Tuesday, August 3, 2010

White Hot Summer

Yes indeed, it's the first week of August, and summer is in full swing. I've been privileged to enjoy some extremely tasty whites over the last couple weeks.

First up is the Maxwell Creek Sauvignon Blanc. If you've never heard of Maxwell Creek, there's a very good reason. It doesn't exist. That's because Maxwell Creek is the name a local wine retailer used to relabel the remainder of the 2008 vintage they got at bargain basement prices. I'm not going to tell you who REALLY made the wine, because frankly, I'm not sure I'm allowed to say. I'm also not going to name the retailer, for the same reason, so do a quick search on cellartracker.com and you'll find it. But suffice it to say, this gorgeous bottle came from the Rutherford area of Napa Valley. It got 90 points under its original name and generally sells for $25. Which is why the $7.97 I paid for it is a SCREAMING deal.

I'm going to repeat that in case you weren't paying attention - a 90-point, $25 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc for $7.97.

It's easy to see, when tasting the wine, why the original label sells for so much. The nose is nothing short of decadent. I love it when a wine is so much fun to smell that I almost forget to start sipping. Intense candied grapefruit comes through, along with a hint of peppery capsicum, gooseberry, and fig. And something else I can't read. Curse my handwriting. But I bet it was good. 

This is one case of truth in advertising. The palate delivers the flavors promised by the nose, but the true pleasure with this bottle lies in the harmonious way they weave together. The lush viscosity gives the wine a rich, round mouthful, yet the bracing acidity keeps the texture light and lively. The flavors manage to be intensely fruity, yet dry, with a flinty minerality laced throughout. Limited quantities left on this stuff, so find some quick and put it in your face!

Date: 7/20/2010
Wine: Maxwell Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2008
ABV: 13.5%
Origin: Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
Color: pale straw
Nose: intense grapefruit, capsicum, gooseberry, fig
Palate: same. very dry w/ minerality throughout, lush viscosity balanced well by bracing acidity.
Price: $8

Next up, I had an opportunity to retaste one of my all-time favorite whites, Caymus Condundrum. Caymus, also located in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley, is primarily known for producing intense, high-end Cabernet Sauvignon. At $25 per bottle, their white blend Conundrum is their most affordable offering ... and also one of the most expensive splurges to which I ever treat myself. Needless to say, I found a great deal I couldn't pass up - 375ml bottles for $6.49, effectively half price.

The nose is a complex symphony of tropical fruit, exotic flowers, rare herbs, and vegetation.  Sensual nerula and honeysuckle entwine with fig and spicy fennel. Grapefruit, green pepper, and a bright freshly torn watercress follow. Gorgeous flavors completely fill the mouth. Honeyed apricot, ripe peach! Papaya, mango!  Exotic hibiscus and rosehip, and a gentle hint of hay on the finish. Full-bodied with fantastic legs and an absolutely perfect refreshing acidity. Not too dry, not too sweet ... this one's just perfect. Perfect. If you can find an excuse to splurge, put it in your face!

Date: 7/26/2010
Wine: Caymus Conundrum
Grapes: State Secret
Vintage: 2007
ABV: 13.5%
Origin: Rutherford, Napa Valley, California
Color: light gold
Nose: nerula, fig, fennel, grapefruit, green pepper, fresh watercress
Palate: honeyed apricot, ripe peach, papaya, mango, hay, hibiscus rosehip
Price: $25

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