Wine Reviews: Summertime Selections

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 05-21-2022

Here in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic, it is a scorcher of a weekend. Heat, humidity, summer travel and traffic on the way – I know a lot of people love summer, but I am missing the cooler days already!

And as much as I love some Napa Cabs and burly Southern Rhone wines, I’m not going to be opening one any time soon. I need some crisp whites, interesting rosés, maybe some orange wines and crushable reds.

In recent weeks I’ve received a wide spectrum of wines that would fit this bill. I’ve parsed through some of them and curated this selection of summer-friendly wines. From Grieve and Gamble, Napa Sauvignon Blancs deliver, and I have some cool wines from Germany as well.

Stinson Vineyards is one of Virginia’s most reliable producers for me, and they come through again with the new vintage of their Tannat pink. But what really wowed me was their Meritage Blanc, something I didn’t know was coming and took me by surprise with its beautiful interpretation of a Semillon/Sauv Blanc blend. Oregon’s Troon Vineyard always puts out interesting wines in a lot of styles, and the three offerings from this biodynamic producer are great examples.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

Rosé wines

2021 Bouchaine Vin Gris of Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard – USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
SRP: $29
Pale salmon color. So perfumed and inviting on the nose with bright McIntosh apples and strawberry fruit, mixing with elements of talc, white tea, honeysuckle and mint. The palate boasts a delightfully creamy texture and lip-smacking acidity with flavors of white cherries, white peach and lemon. The finish has notes of sliced cucumbers, celery seed and chalky elements. Zesty but complex and deep as well, a delightful pink that is 85% whole cluster pressed, 15% saignée. (90 points IJB)

2021 Bodegas Beronia Tempranillo Rioja Rosado – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
SRP: $13
Light pink color. Light and bright on the nose with lots of honeysuckle and dandelion over top of white peaches, lemons and raspberries. Crisp, breezy and springy on the palate with white peach and wild raspberry fruits. Notes of cucumber, freshly cut flower stems, some dusty, mineral-y vibes throughout. 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha. Widely available, solid value, what’s not to love? (88 points IJB)

2021 Fleurs de Prairie Rosé – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc
SRP: $20
Pale salmon. Peaches and cream on the nose with some honey, this is a chunky, yummy rose with floral perfume and white tea. Creamy and chunky on the palate but nice acidity, this is full of raspberries and strawberries and mixed with some chalk, dried flowers and dandelion. Juicy, fresh and pleasant, this is crowd-pleasing, fun stuff. Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvedre. (87 points IJB)

2021 Gamble Family Vineyards Rosé – USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
SRP: $26
Bright pink color. The nose pops with a orange peel and raspberries, topped in honeysuckle, magnolia petal, some mint and breezy, spring field vibes. Crisp acidity, sports a honeyed depth of texture with bright citrus and juicy rubus fruits, some McIntosh apples. Floral perfume, chalk dust, whipped honey, shows richness but stays really vibrant. Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon base with Cab Franc Merlot and Petit Verdot. (90 points IJB)

2020 Josh Cellars Rosé – USA, California
SRP: $15
Medium copper color. Smells of strawberries and red delicious apples with notes of nettle and fresh cut grass. Lively but creamy with white peach and strawberry fruit, drizzled with lemon. Honeyed and pleasant with some notes of dandelion, lily, orange blossom. Some slight green herb tones as well. Fun, crowd-pleasing, value-driven stuff. (86 points IJB)

2021 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench RoséUSA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $25
Gorgeous light peach color. A crunchy and spicy aromatic display with kiwi and white cherry, along with chalk dust, sliced cucumber, celery seed and honeysuckle. Crisp and punchy on the palate with a delightful richness, matched with precise acidity. The fruit is a mix of juicy white peaches and wild raspberries, and I get notes of clover, thistle flower, celery seed and white flowers. Very pretty, the mouthfeel is gorgeous, and the level of complexity and focus is really something. A stellar pink made from Tinta Roriz, Malbec and Counoise. (92 points IJB)

2021 Stinson Vineyards Tannat Rosé – USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $23
Pretty light salmon color. The nose is bright and juicy with white cherries, raspberries and red apple peel, tossed with a cool blend of spicy white pepper, fresh basil and some crushed chalk. The palate is crisp but deeply textured and the balance is delightful. Crunchy red apple peel and ripe raspberry fruit mix well with these basil, rose petal, magnolia and white pepper elements. Lively and pure with racy minerals on the finish, this fresh and complex rose delivers, year after year. From Horton Vineyards’ fruit, this is a great value. (91 points IJB)

