Before Covid, I had a strict rule of not reviewing wines that were not available somewhere in bricks and mortar retail shop. As with many things, the Covid experience changed my thinking, and now I have started to include wines available online only.
This Dozen includes some from de Negoce, Cameron Hughes’ line of wines that someone else makes entirely or in part, and the definition of what classical European négociants do. Often these wines come from wineries that are overstocked or need the cash now, so bargains are going to be had. Every négociant, European or American, has its own process, but the end result is that the consumer often gets wines that are underpriced for their value. The only problem is – since the buyer doesn’t know the brand origin and only the region – they have to have some faith in the négociant or négoce.
We also have several other very good wines that are worthy delving into, so please delve at will.
2021 Esporão “Bico Amarelo” Vinho Verde ($12). Tart green flavors with lots of lime, but not the aromatic notes of the boxwood-centric Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs.
2021 Ameal Vinho Verde Loureiro ($18). Very nice substantial white with green, spicy flavors and a crisp finish.
2021 Wente “Riva Ranch Vineyard” Arroyo Seco Chardonnay ($22). A nice middle-of-the road Chard with good fruity, rounded apple flavors and green acidity.
2020 de Negoce Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – Lot #234 ($24). Good structure and complexity, plump without being fat, with ripe cherry and cola flavors.
2020 de Negoce Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir – Lot #214 ($25). Tangy cherry flavors with touches of cola – full-bodied but satisfying.
2019 de Negoce Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Lot #227 ($29). Quite fresh, with red and black raspberries and a rich finish.
2018 de Negoce Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – Lot #50 ($29). Lean, lighter, more savory than most Cabs – more earthy than fruity – with lots of dusty tannins.
2020 Wente “Riva Ranch Vineyard” Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir ($35). Enjoyable, though a tad sweetish, very fruity with a dollop of cream and then a crisp finish.
2020 Beringer “Private Reserve” Napa Valley Chardonnay ($50). Very toasty and buttery, but very good toast and buttery for those who prefer the toasty and buttery style of Chardonnay.
2019 Beringer Knights Valley “Reserve” Cabernet Sauvignon ($70). A good mixture ff red fruits with blackberries – lean with savory notes and a little tanginess in the finish.
2017 Charles Krug “Generations” Napa Valley Red Wine ($75). Very smooth and enjoyable red blend with ripe blackberry and dry herbal flavors with integrated tannins and great length on the palate.
2019 Larkmead “Solari” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($200). Just a fabulous, complex wine – smooth and luscious with creamy, purple fruit with barrel notes and notes of dusty chocolate and great intensity of flavors without be extracted. The price? If you are used to buying wines in this range, you won’t be disappointed.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
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