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This Week's Tasting:
Light, Fruity Summer Whites
June 13, 2012
It's time for a picnic.
Manet's "Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe"
The 2011 Cooper Hill Pinot Gris from Willamette Valley grabbed my attention with its crisp acidity and enticing fruit. It is light in body but has Pinot Gris essential plum a green herb character in a balanced wine It is made with organic and biodynamic grapes.
The Alvarez de Toledo family has a great history of Spanish nobility and can trace their heritage as fine grape growers going back centuries. The operation today owns some of the best situate vineyards in El Bierzo in northwest Spain. Angelines Varela Mazon Y Alvarez de Toledo runs the estate today. She makes a classic Godello, a grape that can produce really nice fresh, floral, and fruity dry white wines. The 2010 Alvarez de Toledo Godello is one of the really nice ones.
2011 seems to be a very ripe vintage in Frances Loire Valley. From Sancerre upriver to Muscadet at its mouth the wines are rounded without losing a fresh vibrancy.
Michel Delhommeaus 2011 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Harmonie has the cid backing that makes the regions wines such good company for seafood, but a fleshier round, almost floral fruit to keep it from being austere. Touraine is in mid river. Iconoclast Jean-Francois Merieau makes an excellent Sauvignon de Touraine from his L'Arpent des Vaudons vineyard. The 2011 has nice minerality and the richly satisfying style of Sauvignon Blanc the verges on without getting to melon.
Two places in the world consistently make great, cleanly delineated Chenin Blanc. Vouvray in the llon makes a Loire is the benchmark, and there Bourillon dOrleans is one of the benchmark producers. Frederic Bourillon makes a La Coulee d'Argent from a vineyard of 65 year-old vines, His Sec Tendre is dry with a touch of sweetness. 2009 was a wonderfully rich vintage for this style of wine in the Loire
If he has a counterpart , it would be the meticulous Bruwer Raats in South Africas Stellenbosch. Well try the dry but roundly fruity 2011 Raats Original Chenin Blanc, the newest and freshest of his releases.