Summertime means fewer wine sample shipments, as the heat makes shipping wine to the Mid-Atlantic a shady enterprise. So, I get a bit of a break from tasting samples, which means, amidst periods of abstaining from alcohol altogether, I have time to open wines from my personal collection.
Over the course of July, I cracked open several awesome white wines, a solid pink, and a lovely red from Arianna Occhipinti.
2006 Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein Winninger Röttgen Riesling - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Rich golden color. Aromas of glazed peaches, honeyed white tea, some oily elements, but also some tennis ball, honeysuckle, mountain stream. Plump texture but tingling acidity, delicious flavors of orange marmalade, apricot jam, bitter lemon, slight sweetness is balanced with brisk acidity and minerals. I get an interesting blend of smashed rocks, chalk dust, beeswax and even some green herb hints that make this wine pop. Not as deep and intense as I was expecting, and I’m not sure how much longer this will age (my last bottle was six years ago, whoa), but a very pretty Riesling from one of my favorite producers. (91 points)
2013 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay - South Africa, Cape South Coast, Walker Bay, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Rich yellow color. Nose shows nutshells, nougat, almond, honey, white peaches and lemon curd. Refreshing, tingling acidity from start to finish, creamy though, and more oak influences than I remember (but not overblown for my palate). Lime drizzled on papaya and peach, mixed with peanut, honey, vanilla, but also some chalky minerals, sea spray and crushed shells. Waxy richness but plenty of verve. Hints of oxidization starting to set in, so I wonder about cellaring this for more than a year or two, but still really solid. (92 points)
2009 Domaine de la Pépière (Marc Ollivier) Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords - France, Loire Valley, Pays Nantais, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
On a blazing hot summer day, this was absolutely perfect. 2009 is unique in a richer, waxier way, but I found this wine still showed plenty of ripping acidity, brisk mineral and oceanic elements, and lots of tangy fruit. Nose of saline, lime zest, lemon curd, oyster shell. Palate shows this wonderfully rich textural element that plays off this racy acidity, result is great balance and depth even though this is a light/medium-bodied wine. Apricot, orange, lime zest, rocking with these oyster, chalky, sea salty notes, some nougat and honeycomb elements as well. I think I'll hold on to my last bottle for a year or two, but I don't think 2009 is typical in its long-aging potential, but who knows. All I know is this is continually the most dynamic $20 I spend on a bottle of wine. (92 points)
Gold color. Orange marmalade and lemon meringue mix with sea shells, seaweed, crusty sea salt, some honey and crunchy chalk notes, too. Bold texture, plump but shows bright acidity. Lemon curd, orange marmalade, even some bruised apple and baked pear notes, this is rich in texture and fruit but brisk from the tons of complex oceanic elements and the focused acidity. Finishes seriously like honey, orange jam and oyster brine – it’s excellent. A bold, chunky style for sure, glad I held onto this. While it has solid acidity, it seems like it may fatten out a bit too much over the longer haul, but still a beautiful wine. (92 points)
2016 Barnard Griffin Sangiovese Rosé of Sangiovese - USA, Washington, Columbia Valley
A vibrant strawberry/watermelon color. Bright and lovely on the nose with roses, lilies, dandelion, white cherries, strawberries. Bright acidity frames this wine but it’s so ripe and juicy with cherries, strawberries, red apple peel, lots of rose hips, white pepper, candied apple peel. Bright and fresh and so delicious. (88 points)
2013 Arianna Occhipinti Il Frappato - Italy, Sicily, Terre Siciliane IGT
Medium ruby color. Airy and aromatic with tons of earthy, savory, herbal tones on top of orange peel, red cherry, some bright red flowers and tobacco. Sturdy tannins at first but it settles down quickly, bright acid throughout. Bold structure but expressive red fruits with Gamay-like brightness, complex and intriguing spice and funky notes: dusty earth, sage, pickling spices, smashed rocks, paved road, some goat hide. Yet it's elegant and floral and vibrant as well. I love this wine and wish I had more to hold for a few years. (93 points)