Inexpensive California white similar to Gewertzaminer or other Rhine wine
So, you guys also have access to great local wines. Any recs for a fruity, sweet Cal white similar to the German version?
Also, my husband likes Merlot. Any good, inexpensive local Merlots?
I had a Wente Riesling the other day that was a quite successful pairing with a Moroccan meal...
I've had very nice Washington State rieslings for that matter... IMO riesling is a relatively adaptable and "easy" varietal that thrives many places around the world...
Gewurztraminer is just about the opposite... I've never had an impressive California Gewurz... doesn't mean there aren't any but it's a much more finicky grape than riesling IMO. Even in Alsace I've found the quality to vary widely from year to year.
i've never tasted a california gewurztraminer i liked. if you like fruity, but with a little bit of acidity on the back for balance, sokol-blosser "evolution" from oregon is nice, and has gewurzt in the blend.
merlots can be all over the board, from big silky fruit-bombs to the more reserved bordeaux-styles. pine ridge makes a pretty value in the latter style.
Though not up the German/Alsace versions, I like the Navarro, http://www.navarrowine.com/shop/, Gewürztraminer.
For another variation (Loire/Rhone), Pine Ridge, Napa, does a Chenin Blanc/Viognier that is a very nice, light but fruit driven white.
When I think of Merlot from California, my first choice is Duckhorn and then Beringer, Bancroft Ranch, Howell Mountain. Both are "bigger" styled Merlots, but with about all of the character that has been coaxed from that varietal on US shores - IMO. Others do some nice ones, but those two top my short list. Unfortunately, during the 80-90's, too much land was given over to Merlot in Napa/Sonoma and much of it was just not worth drinking. When the accountants took over telling the vineyard owners and winemakers what to do, it all went downhill quickly. It also may be that I am just more of a Cab and Zin fan, than I am of domestic Merlot. Personal taste, you know.
It's not California, but I always keep a bottle of Hogue Reisling from Washington state around the house. It's a good little wine. It has a nice green apple background. It's my summer sipping wine.