Vinography Unboxed: Week of 8/25/19

bigstock-box-of-wine-on-the-plain-backg-26760620.jpgHello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. 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.

This week included another tranche of wines from the Andis project, a Sierra Foothills label that’s sprung for the services of Napa superstar winemaker Philippe Melka. These two whites are both competent and offer some promise, but I wish they were snappier with more acidity and (in the case of the Sauvignon Blanc) a bit less ripeness. I’m especially excited to see what this Semillon ends up being like as this project evolves.

I’ve got a fairly tropical California Chardonnay for those who want a bit of richness but without the oak. Alma Cattleya a project by Colombian native Bibiana González Rave who has been making wine in California for some time. She started her Cattleya label in 2012, and recently launched this Alma Cattleya line of wines. The Pinot Noir from the same label is a bit more simplistic, but still tasty.

Any interest in some skin-fermented Grüner Veltliner? If you’re a fan of orange wines, I definitely recommend checking out the latest iteration of this wine from Solminer, Dave Delaski’s project from Los Olivos in Santa Barbara County. But wait, there’s more. Delaski is also making a sparkling Riesling as well and I had the chance to taste it for the first time. It’s a younger, fresher kind of sparkling Riesling, and a fun little experiment. And if that weren’t enough of an embrace for his Austrian wife’s heritage, Solminer also makes a Blaufränkisch in a fresh, “glouglou” style that is the best rendition of the grape I’ve had from the states.

Moving to other reds, I’ve got a pair of wines that match the whites I reviewed last week from Maison Champy, the venerable Beaune-based Burgundy house. Both are worth seeking out, but especially the “Les Vergelesses” bottling from Pernand-Vergelesses, which has a wonderfully electric brightness to it and great purity of fruit.

And now for some darker and more southerly pursuits. I’ve got two more wines fromVIK_bottle.jpg Viña VIK, the money-is-no-object project in Chile dreamt up by tech-insurance-trading-and-more-billionaire and hotelier Alexander Vik. Carved out of the Millahue Valley (a sub-valley to Cachapoal), VIK spared literally no expense in the design, construction, planting, and winemaking for this project, and it has paid off. The wines are excellent, if perhaps a bit predictable. Icon wines of Chile? Yes. Readily distinguishable from similar wines made in Napa or Washington State? Not really. But if you’re in the market for luxury Bordeaux-style blends from the New World, these will hold their own against wines costing 3 or 4 times as much from Napa.

All these and more below.

2018 Andis Wines “Codevilla Vineyard Old Vine” Sauvignon Blanc, Sierra Foothills, California
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of sweet kiwi and green apple fruit. In the mouth, silky flavors of green apple and gooseberry have a very nice complexion, but lack the acidity to make them truly come alive. Some nice wet stone notes linger in the finish along with green apple. Very tasty but needs more verve. Made from 45 year-old vines planted in the Shenandoah Valley AVA. Aged in a combination of French oak and steel. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2018 Andis Wines “Bill Dillian Vineyard” Semillon, Sierra Foothills, California
Palest, almost colorless gold in the glass, this wine smells of green apple and greengage plum skin. In the mouth, green apple and chamomile flavors have a wonderful silky texture but not enough acidity to make them as exciting as they could be. There’s a nice underlying minerality to the wine, but I wish it had more snap. 40 year-old vines. 13.5% alcohol. 428 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $28. click to buy.

2017 Alma de Cattleya Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California
Light gold in the glass, this…

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