Posts Tagged ‘Rhone Whites’

Wine Review – 2010 Cypher Winery Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles

Ah, vacation. Just back from one, and its time to get Simple Hedonisms caught up on wine reviews and a backlog of event reports. Last weeks trip was to the central coast beach areas of Pismo & Avila Beach, and San Luis Obispo.

I had not visited any of these areas before, despite frequent journeys to nearby Paso Robles, so I took the time to explore. I loved all three, especially Avila.

After almost a solid month of wine related travel, this was, on pain of death,  not to be a winery visit vacation, so with some discipline I kept it to only four, all first visits.

One of these was Cypher, on the 5 hour drive home. I had a half case of Cypher wines to review I had just started working through, and upon invitation from the assistant winemaker, decided to pop in. This is the first of a series of tasting notes. If you are familiar with Cypher please post your comments and thoughts.

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Cypher is an interesting story – orginally this was Four Vines, a online pharmacy no prescription 110,000 case/year producer, most well known for its trademarked 'Naked” chardonnay.  Four Vines, along with Naked, and other wines were sold, to the Purple Wine Company, and born anew was Cypher, a 12,00 case winery with 4 employees. Cypher has a plethora of Rhone offers, as well as its well known Zins.

The tasting room in Templeton, a stones throw from Paso Robles, and the wines, are a recommended stop.

Wine Review – 2010 Cypher Winery Grenache Blanc, Paso Robles

To The Eye: Clear,  vibrant, a very light  yellow

On The Nose:  Crisp but slightly floral: White flowers, crisp,  lemon, hint of white peach

In The Mouth: Nice citrus and lemon notes, bright,  but not the sometimes overpowering, austere tone a GB can sometime be. Lingering, mouthwatering acidity. This is a well balanced wine, no signs of heat or astringency. 14.8% alcohol. Fermented in stainless, and dry.

Recommendations: Buy if you can. Technically its a wine club only wine. (I join wine clubs for reasons exactly like this.) $24. Media Sample. Outstanding  – 90 points.

Pair with fresh oysters, salads, or enjoy alone.

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Wine Review – 2009 d'Arenberg the Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne

My relationship with Rhones from Oz is still in the courtship stage, after too many poor Shiraz experiences.  My palate is not fan of  over ripe, flabby Shiraz and Viognier one can pick up if not careful.

One of my favorite sections in Randall Grahm‘s “Been Doon So Long.” is where he pokes fun for a few pages ‘Proper Syrah’ terminology vs. “Antipodean Syrah” (Australian.)

e.g. (paraphrased)

Proper Syrah: Name of the Wine is determined by the Geographical location of the vineyard

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A. Syrah: Name of the Wine is determined by: Cute animal name + geographical feature e.g. Wallaby Ridge, Wombat Gorge

Proper Syrah: Primary flavors: white pepper, anise, meat, bacon fat, and licorice

A. Syrah: Primary flavors: blackberry sundae and American Oak

It’s funnier when Randall writes it, and there are two pages worth. It’s meant in jest, obviously great Rhones come out of Australia, and I look forward to trying many again this year at the Rhone nirvana Hospice du Rhone.

I was wandering through K&L Wine, my ‘supplier’  in San Fran awaiting will call pick up and saw this. The 90 WS score didn’t really woo me, and the <$15 price more scared me. It’s not a value if I pour it down the drain.  But I am always curious to try white Rhone blends, and Marsanne always adds interesting character a blend, especially Viognier based, so I tossed a bottle in the cart. Glad I did.

2009 d’Arenberg the Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne

Viognier is the primary varietal in this blend at  72%, the other 28%  being Marsanne.

To The Eye: pale yellow straw; very clear

On The Nose: Abundant; white peach, green apple, guava, lime; oyster shell

In The Mouth: Lush; big stone fruit, citrus, melon. Some minerality. Juicy, Good acidity at finish, only 13% alcohol.

Recommendation:a Quaffer solo; have to ponder more what food I would pair with this besides shellfish. Would please a wide variety of palates.

Rating: Very Good, 89 Points

Where to Buy: d’Arenberg usually has good distribution, Google it or check with your local wine shop. (And always inquire if they can order it.)

K&L Wines has ~5o bottles left at $12.99.

cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !

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