FedEx and UPS trucks regularly come to my door bearing boxes of wines that generally have no common denominator other than they are the latest releases from wineries around the world.
As today is a rainy, early-spring day, I have arranged a Noah’s Ark tasting report based on five varietals — pinot noir, sangiovese, prosecco, moscato, and sauvignon blanc — and, like Noah, I am taking them on board two by two.
2010 Biltmore Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir ($19). Pastel fruit flavors of Bing cherries with eau-de-vie aromas. In spite of the high alcohol — just more than 15 percent — it’s not a big wine but a flavorful one. Takeaway: A fairly enjoyable bi-coastal wine.
2010 Truchard Carneros Pinot Noir ($27). Bright, rooty flavors, but a bit earthy, savory — even rustic. Takeaway: California pinots often are too fruit-friendly for their own good. This one takes the opposite tack — more intrigue than subtle charm.
2009 La Selva Colli dell Uccellina Morellino di Scansano (less than $20). "Morellino" is name for sangiovese in this Tuscan region. The wine comes out to be very biologique, that is, very savory with considerable tannins and bitters at the edges. Takeaway: Not a traditional sangio, but may be of interest to those who like edgy wines.
2010 Costa "Terre di Fiori" Morellino di Scansano ($16). Lots of cherry fruit up front with some raspberries and strawberries folded in, very rounded, with good acidity, light tannins, and a little chalk. Takeaway: A nice, fruity Tuscan for easy drinking.
NV Bocelli Prosecco Extra Dry ($17). Yes, it’s that Bocelli — or at least his family. Candied fruits, balancing carbon notes, crisp, long on the palate. Takeaway: Think of those coated Jordan almonds you used to nibble at the movies.
2011 Adami "Col Credas" Rive di Farra di Soligo prosecco superiore brut ($22). Adami is one of the masters of Valdobbiadene, making a range of sparkling wines that satisfy while also inviting you to think about what’s in the flute. This one is both delicate and full — tart apples, nuts, wild dried spices, light tannins, a mouthful of bubbles. A steal at the price. Takeaway: I have two more Adamis chilled, waiting to be reviewed.
2011 Dante Rivetti moscato d’Asti ($21) Sort of like drinking a fizzy macaroon — low alcohol (5 percent), lightly sweet, low on balancing acid, some almond notes. Takeaway: Not really my style with its lingering sweetness, the kind of wine that one glass at a reception will do me.
2011 Marenco "Scrapona" moscato d’Asti ($14). Very nice — sprightly fruit, sweet but well-balanced, good spritz, some orange and other citrus notes with nutty almonds. Takeaway: A refreshing, low-alcohol spring drink.
2010 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley fume blanc ($20). Aka sauvignon blanc. A very nice, complex wine with "blue/green" flavors of apples, melons, savory spices, citrus. Takeaway: A wine that has a nice heft that comes from the fruit.
2011 Clos La Chance Central Coast sauvignon blanc ($11). Spicy and grassy and seemingly a little watery. Takeaway: A basic wine with no bells or whistles.