The Dozen Vol. 26 No. 08

The Dozen – Drinking on the Edge

Sometimes it's fun to be challenged by a wine that is 'good different.'


I’m not one to complain when a wine is just what I expected when I saw the label. A classic wine is always a delight to behold and taste.

Yet, I do like to be surprised from time to time by a wine that is a little edgy, especially if that was the intention of the winemaker. It challenges the palate and, occasionally, our presumptions about how a good wine should taste.

Like drawing to an inside straight, we happen to have a few of those in this edition of The Dozen.

2020 La Mascota ‘Unanime’ Argentina Chardonnay ($22). Good toasty and buttery Chard with fresh apples and a crisp finish.

2019 Bibineishvili Georgia Chkhaveri Natural Dry Rosé ($34). Light, tangy berry flavors with some green fruitiness mixed with good acidity – yet, structurally, it feels more like a light red than pink.

NV Guinigi Treviso Prosecco ($17). Nice blend of savory notes and floral fruitiness with persistent bubbles and good acidity.

2020 Guinigi Treviso Prosecco Rosé ($17). Very creamy and smooth with light cherry flavors – quite enjoyable.

2017 Trapiche “Ambrosia” Gualtallary Malbec ($34). Tart, rich fruitiness with some cranberry edginess – full-bodied with well-integrated tannins.

2019 Trapiche “Gran Medalla” Mendoza Malbec ($35). Not complex, but with very creamy fruitiness, though perhaps just a tad sweet in the finish.

2017 Trapiche “Orellana” Le Consults Malbec ($36). Lively and tart, yet with substantial dark berries, savory undertones, and tasty tannins.

2019 Justin “Right Angle” Paso Robles Red Wine ($40). High-on-the-palate sharp, deep-purple berry fruitiness with what tastes like older barrels blended in the finish – enjoyable.

2020 Herman Story “First Time Caller” Paso Robles Petite Sirah ($55). Ripe dark fruitiness followed by a savory parade of licorice, road tar, and intense tannins – different, but very good different.

2020 DuMOL “Wester Reach” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($78). Lovely, elegant yet substantial, with ripe blackberries and an undertaste of fresh pastry cream – somewhat lean with well-integrated tannins.

2019 Luce della Vite Toscana IGT ($112). This reminds me of old-style Left Bank Bordeaux in that it’s very tannic just out of the bottle. In fact, I had to let it sit decanted for about a day before it started to show some balance. Only then could its lovely, creamy purple fruit show itself without being overpowered. Don’t get me wrong – it’s an almost-great wine that will develop well with aging but may still need to be decanted ten years down the road.

2022  Gonzalez Byass “El Tio Pepe” Fino en Rama Sherry (half bottle $18). One of my summer favorites – chilled – with walnut and hickory nut flavors and a light tannic bite in the finish.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Photo cover courtesy of Bodega La Concha.

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