A complaint a few years ago was that all wines tasted the same, regardless of their origin. The cause of the dispute, often from other wine writers, was that globe-hopping consultants were robbing regions of their natural flavors because they made wines in only one style. France’s Michel Rolland was considered a chief “offender,” but he laughed off the complaint, noting that he would be a genius if he could accomplish making the same wine in every region.
Today, however, it seems we have an increasing diversity of wine tastes, especially as more organic and so-called natural wines come on the market. These tend to yield less fruity, more savory wine, and some that are funkier than a Rick James melody.
These 25 wines are a testament to flavor and style diversity.
Wines for review were provided by their producers or importers at no cost to the writer.
Santa Julia Mendoza Chardonnay 2018 ($12). A little tight, with stone fruit flavors and dusty tannins.
Pascual Toso Mendoza Chardonnay 2017 ($14). Lightly creamy with tart green fruit — nice for the price.
Santi “Ventale” Valpolicella Superiore 2016 ($15). Tart fruit and granular texture with a pleasant dollop of sour cream at the ending.
Ca’ Bolani Friuli Aquileia Sauvignon Superiore 2015 ($17). A Bordeaux-style sauvignon with complex herbal flavors of lime and green apple peel and a touch of spritz.
Château Paul Mas “Belluguette” Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc 2016 ($20). A blend of tart, green vermentino notes with a touch of floral viognier punctuating the finish.
Fort Ross “Sea Slopes” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 ($30). Juicy and fruity — mainly apple — with a good bit of oak initially that seems to integrate better with a little swirling.
FEL “Savoy Vineyard” Anderson Valley Chardonnay 2016 ($48). Mellow apples and a little creaminess — smooth.
Fort Ross “Mother of Pearl” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2015 ($60). A good marriage of fruit and wood with fresh, ripe apple flavor along with good minerality.
Besserat de Bellefon “Cuvée des Moines” Champagne 2008 ($90). Lots of intensity with green fruits and an intriguing metallic minerality — very easy to drink.
Golan Heights “Gilgal” Galilee Rosé 2016 ($14). Syrah-based, it has eau-de-vie-style fruit flavors with a touch of finishing bitters.
Joseph Masachs “Ressò” Catalunya Old Vines Garnacha 2017 ($9). Tart, stewed fruitiness and a bitter ending.
Santa Julia Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($10). Preserved fruitiness with some savory notes.
Vila Nova Douro Red Wine 2015 ($12). A little gamey, a little funky, but nevertheless nice cherry flavor and lean acidity that make it very pizza-worthy.
Golan Heights Yarden Mt. Hermon “Indigo” Galilee Red Wine 2016 ($14). Very fruit-forward with juicy cherries, yet it is fairly well balanced with darker finishing undertones.
Pascual Toso Mendoza Malbec 2016 ($14). More food-friendly than sippin’-friendly — lean, slightly tart, slightly bitter.
Vinum “Red Dirt Red” Paso Robles Red Wine 2016 ($17). If there were such a thing as “brown fruit,” this would be it — not sure if it’s funky oak or funky fruit, but it’s not what we normally expect from a California red blend.
HBO “Game of Thrones” Oregon Pinot Noir 2016 ($20). “Warm” fruit flavors of cherries and red vermouth and slightly sweet.
Paul Mas “Clos Savignac” Grès de Montpellier 2016 (23). Very enjoyable brambly fruit (mourvèdre, syrah, grenache) with a bit of a finishing tang.
Zuccardi “Concreto” Mendoza Malbec 2017 ($35). Well balanced for drinking or keeping — muted savory fruit with notes of coffee and dusty tannins.
Steele Canyon “J. McClellan” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($45). Big flavors of ripe cherries and blackberries with lots of oaky toast and butter.
FEL “Savoy Vineyard” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2016 ($70). Equally at home sipping or food pairing, with ripe but not opulent dark fruit and a light savory undertone.
ZD Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($75). Lots of cassis and blackberry and lots of toasty oak.
ZD “Founder’s Reserve” Carneros Pinot Noir 2016 ($82). Very concentrated flavors of spicy cherries with a shot of red vermouth — slightly hot and a big wine, but a pleasurable one.
Golan Heights Yarden “Odem Vineyards” Galilee Merlot 2014 ($100). Fruit is a little muddled and jammy, with 15 percent alcohol. If you’re craving more, here are 20 reasons why you should drink a glass of wine every day.