Wine Reviews: Fourth of July Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-03-2022

It’s Fourth of July weekend, so that means we need some American wines in the mix. This weekend, I’m spending time at the ballpark with the kiddo, grilling with some friends, sipping some wines and listening to the neighborhood dogs lose their minds over the incessant fireworks.

I hope you’re all enjoying the weekend and holiday, gathering with friends and enjoying some nice vino. I’ve gathered this mix of American samples I’ve received, mostly from California, that would make nice accompaniments to any summer grill-out.

Oregon’s Troon delivers a crunchy, delish Piquette worth checking out. I’ve got a few whites to beat the heat, and two bottles from Napa brand The Mill Keeper, multi-vintage wines from that offer a fun, juicy, crowd-friendly appeal but spot complexity as well. And for any grilled meats, I’ve got a nice mix of Napa reds from the likes of Frank Family, Grieve, Gamble and Cliff Lede.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2021 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Piquette USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Medium copper color. A chalky, spicy nose with lots of red apple peel and sour cherries, with white and red flowers. The palate is zesty and light with fine bubbles and crisp acidity and some sweet red apple and raspberry fruit. Notes of talc and chalk-infused goodness mix with some hay and white pepper. Really fun, crunchy and fresh, a perfect summer quaffer, and I love the precise and clear nature of this wine. This is made using pressed grape skins from white and rose wines (Vermentino, Marsanne and some from their Tannat rose). Their third and best yet. (89 points IJB)

2021 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $32
Light yellow color. Gorgeous nose of lime, orange peel, guava and white peach, infused with chalk and sea salt, and it sports some honey, yellow flower and banana elements. Crisp acidity on the palate but a delightfully creamy texture, and the balance is on point. Peach, orange peel and lime fruit play well with minerals, chalk dusty, mountain stream, with complexities of honey, clove, some nougat. Deep yet so lively, this will age nicely. Includes 9% Sémillon and 1% Sauvignon Vert, fermented in a mix of French oak, steel and concrete eggs. (91 points IJB)

2020 Chalk Hill Chardonnay Estate Bottled Chalk Hill USA, California, Sonoma County, Chalk Hill
SRP: $45
Light yellow color. The nose shows yellow apples and juicy pears, with a mix of honey, white flowers, nuanced graham cracker and pie crust elements. Creamy and rich on the palate but sports moderate acidity, and a delicious mix of lemon curd, yellow apples and cantaloupe. Notes of graham cracker, saltine, honey and yellow flowers and complexity and nuance. Rich and delicious but fresh with a nice salty finish. Native yeast fermentation, full malo, aged 10 months in 35% new French oak. (90 points IJB)

2020 Metz Road Pinot Noir Riverview USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County
SRP: $36
Vibrant ruby color. The nose shows tangy raspberries, ripe cherries, with rose petals, some cola, rhubarb, and nuanced earthy-clay elements. The palate is juicy but crisp with a fresh and focused appeal, dusty tannins and lively acidity. The raspberry and red apple fruit is crunchy and juicy, and tossed with a delightful blend of black tea, white and black pepper, oregano and sage, some nuanced cola and rhubarb. A lot of fresh, chilled, red-fruited goodness of a Pinot – and for the price? One to seek out if you like that nuanced, fresher, crunchy style. (90 points IJB)

N.V. The Mill Keeper Chardonnay USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $28
Rich yellow color. Nice peachy, honeyed, ripe apple nose with notes of lemon curd and yellow flowers. The palate shows a cool creamy but vibrant mix with flavors of peach, lemon curd and baked yellow apples. Notes of nougat, peanut shell, cinnamon stick, even some chalk dust and limestone elements. Fun, fresh, honeyed, quite complex. (88 points IJB)

N.V. The Mill Keeper Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $35
Medium purple color. The nose shows plums and roasted figs and raisins with some violets, blackberry sauce and pepper. Smooth and chewy on the palate but lively acidity with a nice core of red and black currants and blackberries, figs. Notes of pepper, anise, coffee, some savory-beefy tones. Tons of fun, ripe but not overdone, with these cool beef jerky and spice tones that make it campfire-friendly and crushable. (89 points IJB)

2019 Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $45
Vibrant purple color. Super jammy and lush on the nose with inviting raspberry, strawberry, with red licorice, rose and violet petals, nuances of savory pepper and leather with clove and warm black tea. The palate is suave and juicy with smooth tannins and plenty of tart wild raspberry with mulled blackberry fruit. The mesquite, tobacco and sage elements add a lot of nuance. Any grilled meats or veg, this beckons. Vibrant, spicy, delicious. (91 points IJB)

2018 Grieve Family Winery Double Eagle Napa ValleyUSA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $89
Deep purple color. Deep and dark aromas of blackberry and currants, with lots of pepper, tobacco and anise, notes if incense, coffee, stony, rocky elements – a lot going on here and air coaxes out all sorts of nuances. The acidity is really lively and crisp, deep tannins with solid grip, supporting the core of tart currant and blackberry fruit. The earth, black tea, violets, coconut shavings and dark chocolate add a lot to enjoy and ponder. Delightful stuff, balanced well, really has aging potential too. Cab with 9% Merlot, aged 20 months in 60% new French oak (93 points IJB)

2018 Gamble Family Vineyards Paramount USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $90
Gorgeous purple color. The nose exudes ripeness, freshness and savory elements, with rich waves of black fruit, topped in sage, smoked meats, roasted red pepper and earth – lovely nuance and complexity. Full with suave tannins on the palate, deep and generous texture but balanced with vibrant acidity. Blueberry, blackberry, pure and suave fruit, mixed with dark chocolate, coffee, earth, black pepper, roasted red pepper, and there are these graphite and mineral undertones. Really could use five years or a solid decant to start showing its full potential, but this is lovely. 33% Cab Franc, 32% Cab Sauv, 31% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, aged 20 months in 42% new French oak. (93 points IJB)

2019 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Rock Block Series Roundabout Midnight USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District
SRP: $110
Vibrant purple color. Deep, lush, inviting aromas of currants and plums, tangy and dark, laced with tobacco, eucalyptus, mint, pepper, some leather, cocoa and vanilla – just a lot of awesome scents. Rich with solid structure but the tannins have these refined edges and the acidity is surprisingly vibrant. A core of tart currants and dark plum fruit, accented with black tea, black licorice, coffee grounds, tobacco, and these lovely graphite and mineral accents. Age this a while, but it is suave, fresh and beautiful stuff. 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, aged 21 months in 74% new French oak. (94 points IJB)

Comments are closed.