Continuing with our walk through of the Grand Tasting from Carolina Wines, here are three “must buys” and one “I’d buy it if it were cheaper” wines.
TENUTE SANT’ANTONIO/SCAIA [Veneto]
2016 Scaia Corvina $15/bottle
A pleasant surprise with floral cherries and red berries on the nose and light zesty cherry notes on the palate. At < $15 per bottle we were shocked at the outstanding price-to-quality ratio. This wine hales from the Veneto region of Italy and is 100% Corvina grapes. We would serve this as the red selection for the pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres course; it’ll be a real crowd pleaser! Buy? This is on our must-buy list for 2019. Even the sainted Robert Parker gave it 90 points!
MONTINORE ESTATE, Willamette Valley, Oregon
2015 Montinore Reserve Pinot Noir $30/bottle
If you love very good, well-priced Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley, back up the truck and load up on the 2015 Montinore Reserve Pinot Noir. The wine is a mix of the vineyard’s most revered blocks: Graham’s, Parsons’ and Cataclysm. If you don’t care where it’s from that’s OK. Just know that the folks at Montinore somehow put a $50+ wine into a $30 bottle.
Buy? Packed with silky-smooth perfection in every sip, it’s a must buy!
FAR NIENTE, Napa, California
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Oakville $130-150/bottle
Dark purple mysterious juice that goes down like pure silk with a long, gentle finish. I tasted this <$150 bottle against the 2016 Joseph Phelps Insignia (> $240) and Far Niente knocked it out of the park! I just don’t understand the 100-point rating for Insignia when Far Niente is just so much better. Better now and better later. They’re pretty similar in make-up. Insignia is 84% Cab. Sauv., 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cab. Franc, and 3% Malbec. Far Niente is 89% Cab. Sauv., 6% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cab. Franc. What’s at issue here is a point system that’s very subjective. If you taste a wine and it barks at you (like Insignia does consistently to me) how do they get the point ratings? Buy? If Far Niente were in the budget I’d buy a case!
BUEHLER VINEYARDS, St. Helena CA
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon $22/bottle
After tasting [and spitting] 60+ wines in the final hour of the tasting, I headed over to the Buehler table. If you haven’t heard of this winery, John Buehler charges an insanely low price for his wines from Napa. Sure, he’s located about 6 miles to the east of St. Helena in the mountains around Conn Valley but the pedigree is still Napa juice. No one staffing the Buehler table knew anything about the wines but I managed to find my way around the offerings. The 2015 Cab. Sauv. was balanced, with a cult wine-like pedigree; silky tannins, just the right amount of fruit and a nice, long finish. The number-hawkers can’t really give this moderately-priced wine the rating it deserves as that would upset the natural order of things in the Valley. But this raced to the top of our must buy list and is right up there with other Napa Cabs that cost upwards of $75 a bottle.
Buy? This is $22 a bottle! VinoDuo says “Load up on this before it’s gone!”
Next post..two more reds and one rosé…the only wine Lisa loved enough to write about.