Proprietor Victor Alvarez may have a successful medical practice in Arizona, but that doesn’t stop him from coming to his estate winery in California’s El Dorado County every weekend. And it is this attention to detail that truly defines the Miraflores wines. Alvarez, along with his head winemaker Marco Capelli, practices Old World minimalism in the vineyard and in the winery — keeping each step in the winemaking process as natural as possible, from bud to bottle. 

About the Wine: All of Miraflores’ white wines are pressed whole-cluster and fermented using indigenous yeast and no malolactic fermentation. They are always aged in neutral French oak, further minimizing any outside influences.

13.8% ABV

Flavor Profile: Out of the bottle there’s a gentle waft of mandarin, pollen, soft yellow apples and a hint of something savory. The Miraflores Estate Viognier is near clear on the pour, settling into a soft baby yellow in the glass. The aromas are immediate as the wine flows from bottle to glass — it’s a soft perfume of white-petaled flowers like orchids, lilies, and lawn daisies. A deep breath in reveals some oaky-ness and a thin line of acidity. Swirl, and the wine reveals soft fruits: yellow peaches, apricot, apple and, at the top of the glass, a bit of grassy greenery.

On the palate the Miraflores Estate Viognier is soft, smooth, and reveals that the “something savory” sensed earlier is the vivacious ginger root. The dominant flavors are reminiscent of hearty pollen, smooth-petaled flowers, all surrounded by freshly watered grass  — this is truly a floral wine. Those fruits — apples, pears, peach and apricot — simply linger in the background complementing the flowers in the garden. The acidity of the wine comes in about a quarter of the way through, gaining momentum until that ginger-spice-kick during the long (long, long, long) finish. Let the wine linger too long in the mouth, swallow, and find an aftertaste that’s quite savory — a nod to that ginger tossed in a salad with lemongrass and almonds.

Food Pairing: I paired the Miraflores 2014 Estate Viognier with a plain cheese quesadilla and an arugula salad. Loved that the cheese brought out that bit of nuttiness that was, at first, only found in the aftertaste. Meanwhile, the smooth texture and the calming floral elements toned down the peppery flavor and harsh texture of the arugula.

Perfect pairing? For a mid-week meal yes. But the Miraflores Estate Viognier could easily pair well with a more elevated dining companion — I’m thinking shrimp scampi with an arugula-herb salad.

More Info: I received the Miraflores 2014 Estate Viognier as a sample for review. (Cheers Jolaine!) Retail: $24. For more information about Miraflores and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Miraflores Winery website.

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