Violet Grgich, Proprietor and Vice President, Operations, Grgich Hills Estate
by Andrew Chalk
In 1976, wine experts blind-tasted some of the most storied wines from France against similar styles from upstart California in. The mainly-French expert jury in what came to be known as The Judgement of Paris announced the California wines to be the winners. It was a shot heard round the world (I remember it being reported on the front page of British newspapers at the time) and California wine’s time on the global stage had come.
One of the most remarkable victories in a set of remarkable victories was in the white wine category. A 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay came top, beating out four Burgundies. That wine was made by a young croatian-American, Mike Grgich. No flash-in-the-pan, Grgich won the Great Chardonnay Showdown in 1980 with the very first vintage (1977) of wine from his own winery (then called Grgich Hills Cellar) in Napa Valley’s Rutherford area against 221 competitors. Continue reading →
Inwood Estates Vineyards just released their 2012 ‘City of Dallas’ Chardonnay ($49.50) made from grapes grown in a vineyard just a few hundred yards from the junction of Inwood Road and Lovers Lane in Dallas. ‘A vineyard in the heart of the city’ you say? Indeed, and growing a noble white grape as well. This is no gimmick-wine. It stands toe-to-toe with similarly-priced Chardonnay from California and is made in a New World style. The nose is a medium intensity presentation of tropical fruit (especially mango) and peaches, the mouthfeel has a cream soda creaminess and softness reflecting the malolactic fermentation that the wine went through.
It is ideal as a quaffing wine or with fish, poultry or pork dishes. This might also become the cool present to give this season. I bet Neiman Marcus wish that they had it in their catalog. Very few cases are available so order now, either online or by calling the winery at (214) 902-9452.
Grow Chardonnay grapes in the City of Dallas, in a state where Chardonnay has been officially declared a failure! That is quite an ambitious undertaking. Come and find out if Inwood Estates Vineyards was successful this Saturday December 7th from noon-7pm at Inwood Estates Vineyards release party for their 2011 City of Dallas Chardonnay at their winery in the Dallas Design District. The tasting is free and so is the great food. 0 Continue reading →
Inwood Estates Vineyards is one of the best wineries in Texas, and its owner/winemaker, Dan Gatlin, one of the most influential winemakers in the state. As a result, the wines and stylistic nuances revealed at their release parties are something of a bellwether for the direction that other serious wine makers in the state will take down the road. For example, Inwood ‘proved’ the suitability of the Tempranillo grape and the Texas High Plains as its site a decade ago. That conclusion was the result of over a decade of research during which Inwood did not release a single wine (while producing hundreds of experiments). That conclusion is also accepted as one of the known facts or truisms among vignerons and wine makers statewide.
Another state truism is that the most popular grape among American consumers, Chardonnay, does not do well in Texas. Last week’s release party at the winery’s Dallas location may be about to make a bonfire of that truism. Continue reading →
Consider these popularly priced wines available now. The 2011 Bridlewood Chardonnay, Monterey County has a delicate straw color. A nose of lemon with hints of vanilla, wine gums and bread yeast. In the mouth it has a medium body, high acid and open effusive fruit. Retail price, SRP $15.
The 2011 Bridlewood Pinot Noir, Monterey County is classic Monterey Pinot Noir. Open, fruit forward, cherry and other red fruit flavors. Soft, smooth in the mouth. Very approachable. SRP $18.
What do you do if the rest of the world calls you a frog and thinks that you are arrogant just because you have the best shrug? If you are French winemaker Jean-Claude Mas you turn the joke back to them with a wine that displays a refined idiosyncrasy and calls itself The Arrogant Frog.
The importer just delivered bottles of their 2011 vintage. The red, a ”Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot” blend with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Chardonnay. Both come from France’s beautiful Languedoc region on the Mediterranean and both come in screw cap bottles. These are unprepossessing wines in name and packaging but surprisingly refined in taste. Good winemaking makes a good value wine for $10. Continue reading →