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 column-worthy.
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 here.
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.