Vinography Unboxed: Week of 11/3/19

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 was an all-red tasting session, with heavy representation Cabernet department with a few other goodies thrown in.

Let’s start with a couple of nice Pinot Noirs, the first from reliable producer Macrostie, who offered up a single vineyard Pinot from the Russian River Valley that had wonderful character and distinctiveness. Likewise, the Pinot from Cartograph showed the same sort of bright fruit and herbal edge.

Last week I featured the new Cigare Blanc from Bonny Doon Vineyards, and this week we’ve got it’s red sibling, also reformulated and repriced as Randall Grahm reboots the Cigare Volant brand. This new version includes a lot more Cinsault and is line priced along with white and pink versions of the wine. It is even more of a great value at its new tariff.

We can ease our way into the Cabernet category with the Lang & Reed “Two Fourteen” Cabernet Franc this week. Named after the clone number of Cabernet Franc found in this Napa Vineyard site, this is a reliably tasty interpretation of Franc by a winery dedicated to the grape. John and Tracy Skupny have been making Loire-inspired reds in Napa for decades, and pretty much everything they make is excellent.

Now on to the Cabernet Sauvignons (and a sneaky Merlot) on offer this week.

We can easily start with Jordan’s reliable Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, showing its usual restrained elegance and freshness. Following that I’ve got a red blend from Paraduxx, the Bordeaux-blend incarnation in the Duckhorn family of wines which shows its breeding with toasty oak and cherry.

Lastly, I’ve got the current releases from Aperture Cellars, the Son-Father collaboration between winemaker Jesse Katz and his father Andy Katz, the photographer whose work I showcase now and again here on Vinography. Sugarloaf_nomad_aperture_2016.jpgSeveral of these single-vineyard Cabernets (and one Merlot, if you read the fine print) are in fine form, but I didn’t find the 2016 vintage as well balanced as the 2015 wines. Having said that, if you like big-boned red wines there’s a lot to love, especially in the aforementioned Merlot (shown at left), which Jesse has named Nomad. The idea here is that he’s going to make a unique vineyard designated wine each year from around Sonoma somewhere, supposedly never to be repeated.

Notes for all these and more below.

2016 Macrostie “Thale’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Medium ruby in the glass with just a hint of garnet, this wine smells of cranberry and raspberry and dried herbs. In the mouth, herbal flavors with a decidedly minty edge meld seamlessly with subdued raspberry and cherry fruit. There’s a chocolate, mint and rooibos character to this wine that is delightful. Excellent acidity. 14.4% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $58.

2017 Cartograph Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cranberry and raspberry fruit. In the mouth, raspberry and chopped herbs have a nice chipper brightness thanks to excellent acidity. The herbal notes linger through the finish. 13.9% alcohol. 735 cases produced. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $48. click to buy.

2018 Bonny Doon Vineyard “Le Cigare Volant” Red Blend, Monterey, California
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of mulberries and boysenberries. In the mouth, juicy mulberry and boysenberry fruit have a boisterous quality thanks to excellent acidity. A thin skein of muscular tannins maintains a grip on the fruit and adds structure to counterpoint the cavalier berries. Tasty. A recently reformulated blend of 52% Grenache and 35% Cinsault with 13% Syrah. 13.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $20. click to buy.

2016 Lang & Reed “Two Fourteen”…

Source :