Amit Toledo

Amit Toledo isn't totally new on the scene, but rather at the stage where he's paid his dues (formal education, stages abroad, a couple of jobs around the country), is starting to find his own voice and has found the means (ie, vineyard control) to enunciate it. The wines are good enough, and received well enough, to sell well and even sell out. What Joe Public wants these days, what he's always wanted, is tasty wines that go well with food. Joe Wine Geek is rediscovering this, as well, and talents like Toeldo provide that, with wines that give us enough pause for thought.

Take the Syrah, 2019 for example. If you explore the fringes of the big North Rhone appellations, you're going to find a lot of lip-smacking, refreshing drops (from Crozes-Hermitage, Saint Joseph and, heavens to Betsy, even Vin de Pays on the wrong side of the river) that are a breath of fresh air and will make you feel 200% alive. When wine geeks like me run into them, we will jot a few lines on our smart phones and try to figure out what aspects of grape and terroir are at play. Same thing happened to me here. This is very moreish, but at the same time, there's a bounty of interest and I enjoy picking out peppery notes, earthy notes that suggest clay, intense violet notes, and a fine, unencumbered balance of fruit and acidity, with very soft tannins. Amit has an excellent, talented hand.

The Gamay, 2019 is just as moreish and tasty, but less faceted. Like a a respectable Beaujolais Cru, it shows minerals and funk - clean funk, not dirty, bretty funk, more a hint of sweat, really. This would seriously stump tasters in a blind Beaujolais Cru tasting. Like the Syrah, it develops surprisingly with air. They way the acidity threads its way effortlessly through the fruit until they combine in a long savory finish is trademark Gamay.

Semillon, 2018 - if Semillon were grown in Chablis, I suspect this would be the result. Cantaloupe and salt, with some ash thrown in. The palate has a forwardness coupled with a languid mid-palate, not as racy and taut as Chablis, but true to the grape and with a personal signature. Arguably the best of the three. I'd recommend them all, really.