Continuing the quest to educationally venture into the deep world of wine this week, I’ll be covering an exciting realm of alternative white varietals.
With a tremendous bounty of options crafted by the many talented California producers, we will dive deep into some icons as well as some up-and-coming players.
‘Diversity is the spice of life’, so go on and explore the many riches available and find your new favorite wine.
In this installment, a few of my all-time favorites like Gamling & McDuck, Massican and Benevolent Neglect make an appearance with style and delivery. While other renowned brands like Clos Du Val, Truchard Vineyards and Hill Family Estate bring a refreshing and much-welcome break from the classic wines from the Napa Valley with this bottlings.
I also included a couple producers that are relatively new in my world, such as Andis Wines and The End of Nowhere that thrive to produce wines with evocative notes from less traveled vineyard sites.
Whenever possible, try to find these wines directly from the producer or local retailers that are working hard by carefully selecting the labels and staying open for us to replenish our cellars.
2016 Robert Sinskey Vineyards ‘Abraxas’ Vin de Terroir Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard, Los Carneros ($36) A festival of citrus, tropical fruit and blossoms. Composed of four varietals grown in a small plot of biodynamically farmed vineyard in Carneros. The blend includes Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. An instant party that makes Asian and Mexican dishes dance.
2019 Massican ‘Gemina’ White Wine, California ($32) Dan Petrosky strikes again! Not an uncommon phrase in my world. This electrically charged blend is composed of two dissimilar friends — Pinot Bianco, commonly found in Northern Italy, in this case planted in the Napa Valley, and Greco, which has its roots in Southern Italy and for this blend sourced from Sonoma. A mineral cornucopia with tension and stamina with the right dose of lemon and chamomile.
2019 Clos du Val Riesling Petaluma Gap, Sonoma Coast ($30) A rare sighting from winemaker Ted Henry showcasing his skills with this grape sourced from this newly minted AVA that is gifted with cooler temperatures highly suitable for Riesling. This is a joy of a wine with all the bells and whistles, crisp Asian pear notes, lime zest and green pineapple awaken the senses into the promised land of lychee and melon.
2018 Benevolent Neglect Nelson Family Vineyards Riesling Mendocino County ($28) hold on to your helmets, Matt Naggy and Ben Brenner continue to deliver an exhilarating experience with this rich and provoking Riesling. Full of layers of beeswax and Graham crackers are lifted by szechuan spice, Meyer lemon and honey. Muscular and playful, bring on your heat game to pair with dishes like Khao Soi Gai.
2019 Hill Family Estate Stewart Ranch Albariño Carneros ($30) An excellent example of the potential of Iberian varieties grown in the flood zone in South Napa. Sharp and zippy like a Ford GT racing Le Mans with the characteristic orange zest Albariño notes with a blanket of sea spray and citrus acidity.
2018 Truchard Roussanne, Carneros ($28) A serious white wine with structure and bold notes led by crisp yellow apple, satsuma orange blossom and white pepper with a robust mouthfeel and plenty of flavor. No doubt this Southern French grape has found an excellent home at the Truchard Estate where it thrives.
2016 Gamling & McDuck Mangels Ranch Chenin Blanc Suisun Valley ($28) Where to begin? My secret affair with this wine flourished many years ago, crafted by rock star duo composed by Gabrielle Shaffer and Adam McClary. This is a wine that rocks my world every time, a true testament of ageability and a strong rival to its Loire Valley cousins. A basket of tropical paradise and scrumptious magnitude with layers of white flowers and tingly sensations.
2019 The End of Nowhere ‘Say Something’ Albariño, Vista Luna Vineyard San Joaquin County ($30) ‘This is not the wine that you bring home to Mom’ full of layers of unapologetic ripe pineapple and bright lemon with rich texture and consequence. Crafted by young and enthusiastic winemaker Chris Walsh with partial skin fermentation paying homage to ancient winemaking techniques. Put on your seatbelts and enjoy the ride with your eyes closed, a beauty suitable for the adventurous kind.
2019 Andis Wines ‘Painted Fields’ Cuvée Blanc Sierra Foothills ($25) Produced by the Atelier Melka dream team led by Philippe and Maayan this ‘out of the box’ magic in a bottle delivers a unique orchestra of aromas and flavors that make your senses rejoice. The blend is unique and exciting made up of Vermentino, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Semillon and Arinto makes for an excellent everyday afternoon wine. This is a great example of quality winemaking combined with the excellent vineyard sources available in the Sierra Foothills.
I thoroughly enjoyed this in depth exploration of distinctive treasures driven by passion and produced in small amounts. Until next time, Cheers!
Eduardo can be reached at email@example.com.
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