Both of the wines featured in this post are blends featuring an unusual variety. You will find a small proportion of Regent, a cool-weather grape created in the 1960s, in the 2014 Saedinenie Winery, F2F, Bulgaria. I could not tell you what Regent smells or tastes like. The wine, though, is a gentle, blue-fruited, low-acidity wine that should please many. The 2014 Tierras de Armenia, Karas, Armenia features a splash of the native grape Khndoghni. I wish there was more, so I could taste it, but this is a crazy international blend which also includes Syrah, Tannat, and Montepulciano amongst other varieties. It is made by Gabriel Rogel, who comes from Argentina, with consulting help from Michel Rolland. This is a wine worth checking out. It is flavorful, lively, and has texture. It might even develop over the short-term to better integrate the cocoa notes. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2014 Saedinenie Winery, F2F, Bulgaria – $15
Imported by VP Brands International. This wine is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, and 10% Regent. Alcohol 13%. There are rounded blue fruit flavors, gentle supporting structure, and just enough acidity to move things along. There are no edges to the blue fruit. There is a bit of interest in the finish where black fruit and minerals come out. *(*) Now – 2018.
2014 Tierras de Armenia, Karas, Armenia – $13
Imported by G+B Imports. This wine is a blend of 40% Syrah, 18% Tannat, 15% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petit Verdot, 10% Montepulciano, and 3% Khndoghni. Alcohol 14%. Chocolates and blue fruit precede the ripe textured middle. This is a good, flavorful wine with lively acidity, some weight, and cocoa. **(*) Now – 2019.
Fratelli Alessandria has produced a Barbera d’Alba from “slimy limestone” soils since 1968, though the family has owned the winery since the 19th century. The current 2015 Fratelli Alessandria, Barbera d’Alba is a lively, tangy wine that provides good fun. After a small period of breathing it comes into its own offering flavors from tangy red fruit to blue and black by the finish. There is structure for short-term development but the acidity will make you want to drink it this year. This is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Fratelli Alessandria, Barbera d’Alba – $16
Imported by The Country Vintner. This wine is 100% Barbera sourced from 20 year old vines. It was fermented stainless steel tanks then aged in a combination of stainless steel and cement. Alcohol 14.5%. There is lively, tangy fruit, spices and mineral. The acidity is immediately attractive. The wine quickly opens up with air. The bright entry brings tannins, red fruit, and a minerally tang then the wine morphs to a blue and black fruited middle. *** Now – 2019.
An interesting bottle of 2012 Vigne Marina Coppi, Marine, Colli Tortonesi has remained on my mind since tasted one year ago. I finally tried the Barbera from the same producer. The 2010 Vigne Marina Coppi, Castellania, Colli Tortonesi is from a very good vintage and despite several years of bottle age, it is only beginning to open up. While I recommend you cellar this for at least another year you may drink it on the second day. It is still controlled but the flavors are deep and the addition of floral herbs with a hint of fat is enticing. It is a fine wine at a good price and is still available at MacArthur Beverages.
2010 Vigne Marina Coppi, Castellania, Colli Tortonesi – $23
Imported by The Sorting Table. This wine is 95% Barbera and 5% Freisa which was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. Alcohol 14.5%. The polish berry nose is followed by similar flavors in the mouth. This wine of tart red and blue fruit has controlled weight and cedar towards the finish. There is good flavor, floral herbs, a hint of fat, and plenty of balanced structure for development. ***(*) 2018- 2025.
The 2013 Vigneto Due Santi, Zonta, Breganze is a unique wine in that the fruit comes from vineyards located on volcanic soils in the north-east of Italy. This particular vintage is quite hefty. The nose eludes to rather ripe fruit and the flavors are packed in with an appealing amount of texture. I would let this age for a couple years then drink a glass or two with a hearty meal. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2013 Vigneto Due Santi, Zonta, Breganze – $22
Imported by Siema LLC. This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Cabernet Franc that was fermented in stainless steel tanks then underwent malolactic fermentation and 15-18 months of aging in new barrels. Alcohol 14.0%. The nose is packed with dense raisin and floral aromas backed by both underlying greenhouse and musk notes. In the mouth are similarly dense flavors of purple fruit, baking spices, and oak notes. This is a hefty wine with generous textured. The flavors are polished but it could stand another year or two of integration. *** Now 2018-2026.
