Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wine Reviews: Grab Bag from Bulgaria, Brazil & South Africa

As a contributor for the daily wine blog Terroirist, I receive sample wines from all over the world. Some of the more varied and obscure samples aren’t easy to group together. Hence this catch-all report, which feautures wines from Brazil, Bulgaria, South Africa and other countries.

All wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted. They’re organized in alphabetical order by country of origin. This post first appeared on Terroirist.

2012 Gnarly Head Malbec - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $12
Aromas of sweet berries, cherry cola and mocha. Fresh and berry-driven on the palate, with gobs of fruit and red licorice and red hot candies, along with some sweet vanilla and floral elements. Some earth undertones on the finish. Easy-drinking, fun, crowd-pleasing stuff, but not complex or evocative. (84 points)

N.V. Salton Intenso Brut - Brazil, Serra Gaúcha
SRP: $15
Gold color with medium bubbles. Aromas of whipped honey, roasted nuts and lemon zest. Creamy with fine bubbles and medium acid. Lemon zest and tart green pears, along with saline and oyster brine notes. Much lighter-bodied than Champagne or other New World Bruts, this reminds me more of a crisp Cremant d’Alsace. A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. (86 points)

2011 Salton Chardonnay Virtude - Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Campanha
SRP: $22
A rich yellow color. Green and yellow apples on the nose, some honeysuckle, toasted marshmallow. Medium+ bodied, medium acid, this wine shows chunky pineapple and mango fruit, along with notes of honey, walnut and toffee. Not all richness and sunshine though, as some grapefruit peel and lemon come out on the finish. A fun, forward Chardonnay. (85 points)

2007 Salton Merlot Desejo - Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Vale dos Vinhedos
SRP: $25
On the nose, a tobacco leaf and rich soil note, with wild raspberries and red plums. Tart acid, a leaner profile, with fine, chalky tannins. Tart cranberries and raspberries lead the way, with undertones of dried leaves, cigar smoke and a flavor that reminds me of crushed nutshells. Very tart and tangy, not rich and silky, but it’s a well-made, food-friendly wine for sure. (87 points)

2009 Salton Talento - Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, Bento Gonçalves, Tuiuty
SRP: $22
Much darker on the nose, with black currants, loam, charcoal and vanilla. Medium-bodied, fresh acid combines with some gritty tannins. The black currant and dark plum fruit crackles on the palate. I get some dried leaves, black pepper, soy glaze and tobacco flavors. Drinking well now, but I think this could improve in the cellar. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Tannat. (87 points)

2011 Veni Vidi Vici Chardonnay - Bulgaria, Thracian Valley
SRP: $9
A very light straw color in the glass. Bright lemon, green apple, river stones and chalk. Light and tangy, like citrus water on the palate. Lemon, green apple peel and tangerine fruit mix with chalk and mineral. I like the brisk and clean approach, but the wine is still quite light and tastes a bit watered down. (81 points)

2012 Veni Vidi Vici Sauvignon Blanc - Bulgaria, Thracian Valley
SRP: $9
Medium straw color. Grapefruit and sea salt on the nose, along with some white peach and white flowers. High acid on the palate, medium bodied, with green apple peel, grapefruit and apricot. Light, fresh and clean, but lacking depth or intrigue. (83 points)

2011 Veni Vidi Vici Rosé - Bulgaria, Thracian Valley
SRP: $9
A watermelon-strawberry color. A huge amount of mineral on the nose, like smelling a rock quarry, also some sharp strawberry and lemon zest, along with some white pepper and an aroma that reminds me of sweet pickle relish, seriously. Tangy acid on the palate, this is a bright and brisk wine. I love the wild strawberry and snappy cranberry fruit. Lots of minerals and white pepper in this wine, with some pickle and earth qualities as well. Crisp, clean and pleasant, a Bulgarian rosé that tastes unique, as it should. 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Syrah. (87 points)

2011 Veni Vidi Vici Pinot Noir - Bulgaria, Thracian Valley
SRP: $9
A light ruby color. Juicy cherries and cranberries on the nose, some red flowers and rhubarb. Medium bodied, tangy acid, a very floral and focused wine, but enough bright red currants and strawberries. Some earth, wet moss and tobacco notes. So fresh, this is one of the better wines I’ve tasted from this producer, and a solid bargain at $9. I’d love to put this on a by-the-glass list because it’s got some broad appeal and a lot of value. (86 points)

