Showing posts with label Orange Muscat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orange Muscat. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2023

California Sunshine In A Bottle

People who are looking for kosher wines should look into the lines offered by the Royal Wine Corporation. They import wines to the U.S. from all over the world and produce wines at their winery in Southern California. They have been in business for 175 years, dating back eight generations to their beginning in Europe. Their wines are top quality, as I have found through tasting a number of their bottlings through the years.

Royal's Director of PR and Manager of Wine Education Gabriel Geller says that this year "brings an abundance of exciting releases to complement every course" of holiday meals.

The 2022 Herzog Orange Muscat is one you'll save for dessert, most likely. It is a late harvest wine, meaning the grapes were picked after becoming super-ripe and loaded with sugary goodness. Head winemaker David Galzignato has reimagined Herzog's late harvest program, bringing a "fuller, more concentrated profile"  to both the Orange Muscat and the LH Zinfandel. They are calling their late harvest wines "California sunshine in a bottle."

The wine carries a low alcohol number of 8.5% abv, but a high residual sugar number or 7.3% by weight. The retail price is $25 for a full-size bottle.

This wine has a beautiful, soft orange color. The nose has notes of honey, candied apricot, and aromatic flowers. The palate is sensual and sweet, showing plenty of sugar but hardly any acidity. It is a viscous sip that rolls around in the mouth like a drink of cream. Have it with dessert, or even as dessert, really. 

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Orange Wine Of The Earth

The Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Orange 2022 is labeled, unofficially, as "skin contact wine of the earth." The orange color comes from fermenting white wine grapes on their skins, which has become a fairly trendy trick for winemakers in recent years. 

The "le cigare" in the name refers to the French term for UFO. The back label tells an abbreviated version of the story about legislation put on the books in the Rhône Valley back in the 1950s. The law banned UFOs from landing in the vineyards. It appears to have worked.

This orange wine was made from 80% Grenache Blanc grapes, 10% Grenache and 10% Orange Muscat. The grapes were grown in a handful of Central Coast vineyards: Beeswax, Windfall, Loma del Rio and Carrasco. The label says that Le Cigare Orange is vegan friendly and gluten free, carries alcohol at 10.5% abv and cost about $15 at my local Whole Foods Market a couple of weeks ago. 

This wine has a beautiful copper color in the glass. The nose is laden with minerals and stone fruit, as one would expect from a white wine. The mouthfeel leans a bit toward red wine territory, or at least a crisp rosé. Red fruit appears in the flavor profile, along with apricots and peaches. There is quite a bit of acidity and freshness to the sip. The finish is long and clean. 

Friday, October 4, 2019

This Muscat Is No Sweetie

Murrieta's Well Estate Vineyard, in California's Livermore Valley, has a history almost as long and rich as the state of California itself.  The vines of the Murrieta's Well estate were first planted in 1884 by Louis Mel with cuttings from Chateau d'Yquem and Chateau Margaux, says the winery.  Mel sold the property, lock, stock and wine barrel, to Ernest Wente in the 1930s, and it's still part of the Wente Family estate.  Today, winemaker Robbie Meyer personally selects grapes from all over the five hundred acres.

He says there is "nothing quite like growing fruit in the vineyard, caring for it in the winery and crafting it into something people can enjoy."  That something, says Snooth, is food-friendly wine, the stuff of which Meyer prides himself.  Through the growing, the harvesting and the fermentation, Meyer says blending is where he sees the real art of winemaking.

The 2018 Murrieta's Well Dry Orange Muscat is not a dessert wine.  Made from Hayes Vineyard grapes, Meyer says the wine exhibits the wide variety of soils and elevations found in that parcel. The 2018 vintage was warm with no heat spikes, which allowed for a lengthy hang time.  The grapes had plenty of sunshine to bring out their floral aspects.  Meyer says the decision to make a dry wine from Orange Muscat grapes was partially influenced by the fact that the grape variety is typically low-yielding, both in quantity and berry size.  By the way, he says the "orange" in the grape's name comes from its coloring at harvest.  The wine was steel-fermented and aged for three months.  Alcohol is quite ripe at 14.6% abv and the retail price tag reads $38.

This wine has beautiful floral notes, and considering the grape, one might think a dessert wine is in the glass, or maybe an Albariño or Gewurztraminer.  That's not happening, though.  This Orange Muscat is completely dry.  The palate shows lime notes in an orange-laced and wonderfully acidic setting.  Bring on the shellfish.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

The Whip - Livermore Valley White Wine Blend

Winemaker Robbie Meyer took to Snooth recently to discuss the latest vintages from Murrieta's Well, in California's Livermore Valley.

The vines of the Murrieta's Well estate vineyards were first planted in 1884 by Louis Mel with cuttings from Chateau d'Yquem and Chateau Margaux, says the winery.  Mel sold the property, lock, stock and wine barrel, to Ernest Wente in the 1930s, and it's still part of the Wente Family estate.  Today, Meyer personally selects grapes from all over the five hundred acres. 

He says there is "nothing quite like growing fruit in the vineyard, caring for it in the winery and crafting it into something people can enjoy."  Through the growing, the harvesting and the fermentation, Meyer says blending is where he sees the real art of winemaking.

He sat in with a group of invited wine writers and helped us sip through the Murrieta's Well Sauvignon Blanc, dry rosé, white and red blends and a pre-release of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Murrieta's Well The Whip 2016

The Whip starts out as a Bordeaux Blanc, but bends toward the Rhône about halfway through.  The grapes are a fairly even split of five estate-grown varieties - 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon, 21% Chardonnay, 12% Orange Muscat and 10% Viognier.  The wine's alcohol level rests comfortably at 13.5% abv, 297 barrels produced and the retail price is $26.

