Recycle Bin Week of January 27

Mostly winter drinking in this installment of the recycle bin.  Not all are sensational, but, man, I had forgotten what a darn good wine that Mondavi cab is.  And the picpoul will brighten even the most drab of winter days.  Cheers!

2015 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain Napa Valley $52
Nothing showy here; just a deep currant nose with herbal and medicinal aromatics that leads into a closed (at first) mouth. More serious than I recall this being in previous vintages thanks to its tightly wound, firm, tannic structure and silent power. Definitely going to be a long-lived wine. After enough air, it’s easy to appreciate, but simple it is not. Rather, it’s a wine of depth to enjoy as fortification for body and soul prior to a winter’s hibernation.

2016 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay Spring Mountain Napa Valley $40
Massive, rich, ripe fruit offering extracted voluptuousness and a powerful punch. I may be too much of a wimp for this wine.

2016 Smith-Madrone Riesling Spring Mountain Napa Valley $34
Ultra clean and beaming with focus, this luminescent white exudes versatility and poise. Faithful to varietal character, and with enough dryness and easy appeal to win over riesling skeptics.  Very nice.

2016 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley $25
It’s been years since I have revisited this wine. I’m not sure why, but I can tell you now that it was way too long. Delivering classic Napa style in a focused, poised manner prioritizing character and a precision over hoopla. You’ll find super interesting eucalyptus, rosemary, and evergreen underlying the broad-shouldered black currant and cassis fruit. Recently saw it sale for $20, which classifies as a terrific bargain given the quality.

 2018 Les Costieres de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet H.B. $12
Gregarious, bright, and crisp, this is a glass of sunshine burning through the clouds. Inescapably easy to like in a nearly over the top friendly way.  And the price is right.  Best vintage of this I've had yet.

2017 Root 1 Cabernet and Carmenere Maipo Valley Chile $10
Wait, what? One review for two winers? Yup. While not identical, these two reds are virtually interchangeable.  When this brand was first introduced, the deep, round fruit of its reds offered a smashing alternative to California's rising prices.  It's been a long time since, so I gave these two a whirl.  While serviceable, they prove that focus group-driven blending is no longer unique to American winemaking consultants, and that Chile is not immune to homogeneity.  At least the price hasn't changed.