Wine Reviews: Locals’ Summer Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 09-03-2022

Happy Labor Day weekend! I, for one, am excited to see September again. We finally got a break from the heat and humidity here in the Mid-Atlantic region, and I’m sure the autumnal decorations and pumpkin spice will be arriving en masse soon.

Growing up two blocks from the beach on the Jersey Shore, we called September “locals’ summer,” and it was my favorite time. The tourists tended to clear out from our beach town while the air and water temperatures stayed delightful all through September. And we still have about three weeks of summer left (meteorologically speaking), so there’s plenty of time to hit the ocean, the lake, the river, or gather up family and friends for a grill-out.

As such, here’s a handful of wines that I’d welcome to any locals’ summer gathering.

I’ve got another Alentejo white this week because, well, they are delightful and fit the bill. And a Godello from Pagos del Galir in Spain will certainly keep the summer vibes going.

Rosé needs a place at the table (or beach), so I’ve got an exceptional offering from Sonoma’s Ram’s Gate and delicious pinks from Languedoc and Provence. I also have some crushable bubbles with an impressive Cava from Poema, and some value-driven Northern Italian wines with Corvezzo’s offerings.

As the evenings get cooler, I’m looking forward to some juicy, spicy red wines, and Chile is a great place to go. I’ve enjoyed the serious depth and value found from the Primus label, imported by Gonzalez Byass. Sourcing organically grown Cabernet and Carmenere from Apalta and Maipo, these wines provide grill-friendly appeal, plenty of stony, earthy complexity, all with very moderate price tags.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Whites and bubbles

2020 Quinta da Fonte Souto Portalegre Branco – Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo, Portalegre
SRP: $26
Deep yellow color. The nose is packed with goodness. I get richer tones of honey, almond and baked bread, pineapples, with brighter and fresher notes of lemon, sea salt, and white flowers. The palate shows a creamy texture, supporter by lively acidity, and the lemon, papaya and pineapple fruit is ripe but tangy. The notes of chalk, honey, hay, nougat, crushed oyster shells and white flowers add a lot to love and contemplate. This is versatile, delicious and beautiful, and I think it should age nicely for a while as well. Arinto with 25% Verdelho, and 60% of the wine was fermented in oak on the lees. (92 points IJB)

2020 Virgen del Galir Godello Pagos del Galir – Spain, Galicia, Valdeorras
SRP: $21
Medium yellow color. Beautiful fruit salad aromas of yellow apple, kiwi and white peach, along with fresh basil, chalk dust and mountain streams. The palate has delightful zestiness and a crisp texture but plenty of depth, with yellow apples, lemons and limes, white peach fruit. Accents of white flowers, basil, honey and sliced cucumber add a pleasant, fresh touch. Focused, fresh, complex, this Godello delivers. Aged six months in stainless steel and barrels. (90 points IJB)

N.V. Poema Cava Brut – Spain, Cava
SRP: $15
Rich yellow color. Lovely nose, a mix of spritely and deeper tones, with limestone and river rocks, hay, yellow flowers, over orange peels, lemon and papaya. Crisp and clear on the palate, the acidity is really bright and the palate has this pleasantly creamy texture with fine bubbles. Pears, lemon and papaya fruit mix with clean, stony, mineral-laden goodness. There’s a ton of complexity packed in here for the price. Xarel·lo, Macabeu, and Parellada, aged 12 months on the lees. (89 points IJB)

2020 Azienda Agricola Corvezzo Pinot Grigio Organic & Vegan – Italy, Delle Venezie
SRP: $13
Medium yellow color. Super floral on the nose with all sorts of yellow and white flowers, mixed with nettle and cucumber slices, over zesty lemon and green apple fruit. Racy acidity on the palate with a creamy feel and flavors of white peaches and kiwi. Notes of rosewater, celery seed and white pepper add some complexity. Bright, spritely, floral and fresh. (85 points IJB)

2020 Azienda Agricola Corvezzo Prosecco – Italy, Veneto, Prosecco di Treviso
SRP: $13
Pale lemon color. Aromas of lemons and green apples, with floral perfume, sea salt, crushed sweet tarts and some white pepper. Fun and fresh, light and crisp with moderate sugar and bright acidity, along with lemon and melon fruit. Floral, fresh, accessible and pleasant. (86 points IJB)

