Whoops, someone made a mistake, I thought suddenly, as I pulled the bottle of Dirty & Rowdy’s 2014 Mourvèdre from the packaging.
The sample had come in-house for this story about premium reds closed with Nomacorc. I knew Dirty & Rowdy had been using Select Bio, Nomacorc’s new zero carbon footprint wine closure made from cane sugar. This bottle didn’t have a capsule, so the top of the closure was in plain sight.
But in that first, tiny fraction of a second, I did a double-take. That’s not Nomacorc, that’s—
Yes, that is Nomacorc.
Select Bio and other Nomacorc closures are being used by some of the United States’ top winemakers to close their premium wines. Last month we looked at premium whites and pinks, and here are notes on five premium reds, priced from $30 to $80.
2014 Dirty & Rowdy Mourvèdre “Familiar” California
Hugely floral, with a fragrance of beach roses and spring blossoms. The palate is reedy, with shimmering acidity and flavors of strawberries macerated with cranberries. It has none of the meat and earth I associate with this grape, even in California. Let’s call it new-style New World Mourvèdre. 12.7% abv | $30
2013 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir “Abbott Claim Vineyard” Yamhill-Carlton
Limpid garnet with a pale ruby rim, its fragrance is sweet and piquant, redolent of beach rose, red currant, and cranberry. The body’s cinnamon-spiced red fruits complement a finish like crushed juniper berry. This wine carves a lovely arc from spice to fruit to woodsy sweetness.
12.5% abv | $65
2011 Burgess Merlot “Triere Estate Vineyard” Napa Valley
This wine is suffused with forest notes—cypress, pine, and eucalyptus—but topped by a sweet perfume of antique roses and ripe red fruits. A body that’s sharp and bright with pomegranate and red currant, lets the light shine in.
13.7% abv | $30
2009 AnanTaah Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
Dense and chewy and incredibly young, with massive tannic structure threaded with brilliant red cherry, black cherry, blueberry, and peppermint. Promising but too young; give it air or ten more years.
13.6% abv | $80
2012 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
A glittery, ruby-studded Cab, with bright red cherries complementing bass notes of blue fruits, bitter chocolate, and cypress. Dusty tannins and tingly spices enliven the mid-palate, and a cooling breath of pine forest bids farewell.
14.1% abv | $36
All wines were media samples.
Header photo credit: Weekly Wine Journal.