Viognier From Virginia

Originally published 1/3/2013 at Blogarhythms.

I went out to dinner recently and had a glass of wine I didn’t expect to see on the wine list.  Here’s the long and short of it.

Vineyard: White Hall
Varietal: Viognier
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: Virginia
Price: $18

Notes: It’s great to see and taste wines from unexpected places. Although Virginia is not well known for it’s wine, it does have a well-established wine industry that can bring some nice gems to the market. This Viognier has solid yet subtle citrus flavors at the fore with an intriguing mineral on the long finish. I’m not sure if it was the food I was eating along with it, but in the middle it presented like cool spring water. I’ll have to try it again (it I can find it) without the meal, and I think it would well be worth doing so.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Acacia Pinot Noir Makes Me Smile

I know there are many outstanding makers of Pinot Noir.  But of those I’ve had the opportunity to drink, Pinots from Acacia have been some of the best for me.

Vineyard: Acacia
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: California
Price: $13

Notes: The A by Acacia Pinot Noir 2011 is yet another solid performer in my book. I found an abundant core of cherry with hints of cinnamon and spice. The very light tannins add almost an effervescence on the tongue and a finish I’d describe as eucalyptus.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Saddle Up And Malbec

Here’s another wine impression from a night out for dinner.

Vineyard: Finca Sophenia
Varietal: Malbec
Vintage: 2010 Reserve
Appellation: Mendoza, Argentina
Price: $16

Notes: Let me begin my notes by saying that everybody has an off night, and maybe this was mine. At any rate, I found a medium-bodied red that showed a deep rich color in the glass. It had modest-to-moderate tannins. The primary flavors for me were dark currant, leather and oak. I, however, missed some of the other fruit and mint flavors that professional reviewers have attributed to this wine. It certainly wasn’t a bad wine by any means. And it would most definitely have made a good complement to a big juicy steak. Maybe my mistake was not having that steak along with the wine.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

What’s Good From Goosefoot Road

Although often considered a warm weather varietal (i.e. one that is drunk during warm weather), I enjoyed a bottle of this dry Riesling in January.

Vineyard: Fetzer
Varietal: Riesling
Vintage: 2010 Goosefoot Road
Appellation: California
Price: $9

Notes: I liked this wine by Fetzer. At 11.5% alcohol, this is truly a dry Riesling. Yet the wine still had a sweetness to it on the palate – as this varietal should. The flavors for me were abundant fruit flavors of peach (especially at the fore) and lime, a hint of apple, and a lively finish that reminded me of lime zest. I can see this wine being enjoyed as a nice little sipper on a sunny afternoon. Or it could easily be paired with a nice fish or lightly spicy chicken dish.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Dancing Bull Cabernet 2010

You know the old adage: don’t judge a book by it’s cover.  Well, here was a bit of a surprise for me.

Vineyard: Dancing Bull
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2010
Appellation: California
Price: $12

Notes: I like a good cab – especially when it’s cold outside.  Maybe that’s because I enjoy pairing a hearty cabernet sauvignon with the comfort foods I so often crave in the midst of winter.  But don’t make assumptions about this wine based on it’s label.  This is no stereotypical heavy, muscular cab.  Instead, in this offering from Dancing Bull wines I found a very pleasant medium-bodied red wine with loads of plum and dark cherry fruit on the tongue.  For me, it also provided plenty of oak and warm spice hints with very light tannins which give it a quick finish.  If you’re looking for a red to drink now rather than to hold and cellar, this one is definitely a “drink now” selection in my book.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.   See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Bella Sera Pinot Noir From Italy

I’m catching up on my tasting and notes after having been out of pocket for a bit.  Here’s another one!

Vineyard: Bella Sera
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: Provincia di Pavia, Italy (IGT)
Price: $9

Notes:   This Pinot has a dark red color in the glass and a very light weight on the tongue.  Flavors for me were primarily strawberry and plum fruit with notes of violets and chlorophyll (grass, if you will) as it ran the palate.  For such a light-bodied selection, it surprised me with a rather long finish which included a pleasant hint of prune.  I could see this as a nice replacement to a Chianti and served with a plate of spaghetti Bolognese or similar dish.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  Please see “About” for my full disclaimer.

Big House White 2011

It seems of late that the American market is becoming more interested in blends.  Or maybe it’s just the stores I frequent.  At any rate, I saw this selection on my local supermarket’s shelves and thought I would give it a try.

Vineyard: Big House Wines
Varietal: White Wine (blend)
Vintage: 2011
Appellation: California
Price: $8.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:   Big House Wines out of Livermore, CA brings us a blend that is quite a mash-up of grape varietals – many among the lesser known or lesser seen – including Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Malvasia Bianca, Orange Muscat, Marsanne, and Muscat Canelli.  Even with the Muscats, Big House has made a dry white at 13% alcohol.  I found it to be quite pleasing with flavors of pear and green apple, some hints of warm spices, a splash of  lime as it moved across the tongue, ending with some grass and honeysuckle on the finish.  It’s fairly light-bodied but surprisingly viscous on the palate.  At $9, why not serve it at a relaxed get-together with friends?  If nothing else, it’ll definitely be a conversation starter.  And I bet it will be enjoyed by anyone who can move past their loyalty to a particular varietal.

Important:  I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  Please see “About” for my full disclaimer.