Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 06-17-2017

This week we’re focusing on a bunch of wines from all over the world. Most of these wines are inexpensive, easy-drinking wines designed for early consumption, but there are some really impressive bottles in the mix.

We have some solid values from Côtes du Rhône, four interesting wines from the Spanish region of Cariñena, and a few more from Arinzano, a Spanish winery in Aragon that has a D.O. Pago designation and excellent wines to justify it. We also have a few others from Italy, Australia and Argentina thrown into the mix.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Trivento Torrontés White Orchid Reserve- Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $11
Medium straw color. As the name would suggest, this is super floral on the nose, all sorts of white and yellow flowers along with lychee, peach and guava nectar. Light/medium-bodied with some tropical juiciness and moderate acidity. Lots of lychee and apricot with some lime juice, the fruit is laced with perfume and all sorts of orange and pear blossoms. Great picnic or party wine for the lover of floral white wines. A blend of Torrontes and 15% Pinot Gris. (86 points)

2015 Penfolds Shiraz Cabernet Max’s- Australia, South Australia
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Aromas of blackberries and tart blueberry with some spiced coffee, pepper, and vanilla and cedar notes that are blended in well. Plump and juicy on the palate with some light/medium tannins and some moderate acidity, which helps keep it going. Black cherries and blueberry fruit is bold but stays vibrant, and the fruit is matched with notes of cracked pepper and espresso. Delicious but also nicely structured. 70/30 Shiraz/Cabernet aged 12 months in French and American oak. (87 points)

2015 Penfolds Cabernet Sauvignon Max’s- Australia, South Australia
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Smells like tart black cherries and some blackberry jam along with black pepper, coffee grounds and sweet eucalyptus. Full-bodied, chewy texture, medium/low acidity, approachable but some decent structure. Black cherries and blackberries, gushing fruit, a little tartness to it though, along with loamy soil, dark chocolate and cedar shavings. A fun, accessible Shiraz but shows some structure and depth. Aged 12 months in 10% new French oak.  (87 points)

2016 Concha y Toro Rosé Casillero del Diablo- Chile
SRP: $11
Pale pink color. Fruity and fresh on the nose with strawberries, rose petals, hints of white pepper. Medium-bodied with bright acidity and fresh fruit (strawberries, white cherries, red apple peel). This nationally-available rose is reliable, simple, fun. Syrah with some Cinsault and Carmenere. (85 points)

2016 Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône Blanc Samorëns- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
SRP: $14
Medium yellow color. Aromas of peaches, apricots and limes with a white floral notes of honeysuckle and baby’s breath. Medium-bodied, slight creaminess but fresh acidity. This wine is packed with apricot and peach, and topped in some sea salt, honeysuckle, nettle, sliced cucumber. Good weight/freshness balance, a pleasant summer sipper for sure. A blend of Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne. (87 points)

2016 Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône Rosé Samorëns- France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
SRP: $14
Light pink. Nose of wild strawberries, white cherries, floral perfume, some lemongrass and white pepper. Crisp and vibrant with plump texture and fresh acidity. Tangy white cherries and bright strawberries, lots of white pepper, spicy herbs, honeysuckle and roses. A lot going on for the price. A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cinsault. (87 points)

2015 Castello di Gabbiano Dark Knight - Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT
SRP: $17
Deep ruby color. Aromas of plum cake, red currant, sweet cherry, vanilla and cedar. Medium/full-bodied with moderate tannins and acidity. Juicy black cherries and saucy blackberry fruit mixes with tobacco, cedar, vanilla and bitter chocolate. Fun stuff but impressive structure. Cabernet Sauvignon with 30% Merlot and 20% Sangiovese, this is the debut vintage of this wine from Gabbiano. (87 points)

2016 Contrade Malvasia-Chardonnay- Italy, Puglia, Puglia IGT
SRP: $10
Medium straw color. Tons of tropical flowers and fruit blossoms on the nose with some kiwi and guava, too. Juicy, tropical, creamy, dry with some moderate acidity. Pineapple and mango fruit, drizzled with lime, and lots of floral perfume freshness. Not super complex but it does what it does very well. 90% Malvasia and 10% Chardonnay. (86 points)

2015 Contrade Negroamaro- Italy, Puglia, Puglia IGT
SRP: $10
Rich purple color. Dark and saucy aromas with juicy but spicy black fruit, some charcoal and smoke, grilled herb and sweet vanilla notes. Medium-bodied, smooth tannins but they provide some structure, moderate-low acidity. This is a chewy, fun wine with rich blackberry and black cherry fruit, backed up by some smoky herbs, roasted chestnut and vanilla. Good introduction to this grape, this seems made for a wide audience. (86 points)

oM1DwAnv-mmdnsdbgJyHSah2rlbtGoYqSHcq_cXKB7opX92IB2014 Bodegas San Valero Particular- Spain, Aragón, Cariñena
SRP: $15
Deep ruby color. Dark cherries and tart blackberries with lots of spicy and earthy complexity (pepper, olive, soy, violets). Medium+ bodied with suave appeal and dusty tannins, medium acidity. Tart black cherries and roasted plum fruit mixes well with notes of smoke, teriyaki, pepper, violets. Lots of fun but also impressive depth. 100% Cariñena. (88 points)

