Showing posts with label apricot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apricot. Show all posts

Friday, May 21, 2010

La Clarine Farms Viognier "Orange" (2009)

Natural Wine Week in Los Angeles prompted me to finally go to Susan Feniger's STREET on Highland.  We have said for months we were going to go there, but, one thing then another.  Well, you know.

The impetus that finally put us in that room was a wine being offered for Natural Wine Week, a wine with the word "orange" in its name.

La Clarine Farm Viognier "Orange" came about this way, as described on their website:
 "Last Fall I found myself with the sudden offer of some viognier (from the Sumu Kaw vineyard, where we get that fantastic syrah we make).  I knew immediately that the grapes would be of top quality, and the idea struck me that to make wine from this difficult grape, I should just stop fighting it and let the grape completely be itself.  That meant (for me, in this instance anyway) fermenting this white grape like a red wine.  Like we ferment all of our reds - whole clusters (stems and all), foot stomping, natural yeasts. Let's extract all that great aroma from the skins, all those tannins, and let's see what happens.  Let's press it at dryness and age it in a neutral vessel.  Let's bottle it without filtration and with just a pinch of sulfites." 
The result of all that whole-cluster, foot-stomping, aroma-extracting treatment is a wine that, while not quite what I would call orange, is the color of beer.  I think it looks like hefeweizen, but more because of the cloudy quality it has in the glass.  The nose is honey-sweet, but with a beery edge.  On the palate I get the sense of a late-harvest wine, believe it or not.  It's a sort of apricot brandy feel.

I wondered how this wine would pair with our food, and was very pleased to note that it, in fact, made the food taste even better.  That says quite a lot, because Susan Feniger's food is pretty darned good to start with.  It paired very well with the unique opening dish, which was a small plate of popcorn ball made from currants and cumin, to the best of my discernment.

An appetizer of winter squash and popcorn - completely delightful in its own right - was pushed over the top in the pairing.  My lamb taquitos with refried white beans is where the wine really shone, adding even more depth to a dish that already sported a yogurt tzatziki and a chile paste on the side.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Consilience Roussanne Santa Barbara County 2006

On a recent trip to the Consilience tasting room in Los Olivos, I was mesmerized by their Roussanne.  Fellow wine blogger Erin McGrath (@vintwined) tweeted me on my favorable comments, mentioning that she had always heard that if it was high in alcohol, it was low on grace.  As I responded to her, I am not a fan of wine that is over-amped with alcohol.  And certainly, Consilience has a roster of wines that are not shy about their stratospheric alcohol levels.  But I always let my palate be my guide.  My palate told me to take home some Roussanne.

It is a beautiful, rich, golden color in the glass.  The nose is very floral, explosively so, featuring notes of honey and a flower stem component I find exhilarating.  The floral aspect hits me with not just the petals but the stalk, too.

The taste is vibrant.  I find apricot and honey in there with an almond paste flavor working the sidelines.  The wine had me at the color, but I found it delightful all the way to the nice, lengthy finish.

I had it with a simple lettuce salad sprinkled with pecans and feta cheese in oil and vinegar, and I loved the pairing.  I may have a new favorite white wine, despite the 15.9% abv number.  To be honest, I would not have guessed it to be that high.  It simply didn't taste like it.

The Consilience Roussanne contains 90% Camp Four Vineyard Roussanne, 5% Camp Four Vineyard Grenache Blanc and 5% Daniels Vineyard Viognier.  The bottle cost $20 in the tasting room.

Appellation: California > Central Coast > Santa Barbara County
Vintage: 2006
Alcohol Level: 15.9% abv
Acquisition disclaimer: Purchased by the author

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Panky Rose 2008

With the weather hopefully turning a little warmer, I'd like to revisit a very nice rose I discovered last spring.  It's another winner from the Santa Ynez Valley.  This pink wine really impressed me.  If you're looking for a great find for summer, Panky certainly qualifies.  It was a little difficult to find last year, but it's worth the trouble.  Panky is produced by Fontes & Phillips Wines in the Happy Canyon region of the Santa Ynez Valley  Their website said "coming soon" when I last checked it, but the email address worked when I wanted to find some Panky for myself.   There's also a Facebook page.  I also understand Panky can be found at several retail outlets in the Santa Barbara area. 

A clear Rhone-style bottle reveals the salmon color that seems tinged with gold in the light. It's quite impressive visually. The Happy Canyon pink consists of 38% Syrah, 36% Cinsaut and 26% Grenache. I could not find an alcohol content number on the label, but I would not guess it was much over 13.5%. The label is rather plain, save for the name. "Panky" is printed in mixed-font "ransom note" style. I was told this was produced by Fontes and Phillips, but the label shows that it is bottled by the "Kerr E. Nation Wine Company - Buellton, CA." To find it, you may have to "axe" around.

A very fruity sniff awaits you, especially if the wine is not overly chilled. Grapefruit and apricot lead the way, but there seems to be a lot at work in the aroma department. Very interesting.

Panky is not extremely dry, but it's certainly not on the sweet end of the spectrum. There is a buttery texture on the tongue, but it's not overplayed. I find a creaminess that's almost trying to hide. Vanilla notes play against an orange peel tartness. I thought it was a complicated wine the first time I tried it, and I still think so. There is a very good acidity level and Panky goes well with salads, fish...probably an omelet, too.