Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 04-11-2020

I hope you all are well during this pandemic. I’m hanging in there, and, luckily, I have some interesting wines this week to keep me inspired.

From Sicily, Tasca d’Almerita offers up some Sicilian varietal wines. The Tenuta Regaleali estate is located on more than 1,000 acres in the Contea di Sclafani DOC, and it’s the source of fruit (from indigenous Sicilian varieties) for the wines in this report. They’re all marked for suggested retail at around $20, and I think they’re an inexpensive way to explore some of Sicily’s diverse grapes.

From France, we have two vintages of Chateau Lassegue’s St. Emilion Grand Cru. These Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv blends come from 40- to 50-year-old vines, and the wine is aged 12 months in about 70% new French oak.

From Spain, I tasted a delicious Godello and some vibrant Riojas that offer a lot of value.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

France

2012 Château Lassègue France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
SRP: $60
Nose shows a lot of smoky, peppery, soy tones with earth, clay, roasted red pepper, on top of black cherries and mulled currant fruit. Medium-bodied, structured but refined tannins, moderate acidity. This shows tangy cherries and currant fruit, laced with loam, tar, earth, charcoal, violets. Refined, smooth, tangy, this is in a good drinking window but has time ahead, too. (89 points IJB)

2016 Château Lassègue France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
SRP: $60
Aromas of deep black cherries, blackberries and currants, topped in violets, pepper, earth, leather, cocoa. Medium/full-bodied with silky but solid tannins, and fresh acidity balances the wine out nicely. Crunchy but deep plum, currant and black cherry fruit. Pretty, complex elements of smoky earth, cocoa, violets, sage, roasted red pepper. This deserves time, but is already harmonious and balanced. Classic 2016 stuff, here. (91 points IJB)

Italy

2018 Tasca D’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Catarratto “Antisa” Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $22
Deep yellow color. Nose shows rich and chunky pineapple, melon, with honey, ginger, cinnamon, with some sea breeze and white flower notes. Plump and juicy texture, medium-bodied with moderate acidity, and lots of chunky pineapple, melon, pear and tangerine fruit. Bright floral, perfume notes with sea spray, crushed shell tones. Lovely texture, balance, flavor, and an interesting snapshot into this variety. From vineyards at 1,800-foot elevation, calcareous soils, all Catarratto aged in stainless steel. (88 points)

2017 Tasca D’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Perricone “Guarnaccio” Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $20
Light purple color. Aromas of juicy raspberries and sweet plums, with black tea, rose petals, smoky earth and leather. Crisp and fresh on the palate, medium-bodied, with chewy tannins and a bright, crunchy feel. Red fruits, juicy and bright, with notes of roasted chestnut, black tea, leather and tar, with rose petals, too. Fun, accessible, grill-friendly stuff. Widely planted before phylloxera, the grape Perricone (or Guarnaccio) has been grown at this estate since the 1950s. (86 points IJB)

2018 Tasca D’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Grillo “Cavallo Delle Fate” Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $20
Medium yellow color. Smells like a fresh fruit salad of peaches, pears, kiwi and green melon, with some whipped honey and crème on top. Zippy acidity meets a plush texture with a creamy feel throughout. Ripe melons, pineapple and kiwi fruit, creamy, plush, fun and fruity, but it also shows some complexity in terms of seashells, minerals, wild herbs. Well-balanced and fresh, this begs for crab, octopus and sunshine. 100% Grillo. (88 points)

2016 Tasca D’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Nero d’Avola “Lamùri” Italy, Sicily, Sicilia
SRP: $20
Deep ruby color. Aromas of bright raspberries and cherries, with roses, menthol, mint and some charcoal. Medium-bodied on the palate with bright acidity, light tannins, and bright, tangy, tart cherries. Notes of rhubarb, white pepper, tobacco, pine tar and black tea add some complex, spicy, interesting elements. This is a tangy, spicy, crushable pizza wine that is pretty delicious. 100% Nero d’Avola. (87 points IJB)

New Zealand

2019 Whitehaven Sauvignon BlancNew Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
SRP: $20
Light yellow color. An aromatic punch of lime, papaya and kiwi, with onion grass, lemon verbena, some honeysuckle. Fresh and fun, accessible and zippy, with generous fruit: lemon, grapefruit and kiwi fruit. Notes of mint, verbena, sliced bell pepper (not too strong) add complexity but don’t overwhelm the fruit. Zesty, salty finish. Solid NZSB. (87 points IJB)

Spain

2019 C.V.N.E. Rioja Monopole Blanco Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
SRP: $15
Light yellow color. Aromas of white peach, lime, apricot, with daisies and floral perfume. Tangy and crisp on the palate, a light/medium-bodied frame with flavors of white peach and lime. There’s a distinct flinty, talc, mineral-infused element underlying this wine that is really vibrant and attractive. Well-balanced, easy-drinking but showing solid complexity. What a screaming value of a brisk white wine; it’s hard to find this much personality in a white wine for this price. 100% Viura, all stainless steel. (89 points IJB)

2018 Bodegas Virxen de Galir Godello Pagos del Galir Spain, Galicia, Valdeorras
SRP: $21
Light yellow color. Generous aromas of creamy peach, lemon and orange peel, with leesy notes and bright, stony mineral notes. Plush texture on the palate, medium-bodied with bright acidity, lovely balance. Creamy pears, peaches, limes, quince, the fruit is fresh, juicy, complex, and well complemented with daisies, meringue, talc, minerals, white flowers and crème. Dynamic, complex Godello, especially considering the price. (90 points IJB)

2019 C.V.N.E. Rioja Viña Real Rosado Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja
SRP: $14
Juicy watermelon color. Aromas of juicy peaches, bright strawberries, with rose hips, white pepper, straw and honeysuckle. Zesty acidity frames the wine nicely, with a juicy, creamy texture. Crunchy cherry and juicy strawberry fruit mix well with these airy, lifted, floral tones, and some spicy/herbal tones (nettle, oregano, basil). Really delicious, food-friendly, and a killer value. Garnacha, Tempranillo and Viura. (89 points IJB)

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