Wine Reviews: International Round-up

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-20-2018

This week, I’m tackling another group of wines from all over the globe.

Starting off with the newest vintage of Trivento’s flagship Malbec, Eolo, the 2014 again delivers a mouthful of delicious, complex, cellar-worthy Mendoza goodness.

A few Spanish wines make an appearance in this week’s report, including two inexpensive but solid Riojas from renowned producer Bodegeas Lan. Carpenè Malvolti brings a pair of Italian bubbles into the mix. And South African stalwart Mulderbosch delivers four wines that bring serious quality at their respective price points.

There’s a new red blend from Virginia winery Early Mountain that I really want to highlight. The inaugural 2015 vintage of their Rise red (a Merlot-based blend), really shines. It should, considering the price point, but this is a serious, delicious, Virginia red blend that will stand the test of time.

I also received three wines from the Firstleaf wine club. Consumers can fill out a quick quiz to generate their first three-pack of wines for $15, plus shipping. The wines each come with story cards that provide technical and more general information about the wine or region. Members can rate their wines on the club’s website, and those ratings are used to generate more personalized wine selections for future shipments. I tasted three wines from an introductory shipment.

All of these wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 Trivento Malbec Eolo- Argentina, Mendoza, Lujan de Cuyo
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Deep purple color. Rich and enticing on the palate with waves of plums, blackberry, currant, kirsch, backed up by complex and evolving notes of anise, scorched earth, coffee grounds, mint chocolate chip, violets. Solid grip but no harsh tannins, this is velvety and smooth with medium acidity and pretty dark plum, blackberry and black currant fruit. Complex elements of leather, scorched earth, eucalyptus, mint, dark chocolate, tobacco. A complex mineral, earth, smashed rock element, too. A long-ager for sure but this is beautiful young, too. (92 points)

N.V. Carpenè Malvolti Rosé Cuvée Brut- Italy, Veneto, Veneto IGT
SRP: $20
Bright watermelon color. Aromas of wild strawberries, white cherries, roses, spicy herbal notes. Juicy and fleshy on the palate but tangy, too, with watermelon and strawberry fruit. Notes of spicy herbs, rose petals, baby’s breath, which combines well with the fruit. Finishes fresh and salty. 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Raboso. (87 points)

N.V. Carpenè Malvolti Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 1868- Italy, Veneto, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG
SRP: $19
Pale straw color. Aromas of sea salt, dandelion, magnolia petals, baby’s breath and green apples. Tart and brisk on the palate with lemon, green apples and limes, backed up with a floral punch of magnolia, rosewater and dandelion. Sea salt and dusty, flinty notes add complexity. Crisp and delicious, quite complex for the price. 100% Glera. (88 points)

2017 Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc- South Africa, Western Cape
SRP: $17
Medium yellow color. Super fresh and green and crunchy on the nose (limes, kiwi, green apples) with white pepper, sea salt, lemongrass and fresh, floral breezy notes. Crisp and zesty on the palate but nice depth and texture. Green apples, apricot, lemons and limes, backed up with sea salt, honeysuckle, an interesting herbal/spicy note that accents the wine but doesn’t dominate the other elements. So well put-together, this is a great vintage of this wine which is, per usual, killer for the price. (90 points)

2016 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc Single Vineyard Block A- South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch, Bottelary
SRP: $33
Deep yellow color. Whoa! On the nose, a burst of tropical insanity (pineapple, white peaches, some lemon curd) doused in lamp oil, sea spray, nougat, honey butter, hay and rich vanilla. Plump and juicy on the palate, zesty but rich, with flavors of key lime pie, bruised yellow pear and fresh white peaches. Rich and suave but bright, too, with really cool minerals, ginger, musky cologne and sea spray, honeyed white tea. From 33-year-old vines, this shows the ripeness of the vintage and was aged 10 months on in French oak barrels. (91 points)

2017 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé- South Africa, Coastal Region
SRP: $12
Pale watermelon color. Fresh and floral nose with white pepper, nettle, rose petals, and some juicy strawberry and white cherry aromas. Crisp acidity frames the wine nicely, but there’s a plush, inviting mouthfeel as well. White cherries, strawberries, watermelon, mixed together nicely with white pepper, sliced cucumber, nettle, rose hips, some breezy, salty notes. Lovely balance with fruit, freshness and complex flavors. (88 points)

