2016 Nebbiolo Reserve by Barboursville Vineyards

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Nebbiolo Reserve by Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia, USA.

Restrained nose with clear hints of cherry and caramel. I don’t expect an overly complex experience from Nebbiolo. This one is no exception. It is a little shy on the nose. Aromas are clean, crisp and delineated. A fine leather undertone emerges once opened up.

This is interesting. Body is equally restrained, light, dry, void of any fruit. A very subtle herbal leather undertone carries through. It is very balanced. A hint of black currant quickly counters a mildly acidic attack. It is approachable out of the bottle. Once decanted (at least 20 minutes), a dry tannic grip emerges to dominate most of the body through a slightly tart plum finish capped with a little spice. A relentless dry tannic grip leaves the lips (and palate) parched and sealed shut. Further decanting reveals caramel notes throughout the body and finish. I suspect this is from the oxidation of tannins and the lack of any residual sugars which allows such subtlety to play out on the palate.

This wine has more of the posture of a Barbaresco which tend to be on the lighter more nuanced side (for a Nebbiolo) as opposed to a Barolo which are typically dark, heavy and leathery or a Langhe Nebbiolo which are typically dark, massive, mineral, tannic beasts.

While still clearly young, I suspect this wine will not change much over the next decade and beyond. The attention to detail shows here. Nebbiolo in this part of the world is a labor of love and a passion project. There is an adherence to core traditional winemaking principles here. It is a well made wine. The more I progress with this tasting the more I appreciate it. I am very curious to see what it is like after it’s had 10+ years to relax and further develop.

Watching the sunset in my backyard in California, I am exploring a Nebbiolo from Virginia and it is a serious wine. Less than two weeks ago I had no idea grapes grew in Virginia. This is an amazing time for a WineSnob to be alive. Well done Barboursville!

Tech Sheet

2016 Barboursville Nebbiolo Reserve

Fermentation: 7-9 days on the skins in stainless steel
Maceration:  10-15 days
Composition: 100% Nebbiolo
Aging: 12 months, French oak barriques, new 30%, used 70%
Analysis: Alcohol, 13.5%
Residual Sugar:
0.0%
Total Acidity: 0.62%

 

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Reserve: 2015 Riserva Sangiovese by Vino Noceto

Tonight’s occasion: a side-by-side with the 2015 Riserva Sangiovese and the 2015 Sangiovese by Vino Noceto.

This winemaker from Plymouth, Amador, California has been putting out an amazing Sangiovese with surgical consistency for as long as I can remember – well over a decade.

The Sangiovese alone is a benchmark by which I measure all other Sangiovese, regardless of where it’s from. I cannot overstate how well made it is. There is a more limited companion, the Riserva Sangiovese. I have been meaning to open both at the same time and explore them together, side-by-side.

Sangiovese

My previous notes hold. It is very well behaved. A mild mannered nose with hints of raspberry and cherry which become more prominent in a very well structured and balanced body. There is a subtle creamy under layer to the body. The finish is unmistakably peppery. The spice lingers long after the finish has faded away, like the tannins of a Syrah. It doesn’t take long to open up but when it does a light buttery, oak undertone permeates the entire experience. I consider this Sangiovese a prime example of what is possible with this varietal, in this region and the greater California wine region.

Riserva Sangiovese

Color has a hint of brown and a touch darker compared the Sangiovese. Nose on the Riserva has unmistakably a more oak. This is expected as it is barrel aged 6-8 months longer than the Sangiovese. This has the effect of smoothing out the edges and giving it a velvety mouth feel. It seems a tad more acidic.

Like any Sangiovese, I think it’s meant to be paired with food, especially meats. The Riserva even moreso. They both paired well with the New York Steak but it was pretty obvious this is where the Riserva really shines. It instantly cut through the steak, creating one seemless cohesive, creamy, buttery smooth experience. Wow. Hints of caramel, cocoa and tobacco emerge when paired. I’m not one to pair my wine as I like to fully immerse myself in all it’s nuance and complexity but this wine absolutely must be paired appropriately. The Riserva makes a great treat for any guest with a discerning palate. The Sangiovese is very approachable and an accessible price point, easily making it a very high quality every day wine.

I always keep several bottles of this Sangiovese in my cellar as a reference and to show fellow WineSnobs what is going on off the beaten path.

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Wine Review: 2017 Sonoma Pinot Noir by Pali

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Riviera – Sonoma County) by Pali Wine Company.

Shy nose. A little plum and dark berries. There’s a hint of that Sonoma dirt in the back. Body is fruit forward but shows good balance overall with mild acid and moderate tannins. A good overall mouth feel with notes of cocoa and cherries. Smooth finish which quickly dries out with a touch of spice. The wine paired excellent with smoked BBQ ribs.

This is a great EDC (Every Day Consumption) wine. It presents good value at an approachable price point. It’s definitely what I call a pleaser. Wine is all about mood and if you’re in the mood for a good well made wine without necessarily over analyzing the experience or breaking the bank, you should consider this wine. It is still a little on the young side. I think it just might surprise you 2-3 years from now.

