Walking home from work, I decided to pop into a local, boutique wine shop. I was hesitant because it looked like a run-of-the-mill liquor store from the exterior, boasting “deli sandwiches,” “fine cigars,” and — oh yeah, right — “premium wines.” But thinking about the meal for one I had waiting at home, I peaked in to see if maybe they had a little something to accompany my evening plans. I hit the hole-in-the-wall jackpot at this place. Wines from reputable winemakers big and small lined the walls. Even better, suiting my personal needs, there is a whole isle dedicated to half bottles. And so it was here that I discovered Miner Family Winery and their delectable Viognier.
About the Winery: I’ve heard of Miner Family Wines before, but this is my first experience tasting their product. Their’s is a cute story. Dave Miner left his career in tech to take over Oakville Ranch Vineyards after his uncle, Robert Miner, passed away. It was here that he met his future wife, Emily Miner. After a few years in the industry, Dave decided to embark on his own label, becoming a custom crush client of Oakville Ranch. With the support of Emily, Dave eventually built his own winery — that same year the two were married. Unfortunately, Emily passed just a few years later from lung cancer. As a tribute to his wife and to continue the fight against cancer, Dave created “Emily’s” Cabernet Sauvignon, proceeds of which go towards The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
About the Wine: Miner Family Wines 2014 Viognier is made from 100% Viognier grapes harvested from the Steinbeck Vineyards in Paso Robles (62%) and the Naggier Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills (38%). The wine was fermented in 100% stainless steel.
Winemaker: Stacy Vogel
Flavor Profile: In the glass, Miner Family Wines 2014 Viognier is almost perfectly clear, with just a hint of sunlight yellow reflecting through a window pane. The aromas are equally spring-like — fresh-cut blades of grass, soft-petaled flowers, and a subtle hint of peaches still hanging from the tree.
The initial palate is just as smooth as these aromatics imply. A tingling minerality comes forward mid-palate and just lingers forever and ever into the ellipsis that is the finish. The flavors play up that spring time image portrayed in the visual and on the nose. It’s as if grandma’s garden just received the last bit of rain before the warm weather takes over: wet pink rose petals, white cherry blossoms just about to bud, soft fruits hanging from their tree stems (white peaches, apricots), and just the slightest hint of cashew or macadamia nut can be sensed in the back of the breath.
That same bit of nuttiness gives the wine a bit of a rounded body. Though quite subtle, there’s no denying that this Viognier has substance, structure, backbone. But it’s that acidity that comes mid-palate that really sticks with you, leaving your tastebuds on edge and your body warm from the alcohol.
A sip of Miner Wines Viognier is as comforting as sitting on a porch swing in the sun, staring off into the bud-breaking garden.
Food Pairing: I never lie to my readers. (Cheers, mates.) And the honest truth is that I enjoyed the Miner Family Wines 2014 Viognier with a very simple bean, cheese, and rice burrito. Yes, you could easily chose a more elevated meal, but this Viognier — in all it’s casual “back yard” elegance, pairs perfectly well with a mid-week meal as well. The softness of a burrito’s texture absolutely enhances that background roundness in the wine; the spices in the Spanish-flavored rice in conjunction with the wine’s acidity adds a fun kick to the palate; and the floral notes just give the whole experience an elegant appeal.
I would also add here that this would make the perfect picnic wine. Tea sandwiches, cheese and crackers, light charcuterie, would all be fun with Miner Wines Viognier. And, since it does come in half-bottle portions, it’s easy to pack as well.
More Info: As I mentioned, this is my first taste of Miner Family Wines. Given this experience I’m eager to try more of their Rhone-style wines. (They also have a line of both Burgundy and Bordeaux-style wines.)
I purchased the half bottle of Miner Family Wines 2014 Viognier at a local independent wine shop in San Francisco. (Retail $18). For more information about Miner Family Wines and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Miner Wines website.
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