Wine Reviews: New Releases from California and Oregon

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 01-09-2021

Happy belated new year. I’m back this week with a round-up of new releases from California and Oregon for my first reviews of 2021. And I’m starting off with some good stuff.

Merry Edwards, whose wines I fell in love with on one of my first California wine trips, comes out swinging with four rocking single-vineyard Pinots from the 2018 vintage.

Paso Robles’ Rabble Wine Company puts out several brands. Aesthetic and marketing matters, and they seem to do a great job of it, while maintaining quality in the bottle that could make you a return customer.

Long-time readers will have seen Troon’s wines on here before, and I have a lot of respect for this producer and their wines. Always experimenting with different styles, grapes, this biodynamic winery puts out nerdy but pristine and highly delicious wines in so many styles it seems there’s something for everyone in their portfolio.

Some other new releases round out this report. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

White wines 

2018 Talbott Chardonnay Block 50 South Sleepy Hollow Vineyard ­- USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
SRP: $60
Rich yellow color. The aromas are deep and suave, with bruised pears, yellow apples, with complex floral tones, cinnamon crumb cake, honeycomb. Plump texture on the palate but moderate acidity keeps it vibrant throughout. Juicy flavors of yellow pears and apples, with apricot jam, mix with complex floral tones (honeysuckle, orange blossom). Notes of honey, graham cracker and brown sugar contrast against a chalky element. Rich but vibrant and fresh, too, this should age nicely. (90 points IJB)

2018 Rabble Wine Company “Stasis” Grüner Veltliner USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley
SRP: $41
Medium yellow color. Inviting aromas of yellow apples, limes, along with this pretty combination of floral and spicy elements (honeysuckle fresh ramps) with honey and chalky elements as well. Precise acidity frames the wine nicely on a zesty, focused frame with delicious yellow apple, kiwi and lemon fruit. A crunchy, salty, floral appeal, with honeysuckle, ginger, cucumber slices and celery seed tones. A lot going on, bright and complex, but it’s also so fun and crushable, too. (90 points IJB)

2018 Grieve Family Winery Double Eagle White Wine  USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $48
Medium yellow color. Rich aromas of honeydew, pineapple and yellow apple with honeyed, floral tones but also these vibrant tones of hay, chalk and mint. Plush texture on the palate, vibrant acid, with flavors of white peach, pineapple and lemon tart fruit. Notes of chalk, minerals, tomato leaf and sea salt add complexity. Nuanced, plump but fresh, this Sauvignon Blanc has lovely clarity and focus to it. (90 points IJB)

2019 Troon Vineyard Côtes du Kubli Blanc USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $35
Deep yellow color. Aromas of lemon, orange, yellow plum, a rushing display with notes of sea salt, white tea, honey, all sorts of flowers. A juicy, creamy mouthfeel but, considering the blend, the acidity is really surprising, offer pleasant moderation for the yellow plum, orange marmalade fruit, lime notes, too. Honey, marzipan and floral tones add complexity. Lovely stuff to serve with savory dishes on a cold night. Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne fermented with native yeasts in Old French oak. (91 points IJB)

2019 Troon Vineyard Vermentino Amphora Amber USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $35
An orange, light gold color. The nose is bright, with orange peel, lemon, has a natural but focused appeal with wildflowers, crushed sweet tarts, quinine and talc. On the palate, this shows chunks of pineapple, orange peel and preserved lemon, plump but shows some medium-low acidity as well. Complex notes of crushed shells, floral perfume and subtle notes of mint, tobacco and earth. Really enjoyable and unique. Fermented in amphorae, two with whole grapes, one with whole cluster. (90 points IJB)

Red wines

2017 Rabble Wine Company Tooth & Nail Wines “The Stand” USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $25
Deep purple color. Deep, roasted figs, blackberries and black currant compote, with cedar, coffee, tar and sweet cocoa. Juicy and full on the palate with velvety tannins, surprisingly fresh acidity. Jammy blackberries, blueberries, roasted figs, laced with cocoa, coffee, graphite, scorched earth, pepper and tar, yet this forward, winter-hearty wine shows vibrancy throughout. 85% Petite Sirah, 14% Syrah, 1% Viognier, aged 15 months in 34% new French oak. (89 points IJB)

2018 Rabble Wine Company Rabble Red USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $13
Medium purple color. Jammy aromas of cherries and plums, smoky figs, with vanilla and chocolate covered raisins. Ripe and juicy on the palate with smooth tannins and medium acidity. Flavors of blackberry and smoky figs mix with vanilla, chocolate and coffee tones. Chewy and forward but shows some vibrancy, and has a fan-friendly, disappear at a party vibe to it. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Petite Sirah. (86 points IJB)

