Sat 11 Jun 2011
That’s probably the most obvious and the lamest title anyone could come up with for this post, but so be it. The point is that these blended wines from X Winery will, um, hit the spot for your many wine needs this weekend, and in many states and cities, where wine and liquor stores stay open until 10 or 11 p.m., you have half a day in which to shop. X Winery released its first wines in 2001, beginning with 1600 cases. The result of Reed Renaudin’s thesis at Cal Poly-San Obispo, where he obtained an MBA, X Winery draws on highly-sought vineyards, such as Truchard and Sangiacomo in Carneros, Spring Mountain in Napa Valley and Roach Vineyards in St. Helena, for its reasonably priced wines. Its flagship wines, the Amicus Cabernet Sauvignon and Amicus Special Blend, at $55 and $45 respectively, are still reasonably priced for the quality and the competition. Today though, we’re looking at the bargain-priced White X and Red X wines. Winemakers are Reed Renaudin and Gina Richmond. These were samples for review.
The X Winery White X 2010, North Coast, is a blend of 55 percent sauvignon blanc, 18 percent chardonnay, 16 percent riesling and 11 percent malvasia bianca. This is indeed a North Coast wine, deriving from Lake (43%), Mendocino (25%), Napa (18%) and Sonoma (14%) counties. White X is made in stainless steel. This is a fresh, crisp and perky wine that offers a bouquet of melon and pear, touches of quince, ginger, orange zest and roasted lemon, and beguiling notes of honeysuckle and jasmine. What’s interesting about this wine, besides the fact that it’s downright delicious, is the way in which you identify its components as you drink: “Ah, there a bit of sauvignon blanc herbaceousness and leafy fig. And there’s a hint of chardonnay’s body and grapefruit-pineapple character; riesling’s lime, peach and limestone; malvasia bianca’s spice and flowers,” and it all rolls seamlessly over your grateful taste buds to a dry, tart, slightly austere finish. We drank this one night with Jamie Oliver’s Fennel Risotto with Ricotta and Dried Chili; the wine was charming, but the risotto was not as good as the first time I made it, something about the barometric pressure and my bad mood, I guess, risotto is so damned sensitive. 13.9 percent alcohol. Drink through 2012. Very Good+. About $15.
The X Winery Red X 2009, North Coast, is a robust, wild and woolly blend of 52 percent syrah, 19 percent mourvèdre, 17 percent zinfandel and 12 percent grenache, drawn from Los Carneros (48%) and Mendocino (21%), Napa (16%) and Lake (15%) counties. Red X 09, as did its predecessors — the brand debuted in 2003 — delivers exuberant elements of black currants and cherries, blueberry and a touch of tart cranberry woven with briers and brambles, cloves and allspice and deep notes of black olive and dried thyme; think of it as a Côtes-du-Rhône with the addition of some bold and spicy California zinfandel. Though juicy black and blue fruit flavors dominate in the mouth, touches of leather, underbrush, graphite-like minerals and slightly toasty oak bolster the depths. The texture is supple and smooth, with a bit of litheness and sinew in structure and finish. The wine aged 21 months in oak, 20 percent new French and 10 percent new American barrels, the rest of the barrels being neutral, that is well-used. We drank this quite successfully with a charcuterie spread for dinner last night. 14.5 percent alcohol. Drink through 2012 or ’13. Very Good+. About $15.