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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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Nelson Family Vineyards 2007 Riesling

Mendocino County is famous for three specific grapes: pinot noir, more pinot noir and something other than pinot noir.  Okay, it’s more than pinot. Chardonnay and riesling are especially at home there as well. And many more good grapes abound in this region, but that’s another post or twenty down the road.

This is about the riesling from Nelson Family Vineyards. Riesling is another grape that has been given a bad reputation by growing in too many bad neighborhoods and hanging with the wrong crowd – winemakers without the right skill set for good Riesling production. The fact that

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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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