Wine Reviews: Autumnal Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 10-12-2019

Where I live, in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, it’s finally starting to feel like autumn, my favorite season. After a hot, humid summer, I’m excited for autumnal weather, food, and wines.

The fall samples have been rolling in these past few weeks, and I’ve curated a selection of wines that would pair well with warm harvest meals, cool nights, and all that watching leaves change kinda stuff.

There’s a nice Mosel Riesling in this report, which I always enjoy around this time of year. Oregon offers up two delicious wines: a Vermentino from biodynamic Applegate Valley producer Troon, who seems to continually ace this variety; and a Brut Rosé from Gran Moraine, whose Pinots and Chardonnays I’ve enjoyed many times.

Chianti Ruffina’s Fattoria Selvapiana (which has been in the same family’s hands since the 1880s) delivers some serious value Sangiovese in this report. These wines show wide appeal, and I could see them fitting well on any big family table. And a zesty, savory Schiava from the Dolomites deserves attention for its food- and budget-friendly vibe.

Lastly, Gonzalez Byass, the large Sherry house, comes through with a few wines that should warm you up as winter approaches.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.


2018 Weingut Nik Weis/St. Urbans-Hof Bockstein Riesling Kabinett – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $26
Rich gold color. Big and tropical on the nose with apricot, white peach and lime, topped in fresh white and yellow flowers, mint, new tennis balls, and crushed rock notes. Medium-bodied, moderate sweetness balances off tingling acidity for a well-balanced Riesling. Peaches and papaya, drizzled in lime, topped in yellow flowers and honeycomb. There’s a lively streak of mountain stream and mineral that underlines the wine. Delicious, quite complex, this should age nicely over the next five years. (88 points IJB)


2018 Alois Lageder Vernatsch-Schiava Italy, Trentino-Alto Adige, Vigneti delle Dolomiti
SRP: $16
Pale ruby color. Bright, spicy and floral nose, showing rose petals, tobacco, rhubarb and paprika on top of red cherries and pomegranate. Crisp and bright and light on the palate, but not lacking in flavor or complexity at all. Dusty tannins back up tangy cherry and pomegranate fruit, and I get complex notes of spiced cranberry sauce, rose petals, rhubarb, with earthy, soy notes. Underling mineral and chalk elements. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, floral and spicy from Alto Adige and don’t like spending money, this is a serious contender. 11% alcohol, aged six months in concrete. Made from the Schiava (or Vernatsch) grape. (89 points IJB)

2016 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina
SRP: $19
Deep ruby color. Spicy nose, with lots of tobacco, eucalyptus, mint, pepper and leather on top of tangy currants, dark plums, with some cocoa, too. Medium-bodied with velvety tannins and medium acidity. Crunch red cherries and plums mix with flavors of smoky tobacco, grilled herbs, violets and scorched earth. This is fresh, lively and accessible but also quite complex, and offers a lot in this price range. Drink in the near term. 95% Sangiovese with a combined 5% Canaiolo, colorino and Malvasia Nera. (88 points IJB)

2014 Fattoria Selvapiana Pomino Villa Petrognano Italy, Tuscany, Pomino
SRP: $21
Deep ruby color. Juicy aromas of red cherries and currants mix with violets, graphite, wild herbs, tomato leaf and tobacco. Nice grip, this is full-bodied but not too heavy, and shows surprisingly vibrant acidity. Lots of smoky, charcoal, graphite and mineral tones underline the beautiful red and black fruit. Violets, clove, earth, wild herbs and cocoa powder and cedar, this has a lot going on. Needs a few years of cellar time or good decant if you’re drinking it soon, but this has a lot to show for its price point. 60% Sangiovese with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, aged 29 months in French oak. (90 points IJB)

2015 Fattoria Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina Riserva Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Rùfina
SRP: $36
Medium ruby color. Nose shows vibrant cherries and raspberries, along with rose petals, mint, spicy oregano and paprika elements. Full-bodied, solid tannic grip, but moderating acidity. Currants and black cherries (the fruit is rich and round but shows nuance). I get black olive, clove, mint, tobacco and charcoal accents, along with some coffee and wood notes woven in well. Lovely, concentrated yet vibrant, this needs at least a few years in the cellar. 100% Sangiovese aged 32 months in French oak. (90 points IJB)


N.V. Gonzalez-Byass Sherry Tio Pepe Fino ‘En Rama’ 2019 – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
thumbnail (1)
SRP: $20
Lemon peel color. Classic aromas of sea salt, green olive, ocean spray, on top of lemon peel, apricot, shaved ginger, hay and honeycomb. The palate is full but so crisp and zesty, with deep texture and vibrant acidity. Lemon and orange peel mix with complex nuances of sea salt, oyster brine, crushed shells and chalk, ginger, green olive, spiced tea. Lovely depth and complexity, this begs for all sorts of delicious foods but I was craving grilled oysters specifically while tasting this. Great value. (90 points IJB)

N.V. Gonzalez-Byass Sherry Amontillado Viña AB Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
SRP: $25
Deep gold color. Aromas of sea salt, almond, hay and ginger, on top of candied orange peel, apricot marmalade, lemon zesty. Crisp acidity, round, deep texture, waxy yet lively feel. The wine integrated and balanced very well. Orange peel, apricot, mixed with ginger, almond, hay, candlewax, white tea. Lush, harmonious, a solid Amontillado that offers a lot for the price. 16.5% alcohol, <4 grams of residual sugar, aged 12 years in oak casks. (90 points IJB)

N.V. Gonzalez-Byass Pedro Ximénez Sherry Noé 30 Years – Spain, Andalucía, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry
SRP: $50/375ml
Deep brown color. Nose of sweet dates, roasted figs, caramel, lush and rich with cocoa, violets, clove and marmalade notes. Full-bodied, plush, sweet and unctuous with medium acidity. Plum cake, roasted figs, sweet dates, glazed, goopy fruit, mixed with flavors of bitter chocolate, clove, cedar and roasted chestnuts. Rich, deep, delicious stuff, the acidity really helps keep this densely sweet wine vibrant. 100% Pedro Ximenez, aged 30 years in solera. (91 points IJB)

United States

thumbnail (2)2018 Troon Vineyard Vermentino – USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Light yellow color. Aromatically, this is pretty as all heck, with lots of white and yellow flowers, white tea, sea salt, raw almond, on top of lemon and apricot. Wide breadth of texture, so pretty, with a waxy, creamy, yet zippy feel. Pure and deep but vibrant with crisp acidity, and delicious lemon, apricot and peach fruit. Notes of mint, herbal tea, crushed chalk, white flowers, minerals and quinine add all sorts of complexity. Troon has been killing it with Vermentino for a while now, and this is another example of their mastery of the grape. Not to mention the crazy value here. Fermented and aged in old French oak, with maloactic fermentation. (92 points IJB)

N.V. Gran Moraine Pinot Noir Brut Rosé USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton
SRP: $55
Pale copper color. Complex but airy on the nose, with white cherry, strawberry, grapefruit, topped in wildflowers, hay, honey, with salty, oyster shell notes. Nervy and crisp on the palate with fine bubbles – dry, brisk, salty, bright appeal. Strawberry, white cherry and red apple peel, mixed with chalk, saline but plenty of doughy, honey, almond notes, too. Delicious, complex, bright stuff. Chardonnay with 43% Pinot Noir, fermented in a mix of old French oak and stainless steel, aged 24 months on the lees. (92 points IJB)

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