It may take us a while to synchronize our schedules, but we finally got our regular group of wineaux all in one room at Jane's Place for a tasting. The theme for the evening: unusual whites.
Some may say that *real* wine lovers only drink red, and usually only the fancy-pants stuff like Bordeaux and Burgundy. But I'm a white wine kinda gal. I won't turn down wine if it's offered (obviously) but given the choice, I'd prefer a fragrant gewurtz, a zesty sauvignon blanc, or an oily viognier. So when Jane suggested little-known / off-the-beaten-track whites, I was stoked.
Lionel Osmin et Cie 'Cami Salié' Jurançon Sec (Southern France) - Blend of 65% Gros Manseng, 35% Petit Manseng. Clear, deep straw colour; nose of pineapple, oak, butterscotch and pear, with a hint of mint. Medium-weight acidity and full body with an alcoholic finish. Pre-reveal comments: cold climate; reminiscent of nightly facial cream.
Gray Monk 2012 Kerner (Okanagan, British Columbia) - The clear, almost colourless liquid poured into the glass slightly bubbly, leaving a thin film across the surface. The sharp, metallic smell of wet gravel and pencil lead slowly gave way to subtle fruit. That effervescence was balanced out with a heavy sweetness of meyer lemon at the end.
Terradora 2010 Falanghina (Campania, Italy) - Its briny, brisk nature brings the ocean to mind. Saltwater and seaweed dominate on the nose, with a melange of savoury/thyme, unripe pears and Ivory hand soap. Medium bodied with a bit of fizz and then gripping acidity that races down the sides of the tongue. Green bean, green pepper and more herbs linger on the finish.
Domaine Bachet 2011 Klevener de Heiligenstein (Alsace, France) - Showing remarkably like a Gewürztraminer, with lots of orange blossom, honey, apricot ... and Pledge furniture polish, of all things. Marvellous balance, smooth texture and prominent fruit, drawn out with faint spice and zestiness.
Chateau Montelena 2009 Chardonnay (Napa Valley, California) - I think I let out an involuntary squee of star-struck celebrity adoration when the label was unveiled. So what if it doesn't fall under the "unusual" category. Having the chance to drink a Montelena chardonnay is unusual in and of itself! Rather than being overwhelmed with oak, this chard has finesse in its puckering mouthfeel, minerality and salt-tang flavours. Unlikely descriptors for old-school-style chard, but made for a great wine.
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