Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Celebrity Wine: Fergie And Dad Make Wine

Ferguson Crest is a six-acre estate winery in the quaint town of Solvang, California.  That’s in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley, where a lot of good wine is made.  Vintner Pat Ferguson and his daughter, Fergie Duhamel, founded the winery in 2006.  Pardon me if I divert from standard journalistic style and refer to Duhamel using the name by which she is more well-known: Fergie.

She has had quite a life so far.  The girl from Hacienda Heights was, according to Wikipedia, a cheerleader, straight-A student, spelling bee champion, and a Girl Scout.  She acted and did voiceover, then took to the stage as a singer, achieving huge fame with the Black Eyed Peas and as a solo artist.  She even has a line of perfume.  And now, with her dad, she’s in the wine business.

Besides having a strong affection for Fergie’s work, I love her for exempting me from sniffing at her “celebrity wine.”  She seems to have a genuine interest in wine, no doubt through her father’s love of it.  The publicity sheet tells me that Ferguson always had a keen interest in learning about different grape varieties and how terroir and climate affected the resulting wine.  He would hold blind wine tasting competitions at his dinner parties for family and friends, the perfect litmus test for determining one’s grape nerd status.  Anyway, I think it’s great when a rich, young celebrity helps dad realize a dream.

Winemaker and Syrah specialist Joey Tensley was brought on board in 2009 and gives his award-winning touch to the estate Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and “Fergalicious,” a red blend of Syrah, Grenache, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The boutique winery turns out limited-production wines - their 2012 Viognier amounted to only 210 cases.  It’s a 100% varietal wine that hits 14.5% abv on the alcohol scale and rings up at $27.50 on the cash register.  No new oak was used in aging and the grapes were whole cluster pressed.

My first impression: "Damn, this is good Viognier."  I know a little Viognier "never killed nobody," but this is "Beautiful Dangerous."  Tinted gold in the glass, it's a great looking wine.  The nose gives forth some nice pear, apple and honeysuckle scents, with a little herbal essence sneaking up, late in the sniff.  But wait, as they say on the two-minute-long commercials.  There's more.  The taste is truly amazing, and I don't often say that - or even think that - about Viognier.  Super-ripe peaches, nectarines and pears are offset by a wonderful green note.  It's "Glamorous," not "Clumsy."  It's a big wine, and not just due to a substantial alcohol content.  It feels big in the mouth and drinks big going down, with plenty of acidity.  If you are "not a white wine person," you should try this one.

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