14 August, 2010

3 for Summer...and under $20 - Foppiano Rosé, Au Bon Climat Pinot Blanc/Gris & Cline Viognier

My good friend Deb Kravitz - @WhatDebPours recently came by for dinner and brought a blind bottle (in a brown paper bag) that turned out to be a rosé from Foppiano Vineyards. We then went on to try a couple of other whites that evening, so I figured we'd wrap them all up in a single post since they were all quality selections and each was right in our price point!

Seeing that summer may escape many of us in Northern California, we may not exactly NEED the refreshment but these 3 will certainly be great for the rest of the country, and Northern Hemisphere for that matter, who are baking with triple digit heat indexes (at least triple digits on the F scale). Get out and grab these for your picnic, barbeque or summer lunch or dinner.

First, the 2009 Foppiano Rosé is made with a very unique blend of grape varietals -- 55% Petite Sirah and 45% Pinot Noir. While rosé from Pinot Noir is quite common, I can't recall ever seeing a rosé made from Petite Sirah. For those of you who read the blog regularly, you'll recall that I quite enjoy Petite Sirah and I was pleased to try something new, but made from a favorite. It's very fruit forward with a
great deal of strawberry, red raspberry and bubble-gum on the nose. With a very satisfying amount of acid, the front end sets the tone for this DRY rose and leads to a round and long mid to back palate and finish.

Retail: $18
Grade: B


Next, the 2008 Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris from Au Bon Climat is a great alternative to the oft-called upon Chard or Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Blanc is a great, delicate, warm, enticing varietal that's a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. With white skins, many of the same intricate notes of Pinot Noir come thru in the white juice. Winemaker and owner Jim Clendenen adds 10% Pinot Gris (interestingly, also a mutation of Pinot Noir) to create some balance. The P. Blanc is quite round and can get flabby and boring if not watched carefully. The P. Gris helps by introducing many green notes and crisp acidity...but not in a Sauvignon Blanc manner. Balance is the key. Any more than 10% and it would likely be overbearing. It's definitely complementary in this example.

Retail: $18
Grade: B+


The third bottle was the Cline Cellars 2009 Sonoma Coast Viognier. While I'm not always a fan of Viognier in summer, and prefer it in fall and winter as a great alternative white wine, I find this particular example an exception to my rule. Served quite chilled, it's a lush and rich, but refreshing option to those who might like California Chardonnay, but may prefer something more restrained owing to a particular food selection. This Viognier bring quite a bit of stone fruit, apples, dried apricots and has a great mouthfeel and weight. Would be super with some herbed chicken with grilled white nectarines and corn-on-the-cobb right off the grill.

Retail: $16
Grade: B+

So, there you go. 3 for summer and all are readily available in many larger stores including groceries where permitted by law.

Enjoy your summer and stay refreshed!