“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life”. Omar Khayyam
PERHAPS THE BEST RECOMMENDATION I’LL EVER MAKE Is that you don’t let summer expire before trying this wine (“Celita’s Vino Blanco) from Fenn Valley Vineyards. The winery’s own literature refers to it as being modeled after Portugal’s Vinho Verde, though I somewhat disagree with the comparison. Like Vinho Verde, Celita’s Vino Blanco is young wine. Like Vinho Verde, it is crisp and tangy fresh, light and refreshing. Like many a Vinho Verde, Fenn Valley’s “Celita’s Vino Blanco” is slightly spritzy. And like Vinho Verde from the Minho region in northwest Portugal (the coolest and wettest region in Portugal), growing conditions in Fennville (a sub-ava within the Lake Michigan shore AVA) shares some similarities. Fennville too is advantaged by its proximity to a large body of water as is the Minho region in Portugal. But you won’t find a drop of Alvarinho, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, Batoca, Loueiro or any of the other grapes permitted in the production of Vinho Verde. What you’ll find is Seyval. And I like it better. And I’ve had gallons and gallons of Seyval over the years. But what Fenn Valley does with it in this rendition is amazing.
Apparently, I’m late catching on to this. Celita’sVino Verde from Fenn Valley Vineyards won Silver at the 2015 Indy International Wine Competition. Where have I been? Maybe wrapped up in stodgy traditionalism. The wine comes in cans, after all. And Seyval is a French-American hybrid, not of the vitis vinifera prestige. Then again, it’s what’s in the glass (or in this case: the can) that counts. I’ve already said it’s crisp and tangy fresh, light and refreshing. Let me add that the nose is light and offers a hint of green herb. On the palate, expect to enjoy refreshing lemon-lime and just a whisper of pear that balances and softens it all. And it’s made even more refreshing with a gentle touch of carbonation.
I panel tested this wine with three other tasters. People liked that it was available in aluminum cans. Chills quickly. Lightweight. No breakage. Perfect at the boat yard or pool (where glass may not be permitted) or at summer outdoor concerts and picnics. Convenient in the cooler. Recyclable. Another taster particularly enjoyed the slight effervescence in the wine. I poured my contents into a glass (said I was a stodgy traditionalist) but even I could appreciate the convenience of having it available in cans. Another appreciated that it was dry but not drying; instead crisp and light and a perfect summer wine.
Less grassy than Sauvignon Blanc, people compare Seyval to Chenin Blanc, Chablis and even unoaked Chardonnay. Among the other statements I keep repeating here is that I’ve had gallons and gallons of Seyval over the decades. Comparisons can be misleading. Seyval can be made dry to dessert sweet and as a sparkling wine also. Different producers make different styles. You may enjoy one over the other.
FennValley’s style (for Celita’s Vino Blanco) is unique and eminently enjoyable for me. In the winery’s own literature, they state it “is a fun wine, not to be taken seriously.” I would (again) disagree. Poured in a glass, I defy anyone to know it came from a can or deny the wine credit on its own. Grapes are intentionally picked about two weeks early of ripeness making for juice that becomes wine with exquisite acidity in cool climate Michigan yet is balanced and delightful. Then again, sometimes just really good is just that: really good with no apology necessary. There are moments, as Omar Khayyam suggests, that need simply to be enjoyed. These moments that are your life. A wine that doesn’t require you to abandon all else and ponder deeply upon producing a treatise for your Master of Wine post nominal. Just fun. This wine is that. Don’t be embarrassed for liking it, because you will.
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TECH SPECS & OTHER INFO:
Fenn Valley Vineyards
6130 122nd Ave, Fennville, MI 49408
ALC: 10.5% (11.75%)
R.S. 1.22% (12.2 g/L)
PRICE: $14.99 for a 4-pack of cans
$9 for a 750 ml bottle (still wine)
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