These wines from importer Vino del Sol are good value wines for everyday drinking. The main label is GEN 5 which is produced under a joint venture between Lange Twins Winery in Lodi and Vino del Sol. They are made by winemaker Karen Birmingham, former winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery and Woodbridge and David Akoyoshi formerly Director of Winemaking at Woodbridge. These wines are a notable improvement over the previous releases from 2011. Both 2012 and 2013 were better vintages and as a result of improvements made in the vineyard, the wines show more ripeness, flavor, mouth feel and balance. The Wild South label consists of a Sauvignon Blanc and a delicious Pinot Noir from Marlborough which we tasted for the first time and liked. The Formation label also offers flavorful Pinot Noir of average quality.
Gen5 2013 Chardonnay Lodi ($11) 87 The Chardonnay exhibits a pale straw color and is blended with tiny amounts of Viognier and Muscat. It has light fruit aromas and offers orchard fruit flavors. It is light with a tart mid-palate and a dry crisp finish. Gen5 2012 Merlot Clarksburg ($11) 87 This Merlot reveals plum fruit and spice with bright acidity and a crisp slightly dry palate. It shows good Merlot typicity on the palate with firm tannic grip and a a rather dry finish. Gen5 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Lodi ($11) 88 This Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with 13% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, offers black currant fruit and licorice with hints of toasted oak. Aged eight months in French oak (80%) and American oak (20%) it has a full mouth feel, good balance, round tannins, and a persistent finish. Gen5 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel Lodi ($11) 88 This Old Vine Zinfandel produced under a join partnership between importer Vino del Sol and Lange Twins Winery in Lodi. It is quite tasty and fruit forward with good freshness and mouth feel, balance and acidity on the finish. Well done.
Wild South Vineyard 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($15) 87 The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc shows light herbal and citrus fruit on the palate with moderate to light intensity of flavor. It has good freshness and acidity and a crisp finish. Wild South Vineyard 2013 Pnot Noir Marlborough ($17) 90 The Wild South Pinot Noir offers aromas of fresh red berry fruit. It is a beautifully focused wine with delicious light fruit flavors and excellent acidity on the palate. Aged in French oak and stainless steel tanks, it has wonderful mouth feel and persistence on the finish. Sourced from the Hell’s Gate estate and neighboring vineyards confirming that Marlborough is one of New Zealand’s finest regions for Pinot Noir. Great value.
Formation 2013 Pinot Noir Monterey ($15) 87 The 2013 Formation is an earthy Pinot Noir revealing aromas of red berries and plum, It is medium-weight with good fruit flavor, a hint of oak, moderate acidity and a dry crisp finish.