2016 Rabble Wine Company “Amor Fati” Syrah Murmur Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
SRP: $60
Vibrant purple color. Ooh! The nose oozes olives (green, black, some pimentos and garlic cloves thrown in, and I love it) backed up by these tones of beef jerk over top of tangy, juicy cherries and red plums. Full-bodied but fresh with this zippy acidity and some solid but slightly dusty tannins. Vibrant but chewy fruit, cherries and blackberries, along with lots of tobacco, black pepper, leather, lots green olives. Undertones of rocky earth and mineral round out this lovely, complex Syrah that will reward age. Spends 18 months in 30% new French oak. (92 points IJB)

2019 Girasole Vineyards Pinot Noir USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $16
Medium ruby color. Aromas of raspberries, juicy cherries, with roses, cola, suave but shows some spicy, herbal tones as well. Juicy, smooth but fresh on the palate with soft tannins and medium acidity. Raspberry and cherry fruit mix with light roast coffee, nice tones of rose petals and save, nuanced toffee and cola. Fun, fresh, style, ripe but shows a lot of nuance and balance for the price. (87 points IJB)

2016 Grieve Family Vineyard Double Eagle USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $88
Deep purple color. Aromas of juicy blackberries, blueberries, with tar, anise, roasted coffee and cedar, classic, deep, inviting Napa goodness. Full and suave on the palate with velvety tannins and fresh acidity, finely balanced. Ripe blackberry and smoky blueberry with plummy, sauce tones, backed up by complex graphite, mineral, charcoal and tobacco. Boastful but nuanced and fresh, too. Delicious, exciting stuff. Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Petit Verdot. (92 points IJB)

2017 Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
SRP: $40
Light purple color. Aromas of smoky earth and mint chocolate chip over top spicy black currants, sweet plums, with pepper and black tea. Full-bodied on the palate with smooth tannins, medium acidity. Juicy and ripe with plush black cherry and plum fruit. Notes of cocoa, toasted coconut and coffee grounds are woven in well. A forward, yummy style, but it has some solid complexity and depth as well. (89 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Bucher Vineyard ­ USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $63
Aromas pop with raspberry and blueberry jams with spicy mint, menthol and clove, backed up by milk chocolate and rhubarb. Full but fresh with a slightly chewy texture and waves of plums, raspberry and blueberry fruit. Cola, rose petals, nuanced notes of toffee and roasted chestnut, complex floral and earth tones as well. Bold but beautiful, smooth and vibrant, and should be stellar in three to six years. (92 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Warrens’ Hill Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Green Valley of Russian River Valley
SRP: $66
Cherries galore on the nose, vibrant and floral as well, with roses, violets, tobacco and sarsaparilla. Full-bodied, lively acidity, full of juicy cherries and red plums on a frame of dusty tannins. Complex notes of oregano, roses, coffee, clay and earth, with herbal and minty tones. Vibrant finish, harmonious and complex, the freshest, spiciest iteration in this mix, and it’s lovely. (93 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Flax Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $63
Aromas of juicy cherries and plums meet notes of violets, cola and sweet oregano. Full-bodied with velvety tannins, a chewy texture with a concentrated feel, but stays vibrant with acidity as well. Deep cherry and roasted figs, wild blueberries, suave fruit mixes well with cola, sage and tobacco. Pretty underlying mineral and earth tones This could use some time, but it’s vibrant and exciting. (92 points IJB)

2018 Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Meredith Estate Vineyard USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $72
The nose boasts sweet plums and deep black cherries, with rich tones of cola, cocoa and coffee. Full and chewy with moderate acidity and a deep core of black cherry and tart plum fruit. Saucy with notes of coffee, toffee, sarsaparilla, roasted chestnut and potting soil. Needs air and time to coax out the nuances, but it’s lovely and good for fans of the deeper style. (91 points IJB)

2018 Troon Vineyard Syrah USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $30
Medium purple color. Aromas of suave black cherries, blackberries, with pepper, cocoa, mesquite, graphite and tilled soil. Full and fresh, nice tannic structure but velvety feel and vibrant acidity. Black cherries and blueberry compote mixes with all sorts of spicy tones (olives, pickling spices, mesquite, charcoal) with violet and cocoa tones. Integrated, lively, spicy, serious stuff for the price. (91 points IJB)

2018 Troon Vineyard Syrah Whole Cluster Fermented ­- USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $45
Medium purple color. So enticing on the nose, deep but vibrant with red and black cherries and currants, figs, and notes of pine, pepper, menthol and charcoal grill. Full-bodied and suave on the palate with bright acidity and a grippy but gorgeous, deep texture. Pretty blueberries and blackberry fruit mix well with complex notes of bacon fat, beef jerky, black olive, scorched earth. A silky, mineral-laden finish. This should age wonderfully over the next decade. (92 points IJB)

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