White wines aren't just a summer thang. (One of the best turkey wines is actually Pinot Gris from Alsace or Oregon!) And this time of year it can be really fun to expand your white wine horizons by looking into fabulous white blends. Think of old favorites like Evolution 9. Conundrum. Luna Freakout. The list goes on and on! The trick is finding fun white blends that have a little extra oomph to get you through the colder nights. A little residual sugar might not hurt either (think Anne Amie Cuvee Amrit!). Since last week we talked about the awsome red blend SNAFU put out by the Local Wine Company, its only fair for me to let you in on the goodness that is their white wine blend: '06 JuneHog Oregon White. Yum. Oh wait, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself...
Ever heard of Mueller Thurgau? Mueller is another one of the man-made varietals we've talked about lately. Back in the late 19th Century Dr. Thurgau created this hybrid varietal. His goal was to create a grape with the intensity of Riesling but with the ability to ripen earlier; he used Sylvaner to achieve the latter. He didn't quite get an A+ on his project, but he didn't do too badly either. Mueller wines are fruity, but low in acidity. They are medium sweet, too, and very smooth. This varietal makes up the greatest component of the JuneHog, coming in at 33% of the wine's juice.
The next largest component of the JuneHog is Gewurtztraminer, or the "spicy white grape" that actually got its start in Traminer, Italy, but happens to have a German name. Go figure! Gewurtz is sweet, spicy, fruity, full-figured and has gorgeous floral aromas. (Trade "secret": Gewurtz is actually sweeter than Riesling!) This grape brings 22% of the juice to the JuneHog blend.
The third largest component of this fun blend is Pinot Gris (21%). Recall from earlier posts Pinot Gris is the genetic mutant of Pinot Noir. Alsatian-style Pinot Gris is full bodied and offers ripe-fruit sweetness on the palate. These wines are down right lovely on their own, let alone in a blend!
Pinot Blanc clocks in at 16% of the June Hog blend, which gets finished off with just a touch of Riesling (5%, if I've done the math right). I'm not sure how much time we've spent on Pinot Blanc together. But the thing to know is when winemakers don't oak it, or stir it on the lees or otherwise "interfere" with it, PB offers terrific apple and almond flavors. As such, it can be one of the softest yet lightest (read: high acid) white wines on offer. A treat on their own and perhaps even better in some blends.
What do all these various components mean for the JuneHog experience? Let's put it this way: this is the wine I want to drink on a cool fall day when I'm sitting in my Adirondack chair on some beach or even on my front porch - glass of wine in hand, a blanket at the ready and my book propped on my lap. Something mouthfilling yet clean you don't have to think twice to enjoy. Warm sun, crisp air, relaxation. (Snacks optional - but with this wine you won't go wrong with the pairing you choose!)
What's your favorite fall white (blend) this year?