Friday, April 29, 2016

California White Wines: Shenandoah Valley

We have explored two Zinfandels of Bella Grace Vineyards, now let's try two of their white wines.  Bella Grace, as noted earlier, is in the Sierra Foothills region of Amador County.  The family-run business produces wine from 12 grape varieties harvested there.  Nearly seven acres of the estate are devoted to four different clones of sustainably-farmed Zinfandel grapes.

The ten-year-old winery is powered completely by solar energy and has been collecting awards since its first releases.  Bella Grace is one of nine producers on the Steiner Road wine trail.  Owned by husband-and-wife vintners Michael and Charlie Havill, the operation takes its name from their two grandmothers, Bella and Grace.


Bella Grace Shenandoah Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2015

The Bella Grace 2015 Shenandoah Valley Sauvignon Blanc is pale - Maine-in-the-wintertime pale - with a nose as fresh and grassy as a new-mown lawn. It's close to being New Zealand grassy, but the aromas stay completely herbal and don't get into the kitty box area. On the palate, limes and lemons dominate with a very slight nod to California ripeness. Minerals are readily apparent and the acidity is zippy, but not bracing.  It's a very enjoyable wine, especially for fans of California SauvBlanc.  Try it with chips and guacamole this summer.


Bella Grace Shenandoah Valley Vermentino 2015

Vermentino is one of my favorite white wines, although I had never tried one, or even heard of one, from California before now. I usually have Italian versions, usually from Siciliy. This one is different and very enjoyable.

 A moderate 12.2% abv number makes this wine quite drinkable, and at $25 retail, it’s not too hard on the debit card. It is 100% Amador County Vermentino.

This beautiful, pale white has a wonderful nose of bright citrus, tropical fruit, minerals and salinity, although the ocean flavor is somewhat lower than found in Sicilian versions of the grape. The palate comes on a bit sweeter, with a Meyer lemon overlay on the minerals. The acidity is fresh and zippy, so it should do nicely next to a Caesar salad or, as a friend’s grandmother says, "a nice piece fish."


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