Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 09-23-2017

This week is another hodgepodge of wines from around the world — mostly from California and New Zealand.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 Grgich Hills ChardonnayCalifornia, Napa Valley
SRP: $43
Light gold color. Pretty aromatics of lemon curd, juicy white peaches, limes, green apples – rich and juicy fruit bit lots of crushed chalk, rocks, minerals, honey butter. Bold and juicy on the palate but vibrant, lip-smacking lovely balance. Tangy lime and lemon play off baked pear, guava, white honey, nougat, vanilla contrast with mountain stream and chalky, dusty minerals. Rich but zesty, with a long, crisp and lightly-toasted finish. A perennial performer when it comes to Napa Chards that I love, and this 2014 (like many other wines from Napa) is excellent. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak. (92 points)

2014 Mount Veeder Winery ReserveCalifornia, Napa Valley
SRP: $100
Bold purple color. On the nose: black currant, saucy plums, smoky charcoal, black pepper, violets and vanilla. The palate is full and supported by a deck of solid tannins, although some moderate acidity and juicy fruit help balance it all out. Black currant, tangy blackberries, roasted fig paste, the fruit melds with charcoal, vanilla, cedar shavings, cocoa powder, and dark roast coffee grounds. Complex, long, mineral and earth finish – those mountain vineyard qualities really show through in this wine. Delicious but this will really improve over the next four to five years easily, and hold for quite some time. Cabernet with 7% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot, aged 20 months in all new French oak. This is a reliably excellent wine, vintage in and out, but the 2014 is gorgeous. (93 points)

2014 Franciscan Estate MagnificatCalifornia, Napa Valley
SRP: $55
Vibrant purple color. Aromas of violets, sage, lavender, cola and cedar on top of plums and tangy black currants. Bold and punchy, chewy tannins, but surprising freshness. Plush but tangy black currants and blackberries, laced with cedar, cocoa powder, charcoal and iron. Notes of cedar, star anise and cola woven in nicely, with a deep, earthy finish. Lovely but could use two-to-four years of cellaring. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon blended with Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, aged 20 months in 70% new French oak. (91 points)

2015 Shafer TD-9California, Napa Valley
SRP: $60
Deep purple color. Rich waves of blackberry and black cherry on the nose, fig paste, violets, vanilla, rocky notes and potting soil. The palate is velvety and suave, solid tannic structure but so, so smooth, with moderate acidity. Black cherry, cassis, wild blueberry, gorgeous fruit, laced with graphite, violet petals, pencil lead, clove, and backed up with vanilla bean and coffee. Long life ahead but surprisingly gorgeous right out of the bottle. A blend of 56% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec. Aged 20 months in all new French oak. (93 points)

2015 Parducci 85California, North Coast, Mendocino
$45 (available only at winery)
Light purple color. Lovely, warm, inviting aromas of roasted figs and plums, currants, cola, dark chocolate and earthy/charcoal notes. Plush texture despite solid tannins, medium acidity. Gushing black cherry and blackberry mixed with cola, roasted chestnut, vanilla, dark chocolate shavings. I get a complex mix of clove, cinnamon and earthy, rocky notes. Lovely now but I’d like to age this at least a few years, but it’ll improve for many. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 30% new American oak. A special release honoring this iconic Mendocino winery’s 85th anniversary. (91 points)

2004 Parducci Petite Sirah True GritCalifornia, North Coast, Mendocino County
Rich purple color. Love the smoky, savory aspects on the nose (grilled bell peppers, black pepper, mushroom, charred meat), on top of some black currant and blackberry compote flavors. Full and bold but has fleshed out with age, showing moderately-structured tannins with rounded edges and medium/low acidity. Black cherry and dark plum fruit is still holding on, but the fruit is doused in grilled meats, beef drippings and cracked black pepper, along with mushroom broth and fallen leaves. Gorgeous non-fruit complexity, but this wine isn’t done yet – it’s still put together well for at least five more years. Includes 3% co-fermented Viognier, aged in about 25% new French and American oak. (92 points)

2005 Parducci Petite Sirah True GritCalifornia, North Coast, Mendocino County
Rich purple color. Concentrated aromas, but they open up to show more blackberry and black currant fruit, backed up by black pepper, grilled steak, anise and fennel. Full but suave, the tannins aren’t harsh but the grip is serious, medium-low acidity. Black currant and black cherry fruit is still there and delicious, but matched in intensity by a combination of pepper, leather, charcoal, beef brisket. Dry, structured finish with black olive and espresso. Time in the cellar ahead, but the fruit may fade before the tannins do. Still very impressive. Includes 8% Grenache, aged 18 months in old French and American oak. (90 points)

N.V. Locations Sauvignon Blanc NZ-6New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $20
Medium straw color. Huge aromatic burst of ruby red grapefruit, guava, lime, along with sliced jalapenos and onion grass. Medium-bodied, bright and mouth-watering with lime, ruby red grapefruit and white peach flavors. Some honeysuckle mixes with sea salt, floral perfume, sliced bell peppers. More depth and dynamism that a lot of New Zealand Sauv Blancs in this price point. Impressive. The fruit comes from Wairau, Awatere and Waihopai valleys. (88 points)

2016 Discovery Point Sauvignon BlancNew Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
Aromas of lemons, apricots, white flowers, sea salt, less of the spicy green Marlborough calling card (just a hint of white pepper), this is a brighter and oceanic aromatic profile, and I love it. On the palate, fresh acidity and juicy fruit (lemon, guava, green melon), along with white tea, honeysuckle, sea salt. Slight note of white pepper. A juicy, vibrant, oceanic, delicious Marlborough Sauv Blanc. (88 points)

2015 Discovery Point Pinot NoirNew Zealand, North Island, Wairarapa, Martinborough
The nose shows tart strawberries, raspberry jam, some rose hips, sage, mushroom, light roast coffee, an interesting display. Medium+ bodied, light-dusty tannins, moderate acidity. Black cherry and raspberry jam, along with cola, rose hips, sweet clove, caramelized mushrooms. Juicy, easy-drinking but also vibrant and quite complex. Good to drink now but this should do some interesting things over the next 1-2 years. (89 points)

2016 Concha y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Casillero del Diablo ReservaChile, Maipo Valley
SRP: $11
Bright ruby color. Aromas of smoky cherries and sweet plums, bell pepper, cola, sweet coffee, some cigar box. Light-medium bodied with soft tannins and medium acid. Tangy cherries and red plums mix with bell pepper and red peppers. Lean, a bit tart, but fun stuff for the price. (85 points)

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