2013 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos Corona de Aragon Special Selection- Spain, Aragón, Cariñena
SRP: $14
Rich, deep ruby color. Aromas of tar red and black cherries and plums, incense sticks, tobacco and some clay earth. Medium-bodied with light but slightly bitter tannins and moderate acidity. Tart red and black plums meet bell pepper, cracked black pepper and soy sauce. A hint of sharpness but still rather pleasant, although not too complex. A blend of Cariñena and Garnacha. (85 points)

2014 3C Cariñena Premium Selection- Spain, Aragón, Cariñena
SRP: $10
Light purple color. Spicy black cherries and raspberries on the nose with roasted herbs, pepper, some sweet roses and coffee notes. Bold and juicy on the palate but nice freshness and moderate tannins. Crunchy plums and tart black cherry with loads of pepper, clove and cinnamon and some sweet herbal tones. Delicious texture, structured but fresh and easy to sip. 100% Cariñena.(88 points)

2015 Bodegas Paniza Cariñena- Spain, Aragón, Cariñena
SRP: $10
Light purple color. Strawberry and raspberries, darker roasted plum notes, including spicy herbs, sweet and savory notes. Juicy and fresh on the palate with light tannins, but enough for some structure, moderate acidity. Tart raspberry and black cherries mixes with some raspberry cheesecake topping, notes of black pepper, roasted herbs, spiced coffee. Fresh and easy drinking, this is a great cookout wine that should please many palates. 100% Cariñena. (87 points)

a_gPiiA70XBagMY8F8zqtA64RepEz9ney_Z8HsILYb8pX92IB2016 Arinzano Hacienda de Arinzan Rosé- Spain, Navarra, Arinzano
SRP: $20
A deep watermelon color. Bright aromatic display of white flowers and dandelion but some darker cherry and strawberry jam richness as well, hints of pepper and tobacco. On the palate, this is richly-textured (14% alcohol), but some vibrant acidity keeps it balanced. Flavors of watermelon, ripe strawberry, red apple peel, laced with white pepper, tobacco, flower stems and green herbs. Bold but vibrant, complex and so, so delicious. 100% Tempranillo. (90 points)

2014 Arinzano Hacienda de Arinzano White- Spain, Navarra, Arinzano
SRP: $20
100% Chardonnay. Medium yellow color. Bright and vibrant aromas but also a lot of richness, with lemon curd, juicy apples, tart pears, integrated almond and cedar notes with sea spray and chalk. Plush texture but vibrant acidity on the palate, richer baked pear notes blend so well with lemon curd and tart green apple. Notes of floral perfume, minerals, chalk, also some nougat and honey. Complex, elegant, delicious, this is so good, but will get better. 40% maloactic fermentation, some new and old French oak. (90 points)

2012 Arinzano Hacienda de Arinzano Tinto- Spain, Navarra, Arinzano
SRP: $20
Rich purple color. Gorgeous nose of currants and red plums along with incense, charcoal, rose petal, lots of clay, tilled soil and tobacco barn notes – fascinating to sniff. Grippy tannic structure but such fresh acidity, it’s all pure and balanced. Raspberry mixes with red and black currant and the fruit is layered with pipe tobacco, eucalyptus, pepper, lots of earthy/spice and pine resin. Complexity is wonderful but it’s also so vibrant and easy to drink. Delicious now, but this could improve for more than a few years. A stunner at the price. (92 points)

2008 Arinzano Arinzano La Casona- Spain, Navarra, Arinzano
SRP: $40
Dark ruby color. Gorgeous aromatic display: humidor, mint, sage, rich earth, on top of bold but tangy currants and cherries. On the palate this is full and structured with solid grip from the tannins and pretty, vibrant acidity. Black cherry and red currant fruit, lively and refreshing fruit, and complex non-fruit elements: cigar smoke, charcoal, forest floor, tobacco, cedar, graphite. A blend of 75% Tempranillo and 25% Merlot, aged 14 months in 40% new French oak and then seven years in bottle. This has 5-8 years ahead of it easily, but gorgeous now, especially with lots of air. (92 points)

<85 points

N.V. Le Grande Courtâge Grande Cuvee Blanc de Blancs Brut- France
SRP: $18
Pale straw color. Smells of under-ripe green grapes, some chalk dust, bitter lemon and grapefruit pith. Tart and zesty on the palate with some white cherry, sour green apple and a cut floral stem note. Quite sharp, a bit too much bitter lemon and austerity for my palate. A blend of Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Chenin Blanc.

N.V. Le Grand Courtage Grande Cuvee Brut Rose- France
SRP: $18
Pale salmon color. Aromas of rose bush, sour cherries and under-ripe strawberries. Tart and brisk on the palate with foamy bubbles. Sour white cherries, under-ripe strawberries, the fruit mixes with notes of nettle and bell pepper. Unbalanced and quite weird. A blend of Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc and Gamay.

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