2007 Casa Silva Reserva Viognier

I'm not sure I've ever drunk a Viognier, so I was eager to see what one was like after all the Sauvignon Blancs I've made my way through this summer.

This one is a 2007 Casa Silva Reserva from Chile's Colchagua Valley.  Here's a good description of the location from Wink Lorch's wine-pages.com: "Colchagua Valley is a zone within a sub-region (Rapel Valley), which in turn lies within a region (Central Valley). Within Colchagua itself are six areas including a couple that might be familiar: Chimbarongo (on many Cono Sur labels) and Santa Cruz (on the Montes Alpha range)." My description would be that it's almost exactly in the middle of the country, not counting the little hook (or pretty big hook) down at the bottom of Chile.

According to the label, the Silva family were some of the first settlers to grow grapes in the valley, and now 4th and 5th generations run the estate.  Their wines have won a lot of prizes--but, frankly, it seems like everyone's wines win a lot of prizes. I think judges take turns handing them out so everyone has some. Sort of like hospitals.

They describe this wine as "complex, elegant and unique", which sums up this bottle pretty well.  It certainly doesn't have the grassiness of so many SBs.  I haven't drunk a pinot gris in a while so I can't compare it to those, but this seemed like a pleasant middle-of-the-road white, not too acidic, not too sweet, not overloaded with different notes. 

This bottle ran me around $10 and would work great for almost any dinner party, from casual to formal, or just a casual get together.

2006 Pouilly-Fume and 2006 Argentinian Cabarnet Sauvignon

A busy work week so a slow week here.  I'm combining mini-reviews of two wines I've drunk the last few days.

The first I grabbed out of desperation because I didn't have any beer or white wine in the fridge:  a 2006 Pascual Toso Cabarnet Sauvignon from Argentina.  This winery was established in 1890 and is located in Maipu, a few miles east of Mendoza in the well-known wine-making province of that name.  This wine is 100% Cab Sauv.

I accidentally bought this bottle when I was buying Sauvignon Blancs and just saw "Sauvignon" on the bottle, not the "Cabarnet" or the fact that the wine was red.  I was in a hurry.  This ran me about $15, and the alcohol content is 13.8%.

I have never been a big Cab Sauv fan, and after not having drunk any for probably several years, this bottle reconfirmed my feelings.  It's a very fruity wine: I got blackberries and vanilla.  This would go great with a roast or grilling if you're having steak.  It's just a little too 'red winey' for me, and it's getting pushed to the back of the counter to use for cooking.

The second bottle was my last bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for the season, although this is actually a Pouilly-Fume from the Loire Valley:  a 2006 Domaine Seguin, which is based in Pouilly-sur-Loire, so you can't ask for a more authentic P-F than that.  This bottle ran me $29 and it's 12.5% alcohol by volume.

I went to one of Indianapolis' biggest ethanol product emporiums looking for Pouilly-Fumes (Kahn's, which is one of my favorite places just to browse and read labels, though I do buy things there too to support my reading habit), and this was the only bottle I saw, down on a bottom shelf.  I was surprised they carried only one (or, if they have others, that they weren't in the Loire Wines section).

I liked this bottle much better than my first P-F a few weeks ago (at $29, I should).  If you hid the label, you probably wouldn't know this wasn't, say, a California SB.  It had the typical SB nose, though not as grassy/asparagussy as many of them.  The wine itself was just ok in my book, no great subtleties of flavor, just a pleasant white wine/SB.  I tend to drink these without food; maybe I'll start doing some of my tastings with a meal because it definitely makes a difference.  The SB from a few weeks ago that I was drinking while eating pretty potent blue cheese was a revelation paired with food.

If you want to impress the boss or the future in-laws, this wouldn't be a bad wine to serve them.  Practice pronouncing the name first.

2004 Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc

I saved my most expensive, and I was hoping the best, Sauvignon Blanc of the season to the end:  a 2004 Napa Valley Soliloquy that ran me $28.  It's made by Flora Springs, which is located on Zinfandel Lane a few miles SW of St. Helena (almost directly east of Santa Rosa).

There are disappointments in life, and this was one of them.  I wasn't crazy about this wine, to the point where I was pouring out the last glass, I was debating whether I really wanted to drink any more of it.

If you like the often-heralded 'honeydew' notes and tones in SBs, you will love this wine.  It almost knocks you over when you swirl the wine in the glass, and it's almost as noticeable on the tongue.  I'm not a big melon fan, I'll admit (except for watermelon), though I don't mind small pieces of it. But I thought it was way too overwhelming here.

On the other hand, the balance of acidity and sweetness was good: not an acid wash like a few SBs I've drunk this summer, but not sticky sweet to go with the melon notes either. If you want to go with a higher-end Nappa Valley SB for a dinner party, this one might work better for you than it did for me.

I was looking back at my reviews the last 6 months, and I found 4 SBs that I really liked, 2 from Chile and 2 from New Zealand:

2008 La Fortuna Chile
Lapostolle 2008 Casa Chile
Nobilo Icon 2007 NZ
Sauvignon Republic 2008 NZ

I have one more SB-related review before I switch to syrahs and shirazes this week, and that will be another Pouilly de Fume.

Barefoot & 2006 Domaine de Gournier Sauvignon Blancs

I'm combining 2 reviews today because my tasting notes weren't very complete, so the reviews will be up of the thumb up and thumb down variety.

First is a No Date California Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc.  This is the cheapest one I've drunk this summer, only $5.50 on sale. 

The nose wasn't anything special, but the wine was surprisingly good for being so inexpensive.  Certainly as good as if not better than some $15 bottles I've drunk this summer.

It seemed a little 'thin' on the tongue perhaps, with a little though not overwhelming acidity.  I caught a taste of something--the elusive honeydew that so many SBs advertise maybe?  I certainly didn't get the 'smoky finish' mentioned on the label.

A perfectly good wine for a last-minute dinner party or Chinese take-out for that matter, and you can't beat the price.

The last couple nights I've drunk my way through a 2006 Domaine de Gournier, an estate between Avignon and Nimes.  This is probably one of my favorite, if not favorite, SBs I've drunk all summer (though the $15 California one from a month-six weeks ago gives it a run for its money).

This one has a more complex nose than any of the SBs I've drunk in the last few weeks.  You don't get just the typical SB grassy meadow when you swirl it in the glass.

I can't put my finger on specific notes in this one except to say that I thought I was very smooth and goes well with food.  I was eating some blue cheese and dark bread while I was drinking a glass, and I was surprised how well it went with the cheese.  An almost perfect combination.  I also drank a glass with a spicy hamburger dish, and the wine tasted great with that too.

This bottle ran me $12.  It was on the bottom shelf in the Loire/Other Whites section and so easily overlooked, but it's a SB that you should search out for casual drinking or having the boss over to dinner. I may stock up with a few bottles to have on hand.