Arrowood Viognier 2017
This vineyard block they source Viognier from, known as Wedding Hill, is a unique site; the vines are terraced in a concentric circle around a small hill on the famed Saralee’s Vineyard, which offers various exposures that give complex aromatics. While characteristically a floral wine, this release sings of jasmine, honeysuckle, and orange blossom. Complimenting the initial burst of floral aromas are notes of white nectarine, honey, and a touch of Bartlett pear. While lively and bright on the palate, the wine has a nice weight that coats the palate and lingers like a warm ray of sunshine.
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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!
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.
Gramercy Cellars Viognier 2019, 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 2019 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.