What makes it special: Hand-picked grapes from the Santa Barbara region
Plays well with: Spicy foods, including Indian and Mexican
The Outlier is made of gewurtraminer grapes grown in Santa Barbara County. Larry Schaffer, the winemaker and owner of Tercero, said that he’d worked with the grower and insisted that the grapes be picked by hand. He was going to let the grower pick them by machine this year, only after all the bad weather they had last spring, the grower didn’t have any. Well, so much for that experiment.
Gewurztraminer is a German grape and a lot of the California intrepretations of this grape end up too sweet, thick and cloying – think cough or pancake syrup instead of a white wine. Blech.
But this one gets it right. It’s got a good clean nose without heavy florals, along with a lighter mouthfeel and good acids. The taste is the best part – some spicy notes and just off-dry enough to let the fruit come through. This is as close to a perfect food wine as we’ve seen in a long time, just right for some really gooey, cheesy enchiladas.
Tercero does have a small tasting room in Los Olivos, California, but you can buy the wine at the website, www.tercerowines.com.