Hell of a week here in wine land...some INCREDIBLE whites savvy shoppers would do well to keep an eye out for. And a red or two that don't hurt the palate, either. Summertime? We're ready for you!
Casey Flat Ranch is an up-and-comer winery a stone's throw due east of Napa. It's one to pay attention to, too. The samples they sent included exactly zero losers and two eye-popping whites that I will yearn for for some time to come. While the Casey Flat Ranch Estate Red was brawny, gutsy, and delish, without a doubt the best wines in that lineup are the Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc.
2014 Casey Flat Ranch Sauvignon Blanc ($23).
The Sauv Blanc is bursting with bright, juicy, fresh cut flowers and grass flavors. A hell of an energetic wine actually worth it's $20+ price tag. Seriously.
2012 Casey Flat Ranch Viognier ($20)
The Viognier, on the other hand, is a wine I am very excited about. For starters, it actually tastes like the Rhône variety that it is. But beyond that, this is a wine of substance that you can practically sink your teeth into. A haunting wine; complex, pleasurable, and thoroughly enjoyable in all the right ways. Americans need more wine like this in our lives.
2012 Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros $36
God Damn. High end California Chardonnay on steroids. The most delicious Chardonnay from anywhere I've had in over a year. Period.
This one is pale straw, lean - almost austere. Shallow range of flavors, mineral high tones, shy fruit. Clearly unmolested by any treatment.
2012 Laxas Albariño Rias Baixas $15
(Received as a press sample)
(Received as a press sample)
Clearly a sibling to the Albarino above, and ias lean and minerally as the Codax. But this one has delicate, lacy, layers of flavor that dance on the tongue. Very subtle, yet mesmerizing if you pause for a moment to enjoy.
2012 Truchard Pinot Noir Carneros $24 (Received as a press sample)
You'd never think that tastes of burnt pine tar, dried orange peel, and deep brooding black fruit would amount to anything pleasurable. If that's the case, you haven't tasted the Truchard Pinot from 2012. Consistent with the flavor profile of the 2011, but with all of the brightness and promise of the 2012 vintage, this is one very interesting wine and a serious value to boot.
2011 Faust Cabernet Napa Valley $50 (Received as a press sample)
Owing perhaps to the vintage and the growing trend of returning Napa Cabernet to a more restrained style, this Cab is less voluptuous than we are accustomed to getting out of the $50 tier in Napa Valley. Conjuring memories of well-made, high-end Chilean Cabernet, this is an elegant wine of both character and distinction. While still Californian, it does have some green vegetal characteristics that are at odds with the stereotypical Cabernet that made Napa Valley famous in the 80s, 90s, and early millennium.