Saturday, March 6, 2010

"They Got This Recession On" Wines, Part 12


Clay Station Viognier 2007

I discovered this wine at an Indian restaurant Denise and I frequent.  It was a restaurant that had traditionally offered only beer as an alcoholic beverage.  The proprietor - a young Indian man who is hip to the fact that wine has become seriously mainstream popular - decided to branch out.  I saw the wine list and expected, hoped, to find some treasures of the burgeoning Indian wine industry.  They were there, indeed.  But also calling my name was Lodi, California.

Anytime I see a wine from Lodi on a wine list, I am compelled to try it.  I love the mineral-laced wines made from grapes grown in that clay earth.  The whites from Lodi have a mineral profile that is hard to match.  The old stagecoach stop - Clay Station - is memorialized in the name on the bottle.  That dirt itself is even in the name.  It makes me think of that John Fogerty lyric, "stuck in Lodi again," and imagine that it may not be such an awful place to find oneself anymore.  At least if you've got four dollars for a bottle of Viognier.

Clay Station Viognier is one of those not-so-rare finds at the Trader Joe's grocery chain.  If you can only buy really inexpensive wine, buy it at Trader Joe's.  They have a store full of genuinely good wine at prices that are sometimes jaw-dropping.  And if you're trying to bust a recession, what better way to do it than with a $4 wine that's actually pretty good?

The nose is floral and aromatic, with a good sense of the minerals coming forth right away, too.  On the palate, the wine is viscous and fruity, but again the minerals act as a traveling companion.  Peaches is what the taste reminds me of, but not sweet, drippy peaches served in the summertime with homemade vanilla ice cream.  These peaches are a bit short of fully ripe, with just a hint of crunch to them.  The acidity is quite nice and the finish long.  It was great with Indian food, by the way.  At home, we paired it with cabbage and red onions sauteed in olive oil, and it made us glad we didn't go out to dinner. 

Variety:  100% Viognier
Vineyard:  Clay Station Vineyard
Appellation:  California > San Joaquin County > Lodi
Vintage:  2007
Alcohol Level:  13.5% abv
Price:  $4
Acquisition disclaimer: Purchased by the author