2020 Azienda Agricola Corvezzo Prosecco RoséItaly, Veneto/Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Prosecco
SRP: $13
Pale salmon color. The nose shows chalky, crushed sweet tart vibes and honeysuckle with raspberries and lemons. Light-bodied, zesty acidity and juicy bubbles with raspberry and white cherry fruit. Notes of honeysuckle, rose petals, floral perfume and sweet tarts. Fun and fresh, light and balanced Prosecco. (87 points IJB)


2021 Les Sarrins Côtes de Provence Rosé – France, Provence, Côtes de Provence
SRP: $25
Pale copper color. This smells floral and bright, with white peaches and lemons, honeysuckle and lilies, with some sliced cucumber and celery seed notes. The palate is light, crisp and refreshing, with lemon, cantaloupe and white peach fruit. I get a lot of cool spicy and floral elements, like dandelion, white pepper, honeysuckle and mint, which adds a nice interesting kick. Fun, crowd-pleasing stuff that shows solid value but also a lot of depth and complexity. Made from Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Vermentino. (90 points IJB)

2021 Ram’s Gate Rosé – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
SRP: $38
Light watermelon color. The nose has exquisite tones of chalk dust, saline, flowers for days, rose hips, white pepper, all over top a bowl of fresh white cherries and strawberries. Pure and racy on the palate, this has pleasant creaminess and live-wire acidity, and the balance is lovely. White cherries, raspberries and red apple fruit, tingly, crunchy and alive, backed up with complexities of chalk, mountain stream, limestone. A focused, zesty, crystal clear rose – no rush on emptying these soon, either, as I’d love to try one next summer to see how it has developed. Pinot Noir with 25% Grenache, aged six months in neutral oak barrels. (92 points IJB)

2021 Hampton Water Rosé – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc
SRP: $25
Pale copper color. The nose is spritely and alive, sporting wild raspberry and red apple peel, along with floral perfume and chalky, salty vibes. Crisp as expected but it also has nice textural depth, with flavors of tangy white cherries and juicy raspberries. Notes of daisies, honeysuckle, dandelion and some slight green herb tones add complexity. Bright but shows some honeyed elements as well, this is beach and seafood friendly stuff. A collaboration between winemaker Gérard Bertrand, Jon Bon Jovi and his son Jesse Bongiovi. (88 points IJB)


2018 Primus Cabernet Sauvignon – Chile, Maipo Valley
SRP: $21
Vibrant purple color. A deep core of tart black currant and black cherry fruit, tossed with tobacco leaf, violet petals, roasted red pepper and tomato leaf – smelling it just makes me want to grill steak and veg. A tart mix of plum and currant fruit on the palate is buttressed by moderately grippy tannins and vibrant acidity. The tones of smoky earth, tar, violets, soy and tobacco add a lot to ponder and enjoy. A lot of freshness and complexity in here. Aged 12 months in French oak, 18% new. (89 points IJB)

2018 Primus Carménère – Chile, Colchagua Valley, Apalta
SRP: $21
Bright purple color. Lovely nose of raspberries and black cherries, topped in a cool mix of spicy bell pepper, black pepper, sage, with nuances of vanilla and cola. Juicy texture, nice grip on the palate but everything stays smooth, with delightful freshness as well. The cranberry relish and black currant fruit is deep and tangy, laced with black pepper, anise, smoky tones and tobacco. Really love this grape and this iteration of it. Aged 12 months in 18% new French oak. (90 points IJB)

2018 Primus The Blend – Chile, Colchagua Valley, Apalta
SRP: $21
Light purple color. Ooh, the nose gushes with sweet cherries, dark plums, and complexities of black pepper, clove, rose potpourri, violet and clay. The palate is super suave with smooth but structured tannins and lively acidity. Fresh plums and cherries, backed up with cocoa, coffee, gravelly earth, and a mix of deep floral and spice tones to unpack. A delightfully balanced and pretty Chilean red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with 20% Carmenere, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Franc, aged in 2/3 French oak for 12 months. (90 points IJB)

2020 C.V.N.E. (Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España) Rioja OrganicSpain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $17
Vibrant ruby color. Aromas of cherries and plum compote, and a fun and spicy mix of tobacco, spiced tea, paprika, tomato leaf and rose hips. Chewy tannins on the palate, moderate acidity, and juicy plum and currant fruit makes for a nicely-balanced, medium-bodied wine. Savory tones of beef, bay leaf and pepper mix with roses and violet petals, some chewing tobacco and mint. A great intro Rioja at a solid price. Aged six months in oak. (89 points IJB)

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