Albert Boxler Edelzwicker Reserve, Forlorn Hope Gemischter Satz, Chateau Musar Blanc, Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc
Believe it or not, a strategy exists behind the prying questions of a wine retailer. When entering a wine shop a customer will likely hear some variation of the following:
What are you looking for?
What do you usually drink?
How much are you looking to spend?
Are you pairing it with food?
Do you want to try something new?
Obviously, the answers to these questions allow us to get to know the customer’s preferences, pinpoint a style for them, and make suggestions. We mentally sort through the inventory in our mind, canceling out some wines in order to hone in on what we think the person is looking for: high-altitude fruit or valley floor, sweet or dry, New World or Old World, single varietal or red blend.
Actually, red blend is one of the most common responses we hear to our “what are you looking for” question. In fact, the popularity of the red blend rivals that of Malbec’s market domination a decade ago but don’t get me wrong, we’re not complaining. The red blend allows us to discuss all sorts of wines from the semi-sweet inexpensive reds to Bordeaux, Priorat, and or Chateaunuef-du-Papes. This post isn’t about the red blend though. This post isn’t about what wine pairs with snowy Aprils and winter scenery. This post is all about ignoring this garbage weather and summoning spring with a variety of whites. In particular, this post is about the white blend.
Iconic white blends exist in multitudes at our shop and are some of the best possible choices for pairing food and pounding on the patio. From Alsatian Edelzwickers and Gentil blends with their complex aromas ranging from flowers to tropical fruit to the famed Austrian Gemischter Satz with a blend of up to 13 different grapes singing in chorus. Even Blanc de blancs Champagnes, while made solely from Chardonnay, can actually be a blend of fruit from multiple vineyards sites and multiple vintages refermented in the bottle.
With that in mind, here are some of my favorite white blends currently in the shop:
Terlan Terlaner Classico 2016, $34.99 A white blend of Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is aromatically lifted with a nose of honey, lemon pith, and stone fruit. Broad on the palate with mineral tension and a persistent long finish. This wine has the acid and weight to pair with anything from savory sausages to white asparagus.
Forlorn Hope Gemischter Satz 2014, $32.99 This is an absolute must for people interested in some of the new trends in Califoria winemaking. Inspired by the famous Austrian feild blend, winemaker Matthew Rorke sources fruit from Bob Koth’s vineyard in Lodi which contains around 40 different German and Austrian varietals. The entire vineyard is harvested and vinified as one lot. As grapes ripen at different times, this process of co-fermentation will yield incredible complexity with aromas spanning the great divide between lemon peel and honeyed tropical fruits.
Albert Boxler Edelzwicker Reserve 2013, $29.99 On Kermit Lynch’s website they state, “Alsace, along with Burgundy is the source of the world’s most complex, exciting white wines.” Whether or not you agree and I personally think there is a strong argument behind this statement, the power, depth and complexity of Albert Boxler’s wines are in a league of their own. This white field blend, composed of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer is stunning in it’s weight and highly aromatic profile.
Chateau Musar Blanc 2007, $61.99 This is a blend of Obaideh and Merwah, two indigenous Lebonese grapes from the Bekka Valley. This incredibly complex wine was aged in barriques for 9 months before bottling and released to the public 7 years after resting at the winery. This additional aging contributes the exotic spice and dried fruit character to the wine. This wine requires some decanting or at least open it a couple hours before serving.
Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves, 2016 $23.99 A fantastic bone dry Bordeaux Blanc featuring 75% Semillon, 20% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Muscadelle. The heavier dose of Semillon gives the wine depth and breadth on the palate. Zesty and crisp with oodles of minerality balanced with pomme fruit. At this price, this white blend is one of my favorite values on the shelf.
Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon!