Many writers regret neglecting interesting wines if they’re hard to find. Writers hope readers will rush out and buy, hassle-free, the wines they’ve evaluated. I guess we know that people get annoyed pretty easily — so they don’t want to be “chasing our tales.”
Well, I’m interested in values. Many wines are made in small lots with limited distribution, but they’re worth chasing even if they won’t become your house wines. And so here are some brief notes about some whites the world at large may not know about.
Anaba Sonoma Valley 2010 Coriol. If you find some, don’t worry about its age — it’s crafted from sturdy Rhone varietals that can stand a bit of age. Its alcohol level is 14.2 percent, which tells you something about its longevity. The grapes include 35% Grenache Blanc, 29% Rousanne, 20% Marsanne, and 16% Picpoul Blanc (try Wikipedia if Rhone whites are new to you).
Anaba Coriol offers darker white flavors with high acidity, some of the most assertive coming from the Picpoul which is famous for that. I found the fruit strangely not fresh but blunted by a vague yeastiness; the aftertaste convinced me that this quality is a plus, and unusual. This wine will easily go with a lot of meals (it’s not exactly a cocktail sipper): light to medium meats and ahi tuna make good matches. www.anabawines.com might help you find it, but … blush … I didn’t go there. ‘Scuzi?
Santerra 2009 Sonoma County White Table Wine, 13.5 percent alcohol, is offered by owner-transitional Viansa Winery Its grapes are much fruitier than the Rhones (above), and it was made to be consumed when young … but in my part of the world, it can still appear on remainder tables. Santerra (“sacred earth” in Italian) doesn’t offer a website, so you may have to settle for just enjoying my enjoyment (I know a little group in Victoria, BA, that can easily accommodate to that!).
Light salads and seafoods will be enriched with Santerra’s blend of 38% Vernaccia, 31% Arneis, 16% Tocai Friulano and 5% Chardonnay.
I think that, having read this far, you might be ready to try something I do all the time — blend! I’ve heard people say they’d bought a wine they really didn’t like, so it went down the sink. Oy! Not! Better to throw a bit of it together in a glass with a bit of something from another wine, or two: experimentation has produced some might nice results in our house.
Paso Grande 2010 Valle Centra, Chile, Chardonnay, 13.5 percent alcohol. Judy found several bottles of this in a remainder bin and, because she’s become rally good at deciphering information on wine labels, she bought ‘em. Valle Central is one good sign that the wine will be worth more than it costs even at full U.S. retail price, and the back label sealed the deal: “Ripe pineapple and topical fruit flavors.” This is not your parents’ Chardonnay — but, then, they didn’t even know Chile produces wine! Too bad; you do. Buy it if you see it, or read a label anything like it.
Matthew Iaconis 2011 Moscato from Lodi, California. The alcohol won’t bowl you over (11.6%) but the taste might! It has a characteristic Muscat aroma and what you get when you fill your mouth with it is off-dry apples, pears and citrus flavors with a long, bright aftertaste. Savor it as a lead-in (an accompaniment) for tex-mex and a wide variety of Asian meals.
Enjoy all these wines you won’t encounter at just anybody’s house! Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster, www.fearlesstaster.com .