Every few months, the “wine for review” portion of my wine cellar
begins to overflow with bottles that I refer to as “orphans.” These
wines are new releases from local wineries that just haven’t worked
their way into my articles – often because I can’t devote an entire
column to just one or two new releases – not because they aren’t
Pet adoptions is a wonderfully rewarding experience (we just adopted a
beagle puppy from Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton) and taking one of
these orphan wines home with you can be, too. Adopt one of these wines today.
Macari Vineyards 2004 Rosé ($12) is meant to be enjoyed outside in the
sun, which highlights the wine’s beautiful salmon color. The nose is
fruity, with strawberry, watermelon and lime aromas. Light and
refreshing, the palate is cherry, pomegranate and watermelon. Crisp but
not sharp, this well balanced rosé is much more interesting than your
average dry rosé.
Another rosé I really enjoyed is the Tasting Room 2003 Cabernet Franc
Rose ($12). Produced by Broadfields Wine Cellars and sold exclusively at the
two Tasting Room locations, it’s not your average rosé, either. Close
your eyes and it could almost pass for a light-bodied, non-rosé
cabernet franc bottling. It’s floral on the nose with cherry-berry
character, mouth-watering acidity and depth on the palate. I always
recommend drinking rosé young, but I think this one may benefit from a
few more months (if not another year) in the bottle.
Broadfields has also released a Tasting Room 2004 Chardonnay ($14) that is
clean, crisp and lively. It’s a simple summer slurping white done
completely in stainless steel, so it will appeal to members of the ABC
(Anything But Chardonnay) club. You won’t find any buttery oak flavors
The Corey Creek 2003 Chardonnay ($18) is similarly well balanced but
richer and a bit more serious. The nose reminds me of roasted pears
with cinnamon and nutmeg and offers hints of fresh sweet corn and
citrus as well. It’s medium-to-light bodied and succulent with flavors
of ripe pear, golden apples and tropical fruit. The finish is
refreshing and citrus-driven, making this an excellent food wine.
Of course, as cooler fall temperatures approach, my wine choices shift
away from these rosés and whites and toward flavorful reds.
Laurel Lake Vineyards released its 2000 Cabernet Franc ($18) in June
and it’s just about as close to California Red Zinfandel as you’ll find
locally. The nose is peppery and fruit-forward with cherry, blackberry
and black raspberry aromas accented by eucalyptus and Thai basil. Low
in tannin and medium bodied, it’s juicy but not jammy and offers a
berry-driven palate with black pepper and chocolate-covered raisin
flavors. It’s definitely a winner and supports the idea that many wines
peak five years after bottling.
I also really enjoyed the newest Merlot release from Lieb Family
Cellars. The 2002 Merlot Reserve ($24) may be the winery’s best Merlot
yet. It’s smoky and nuanced, and much deeper and richer than previous
vintages. It was excellent with the grilled steak kabobs we enjoyed
with friends on Labor Day.
Orphan wines — take one home with you today.