Sunday, January 28, 2018

Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Hey folks, this week I’m back with another round-up of wine samples from around the globe. Some delicious and budget-friendly wines from Argentinian producers Achaval-Ferrer and Domaine Bousquet showed well. I’ve also reviewed four wines from the Northern and Southern Rhone Valleys. Lastly, we finish off with some Blandy’s 10-Year Madeiras and a sparkling wine from Oregon producer Gran Moraine that I think deserves some serious attention.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2015 Achával-Ferrer Cabernet Franc - Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo
SRP: $23
Deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherries, juicy plums, along with tobacco leaf, menthol, sweet roses, coffee and cedar. Impressive structure on the palate, full-bodied and velvety but grip on the tannins, medium acidity. Black cherries and crunchy plum fruit mixes well with cocoa, coffee, spiced black tea, tobacco. Complexity and depth is impressive, but this is still an accessible and friendly wine. (88 points)

2016 Domaine Bousquet Gaia White - Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $18
Light gold color. Bursting aromatics of peaches, yellow apples, quince paste, honey, along with ginger and spiced tea. Medium-bodied with zesty acidity and plump pears and apples, drizzled with lime. Hints of ginger, white pepper and shells add complexity. Crisp, fresh, delish, very good for the price. A blend of Chardonnay with 35% Pinot Gris and 15% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% of the wine sees six months in French oak. (89 points)

2015 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Red - Argentina, Mendoza, Valle de Uco, Tupungato
SRP: $20
Deep purple color. Aromas of sweet plums, blackberries, along with violets, sage, eucalyptus, mint, vanilla – great mix of aromas. Full and velvety on the palate but some nice grip to the tannins and fresh acidity, along with tart black cherry. Fruity but fresh with notes of eucalyptus, smoky charcoal, cedar, coffee. Hedonistic flavors but it stays tart and vibrant, and it works well. Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 10 months in French oak. (90 points)

2014 Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornuds - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Vinsobres
SRP: $16
Deep ruby color. Aromas of sweet but tangy cherries, along with lots of lavender, roses, rhubarb and pepper. Tangy and fresh appeal on a 13.5% alcohol frame, with accessible tannins and tart cherries and red plum. Notes of roses, lavender, sage, coffee. Vibrant and tangy but shows some complexity, definitely a crowd-pleasing, food-friendly wine. Grenache, Syrah. (87 points)

2015 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Beaumes-de-Venise Le Paradou - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Beaumes-de-Venise
SRP: $16
Light purple color. Aromas of tart black currants, plums, cherries, along with lavender, violets, rich earth. Medium grip on the tannins, tart acidity, along with plums, roasted figs, black currant. Notes of sweet violets, espresso, pepper, clove, lavender. Structured well but lively and fresh, too. 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah. (88 points)

2015 Cave de Tain Crozes-Hermitage Grand Classique - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage
SRP: $23
Deep purple color. Gushing aromas of black cherry and blackberry with sweet herbs, coffee, mocha, anise and clove. Nice grip on the palate with medium acidity and lots of dark plummy fruit, gushing black currants, deliciousness abounds. Notes of sweet coffee, cedar, clove, pepper and anise add complexity. Straight delish but also impressive depth, and this could age well over the next few years. (89 points)

2014 Alain Voge Cornas Les Chailles - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
SRP: $45

Light purple color. Aromas of black cherries and currants, tons of smoky, herbal and savory aspects (black pepper, pine resin, smoked meat, bacon fat, lentils). Medium-bodied frame with serious grip to the tannins but vibrant acidity for freshness. Cool black cherries and tart plums, the fruit is topped in black pepper, charcoal, roasted meat, bacon fat, black olive. A bit tight but seriously good stuff, I would love to re-taste this in 5-8 years. From 40-year-old vines. (91 points)

2016 Castello di Gabbiano Dark Knight - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $17
Medium ruby color. Aromas of tart cherries, sweet cola, coffee and cedar. Fresh and tart on the palate with lights tannins and tangy acidity. Crunchy red cherries and strawberry jam mix with notes of cola, cedar and vanilla. Pleasant, ripe, tasty, crowd-pleasing. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese. (85 points)

N.V. Gran Moraine Pinot Noir Brut Rosé - Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
SRP: $50
Pale copper color. Aromas of strawberries, white cherries, roses, honeysuckle, biscuits, toasted almond, sea salt, ginger — wow! Crisp acidity and a lot of textural depth and richness but such a refreshing, lip-smacking wine. Strawberries, white cherries, red apple peel, the fruit is topped in toasted baguette, flaky biscuits, salted almond, ginger, honeysuckle, sea breeze. The minerality is gorgeous. What an impressive sparkling wine. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. (93 points)

N.V. Blandy's Madeira Sercial 10 Years Old - Portugal, Madeira
SRP: $30/500ml
Golden/amber color. Aromas of sea salt, almonds, coconut shavings, ocean spray, along with quince paste and apricot jam. Rich textural depth on the palate but gorgeous acidity, honeyed but salty. Flavors of orange marmalade, apricot, sea salt, raw almond, ginger. Lovely depth on this wine, and a great introduction to serious Sercial at a very reasonable price. (90 points) 

N.V. Blandy's Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old - Portugal, Madeira
SRP: $30/500ml
Rich orange/brown color. Aromas of almond cake, orange marmalade, coconut, honey, salted caramel. Rich but salty, sweet but fresh. Flavors of quince and fig paste, orange marmalade, coconut, caramel, sea salt, honeycomb, candied pecans. Delicious, complex, lovely Malmsey, especially for the price. (90 points) 

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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