Thu 14 Nov 2013
Wine writers and reviewers in many genres and medias tend to focus on Thanksgiving and its challenging multifarious dinner and wine selections during November. A few days ago, for example, in the Wine of the Week, I reviewed the Seghesio Zinfandel 2011, Sonoma County, and happened to recommend it for Thanksgiving, and it would be very satisfying in that role. The famous meal is, however, diverse enough in let’s say subject and structure, cause and effect, that it can be accompanied by a variety of wines, some of which might seem inherently contradictory. An example is the subject of today’s post, the Adelsheim Ribbon Springs Vineyard Auxerrois 2012, Willamette Valley. Confusingly, and typically of grape names in Europe, auxerrois — don’t come down too hard on the “x’; make it more a soft “s” — is the nom de plume in Cahors for the black malbec grape (also known as cot) and the name of a white grape prevalent in Alsace, where it often makes appearances in the sparkling Cremant d’Alsace. It’s also a principal grape in Luxembourg. Auxerrois is the offspring of pinot and gouais blanc, the latter a sort of grandfather to some 16 grape varieties, a wonder since in itself gouais blanc is a notably mediocre grape. Anyway, the point is that I came upon the Adelsheim Auxerrois 2012 yesterday afternoon at a wholesaler’s trade tasting event and was struck — actually blown away — by the wine’s distinctive aromatic qualities. The color, first, is very pale, with just a glimmer of light gold; scents of fig and lychee, greengage, honeysuckle and camellia are borne by notes of straw, lime peel and grapefruit with a trace of talcum powder in a heady melange that draws you in and doesn’t let go. The wine is quite dry, strikingly crisp and vivacious, deftly balanced between litheness and lushness — it’s made 89 percent in stainless steel, 11 percent in neutral French oak — and delivers flavors of roasted lemon, tangerine and lemongrass in a limestone infused package. 13.5 percent alcohol. Production is listed as 738 six-packs, meaning 366 cases, if that’s the way your mind works, and mine does. This feels not made for aging but for immediate consumption or perhaps into Summer 2014. Excellent. About $25.