White wines

2019 Weingut A Diehl Chardonnay Sekt – Germany, Pfalz
SRP: $25
Medium gold color. The nose has a nice mix of bright citrus fruits and saline tossed with hay, almond and honey. The palate has some nice texture, but brisk acidity, and it boasts this talc/mineral undertone. Lemon and yellow apple with some cracker crumbs and crushed oyster shells. Bright and nervy and fun. Chardonnay. (89 points IJB)

2021 Gamble Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Gamble Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville
SRP: $35
Pale straw color. The nose shows a gorgeous blend of gooseberry, white peach and guava nectar, along with honey, white flowers, some notes of dill and dandelion. Racy acidity, creamy texture, balanced well with a tropical mélange of white peach, guava and lemon juice. Some waxy, honeyed tones mix well with floral elements and this flinty, stony, mineral-packed appeal. Refreshing and nervy with a lot of depth, this would be interesting to see how it ages for a few years as well. Fermented on the lees for six months in stainless steel and a mix of new and used French oak. (91 points IJB)

2019 Grieve Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc – USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $98
Light yellow color. A rich, inviting nose of papaya, iwi and mango, tossed with honey, white pepper, ramp leaves and chalk dust. The palate shows a pleasantly creamy texture with racy acidity and rushing mineral presences. The lime and papaya fruit is glazed with honey, white pepper and a tantalizing mix of chalk dust, saline and limestone. From the family’s Lovall Valley site, this is a special and unique Napa Sauv Blanc. Aged 16 months in 60% new French oak. (91 points IJB)

2020 Stinson Vineyards Meritage Blanc – USA, Virginia, Central Virginia, Monticello
SRP: $31
Medium yellow color. Gorgeous aromas of pineapple and lemon, with this refreshing, briny, chalky tones, balanced with honey and raw almond. The palate has a rich, creamy texture with vibrant acidity and lovely balance. The lemon, yellow apple, honeydew fruit, it’s all so fresh and focused, and the hay, honey, chamomile and peanut shell notes add a lot of complexity. This has such a level of verve, balance and focus – a really special Virginia white wine. Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, aged 16 months in 15% new French oak. This should age nicely, too, and would be a great ringer in a Bordeaux Blanc tasting or a “Wow”-inducing wine for Virginia newbs. (92 points IJB)

Other goodies

2021 Troon Vineyard Kubli Bench Amber – USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $35
Light orange/copper color. A fascinating mix of honey, whipped butter, dried flowers, over top of candied orange peel, dried pineapple and some quince. Deep, waxy texture on the palate with gorgeous acidity and complex minerals. Orange blossoms, honeycomb, dried flowers, with these flinty, stony, mountain stream vibes. A lot going on here, this orange wine is up there with the most “accessible” I’ve tasted, but it’s still got that complexity and fascinating texture. A blend of Vermentino, Riesling and Roussanne, fermented on the skins separately in open-top vessels with 30% whole-cluster. (91 points IJB)

2021 Troon Vineyard Grenache Glou-Glou Cowhorn Vineyard – USA, Oregon, Southern Oregon, Applegate Valley
SRP: $30
Bright/light purple color. The nose is lovely and fresh with rhubarb, rose petals and pepper over top of juicy raspberries and cherries, with some tar and charcoal elements. The palate is dusty and fresh with a crunchy, fresh vibe, and flavors of cherries and raspberries. Dusty tannins and brisk acidity, with tones of violets, white pepper, charcoal and rose hips. Fun and lively but a lot of complexity as well. All whole-cluster Grenache fermented in stainless steel with two weeks of carbonic maceration. (90 points IJB)

N.V. Jan Matthias Klein Pinot Noir Little Red Riding Wolf – Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
SRP: $33
Bright raspberry color. Natty but fun on the nose with tangy raspberries, red apple peel, with spicy pepper and paprika. The palate is zesty with light, chalky tannins and crunchy red fruits. Brisk cherries and raspberries mix with pepper, oregano, some tobacco, and there’s this mineral-limestone essence underneath as well. Clean and fresh, natty-lovers and those wary of the wild stuff should both appreciate this. A fun, fresh and spicy German Pinot Noir. (89 points IJB)

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