This week’s theme has been new world experimentation, which is one of our favorite ways to explore wines. Even if the results don’t always deliver exactly what we expect, we’re excited by the earnest efforts of these winemakers to present something we haven’t ever tasted before. This week we concentrate our efforts on two California wines featuring the classic grapes Riesling and Cabernet Franc and a Spanish rosé made from Tempranillo that adds a new dimension to the style.
The end results? One part tart, salty and savory. One part green pepper, crunchy fruit and acid. One part blackberry, vegetal and funky. These wines drink young but they have the structure and power to hold up over time.
Haarmeyer Wines, Wirz Riesling (2016)
We typically find ourselves gravitating toward New York State Rieslings but the trend seems to be catching on in California. Sometimes the results are weird and surprising. Sometimes, as is the case with this wine, the results are more classic. When we first started this wine, we smelled lovely round fruit and a touch of honeyed sweetness on the nose. On the palette, tart green apple dominated with acidity upfront but things started to soften quickly, with a pronounced salinity building through the mid palette before things turn decidedly more savory, but still clean and not overly rich, into the finish. Even after three days of the bottle being opened, the wine showed life, which signals aging potential.
Microbio Correcaminos Rosé (2017)
Love them or hate them, Microbio are leading the way in the lowest intervention Spanish wines. Their latest rosé vintage is a bit wacky, we’ll admit, but the balance between fruit and funk really make it stand apart from the rest of the clean and lean prop of French rosés that are beginning to populate the shelves. Interestingly, the wine pours almost silently and a bit viscously into the glass, in an electric deep pink color. The nose matches the palette, whiffs of earthy funk meet juicy strawberry and blackberry fruits. Where other acids go lean on the acid, this one starts to build the vegetal notes, adding a bit of bitterness that is unexpected. After this, a generous funk builds: bits of earth and barnyard that you might look for in a red wine.
Methode Sauvage, Alegria Vineyard Cab Franc (2016)
If there was an honorific we’d give to Methode Sauvage it’d be Cab Franc King. If Cab Franc isn’t your thing, we wouldn’t recommend buying this wine. It’s note because it’s bad but because it’s very Cab Franc in the best possible. A rich inky purple in the glass, the wine smells like forest floor and green pepper on the nose. On the palette, we get juicy dark red fruits, a lovely acid and more of those crunchy green pepper notes. As you’d expect, there is a strong tannic backbone to this wine that builds into the finish, but it never feels overpowering, which is a testament to a well-made wine. The finish doesn’t offer too much but it is super clean and dry, which is a refreshing way to end such a flavorful expression of Cab Franc.
Join us next week as we travel to Bugey-Cerdon for their characteristic sweet and low ABV sparklers, a little of co-fermented magic out of Oregon and a rosé with an understated label that we can’t wait to try.