2009 Veni Vidi Vici Cabernet Sauvignon - Bulgaria, Thracian Valley
SRP: $9
Medium ruby color. Smoky and earthy on the nose, like black currants topped with campfire ash and dusty earth. Medium tannins, crisp acid, the currant fruit is tart and crunchy. Earthy, some cedar and cracked pepper. Not too deep or thrilling, but for a bargain-priced Cab this is quite nice. (85 points)

N.V. Blandy Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old - Portugal, Madeira
SRP: $30 (375 ml bottle)
Smells of yellow raisins, caramel, honey, candied pecans and dried apricots. Classic Malmsey richness with some nutty, nougat and caramel sweetness, but lots of dried apricot, mango and mixed nuts. Still fresh though, with a long finish reminiscent of dried flowers, sea brine, saline and pineapple cake. A lot going on, this begs for hard cheeses, dried fruits and mixed nuts. (90 points)

2012 Seven Springs Chardonnay Over the Mountain - South Africa, Overberg
SRP: $16
A light yellow color. On the nose, I get kiwi, tangerine, lime, a bit of cream and a chalky-mineral aspect. The acid really rocks on this wine, providing freshness to the creamy tangerine, kiwi and green pear fruit. There’s a complex mix of chalk, mountain stream, minerals and white flowers. The creaminess comes out a bit on the finish, but this wine is anything but heavy. Full of flavor and intensity, but still maintains an elegant edge. A delicious and lively unoaked Chardonnay. (90 points)

This label, designed for the American market, is loaded with value.
2011 Seven Springs Sauvignon Blanc Over the Mountain - South Africa, Overberg
SRP: $16
Nose of white peach, green pear, honeysuckle a hint of green grass. Medium+ acid on the palate. A bit of creaminess-waxy elements to the mouthfeel. Tangy, mineral-driven wine with green apple and green pear fruit, backed up by a sage and white pepper note. Not overly grassy, this actually shows some sea brine elements that I quite like. (87 points)

2011 Seven Springs Pinot Noir Over the Mountain - South Africa, Overberg
SRP: $20
Clear light ruby color. Lovely nose of bright roses, red cherries, strawberries, pepper and underbrush. Again with this producer, it seems like you’re gonna get tangy acid, which I love. Bright red fruits (cherries, strawberries, cranberries) mix with pepper, roasted chestnut, clay soil and dried roses. Old world notes. On the lighter side, but not weak. Love the red flowers here. (88 points)

2010 Seven Springs Syrah Over the Mountain - South Africa, Overberg
SRP: $20
Dark, vibrant purple color. The blackberry and currant fruit smell like they’ve been rolled in pepper and thrown on the grill. High acid and firm grip to the tannins. Tangy plums and black currants blend well with campfire smoke and rich soil aspects. I get some pepper and steak sauce on the finish, but the acid helps it tread lightly on the palate. (88 points)

2012 Campo Viejo Garnacha Rioja - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $12
A dull ruby color. Aromas of ripe cherries, strawberries, red licorice and toast. Easy-drinking tannins and fresh acid blend with juicy black cherries and plums. Some smoke and dark roast coffee, and a flavor that reminds me of red hot candies and red licorice. Fun, party-friendly wine. (84 points)

SRP: $17
Aromas of green melon, lychee and some floral notes (orange blossom, honeysuckle). Juicy and tropical on the palate (pineapple, apricot, green melon), along with some floral notes. Creamy, lacking just a bit on the acidity for my palate, but a fun, summer sipper. (86 points)

2013 Bodega Garzón Sauvignon Blanc - Uruguay
SRP: $17
Slight spritz in the glass, with a pale straw color. Aromas of grapefruit, spiced tea and green olives, as strange as that may sound. Tangy and fresh on the palate. The white peach and orange peel blends with jalapeno, white pepper and lemongrass flavors. Crisp, herbal, but more body than your average New Zealand Sauv Blanc. Very food friendly. (87 points)

No comments:

Post a Comment