Tag: white wine

Clos du Val 2016 Estate Chardonnay

There are so many different styles of Chardonnay — from the crisp and refreshing, a result from 100% stainless steel fermentation and aging, to the full-out butter-bombs that occur from an abundant use of fresh oak and 100% malolactic fermentation. And then everything in between. How a Chardonnay tastes and feels is almost exclusively determined by the winemaker’s chosen process. Which Chardonnay you enjoy, well that is ultimately up to your personal palate. What I love about this Clos du Val Chardonnay is that it’s for the folks who are going to Dante’s fourth circle — the folks who can’t make up their minds. Soft palate, vibrant acidity, and depending on the temperature as milky (or not!) as you like.

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Left Coast Cellars The Orchards Pinot Gris 2017

I have no catchy introduction for this Left Coast Cellars The Orchards Pinot Gris 2017 other than to say this is a legitimate expression of the Pinot Gris grape. I’ve had those that are, for lack of a better word, watery, those that are too fruity, others that are just bland. But here you have the subtlety of aromas, the delicacy of flavors, and that suggestion of texture that makes a white wine sing. Cheers Left Coast — Pinot Gris isn’t just palatable, it’s enjoyable.

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Left Coast Cellars 2017 Estate White Pinot Noir

I first heard about white Pinot Noir from my friends and fellow writers who specialize in wines from the Northeast. Every picture I saw, every post I read, was about this “weird wine” made north of California. When I finally got my hands on one — Ghost Hill Cellars Pinot Noir Blanc — it was, indeed from the Willamette. And, lo, here we go again. I was excited to see this, to me, obscure expression of the varietal in my latest delivery from Left Coast — eager to taste another winery’s take on the theme. But now I have to wonder, is this exclusive to the Willamette? Or are there any California wineries producing this as well? Left Coast has done a good job of keeping my interest (and taste buds) piqued…

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Smith Madrone 2015 Riesling

So, not too long ago I voiced my frustration with California — or “new world” in general — Riesling. I feel like the majority of us have a stigma surrounding German Riesling, stereotyping it much like Gewürztraminer as a sweet wine. This is not without its merit, as the country is technically known for that style of white wine, but it’s because they were (originally) catering to the palate of the American demographic. And, so, I don’t know if it’s because of that Rhine region interpretation of our tastes, or our initial misunderstanding of our California terroir, but it seems like a lot of American Riesling were, up until a point, created with sweetness in mind.

Well thank goodness that this seems to be dissipating. California, even just within the last 10 to 20 years has seemed to develop a new understanding of terroir in regards to what grapes grow best in which areas. So, Riesling from Napa? I don’t believe I’ve had it before. And I, of course, had some doubts and hesitations. But that being said, Smith-Madrone has quality wines made by people who’ve been working to understand the land for decades. So, if Smith-Madrone says Napa Riesling, then I am, without a doubt, tasting Napa Riesling. Here we go…

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McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Viognier

I’m a Rhone girl. That’s a fact. I love Rhone-style wines and I think that winemakers who are truly focused on those varietals and understand where in California these grapes grow best, craft some of the most beautiful wines. California is no Rhone. Indeed, our West Coast, New World, expression is much more different than what you’ll taste from France. And I love that. I love that we have something that is simultaneously etched in wine history, but uniquely our own.

Charles McKahn, winemaker and co-owner of McKahn Family Cellars is one such winemaker whose passion is infectious. Though his family’s winery is based in Livermore, he’s used his years of experience working in wineries all over California to understand the variations of terroir and sources his Rhone grapes from regions that both grow quality fruit and showcase distinct character.

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