2015 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound- South Africa, Coastal Region, Stellenbosch
SRP: $22
Light purple color. The nose shows gobs of black cherries, currants and blueberries, along with lots of black pepper, leather, sage, bay leaf, vanilla and cedar. Tangy acidity keeps this full-bodied, medium tannin red stay fresh, but this is also a big and dark wine loaded with black currants and blueberries. Lots of black pepper, cigar smoke, menthol, with dark chocolate and vanilla woven in nicely. Ready to go or could hold for a few years, this packs a lot of complexity for the price point. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged in 30% new French oak. (89 points)

2017 Delia Tempranillo- Spain
SRP: $9
Medium ruby color. Juicy raspberries, cherries and red currants on the nose with sweet roses, tobacco and cola. Medium-bodied and fresh on the palate with light, easygoing tannins. Raspberries, cherries and strawberries, juicy but tangy fruit, mixed with roses, herbs, menthol, smoke and coffee. Light and fresh but lots of fun, and really solid for the price. (86 points)

2015 Bodegas LAN Rioja Crianza D-12 Eighth Edition- Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $20
Light purple color. Aromas of tangy black cherries mixed with spice rub, tobacco, leather, vanilla and cedar. Full-bodied, smooth tannins, with tangy acidity, and it mixes well with the crunchy, tart black cherry and currant fruit. Notes of scorched earth, tobacco, leather, some black olive, topped with vanilla and coffee. Delicious, early-drinking Rioja. (87 points)

2010 Bodegas LAN Rioja Gran Reserva- Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Smells of tart black cherries and currants, tangy plums (just smelling it makes my mouth water), with mint, tobacco, coffee, loamy soil and graphite notes. Fresh acidity frames the wine nicely, solidly-gripping tannins mix with tart black cherries and currants, backed up with violets, black pepper, mint, black tea, coffee, lots of complex elements. Underlying earthy, mineral notes, this is a vibrant and fresh wine but also structured and ageworthy. Tempranillo from Rioja Alta and 10% Mazuelo. (89 points)

2015 Early Mountain Vineyards Rise- USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Madison County
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Deep purple color. The nose shows gorgeous depth of fruit (blackberry, cassis, dark plums, roasted fig), along with lavender, violets, sweet cocoa and wet forest/woodsy notes. Solid tannic backbone on the palate but underlying fresh acidity keeps it in lovely balance. Tart black cherries, currants and plums, tangy but bountiful fruit, laced with anise, violets, clove, coffee, all woven together so nicely. Pure, delicious, complex, I’d love to cellar this for a decade. Early Mountain makes a serious statement with the inaugural vintage of this Rise red. 57% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petit Verdot, and 14% Tannat, sourced from their Quaker Run vineyards on the southern side of Doubletop Mountain. 240 cases produced. (91 points)

Firstleaf wines

2017 PrimaZon Malbec- Argentina, Mendoza
SRP: $26
Light purple color. Aromas of dark plums and black cherries, along with violets, warm clay, tobacco, cedar, espresso. Fresh acidity on the palate frames the wine nicely, and it has velvety, accessible tannins. Tangy black cherries, plums, raspberry jam, the fruit is mixed with cola, coffee, sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla. Fun, pleasant, widely-likeable stuff. (86 points)

2017 International Archives Sémillon- Australia
SRP: $22
Deep yellow color. Nose shows apricot, pineapple, lemongrass, honey and a rosewater note. Plush texture, moderate acid keeps it bright as juicy white peach and pineapple fruit carry the wine. Honey, some cotton candy notes, baby’s breath and cut flower stem notes. Fun, crowd-pleasing stuff for the money. (85 points)

2017 Paso del Tiempo Syrah- Spain
SRP: $26
Deep purple color. Nose of juicy raspberries, sweet plums, cola, coffee, roses. Full-bodied with soft tannins and medium acidity. Tart plums meet sweet raspberries and candied cherries, backed up by roses, sweet cola and coffee. Fun, simple, crowd-pleasing stuff. (85 points)

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