Andrew Murray Enchante 2017$29.00
Andrew Murray fell in love with the emerging Rhône varieties, Syrah and Viognier, in the late 1980’s while traveling through France’s Rhône Valley. Returning to the states, he earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis’ renowned wine program, then founded his eponymous Santa Ynez winery and vineyard. This uncompromising winemaker’s lucid philosophy is summarized succinctly in three words: Passion – Evolution – Wisdom; the Passion of an unflagging love affair with Rhône varieties; the Evolution of winemaking techniques where even the most subtle nuance is divined from each new vintage; and the Wisdom gained with 20 years of winemaking experience.
The French say “Enchanté” when they greet each other. Andrew Murray has named the Estate-Grown, 2016 Enchante white blend of Grenache Blanc and Roussanne after this expression. These two varieties are truly yin and yang. Roussanne is rich and unctuous, while Grenache Blanc is bright and racy. The two complement each other perfectly!
Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc 2018, Central Coast$23.00
Jim Clendenen graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with High Honors in Pre-Law in 1976. It was during his “junior year abroad” in 1974, while turning 21 in France, that he discovered life beyond tacos. After graduation, a one month stay in both Burgundy and Champagne convinced him to attempt a career in wine rather than continue on to law school. Beginning with the 1978 harvest, Jim Clendenen was assistant winemaker at Zaca Mesa Winery for three vintages, and in 1982, started his own winery – Au Bon Climat. The 2018 Au Bon Climat Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc, Central Coast is simply delightful – a great summer refresher! This is the wine, once discovered, that will become your house white- it's just too thoroughly agreeable to ignore. A refreshing, dry white with citrus lemon/lime notes, flinty minerality, and crisp finish. In the mouth the wine is rich and textural, from the time spent on lees in the barrel. This is a great match with shellfish of any kind, or richer white meats such as turkey or duck.
Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc 2018$110.00
Beaucastel’s white, the 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc boasts lavish aromas of honeydew and tangerine. It’s full-bodied and round, lush and concentrated, with terrific length and presence on the palate. The 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc takes it up a notch, offering rocking notes of white peach, quince, crushed rocks, and honeysuckle. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a beautiful core of sweet fruit, a layered texture, and a great finish. It’s unquestionably another beautiful wine, and while 2018 was challenging for the whites, you wouldn’t know it by tasting this.
On the nose, this wine reveals hints of candied ginger and grapefruit zest. Ample and complex on the palate, it develops aromas of apricot and mango before a long lingering finish enhanced by a delicate bitterness.
Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes 2018$198.00
The 2018 Châteauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes combines luxurious richness—honeyed pineapple lushness—with clean, vibrant zest and brine notes to make for an interesting juxtaposition in its youth that demands time in the cellar to meld together into a harmonious whole. In one of the mysteries of the wine world, it will then stay on that plateau of decadent maturity for a decade or more.
The 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape Blanc Roussanne Vieilles Vignes is all Roussanne and comes from a three-hectare parcel of vines planted in 1901. It offers a heavenly bouquet of white currants, white flowers, honeysuckle, and toasted bread that opens up beautifully with time in the glass. Rich, full-bodied, powerful and concentrated, it stays perfectly balanced on the palate and has that rare sense of richness paired with freshness that’s the hallmark of truly great wines.
Bokisch Garnacha Blanc 2017, Vista Luna Vineyard$19.00
Although Markus Bokisch was raised in California, he spent his childhood summers in Spain with his family. In the Spanish tradition, he was given wine with water at meals.Little did Markus know, his tastebuds from then on were programmed towards Spanish wines. Using their Spanish connections Markus and Liz Bokisch began importing budwood and in 1999 they planted the Las Cerezas Vineyard, known as their “motherblock,” of Tempranillo, Albariño and Graciano. Garnacha Blanca, known as Grenache Blanc in France is the white berried form of Garnacha which originated in Spain’s northeast corner. It is medium bodied and aged in a small percentage of neutral white oak barrels. It is a perfect balance of fresh fruity characters such as white peaches, orange blossom and thyme combined with smooth creamy flavors of melon and apple cider. This drought friendly grape grows fabulously in California! Garnacha Blanca: Perfect summer wine. Soft & silvery on the tongue. A lovely minerality that lingers on the palate in the very best way. Enjoy with grilled scallops and asparagus and say hello to heaven! 260 cases produced.
Capo Creek Grenache Blanc 2018$34.00
Rich and well balanced with the perfect amount of acidity for pairing with high flavored foods, but not too much to make you want to grab your TUMS (T). This selection is so approachable that even the non-white lovers become fans. We like it with Mexican, especially Shrimp Diablo. But then again, we like everything with Mexican.
Carol Shelton Coquille Blanc 2018, Paso Robles, CA$24.00
Carol Shelton originally created the 2008 version of this wine to celebrate the 10th anniversary as a winery in 2010. With the exotic complexity and food friendliness of a white Rhone-style blend, it is a “red-drinker’s white,” a complex alternative to the more one-dimensional white varietal wines like Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. It is the perfect complement to its namesake shellfish, as well as chicken or pork dishes with buttery-creamy sauces. Exotic nose of spicy pears and white peaches, almond paste/marzipan, a touch of honeysuckle perfume. Multi-dimensional, a hard-to-describe range of aromatics, intriguing, almost mysterious! In the mouth it is crisply dry yet creamy and round and full-bodied, with nice almond paste on crisp-yet-juicy pear fruit. 46% Grenache Blanc 24% Roussanne 24% Viognier 6% Marsanne. 1203 cases produced.
