After a month or so of radio silence TWR is back on line. I have had a month of intense activity on the home front as we moved out of our house after 25 years and moved into a wonderful apartment with lots of space and light. It’s called downsizing and while it took an effort of herculean proportions to accomplish, it has been a liberating experience.
In any case, it was not in the cards during this time to keep readers up to date on the goings-on at your local Vintages corner. Apologies for the gap in service but I report you didn’t miss much while I was off line.
This weekend signals the start of the summer season and it is fitting that my value selections from the June 27 release are all whites – light, bright, aromatic and fresh. In almost ten years of reporting, this is a first!
British Columbia, Okanagan Valley – VQA Okanagan Valley Sperling Gewurtztraminer 2013
Ann Sperling makes very fine aromatic whites and this wine is a good demonstration of the point. The 2013 has the basic elements of the aromatic white grape, Gewrztraminer (lychee, orange blossom, honeysuckle, ginger), with a lighter, crisper character than found in Old World versions (try the Alsatian Bestheim Classic Gewurztraminer 2013 in this week’s release – it is fat and fuller-bodied – with only modest acid…). This wine is verging on off-dry but with its bright acid, it comes across in a balanced, lean fashion. Serve as an aperitif or with barbecued chicken.
Dry, white wine – $21.95 per bottle (Pan-American feature wine)
Argentina, Calchaqui Valley, Salta – Colomé Torrontés 2013
Along with Gewurztraminer, Torrontés ranks up near the top on the aromatic scale – the only difference: the T grape can vary wildly in its character, depending on how carefully the grape is grown (buyer beware…). The Colomé delivers what one wants in a Torrontés and shows assertive notes of rose, grapefruit, and spice on the nose and palate. The weight is medium-light, the mouth feel is lean and the acid is crisp and bright. The finish is long with a slight astringent minerality. This is an excellent candidate for afternoon sipping before you turn on the grill.
Extra dry, white wine – $13.95 per bottle (Pan-American feature wine)
France, Bordeaux – AOC Bordeaux Château Saint Gènes 2013
This is an entry-level Bordeaux white made as a blend of the white grapes of the region: Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It has expressive fruit with no oak treatment to diminish the bright fruit. Citrus fruit dominates along with some green apple, melon and pear. The acid is forward and juicy making this an excellent accompaniment to grilled chicken or bone-in pork chops. This is a great value.
Extra dry, white wine – $15.95 per bottle
France, Southern Rhône – AOC Luberon Marrenon Doria 2012
The Luberon has always been a weak sister zone, sitting next door to the more recognized Côtes du Rhône and its related crus. The lesser status of the appellation is partly due to the dominance of caves co-operatives in the local industry. Caves co-operatives come in different styles, however, and Marrenon is distinctive operation in that its vineyard manager oversees the activities of its member growers to ensure proper practices are followed so that quality fruit is delivered to the winery. This wine is a blend of several regional white grapes, dominated by Vermentino. It shows a nose of ripe tree fruit with spice and white flowers. The palate is clean, bright and lively. Peach, apricot, and chalky minerals are accompanied on the palate by slight lees notes. This is a complex wine that will please.
Extra dry, white wine – $17.95 per bottle
Germany, Pflaz – QmP Anselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Spätlese 2012
Siegerrebe is a grape rarely cultivated and in general decline due to its character; high levels of sugar and low acid. This edition is an exception: while it is sweet (94 g/L of residual sugar) the acidity is enough to provide a balanced palate. The nose and palate are rich with ripe peach, spice, orange marmalade and some of the sweet, floral Muscat character that is a marker of the grape. The alcohol is low, the body is light and there is a light spritz. This is a garden party wine or a dessert wine… with a difference.
Sweet, white wine – $15.95 per bottle
Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2015.