Tasting notes, March 2, 2019; Lesser known grapes

2017 Envinate Benje Blanco

Tenerife, Canary Islands

Regular Price $27.99

Sale price $21.99

Made of 100% Listan Blanco (which, of course, no one has ever heard of) this is a rich and polished wine that illustrates the narrowness of our Chardonnay-centric worldview. Hay and almond aromas dominate and vie with gentle stone fruit flavors and persistent acidity. Low in alcohol, well balanced and delicious.

2016 Domaine Lupin Frangy

Roussette de Savoie, FR

Regular Price $22.99

Sale price $17.99

The grape here is Altesse, which is also called Roussette. Little known outside of eastern France, it is nonetheless highly regarded as it produces rich, nutty, herbal  and minerally wines of high acidity that age particularly well (due to the high acidity, of course). This example is unoaked, fresh and crisp.

2016 Schiopetto Friulano

Collio, IT

Regular Price $31.99

Sale price $24.99

In 1985, Kevin Zraly published the Windows of the World Wine Book, and among its many factual errors (as opposed to the author’s opinions masquerading as facts) it stated that there were no white wines worthy of discussion made in Italy. What a ridiculous and unqualified perspective! As rebuttal, I offer Mario Schiopetto, who since 1965 has been making sensational white wines from NE Italy. Anyway, this wine is of Friulano, which was once called Tocai Friulano and is in fact a relative of Sauvignon Blanc known both as Sauvignon Vert and Sauvignonasse. The wine is rich and full with peach, apricot and almond notes and persistent acidity. It ages better than Zraly’s opinions as well.

2016 Eidos Ermos Tinto

Ribeiro, SP

Regular Price $29.99

Sale price $23.99

I confess…I really love this wine. I’ll give it several trillion points (which, I think makes it better than a 100 point wine). It’s made of Brancellao, Caiño, Souson, and Ferrol from the northwest of Spain. It’s fresh and bright with tart berry fruit, savory herbal nuances and invigorating acidity. It’s a great wine for fish, charcuterie, pork, chicken, pasta, burgers and/or pizza. (because of the acidity!). Is it age worthy? Who cares?

2016 Forlorn Hope ‘The Kerrigans’

Mendocino County, CA

Regular Price $32.99

Sale price $25.99

So if the above wine confirmed my bias, this one defeats it. I’ve long been on record as being indifferent to the charms of California’s acreage of old vine carignan (pronounced by the early settlers as ‘Kerrigans’, hence the name of this wine). My general feeling was that the same wine was better and cheaper from southern France. This wine however, is different. Rather than wild and earthy (sometimes less pleasantly so), its fresh and bright, crisp and savory, wonderfully backloaded (rather than fruit forward). I’ve said it before, wine is a humbling experience.

2015 Rasa ‘Living in the Limelight’

Columbia Valley, WA

Regular Price $62.99

Sale price $49.99OPINION ALERT: if you really like modern Bordeaux style wines, get them from Washington State, rather than northern California where its just too damn hot to grow those grapes (Cab Sauv, Merlot, etc.) well. This wine, mostly (95%) of the often overlooked Bordeaux ‘blending’ grape Petit Verdot, makes that case spectacularly. Its structured and full with ripe dark berry and dark chocolate flavors and copious oak but doesn’t veer into overly sweet Napa territory. Despite its ripe fruit and high alcohol (15.2%!) its well balanced with firm tannins and bright acidity.

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