Wine Reviews: Fresh Fall Values

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 11-05-2022

With Halloween behind us, I’ve started seeing holiday decorations and displays going up in stores these past few days. But we still have plenty of fall left, and November is one of my favorite months. I’m looking forward to spending time in the mountains, cold nights, gathering with friends and family. But before we transition into the holiday season and crack open the Champagne and burly red wines, I have some offerings on the lighter side of the spectrum. And holiday travel, cooking, etc., can get expensive, so the selections this week all highlight value.

Vinho Verde brings to mind hot summer days with a plate of oysters (and that is certainly a great idea). But I’ve got some complex Vinho Verdes this week that offer more complexity and even some aging potential. No joke, I’d consider cellaring these two for a year or two and see what happens, as they have the depth and complexity to benefit from it.

If you’re looking to restock on some bright white wines and save some money, I’ve got two wines from Val de Vid, from Rueda in Spain. I also have two German samples I received from Wines of Germany. It was while living in Germany my senior year of high school that I had my first vineyard and wine appreciation experience, and I always keep some German wines on hand for holiday gatherings. And we round things out with a bright red blend from Portugal.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.


2020 Richard Bocking Pinot Blanc Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $20
Light yellow color. Spritely on the nose with chalk dust and floral perfume, basil and honeysuckle, over top of limes, green apple and kiwi. The palate is flinty and dry with vibrant acidity and a zesty, crystalline feel. The green apple and kiwi fruit is crunchy and precise with classic Mosel minerals and flinty undertones. Lots of floral and herbal complexity, too, this has a mountain stream quality to it, which is a ton of fun. (90 points IJB)

2021 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro Vinho Verde Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $18
Light yellow color. Popping aromas of white peaches drizzled with lime, topped with daisies and dandelions, some honey and sliced celery as well. The palate shows zesty acidity and pleasant depth of texture, the balance between taut energy and some creaminess is pleasant. Peaches, lemons and limes, with salty, chalky, mineral tones, along with floral perfume and cut flower stems. Fresh, lively and fun, but the balance and complexity are legit. 100% Loureiro from estate-grown fruit. (89 points IJB)

2021 Herdade do Esporão Vinho Verde Bico Amarelo Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $12
Juicy yellow color. Aromas of pineapple and lemon, along with some fresh mountain stream vibes, with yellow flowers, honeysuckle and some sliced cucumber. Delightful textural weight is balances by brisk acidity, and I love the flavors of tart lemon, kiwi and pineapple. Lots of flowers, but they’re nuanced and woven in well, never overpowering things. Pithy, spritely and complex, this is one of the more interesting Vinho Verde’s you may find. 40% Loureiro, 30% Alvarinho and 30% Avesso. (90 points IJB)

2021 Val de Vid Rueda Spain, Castilla y León, Rueda
SRP: $13
Medium yellow color. A meadow of wildflower goodness on the nose, with peaches and kiwi and clean laundry. Punchy and crisp on the palate with brisk acidity and flavors of papaya, peaches and lemon juice. Some waxy elements mix with tones of white pepper, oregano, basil, and the wine shows some salty, briny vibes as well. Lovely wine for salads and seafoods. 85% Verdejo from 25-year-old vines and 15% Viura from 50-year-old vines. (88 points IJB)

2021 Val de Vid Verdejo Rueda Spain, Castilla y León, Rueda
SRP: $14
Medium yellow color. Super bright on the nose, with a floral potpourri of white and yellow flowers and some basil, fresh cucumbers and honeysuckle, over top of peaches and papaya. Bright and zesty on the palate but nice texture, balanced well with roundness and freshness. Papaya, peach and orange peel fruit blends well with honey, basil, sliced green onion, chalk dust. Floral, fun, bright and versatile. All Verdejo from 25-30 year-old vines. (88 points IJB)


2019 Ritual Pinot Noir Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $21
Deep ruby color. Bright and juicy on the nose with a nice mix of red apple peel, black cherry and wild raspberry, topped in notes of black pepper, rose hips and rhubarb. The palate shows fine-grained tannins and crisp acidity, over a bed of tangy cherry, red currant and pomegranate fruit. Notes of black pepper, charcoal, rose petals and rhubarb add complexity. Fresh and fun, spicy and floral, showing good complexity. Look, it’s rare I find a $20 Pinot I’d purchase and share with guests, but this is it. Aged 11 months in French oak. (89 points IJB)

2019 August Kesseler Pinot Noir The Daily August Germany, Rheingau
SRP: $25
Medium ruby color. The nose is spicy and floral with rose hips, white pepper and tobacco, mixing well with tangy red apple and juicy raspberry fruit, some earthy, savory undertones. Fresh acidity and fine-grained tannins on the palate, a mix of deeper black cherry fruit with tart red apples, and there’s a lot of peppery, tobacco and sage vibes that make this fun and interesting. Fun and fresh, but nice depth of mouthfeel and complexity. I would love to mix this wine in blind at a pinot tasting and see what folks guess. (I bet it gets some love, too). (90 points IJB)

2019 Quinta do Vesuvio Douro Comboio do Vesuvio Unoaked Portugal, Douro
SRP: $22
Bright purple color. Nice tart dark fruit on the nose (black cherries and dark plums), along with a pleasant mix of smoky, gravelly earth, with violets and magic marker tones. Medium-bodied on the palate, dusty tannins with rounded edges, medium acidity. Tangy dark plums and black cherries, the fruit is accented with rocky earth, graphite, violets, some tar and pine tones. Everything’s woven together well, with a nice floral and spicy finish. A fresher take, and a great intro to Douro red blends at a solid price. (89 points IJB)

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