Cortese and Falanghina: two grapes of Italian origin (Cortese in Piedmont-northern Italy, Falanghina in Campania-southern Italy). They are two of the many lesser-known (you could say esoteric) grapes grown at “Lost Slough Vineyard” outside the town of Rio Vista (on Highway 12 west of Lodi). Made to drink young and bright like a lot of California wines…Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc two leaders in this category. The “Delta White” takes a turn from the norm, aiming for an old world, traditional Italian style of less fresh fruit and more rocky/salty smells and flavors. My tasting notes include green apple skins, watermelon […]
Top-notch expression of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, showing tangy green apple, white peach, melon and lemongrass smells and flavors start to long finish. The 1/4th barrel fermentation (in neutral French oak) and aging on lees gives the wine a little roundness and pastry aroma. Deft winemaking touch. This is 100% Sauvignon Blanc sourced from multiple vineyards, fermented dry to 13.4% alcohol. Clif Family continues to make consistently tasty red and white wines from their Estate vineyards on Howell Mountain as well as from purchased fruit from Napa Valley and beyond (they also have a new vineyard in Napa’s Oak […]
Look to Quincy for delicious, mineral-driven, Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. And in Quincy, buy Domaine Mardon. Quincy is 50 miles west of Sancerre along the Cher River. 50-80 year old vines, growing in river sand and gravel, make high-toned, zippy, pure Sauvignon Blanc. Quick attack of green apple skins, grapefruit, lemon/lime and river rocks. Ripe, crisp citrus and stone fruits quickly emerge on the palate. Mouth-watering acidity, perfect balance of fruit, soil and acid. Killer white here for $20.
Knowing this wine from multiple prior vintages, I pay the 2017 the best compliments I can give, which are classic and typical. You don’t want too much in an outstanding Loire Valley Sauv Blanc. Rather, you want brightness, intensity and the flavor of the rocky soils from which it comes. And here it is: citrus zest (especially lemon), spring flowers and rocky pebbles. Smells great, tastes great, finishes long and vibrant. I love wines like this to no end.
The Spanish grape Albariño has found if not a home then a vacation getaway in California. Napa producer Ferdinand acquires Albariño from Lodi’s “Vista Luna Vineyard” to make this crisp, aromatic, texturally pleasing white. I love its fresh floral, citrus basket and Granny Smith apple smells and flavors plus the crunchy-ness and mouth-watering acidity. Still, the tang is pulled back just enough with barrel fermentation (neutral barrel) and full malo. Think of it as sanding the sharp edges of a table. I’ve had my fair share of California Albariños, and the Ferdinand is one of the best. And for $20, […]
From a tiny plot of Albariño in “Hudson Vineyard” planted specifically for Kongsgaard. Orange zest, mineral and citrus blossom nose. Then take a sip: tangy! Almost, but not quite, tart. First sip grabs you with acidity, then the palate adjusts and it’s a joy. Lemonheads, yellow grapefruit, Macintosh apple, lemongrass flavors come to mind. Lees-stirring supplies body and texture. This rare white is only available at certain restaurants (no retail purchase, not even from the winery).
Always a classic, mineral-driven, zippy wine, the Philippe Raimbault Sancerre 2017 is relatively fleshy and fruit-driven. In this vintage, the fresh green applesauce, juicy pears and lemon custard take on the chalky/seashell flavors, expected of Sancerre, in a fight for dominance. It’s up to the taster as to who wins. It’s close, and relative. If this were a California SB, it would be called “very Sancerre-like.”
Napa Valley Winery Y Rousseau ventured up to Ukiah, Mendocino County to procure these Colombard grapes. Why Colombard, see my next paragraph. Drink as you would a Sauvignon Blanc – bright acid, no barrel flavor, citrus and orchard fruit-heavy and pleasing green notes. The Y Rousseau Colombard is similar yet different to Sauv Blanc: lemon & lime zest, jasmine, fresh celery and green banana on the nose at first. As it warms a little, ripe pear, mango and kiwi come out as well as a round, pleasing mouth feel. You can just drink and drink and drink this crisp white […]
¾ Pinot Grigio, ¼ Greco (Wine geeks, think Greco di Tufo white wine from Campania, Italy). Massican Gemina is an intense wine, full of palate-tickling acidity and all parts of the lemon (zest, juice, seed, and don’t forget the lemon blossoms!). It’s bright acidity/nervy energy and food-friendly mineral edge is what we’ve come to expect and want from Massican wines. More Information Owner/winemaker Dan Petroski launched Massican with the 2009 vintage (and I’m proud to say I was one of the first retailers to carry it when I owned Back Room Wines). The wines, all white, are made in the […]
This grape of Gascony, France origin is sporadically planted in Northern California. These vines are REALLY spread out (see note below) in Mendocino’s Redwood Valley. The Trinafour French Colombard is very high natural acidity (very tangy…some would say tart) is softened by neutral barrel fermentation and weekly lees-stirring before bottling. Smell and taste tart green apples, lemon/lime, grapefruit, fresh herbs, fresh pears. The leesy character comes out on the finish, giving the slightest fresh bread crust pleasure. Have this with raw oysters, ceviche, steamed shrimp with a citrus vinaigrette and young goat or sheep cheeses. More Information I have to […]
This is a delicious, light, crisp white wine from the Le Marche region in central Italy, Adriatic Coast on its east side. It’s a go-to fish wine of the area, and for Italian white drinkers everywhere. Smell and taste lemon zest, orange blossoms, tangy green apple skins & flesh, kiwi and nectarine. Bright for sure, but not to the level of cooler-climate wines like Loire and Mosel. This wine’s fleshiness makes for a nicely versatile wine to pair with most chicken, pork and fish dishes. For $17/bottle I will happily drink this anytime!
Zesty, zippy, “electric” white wine with an unmistakable “minerality” weaving through. Smell and taste lemon zest, citrus blossoms, Granny Smith apple (skin-on), crunchy pear and crushed chalky rocks. The best Fianos (like this) marry tangy with creamy a la bright Chardonnay (think Chablis) and dry Riesling. Similar, but different. The Vadiaperti is spot-on delicious and invariably a great introduction to crisp, southern Italian white wine for someone in your wine-loving clan. Fiano is grown is a small region in Campania, near Naples and the Mediterranean, south of Rome (it’s the SHIN of Italy). While Fiano has a long-storied history […]