Who likes a cool-climate Syrah? *Raises hand.* Syrah is one of the varieties that my partner in wine crime and I don’t agree on—meaning, he always wants it and I’m way picky about it. It was when I was working on an article for Edible Silicon Valley, discovering the Rhône wines of the South Bay (read: Where We Rhône: Wine Trends In Silicon Valley) that I discovered the broad range of styles that can come from the Syrah grape. And it was during an interview with renowned winemaker Ross Cobb that it dawned on me that I truly gravitate toward the subtle, but undoubtedly structured, Syrahs grown in cooler climates. “We’ve always known that this area (Sonoma Coast) is an outstanding place for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” Cobb said. “But I’ve always thought that it’s also an outstanding cool Northern Rhône climate here.” He’s right. (Read more: Technical Review: Anaba Wines).
Well, today I bring to you that experience—that experience of subtlety, finesse, structure, and a small snippet of the Northern Rhône with a taste of Radio-Coteau’s 2014 Las Colinas Sonoma Coast Syrah.
I think I mentioned before I’m becoming super picky with my Chardonnays. I can’t take them over-worked (over-oaked, too much ML, etc.) — let’s taste the fruit! One way to do that is to ferment and age the wine in stainless steel. Fresh, crisp, yet still a good balance of body…Cindy, girl, you did it again…
About the Wine: The Passaggio Wines 2018 Unoaked Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Namesake Vineyards located in Sonoma County’s Los Carneros AVA. The wine was, as mentioned, aged in 100% stainless steel tanks.
Flavor Profile: Warm, round comforting scents immediately as the wine is poured from bottle to glass. The Chardonnay emits a solid golden yellow in the glass, reminiscent of a classic Chardonnay — which this absolutely is not. Initial aromas are of yellow apples, apple blossoms, a hint of pollen and an almost pastry like decadence. But the palate could not be more different. Zing! with lemon-lime zest hit the tongue straight-away; a confident acidity rides evenly from start to finish; that “pastry” sensed on the nose becomes a mere background element, revealing itself in a more toasty than buttery flavor. Dominant flavors are of green apple and pear, white peach, perhaps a hint of apricot, and an over-riding floral perfume that both complements the fruit and elevates the delicacy of this uniquely refreshing Chardonnay.
Food Pairing: I loved that I was able to enjoy this Chardonnay over the course of a few days, pairing it with a ricotta cheese ravioli tossed with veggies and cream sauce as well as an Indian-style wrap and salad. Better yet, I enjoyed this wine during the work week. Unpretentious, unassuming, it’s peppy with flavors that act like the light at the end of a work-day tunnel, but light enough that you don’t feel weighed down or guilty for sipping it knowing you have to get up the next morning.
I also have to point out here that I love that Cindy’s white wines all come with screwcaps. It makes them a) much more inviting to open on a “I just feel like it” kind of basis and 2) [I think] makes the wine easier to preserve and thus enjoy over the course of a few days, as I’ve done with all of her recent white (and rosé) releases.
More Info: I received this bottle as a gift. (Cheers, Cindy!) Price: $36. For more information about Cindy, her wines, and to purchase wine directly (and stalk for the latest releases) please visit the Passaggio Wines website.
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**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**
AKA “orange wine.” I recently spoke to a veteran winemaker who suspects that the next winemaking ‘trend’ will be orange wine. Orange wine is made with wine grapes traditionally used to make white wine (like Pinot Grigio, Semillon, or Riesling) but it’s made in the way red wine is traditionally made — with skin contact.
This is a little sneak peek post. This wine isn’t officially on sale until next month, but hey, why not start planning your summer sipper shopping list now? In all seriousness, though, this wine is called passion because that’s what winemaker Cindy Cosco has—serious passion for her craft. Solid body, packed with complex flavors and textures, this is a full-on white wine blend for the kids that don’t think they like white wines or are hesitant to pair white wines with a substantial meal.