2009 Deo Gratias Roussanne/Marsanne Blend

Next up in my grab bag of mixed whites this spring/summer is an 85% roussanne-15% marsanne blend from Deo Gratias, produced in Narbonne, France, which is one of the southernmost cities on the east side of France, across the (gulf of something?) from Marseille..

I wasn't familiar with roussanne or marsanne, so I looked them up.  They are the only whites allowed in certain appellations in the northern Rhone, and roussanne is just one of a handful of even more obscure whites allowed in the southern Rhone. Both can be blended with reds

Wikipedia says about roussanne, "The berries are distinguished by their russetcolor when ripe — roux is French for the reddish brown color russet, and is probably the root for the variety's name. The aroma of Roussanne is often reminiscent of a flowery herbal tea. In warm climates, it produces wines of richness, with flavors of honey and pear, and full body. In cooler climates it is more floral and more delicate, with higher acidity."

All that aside, I wasn't crazy about this blend though I drank all of it.  Very "different" notes from your usual whites.  I'm not sure I got the herbal tea, maybe the honey.  It reminded me of a "funky" Gewurtz that wasn't right close up next to a riesling in flavor like so many are, more at the "funkier" end of the spectrum.

I'd like to try another couple roussannes to see how they compare to this one.  I'm thinking I may come to appreciate this grape; it just didn't happen on the first try.

2011 Berger Grüner Veltliner

So here's a grape I knew next to nothing about, the grüner veltliner from Austria.  I got this bottle in a case of mixed whites so I can't give a price for it.

Here's how wikipedia describes it:  "Grüner Veltliner is a variety of white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. The leaves of the grape vine are five-lobed with bunches that are long but compact, and deep green grapes that ripen in mid-late October in the Northern Hemisphere."

This bottle was unique in wines I've bought in that it has a beer/pop bottle-type cap, no cork or screw top.

I liked it and can see how Austrians enjoy drinking this on the terrace of an inn or bar.  I would describe it as like a wine version of a hard cider, with apple notes to it.  Wikipedia says it has stood up to world-class chardonnays, which I don't quite see because this didn't have the chardonnay body and is much more acidic.

A nice white for summer drinking, and everyone has a bottle opener!

2008 Max Wagner Kabinett Riesling

The last couple nights I drank a 2008 Max Wagner Kabinett riesling from the Mosel region, almost equidistant between Luxembourg and Koblenz.  I got this as part of my mixed whites case from Morrell's.

I drank rieslings last summer so I'm fairly familiar with them.  I'm not crazy about sweet wines in general, and Kabinett wines are semi-sweet by default.  I'd say that this is maybe more on the sweet end of the spectrum than strictly semi-sweet, but I liked it.  It has a notable spiciness to it that balances the sugar.  I must have liked it; I drank almost the entire bottle in one sitting, which is unusual for me.

A nice riesling; I bet this would go great with Thai or Vietnamese food.

2011 Loire Charbonnier Sauvignon Blanc

I don't remember if I went into detail on that I'm working through different whites for a couple months rather than sticking with one or two varietals like I usually do (this year pinot gris/grigio and Gewurz), but if I didn't -- well, I am.

Last weekend I drank a 2011 sauvignon blanc from the Touraine appelation of the Loire Valley bottled by Charbonnier; it ran me in the mid-teens, part of a case of mixed whites from Morrell.

I didn't make notes at the time and waited too long to write it up, but in general a nice S.B. and I was glad to be back to them (I drank those a couple summers ago).  This one was very fragrant and herbal without the asparagus/cat urine notes that you get in so many.  I drank some Loire wines a summer or two ago and remember not being too crazy about them -- too austere for me -- but this one is very nice, a good complement to the usual summer chicken or seafood or pasta salads.

2009 Georgetown Divide Grenache Rouge

I reviewed my other bottle of this a few months back so just a capsule review of the second bottle.

This grenache rosé is from Geyserville in Sonoma Co.  It ran me around $10.

In short: not bad, but not my favorite rosé.  (See my reviews of pinot noir rosés from a few months ago for a couple of those.)  The first few sips seemed maybe a little on the vinegary side but it opened up as I drank it.

I can see this with fish or chicken breast on the grill, a nice summer BBQ wine.

2010 KC Jones White Blend & 2009 Loire Vouvray

I'm combining two bottles tonight, a 2010 KC Jones white blend from Sonoma and a 2009 Loire Vouvray from Philippe Brisebarre. I'm starting a couple months of mixed whites to try something different than my usual alternating of two wines per season.

The KC Jones is quite a mix: 34% chardonnay, 31% viognier, 12% pinot blanc, 8% sauvignon blanc, 6% pinot gris, 3% Gewurtz, and 3% riesling.  (Got that?)

After what must have been a lot of trial and error coming up with those proportions, frankly I thought the final result is a very middle-of-the-road blend, drinkable but not notable.  A couple bottles would be fine for a weekend BBQ with a couple of friends over, but I wouldn't buy it for a special occasion.

The Vouvray, on the other hand, had more interesting notes to it and more nose.  (And my notes of what those notes are have disappeared into the cloud.)  It went well with a chicken breast on the grill, as well as with some salsa and chips.  I'm not always crazy about Loire wines, but I liked this one.  It's the one I would buy for a special occasion.

2010 Two Vines Gewurztraminer

The last Gewurz for a while is a 2010 Two Vines from Washington State in the Columbia Valley that ran me about $10.

This is another very drinkable one with good body.  The label claims anonymous citrus notes for it.  I didn't get the "exotic spice" that they think it has.

In general, having drunk 3 or 4 Gewurzes now, my general impression is they're so close to Rieslings as to not be very different.  I guess I'm going to have to buy 1 of each, hopefully from the same place, and do a compare and contrast to understand the differences.

Now that I have 6 weeks of pinot gris/grigios and Gewurzes under my belt, for the next couple months I'm going to try something different.  I've bought a couple mixed cases of whites, and I have enough to last me through June.

So I'll be comparing those for 8 weeks or so, and later this summer I'll come back to pinot gris and Gewurzes and pick them up again.  (Not that I'm bored with them and think they all taste pretty much the same.) (Maybe.)