We’re thrilled to introduce the first of many “Pouring Reports” that will post throughout 2016. We hope that these Pouring Reports will serve two purposes. First, to introduce you to an array of wines that fall within the “Good” to “Outstanding” category, as outlined in the WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting. Second, to inspire you to find these wines and test your skills against our tasting notes. You might even discover a new go-to wine or one that you’d like to stock your own cellar with.
Each “Pouring Report” will feature several wines, sometimes with a theme, sometimes a mixed bag, that have all been tasted and debated by our staff. Most wines featured in these reports are samples that have been provided by wineries or their public relations or marketing departments free of charge to us. And while we will try to rate and feature every wine we receive, those that fall short of a “Good” declaration will not be featured. The seven wines below were tasted by myself (Jonathan Cristaldi, Editor-in-Chief of NapaValleyWineAcademy.com) and Catherine Bugue, the Academy’s Director of Education.
We’ve provided a “Buy online” or “Find online” link below each conclusion, and hope you’ll find those links helpful. This Pouring Report features whites and reds from Italy, Portugal and France.
Quinta da Raza 2014 ‘Raza’ Vinho Verde, Portugal
Appearance: clear, pale lemon.
Nose / Palate: pronounced grapefruit aromas; more tart grapefruit and lemon-lime flavors on the palate; hints of pleasant bitter almond; nice medium body with medium plus acidity; nice citrus finish.
Conclusion: good. This Vinho Verde has that petillance you would expect to find from the whites from this region, along with refreshing citrus and lemon-lime notes. Medium plus acid is balanced by the medium body–a great sipper for oysters, especially if you forgot lemons a great companion for most other seafood.
Quinta de Gomariz 2013 QG Loureiro Colheita Seleccionada, Vinho Verde, Portugal
Take note: Minho is the name of the bigger regional appellation and the first one was a small place within that region.
Appearance: medium to deep lemon.
Nose / Palate: ripe pear, fresh melon and hay aromas. Those aromas develop as flavors along with pear skin on the palate. A medium bodied wine with a hint of white pepper on the finish.
Conclusion: very good. Medium acidity balances the medium weight.
Quintas do Homem 2014 ‘Vale do Homem’ Loureiro, Vinho Verde, Portugal
Take note: with whites from Vinho Verde are typically bottled under pressure, which means they retain some CO2, and hence can have an appearance of tiny gaseous bubbles. These wine also don’t often have a lot of intensity as this grape is typically a blending grape, rarely bottled as 100% on its own.
Appearance: medium lemon, evidence of gas.
Nose / Palate: Meyer Lemon and ripe grapefruit; orange blossom notes. Lightly effervescent; more ripe lemon and lemon juice and zest and nice mineral character; white pepper spice.
Conclusion: very good. Great medium bodied wine and for what it lacks in intensity it has a multitude of nice citrus aromas and flavors.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio 2014 Scaia Bianca Garganega Chardonnay Veneto IGT, Italy
Take note: Gargenega is usually the star grape of Soave, but in the exciting IGT category producers are experimenting with it, creating new and exciting blends. This wines comes with one of those rare glass stoppers.
Appearance: medium lemon.
Nose / Palate: lemon citrus and stone fruits on the nose, leading to mouth-coating silky texture with ripe pear and red apple skins on the finish.
Conclusion: very good.
Chateau de Saint Cosme 2013 Côtes du Rhône, France
Take note: this Syrah comes from Vinsobres AOC in the Southern Rhône and the “Terrasses Villafranchiennes of the Gard,” according to the winery–a department in the south western region of the Côtes du Rhône. Typically, Syrah is produced in the Northern Rhône, but it can also be made in the south.
Appearance: deep ruby.
Nose / Palate: medium plus intensity of fresh and baked black raspberry fruit and compote, spicy and with a meaty savory quality. Medium bodied with medium plus tannins; medium acid; fruit is more subtle on the palate and is dark-fruit driven with pungent black pepper spice.
Conclusion: very good. This wine gives way more punch than a Côtes du Rhône usually gives.
Louis Bernard 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages, France
Appearance: deep ruby.
Nose / Palate: red raspberry character, bramble, red and black cherry and earthy notes; pungent spice notes and red currants; intriguingly fresh and fruit forward; super juicy and lush on the palate; medium bodied with chalky tannins; medium acidity, red and black cherry fruit and more of that pungent spice on a good finish.
Conclusion: Good. With a bit more lift, this wine could have fallen into the “very good” category.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio 2013 ‘Monti Garbi’ Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, Veneto, Italy
Take note: Made in Valpolicella from the lees of Amarone (dry) and Recciotto (sweet) wines, both using dried berries. The star grape of Valpolicella is Corvina, but is usually a blend of several grapes.
Appearance: medium (plus) ruby.
Nose / Palate: Subtle, medium intensity nose of black plum and spice. Seems off-dry on the palate with some sweet spice, dried red cherries and tea leaf notes. After an hour more black cherry fruit and earthiness emerged along with an intriguing tar note.