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Reserve: 2016 Carmenere by Lapostolle

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Carmenere (Cuvée Alexandre) by Lapostolle

Deep, dark, opaque color. Warm, thick heavy nose out of the bottle. Lots of black berries, hint of raisin, and an unmistakable black licorice reminiscent of Absinthe. Some good earthy leather underlies it all.

Wow! Just from the color and nose, I was prepared for a massive body. I am however taken back by how restrained the body is from start to finish. Greeted immediately by a good melange of mild acid and moderate tannins, both forming a well orchestrated chassis which guides you to all the way through the finish. Fine grained tannins reveal themselves towards the back. The fruit and licorice carries through from the nose albeit with a healthy dose of restraint. The body is more dry than not. A little minerality emerges. I suspect this may be contributing to the fine grained texture on the palate. Transition to a quick finish is almost seamless, dominated by this chewy, fine grain texture, dry tannic grip and a touch of spice which diminishes as the wine opens up.

This is more of a medium bodied wine posing as a heavy big bodied wine. It carries the hallmarks of a unique special wine. It is unconventional and makes no pretenses. It is clearly young and I can imagine how beautiful and nuanced it would be 5-10yrs from now. This is my first wine ever from the Colchagua Valley in Chile and I must say I am impressed and intrigued. I am reminded that somewhere in that corner of the world, someone is toiling away creating something remarkable.

I will be adding this wine to my cellar and very much look forward to how it develops over the next several years.

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Wine Review: 2017 Pinot Noir by Dawn’s Dream

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Rachael) by  Dawn’s Dream Winery.

Shy nose out of the bottle. Deep rich ruby color. Once unlocked reveals a crisp bright bouquet of aromas. A hint of mellon, cherry, very subtle mineral terroir. There’s at least one or two other herbal/spice aromas I cannot pinpoint at the moment. It could be a play between the oak and other characteristics.

Body follows suit. Starting with a crisp acidic suggestion on the attack, followed by tart plum. And equal suggestion or tannin brings good balance to the body while transitioning to a slightly creamy finish. A delayed gentle but noticeable spice makes and encore well past the finish.Once opened up, this is accompanied by a hint of caramel. It is overall dry, and restrained. At 12.8% ABV it makes no fuss of the experience. It’s refreshing. I like that.

This is a clean, crisp example of a Pinot from this region. It demonstrates the winemaker’s ability to make a Pinot as such – that is representative, with wider appeal while still preserving the expression through the vine. I can see why this value proposition would be a favorite.

I highly recommend this Pinot. Enjoy it side-by-side with their signature Bel Sogno. That Pinot is a unique, beautiful, imperfectly perfect, all on its own. It provides a great contrast to the Rachael.

Well done Dawn! Thanks for sharing your Dream with us!

Tech Sheet

2017 Rachael Pinot Noir

Vineyard: Escolle, Santa Lucia Highlands
Clones: 777 & 115
Harvest Date: August 29th to September 1st 2017
Harvest Brix: 23.5
pH: 3.57
Titratable Acidity: 6.3
Fermentation: Stainless Steel Open-Top with manual Punch-Down
Oak: 12 months 30% new French Oak
Filtration: cross-flow
Production: 370 cases

Wine Review: 2018 Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Brouilly La Croix des Rameaux by Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu, Burdundy, France.

Thick tense nose. A little shy at first. An intense leather. Lots of mushroom, saddle, barnyard, old victorian, damp woods/forest floor. So overwhelming, beyond that it is difficult to pinpoint the other layers. Far beneath it all is plum, black cherry and blackberry. Swirl vigorously and unlock the faintest hint of caramel. There is also a slight slate/mineral undertone.

The color and nose suggest massive tannins await but the body greets with good acidity and medium texture. The leather from the nose dominates the entire experience. It’s amazing. It’s as if this wine was infused with dirt and filterd through the terroir. Once opened up, plum turns into massive tannic grip that completely dominates the transition to a dry mineral finish leaving the palate parched. The leather turns smokey with a hint of tobacco.

This is a remarkable example of terroir expressed through the vine and into the wine. For that reason alone this wine is worth it. I also think it it still very young and will be an even more interesting and amazing wine in about 5 years. I would highly recommend picking one up and forget about it and thank me later.

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Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir by Roger Roessler

 

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Lennox) by Roger Roessler Wines .

Clear, bright ruby red color. Bright nose with lots of cherry, leather undertone which upon closer inspection is definitely more silt like mix of dirt, sediment and sandstone. Definitely reminiscent of that signature Sonoma dirt.
Bright balanced body carries most of the characteristics in the nose forward. In addition a hint plum and black currant on the back provide good structure, composition and contrast to the cherry notes. Once opened up, subtle tannins turn creamy as they transition to a smooth clean finish capped with a hint of spice.

This wine is still young and should only get more nuanced over the next four or more years. As with most Pinot by this vintner, it will be a real gem around the 10 year mark. I just realized I have a case of this particular vintage in my cellar so it definitely didn’t hurt to explore it. My vertical goes back to its inception a few years before. His Pinot Noirs have forever changed the palates of many over the years.

Cheers Roger. Thank you for sharing your passion with us all. 🍷☺️🙏🏽