More West Coast whites to sample; fire-ravaged regions need support

September 19, 2020

I won’t dwell on the West Coast other than to type that an area slightly bigger than the entire state of NJ is burned over or afire. This is awful. As extensively as it is covered, comprehending the scope is difficult for me. As longtimers know, I have spent quite a bit of time driving and visiting Oregon and Cali wine regions over the years. I correspond with many friends there. Sadly, in too many cases, recovery is going to be painful, if at all, and will take a long time. Therefore, I’m continuing in my effort to help expose the wines from the tri-state area that are available and good QPR. Still staying with white wine this week. As a refresher, here is a repeat of a Wine Folly article that does a good job of describing the range of dry to sweet wines:

Let’s start with a couple of dry Rieslings from Trisaetum Ribbon Ridge in Newberg, Ore. Their Wichmann Dundee Estate 2018 is lovely, 92 McD points under $27. Opens floral and slate nose. On the palate, dried herbs, chamomile, wet gravel and citrus ride a mineral-rich acidity. Their Coast Range Yamhill Carlton 2018 rates 91 under $32. Opens to citrus and volcanic soil notes; has a clean, refreshing palate and a long, clean mineral finish. The Reserve Riesling 2017 also rates 91. More typical Riesling shows orange blossom, nutmeg and apricot aromas with nectarine, persimmon and lavender notes on the palate. This is fruit-forward but not sweet. Their Willamette Pinot Noir 2017 is on sale at $30/bottle. Suckling wrote 92 points. I’ve not sampled it. Your local wine store pal should be able to order a mixed case. Unfortunately, Delaware is one of six states that doesn’t support cold chain shipping, but the weather is cooling. James Frey, owner of Trisaetum, is an accomplished artist. His collections can be viewed while sipping the wine; go to

Perhaps the best-known Albarino comes from Rias Baixas in Galicia, Spain, where it is named Alvarinho. Recently, vintners in Monterey, Lodi and San Luis Obispo have been enjoying success with the wonderful, seafood-supporting, dry white varietal wine credited as being introduced to the U.S. by Jorge Ordóñez in 1991. Albarino loves the cool bay and ocean breezes that influence Lodi, Edna Valley and Fossil Canyon. One good example is Oak Farm Albarino Lodi 2019, 88 McD under $20. It is every bit as good as the 2018 written up here last year. Once again, lime and honeydew aromas lead to a medium-bodied wine with apricot and mineral flavors supported by crisp mineral acidity through its long finish. Another fine example from Lodi is Bokisch Vineyards Terra Alta Vineyard Clements Hills Albarino 2019, 89 McD around $17. These folks got on the screen in 2017 when WS said 89 points. Tangent Paragon Vineyard Albarino Edna Valley, 88 McD, is an absolute steal. I’ve seen the 2016 advertised by PA liquor board at $17. Mon ami Jean Lafitte and his merry band of privateers sailed some into Lewes harbor in the dead of night. The 2016 is straw-colored, redolent of tangerine and fruit-forward. Plenty of acidity provides a mouthwatering, palate-cleansing, long finish.

Seared tuna, sushi go well. Also makes great ceviche; use tangerine juice in place of lime and be sure to marinate longer. Tangerine juice has lower acidity, must be 8 percent to be classified commercial. Tossing in the zest speeds up cook time. Limes, by comparison, often attain 32 percent acidity by volume. Some caveats: Temperature affects ascorbic acid content. Citrus fruits grown where nights are cooler have higher vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content than those grown in the tropics. Up to 75 percent of ascorbic acid found in citrus fruit is in the peel. Use of nitrogen fertilizer lowers acidity.  Riper fruit means lower acidity. Those who prefer to cook ceviche with lime should go with the Oak Farm. Those who like grapefruit ceviche may wish to use a Sauvignon Blanc, and be sure to choose the freshest rock, flounder or sea bass. Cut it into small, bite-size pieces to expose more surfaces to acid. Unlike cooking with heat, overcooking with acid will turn your fish to mush. Follow recipe directions but check at least an hour before stated time. Acidity level and size of fish pieces make time difficult to predict.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter