When it comes to white wine tasting, the more you taste, the more you learn. It’s as simple as that. One thing I have learned on my wine journey is that you can never be too educated when it comes to wines, and in particular white wines. For some of us as we climb the ladder of wine appreciation, the whites are left behind for the more complex reds. That’s actually too bad. Whites have their place, and I know it’s time to rediscover what whites have to offer when I continue to stick with Sauvignon Blanc and Champagne as my go to whites. So it was a great pleasure to receive a six-pack of white beauties (actually 5 whites and a Rosé) from winemaker David Traynor, representing Vin du Lac of Chelan wines.
The more I taste different wines the more experience I gain about some commonalities and differences between the varietals. The more I taste the more I learn about my current likes and dislikes. I say “current” because my favorites tend to be seasonal and holiday based. For example, I am a big fan of Sauvignon Blancs with a mineral taste bent and high acid content. Maybe you prefer softer ones with a touch of residual sugar or maybe a hint of oak? Wine tasting is all about me – or you- and what we like. So whatever it is we are into, it’s all good.
It’s been a while since one of my Wine Councils has done an “all -white” tasting , so last week when I set down with my Women’s Wine Council ( Judee Smith, Corie Maue, Sue Richter & Carmen Micheli), I found myself checking out some food and wine pairings that quite frankly surprised me and reminded me to keep exploring what the white wine kingdom has to offer.
This tasting featured 6 winning wines. All were food friendly, well balanced, smartly complex and affordably priced. The wines were definitely enhanced by the food pairings. The food pairings were all perfectly executed and thoughtfully chosen. Some were home-kitchen crafted while others were purchased at local specialty stores. What they all had in common …food and wine and Council members…was a sense of place, taste, and attentive choice.
About the Wine
Vin du Lac produces wine under four different labels, each with distinctive styling and value. All wines are made with hand-harvested fruit, in small lots, using boutique production methods. You can purchase all of them online at http://www.vindulac.com//index.cfm .
In order of tasting:
1. 2009 “LEHM” Pinot Gris, $19.99, 125 cases : 87 points – The Wine Advocate 2010. The warm, dry 2009 vintage produced a concentrated crop that was perfect for the style of this white. The wine has faint citrus notes and some noticeable floral notes . The result is an intricate body of stone fruit, floral notes and yeasty lees character that tastes better with food than alone. RS: 0.0%. Perfect paired with toast points with goat and a side of dried apricots. Meyer lemon cookies were also a great pairing.
2. 2009 “LEHM” Sauvignon Blanc- $20, 200 cases: 90 Points – The Wine Advocate. On the nose expect some cool-climate citrus fruit and hints of grassiness. On thenose the wine is crisp, tangy, and showing hints of citrus-lime and a riper pear-melon flavors. The Lake Chelan Valley can produce exceptional Sauvignon Blanc and this is an example of some thoughtful winemaking practices. RS: 0.2%. Great paired with spicy Asian peanut noodle salad, spinach artichoke & cheese dip. The Meyer lemon cookies also paired well.
3. 2010 “LEHM” Riesling, $19.99, 371 cases – Dry Style Riesling defined by juicy-fruit and green apple aromas and flavor. Nice mouth filling body with a brisk tanginess and a tart, lingering finish. Nicely ripe with good acid retention and lovely notes of grapefruit, apple and just a whisper of mineral expression. RS: 0.4%. A great food wine, it paired nicely with baguette slices seared with feta cheese and topped with garlic, olives and sliced baby tomatoes. Spicy cayenne turtles and Meyer lemon cookies where also a good match for this wine. Voted as the #3 wine.
4. 2010 “LEHN” Gewürztraminer, $19.99, 233 cases- 100 percent Chelan Valley Grapes create a subtle grassy nose leading to apricot and citrus flavors from a 30% barrel-aged component. RS: 0.9%. Slightly sweeter than the other wines it paired well with the baquette slices, Asian salads, and …of course…the Meyer lemon cookies.
5. 2010 Les Amis Riesling (and friends) ,$14.99, 1,312 cases: The Riesling component (75%) adds a intense, crisp character; The Gewurztraminer (10%) adds a soft, spicy side; The Muscat (15%) is contributes soft and flowery notes. Together they make a wine for sharing and pairing. On the lightly sweet side this wine is rich and aromatic. For sipping or dinner. Fermented in stainless steel. Green apple, honeysuckle. Earthy spiciness. A natural for pan-Asian cuisine dishes including Trader Joe’s Beef Bulgogi and Lo Mein Noodle Salad. Desserts such as lemon cookies, turtles and brownies also were a tasty match. RS: 1.2% Voted as the #2 best wine.
6. 2011 “LEHM” Rose – $14.99, 134 cases: Mildly floral nose, while flavors of red grapefruit and rhubarb linger into a long tasty finish. 6 months of neutral barrel aging give it a balanced crisp profile. This went with everything on the table and would be a big hit at any holiday table. RS: 0.5%. For those of you (and there were some in our group) that find Rosé’s trite and tiresome – here’s a perfect example of what a good Rosé can and should taste like. Voted as the #1 wine. Seriously…taste, sip, repeat.