2007 Novella Synergy Blanc

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the bottle “In the tradition of our popular Paso Robles red Synergy blend, we are very pleased to offer this special winemaker’s cuvee of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canneli and Pinot Grigio. These varietals collectively highlight the diversity and quality of the Paso Robles appelation. Enjoy this unique and refreshing blend with soft, mild cheeses or baked chicken.”

What I Think:

I stumbled across this one when reading about a customer service story. My first shot of getting my hands on this brought the Chardonnay home. While not bad it was easily forgettable. This one, however, stands up and catches your attention. An interesting blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Canneli and Pinot Grigio with percentages unknown (I emailed the winery to see if they will provide them for us). The order here is from the bottle and typically the first grape listed is the largest percentage wise. While I get grass and mineral (Sauvignon Blanc) on the nose the initial palate is more green apples (Chardonnay without the oak) so guessing those two grapes are almost equally accounted for. The Muscat appears briefly around mid-palate adding a nice touch of sweetness and finishing with a pleasant lingering citrus flavor. A very pleasing effort and one that I will be buying more of.

Rating: Buy It

Editor’s Note (19-Oct-2008):

I emailed the winery to try and get the tasting notes to determine what the blend percentage was here and surprisingly heard back (thanks AC!). As I guessed the order was true to the percentages and the mix was 55.6% Sauvignon Blanc, 40.8% Chardonnay, 3.3% Muscat Canelli and 0.3% Pinot Grigio. Looking forward to my next bottle!

2006 Les Caves Joseph White Bordeaux

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Plume Ridge Wine Negotiants

What They Said:

Per the bottle “This blend of Sauvignon Blanc (50%) and Semillon (50%) produces a brilliant and silvery robe. The complex nose, blending floral and citrus aromas, reveals a perfect balance between fruit and wood, which makes this very enjoyable.”

What I Think:

After an amazing glass at Fleur de Lys a few months back I went combing the shelves at Trader Joe’s for a Pouilly Fuisse (a French appellation widely known for Chardonnay) to see how it could compare. I didn’t find one then I did come across this Sauvignon/Semillon blend that my wife and I fell in love with back on our honeymoon in New Zealand (especially the Pegasus Bay!).  I grabbed it without hesitation.

After pulling the cork this one seems like a winner. As it got closer to room temperature it began to show some chinks in the armor. The racy, mineral backbone that I thought was there disappeared leaving only light floral notes intermingled with barrel type flavors. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for after the first sip. This could sneak into my cart again but more likely not. You are better off grabbing a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc like this Geyser Peak.

Rating: 12th Bottle

2005 Bodega Pirineos Mesache Blanco

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Winebow Brands International

What They Said:

Per Wine Advocate “The 2005 Mesache Blanco is an intriguing blend of 35% late-harvested Macabeo, 35% Gewurztraminer, and 30% Chardonnay fermented and aged in stainless steel. Light gold in color, the bouquet of this crisp, refreshing effort is given a lift by the Gewurztraminer component. In addition to the lychees, there is a hint a banana and other tropical fruits. On the palate, this dry, medium-bodied wine is surprisingly ripe, rich, and long. Drink it over the next two years. 2/28/2007″

What I Think:

Wow! Nice stuff! I was shocked here…A very unique mixture that attracted me as something new. This was a winner, a lovely combination. Chard usually leads to my dismay but provided great balance here vs. the sweet, crispness of the gewurzt which introduced the hints of citrus fruits. Amazingly full bodied with a long finish. Like nothing you have ever had before, get some now.

Rating: Bulk Buy

2005 Ironstone Vineyards Symphony Obsession

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per sfgate.com Let’s conclude this tour of beautiful lightweights with two delicious oddities. The Symphony grape, a cross between Grenache Gris and Muscat of Alexandria, was developed by the late UC Davis viticulture professor Harold Olmo; the university patented Symphony in 1983. The idea was to add refreshing citrus fruit-like acidity to the floral character of Muscat. It has been slow to catch on, however, with only 911 acres planted in the state in 2005, according to the CASS.

The 2005 Ironstone Vineyards Obsession California Symphony ($8) is a nice tribute to Olmo’s memory. Its aroma is strongly floral, with some star anise. It’s very slightly sparkling (“frizzante” is the technical term), and its flavors are reminiscent of a good Gewurztraminer: strongly floral, with notes of Meyer lemon and prickles of pepper on the finish.

What I Think:

Wow, interesting histroy behind this one. As mentioned this is a mix of muscat and grenache gris (not sure what this is). I didn’t get the sparkling at all, did get the Gewurzt though. Flavors of peach stand out above all else initially. This makes it sweeter up front but it later fades to a tingly but non-tannic finish. The winery lists this at $8 a bottle and for $6 it is certainly worth the price of admission. Everyone should give it a try; even without the novelty this is a wine worth drinking.

Rating: Buy it