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Top Ten White Wines from the 2015 Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival

IMG_1836With the list of Top Reds out (read it here) it is now time for the whites, which deserve equal billing to the reds but never seem to quite get it on our blog. We’ll try and fix that a bit. Once again these are only our opinions and yours may differ. Prices are suggested retail for the most part. To the wines!

  1. 2014 Blackbird Dissonance – this is new, and the first white wine from Blackbird. If you’re going to wait this long you might as well do it right, and they certainly did. Here we have a traditional Bordeaux white, comprised of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. The Semillon rounds it out nicely. It’s clean and crisp but still complex and structured. Tee up a half dozen oysters and enjoy. Just sip it and enjoy. $35
  2. 2012 Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc – this is another white with some complexity, and time on the lees lends it some weight. Very clean flavors and a long finish wrap up the tasting experience. Part of this (30%) is aged in oak, some new, and it shows in a very good way. This is a classy and delicious white. $20
  3.  2013 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay – another wine from the Arroyo Seco Valley, this is unusual in that we don’t generally love Chardonnay. Even Cheri loved IMG_1860this, and she almost never even likes Chardonnay. It’s valley floor fruit and sees 100% malolactic fermentation, so I was expecting a big, flabby butter bomb. Not even close, as this is beautifully clean and smooth with just the right amount of acid to clean off your palate and leave you wanting another sip. Really good and $23.
  4. 2013 Grgich Hills Fume Blanc – this is somewhat similar to the previous wine, although a different grape. Many may recall the big, heavily oaked Fume Blancs of the past, but this is lighter, with subtle oak and clean fruit. These top four wines are all really good, and you could shuffle this list a bit and IMG_1854not get too much of an argument from me. $35
  5. 2014 Galerie Naissance Sauvignon Blanc – Galerie makes a Napa version of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, as well IMG_1822as a Knight’s Valley version of both. This is the Napa juice, and it is really fresh with great grapefruit aromas and nice acid. A great food wine as well here. $35
  6. 2014 Alexana Pinot Gris – one thing we loved about this year is the variety of wines we liked, including varietals we generally don’t. IMG_1871Here’s another one. We usually can take or leave Pinot Gris. This one is outstanding, clean, reserved and elegant. An example of what Pinot Gris can be when done right. $29
  7. 2013 Colliano Ribolla Gialla – another new grape, which I experienced at the winery a few weeks ago (read about that here and here). Ribolla Gialla can be very IMG_1873fruity, with citrus and apples and pears. It is a grape worth getting to know, and they do it right at Vinska Klet Goriska Brda. $15
  8. 2013 Arkenstone Sauvignon Blanc – everything they poured was excellent, and this Sauvignon sees new oak, older oak as well as some time in concrete “eggs”, which hold about 200 gallons each. Beautiful peach and grapefruit aromas match the flavor profile. This has structure and body. No malo here. $48
  9. 2013 Colliano Cuvée White – another Slovenian white, and a wine I personally really like. It’s a blend of Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignonasse and oak aged Chardonnay. What you end up with is a complex wine you could substitute for your everyday white burgundy. Quite excellent and about $15.
  10. 2014 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre – a classic French Sancerre, with great Sauvignon Blanc aromas and flavors, no oak at all and a clean finish. $22

Many others were close.  Here are the Honorable Mentions:

2013 Recuerdo Torrontes – clean and crisp and about $12IMG_1835

2013 Joseph Phelps Estate Chardonnay – very elegant and $35

2014 Villa Antinori Toscana – always good and about $12

IMG_18272014 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc – clean and delicious and $35

2014 Tenuta Santa Maria Lepia Soave – beautifully done and $20

Every year we drink more white wines, and I hope the trend continues.  There were some memorable ones here, although I have to admit I still think the reds are my first choice.

Such a dilemma!

A votre santé!

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