Ages and ages ago, I was lucky enough to attend a tasting at a winery based in the Russian River Valley and taste through a lineup of prestigious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs with their winemakers. A lot of the discussion was about the cool climates most of the vineyards sat in, the enduring fog and coastal winds that kept these pockets of land much cooler than what most people experience in the cities on the valley floor. Being a fan of Alsatian wines and having traveled there even further in the past, I asked if they or anyone around them grew Riesling or Gewurztraminer. Eyes lit up and grew wide, and for several minutes the discussion of 'How great would THAT be?', magically trading some of the best Chardonnay vines for Riesling. The sad truth is, as much quality as these wines would possess, there is just much more money to be made growing Chardonnay and Pinot in most places, at least in the scale it usually takes to make it commercially. But winemakers REALLY want to make it! Dry Riesling is GREAT! The Union Sacre wine project is a collaboration of two friends that met while working at several Southern California wineries (Herman Story, Sans Liege, and others), and now that the idea of 'side project' wines is growing in popularity they decided to make wines that other winemakers WANT to make but just haven't; fans of dry Gewurztraminer will definitely want to give that bottling a try as well, though it will likely make it into a future Insider's Pick as well.
Immediate aromas of white stone fruits from the first pour, perhaps the slightest hints of the classic 'petrol' scent that dry Rieslings seem to have in common from all over the world. As it opens up there are more pears and white flowers that start to join in the party. In the mouth the acidity brings out a lot more apple and citrus skin than found in the nose, giving the juicy palate lots of zest and bright tartness. Lots of nuance and subtle herb flavors underneath the fruit as well; if this was Alsace, and there were hundreds of acres around this parcel planted to Riesling, this would be part of the vineyard's 'terroir' that would give it a unique signature from those around. In this case, it just is what it is; a tasty dry Riesling and an extremely fair price.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!