After we skipped last week’s tasting notes during a trip to Vermont (incidentally one of the hottest new regions for domestic wine production), we decided to come back this week with a special double slate of tastings. That’s right: this week we have six different wines for your reading and sipping pleasure. They are grown in produced everywhere from the Czech Republic to Finger Lakes region in New York. Featured are two zippy white wines, two deeply earthy skin contact varietals and two bottles of bubbles that are mouthwatering (and friendly on the wallet).
Sit back and find the perfect bottle – for those casual nights in, an upcoming dinner party, or when you’re just looking to geek on something that’s out of the box.
Nestarec Youngster White Wine Blend (2017)
This blend of Neuburger and Pinot Gris is about as fun as a white wine can get. Though it’s cloudy and features soft bubbles, the color is so light that almost looks electric in the light, almost white. Juicy pear fruit, with a semi-sweetness predominates, but it’s also balanced by a strong acidity. Into the mid-palette and finish a more rounded pear note creeps in, almost like a poached quality, though the finish itself is generally drier than the initial tasting notes. The end result is something that’s mouthwateringly drinkable and exciting. Nouveau doesn’t have to mean boring!
Denavolo Dinavolo (2009)
A skin contact white from Italy that still has a lot of life, even after being aged for almost a decade. Upon pouring, it’s a deep orange in color and you get richer and rounder fruit notes on the first sip with some deep earth. On the palette, there’s still great rounded, somewhat sweet, apricot fruit, with drier, nutty notes, balanced by a still lively acidity. The finish manages to bring in some of the tannic weight you’d expect from a skin contact wine, but it’s still remarkably clean and fresh for its age. At $35 this is a phenomenal value compared to some of the more prestigious Italy or French regions. It would be exciting to see how this might round out and evolve with a few more years of aging.
Trossen Eule Purus (2016)
Once you look beyond the painterly label, you recognize you’re on to an exceptional young Riesling. From Mosel, Germany, this is a dry, acid-forward forward Riesling that showcases maximum flavor. Upfront you’re greeted by tart green apple and a blistering, refreshing acidic backbone, which transitions into lightly sweetened lime notes. What is memorable about the wine is that it features a lactic mouthfeel, which helps to offset the acid with a bit of creaminess but it still manages to finish very clean, highlighting the youthful nature of its fruit notes. In a few more years, we suspect all of the elements will be in even greater harmony.
Maison en Belles Lies Ambre (2014)
This skin contact Chardonnay is a delight – but definitely is a bit out of left field, so it might only be for the adventurous or open minded at heart. (Much like us!) It doesn’t feature too many aromatics on the nose but it leaves its boldness for the palette: a ton of bracing acidity upfront before quickly going earthy, with the traditional skin contact notes, including vegetal earth and bitterness. Interestingly, we noticed a savory backbone that creeps in to the mid palette, with a round mouthfeel and a decidedly dry finish. With a traditional Chardonnay, you expect a bit of a richer or rounder quality or pure fruit-driven acidity, and this lands somewhere in the middle, which is exciting for us.
Bloomer Creek Edelzwicker (2015)
A group of Grand Dames meet under the cover of darkness in a smoky room. The libations that flow can only be described as this Pet Nat from the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. The wine pours a pale yellow color but the sediments floats in the bottle in a mesmerizing way. There is a good acid upfront, but it is decidedly softer and more elegant, featuring some semi-sweet fresh apple and pear notes that hang on through the mid-palette. The finish is a bit fuzzy, but in a good way, as if these women start to dance and end up losing themselves to the music. It ends up finishing, very cleanly and delicately, with some soft vegetal notes that add the necessary structure and balance. Bloomer Creek continually showcases how effective domestic, minimal intervention winemaking can be and each year they only seem to be refining their craft.
Aphros Vinhão Super-Reserva Bruto (NV)
From Vinho Verde, a region typically known for its whites, comes a sparkling wine made from the dark-skinned Vinhao grape in the Lambrusco style. Pungent earth, some prune-forward notes upfront, with tart acidity that transitions into more dark berries, with a blackberry bramble that builds in through the mid-palette. The tannic grip and soft earth are present on a dry finish with some cocoa notes. It’s a wonderfully complex between the high octane elements and the deeper, richer qualities you come to love from a red sparkling wine, making it perfect for those humectant summer evenings or contemplative and cozy winter nights.
Join us next week as we dive into two exciting Italian wines from Scoula di Vino, a thrilling Savagnin from France and one other treat. Until next time, cheers!