Sunday, May 27, 2012
Viognier was touted as the next great white wine a few years ago when it was rediscovered after becoming nearly extinct in the late 1960s when only about 35 acres remained in its French homeland.
Today, there are several thousand acres of viognier grapes in California and new plantings elsewhere, but this wine from Michel Gassier comes from the southern Rhone region of France.
This grape falls somewhere between the aromatic gewürztraminer and the tropical fruit of chardonnay, bringing in elements of both. The wine has body without the benefit of oak aging, as it is fermented in stainless steel and aged on the lees. It showcases tropical fruit and citrus flavors.
Sherry: “Honeydew melon, lime and a hint of nutty almond finish.”
Chris: “Pineapple, peach and a hint of almond.” 3 stars
Available locally for about $12.
Coming next week: Apothic White
By Chris and Sherry Hardie
New labels come and go in the wine industry, but Ravenswood’s iconic three ravens with locked claws logo hasn’t changed since 1976.
That’s the year founder Joel Peterson was gathering his first vintage during a thunderstorm as ravens taunted him from the trees. This Poe-like scene proved the inspiration for the winery name and logo.
Ravenswood makes quality wines of all types, fromthe entry-level Vintner’s Blend series to single vineyard designations that are simply stunning. This cabernet is full of berry and spice flavors, nicely balanced with toasted oak. It affirms the winery’s slogan of “No Wimpy Wines.”
Sherry: “Fruity cherry, a touch of cocoa and a rose, floral finish.” 3-1/2 stars
Chris: “Cedar nose, cherry and plumflavors with a licorice finish.” 3-1/2 stars
Available locally for about $10.
Coming next week: Michel Gassier Les Piliers Viognier
Monday, May 14, 2012
There’s a story to tell in every bottle of wine, but the origins of Sin Zin are a great tale. It was first made in 1978 for family use only. The label represents a German etching from1843 meaning “The Horn of Plenty.”
The wine became a cult favorite when it was brought to market in the early 1980s. Then between 1984 and 1988 it was not produced in favor of a lighter zinfandel that had about the same success as New Coke. The wine returned in 1989.
This vintage from California’s Alexander Valley is deep and fruity, with a splash of petite sirah added. It’s very big and very smooth, just what a good zinfandel should be.
Sherry: “Big and bold with black cherry, raspberry and a touch of cocoa.” 3-1/2 stars
Chris: “Raspberry and cherry flavors layered in very smooth tannins.” 3-1/2 stars
Available locally for about $13
Coming next week: Ravenswood Cabernet
Sunday, May 13, 2012
The California winery that single-handedly put chardonnay on the map with one of the most popular wines in the country with its Vintner’s Reserve also makes other labels from its stalwart grape.
This chardonnay, sourced fromSanta Barbara and Monterey counties, is fermented by lot to preserve the vintage’s unique geographical influences and then blended before bottling.
We’ve always enjoyed KJ because it tends to produce more creamy chardonnays thanks to its fermenting process that includes malolactic fermentation, where the tart acid flavors are converted into a more buttery and textured finish.
That’s noticeably missing in this chardonnay, which is more about the crisp tropical fruit.
Sherry: “Notes of lime and a little hot. A hint of butter on the finish.” 2-1/2 stars
Chris: “Pineapple, citrus and apple with a bit of creamy finish.” 3 stars
Available locally for about $15.
Coming next week: Sin Zin
La Crosse Tribune wine of the week archives
Wine of the week reviews are property of the La Crosse Tribune. All other views on this blog are the opinion of Chris and Sherry Hardie