Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Barnard Griffin Fumé Blanc

I remember my first trip to the state of Washington. I was actually tagging along on one of  the Winey Hubby's business trips to Seattle, but if I didn't have to make the bed, it counted as a vacation. Once the business part was taken care of, we stayed a few extra days to wander around this stunning area of our country. We hiked Mt. Rainier, rode the ferry boats, watched them toss fish around at Pike Place, went to a Mariner's game, and then we headed out for a day to some nearby wineries. Amazingly, it was a gorgeous September day in Seattle, so we saw the area in all its sunshiny best.

Thus I have been a fan of Washington State wines for a while now. And in my recent quest to drink wines from a variety of regions, I came across a bottle of Barnard Griffin's Fumé Blanc (2011, 12.8%, Columbia Valley, WA). The winery is actually southeast of the Seattle area, on the other side of the Cascade mountains, which puts it pretty much in the heart of Washington's wine growing country. Other wineries may not sit directly in wine country, but they often grow their grapes there (and bring them over the mountains to make the wine).

(Do you know the story of Fumé Blanc? It's really Sauvignon Blanc, but waaay back in the early days of his legendary wine making career, Robert Mondavi decided to "rename" Sauvignon Blanc (which was being poorly made and had a not so great reputation) as Fumé Blanc. He made one great batch from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, slapped on the Fumé Blanc label and presto! Sales took off. Aside from being a marketing and wine making genius, he was very generous as well, and gave permission for anyone to use the term Fumé Blanc, thus reinvigorating an entire varietal of wine.)

So onto this wine. It's a pale gold color and gives off aromas of golden apple, lemon and just a hint of flowers on top of it all (there is a teeny bit of Semillion blended into it). The taste is mellow pear surrounded by sour citrus and lemongrass. You could just catch a breath of the flowers, if you concentrated hard, but overall this was a tart and crisp wine with a touch of acidity that made it very lively. The finish was mellow and the tartness lingered on. Sip it on its own or pair it with some of that legendary Pacific Northwest salmon (or any seafood, really). And if you'd like to come prepare the salmon for me, I will happily supply this wine (trying to stretch that vacation thing out to include "not cooking".)


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