Monday, July 22, 2019

White Wines for Summer Seafoods - Part 3

A Variety of Great Seafood Wines

The past month of June was very exciting for me as I (and my wife) retired from our day jobs of advertising and public relations (she after 50 years at the company where she began in high school). As we deal with this dramatic transition, I will have more time to continue wine writing in between the adventures associated with major life change.

This week I finish up my review of white wines to accompany summer seafoods.  Light finfish of halibut, cod and rockfish join exotics like swordfish and mahi mahi on the menus of many restaurants that serve seafood and the universe of appropriate white wines to accompany them are limited only by your preferences and pocketbook.

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Rhone Whites Roussanne and others

DeLille Cellars 2018 Roussanne, Red Mountain - $35

This delicious wine came from grapes grown at the famous Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Washington’s Red Mountain AVA. My tasters enjoyed the wine’s complex character, which makes it highly versatile with fish and shellfish. Look for aromas and flavors of cantaloupe, stone fruits and pear with notes of lime, honeycomb and dusty mineral.

Browne Family Vineyards 2018 Rhone White Blend, Columbia Valley - $32

I have always enjoyed the Rhone variety Grenache Blanc for its bright aromas and crisp palate of earthy mineral, dried herbs, rich stone fruits and floral notes. The variety makes up 62% of this blend with Marsanne and Picpoul filling roles of additional complexity and palate structure respectively. Stone fruits, honeysuckle and floral aromas and flavors begin the adventure with crisp notes of mineral and citrus on the palate.

Novelty Hill 2018 Roussanne, Columbia Valley - $23

Winemaker Mike Januik and his staff crafted this flavorful wine from grapes grown at the winery’s estate Stillwater Creek Vineyard on Washington’s Royal Slope (east of the Wahluke Slope AVA). Bright aromas of melon, peach and fruity beeswax lead to a lightish palate of stone fruits, green apple and hints of mineral.


Harbinger Winery 2017 Viognier, Yakima Valley - $27

Winemaker/owner Sara Gagnon marshals her staff of dedicated Olympic Peninsula residents to create and market wines from her regional winery and Olympic Peninsula icon. Stop by the location on Highway 101 west of Port Angeles and don’t miss the adjacent business Adventures in Kayaking for your paddling and mountain biking needs. Sara’s Viognier is blended with just the right amount of Roussanne to make it a near-perfect seafood wine. Aromas and flavors of apricot, tropical fruit, pear and spice are exotic and delicious.

Mercer 2017 Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills - $18

The Mercer family is one of Washington’s original winegrowing families of the modern era and boasts a farming tradition going back to the turn of the last century. Viognier grapes came from the winery’s estate Culloden Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. Pair your best seafood dinner with this Viognier, offering white peach, pear and lychee with notes of orange blossom and lemony acidity.

Griffin Creek 2016 Viognier, Rogue Valley - $30

This Viognier from the Quail Run Vineyard in Southern Oregon offers a rich style of Viognier that demands seafood in cream sauce or rich exotic fish from the grill. Barrel fermented and barrel aged, look for ripe tropical aromas and flavors with a palate-coating viscosity and notes of vanilla crème, coconut and honey on the long finish.

Season Cellars 2017 Viognier, Southern Oregon - $22

Scott and Jennifer Henry continue the family winemaking tradition in Southern Oregon at their Season Cellars, founded in 2012. Their Viognier offers a tropical fruit profile featuring aromas and flavors of mandarin orange, citrus and pear with rich complexity from partial barrel fermentation.

Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc Blends

L’Ecole No 41 2017 Luminesce, Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Estate - $21

L’Ecole No 41 has been a champion of the Semillon variety since the winery’s founding in the 1980s. The grapes of the wine came from the venerable Seven Hills Vineyard, also founded (planted) in the 1980s. The wine was barrel fermented and barrel aged yielding complex aromas and flavors of lemon curd, white peach, pear and earthy mineral.

Browne Family Vineyards 2018 Meritage White, Columbia Valley - $34

This blend of 74% Semillon and 26% Sauvignon Blanc offers fresh aromas of white peach and pear with hints of spice and vanilla. The palate is bright with citrus and crisp acidity pairing everything from shrimp to scallops to fish and chips!


Lobo Hills 2018 Dry Riesling, Yakima Valley - $17

Tony Dollar crafted this excellent food-friendly Riesling from grapes grown at Lonesome Springs Ranch and Airport Ranch vineyards in Washington State’s Yakima Valley.  The wine drinks bone dry - a touch of residual sugar and high acidity balance it out. Look for aromas and flavors of white peach, honeysuckle perfume and apricot with a finish of tangy tropical fruit.

Mercer Estates 2016 Riesling, Small Lot, Yakima Valley - $20

Winemakers from Mercer Estates fermented and aged 10% of this blend on the skins, creating a wine with amazing aromas and textures. The wine offers layers of complexity. Up front aromas and flavors of white peach, lychee and orange blossom mingle with exotic notes of honey and beeswax. The finish introduces steely minerality and crisp acidity to create a very food-friendly wine.

Ponzi Vineyards 2017 Riesling, Willamette Valley - $22

The Ponzi family began its relationship with Riesling in 1974, producing a dry style wine annually from that year until 1993. When consumer interest in Riesling slowed, the winery discontinued production of the variety until 2005 when a resurgence spurred production of the wine once again. This wine from Ponzi Estate vineyards offers bright aromas of citrus, honeysuckle and lychee leading to flavors of nectarine and peppery spice.

Montinore Estate 2018 Almost Dry Riesling - $18

This Willamette Valley Riesling offers the best of both worlds for the seafood lover: a hint of sweetness as well as mouth watering acidity to pair with fish and shellfish of all types. Look for aromas and flavors of melon, key lime and nectarine with notes of honeysuckle, Meyer lemon and orchard blossom.

Malbecs for Fall with Sausage

Malbec and Merlot with Sausage and Spaetzle Fall is a great season for enjoying rich sausages with German style spaet...