Wine Review: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc by Lapostolle

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc by Lapostolle, Valle del Rapel, Chile.

“Not all expensive wine is good and not all good wine is expensive”
~ WineSnob

Beautiful crisp aromatic nose with notes of mellon, hints of white cherry and stone fruit. A brisk swirl reveals a touch of licorice. If you strain, you can pick out a touch of leather in the back.

Body shows good balance front to back with good acid followed almost immediately by creamy smooth tannins. It leans more on the dry side of the spectrum while retaining fruit aromas from the nose. Stone fruit is more pronounced. Transition to finish is seamless, as mild acidity quietly gives way to buttery tannin leaving the palate wet and tingling with a touch of spice.

I reviewed a Carmenere by this winemaker not long ago which was immediately included in my long-term reserve. It presented incredible quality and potential for the price. I decided to take a look at their value offerings including this white and I must say that it is right in line with what I have seen so far. At around $12/btl it is peerless. Just buy a case and move on. Bien hecho Amigos! ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ

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Guest Review: 2017 Pinot Noir by Sanford

Guest Review: 2017 Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills Appellation) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.

I think I found the Prince of Pinot! Sanford 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Appellation is an elegant and well balanced Pinot.

Bright ruby red colored, light and fruity aromas of cherries, leather, and baking spices. On the palate, flavors of raspberries, red cherries, oak, and light peppercorn. At 13.5% ABV, this Pinot Noir has balanced acid and tannin structures, a delightful wine for any special occasion.

Need pairing ideas? Try pairing Sanford 2017 Pinot Noir with:

      • Roasted Chicken
      • Salmon or other fatty fish
      • Duck
      • Pasta dishes with pesto, a cream base, or mushroom sauce
      • Beef and garlic dishes

About our guest

Jenn is a Native Texan photographer, wine lover. She thoroughly enjoys learning about wine making, the history behind wines, and of course wine tasting. She also has a passion for travel and is on a mission to find amazing wines from around the world.

You can follow Jenn’s journey via his Instagram page @txblondevoyage

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Reserve: 2017 Santa Barbara Pinot Noir by Pali

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Huntingdon) by Pali Wine Company.

We’ve seen a few wines from Pali. Alphabets and Riviera most recently. Now the Huntington. All Pinot Noir. All very distinct and quite representative of their various appellations. All medium to light bodied. All on the nuanced side of the spectrum.

The Huntington is a bold departure from the bunch. This is a Big California Pinot. It is unapologetic, jammy, chewy. A full mouthfeel. A dark, spicy, tannic affair. This is a bit of an eyebrow raiser for a Pinot from Santa Barbara County. I suppose even a WineSnob needs a break from the sometimes dreary monotony and strained palate that constant subtlety and nuance can sometimes contrive.

So here we are. I am staring down the second half of this bottle a full day later. It is laughing at me. I folded in confusion last night. I went to bed not sure how I felt about it. I could not fault it either. Not sure what to think. I feel like I lost to this wine. Even now it pretends to be a little more approachable, but then laughs all the way through the finish. This Pinot will eat Napa Cabs for breakfast. I will lay down right next to a Syrah for 15 years and still chuckle at the irony.

Yeah yeah yeah, black currants are more pronounced a day later. Mineral leather too. It’s jammy but not sweet. It’s got big bold tannic structure, a basket-full of berries and an Indian kitchen’s worth of spices. But I feel like I’m still losing. I thought this was going to be another clean crisp “laydown” from Pali. I thought it would be another easy smooth pleaser. But Nooooo! This wine plays dirty. Really dirty.

Pick up a few bottles, lay them down for at least 5-10 more years. Let them mellow out. Taste the magic. You might have better luck taming it that I did last night. I’ll see you again in 2025 Pali Huntington.

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Wine Review: 2001 La Cote by Chateau De La Negly

Tonight’s occasion: 2001 La Cote by Chateau De La Negly, Languedoc-Roussillon, France.

Out of the bottle, plum opaque burgundy color, big aromatic nose with lots of plum and sediment terroir. Once opened up, unmistakable mushrooms and minerals emerge.

Body is full. Mildly acidic attack quickly gives way to smooth buttery tannins. Plum and mineral terroir follow through from the nose. A smooth blackberry transition to finish fades away gracefully leaving behind a subtle dry tannic grip.

This wine has clearly peaked but it is no less interesting. It is still showing well and very enjoyable. I prefer not to over-age a wine, primarily because you really miss it’s fullest richest expression, however I do appreciate opportunities like this to explore a wine’s potential, the region and overall style. This region has an interesting back story and I think it is worth exploring further.

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Wine Review: 2015 Pinot Noir by Handpicked

Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Pinot Noir by Handpicked from Yarra Valley, Australia.

Deep ruby color. Moderately aromatic nose with berries, caramel and a little leather. You can tell this is a bigger Pinot, not unlike your typical Northern California Pinot Noir. Once it opens up aromas become more intense.

Bright but restrained body shows great balance as subtle tannin quickly steps up to the moderately acidic attack, along with notes of plum. A seamless transition to finish is punctuated by a subtle tightening of tannic grip, capped by moderate spice and heat that quickly dominates the palate and further down the chest.

At 14.5% ABV this is by all accounts a big bold Pinot Noir. However it still manages to be very approachable and not the least overbearing. A testament to the winemaker’s craft. It is clean crisp, and has great character, structure and balance. Well done Mates! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿท

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Wine Review: 2018 Pinot Noir by Helen & Joey Estate

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir by Helen & Joey Estate, Yarra Valley, Australia.

Bright, clean, clear, ruby color. Nose is very subtle and delicate with bright notes of sweet cherry and caramel marshmallows. Once opened up a surprising very earthy manure leather emerges along with herbal notes.

Body is clean, crisp, has good balance with mildly acidic attack which quickly transitions to equally mild and creamy tannins. Subtle black currants accompany the seamless transition from attack to finish. Finish is quick and brief. Once opened up, it becomes a long gentle affair with enduring tannic grip and subtle spice. Recommend at least 20-30 minutes decanting. Take your time and follow it through the evening.

If you like subtle nuanced Pinot Noir, this is one I think you should try. It’s a shining example of what a classic Pinot looks like. Keep going back to the California Central Coast Pinot Noir Country. Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County. Beautiful, delicate, nuanced Pinot. I am reminded why I left Australia last year so convinced Pinot Noir is the best Australia has to offer. Helen & Joey nicely done Mates! ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ

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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: ย 10-15 days
Composition: 100% Nebbiolo
Aging: 12 months, French oak barriques, new 30%, used 70%
Analysis: Alcohol, 13.5%
Residualย Sugar:
Total Acidity: 0.62%


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