Vinography Unboxed: Week of 5/26/24

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.

Let’s start with some sparkling wines from the venerable Raventos i Blanc, formerly of the Cava region of Spain, but now just making “Spanish” sparkling wines in protest of what they see are appellation rules that haven’t kept up with the times. Their Can Sumoi sparkling wine is a brand new product from their ancient mountain farm of the same name, and it’s an unusual wine made from a rare mutation of the Parellada grape commonly used in Cava.

The other two wines I’m recommending this week are long-standing products from Raventos, their de La Finca and Textures de Pedra sparkling wines. These are both excellent expressions of the traditional Cava grape varieties, but made with exceptional quality fruit and a long aging time giving them the complexity you’d expect from top-tier sparkling wines. I tend to slight the Textures de Pedra slightly more than the de La Finca bottling, but they’re both excellent.

Last week I reviewed a few of the newest releases from Massican, Napa’s white-wine-only brand made by Dan Petroski. This week I’ve got his Sauvignon Blanc and Gemina white wine blend, both of which are excellent and worth seeking out.

Regular readers will remember that I’m a fan of Big Table Farm in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a small biodynamic label started by Clare Carver and her husband Brian Marcy. Their wines have a wonderful honesty, and all three I’m reviewing this week reflect that character. Their Wild Bee Chardonnay is a glass full of sunshine, with a neon lemon quality that is quite disarming, while their Elusive Queen Chardonnay lives up to its name with an exotic herbal quality that’s hard to put a finger on. Their Laughing Pig rosé of Pinot Noir has a surprisingly earthy quality in the latest vintage, something that is echoed in a more subtle way by their “standard” Willamette Pinot Noir.

Last but not least, I’ve got three more single-vineyard Pinot Noir releases from Calera to recommend. I’m surprised a little at the variation between these wines, some of which I like considerably more than the others, with the standout being the Jensen Vineyard bottling which has a finesse and elegance that the others have yet to achieve at this point in their evolution. This superiority is reflected in the elevated price of the Jensen bottling. As is always the case, these wines will all age beautifully for the next 10-20 years, so no rush to enjoy them now, however delicious they might be.

Notes on all these below.

Tasting Notes

NV Can Sumoi “Ancestral – Brut Nature” Montònega Sparkling Wine, Spain
Palest gold in the glass with medium to large bubbles, this wine smells of golden apples and ripe pears. In the mouth, a coarse mousse delivers flavors of bright pear and apple that are shot through with lemon pith and wet pavement. Juicy and fresh with a nice clean fruitiness. Montònega is a pink-berried clone of Parellada. Sold as non-vintage, but it’s actually the 2023 vintage. 9.5% alcohol. Certified organic. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2021 Raventos i Blanc “De la Finca – Brut Nature” Cava Blend, Spain
Light gold in the glass with medium-sized bubbles, this wine smells of lemon and brioche. In the mouth, zippy, fresh flavors of lemon pith and grapefruit oil mix with toasted sourdough and a touch of seawater, all borne on a fluffy mousse of bubbles. Notes of dried mango linger in the finish. Fantastic acidity. A blend of 50% Xarel·lo, 40% Macabeu, and 10% Parellada aged in the bottle on the lees for 30 months. 12% alcohol. 32,000 bottles made. Certified organic. Score: around 9. Cost: $36. click to buy.

2020 Raventos i Blanc “Textures de Pedra – Blanc de Negres –…

Source : https://www.vinography.com/2024/06/vinography-unboxed-week-of-5-26-24