Conundrum White 2016$23.00
Blending wines was almost unthinkable when Conundrum White was born more than 25 years ago. Since then, this wine has attracted a loyal following and remains as inventive as ever. While the exact blend is under wraps, every vintage includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, and Viognier. Conundrum White is amazingly versatile, with intriguing tropical notes and natural acidity. Best served chilled. A light straw color, the 2016 vintage features scents of honeysuckle, wildflowers and lemon blossoms, layered with star fruit, honeydew and a trace of flinty gunpowder. Entry is crisp, with a vibrant acidity that flows into a rich roundness on the mid-palate. Citrus and pear mingle with exotic flavors of mango, coconut, and pineapple. This wine’s structure and texture give it multiple dimensions – lush yet fresh, subtle yet rich. A kick of bright acidity on the finish underscores its lively character, while notes of ripe fruit entice you back for another sip.
“I find it hard to believe that this wine has been around for more than a quarter of a century. I was there and tasted the first Conundrum, and I found it quite fascinating then It was a white wine of a different sort and wine that I needed a little time before understanding it. Aromatic and tantalizing, Conundrum has always been a unique wine. The 2016 vintage is quite appealing. Its aromas and flavors of fragrant fruit, bright candy, and ripe melon make it a wine that would pair superbly with hot, spicy, and sweet dishes. Try it with a roast chicken breast accented with pickled scallions, water chestnuts, celery, cilantro, and a splash of chili oil.” Wilfred Wong
Eyrie Pinot Gris 2017, Dundee Hills, Oregon, USA$22.00
In the winter of 1965, after earning a degree in viticulture and enology from UC/Davis, and research in Europe, 25-year old David Lett moved to Oregon “with 3,000 grape cuttings and a theory”. It was the first planting of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and related varieties in the Willamette Valley, and the first Pinot Gris in America. The Eyrie Vineyards, founded by David and Diana Lett in 1966, is located in the Red Hills of Dundee, about 30 miles southwest of Portland. It was named for the red-tailed hawks who make their home (EYE-ree) in the fir trees at the top of the vineyard. The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Gris 2016 offers a medium gold color and intriguing aromas of straw, mango, tangerine and melon, with notes of jasmine and camellia, smoke and loam; after a few minutes in the glass, it unfolds hints of crystallized ginger and candied quince. The wine is supple, almost lush with slightly roasted and quite spicy stone-fruit flavors, tempered by star-bright acidity and a faceted limestone element. The finish brings in some chastening grapefruit astringency.
Gramercy Cellars Viognier 2018, Washington$24.00
An interesting opportunity presented itself to Gramercy Cellars to source fruit from a beautiful vineyard called Antoine Creek, just east of Lake Chelan along the banks of the Columbia River. The Lake Chelan AVA is a much cooler region of Washington and is ideal for white wines, especially Viognier.
Viognier is a tricky grape to grow in the vineyard. In hot sites, the grapes tend to get fully mature on the sun side of the cluster and completely under-ripe on the shade side of the cluster. In Condrieu, some producers are known to rotate the clusters to get the backside ripe. The grapes coming from Antoine Creek Vineyard have consistent ripeness throughout the cluster, most likely a product of being grown in a cooler area. The 2017 is a perfect balance of texture and elegance. The nose is floral, tropical and mineral. This wine has a very long mouthfeel with intense acid structure but remains balanced.
Fermented 75% of the wine in stainless steel to give the wine freshness and 25% in neutral wood with battonage to add texture.
Exotic tree and tropical fruits – peach, apricot, passion fruit, guava, mango. Bursts with white flowers and Asian spice. Fresh, clean and extremely aromatic. Explosive acidity, especially for Viognier, with mid-palate richness while still remaining light on the palate. Very concentrated and complex.
King Estate Pinot Gris 2018, Willamette Valley$24.00
The flagship wine from King Estate Willamette Valley – Pinot Gris 2018, reflects an excellence recognized worldwide. Made with the best selection of grapes each year, the 2018 vintage was sourced primarily from King Estate’s certified Biodynamic® and organic vineyard as well as a handful of like-minded sustainably-farmed vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley. 2018 King Estate Pinot Gris is a beautiful example from a classic Oregon vintage. This wine has a pale straw color with glistening edges. Fresh fruit aromas of ripe pear and lime zest are followed by pleasant honeysuckle notes. On the palate, there are lively flavors of nectarine, ripe pear and fresh cut pineapple, highlighted by violet tinges. This is a rich, viscous Pinot Gris, with a striking balance of ripe fruit and fresh acidity. Enjoy now and until 2028.
Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc 2017$29.00
The 2017 Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc from Mendocino is the third vintage from the Norgard Vineyard in Mendocino County in Northern California! The inspiration remains the Loire Valley in France, where Chenin Blanc gained its fame. The source for this bottling comes from a region in Mendocino referred to as the ‘Talmage Bench.’ The vineyard, located on the east side of the Russian River in an area that has excelled in growing Chenin Blanc for many years, was planted in 1980 on a gentle, north-facing slope with excellent aspect that allows for great drainage and even ripening without too much heat accumulation. Lang & Reed 2017 Chenin Blanc – Mendocino has a white peach flash of aroma that expands to include scents of fresh apple and linden blossom. The flavors are equally expressive, with peach and stone fruit flavors and a healthy hint of honeycomb. The finish is extremely brisk with keen acidity but yet with a lingering texture that bodes well for additional complexity with some cellar time. At this stage this is a perfect wine for spring afternoons and summer evenings, paired with light cheeses and summer fare as well as opened for gatherings of good friends.