This week’s blog/newsletter is not varietal-, location-, or style-themed. The focus is on some wines being featured this week in-store. Wines you may or may not be familiar with, and possibly turn your head and say, “Hmm, that is a wine to geek out on!”
Sunshine in a glass is a perfect description for the 2022 Francois Lurton Grenache Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc Le Hauts Janeil! Grenache Blanc is primarily found in Roussillon and it is used in white blends to add richness on the palate with lingering floral notes. Sauvignon Blanc has many characters, from herbal to floral, depending on where it’s grown and treated. The two paired together bring a wonderful, harmonious blend of exotic fruit and floral notes, citrus compliments, and nice acidity, making this a wonderful food-pairing wine with everything from chicken, light pasta, ceviche, or other seafood.
You are probably familiar with Pinot Noir, and know that some of the best in America come from Willamette Valley, Oregon, but have you ever had a Blanc de Noir? Yes, Pinot Noir is very often used to make a Blanc de Noir sparkling, but it also makes a great still wine, and what better area to try from than Willamette Valley? Unlike its red counterpart, this white or Blanc Pinot Noir is bright and crisp, and perfect for summer drinking! The 2021 Sun Break Nicolette White Pinot Noir is highly aromatic of white flowers, citrus, honey, Asian pear, and hints of flinty minerality that round this into a refreshing, very food-friendly wine. It is wonderful on its own as a starter wine or with appetizers, but would also be a great partner to salty foods like fried chicken, oysters, or truffle frites, as well as a Niçoise salad, or pasta with light cream sauces.
If you are familiar with Virginia Wines, then you are familiar with Viognier, because it does quite well in many regions of the state. Viognier can be a challenge to maintain and produce wine from, as it needs to be carefully cared for in the vineyard. In fact, there are select areas of the world where Viognier flourishes and some not so much, very much like Pinot Noir. If you want to know the benchmark for Viognier, you need to get to the region that has been producing it for years—the Rhone region of France. The 2022 Brotte de Pere & Fils Baies Borees Viognier displays the common characteristics of a Rhone Valley Viognier. As is typical of this region, this wine did not see any oak, and did not go through malolactic fermentation, in order to preserve the exotic fruit notes. The nose has aromas of white flowers, citrus fruit, and apricots. The palate is wonderfully fruity, yet balanced so as not to be sweet, and envelopes the exotic fruits as on the nose as well as a hint of citrus and brioche. Enjoy this alone, or a wonderful pairing is lemongrass shrimp, White stilton with mango and ginger, or butternut squash bisque.
Here is a real head turner and one to make you go “Hmm” just upon reading. Have you tried Furmint this summer? If not, you are missing out on a unique gem. In fact, it is so well-loved and respected in Hungary, they have initiated a holiday for it! It is well known as the base for the honey sweet Tokaji Aszú. However, this week’s feature at the store will be from Styria, Slovenia, the 2022 Kobal Furmint Šipon Old Vines, has been made into a dry, still wine. The bouquet is full of peach, fruit blossoms and herbs. The palate is reflective of the marl rich terroir, with great minerality that follows lemon zest and pith, apple, pear, and ripe pineapple. This makes for a delightful “summer in a glass” wine, perfect for a starter wine with light cheeses, or paired with white fish, vegetable dishes or chicken.
Get to know some new wines, or perhaps some different versions of what you know! Perhaps one of them will bring the wine “geek” out in you! Happy Summer drinking! Cheers!