Saturday, June 14, 2014

Trione Winery Selections

Yet more wines I was sent a long time ago and am finally now getting around to reviewing. This review will be interesting though, because the Trione Vineyards wines I was sent all came in 50ml bottles. The company bottled them way back in September 2012 and I am just now getting to taste each one. In total, I was sent six 50ml bottles, each of which is barely good enough for two pours.

Trione is another California winery with an excellent reputation. Their wines were a familiar sight in San Diego and I liked selling them because you always knew that they'd deliver at their price points. It's been nearly a decade though, so I was anxious to taste through the lineup and see if the wines were as I recalled.

As you read through the notes, please bear in mind that these are probably (hopefully) not the current releases from Trione, it's my fault for not getting to them sooner.

2010 Trione Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley
The nose shows tart gooseberry and green grass right away, very fresh. Behind that lurk some lime juice and herbaceous qualities. As it opened in my glass, I picked up a flinty minerality that was quite cool. On the palate I can tell that this is softened a little bit by age but it's still got ripping acidity and a linear minerality that I thoroughly enjoy. The fruit seems to be mostly in the background, with touches of grapefruit and papaya showing through. More bracing acidity cleans up the finish beautifully, readying your palate for the next bite. Surprisingly fresh and vibrant, this stuff is almost Muscadet-like. Color me impressed. 14.0% abv. Recommended.

2008 Trione Chardonnay Russian River Valley
It's rare that I get to taste California chardonnay with this much age on it. This one stays traditional, with lots of butter and oak rushing out of the glass. They aren't necessarily overpowering as much as dominating. With some air, I picked up aromas of golden apple, quince, and baking spices. A sip brought plenty of buttercream but a nice hit of acid too. There's enough apple and pear playing around with the vanilla oak and butter to make a really, really nice chardonnay. Acidity dries out the finish in a good way, making me think this needs some grilled sea bass or chicken kabobs. 14.3% abv.

2008 Trione Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
Again, it's rare to taste a RRV pinot with 6+ years of age, so I was looking forward to this one. Initially it's showing age, with notes of dried leather, furniture varnish, red cherry, and old wood. Still, it doesn't smell bad! There's still some acidity on the palate, barely holding together cherries, apple skin, baking spice and white pepper. Still-alive tannin is nicely integrated and I think this would pair well with more delicate meat, salmon and pork. It's not quite my cup of tea but still a really fun wine to taste. 14.2% abv.

2007 Trione Red Wine Alexander Valley
Shows a touch advanced, like it's just settling into some tertiary flavors. Similar to the pinot noir, this has a dusty, leathery element that is pretty interesting. Green herb, cassis, and cocoa powder come through with some swirling. Plenty of barrel spices too, maybe more than necessary. Sipping brings ample black fruit, good acid, and good tannin integration. Mostly cabernet, with merlot, petit verdot, and malbec thrown in. This looks, smells, and acts like a Bordeaux blend that's impeccably crafted. The balance between those advanced aromas and flavors versus the fresher blueberry, boysenberry, and red currant is excellent. If you see a 750ml of this, grab it. 14.5% abv. Highly Recommended.

2007 Trione Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
Fresher than the red blend, this is still showing plenty of primary fruit. Loads of sweet black cherry and blackcurrant framed by what smells like both French and American oak. That freshness carries over onto the palate too, with more cherries, firm tannin, and plenty of oak. Unfortunately it also gets really hot and sloppy, with perceptible alcohol through the mid-palate and finish. I don't think this is nearly as good as the above red blend. 14.5% abv.

2008 Trione Syrah Russian River Valley
This remained tight despite being open for almost two hours and getting vigorously swirled in my glass. I did manage to tease out notes of black tea, plum, and blackberry preserve. There's a bit of VA present too, which I found distracting. Also, like the cabernet, some alcoholic heat on the nose. On the palate this tastes young-ish, like a wine that is nearly in middle age. That and like it has a bit of brettanomyces. I picked up a distinct medicinal component on the mid-palate and the finish was hollow on the tongue, a big time indicator for brett. Behind the bretty, medicinal note lurked some firm tannins, dusty minerality, and muted fruit. Kind of a bummer because I was really looking forward to tasting this wine. 14.8% abv.

With these wines we batted .500, the sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and red blend all being worthy of consideration. The other three, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah, had issues which I just can't overlook. Still, Trione clearly makes some very, very good wines and you should feel confident in purchasing (full size!) bottles of the wines I liked. Each promises to be good with food and have the ability to put on a bit of age to boot. I was pleased to find that I still enjoyed Trione after almost a decade of not tasting any of their releases.

The kit from is really, really cool and gave me just enough wine to do a reasonably proper evaluation. They even include helpful information on how soon to drink the wines and how long they'll (most likely) remain fresh. I think more wineries that send out samples to bloggers might want to look into either this or bottle 375ml's for us, since it wastes far less wine.

These wines were samples for review purposes.

Beau Carufel

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