Tuesday, June 25, 2019
White Wines for Summer Seafoods - Part 2
Light and flavorful white wines to pair with seafood dishes are among the most beloved wines around the world. We tasted some crisp Albarino from both its native Spain and from Oregon, tasty Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire in France and from the Northwest, and Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc from Oregon and Washington.
Abacela proprietors Earl and Hilda Jones are dedicated to the production of Spanish varieties in Southern Oregon and this grape does very well in their Umpqua Valley region. Aromas and flavors of pear and apple mingle with notes of citrus and honey – tasty with both oysters and mussels, as well as other seafood. Be sure to visit touting their Vine and Wine Center which doubles as a tasting room and educational center for sustainability and green living, open 11am to 5pm, near Roseburg. Abacela.com
Fillaboa produces wine solely from estate-owned fruit, and Bodegas Fillaboa is unique in their commitment to a single bottling per vintage for the U. S. market. This very special Albarino should be sought out for its superb balance of tropical aromas and flavors mingling with dusty mineral, pear and lemon. It is a delightful seafood wine and makes a nice counterpoint when tasted against Sauvignon Blanc.
Among the original wines hailed as those that best accompanied oysters and other seafoods were the crisp white wines of the Loire Valley in France. Blanc Fume, Sancerre, Muscadet and others have been served with seafood of the nearby Atlantic coast for centuries. The Saget family produces each of the favored wines of the area including this flinty and complex Blanc Fume featuring citrus, pear and tropical fruits on both the nose and palate.
This wine is part of King Estate’s Vineyard Designate program matching superb vineyard sites with meticulous winemaking. Croft Vineyard is located southwest of Salem, Oregon along the Willamette River. Tasters enjoyed this wine’s ripe fruit of pear and citrus with complex spice and sur lie character – best paired with rich seafood choices or seafood dishes with rich sauces. Kingestate.com
Grapes for this refreshing Sauvignon Blanc came from Mercer’s Princeton Vineyard in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Processing of the fruit and fermentation were conducted in such a way as to encourage grapefruit and passion fruit flavors in the finished wine. Look for bright citrus aromas and flavors with hints of new mown hay, gooseberry and lychee. Mercerwine.com
This wine came from a mix of vineyards in the wide Columbia Valley AVA of Washington State. This produced a complex wine showing many aromas and flavors such as key lime, honeydew melon, stone fruits, gooseberry and honey. The finish on the wine is bright and crisp to pair with your favorite shellfish or other seafood. Waterbrook.com
Grapes for this value-priced wine were sourced from the Saget estate vineyards in the Loire and also from select vineyards in the South of France. The wine is elegant and understated with clean and balanced flavors to pair with many seafoods. Look for aromas and flavors of white flowers, flinty mineral, white peach, lychee and hints of citrus.
Here’s another fresh and friendly Oregon Pinot Gris that fills the bill for sipping with seafood or light snacks. Winemaker Sarah Cabot crafts the Primarius brand for Precept Wines to show spicy pear, floral perfume, lime zest and crisp acidity on the finish. Primarius.com
Ponzi Vineyards Pinot Gris was among the Oregon Pinot Gris bottlings that the Washington Wine Writers group featured at a comparative tasting in Seattle in 1988. We enjoyed the differences between the (only) seven Pinot Gris then available from the Willamette Valley. Ponzi’s Pinot Gris has gone on to set the bar for excellence featuring a bouquet of floral aromas, honey, white pepper and citrus aromas. Flavors of pear, kumquat and stone fruits delight the palate. Ponziwine.com
The Steiner Block at King Estate is a tribute to Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the biodynamic approach to agriculture in the 1920s. At 1,033 acres, King Estate is the largest Demeter USA-certified biodynamic vineyard in North America. My tasters enjoyed this special Pinot Gris for bright aromas and flavors of stone fruits, tropical citrus, pear and honeydew melon.
This wine was cold fermented in stainless steel then allowed to age sur lie, giving the wine a creamy texture over the distinct Pinot Gris fruit. Look for aromas and flavors of juicy pear, apple and honeydew melon.
Skagit Crest Vineyard and Winery is located in Washington’s Skagit Valley near Sedro Wooley. The six-acre vineyard is planted on a southwest slope and provides the fruit for most of the winery’s bottlings. The winery has a tasting room in the historic town of La Conner. Skagit Crest Pinot Gris offers aromas and flavors of ripe peach, grassy herbs and melon with a hint of citrus. SkagitCrest.com
King Estate’s winemaking team crafted this wine from grapes grown at Foris Vineyard in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley AVA near Cave Junction. Aromas of wild flowers and white peach mingle with tropical guava and melon. The medium bodied palate is redolent of stone fruits, crisp citrus and hints of earthy mineral.
In my mind, Pinot Blanc is to Pinot Gris what Semillon is to Sauvignon Blanc – a richer wine with distinctive aromas and flavors that require a bit of getting used to. This complexity and richness serve to complement many seafood dishes such as mussels and other bivalves served simply in their own juices mingled with wine. Look for pear, fuji apple, lime and lychee with notes of earthy mineral and lemon grass. Wvv.com
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