After two less than impressive bottles, we decided to combine two weeks of tasting notes for an exciting six offerings, all of which are newly in the past few weeks. Spanning rosé, Champagne, New World reds, and pet nat bubbles, the wines this week are lively, just a little bit funky, and all kinds of audacious. You may have noticed the d.b. schmitt rosé taking over Instagram lately or seen that Olivier Horiot Soléra Champagne calling out your name. (After having it, we definitely wouldn’t suggest waiting for any special occasion to try it out.) Join us as we dive into layers of fruit, acid, minerality, vegetal qualities, even a little whiff of curry spice. Whatever tickles your fancy or budget, we have it this week!
Weingut Schmitt Rheinhessen, Rosé (2016)
We start off with one of our favorites for the past two weeks: a German rosé that’s a mix of grapes you might not be familiar with. Merlot, Pinot Noir, Blauer Portugieser and Dornfelder all combine to create something that’s a beautiful cloudy pink in the glass. Upfront is a fragrant nose whose complexity is exciting to keep returning to with each glass one. On the palette, there is a fuzzy pink grapefruit and wild strawberry interplay happening upfront. But the tartness of the wine and an extremely fresh liveliness that hold on into the finish are what make this wine a special treat. It’s hard to convey exactly how lip smacking good this is.
Aphros, Phaunus Pet Nat (2016)
Portuguese wines are criminally underrated and this pet nat from Aphros made with 100% Loureiro grapes is no exception. On the nose, you have a salty, almost metallic, saffron paella notes. Upfront on the palette, you get juicy fruit: a lovely blend of cranberry, raspberry and strawberry that intermix as the wine opens. There is also a nice acidic structure that is countered by cinnamon notes and a bit of tonic bitterness that creeps in subtly at the end to add more depth on the finish.
Swick Wines, Ellaguru (2017)
The deep color betrays the crazy fresh taste of this wine that is part of a trend straddling the boundaries of a light red and rosé. Clocking in at only 10% it might appear to be a rosé but it also manages to possess a little bit more body than a traditional red. The nose is all about the juicy strawberry and tart cherry to follow when it first hits your palette. There are also some lovely gin botanticals that provide a bit of bitterness and vegetal depth without overwhelming things with too much tannic grip. This wine, despite its low ABV, is very dry and precise on the finish and brings in a subtle funkiness. There’s a lovely finesse here that we’re excited to see from the Swick wines.
Le Vins Contés, Pow Blop Wizz Pet Nat Rosé (2016)
Though we’re not fully sold on Olivier Lemasson’s still wines, we are willing to say he’s a master of all things bubbly. This sparkler is a gorgeous pale pink in the glass with soft bubbles. On the nose we get elegant, fruity soda notes. Juicy, red strawberry fruit is upfront followed by some pleasant acidity. Like all of Lemasson’s wines, the funk soon emerges but it is successful here with the continuation of acid and some tannic grip that builds. It also finishes in a mouthwatering and lightly sweet way without being cloying. It is perfect for any occasion but truly great if the temperature hits 80 degrees or above.
St. Reginald, Pinot Gris Carbonic Maceration Rosé (2017)
Over at St. Reginald, they’re crafting some of the most quaffable and dynamic wines from the Pacific Northwest. This rosé follows that pattern, being anything but conventional. In the glass, it’s a deeper pink in color with some floral characteristics on the nose. Upfront, we get pronounced red cherry fruit and a nice acid. But the star of the rosé is the mid palette with lime, pithy grapefruit bitterness and more herbaceous, savory soft earth notes that build into a clean, refreshing finish. It’s fantastic the winemaker manages to capture depth without being tannic at all. This is another perfect hit for a warm summer night or BBQ.
Olivier Horiot, Soléra Champagne (NV)
Olivier Horiot is a master of Champagne and is perhaps best known for his single varietal offerings. With his Soléra style, he blends of all seven grape varietals from Chamagne, removing wine for release from the last of a series of barrels that contains a blend of every vintage since the solera was started. When done well, this method creates wines of exceptional depth, which is true of Horiot’s efforts. Upfront on the palette, there are lovely curry and cumin aromatics with some soft oxidative truffle qualities as well. On the palette, we taste dark juicy berries, some nuttiness and refreshing citrus zest into a long finish. The density of this wine is memorable but it manages to have so much racy acidity that it never feels too hard to decipher.
Join us next week as we dive into an exciting new offering from Martha Stoumen, a wine that’s aged under water, and two other mystery options. Happy sipping!