I’m back with another grab bag of wines from all over the world.
I was really surprised by three Greek white wines from Domaine Papagiannakos. Made from the Savatiano grape, traditionally used for the production of Restina, these are dry, zesty, complex white wines with unique flavor profiles.
There are some tasty, inexpensive rosés, and some delicious and value-driven wines from New Zealand.
These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.
2017 Lekker Rosé– South Africa, Western Cape
Pale watermelon color. Tart and spicy aromas of strawberries, white cherry, raspberry leaf, nettle. Light-bodied (11.5%), really zippy and easily gluggable, with white cherry, red apple and tart strawberry notes. Lots of dandelion, nettle, white pepper. Fun, zesty stuff. A blend of Grenache and Merlot. A collaboration between winemaker Nico Grobler of Eikendal Vineyards and La Brune Wines in South Africa, and a firm called Wine Awesomeness. (85 points IJB)
2016 Nik. Weis Selection Urban Riesling– Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Pale lemon color. Classic nose of limes, white peaches, also some honey and yellow flowers. Juicy and ripe on the palate but this boasts zippy acidity on a light frame (9.5% alcohol). White peaches, guava, limes, mixed with notes of honeyed tea, slight mineral and river rocks. Delicious, classic, not super deep or complex, but a solid Mosel introduction for the price. (86 points IJB)
2016 Les Domaines Paul Mas Cote Mas Rosé Aurore– France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Pale watermelon color. Smells like rose hips, watermelon rind, white tea, some honey and clove, too. Plump but fresh with a bright and fun personality, vibrant and fruity with strawberries and white cherries. A nice kick of white pepper, nettle and cut flower stems. Solid one-liter buy that should be a hit at parties. 50% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 20% Syrah. (86 points IJB)
N.V. Cote Mas Crémant de Limoux Brut Rosé– France, Languedoc Roussillon, Languedoc, Crémant de Limoux
Light copper color. Bright aromas of strawberries, watermelon, quince, some freshly baked biscuits. Tart and a bit lean in body but bright acidity, fine bubbles, lots of fresh red fruits (cherries, strawberry, apple), along with some seashell and baby’s breath, hints of biscuits. Not too complex but put together very well, and quite delicious. Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. (87 points IJB)
2013 La Pinot Pinot Noir– California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
Pale ruby color. Nose of raspberries, red cherries, rhubarb and cherry fountain cola. Medium-bodied, light tannins, fresh acidity, framed well with candied but lighter-styled red fruits (wild raspberry, red cherries). Notes of white pepper, rhubarb, sweet cola, rose hips. Fresh and lively but lots of ripe fruit. Uncomplicated but fun. (86 points IJB)
2016 Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc– New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
Pale straw color. Aromas of sea salt, lime, apricot, sliced salsa peppers and white pepper. Bright and zesty on the palate with slight waxy texture but so tangy. Apricot, peach, lime, sliced bell peppers, sea salt, lemon zest. Classic profile, shows significant complexity for the price. (87 points IJB)
2016 Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc– New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
Pale straw. A burst of lemongrass, summer rain on a green field, white peaches, lemon zest and nettle. Medium-bodied with refreshing acidity, this is full of kumquat, lime, white peach, juicy but tart. Notes of saline, shells, the greens are nuanced, not too overt, with nettle and lemon verbena. Textbook, but a lot of depth with a super zesty finish and some minerals and honey. So good for the money. (88 points IJB)
2015 Catalina Sounds Pinot Noir– New Zealand, South Island, Marlborough
Medium ruby color. Juicy black cherries, raspberries, cola, violet petals, cinnamon and clove. Medium-bodied, silk texture, soft tannins, medium acidity, bright cherries and red plums. Some roses, cola, clove. Soft, easy style, delicious, shows some solid complexity. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak. (88 points IJB)
2016 Nanny Goat Pinot Noir– New Zealand, South Island, Otago, Central Otago
Light ruby colored. Nose of candied red cherries, strawberries, spiced cranberry sauce, some roses. Silky and tangy acidity with light tannins. Fun, juicy, ripe red cherries, strawberry jam. Notes of cocoa, rose petals, rhubarb. Easy-drinking style with wide-ranging appeal. This wine sees 15% new oak for eight months. (87 points IJB)
2015 Domaine Papagiannakos Savatiano– Greece, Attica, Markopoulo
Medium yellow color. Aromas of sea salt, shells, honeyed tea, apricot and lemon curd. Lively and bright but rich textural elements, wonderful balance with this lemon curd, apricot and orange marmalades. I love the beautiful contrast between chalky, oceanic, mineral notes with these white pepper and spice elements, and the fruit is so delicious. 12.5% alcohol. (88 points IJB)
2016 Domaine Papagiannakos Savatiano– Greece, Attica, Markopoulo
Medium yellow color. Bright and zesty aromas with lots of floral complexity, crushed chalk, with a core of lemon zest and guava. Plush texture but medium-bodied (12.5%), fresh acidity. Delicious tropical fruits play off of lime and lemon zesty. Chalky minerals and honeycomb/spiced tea elements are beautiful together, and I love the depth and complexity of this wine, all while being super easy to sip. (89 points IJB)
2013 Papagiannakos Savatiano Vareli Skin Contact – Greece, Attica, Markopoulo
Rich gold color. Aromas of almond, beeswax, white tea, chalky notes, oyster shell, all on top of apricot and lemon curd. Rich, waxy textural dynamic but only 12%, so it’s light/medium-bodied, and this brisk acidity throughout makes for fascinating balance. Apricot, orange marmalade, lemon curd, along with almond, sea salt, honeyed tea. Lots of depth and nerdy orange wine complexity, but this is such a balanced and straight delicious wine as well. Love it. (90 points IJB)
2016 Jean-Claude Mas Arrogant Frog Lily Pad Pink Rosé– France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc
Light watermelon color. Red and white flowers on the nose along with under-ripe strawberries, sweet roses and honeysuckle. Zesty and bracing, a bit sharp with white cherries, red apple peel and under-ripe strawberry tips. Leafy, white pepper notes. Fun but not the most balanced rose. 100% Syrah.