Kunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc (2012)

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Kunde Sauvignon BlancKunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: California: Sonoma Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $16

What they say about it:

A crisp yet smooth wine offering lemon zest and orange rind aromatics, grapefruit and yellow nectarine flavors, with lovely length across the palate.

What I say about it:

Every once and a while I stumble upon a wine that is exceptional. The Kunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc from 2012 is one of those wines. Having randomly picked it from the market made it that much more fun of a discovery. After tasting it I am not surprised to find out it’s won the 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Gold Medal and the 2013 Pacific Coast Oyster Award.

Out of the glass and into the bottle….The color of the “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc is a clean yellow with a hint of peach to it. Short legs in the glass as the wine is dry.

The nose of the wine is very crisp with big citrus notes: green apples, lemon, grapefruit, orange blossom with honey and vanilla overtones.

The taste is perfectly balanced. Big, bright and crisp with nice acidity with tons of apple, pear, citrus, most notably grapefruit, with a nice full finish. As it warmed slightly I began to pick up more fruit, especially melon. The finish and mouth feel also made me think of the texture of ripe melon. It had a velvety smooth butteriness. There were some slight mineral notes as well.

The Kunde “Magnolia Lane” Sauvignon Blanc will pair well with poultry, seafood and lite savory dishes excellently. For fruits I would recommend dried apricots, figs, apples, and the like. For cheese it will go nice with delicate soft cheese like Brie but even stand up to the robust flavors of a Blue.

Overall this is a fantastic wine and I highly recommend you pick up a bottle to try for yourself. It’s a steal for under $20 as well.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Hey Dave, get a room but leave the bottle. 

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS

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L’Ecole No 41Chenin Blanc “Columbia Valley” (2012)

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20140110_225045L’Ecole No 41Chenin Blanc “Columbia Valley”

Chenin Blanc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $15

What they say about it:

“This fresh and vibrant Chenin Blanc shows abundant expressive aromatics of jasmine, orange blossom, and mango with flavors of star fruit, apple, and peach on a balanced, crisp mineral finish.”

What I say about it:

Amazingly, I think this may be my first taste from L’Ecole, one of the well known and earliest artisanal wine makers in Washington state. They produce in both the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley. The later I hope to visit this summer. The 2012 Chenin Blanc from Columbia Valley was a nice introduction on a Friday night. I sampled it chilled to about 54° F which is where I like whites.

Out of the bottle and into the glass…. The color is yellow to yellow straw. Clean to the edge of the glass with a hint of peach and orange to the hue. More mellow than bright yet clear.

The nose had a lot of floral, grassy and ciitrus notes: orange blossom, marigold,with a touch of wet wool, chestnut, wet earth and mushrooms. 

The taste was equally citrus and balanced with a long slightly mineral finish. Green pineapple, fresh white peaches, green apples with a touch of slate. Medium dry alcohol with a nice acidity.

Overall a really nice wine. Reminded of Spring right after a slight shower, the rain on the slate sidewalk of my childhood house. I’d pair it with lighter delicate cheeses, like brie, Dubliner, Humboldt Fog, along with fruits, pear, apples, and figs, to bring out the fuitiness of the wine more. I can also see this going nice with smoked salmon, lox, as well as most poultry, fish, shellfish and pasta in white or cream sauces. Definitely a wine I plan to come back to for return revisists.

Would Bukowski drink it?  I don’t hate people…I just feel better when they’re not around. When they are around good wine like this helps make life bearable.Crack open another Dave!

Overall Rating: 4 BUKS

4-BUKS

Charles & Charles “Chardonnay” (2012)

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20131212_195534Charles & Charles “Chardonnay”

Chardonnay

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Washington: Columbia Valley

AVERAGE RETAIL: $10

What they say about it:

The aromas start with notes of apple blossoms, lemon peel and subtle mango, and continue into mineral and wet slate notes with background of sweet pear, toasted spices and vanilla. On the palate you’re first hit with crisp apple and orange rind with tremendous focus, and length. The wine walks a beautiful line between rich full flavors and finesse. There’s luscious fruit and a touch of new oak without ever getting heavy or clumsy.

What I say about it:

I spotted this at my corner market for $10 and had to give it a try. Charles Smith Wines have a fantastic reputation and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve tried from them so far. The Charles & Charles refers to Charles Bieler & Charles Smith, two well known makers. If you are looking for a fantastic white or an excellent Chardonnay for $10 – look no further. The Charles & Charles 2012 would easily stand up and beat Chards in the $15-$25 range as well. 

Out of bottle into the glass the wine has a very floral and citrus aroma with a deep straw color. Lemon, apple, a touch of grass and vanilla. Tasting notes included the same with the addition of pineapple and oak, well balanced. Leaned more toward crisp than buttery, but with a nice mouth feel and long finish. Its an elegant wine without the fuss.

The Charles & Charles Chardonnay would go well with fish, poultry and lighter fair. I think it would also accompany Asian dishes nicely as well. I tend to like the crispness of good whites with the sweet and sour of certain Chinese and Thai dishes. For cheese pairing, I think sharp Cheddar, Emmentaler, Brie and Gruyère would all match well. With a great wine this inexpensive, you can splurge on the accompaniments.

Some additional information on the wine: The Charles & Charles project is a collaboration between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler of Three Thieves, Bieler Père et Fils, and Sombra Mezcal. The Charles & Charles portfolio includes a red blend and rosé from Columbia Valley vineyards (also available in kegs). With an abstract play on the American Flag (designed by the historic Nashville poster shop, Hatch Show Print), the labels showcase the intent to provoke thought of the future while honoring the past.

Would Bukowski drink it?  A wine this good for the price of three bottles of Thurnderbird? OK. I’m in. 

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS

Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc “Rutherford” (2012)

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Frog's Leap Sauvignon BlancFrog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc “Rutherford”

Sauvignon Blanc

YEAR: 2012

REGION: US: Napa Valley: Rutherford

AVERAGE RETAIL: $20

What they say about it:

“Light-bodied, smooth and juicy, featuring crisp lemon and green apple notes at the core, with aromatic details of fresh thyme and lemon verbena.”

What I say about it:

I had the pleasure of visiting Frog’s Leap Winery and having a special tasting when I was in Napa Valley last Fall for my brother’s wedding. Frog’s Leap is one of my favorite wineries and I really enjoy their whites. The 2012 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent example of why I enjoy them so much. Out of the bottle and into the glass. My first impression is it’s fresh crispness, a burst of fruit with peach, citrus and apple as well as a grassy and herby nose with just a slight hint of floral (orange blossoms and the mentioned lemon verbena). It has a freshness that reminds you of summer and sunnier warmer days. I particularly enjoyed it on a rather typical gloomy late Fall evening in Seattle that was about as far from Summer as possible.

Great wines have the ability to not only satisfy but the pallet but also the soul and the Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc from Frog’s Leap is such a wine. I highly recommend trying it. It will stand up well with lighter fair such as pasta, fish, shellfish, oysters, and poultry. It will also pair perfectly with some pears, a nice blue cheese, olives and some rustic bread.

Would Bukowski drink it?  Sometimes you just have to piss in the sink. Sometimes you have to drink good wine too. Crack open another Dave!

Overall Rating: 5 BUKS

5-BUKS