Archive for the 'White' Category

Stone Hill Vidal Blanc

Stone Hill Vidal BlancStone Hill Vidal Blanc
Herman, Missouri, 2008, $6.99 for 750 ml, 13.5% Alc
Dry White Wine

During a recent road-trip to Missouri, I spied this vino at a grocery store.  Resisting the instinct to purchase only luscious local reds, I grabbed a bottle and resolved to give it a try.  After all, a day riding bikes on the [stupendously fantastic] Katy Trail works up a thirst for something cool, crisp and refreshing!

The Vidal Blanc, described on the label as a dry white wine that is “fruity with a hint of spice”, was, to my parched palate, exactly what I had hoped for.  It was pleasantly tart, mixed with what I can only best describe as a round, fruity flavor akin to cantaloupe and something else mildly tropical — perhaps lychee (honest!), although I must disclose that this description gives me some feeling of AntiWineSnob hypocrisy.  Plus, I believe it was the aroma more than the flavor that conjured that last one to mind.   The heat exhaustion might have helped with that, too ….

Back to Stone Hill’s Vidal Blanc:  While certainly not a sweet wine, I would agree that the aroma and the flavor were fruity, but what “a hint of spice” is supposed to mean eludes me.  I did not decipher anything that would remind me of pepper or coriander or clove or anise or anything else that I might daydream of procuring at some exotic, faraway locale.

Regarding the actual identity of the wine itself, I am still a bit unsure of what exactly Vidal Blanc is.  I understand from some brief research that Vidal Blac is actually a fusion of Ugni Blanc, a widely used European grape that is apparently used primarily in cognac, and Rayon D’Or, which I have had difficulty finding much information on, other than one website that cited it as “rare”.   Hmm….  Well, if anyone has other information on this elusive grape, please feel free to post it in the comments.  It would be appreciated.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a dry white wine that is a little less off the beaten path (than, say, Chardonnay), but hanker for a quaff that’s still casual, bright and fruity, then you may want to give Stone Hill’s Vidal Blanc a try.

wine’s website:  www.stonehillwinery.com

Beringer Moscato

Beringer MoscatoBeringer Moscato
2008, Napa California, $6.00 for 750ml, 10% Alc. content
White Wine
 

My first experience with white wine was waaaaaay back in the 1990′s when I had just finished high school and had somehow managed to finagle a glass of Chardonnay from a disgruntled flight attendant.  I unpeeled my foil-wrapped chicken Marsala, opened up the individually-sized cheddar cheese (you know, the baby round ones in that red wax coating) and thrilled at the prospect of finally discovering what all the fuss was about.  Plastic glass in hand, I took a deep sip of my ill-gotten hooch.  Well, I was disappointed.  Not just that, but I truly hated it.  I couldn’t imagine why anyone would actually choose to drink this stuff!  (Of course, this was at a time when I drank copious amounts of kool aid and very, very, very sweet ice coffee.)  

At any rate, since then, I don’t know if I’ve ever met a Chardonnay that I have had strong positive feelings for.  But I think I’ve discovered the reason: I’m a sucker for sweet white wine.  It’s delicious and refreshing and (unless fortified or harvested late) often a little lower on the alcohol content.

Beringer’s Moscato is no different; it is crisp, brightly aromatic and just acidic enough to balance out the sweetness so you don’t feel like your drinking kool aid (no offense to the stuff — I’ve already confessed to having been an avid fan). Maybe it was the name “Moscato” which comes from the Muscat family within the Vitis vinifera species (the species that most of our well known wines come from such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc.), but the flavor did remind me some of apple mixed with muscadine — which is a totally different species of grape (Vitis rotundifolia) grown largely in the southeastern United States.  

Oh, and the Beringer Moscato is pretty, too.  It looks like pale, liquid gold in a glass.

Bottom line:  I like it!  It is perfect for a dessert wine or just alone, and I actually tried it both at room temperate and chilled; I enjoyed both versions, but the chilled went better with my dinner of chicken and veggie fried rice.  I’d would definitely be amenable to getting this again.

 One last tip: if you’re interested in trying this or other versions of Moscato, note that “Muscat, Moscatel or Moscato” are all the same thing, just different ways of identifying this variety.

 wine’s website: www.beringer.com

Jacobs Creek Chardonnay-Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine

Jacobs Creek Chardonnay-Pinot Noir Sparkling WineJacobs Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine (Brut)
(no vintage) SE Australia, $9.50 for 750 ml
(Sparkling White Wine)

Even if you’ve had a bad day, when you pop open a bottle of sparkling wine, you’ve just got to feel like you’re celebrating.  And in my case, I actually was! 

Not only does Jacobs Creek sparkling wine make a birthday meal seem that much more celebratory, but I also found that it is hard to get depressed about aging when you’re sipping on such a tasty beverage.  Now, that ‘s what I call strategy!

The taste? The JC Chardonnay-Pinot Noir was crisp and refreshing with a bit of green apple zing. I suppose that was the Chardonnay talking.  Although this wine was dry, it did have just a hint of sweetness that gave this bubbly a friendly, festive flair without hitting one over the head with cloying sugaryness as some sparkling wines are apt to do.

