Wine Reviews: Wines for a Scorching Summer

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-20-2019

thumbnail (3)Honestly, summer is my least favorite season. I make the most of it, sure, and I spend as much time outdoors as possible. But I’m prone to heat exhaustion and, and it’s going to reach 100 degrees in DC as I publish this. Eek.

So, I’ll be consuming massive amounts of water and hiding away in air conditioning today. During weather like this, except for the rare Beaujolais and a few other lighter reds, I rarely touch the stuff. Whites, bubbles and pinks are my go-to selections. I’ve received a lot of wines that fit this bill recently.

St. Urbans-Hof delivers two very different Rieslings that bring some serious value. And Oregono’s Troon wows me again with their new Granito Vermentino. Ramey’s new Fort Ross-Seaview Chardonnay is something to behold.

And I’ve also reviewed a variety of rosés from the States and France. And Virginia makes an appearance as well, as I have two wines from one of my favorite producers in the Commonwealth (Early Mountain).

Stay hydrated and cool, folks! These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

White wines

2018 St. Urbans-Hof Riesling Dry - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $18
Medium yellow color. Bursting aromas of peaches and apricot nectar, lime, with white flowers, clover and honey. A light/medium-bodied presence, fresh acidity on a dry frame, with limes, apricots and orange, along with honey, chalk and some flinty, mineral tones. Really crisp with a tingly, saline finish. A really good value, this would be a great introductory wine to convert “Riesling is too sweet” crowds into Mosel Riesling-lovers. (88 points)

2018 St. Urbans-Hof Estate Riesling Old Vines - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $18
Light yellow color. I smell canned peaches, key lime pie and papaya, with honey and sea salt. Juicy texture on the palate, significant sweetness is woven in well with medium acidity. Flavors of oranage, papaya and peaches mix well with honey, clover, and some slight mineral, chalky tones. Fun, accessible, fan-friendly Riesling. (86 points)

2016 Ramey Chardonnay - USA, California, Sonoma County, Fort Ross – Seaview
SRP: $42
Rich gold color. Lots of depth on the nose, with big waves of fruit (lemon curd, yellow apples, apricot) along with bread crumbs, whipped honey, sea spray, crushed shells. Plush texture on the palate, the acidity is so fresh, all sorts of delicious fruit: apples, pears, apricot. Lush yet racy with fantastic freshness and balance. A lot of rocky, mineral, mountain stream clarity kind of elements going on here. A firing Fort Ross-Seaview Chardonnay that should do exciting things over the next few years. Aged 12 months in French oak (12% new). (93 points)

2016 Troon Vineyard Vermentino Granito - USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $35
Lively yellow color. Aromas pop with nectarine, lime, with honeysuckle, mint, crushed shells, saline, all sorts of complexities in here. Gorgeous texture with a fresh and zippy appeal, and lots of fresh lemons, apricots and green melon. Such depth but really racy and bright as well, it’s so pretty and mouth-watering. All sorts of flinty, waxy, mineral elements underneath. Troon does it again with Vermentino, I love this expression of this grape. Fermented and aged in old French oak for 20 months. (93 points)

2018 Early Mountain Vineyards Five Forks – USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Madison County
SRP: $26
Medium yellow color. Bold and tropical on the nose with lies, guava and lychee, topped in perfume, cucumbers slices and crushed sweet tarts. Light/medium-bodied, juicy but really crisp as well. Peaches, guava and lime abound, and there are all these complex floral and wild herb notes. I get this chalky, mineral, crushed shell element on the finish that I find really attractive. Serious summer fun herein. Petit Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc. (89 points)

Rosé Wines

2018 Château Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône Rosé Les Dauphins Reserve – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
SRP: $10
Light copper colored. On the nose, I get white cherries, watermelon and red apple, with dandelion and daisies. Juicy texture with lively acidity, and lots of raspberry and red apple fruit. It has a nice floral potpourri, mint and white pepper element, woven in nicely, with a salty note. Fresh, fun, juicy, and solid for the price. Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah. (86 points)

2018 M. Chapoutier Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Rosé - France, Languedoc Roussillon, IGP Pays d’Oc
SRP: $16
Light pink color. Nose boasts watermelon, peaches, along with cotton candy, sweet yellow and white flowers, with a hint of white pepper. Light and bright feel, but plenty of juiciness as well, and the balance is impressive. Peaches, melons and strawberries mix well with lots of roses, basil, and there are some chalky, steely, saline notes. Lots of personality for the price, per usual with M. Chapoutier’s Bila-Haut line of wines. A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. (88 points)

2018 Domaine De Cala Côteaux Varois Prestige Rosé - France, Provence, Côteaux Varois
SRP: $25
Very pale copper. Nose pops with peach, apricot, steely-salty notes, sliced cucumber, orange blossom and white pepper. Crisp and fresh and zesty, a steely appeal, but lots of depth, too. Apricot, peach and orange fruit is accented by notes of minerals, chalk, white pepper and wild herbs. Finishes with a floral and salty note. Grenache, Syrah, Rolle and Cinsault. (89 points)

2017 Sosie Syrah Rosé Vivio Vineyard - USA, California, Sonoma County, Bennett Valley
SRP: $25
Deep copper color. Aromas of peach, lime, yellow flowers, there’s also some deeper red fruits and rose potpourri. Crisp texture but a lot of textural depth on the palate. Red cherry and watermelon fruit mixes with elements of sea spray, honeycomb, even some olive oil and herbal tones. A lot of complexity in here, but it stays vibrant and fun, too. All Syrah, native yeast, barrel-fermented and aged in stainless steal and neutral oak. (90 points)

2018 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Ancient Vines Rosé - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Contra Costa County
SRP: $18
Bright watermelon color. Nose shows rhubarb, white pepper and mint on top of red apple peel, cherries and watermelon. Medium-bodied on the palate with nice, zippy acidity and a tangy, juicy appeal. White cherry, red apple and watermelon fruit mixes nicely with honeysuckle, mint and white pepper. Lots of fun flavors but shows good complexity as well. (87 points)

2018 Early Mountain Vineyards Rosé- USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Madison County
SRP: $25
Pale pink color. A bright and ripe nose of peach nectar and strawberries topped in a cool mix of nettle, mint, green tea and honeysuckle. Fleshy but zesty on the palate with bright acidity and creamy texture. Red apples, peaches, apricots, and nice fruit salad topped with flowers, honey and white tea. There’s a kicking mineral and saline undertone that adds complexity. Lots going on, but also so pleasant and gulpable. 65% Merlot, 26% Cab Franc, 7% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot. (89 points)

<85 points

N.V. Dark Horse Limited Brut Rosé - USA, California
SRP: $13
Rich strawberry color. The nose shows watermelon, strawberries, with sweet floral tones and cotton candy. Faint bubbles on the palate, medium acidity, a light and steely approach. Red cherries and raspberries, this is fun and fruity with some subtle floral tones. Good, crowd-friendly stuff. Simple, but good for the price.

2018 Mouton Cadet Rosé - France, Bordeaux
SRP: $10
Pale salmon color. Nose of tart green apples, white cherries; really spicy with white pepper and sliced bell peppers. Light and crunchy with a lean, green feel. Tart apples and white cherries play along with notes of white pepper, green herbs, sliced bell pepper. For me, this is too lean, green and lacking. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

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