Millier – White Wine Blend (Lodi)

I love “mystery” white blends. They are so much fun to taste blind and guess the mix!

The success of the “Conundrum” label has shown that you don’t have to reveal everything. If the wine tastes great, consumers don’t need to know what grapes went into it.

This is another wine from my http://www.nakedwines.com introductory case.

The grapey grapeness was a giveaway that Moscato was a key part of the blend. The floral nose had me thinking southern Rhone white variety – but I didn’t guess Viognier. I totally missed the Chardonnay. I thought there might be Chenin Blanc in there instead.

Anyway, this is a nice white blend with a unique nose, a perception of sweetness and a somewhat bitter, almondy finish. I enjoyed it. It doesn’t taste like everything else, thank God.

Medium acidity means it wouldn’t be a great throw-in-the-Igloo-cooler summer wine. But would be an awesome seafood wine.

I love “secret” blends. It’s so much fun to try to guess which grapes are in there!

Ana Diogo-Draper Amador Tempranillo 2017

*** My review and rating from http://www.nakedwines.com

Love the label! Looks like Spanish/Portguese tiles.

4-Star

“Was pretty skeptical of Tempranillo in the USA. Love the wines of Rioja and Toro. But figured that the winemaker would “pump up the volume” (like Americans are wont to do) on the wine and lose the typicity.

Instead, my wife and I both enjoyed it tremendously. Medium bodied, bright red fruit (imo a bit fruitier than the typical Spanish tempranillo but that’s just fine) and pretty classic tobacco aromas. Very smooth tannins too. 

Lovely wine enjoyed with portobello mushroom ‘steaks.'”

WineKnow Facts:

  • If it’s red and it’s from Spain, chances are that it’s made from Tempranillo grapes.
  • If it’s red and it’s from the Rioja, Ribero del Duero or Toro regions of Spain, it’s either 100% or mostly Tempranillo.
  • In Portugal, Tempranillo is called Tinta Roriz. It’s one of the primary reds of Portugal and one of three primary reds blended in Port
  • Tempranillo makes wines that are bright ruby (NOT dark purple/black), medium-weight and fairly fruity with high acidity. I think they taste similar to Chianti wines (which are made with Sangiovese grapes). However, I’d say that Chiantis tend to have a bit more tannins and have more of a cherry fruit flavors.

Richard Bruno Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

We recently visted Paso Robles for the first time. Mostly we drank GSM blends. We didn’t even visit the eastern AVAs (Paso has got something like 11 of them!) where most of the Cabernet Sauvignon is produced.

*** My rating and review on nakedwines.com

5-Stars

“My favorite red so far.

Blackberry and boysenberry aromas burst from the bottle when I popped the cork. (Clearly there’s no problem achieving full ripeness in Paso Robles!) This is a lighter (in body and tannins) and brighter (acidity) version of what I think of as the typical USA Cabernet Sauvignon. Besides the lovely plush black fruit, there are pleasant cedar/cola and roasted spice flavors too.

I think this is a brilliant wine that tastes great NOW. I get really tired of ‘monumental’ Napa Cabs and the subtlety of Bordeaux Cab blends is sometimes lost on me. Of all the reds from my first Naked Wines shipment, this is the one that has made the biggest impact. I can’t imagine it’s easy to rely on other people for grapes (winemakers are notorious micro-managers), but this guy certainly knows what he’s doing.

That said, I can envision a lot of people trying to figure out what to think of this wine. It’s a lot fruitier and a lot less ‘powerful’ than your average $80+ Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, the ripeness, acidity and flavors remind me more of a Zinfandel! Here, however, the tannins are virtually undetectable (smooth) until the finish, when a (I find pleasant) astringency kicks in to prolong the flavors.

I note a number of reviews complaining of ‘bitterness’ which is both correct and open to interpretation. 

Nice work. “

Benjamin Laroche Chablis 1er Cru Beauroy 2016

A lot of people think that talking about the color or smell of wines is just pretentious balderdash.

Here’s an example of why that is wrong.

If I hadn’t known that Chablis is made of 100% Chardonnay grapes and almost always fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks, I might not have known that there was something wrong with this bottle of wine.

Impressively, Naked Wines immediately credited my account for the bad bottle. And as you can see from the winemaker’s response, he didn’t have any doubt either – even though he had never seen my particular bottle!

Typical colors and smells help you identify if a bottle is bad (corked, premox, bad storage etc.) I am certain that there other people who received bad bottles but just didn’t realize it.

As soon as I work through my last case, I’m going to order a different bottle of this Chablis. A bad bottle doesn’t mean a bad wine.

*** My review and rating of the wine on nakedwines.com

2 Stars

Unfortunately, I am quite sure that this bottle had premox. [Premature oxygenation = too much air got into the wine too quickly.] 

It was as yellow as an oaked California Chardonnay when I poured it. It smelled and tasted like an old Riesling. Not what you would expect from a 2016 Chablis.

Chablis is my favorite Chardonnay region in the world, and one of my favorite whites, so I know the typical style very well.

I am certain that this was an individual bottle problem as I cannot imagine a Frenchman with the last name Laroche would make a Chablis that doesn’t taste like Chablis! 

As such, my rating of 2-Hearts is not really fair. I am sure that I would love this Chablis if the wine was in pristine condition.

*** Reply from the Winemaker

“Dear Scott, indeed, there [must] be a problem [with this bottle]. The color at first speaks by itself. My wines are pale yellow with greenish hints. Wine is a living product so problems sometime occur….You should contact Naked customer service and they will exchange the bottle. Sorry for that. If you are a Chablis lover, for sure you should not be disappointed [with my wine].”

WineKnow Facts:

  • Chablis is in Burgundy. If a wine is white and says Bourgogne or Burgundy on the label, it is almost always 100% Chardonnay
  • Chablis is almost always 100% unoaked. It’s fermented/aged in stainless steel tanks.
  • These wines should be pale yellow to clear, have great acidity, lemon-lime fruit and a difficult to describe mineral or saline quality.
  • Chablis is my favorite type of Chardonnay. In fact, it’s probably my favorite white wine period. (Although Godello is my current fling.)