Tim’s latest Italian recommendations are a must-try so I feel I should pass them on to you. First is the impeccable 2015 Robert Princic, Gradis’Ciutta, Friulano, Collio. It is lively with the right amount of fruit, weight, and grip. In other words it is both flavorful and pleasing in the mouth. Little did I know that the 2011 Loredan Gasparini, Venegazzu Della Casa, Colli is important in the history of Italian wine. This vintage is the latest in the series of Bordeaux blends which began with the 1951 vintage. Thus Loredan Gasparini made the first Italian Bordeaux blend. This bottle is developing mature notes but the core of the fruit and structural components still exist. There is a sense of tightness and resolve so drink it after double-decanting or better yet in a few years from now. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Robert Princic, Gradis’Ciutta, Friulano, Collio – $19
Imported by Vineyard Brands. This wine is 100% Friulano that was fermented and aged in stainless steel. Alcohol 13.5%. There is a lively start of white fruit and nuts which is delivered in a round character. There are stone notes through the middle, a dry finish with a touch of grip, and a fresh aftertaste. Well articulated. *** Now – 2018.
2011 Loredan Gasparini, Venegazzu Della Casa, Colli – $22
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec that was aged 18 months in Slavonian oak. Alcohol 13.5%. There are focused, round and dense flavors of blue and black fruit couple with initial bottled aged notes. This maturity is more ethereal adding complexity throughout. An herbaceous note at the start moves on to lively, dry spices in the middle, and a suggestion of powdery, ripeness in the finish. With air the wine becomes more incensed and takes on a polished wood note. ***(*) Now – 2027.
This bottle of 2015 Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Canary Islands flat out surprised me. On the first night it is certainly light bodied, a bit thin on flavor, and somewhat frail. Though there is enough earthiness and tightness that I recorked the bottle. Over the course of the second night the wine transformed. Jenn succinctly described it as a wine of pepper on the nose and potpourri in the mouth. There is more though, it is a gentle wine that develops a moderate amount of body, appropriate ripeness, and never loses a sense of its volcanic origins. It is actually quite good and I would not be surprised if it is drinking really well by the end of the year. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Viticultores Emilio Ramirez y Envinate, Benje, Canary Islands – $20
A Jose Pastor Selections imported by Llaurador Wines. This is a blend of high-altitude 70-120 year-old Listan Prieto with some Tintilla that was foot trodden, fermented in concrete and tubs with indigenous yeasts then aged 8 months in neutral oak barrels. Alcohol 12.5%. The nose smells of black and white pepper with some dried floral notes. In the mouth this light bodied wine begins with red fruit flavors, a little cranberry, with some ethereal ripeness by the finish. With extended air it develops more weight by the middle with a rather substantial amount of tartness, minerality, and ripe texture. More importantly the old-school potpourri flavor weave its way from start to finish. ***(*) Now – 2022.
I do not think I have ever tasted a Rhone wine solely from Valreas. The 2015 Domaine du Seminaire, Cote du Rhone Villages Valreas is a new wine in our area so of course I grabbed a bottle. This is a traditionally made wine, fermented in concrete with no use of oak. It is strong and forward with a grapey, floral personality. The liveliness is attractive, causing you to return for another taste. I imagine it might open up over the next year but it is a fun drink right now. Go get some! This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.
2015 Domaine du Seminaire, Cote du Rhone Villages Valreas – $18
Imported by Martine’s wines. This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah that was fermented concrete. Alcohol 14%. The higher-toned grapey, floral nose makes way to similarly grapey, black fruit in the mouth. The wine has quite the strength, building intensity through the middle. This is balanced by almost lively acidity and fine texture. Flavors of baking spices and a tangy finish add to the complexity. This is an impressive, grapey wine. *** Now – 2022.