel and lemon pith mix with grapefruit and hints of white flowers. Crisp and bright with excellent acidity. A fantastic value, though not easy to find online. 13% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5

Source : https://www.vinography.com/2024/05/vinography-unboxed-week-of-5-12-24