Frosty Whites at Webster’s Fine Stationers

We had a grand time, pouring again at Webster’s Fine Stationers. Many thanks to Lori and Scott Webster for having us in, and a big shout out to Susann Edmonds, whose Jabberwocky Smooth Jerk Sauce made the pairings we did so much fun!

So, if you were there, here are the notes for the wines we drank, so that you can calibrate what you tasted with what we’re writing. Again, our tastebuds are not any better than anyone else’s. The idea here is to share the experience and so that you know that when we write raspberries and you taste cherries, you’ll know you’ll likely taste cherries when we write raspberries.

Est. 1975 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Type: Dry white

What Makes it Special: It’s from Lake County

Plays Well With: Seafood, salads and kicking back after work

This is one of those wines that you keep chilled in the fridge to pour a small glass of while tossing together a salad for dinner. As a whole, the wine is really crisp and fresh, thanks to some well-developed acids that might, at first, put you off.

The color is really light, and you get some of the traditional sauv blanc grapefruit in the nose. Flavor-wise, the grapefruit really comes through, which is why you’ll want to keep drinking this one through dinner. In fact, if you want to do a quick fish meuniere (which is just a light fish filet dredged in flour and sautéed in butter), all those citrusy acids in this wine will balance out the butter and make it all sing like Lady Gaga.

Spanish Quarter 2009 Blend

Type: Dry white

What Makes it Special: A Spanish blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% albariño

Plays Well With: Paella, seafood

This was the hands down favorite of the tasting, not unlike the Spanish Quarter red blend we tasted last month. In fact, every time we have featured this wine, folks go crazy for it. And, by the way, the only place we have found it is at Webster’s Fine Wines and Liquors, just up the block from the stationers, at 2450 Lake Ave., in Altadena.

This tasty little white has a clean melon nose and a rich mouthfeel. You may catch a little bit of citrus in the taste from the acids in the wine. But those acids aren’t too heavy, which is why this one is great for sipping by itself. But we suggest you don’t just settle for that. Try it with a nice paella, or maybe some shrimp in garlic butter. Yum.

3 Girls 2008 Chardonnay

Type: Dry white

What Makes it Special: It’s from Lodi

Plays Well With: Cheese and cracker or fish ‘n chips

Anne thought this was one of the more approachable wines of the day and opined that there was no oak on it. Michael caught the smell of new oak and what we’re calling Lodi Funk on the nose. Just think of funk, in this case, as a good thing – something that makes the wine stand out nicely.

There is no question that food makes this wine taste better, just make sure it’s not anything terribly strong, or it will overwhelm the nice, light mouthfeel and slight melon and apple flavors. Try it with some fish and chips or a nice buttery triple cream brie on baguette.

herding cats 2010 blend

Type: Dry white blend of 78% chenin blanc and 22% chardonnay

What Makes it Special: It’s from South Africa (and the label is really cool)

Plays Well With: Food, including shellfish, fried chicken, light pork chops, salads

Talk about a wine made for food. We initially thought the wine was good, but not great. Then we ate some cheese and jerked olives with it. The wine almost blossomed in our mouths.

The nose, like the color, is pretty light – Lori Webster said she smelled chardonnay, and Michael said he didn’t smell much of anything on it, but agreed that what nose there was had to come from the chard. Why? Chenin blanc is a pretty neutral grape, generally.

The mouthfeel is pretty light, as well, but the acids are good – part of why this wine tastes so much better with food than without it. Definitely a great wine to sip with a nice tasty pasta salad, or chilled shrimp, or cold leftover fried chicken.

Pacific Rim 2006 Gewürztraminer

Type: Sweet white

What Makes it Special: Grown and made in the Yakima Valley, Washington

Plays Well With: Spicy food, like jerk pork or chicken

This one is only lightly sweet – no thick, cough syrupy sticky here. The nose is slightly spicy, with a little sandalwood. There’s just enough residual sugar (any sugar that remains after the yeast have given their all converting sugars from the grape juice into alcohol) to make it taste slightly sweet, with some nice acids in the medium-weight mouthfeel to balance it all out. You might even catch some ripe melon and peach flavors in this one.

The nice thing about it being sweet is that it will stand up to spicy foods, like BBQ sauce, Mexican salsas, Indian food and Chinese food – all usually tough foods to pair with wine because the heat and/or the sweetness in these foods will overpower even some of the brawniest reds. The sweetness and acid balance in this gewürz instead plays with the sweet in, say, some orange crispy beef from the local take-out, as well as taking the heat out of the spice for wimps like Anne.

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