Sips of Recently Tasted White Wines
Gloria Ferrer, Carneros
The four sparkling wines represent the core of the Gloria Ferrer portfolio. All are crafted using
2012 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Chardonnay
13.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.68, $25. Barrel fermented in
Moderately light gold straw color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of lemon-lime, Asian
pear and Fuji apple with a hint of tropical fruits and toasty oak. Solid, with a good grip of acidity on
the juicy finish.
NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros Sparkling Wine
12.5% alc., pH 3.35, TA
0.75, dosage 13.3 g/L, $22. Exclusively Chardonnay. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in
stainless steel, proprietary yeast for secondary fermentation in bottle. Final blend contains
6 different base wines. 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Sweepstakes
Award for sparkling wines. Aged 16 months en tirage before disgorgement.
yellow color with a fine bead in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of fresh apple and
pear. The flavors of green apple, pear, Meyer lemon and white peach are satisfyingly
bright. Slightly creamy on the palate, with a crisp, dry, mineral-imbued, soprano finish.
NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut Carneros Sparkling Wine
12.5% alc., pH 3.21, TA 0.68,
dosage 13 g/L, $22. This wine is dominated by Pinot Noir with added Chardonnay. Whole
cluster pressed, 20% to 25% of first press used, proprietary yeast drive the second
fermentation. A blend of 20 different base wines fermented in stainless steel. The wine
spent 18 months en tirage.
Very pale pink diamond color in the glass. Lovely aromas of
black cherry, Granny Smith apple and croissant. Vivid and lively on the palate with flavors
of cherry, cranberry and citrus fruits. Completely dry, with inviting fruit goodness and length on the
NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Carneros Sparkling Wine
12.2% alc., pH 3.07, TA 0.73, $22.
Predominantly Pinot Noir (92%) with a small amount of
Chardonnay (8%) and a small addition of Vin Gris
blended into the base cuvée. Many different clones and
selections. Whole cluster pressed, proprietary yeast
used for secondary fermentation. The wine is a blend of 18
different base wines fermented in stainless steel. 5% to 7% coldsoaked
Pinot Noir juice (Vin Gris) is blended into the base wine for
color and texture. The wine was aged en tirage for 18 months.
Light salmon color in the glass. Inviting aromas and flavors of
strawberry, cherry and red currant. Plenty of fruit intensity and zip to satisfy, with a creamy mouth feel
and a tight, dry, mouthwatering finish.
NV Gloria Ferrer VA DE VI Carneros Sparkling Wine
12.0% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.75, dosage 25 G/L,
$22. A blend of Pinot Noir (89%) and Chardonnay (8%) with a trace of Muscat (3%). Whole cluster
pressed with use of 20% to 25% of the first press. Proprietary yeast used for the secondary bottle
fermentation. Fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aged 18 months en tirage.
Pale pink salmon color
in the glass. Shy aromas of apple, peach and lemongrass. Slightly sweet on the palate with juicy
flavors of peach, berries and tropical fruits. The Muscat definitely peaks out.
2013 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
11.2% alc., 145 cases, $32.
This is an orange wine that defies description. This white grape was left on its skins to add color and
texture to the wine, then pressed and fermented to dryness in neutral French oak barrels. Unfined and
Light copper salmon color in the glass. The aromas are primarily floral including gardenia
while the flavors are fruity including poached pear and hints of strawberry, cherry and vanilla. Lighter
in weight, soft in texture and easy to drink. Should be chilled and paired with shellfish.
2013 Briceland Vineyards Humboldt County Chardonnay
13.5% alc., $26. No oak or malolactic
Moderately light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, apple tart and
mountain air. Driven by crisp and steely acidity, this wine features flavors of lemon and yellow apple.
Slightly viscous in the mouth with a juicy finish. Fine, but doesn’t hold my interest over time. Tasted
2013 Briceland Vineyards Spirit Canyon Vineyard Mendocino County Arneis
13.6% alc., $21.
An unusual California bottling of a white Italian grape known as “white Nebbiolo.” Planted by Glenn
McGourty. Less than 100 acres in California.
Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Shy
aromas of lemon tart and wildflowers. Pleasant and smooth on the palate with flavors of lemon, dried
herbs and floral note. With its lip-smacking acidity, this wine is a good foil for shellfish. Not as good
as previous vintages of this wine.
2012 Press Cellars Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
15.3% alc., 100
cases, $38. Partial whole cluster with native yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 50% new
American oak and 50% neutral French oak.
Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Bold
aromas of lemon-lime and toasted oak. A bit unusual in flavor, with notes of cut apple, poached pear,
grilled pineapple, toast and burnt toffee. Creamy in the mouth, with noticeable fruit ripeness and
fullness, made for the California palate.
2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
14.5% alc., 1,692 cases,$60.
Light golden straw
color in the glass. Appealing array of aromas including white
peach, Asian pear, lychee, buttery oak, chalk and flint. Tight, with
good tension, offering defined flavors of lemon, poached pear and
very subtle oak. Beautifully configured and sophisticated with
impeccable balance and a refreshing cut of acidity. A
connoisseur’s wine with many nuances made in a French style that
will benefit from more time in bottle.
2012 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., 779 cases,
pH 3.32, TA 0.69, 779 cases, $32. Average age of dry-farmed vines is 39 years. 100% barrel
fermented in 100% new French oak barrels for 8 months. Winemakers and winegrowers Charles and
Bright golden straw color and clear in the glass. Scents of lemon curd, poached pears
and green apples lead to a soft and creamy core of citrus, pear and banana flavors with a hint of
smoky oak and iron-driven minerality. Somewhat reserved in a French style that is well-crafted.
NV Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Riesling
12.6% alc., 1,288 cases, $27. From 5.5
acres of dry-farmed estate grapes. Cool mountain
temperatures, rocky volcanic soil.
Inviting scents of
lemon-lime, pine, grass and petrol. Juicy lemon-lime,
green apple, pear and tropical flavors in a crisp style with
a slightly creamy textural tone. Impressive finishing length and
palate-cleansing acidity. A perfect match with oysters or southern
2013 Sonoma-Loeb Envoy Carneros Chardonnay
14.9% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.64, $38. Sourced
from low-yielding Wente, Hyde and Robert Young clone fruit from the best blocks at Sangiacomo
Vineyard. Harvest Brix 23.5º-24.9º. Barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation, aged 8 months
Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Welcoming scents of lemon curd, buttery
brioche, peach and chalk dust. Delicious and decadent with waves of citrus fruits including pineapple
and lemon, with notes of Asian pear, nectarine, buttery popcorn, and toast. A take no prisoners,
barrel fermented charmer made in an opulent and well oaked California style.
2013 Truchard Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 4,955 cases, pH 3.34, TA 0.66, $30. Harvest
Brix 24.0º. Vines range from 17 to 39-years-old and
benefit from the various marine soils, gently slopped
terrain and cooler temperatures. Whole cluster pressed,
100% barrel fermented sur lie with battonage in 100%
French oak, 33% of which was new for 10 months. 30%
Very light golden straw color and clear in
the glass. Pleasant aromas of lemon curd, pear, apple pan dowdy
and apple blossom. Light and refined on the palate and very
refreshing, with lemon, pear, apple and nutty toffee flavors backed
by bright acidity. The wine picks up flavor intensity and interest over time in the glass, offering a
finishing kick of lemon-driven acidity. I continue to be very impressed by the Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay from this iconic Carneros winery.