Friday, February 19, 2016

Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Over the past few months, I've tasted through a range of sample wines from all over the world. Sometimes I receive a bottle from here, a bottle from there, and they don't amount to enough to conduct a proper regional tasting. So, under the largest umbrella possible, here's a grab bag of wines from all over the world. The Capensis Chardonnay, specifically, was one of the most exciting Chards I've tasted in a long time, and reflective of some of the amazing Chardonnay coming from all over South Africa. 

2013 Capensis Chardonnay - South Africa, Western Cape
SRP: $80
Golden colored. Smells amazing, just what I look for in premium Chardonnay: lovely mix of sea salt, chalk, ocean spray along with green apple, lime, nectarine with some nougat and almond. Creamy body but the acid is so refreshing and the combination of richness and brightness is wonderfully balanced. Buttery but so sleek. Rich but so elegant. Flavors of lemon meringue and nectarine mix with chalk, sea shells, minerals, almond shell and whipped butter. Beautiful Chardonnay that is worth cellaring. Sourced from three vineyards (Stellenbosch, Overberg and Robertson), half the wine is aged in new French oak for 12 months. (93 points)

2014 Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch (Erben-Thanisch) Riesling Feinherb - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $14
Pale lemon-lime color. Nose of white peac, limes, some chalky soil and honeysuckle. Moderately crisp acid, medium-light bodied, white peaches and guava dashed with lime juice and topped with honeycomb, white flowers and crushed chalk. Crisp, clean, quite dry, a great easy-sipping Riesling if you’re not a fan of residual sugar. I could see this turning on a lot of the “Riesling’s too sweet” crowd. (86 points)

2013 Criterion Collection Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - Australia, South Australia, Limestone Coast, Coonawarra
SRP: $17
Medium purple color. Tart red currants and black cherries on the nose, some tanginess to the fruit with notes of menthol, violets and toast. Medium-bodied, soft tannins, fresh acid, this is not your typical Aussie fruit bomb. A fresher, leaner approach at 13.3% alcohol, I get tart red currants and plums along with notes of tar, toast, menthol and red licorice. Fruity for sure but fresh and lively, this presents itself well for the price. (87 points)

2010 Criterion Collection Rioja Reserva - Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $17
Medium ruby colored. Nose of dusty red currants, tart plum skins, warm vanilla chai, coffee grounds, chewing tobacco. Medium-bodied, some nice grip to the tannins, moderate acid. The red currant and plum fruit is tart and crunchy but juicy enough. Lots of wood and vanilla, with leather, chewing tobacco and black tea rounding out the profile. Well-made, solid structure, good value. (86 points)

2014 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Roussillon Villages Les Vignes de Bila-Haut - France, Languedoc Roussillon, Roussillon, Côtes du Roussillon Villages
SRP: $15
Light, vibrant ruby colored. Tart, smoky red fruit on the nose, juicy raspberries and red currants, topped with campfire smoke, leather and some brighter notes of rose hips and violets. Medium-full-bodied, smooth tannic structure, medium acid, pleasantly easy-drinking. Lots of red berry fruit topped with a significant amount of smoke, leather, roasted chestnut and grilled herbs. Quite complex considering its easy-drinking appeal. Always a good by, these Bila-Haut wines. Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. (87+ points)

2014 Trivento Cabernet/Malbec Reserve - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $11
Vibrant violet color. Smells like blackberries, plum sauce, mixed in with some loam, sweet coffee, cedar and cola. Full and saucy with east-drinking tannins and some juicy acid. Chewy black cherries and blueberry fruit, topped with smoke, graphite, coffee and dusty earth. Not too complicated or serious, but fun stuff. (83 points)

2014 Trivento Malbec Reserve - Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $11
Rich violet color. Aromas of raspberry jam, juicy red plums, sweet red flowers. Light tannins, medium-to-bright acid, medium-bodied. Juicy black cherries, dark plums, the fruit is laced with cocoa, cherry wood, dark chocolate, along with hints of charcoal pit and earth. Fun, juicy, crowd-pleasing stuff. (84 points)

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