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Wine Bloggers Conference

Guerilla Pouring with Benjamin Spencer

 

 

Benjamin Spencer's great viognier

While waiting for the Rhone Rendezvous tasting at the recent Hospice du Rhone wine festival, we started chatting with winemaker and blogger Benjamin Spencer.  You can catch one of his posts here at intowine.com.  He also has a very small boutique winery Leojami – and you can check out their site here www.LeojamiWines.com.

 

Spencer and Anne were talking about writing about HdR, but then Spencer mentioned that he was about to do a guerilla pouring, as well.

A what?

“Well, basically, it’s just a behind the scenes pouring at public wine

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Irish Family Vineyard 2007 Viognier

Type: Dry White Made: In Calaveras County, California, With viognier grapesPlays well with: seafood, salads, mild cheeses

 

The 2007 Viognier from Irish Family comes with the expected florals in the nose – honeysuckle in this case. A grape of the Rhone region wines in France, viognier has an instantly recognizable nose of flowers like honeysuckle or citrus like tangerine peel and also honeyed. A little blended into syrah contributes aromatics to a traditional red wine in the Rhone from France. Viognier is a handy grape to have around.

 

There is a flinty minerality as well that wasn’t

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Due Vigne 2006 Viognier

We picked this one up at Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits during our recent visit to the Bay Area largely on the recommendation of Sara (and pray forgive us, Sara, if we have spelled your name wrong).By Due Vigne Di Familia in the Napa region, the wine is a class act with 86 percent Viognier, eleven percent Roussanne and a scant three percent of Marsanne, aka a classic blend of three Rhone white grapes. Sara told us that the panel almost passed on the 2006 vintage because they didn’t think it was dry enough.It was dry enough. The golden color

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Schug 2007 Sonoma Chardonnay

This is a cool climate chardonnay which was fermented in steel and given no oak flavor of any kind – oak being one of those things folks have come to expect in chard. So what does it taste like?  Yummy.  Okay, there’s citrus – orange and lemon peel – and minerals – flint and graphite – in the nose and in the mouth.  There are also the peach and slight spice notes that good growing conditions and careful winemaking can give a badly abused grape like chardonnay.

The wine has a lush mouthfeel that could be enough of a

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BV Coastal Estates 2008 Chardonnay

We served the wine at a brisk 61 degrees with fish and chips.  The color was clear and golden like a chardonnay should be, and Michael got citrus and melon in the nose. The first taste had a nice medium weight and crispness that suggested the wine had been fermented in steel tanks. Nonetheless, there was the spice of applied oak, meaning oak used as an ingredient instead of to cover one or more faults. The finish was decent but not long.

Just like the cabernet we mentioned earlier, these are decent wines for midweek meals or occasions where

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Three Sticks 2006 Durell Vineyards Chardonnay

Courtesy Three Sticks

We tasted the Three Sticks 06 Chard in possibly the worst possible situation – a gigantic show and tasting put on by the Family Winemakers of California.  Imagine a room as big as a football field, with over 100 wineries, each trying to impress restaurant owners and retailers and even some consumers.  It was chaotic and noisy.  And there was a lot of wine.  So it really means something that this one chardonnay managed to stand out – in a good way.

It has the classic chardonnay nose, with a little hint of honeysuckle, just

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Halter Ranch 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Hate to say it, but Halter Ranch’s Sauvignon Blanc is an also-ran.  We wanted to feature the winery’s 2008 rosé, but it was already sold out.  But that doesn’t mean the sauv blanc isn’t any good – just that the rosé was better.

It’s a cool climate sauvignon blanc with the citrus character in the nose that you would expect.  Okay, that the hard-core wine geeks would expect.  The acids are gentle, not bracing or especially palate cleansing.  And the rich mouthfeel and lack of oak contribute to the overall image of a good sipping wine, something to enjoy

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