Mon 13 Dec 2010
Two wines today, and following impeccable logic, one is — guess what! — white and the other is, um, red.
These wines were samples for review, and, in case you’re wondering, according to FCC rules, we bloggers have to say that, though writers for print media, like magazines and newspapers, are not required to do so.
Toad Hollow Vineyards has been producing an unoaked chardonnay since the 1993 vintage, making the winery a pioneer in that concept. That was, in fact, the first wine released by Toad Hollow, founded by Todd Williams (1938-2007) and Rodney Strong (1927-2006).
The Toad Hollow Francine’s Selection Unoaked Chardonnay 2009, Mendocino County, made all in stainless steel, begins with a radiant medium gold color; it offers classic aromas of pineapple and grapefruit with mildly spicy undertones and hints of floral and mineral elements. The wine delivers lovely purity and intensity in the form of moderately lush pineapple and grapefruit flavors, touched with a bit of mango, tangerine and spiced peach; crisp acidity is vibrant, almost electrifying, and after a few moments scintillating tides of limestone wash up, lending liveliness and firmness to the wine’s structure and even some stony austerity to the finish. Thoroughly enjoyable. About 42,000 cases of this wine are made, so there’s plenty to go around. 13.9 percent alcohol. Very Good+. About $15, representing Great Value.
The Highflyer Centerline 2007, Napa Valley, is an only-in-California blend of syrah (45%), zinfandel (19%), petite sirah (15%), tempranillo (14%) and grenache (7%). Most of the grapes — 92 percent — derive from the Somerston Vineyard located in the Elder Valley region of the eastern Napa Valley, with the rest coming from the Vivio Vineyard in northern Sonoma Valley. Winemaker Craig Becker packs a lot of character into this deep, rich, warmly attractive red wine. A seductive bouquet of spiced and macerated black cherries, black currants and plums is permeated by notes of smoke and ash, fruit cake and potpourri, all borne by layers of dusty shale. There’s a great deal of authority here, with a vivid presence centered on essential acidity, polished oak and dense, rather velvety tannins that cushion and imbue flavors of ripe black fruit highlighted by something wild and piquant and savory. The spicy quality increases as the wine opens, and so does the influence of granite-like minerality. Very well-made wine, both boldly assertive and seamlessly balanced. Production was about 3,000 cases. 14.9 percent alcohol. Drink now through 2013 or ’14. Excellent. About $28.