Wine Tasting Dinner: Summer Whites



By Kori ~ July 16th, 2008.

Last Friday was a beautiful, sunny day in Seattle, the perfect day to enjoy some crisp, cool white wines for summer. Our wine tasting dinner this month was a slight departure from our normal tasting format. This tasting featured six different white varietals instead of six different wines within the same varietal. Since the Wine Peeps generally gravitate toward our beloved New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc when it comes to white wines, we wanted to expand our horizons and see how some other varietals from other regions stacked up in a blind tasting.

In addition to asking each of our guests to give us their rankings of the wines at the end of the evening, we added another twist to make things even more interesting. Each person was given a sheet of paper with a list of the six varietals represented in the tasting and a brief description of common characteristics for that varietal and we each tried to identify which wine was which varietal before we took off the sacks and unveiled them. We had done this exercise a couple years ago with a red tasting and it is no easy task. I’m happy to report that this group did very well with the exercise. One person matched all six correctly and two others matched four.

While the 2007 Nobilo Marlborough Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand was the consensus favorite, we did discover a fabulous Viognier from Nefarious Cellars in Chelan, Washington and once again thoroughly enjoyed the Poet’s Leap Riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington. These top three wines were all excellent and each garnered a 4 star rating. Though very different, all three paired well with Mom’s dinner of braised chicken breast topped with olive tapenade, steamed green beans with red onion and roasted red peppers, and wild rice.

In addition to enjoying good wines and Mom’s delicious food, the best part of the evening was spending time with wonderful family and friends.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2007 Nobilo Marlborough Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand): Beautiful nose of grapefruit, lime, tomato plant, and freshly cut grass. Distinct grapefruit flavors. Sharp, crisp acidity and a nice, long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: MadWine (Seattle), $10.99; Available elsewhere, $10 to $11

2007 Nefarious Cellars Defiance Vineyard Viognier (Lake Chelan Valley, Washington): Elegant floral aromas and flavors. Crisp and refreshing with a pleasant, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $18.99

2006 Poet’s Leap Riesling [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Aromas of cantaloupe rind and pineapple lead to flavors of honeydew and peach. Off-dry and well-balanced with crisp acidity and a nice finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Pete’s Wine Shop (Seattle), $18.69; Available elsewhere, $16 to $24

2007 Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc (Columbia Valley, Washington): Interesting aroma profile of asparagus mixed with stale beer. Tastes better than it smells. Some acidity.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: QFC (Seattle), $9; Available elsewhere, $8 to $14 (different vintage)

2007 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay (New Zealand): Distinct dill notes on the nose. Fairly plain with a short, somewhat perplexing finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle), $15; Available elsewhere, $15 to $20

2007 Voga Italia Pinot Grigio (Delle Venezie, Italy): Old World minerality is present along with aromas of pizza crust. Weak finish. This wine comes in a very distinctive bottle that looks a bit like a huge cologne bottle.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: QFC (Seattle), $9; Available elsewhere, $10 to $28 (different vintage)

What is your favorite summer white wine?


Filed under: American Wine, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Italian Wine, New Zealand Wine, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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