Wine Reviews: International Grab Bag

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 09-12-2020

I’m back this week with another round-up of some recent samples from around the world.

This week, Umberto Cesari delivers two interesting wines from Emilia-Romagna’s Rubicone region.

For years now, I’ve been very impressed with Troon’s wines, and they continue to keep their stride. These wines are biodynamic, lower-alcohol, made with native yeasts, and they show tremendous depth and complexity. The U.S. wine scene is lucky to have Troon, an outfit that always maintains quality and focus while constantly branching out and experimenting. And, apparently, now they make one of the only Piquettes I’ve tasted that I can honestly recommend.

And there’s also Post Malone’s Maison No. 9 French pink – hey, I review what I get!

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2019 Maison No. 9 Mediterranée Rosé France, Provence, Mediterranée
SRP: $22
Medium copper color. Juicy aromas of sweet white peach, juicy watermelon, with honey, sweet white flowers. On the palate, this has a light and crunchy feel with white peach, McIntosh apple, lemon peel. Notes of celery seed, white pepper and mint. Fun, light, stuff but shows some interesting elements – not just celebrity plonk. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Merlot. (86 points IJB)

2019 Benvolio Pinot Grigio Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Friuli Grave
Pale copper color. Aromas of white peaches, honey, pineapple, with white flowers, fresh laundry and clover. Peaches and green melons lead the way on the palate, a creamy texture with bright acidity works nicely, and the wine has this interesting chalky, flinty aspect. White tea, verbena and mint, even some minerality showing through, this has a lot going on for a budget-friendly Pinot Grigio. (87 points IJB)

2018 Umberto Cesari Liano Bianco Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Rubicone
SRP: $26
Light yellow color. Inviting nose of creamy pears, guava, orange peel, along with honeysuckle, daisies, dandelion – ripe but fresh. Plump texture on the palate, vibrant acidity, this is fruity but fresh, with a medley of guava, orange, papaya and lime. Creamy and juicy but balanced, too, accented with notes of honeycomb, chamomile tea, minerals and sea salt. Focused and bright on the finish, this is lovely. Chardonnay with 30% Sauvignon Blanc, aged three months in oak. (90 points IJB)

2017 Umberto Cesari Liano Italy, Emilia-Romagna, Rubicone
SRP: $35
Light purple color. Nose shows smoky earth, tobacco and charcoal on top of black tea, oregano, with juicy black cherries and currant jam. On the palate, this shows silky tannins, medium acidity, and a chewy, approachable presence with black cherries and raspberry jam. Notes of green herbs, glazed mushroom and cocoa add complexity. Fun, spicy, juicy style that offers lots of food pairing options. Sangiovese with 30% Cabernet, aged 18 months in barrel. (88 points IJB)

2019 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Rosé USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Pale copper color. Aromas pop with daisies, baby’s breath, dandelion and mint, over white cherries, watermelon rind and chalk dust. Zesty and clean on the palate, this light-bodied rose has such focus and precision. Tangy white cherries and strawberry, watermelon rind, mixing with gorgeous rose petals, dandelion, wild clover, hay and white tea. Really pretty and complex, this is serious pink, here. A co-fermented blend of Tinta Roriz, Primitivo and Grenache, 11.7% alcohol. (91 points IJB)

2019 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench AmberUSA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $30
Beautiful light amber color. Aromas of salty, briny goodness, with orange peel, candied lemon, and some wild herbs, spiced tea, clay and musk – a lot going on. Such clarity and focus on the palate, medium-bodied, a deeply texture wine but it’s so bright throughout. Candied lemon, orange peel, apricot, the fruit mixes with ginger, mint, fennel, mineral, clay. So complex but it goes down so easily. Not too wild or out there, this would be a great way to introduce folks to orange/amber wines, but it has enough to get orange wine geeks excited, too. Exceptional stuff. 74% Riesling, 16% Vermentino and 10% Marsanne, fermented separately then aged in old French oak. (93 points IJB)

2019 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Piquette USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Light watermelon color. Aromas of wild strawberry, tart cranberry, with watermelon rind, white pepper, musk and bay leaf. Light and zippy on the palate with fine bubbles and crunchy tart white cherries and wild raspberries. Notes of mint, bay leaf, musk, spiced tea. Crushable but interesting, funky and spicy, but fun. Made from the pomace of whole-cluster-pressed white grapes (Marsanne and Vermentino) and from red grapes for rosé or pét nat (TInta Roriz, Primitivo and Tannat), with no added sugar. (88 points IJB)

2019 Troon Vineyard Pét tanNat USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $30
Deep yellow color. Bright and zesty aromas of white pepper, white flowers, sea salt and chalk on top of apricot and tart yellow plum fruit. So crisp on the palate, this is chalky, dry, bright but sports delightful creaminess and fine bubbles. Tart yellow plum and lemon fruit mix well with talc, chalk, limestone notes, even some cucumber and tobacco leaf elements. This is brisk and light-bodied but shows a lot of depth. It’s also really versatile and a really hard wine not to love. Nothing but praise for this effort from Troon. Made from 100% estate Tannat. (91 points IJB)

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