by Patrick Ogle
You need two words to describe this lovely Northern California blend—‘oak’ and ‘bomb’. At first taste you might think this is a straight up chardonnay varietal. It isn't. This wine is a blend of chardonnay, viognier and roussanne which are moderating influences that come into focus as you ponder ( although you don't really need to ponder; you can just drink). If you are fond of lighter wines or don't like oak this might not be for you.
This is, as noted, a big white that is nicely balanced with acidity and a hint of citrus. I tend to harp on balance over describing arcane fruit flavors. When someone says a wine tastes like peach pits do you really sense that? I am not suggesting it isn't there simply that it doesn't matter when most folks are having a glass of wine. On the other hand a wine that is unbalanced, sweet with no acidity or acidic without fruit etcetera; these are wines you probably don't want to be drinking (unless it is free).
Viognier and roussanne often impart similar, but not identical, flavors to a wine. You will hear “stonefruit” (peaches, apricots) for the former and usually pear and even tea in descriptions of the latter. Viognier also give the wine some viscosity, a sensation that might be described as oily (nothing to do with the taste). The texture of a wine can influence your drinking experience as much as flavor.
This blend is one you will find in France (Languedoc), USA (California )and occasionally other places. When you see this blend do not assume it will always taste similar. Different winemakers use wildly different proportions in such blends. This version has 45 percent chardonnay, 45 percent viognier and 10 percent roussanne. The preponderance of chardonnay and viognier here are what lend this wine its weight, is big body while the touch of roussanne adds acidity and lighter aromatics.