The Dozen Vol. 25 No. 11

The Dozen – Variety of Varietals

A mixture of best-known and barely known grape varieties, with a nod toward Italy.


For some time, sommeliers, writers, wine educators, and people in the wine trade have continued to expand their vocabularies of grapes beyond the yclept international varieties that are grown almost everywhere.  And the number of varieties that are now recognized by even casual consumers continues to grow.  There was a time that even wine merchants would not have recognized Albarino and Vermentino, and now they are grown by American winemakers from coast to coast.

This issue of The Dozen has quite a few different varieties, particularly from Italy. If you know all of them already, you get 97 points. And if you also know that the grape is the variety and the wine made from that variety is the varietal – and that the two aren’t interchangeable – you get a perfect score.

2020 Garofoli “Macrina” Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore ($15). Pleasant, with light body, modest green flavors and a spongy texture.

2020 Enrico Serafino “Grifo del Quartaro” Gavi di Gavi ($19). Pretty enjoyable, with green fruitiness and a moderate body.

2019 La Valentina Colline Pescaresi Pecorino ($19). Juicy but well-balanced, with some white peach fruitiness and a touch of cloves.

2020 Li Veli “Askos” Salento Verdeca ($22). Quite nice and very lively, with a combination of both white and red fruit flavors.

2020 Vietti Roero Arneis ($23).  This pleasant white is full on the palate with mild apple flavors, a touch of spicy acidity, and a little spritz in the finish.

2018 Stone Castle Rahovec Valley Kosovo Chardonnay Reserve ($24). A little floral, a little gamey, with fig and melon flavors and a light toast finish.

2019 Hamel Family Sonoma Valley Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($47). Very fresh, very aromatic with tart green apple flavors and some balancing savory stemmy notes.

2019 Ram’s Gate Carneros Chardonnay ($76). Very nice, elegant with lean flavors of apples, fragrant spices, and touches of vanilla with a crisp finish.

2019 Goldschmidt “Chelsea Guidestone Rise” Alexander Valley Merlot ($19). Very vibrant cherry flavors but a little sweet/fruity in the finish.

2017 Stone Castle Rahovec Valley Kosovo Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($24). Nicely rounded fruit – fresh but dark cherries – with a lightly savory and tannic underlay.

2018 St. Francis Sonoma Valley Reserve Merlot ($39). Soft and fragrant, with mellow fruitiness and a chocolate brownie finish.

2017 Stone Castle “Gecaj Estate Owners Choice” Rahovec Valley Kosovo Red Wine ($80). A very nice blend of Cab and Merlot with pure, rich, red fruitiness along with savory notes and a long 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: Courtesy of Serafino Winery

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