Wine Reviews: End of Summer Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 09-11-2021

Labor Day has come and gone, but as I’m wont to point out around this time of year – astronomically speaking, it’s still summer! The beaches are quieter here on the East Coast, the humidity is dropping, and I’m loving it. As such, I’ve gathered together a mix of wines that I think would pair wonderfully with early fall.

Destinata is a new label from California producer Tooth & Nail, who makes a wide range of wines from Paso Robles and other regions. This brand is focused on a less intervention approach in the cellar, with smaller batches, native yeasts, yielding wines with crushable appeal but surprising complexity. Natty wine fans looking to expand their horizons and try some good examples of this style out of Santa Barbara County should definitely check these wines out.

Chalk Hill delivers classic Sonoma Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in some half-bottles – which are inexpensive and great for those times when a 375ml is all you need.

And Dallas-based entrepreneur Casey Barber brings her new Rose Gold rosé from Provence, which is an impressive display. A rocking Champagne from Laurent-Perrier, two delicious Rieslings from Wines of Germany and some Proseccos round out this report.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

N.V. Laurent-Perrier Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature France, Champagne
SRP: $99
The nose boasts a mix of zesty lemon and quince, salty and chalky tones, with crushed limestone and oyster shells, with some bready, doughy accents. Zippy and racy on the palate with a pure, mountain stream meets the ocean vibe. Talc, minerals, quinine, accenting the lemon and green apple fruit. Bready, honeysuckle, some white pepper, this is pure, long, racy and complex, and just a joy to drink. A blend of several vineyards from the Cote des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, aged six years before disgorgement. (93 points IJB)

2020 Rose Gold Côtes de Provence Rosé France, Provence, Côtes de Provence
SRP: $21
Pale copper color. Alive and airy on the nose with red apple peel, wild raspberry and lemon, topped in basil, honeysuckle and chalk dust. Crisp and punchy on the palate with some interesting textural depth, and plenty of red apple peel, sour cherry and watermelon rind flavors. White flowers, some freshly-sliced cucumbers. This is brisk, balanced, floral and fun, well done stuff. Half Cinsault and Grenache. (89 points IJB)

2016 Axel Pauly Riesling “Generations” Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $21
Light yellow color. The nose shows a lovely mix of zesty and rich elements, with white peaches, papaya and honey contrasted with flinty, oceanic tones. Plump texture, balanced sugar, zesty acidity – it lines up well with the peaches, guava and lime fruit. Notes of slate, river stones and seashells blend well with clover, honey and yellow flowers. Nice vibrancy and clarity throughout, solid value as well. (89 points IJB)

2018 Schäfer-Fröhlich Riesling Trocken – Germany, Nahe
SRP: $26
Medium yellow color. Aromas of salty, peachy, limey goodness, with white flowers, chalk dust, minerals – so bright. Crisp and dry on the palate with delightful texture and racy acidity. Balances so well with this lime, white peach and kiwi fruit. Minerals, honeysuckle and flinty, white peppery notes round out this complex, racy, delightful wine. A great entry into what this producer can do. (90 points IJB)

N.V. Ca’ Furlan Prosecco “Cuvée Béatrice” – Italy, Veneto, Prosecco DOC
SRP: $12
Pale straw color. The aromas are zesty and bright with lemons, orange peel, honey, white flowers, with sugar cane and crushed sweet tarts. Chalky and refreshing on the palate with integrated sugarcane tones and lemon, orange peel and white peach fruit. Nice talc and flinty tones on a sweet tart frame. Fun stuff, and a solid bargain that would please a lot of palates. (87 points IJB)

2020 Ca’ Furlan Rosé Prosecco “Cuvée Mariana” Italy, Veneto, Prosecco DOC
SRP: $12
Pale salmon color. Sweet and spritely aromas of lemon peel, watermelon rind, with verbena, crushed sweet tarts and floral perfume. On the palate, this is dusty and chalky with well-woven sugar. White peaches, raspberries and lemon tones mix with sea salt and floral perfume. Medium sweetness is balanced well, this is a fan friendly and fun and impressive for the price – nothing cloying here. (87 points IJB)

2020 Tooth & Nail Wines Chenin Blanc “Destinata” USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $28
Pale lemon color. So bright and lively on the nose with limes, green melon and kiwi, along with a host of honey and a breezy field of lavender and daisies. On the palate, this is crisp and zippy but shows a deep, waxy texture as well with orange peel, lemon slices and juicy kiwi fruit, highly delicious. Complex floral and herbal tones, with basil, lavender and magnolia tones, a salty, tangy finish. Crystal clear and pretty Chenin Blanc. (90 points IJB)

2020 Tooth & Nail Wines Riesling “Destinata” USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $28
Medium yellow color. Riesling-tastic nose of limes and guava laced with honeysuckle, new tennis balls and some stony, mineral stream notes. Zippy acidity, a racy frame but the texture is creamy, too, gorgeous balance. Chalky, flinty, salty elements mix with yellow and white flowers, some grapefruit rind and honey – this has such a pure, vibrant feel. Exciting to see a California Riesling of this quality for this price. (91 points IJB)

2020 Tooth & Nail Wines Syrah “Destinata” USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
SRP: $28
Bright purple color. Pretty and fun on the nose with a cool mix of raspberries and blueberries, along with black pepper, violets, tilled soil, some mesquite and pine tones, too. Wow, the palate shows such zippy acidity on a medium-bodied frame, dusty tannins, has a lively and balanced feel. Tart plums, strawberries and blueberries, tangy, ripe fruit, mixed with pepper, violets, mesquite, some grilled herbs. Complex but close to crushable, too – this stuff rocks. (91 points IJB)

2018 Chalk Hill Chardonnay USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $15/375ml
Medium yellow color. A nose of peaches, lemon curd, laced with graham cracker, shaved ginger, honeycomb and dandelion notes. Creamy texture on the palate, generous but well balanced with medium acidity. Yellow fruit (apples, plums and pears) abounds, mixed with whipped butter, lemon crème, yellow flowers and clover. Ripe but nuanced, with a creamy but crisp finish. All maloactic fermentation, aged 10 months on the lees in 25% new French oak. (88 points IJB)

2017 Chalk Hill Pinot Noir USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $15/375ml
Medium ruby color. Spicy herbal and floral tones on the nose, with cola and rhubarb, all overtop juicy raspberries and crunchy red apples. Crisp acidity, easy-drinking feel with dusty tannins and bright strawberries, red apples and raspberries. Rhubarb, mint, tobacco and white pepper add complexity, with a crunchy, fun, savory feel. A small bottle of reasonably-priced Sonoma Pinot goodness. Aged nine months in French oak. (88 points IJB)

2020 Castello di Amorosa Pinot Noir Rosato Cresta d’Oro USA, California, Sonoma County, Green Valley of Russian River Valley
SRP: $39
Light pink color. The nose shows white cherries, wild raspberries, McIntosh apple, along with mint, new tennis ball and sliced cucumber notes – a really interesting mix. Punchy, juicy but zesty, focused too, with bright acidity. Lemons, wild raspberries and crunchy red apple fruit blends well with floral perfume, sliced cucumber, honeysuckle and dandelion, while sea salt and minerals add complexity. Fresh and fun, but complex, too – really solid stuff. Aged in concrete eggs. (90 points IJB)

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