Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Unexpected Napa Valley Wines On Social Media

The Napa Valley Vintners Association teamed up with The Daily Sip and the Sip’s editor-in-chief Karen MacNeil for a virtual wine tasting event which featured a sextet of “Unexpected Napa Wines.” What, exactly, are unexpected Napa wines? @TheDailySip tweeted the answer during the event. “We looked for classic estates making unexpected wines,” they chirped. “The #Napa Valley is a hotbed of American innovation,” they continued. “Traditions thrive and evolve while winemakers explore the new.”

The six wines tasted ranged from a mildly unexpected unoaked Chardonnay to quite unexpected California Albarino, Chenin Blanc and Petit Verdot to Fumé Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon - which I would say are far from unexpected in Napa Valley.

The #SipWithKaren wines:

  • Alpha Omega 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Artesa 2014 Albarino.
  • Cornerstone Cellars 2013 Chenin Blanc
  • Robert Mondavi Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Robert Mondavi Winery 2013 Fume Blanc
  • St. Supery 2010 Dollarhide Petit Verdot

I was invited to join this party and was provided samples of the wines for that purpose. I will cover them separately here in the coming weeks on Now And Zin Wine.


Alpha Omega 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay

Robin Baggett founded San Luis Obispo producer Tolosa Winery in 1997, and moved to Napa Valley in 2006 with his wife to found Alpha Omega. He has been a grape grower for years and now dabbles in cattle, too. Alpha Omega winemaker Jean Hoefliger is Swiss. His wine education took him from the Alps to Bordeaux and South Africa before landing in Napa. Michel Rolland is the consulting winemaker.

The Alpha Omega Chardonnay Unoaked Napa Valley 2013 prompted plenty of early comment on twitter during the first part of the tasting session. @TheAlcoholProf liked that the wine is "pleasantly acidic with caramel apple & citrus." Our fearless leader, @KMacWine, tweeted, "I like the Unoaked #Chardonnay a lot. It’s a wine that’s effortless to drink all day long." @DrinkWhatULike thought the wine "brings it with texture! Pear and baked apple for days." @timlemke Typed that "Unoaked Chardonnay is not unexpected to me. I expect to see more in the future, because it's awesome." He's right, too. @FeelingDuckie messaged "Must be #summer! All I can think about when I smell this #chardonnay are lemon-lime popsicles." Do I hear the good humor man's music? @TheDailySip cited "Ripe banana, yellow apple, cantaloupe, and a savory touch of squash blossom." On the unoaked aspect, @myvinespot said, "I'm totally expecting to see "Tree Free" on a wine label now instead of un-oaked, naked, or stainless."

The light yellow tint of the Alpha Omega '13 Unoaked Chardonnay foretells the nose of apples and apricots with a touch of Meyer lemon. There is lemon and tangerine on the palate with just a hint of dark earthiness. An excellent acidity and a crisp clean finish carries the fruit a long way. More than simply "clean" or "refreshing," which the wine is, this is a rather complex white that calls for a bit time to ruminate on its attributes.


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