Troon Vineyard 2016s & 2017s
My latest series of sturdy young white and red bottlings from Troon Vineyard needed aeration like never before. If you can spare the time, two or more hours would be ideal. Where I kept the bottle overnight, the wines always were more forthcoming the second day. They are usually worth the wait.
Marsanne (52%) Viognier (48%) Kubli Bench Blanc 2017 Applegate Valley 11.8%
This wine shows a delicately aromatic nose of yellow plums, hard cider and ginger. It’s every bit as zingy on the palate, both in flavor and in structure. There is excellent sapidity with solid fruit concentration balanced by plenty of refreshment. It’s impressively dense in flavor and creamy in texture for only 11.8% abv, especially for varieties that tend to ripen fully at higher alcohol levels. There’s a feisty acidic tingle on the back palate as well as the slightest strain of textural dryness. The moderate finish fades into a pithy palate feel with non-fruit tones of raw mushroom and water cracker.
Vermentino Whole Grape Ferment 2017 Applegate Valley 12.0%
Pleasantly fragrant, this wine shows generous aromas of fennel seed, blood orange peel and pain aux raisins. The palate is equally flavorful, adding notes of apricot skin and white tealeaves. Like the Kubli Bench Blanc, this is also impressively rich and sappy for only 12% abv. The attack is soft and gentle, but the finish turns firm with some dry grip. This is a wine for food with its slightly grainy, papery finish thanks to the skin contact during fermentation. Overall, it is clean and massively pleasurable. Its rather swift finish stops it just short of a 90, but the pleasure it gives could arguably supersede that number.
Vermentino 2017 Applegate Valley 12.0%
This wine is light in fruit character, seemingly compensating for that with a distinct leesiness. Clean and exhibiting decent concentration, there are citrusy strains of pomelo, white grapefruit and lemon pith on the palate. The light body seems a bit jolted by the acidic verve, making this a bit clumsy. The modest finish comes through with fennel and celery savoriness.
Roussanne 2017 Applegate Valley 11.0%
*This shows better at cellar temperature rather than chilled. It’s an unusual Roussanne.
Roussanne generally is not fruity, and this bottling tows the party line. It was resolutely closed when first opened. Twelve hours of aeration in the fridge without a cork in the bottle and with a glass poured out seemed to help open its lines of communication. The bouquet finally started to release notes of dried kumquats and lush pineapple. The palate took an unusual turn, however, with notes of clay morphing into Band-Aid on the moderate finish. The finish is glossy and mouthcoating with pithy walnut and savory sea salt tones. On the second day, the Band-Aid character had almost completely subsided, but there were no more forthcoming flavors. My score indicates my score on Day Two; it would have been lower on Day One.
Tannat Kubli Bench 2016 Applegate Valley 14.0%
This one’s a hulk, but a gentle one! The engaging and lively nose of loganberry, sloe and black currant is underlined by graphite and slate. This wine’s attack dumps medium-bodied sweet fruit directly onto the mid-palate. Though Tannat has a reputation for generous and fearsome tannins, this bottling surprises with sculpted – even corralled – tannins that leave a feathery feel on the palate. There’s a vigor and sass about the acidity that keeps the hand outstretched to the glass. This is an impressively approachable Tannat with a nicely lingering finish.
Cuvée Pyrénées Kubli Bench 2016 Applegate Valley 13.5%
I LOVE THIS WINE’S NOSE! It’s tremendously fresh and vibrant, smelling of roses, Christmas spices and blueberry compote. The youthful palate is very medium-bodied with sleek tannins and crackling acidity. That duo leaves a dry mid-palate that gives this cherry-colored red a nice edge for pairing with mid-weight fare. The finish is swift but delightfully – and surprisingly – minerally. This co-fermented blend of 62% Tannat & 38% Malbec (both of which have a long history of growing near the French Pyrénées) will make many friends! (NB: This cuvée was formerly called “MT”.)
Cuvée Côt Malbec 2016 Applegate Valley 13.4%
Big, bold, forward, this is a juicy monster of a freshly focused wine. Given its über-ripeness, it’s very impressive that it is only medium in alcohol. It tastes of cobbler fruits, showcasing warm blueberries, mulberries and black cherries. The tannins are velvety and the acidity is smooth; it’s impressively well integrated. The back palate contributes bustling acidity. It would be very easy to drink a glass or two.
Zinfandel 2016 Applegate Valley 14.5%
Light in concentration and easy-going, this is a highly enjoyable and gulpable Zin (with a 3% sprinkling of Petit Sirah), especially when served slightly chilled. It smells of black pepper spice, smashed mulberries and deeply ripe black plums. It is as full-bodied as you’d expect a Zinfandel to be, yet still as light on its feet as you’d expect of the variety’s higher end cuvées. Impressively, this one is not overripe and is very pleasantly drinkable now.