By Chuck Hill
Wines of the Week Archive
It certainly has been a seafood-wine-friendly summer here in the Pacific Northwest. My contacts at area wineries tell me that parched wine lovers are coming in looking for crisp Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Gris, fruity and floral Viognier and rich Chardonnays. I have some of each of those for you in today’s column. Chef Ted grilled some flavorful sea scallops to accompany our most recent tasting.
Winemaker Jason Gorski at DeLille Cellars crafted this flavorful Rhone white from grapes grown at Red Mountain in Washington State. High quality fruit yielded a high quality wine that was a favorite with my tasters. Look for complex aromas and flavors of citrus, mineral, fig, kiwi and honeysuckle. Some breathing time helps this wine shine.
If you haven’t penciled King Estate into your Oregon wine touring itinerary, now is the time to do so – a more elegant and informative experience you’ll not find in the Beaver State. While there, you might be offered a taste of this fragrant and fruity Viognier. Sourced from Southern Oregon, the wine offers honey and orange blossom with a tangy center of lemon and peach with lingering floral notes. It was the favorite Viognier of our tasting.
See last week’s column for a brief description of Abacela’s visitor center which is a highlight for Southern Oregon wine tourists. This rich Viognier offers ripe peach and citrus character followed by notes of earthy mineral on the finish. Food pairing with a rich seafood or chicken dish creates a complementary palate experience.
Desert Wind Winery in Prosser, Washington is a landmark on the I-82 Highway through the region. The high adobe walls keep the facility cool, and the enclosed The Inn at Desert Wind offers luxury rooms “inspired by the upscale hotels of Santa Fe, NM.” Tasting room is open daily 11-5. Taste the Desert Wind Viognier for a lovely floral-and-nectarine experience that pairs well with scallops and other seafoods.
David Traul and Lena Varner came together to create Ledger David vineyard and winery in the Southern Oregon town of Talent. It is named after their son and showcases an abstract logo representation of Orion’s Belt constellation, symbolic of unity, strength and connectedness. The ripe and peachy Viognier adds melon, lemon zest and honeysuckle for a great aperitif or accompaniment to seafood of all types.
Talented winemaker Pat Spangler makes this Chardonnay without oak aging, giving it a clean and crisp flavor to accompany seafood. Look for green apple, citrus and mineral that make it a perfect pairing with shellfish and finfish.
Alloro is the Italian word for laurel and symbolizes immortality and peace. Alloro founder David Nemarnik founded his vineyard in the southern Chehalem Mountains in 1999 on the Laurelwood series of basalt and loess soil. Alloro Chardonnay offers the taster some complexities found in Burgundian wines with anise, mineral and apple flavors.
Ledger David winery welcomes visitors to their tasting room a dozen blocks off I-5 in Central Point, Oregon – open noon to 5pm. Their medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc offers complex aromas and flavors of lemongrass, kiwi, citrus and flinty mineral with a food-friendly finish of crisp acidity.
This value-priced bottling from House Wine has a lot of appeal for summer revelers and those seeking a crisp wine to accompany fish ‘n chips, crab cakes or other fishy fare. Look for lemon-lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and flinty mineral.
The name Muscat on a wine label tends to pigeonhole the wine into a sweet and flowery sipper that has no place on the dinner table. However, Muscat wines have survived over a thousand years in Europe and are popular to this day. Winemaker Jason Fox crafts this Orange Muscat in a dry style that pairs superbly with scallops and other seafoods. Visit Locati Cellars tasting room in the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla.
This wine from the Wind Ridge Block of Chehalem’s Ridgecrest Vineyard represents the Austrian variety Grüner Veltliner – a soft and spicy variety with food-friendly character showing apple and pear with quince, white pepper and floral spice. Superb with shellfish and other lighter fare.
Wines from other areas
Hacienda Araucano is a partnership of longtime wine producers Jacques and François Lurton in Chile’s Lolol and Colchagua Valleys. The value-priced Sauvignon Blanc offers what all seafood lovers should appreciate – good fruit and good acidity. Aromas and flavors of asparagus, citrus and tropical fruits partner with crisp acidity and excellent structure on the palate to create a perfect wine for scallops, oysters, crab and other favorite treasures from the sea.
The Martinborough wine-growing region lies at the south end of New Zealand’s north island. (Marlborough is on the north end of the south island!) Grapes for the Estate Sauvignon Blanc come from two vineyard blocks known to add flavor and minerality to the resulting wines. Look for aromas and flavors of gooseberry, bell pepper, herbs and flinty mineral – superb with oysters and pan fried finfish.
Marlborough’s worst-ever wild fire on Boxing Day, 2000, burned 6,000 hectares for more than three days. It threatened the town of Blenheim (now known as Fireroad) as well as vineyards and wineries. This unique wine offers both the gooseberry aspect of NZ Sauvignon Blanc and the green olive character of California’s Central Coast – Marlborough meets Monterey and the winner is the wine lover!
Chateau St. Jean
Chateau St. Jean takes advantage of its association with many famous Sonoma Valley vineyards to produce exquisite wines from many varieties. The Durrell Vineyard lies in the Northwest corner of Sonoma Carneros, a cool growing region noted for its highly acclaimed Chardonnay fruit. Aromas of white peach, toasted brioche, melon and crème Brule lead to a rich palate of stone fruits, hazelnuts and spice.
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To find contact information for most of the wineries
in the above text,