I can be very fussy when it comes to white wine. I’m worse than Goldilocks. Yes, I just compared myself to Goldilocks. Though I love light, refreshing, delicate whites, sometimes they leave me a little cold if they have nothing but a shrill, acidic personality. And a heavy, hot, blowzy white wine, clubbed with oak, makes me fussy and cranky. The 2011 Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc, however, is (wait for it…) JUST RIGHT. With enough richness to give it some substance and enough freshness to keep it lively, it’s a perfect white wine as fall turns into winter. And with the inevitable deluge of Thanksgiving wine picks coming at you from all angles, it’s a style of white wine perfect for the holiday table.
Grenache Blanc is a grape best know in France’s Southern Rhone region, but the Two Shepherds version hails from the Sarloos Vinyeard in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. I like how Winemaker William Allen (who hand-delivered this sample bottle to me) describes the impact neutral oak has (or does not have) on this Grenache Blanc. But let’s back up. What is neutral oak? Is it the Switzerland of oak? Has it no opinion? Well this oak gets its neutrality from being used enough times in the production of wine so that it does not impart flavor to the wine. As William elaborates, “This old world technique imparts no oak qualities, but softens the wine, improving texture and mouthfeel.”
The production of this wine is teeny-tiny (100 cases/1200 bottles), but part of the pleasure of wine is the perverse capriciousness of a once-yearly harvest that makes it fleeting and finite. (Translation: BUY IT!)
“The Three Bears” 45 phto courtesy bibliobird.