Posts Tagged ‘Wine Reviews’

Wine Review – Tomero Torrontes

It’s another odd night in an odd week. (Board meeting today, new Chairman of the Board, next year’s growth target now could  be 300% Year over Year, not double – will the blog or I survive? :)) It’s definitely vino time!)

It’s an odd post, in that its another non Sonoma wine review, which represents 70%+  of what I buy. (Truth, it’s left from what I poured from the Xmas party I hosted tonight.)

I promise to start reviewing the many Sonoma wines I drink soon!  It’s also odd in that Torrontes is  a varietal I love from Argentina, but to whom this vintner I have given scathing remarks to in Cellartracker.com and K&L Wines.com.

I love Torrontes. I discovered it in my Christmas/New Years trip last year to Argentina as I journeyed around Uco Valley and Mendoza. Mendoza, Argentina wine tasting

It’s an interesting white varietal for a number of reasons, and one I think traditional red wine drinkers should look at.

Virtually unknown in North America until recently, the Argentines are now trying to promote this as THE white wine of Argentina, or the Sister of Malbec. It’s a varietal worth promoting. If you like Rhone white wines like Viognier, Rousanne, or Marsanne, you will like the floral nose, body, and  mouthfeel of a Torrontes. I am generally not a fan of ‘value’ wines but you are hard pressed to spend more than $15 for a Torrontes even if you want too, and they are an amazing value at $8-12.

The origins of Torrontes are still a bit of a mystery – it has genetic relatives, but its true origins are still not known. Torrontés is also a Spanish grape variety from Galicia, but its relationship to the Argentinian varieties is uncertain.

Last year I was on a tear to try every Torrontes K&L Wines had to offer. Twice I bought a 2008 Tomero Torrontes, (once K&L, once Bottle Barn) and then one night we tasted in a wine class at SRJC. All three experiences were bad, either suffering corkage or offering off flavors and odors. I was so mad the 3rd time I wrote in CellarTracker.com I wrote ” horrid representation of this normally amazing white Argentine varietal. A bit off on the nose and REALLY bad on the finish. It saddens me greatly this could be some ones intro to Torrontes – 70 points. (80 views)”

Likewise our instructor was not pleased. For some reason that escapes me, I ordered one more bottle. I guess 3rd (purchase) is a charm. (I should mention I have bought many bottles of others and this was my only negative experience.

FINALLY this captures the essence of Torrontes.tomero

Color: a very pale yellow color. Clear.

Aroma: characteristic floral nose. Pineapple. Hint of citrus.

In the Mouth: A plethora of fruit – peach, green apple, grapefuit. Excellent viscosity, mouthfeel, balance, with a mouth watering, acidic finish.

PLEASE drink these very lightly chilled. I am drinking mine at room temp of 65 degrees. The fragant nose and great mouthful are lost by the US habit of serving whites from the refrigerator at 45 degrees.

I welcome feedback if these wine reviews are useful, and if you’d like more, or any directional changes – a zillion blogs review wines – even though its part time for this one, I want this to be worth reading.

cheers!

Wine Review – Penner-Ash Viognier

One of these days I will get around to writing the article thats been in my head for ages “White wines for Red wine drinkers” – but not today.

I discovered Viognier some years ago, reading an article about it as a suggested white wine varietal (grape type) that red wine drinkers might enjoy. Rarely bottled in  the US back then as a varietal, it was produced mostly for blending. As this white Rhone (region of France) varietal has gained in popularity, it has gone through the price increase, quality decrease cycle I have witnessed other wine varietals experience. Wineries try and chase ‘trends’ – a risky venture in an industry where its 3-4 years before new vines are viable and another 12+ months before you can sell your first bottling. I don’t encourage it.

The mini Viognier craze seems to have ebbed a bit, leaving better quality on the market, and on the plus side,  a broader consumer appreciation for this varietal. Viognier is a wine I love to share with the uninitiated, especially when I find one that hasn’t been over tampered with, as we like to do in CA sometimes.

07Viognier

Since I am in my part time home in my flat outside Portland, tonight’s Viognier is from Penner-Ash, a 10,000/case year winery in Newberg, OR, part of the Willamette Valley. The fruit was sourced from the Rogue Valley, A Southern Oregon AVA.

The Viognier retails for ~$28 – I purchased my bottle at local grocery store. It comes in a screw top, which doesn’t surprise me – Oregon is very focused on green measures, and this winery touts it’s energy saving focus.

Viognier is a fragrant varietal, one of the reasons why it is desirable as a blending grape.

Color: A very pale yellow, with excellent clarity

Aroma: Fragrant, as a Viognier should be. Peach and citrus on the nose. A hint of green apple, spice.

In the Mouth: Viognier characteristically has good body and mouth feel. This doesn’t disappoint. Melon, tropical fruit, good mid palette, a touch of sweetness, pear. A barely detectable bit of heat (alcohol) on finish.

An excellent expression of Viognier. This is very drinkable by itself, would pair well with many cheeses and a variety of foods.

For my fellow local Sonoma County friends, I had a great viognier this weekend I didn’t review, is the 2008 Copain Viognier Tous Ensemble, under $25.

PLEASE remember to not drink good white wines over chilled – all nuances of aroma and flavor profiles are masked. In the event you don’t have a cellar, and its been in the fridge, take out at least 15+ mins before drinking,. 58-64 degrees is optimal, and most fridges are generally in the 40s.

Cheers!

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