A portion of the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were fermented in oak to give them extra roundness. Then, 14 months aging in barrels added even more softness.

The wine looks pale gold in the glass, with green shadings showing.  Its nose is a mixture of orange blossoms, apricots, light grass and earth notes.  The palate offers lovely stone fruit and citrus.  The flavors are pleasing and the acidity is easily racy enough for a salad or egg dish.  In fact, I think having it with Sunday brunch would be perfect.  The grapes here are Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Chardonnay, Orange Muscat and Viognier, so it's a real vineyard party in a glass.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Proper White Wine - Bonny Doon Gravitas

Bonny Doon’s companion wine to their “A Proper Claret” red blend is just as much a delight. As with that red tribute to Bordeaux, Randall Grahm’s salute to white BDX gives old-world winemaking a new-world touch.

The 2014 Gravitas is a blend of 54% Semillon, 43.5% Sauvignon Blanc and 2.5% Orange Muscat grapes from five Central Coast vineyards - Yount Mill, Jack McGinley, Steele, Fortress and Ventana. Grahm advises that this wine will cellar well for another five years. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and Gravitas sells for a modest $16.

Notes on the label, as with A Proper Claret, are provided by Grahm's alter-ego Reginald ffrench-Postalthwaite. The notes describe - comically - the difficulty in finding a white wine with proper gravitas, with a few "blimeys" and "crikeys" thrown in for authenticity's sake.

The wine has a pretty golden tint and a savory nose featuring tangerine, Meyer lemon, a touch of lanolin and a bit of a floral note. The palate shows fabulous salinity - a Grahm hallmark - with citrus and an extremely refreshing acidity. The weight is great, too. It fills the mouth fully.

Pair this wine with any chicken dish - a roasted chicken with some roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips, for instance. Pasta with cream sauce, salad with blue cheese dressing or a nice piece of fish will go great with it as well. It’s a natural, by the way, for Thanksgiving.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Blended White Wine Perfect With Spicy Dish

Blended wines are fun. When you know what the grape is, there's no guesswork - unless you want to guess whether your Pinot was juiced with a bit of Syrah. In a blend, especially when the grapes used are not telegraphed on the front label, you have the enjoyment of ruminating while trying to figure out what they are. If you don't think that's fun, you probably are not reading a wine article in the first place.

Cornerstone Cellars managing partner Craig Camp thinks they are fun, too - to make, not just to drink. He can appreciate a varietal wine as well as anybody, but "when you start out to make a blend, he writes, "the only rules are your emotions. What is it about the wine world you want to touch?" In the case of Cornerstone's White Rocks!, they decided to reach out and touch a lot of sweet, ripe fruit.

The 2014 White Rocks! by Cornerstone features - spoiler alert - Orange Muscat and Viognier in the blend. With those grapes in play, we would normally expect a sweet ride, and that is what we get. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also appear in a wine that keeps alcohol moderate, at 12.5% abv, and price low, at $15.

Yellow gold and aromatic, the 2014 White Rocks! by Cornerstone shows a nose full of little white flowers, nectarines, apples and citrus. The palate is just as lovely, just as fruity. Sweet peaches, nectarines, oranges and a shade of tropical fruit make for a festive feel, while a gentle acidity allows plenty of space for spicy food pairings.

Camp likes the explosive fruitiness of White Rocks! paired with Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and all variations of Chinese cuisine. "A good old American BBQ is not bad either," he adds. I loved it with smoked cheddar. It's a great sipping wine, too.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Kalyra Orange Muscat 2006

Dessert wines get a bad rap from "serious" wine drinkers.  Those who like a dry red's tannins puckering their lips into a fish face simply don't think the sweet side brings much to the table.  That's OK.  To each, his or her own.  Most of the wine I drink is dry, and the dryer the better.  But I pulled a bottle of Orange Muscat from the rack the other night and it reminded me just how nice a good dessert wine can be.

Kalyra Winery, up Highway 154 in the pastoral Santa Ynez Valley northwest of Santa Barbara, makes great dessert wines.  They make some pretty good dry wines, too, but it was their dessert wines Denise and I fell in love with first.  Their Orange Muscat is one we have had through several vintages.  This 2006 has been in the wine rack for some time now, drawing attention to the shameful neglect I have shown the sweet nectar.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Madeira, California.  Fortified to a 15% abv number, this viscous liquid is a rich, golden color and so thick and heavy it almost tries to stay in the glass.

On the nose are flowers, honey and apricot candy.  The palate shows even more honey, more apricots and some orange peel notes that play off the sweetness beautifully.

Kalyra makes a really lovely dessert, to be sure.  It can carry it's own weight, though, with a nice acidity that makes it pair well with cakes, tarts and the occasional pistachio ice cream.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Summerland Winery Orange Muscat 2008

Summerland Winery, just east of Santa Barbara, is better known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay than Orange Muscat, but after tasting this one in their tasting room I had to bring a bottle home.  The tasting room is "seaside cute" on the outside, and "Santa Barbara rustic" on the inside.  Summerland Winery is the easternmost point on Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail, and is well worth a stop when you're passing by on your way to some other place.

The Orange Muscat's clear bottle has a label full of sunflowers, giving the look of a perfect invitation to summer.  The nose features apricots, or maybe a basket of overripe peaches.  It's lush, but not overly sweet.  Floral notes abound on the nose and the palate, with some honeysuckle and oleander. 

I know I'll be back in Summerland sometime during its namesake season, and I'll be looking for this great summer wine when I'm there.

Variety:  100% Orange Muscat
Appelation:  California > Central Coast > Santa Barbara County
Vintage: 2008
Alcohol Content:  12.5% abv
Price:  $17
Acquisition disclaimer:  Purchased by the author