Bottom line? A bargain dry sparkling wine.  This sparkling JC Chardonnay Pinot Noir was actually served with a  turkey dinner, so the drier nature went well with our meal.  If you’re looking for a dessert sparkling wine however, (or just something a bit sweeter), I would go with something labeled “Sec”, “Demi-Sec” or for really, really sweet, “Doux”. For more info on Sparkling wines, see antiwinesnob’s article on What’s the Difference between Sweet Wine and Dry Wine and look to the last section on Sparkling Wines.

wine’s website: www.jacobscreek.com

Barefoot Chardonnay

Barefoot ChardonnayBarefoot Chardonnay
(no vintage) Modesto, California $5.50 for 750 ml
(White Wine)

If you are new to wine and want to try a few different varietals without committing too much of your paycheck, I recommend patronizing the bottlings of Barefoot Cellars.  Not only are they consistently inexpensive and good, but trying varietals from the same vintner can help one compare and discern different flavors and characteristics in grape varieties.

Logical incentives aside, I live on the coast, so I particularly like the advice printed on my Barefoot Chardonnay bottle: “Get barefoot and have a good time.”  Thanks! I think I will.

The Barefoot Chardonnay is the perfect beach-picnic beverage as the crisp, mild apple and smooth vanilla undertones of this quaff really hit the spot.  I had a few sips all on its own before giving it a little company with my picnic snacks (big fan of Brie and crackers).   This Chardonnay is tasty and has just enough layers to make it interesting while retaining an easygoing, sip-inducing quality.

Bottom line?  Try it.  And, while you’re at it, try taking it up on its advice, too!

wines website:  www.barefootwine.com


Jakob Demmer Liebfraumilch

Jakob Demmer Liebfraumilch

Jakob Demmer Liebfraumilch,

Qualitatswein, 2004, Germany $6.50 for 750 ml (White wine)

Another tasty treat from Germany. And like the Webber Piesporter, this wine doesn’t state a varietal on its label, so I have to assume that it’s a blend of two or more grape varieties.

Whether it’s a blend of Riesling, Spaetburgunder (Pinot Noir), Gewuertztraminer, Scheurebe or other delicious white wines I’ve never heard of (and probably could never spell), all I care about is the fact that the Jakob Demmer Liebfraumilch is down right delicious. And in fact, it reminded me very much of the Webber Piesporter.

Crisp, slightly sweet, honey-ish and round flavored, this wine is very pleasing and fun to drink. It’s the kind of wine you would want around for pretty much any occasion. Plus, the name alone keeps things interesting. According to my Babel Fish translation, Liebfraumilch means “Love Woman’s Milk” or “Dear Woman’s Milk”….

Huh.

I don’t really get it, but if they’re going for the whole Nectar-of-Life theme, they just might be on to something….

Bottom line, this is a good white wine for parties, get togethers, book readings, cozy chats, etc. Although German wines labeled “Liebfraumilch” are apparently considered “cheap” by many and often sneered upon, I thought this stuff was quite good for a casual, fun drink. In fact, although it’s inevitable, I would nevertheless be surprised at a person who doesn’t like it. And awfully curious.

Weber Piesporter Michelsberg

Webber Piesporter MichelsbergWeber Piesporter Michelsberg

2005 Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Region, Germany, $7.00 for 750 ml
(White Wine)

This wine from the Mosel River Valley in Germany seems to actually embody the beauty and gentleness of the place it came from.

While the slate soil hills that the grapes grow on are indeed steep, and tower over the Mosel River that winds its way between them, the overall impression of this area is not what one might think. Steep cliffs with rocky soil would make a person assume the countryside is severe and intimidating, but in fact, the opposite is true. I don’t know if I’ve ever driven through a quainter, more charming and idyllic area than that of the Mosel River Valley. Especially when its in the fall and all the hills are turned golden by the vines and the cobblestone and half-timber villages dotting the countryside all host festivals celebrating the harvest of their grapes.

So enough of sentimentality. What does it taste like? A little sweet and crisp, but also gentle, fun and slightly round-flavored. Its fresh, friendly with just a bit of acidity to keep that zing, but not too much that it isn’t completely pleasant to drink all on its own. In fact, I recommend it. The flavors are very pleasantly perfumy, but to be honest, I couldn’t really single out the particular fruits it called to mind. It tasted of something I’ve had before, but the flavor is not common. Maybe a bit of melon mixed with honey and something else, but I’m not sure what.

While I would like to claim that this wine is a Riesling (due to where it grows and the fact that I’ve seen pictures of Weber Piesporter bottles that had “Riesling” printed on them), I’m not sure if this is a complete Riesling varietal or if it’s a blend. Why? Normally, German wines print both the appellation as well as the grape variety on the bottle if its not a blend. The fact that this bottle doesn’t have “Riesling” on it makes me assume it is a blend of Riesling with some other type of (equally scrumptious) grape.

Technicalities aside, in short, I loved this wine. It is delicious and perfect on its own or with food. Being a bargain wine, it isn’t considered fancy. But it is tasty and perfect for casual sipping. Definitely something I would get again, and, for the price, it’s an excellent find.

Most people drink this wine chilled. But you know what? I actually like it better at room temperature where the flavors are even more aromatic.







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