Being a Cleveland native, Columbus has always struck me as somewhat split when it comes to sports, but if you are a fan of the great game of baseball and root for the correct Ohio team… well, you found yourself a bit disappointed on Monday as I did. So, as I walked into the store Tuesday late morning feeling a touch defeated, I wanted nothing more than for something simply good to fall into my lap. I realize this is an unrealistic expectation most times, so I was quite delighted when Jay pointed to a glass and told me I had to give it a taste. At that moment, something simply good came my way. This brings me to the 2015 Tinto Rey Red Blend.
Tinto Rey is a Spanish wine varietal based line from the Matchbook Wine Co.’s Estate Vineyards in the Dunnigan Hills of California. A complete oddball blend of all Estate-grown fruit, the 2015 Tinto Rey is comprised 54% Tempranillo, 24% Petit Verdot, 13% Tannat, and 9% Graciano. The inspiration for the wine is quite straightforward though… to emulate the rich, powerful wines of the Toro region of Northwestern Spain. Full bodied, intense, and crowd pleasing, the 2015 Tinto Rey is chock full of ripe blackberry, tobacco, and creamy vanilla flourishes. 30 Months spent in French and American Oak lend plenty of nuance and complexity to the wine. The fruit on this stuff is quite concentrated and lush, but it never loses balance with firm tannins rounding out the finish and providing structure. The wine is a match made in heaven for some creamy Bleu Cheese.
Jay and I played “Name the Price of that Wine!” with the Tinto Rey and I intentionally shot a little low (as that’s how the game often goes) and said $24.99. Jay gave it $29.99. We were both wrong. The 2015 Tinto Rey shows a good deal of complexity, power, and finesse for its meager $18.99 a bottle price point. Due in Friday.
On another end of the spectrum, I have touted them before and I will tout them again, Lingua Franca is making some of the most gorgeously expressive Burgundian-style wines in Oregon. Some of you may know that I am incredibly particular about Chardonnay, and I believe Lingua Franca’s 2016 AVNI Chardonnay encapsulates the true expression of the grape. Sustainable farming practices are utilized and traditional, minimal wine-making methods are employed in an effort to let the quality of the fruit and sense of place speak for itself. Blended from select lots around the Willamette, Dundee, and Yamhill-Carlton, the 2016 AVNI Chardonnay feels alive when you taste it. Racy, refined, and elegant, the aromas suggest bright lemon, stone fruits, and spring flowers. The palate is vibrant and mineral driven with mouthwatering acidity. Simply put, the wine is incredibly expressive.
I think Larry Stone and his team at Lingua Franca are making some of the most exciting wines in Oregon, and if you enjoy Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, these are must try wines. The 2016 Lingua Franca AVNI Chardonnay recently earned 93 Points in Wine Spectator and retails for $39.99.
2016 AVNI Pinot Noir- $39.99. 92 Points Wine Spectator- “Elegant and sleekly focused, with complex and precise raspberry and dark cherry flavors accented by crushed stone and cinnamon notes that glide toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2024. 2,061 cases made.”
2015 Sisters Chardonnay (limited)- $99.99 94 Points Wine Spectator- “Expressive and elegantly complex, with apple skin and spice aromas and precise flavors of star fruit, lime and mineral that build momentum toward the finish. Drink now through 2019. 330 cases made.”
(I won't name names, but I have a customer who buys a bottle of this every week he loves it so much. He’s also made us the #1 seller of this wine in the state.)