Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
Bella Vino - Danville, $19.99
Spring is just around the corner. With it comes the beginning of two great seasons: baseball and white wine. Use this annual awakening from our winter slumber to prepare for that exciting first pitch at your favorite ballpark and to investigate some noteworthy white wine alternatives. While it's no World Series MVP, Trou de Bonde's Pinot Blanc has the pedigree and goods to be a starter on anyone's opening day roster.
Clay Brock, co-owner of Trou de Bonde with wife Karen, is a fixture in the Central Coast viticulture and winemaking scene. A transplanted Napa Valley native having spent several years at both Edna Valley Vineyards and Zaca Mesa working heavily with Burgundian and Rhone varietals, Mr. Brock is now specializing in Alsace's "workhorse" varietal - Pinot Blanc. This '05 vintage is only their second release and a very nice option to medium bodied Chardonnay.
Trou de Bonde is truly blessed with an exceptional, prestigious source for its Pinot Blanc. The Miller family, owner of the extensive Bien Nacido Vineyards (over 600 acres in total with a proportionately small handful dedicated to Pinot Blanc), also sells Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Merlot to several of California's ultra-premium and luxury tier producers: Ambullneo, Au Bon Climat, Steele, Gary Farrell, Hitching Post, Longoria and Testarossa to name only a few. Bien Nacido Vineyards epitomizes the best Santa Maria Valley has to offer.
Dazzling gold and luminous, polished brass colors are aglow. Grab your Ray-Bans, you may need them.
A sweet bouquet of vanilla and spice strikes first due to its maturation in French oak barrels, 15 percent new. Afterward, pronounced aromas of pear, melon, lemon grass and a touch of fresh-cut fennel fuse together adeptly with Alsace-like petrol and minerality. Admirable complexity.
The texture is slick and viscous. Besides serving to jump start one's palate, its ample acidity enlivens angular flavors of snappy pippin apple and quince.
"Clean" and "steely" best describes the finish. Discouragingly, a bit too short as well.
Trou de Bonde's Pinot Blanc is a textbook spring and summer quaffer which would drink favorably with lighter picnic or tailgate party faire. Even at $19.99, it's good stuff.
Play ball! Let your palate be the umpire...
Have comments or questions about wine? Gregory Peebles, wine industry professional and East Bay resident, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.