Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. ……  George S. Patton

Those who follow this blog by email subscription may have noticed my postings are down this year. I’ve been posting more mini reviews on FaceBook, but fewer full reviews here. Maintaining a blog is work and since I accept no advertising, it is work that also pays nothing. But the even harsher reality is that as the years accumulate, I find myself encountering fewer wines that excite me, that snap my attention to the forefront. As Shakespeare would say, “there’s the rub” because this is the greatest time in history to be a lover of wine.  More wines than ever before are available. Most are well made. Technology has benefited production and pricing and many delicious wines are inexpensively available.  What could possibly be wrong? 

What’s wrong is why chefs constantly tweak recipes and photographers and artists employ different mediums when their work has already been recognized and collected.  We want to experience something new. It’s in our nature. And that’s the joy I encountered in first tasting Lynfred’s Marsanne Roussanne.  It was particularly joyful for me because I’m a Francophile at heart, meaning I prefer “old world” style wines, and this Lynfred is a wine that would never be made in the old world.  It is different.  New. With a surprising twist.

Marsanne and Roussanne are different grapes. Grown now in many regions of the world, they are still considered French white-wine grapes grown in the Rhone Valley.  Marsanne contributes color, weight and structure. Roussanne offers aromatics and flavors.  Put simply, Marsanne is big and bold. Rousanne is delicate and refined.  Blending them makes for a wine with both characteristics in a balancing act that people have enjoyed for hundreds of years.  Lynfred’s blend is 49% Marsanne and 26% Roussanne.  But wait! That’s only 75%, the legal standard in the U.S. for labeling a wine as a varietal.  Are we missing something?  Yes, one-fourth of the bottle would be empty without the other 25% being filled, in this case, with Pinot Grigio! 

Before you register shock… taste.  Here’s how it worked for me:  In the glass, the wine displayed the color of pale straw with some golden hues.  As with most whites, this wine is “semi-shy” but seductively so. It’s floral, slightly honeyed and with notes of fresh linen.  I enjoyed wisps of
Here enjoyed with wild caught Copper River Sockeye
watermelon and, as the wine warmed in the glass - orange.  On the second day, I enjoyed vanilla-lemon, some herbal notes and elderberry. There’s an excellent balance of tart and creamy in this wine that plays the flavor senses: I enjoyed flavors of kiwi, orange, candied lemon peel and Meyer lemon in a rich mouthfeel.  I’ll always enjoy the romantic union of Marsanne and Rousanne, but I have to congratulate Lynfred on their American inventiveness.  The addition of Pinot Grigio lifted the experience. It made for a crisper finish. And it snapped my attention.   

And again with a Portobello mushroom cap stuffed with
pink shrimp & Dungeness crab, then sauced with buerre blanc.
The zesty Pinot Grigio lightened the rich sauce
and cleansed palate nicely.
Grapes are sourced from the Borra Vineyards in Lodi, California.  After pressing, the juice is fermented (separately) and aged in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks which preserves freshness and (especially) the aromatics of Roussanne and Pinot Grigio.  I wondered what contributed to the wine’s lushness in the mouth. Was malolactic fermentation allowed in any percentage?  On any of the varietals? No, I was advised (and yes, I am sometimes intrusive). The lushness is attributed to lees stirring (lees are the spent yeast cells) which was done in a Burgundian style with batonnage in tank every other day for two weeks.  Basically, that means a big stick is inserted and used to stir up the juice, keeping it in contact with the lees.  It makes for wine that becomes creamy, somewhat buttery (in texture not flavor) in the mouth – what wine geeks call volume.  Finally, a very small amount of the Marsanne was aged in oak barrels with batonnage also.

Admittedly, this may be more than you want to know.  But it will not be more than you can appreciate when you taste this wine.  At a bottle price of $22.25, it’s worth tasting several.   Traditionally, many of us  drink more red wine as the weather cools, but with central heating this is a wine everyone can enjoy year long.  I served it twice recently with different seafood.  It would do well certainly with chicken, risotto, any pasta that is white sauced.  In fact, I used white wine as an ingredient in one of the dishes I made and I would suggest you might want to try cooking with wine too.  W.C. Fields wisely said, “I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.”

…………….. Jim
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Lynfred Winery
15 S Roselle Rd
Roselle IL 60172
(630) 529-9463

Alc:                         12.7%
RS                           0.8%
Ph:                          3.38
Total Acidity:         5.70 g/L
Aging:                    Stainless Steel

1 comment:

  1. We are delighted that you enjoyed our Marsanne-Roussanne, Jim! Your food pairings were spot on!