Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week included a bunch of white wines, and in particular, a bunch of Rieslings.

But before we get to the Rieslings, let’s not overlook the “Naissance” Sauvignon Blanc from Galerie, Gianna Kelly’s project. This isn’t the current release, as the 2019s have come out, but it’s likely still in the market and worth picking up.

I’ve got Riesling three ways this week. Two from Germany’s Nahe region, both with a couple of years of age on them. The Dönnhoff Tonschiefer is predictably delicious, with wonderful dry and crisp citrus and stone fruit flavors. The Kruger Rumpf has its share of citrus along with the wonderful paraffin notes that can add another layer of dimension to aging Riesling.

And then finally I’ve got a Clare Valley Riesling from Wakefield, which is bright ahd fresh and surprisingly young for a 2017 vintage.

All three of these wines are worthy of seeking out and none will set you back very much.

I discovered several Wakefield bottles in the samples pile this week in addition to their Riesling that had been overlooked for some time, including a Chardonnay, a Cabernet and two vintages of their reserve Shiraz. The Shiraz wines were slightly tired, though still tasty, but the Chardonnay and Cabernet both offered excellent flavors and proved to be aging well.

Before we move on to red wines, I’ve got two well-known names in Napa Chardonnay this week, the Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch and the Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay. Both delivered rich “California” style, but with slightly more restrained use of oak than they might have in past years, which was a good thing from my palate’s perspective.

Finally, in addition to the reds from Wakefield I described above, I also discovered a Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache in the stack this week. This was pleasant but perhaps more subdued than I expected, given only a year in the bottle since release.

Enjoy.

Tasting Notes

2018 Galerie “Naissance” Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California
Pale blonde in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and green apples. In the mouth, bright green apple and crabapple flavors have a faint sourness that is positively mouthwatering, as lime juice and lime zest notes emerge in the finish. Very tasty. 13.8% alcohol. 1600 cases made. Closed with a screwcap Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2016 Dönnhoff “Tonschiefer” Riesling Trocken, Nahe, Germany
Pale yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet pavement, lemon pith and mandarin orange oil. In the mouth, zippy Asian pear, mandarin orange and rainwater flavors have a wonderful crispness to them and fantastic acidity that makes the mouth water. Notes of mandarin zest linger in the finish. Delicious. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $26. click to buy.

2017 Wakefield “St. Andrews” Riesling, Clare Valley, South Australia
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of paraffin, green apples and white flowers. In the mouth, juicy citrus pith, grapefruit and candied green apple flavors have a remarkable wet chalkboard minerality to them, as well as an ethereal weightlessness in the mouth. Excellent acidity. 12.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $35.

2016 Kruger Rumpf Riesling Trocken, Nahe, Germany
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of paraffin and mandarin orange zest. In the mouth, tangerine and Asian pear flavors have a creamy texture even as they are crisp and light with a nice crystalline quality to them. Good acidity and pretty, wet chalkboard minerality in the finish. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $33.

2018 Shafer Vineyards “Red Shoulder Ranch” Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa, California
Bright gold in the glass, this wine smells of pineapple and buttered popcorn. In the mouth, silky, weighty flavors of pineapple, lemon curd, and lemon zest have the creamy vanilla of oak mixed in very well. Decent but not fantastic acidity. For those who like their California Chardonnays rich, this will definitely satisfy. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2018 Frank Family Vineyards Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa, California
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of cold cream and lemon curd. In the mouth, flavors of lemon curd, cold cream, and grapefruit have reasonably well-integrated oak influence and very good acidity. 14.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $30. click to buy.

2016 Wakefield “St. Andrews” Chardonnay, Clare Valley, South Australia
Pale yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of butterscotch and white flowers. In the mouth, lemon curd and butterscotch flavors have a wonderful lightness to them, with hints of pomelo pith emerging as the wine finishes. Lacey, delicate acidity runs throughout. 12% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25.

2018 Yalumba “Bush Vine” Grenache, Barossa, South Australia
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of strawberry jam and dried herbs. In the mouth, somewhat bitter strawberry, cherry and cedar flavors are oddly subdued. Decent acidity, very faint tannins. 14.1% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $15. click to buy.

2014 Wakefield “The Pioneer – Exceptional Parcel Release” Shiraz, Clare Valley, South Australia
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry, blackberry and chopped herbs. In the mouth, prunes and blackberry flavors are gathered up in a tight fist of muscular tannins that squeeze a bit as the wine finishes with notes of leather and black cherry. 14.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $100.

2013 Wakefield “The Pioneer – Exceptional Parcel Release” Shiraz, Clare Valley, South Australia
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cola nut and prunes. In the mouth, rich flavors of mulling spices and black cherry, leather and cola nut have a beautiful woody and saddle leather backdrop to them. Faint tannins and decent acidity. Notes of caramelized brown sugar linger in the finish. 14.5% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $100.

2016 Wakefield “St. Andrews” Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, South Australia
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, mint and dark chocolate. In the mouth, cherry and green herbs have a fine, powdery tannic texture and excellent acidity. Very pretty green herbal notes linger in the finish with the cherry and a touch of leather. 14% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50. click to buy.