A small selection of recently tasted aromatic white wines
The selection is listed roughly from less full-bodied to more full-bodied. Note that, as the story suggests, Chenin Blancs can be all over the map; but the Vinum and the Huet are relatively light and dry.
2005 Vendemmia Bolognani Trentino Moscato Giallo. Elegantly fruity, with vibrant aromas of lemon and lime, it’s surprisingly ripe on the palate. It has an almost meaty, mineral texture and flavors that fall somewhere between orange and lemon, with a finish that’s fresh and salty. Available at the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, www.winehouse.com; and Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463, www.hitimewine.net; about $15.
2005 Heidi Schroeck Rust (Austria) Muskat. This intriguing blend of Gelber Muskateller, Muscat Ottonel and Muskat Sylvaner has a tremendous purity both in its pretty florals and its austere flavors. The palate is angular and pure, like a shaft of lemony light, fruity and floral at once. Available at the Wine House, $22.
2003 Dirler-Cadé Muscat Alsace Grand Cru Spiegel. Stylish and silky, this complex wine leads with aromas of orange cream and camellia flower, with a pronounced mineral wet-stone scent. Its flavors are vibrant and concentrated, with high-toned, pretty fruit flavors of orange oil and citrus accented by something intriguing, elusive and green, almost like dandelion greens. That whisper of bitterness keeps the finish focused and long. Available at the Wine House, $28.
2006 Crios de Susana Balbo Valle de Cafayate Torrontès. Like a Muscat with muscles, this Torrontès from one of Argentina’s most talented winemakers leads with demonstrative aromas of orange oil and tangerine complemented with a hint of peach and jasmine flower. The palate is rich, powerful and mouth-filling, with a Sauvignon-style depth and a fair amount of alcohol contributing to the wine’s considerable power. Available at Colorado Wine Co., Eagle Rock, (323) 478-1985; Du Vin Wine & Spirits, West Hollywood, (310) 855-1161, www.du-vin.net; and K & L Wine Merchants, Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, www.klwines.com; about $12.
2005 Vinum Clarksburg “Chard-No-Way” Chenin Blanc. A simple Chenin with brisk flavors for afternoon quaffing, it leads with a fragrance of fresh limes and lime blossoms and an appealing ripe-grapes-in-the-sun scent. Its flavors are simple and appley, with a fine talc-like minerality and a clean finish. Available at Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese in Los Angeles, (323) 856-8699; and at selected Bristol Farms markets, www.bristolfarms.com; about $12.
2005 Gaston Huet Clos du Bourg Sec Vouvray. Complex and pure, this beautiful wine’s fragrance changes in the glass over the course of the evening. It leads with fruit: lime, green apple, a touch of apple blossom. But with air, the flavors gather, become more honeyed and waxy, only to pull away from this to an impressively stony, almost tropical scent of white peach. Its taut acids keep the wine tethered to the earth. Available at the Wine House; and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111, www.whwc.com; about $28.
2005 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas White Blend. Complex aromas of honey, melon and peach all point to the fact that this is a blend (of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne) but the Viognier’s peach aromas dominate. On the palate, it’s rich, honeyed and ripe, with flavors of peach and mango, yet it stays focused on the palate. Available at K & L Wine Merchants; and at selected Bristol Farms markets; about $20.
2005 Londer Anderson Valley Dry Gewürztraminer. Less full bodied than its Alsatian counterparts, this Gewürz is lean and intense, with fresh and spicy aromas of Winesap apples and rose petals. It’s almost racy on the palate, with dried quince and litchi flavors supported by a nice line of acid to keep the texture bright and mineral. Available at Woodland Hills Wine Co.; and Red Carpet Wine Merchants in Glendale, (800) 339-0609; www.redcarpetwine.com, about $20.
2004 Domaine Albert Mann Furstentum Vieilles Vignes Gewürztraminer. Grand and fine at once, this wine has a complexity that seems to grow with every swirl of the glass. Aromas are complex and ethereal: ginger, white plum, rose hips, litchi and white flowers all contribute to the aromatic profile; it seems the more you smell the wine, the more there is to smell. On the palate, it’s rich and golden, long and full-bodied, yet the finish is focused, completely on point. Available at the Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, www.winex.com; about $28.
2005 J. Hofstätter Kolbenhof Alto Adige Gewürztraminer. Majestic, detailed and pure, this wine smells like an essence of Gewürztraminer, with complex fruit- forward aromatics of litchi, rose water, orange peel and flint. Flavors of litchi dominate the palate, mixed in with a bit of quince and reinforced by the stony intensity of the wine’s texture. A powerful wine, generous without being in the least bit sweet, with impressive focus. Available at the Wine House; $39.
-- Patrick Comiskey
Eat your way across L.A.
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