Grapelive Daily Pick
By Kerry Winslow
2007 Alban Vineyards Viognier Estate, Edna Valley.
John Alban, one of the original Rhone Rangers, is one of the best grower/producers in the world, and has found his perfect niche making Rhone style wines that showcase his terroir, but yet have the best bits of the old world and new world melted in. His Viognier is on par with its French counterparts from Condrieu, well, it is in fact better than most to be honest, and Condrieu is like what Montrachet is to Burgundy, in the Northern Rhone region of France. While known for his powerful and exotic Syrah wines, which often get 100 point scores and are as hard to get as Grand Cru Burgundy, he also does some of the best white wines in California, and this estate Viognier is among my favorite wines, no question. The 2007 vintage was everything you’d ever hope for in a growing season and this Viognier made great use of the near perfect conditions with amazing perfume, depth, feel and life, making for a wine that not only has rich fruit, but has sublime balance and class as well. The nose is full of fresh honeysuckle, mineral spices, citrus flower and ripe white peaches, before a full and intense mouthful of apricot, peach pit, pear, tropical fruits and a slight hint of apple. This is a thick white, though it shows clean acidity and vigorous structure and while packed with fruit it remains elegant and nicely dry. The texture is stunningly layered and has a butter cream feel with out being overly heavy or fat, and the finish is long and tangy with just a touch of sweet spice and smoke that lingers with some nectarine essence. ($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive