David McDuff on La Clarine Farm

Just had to share tasting notes from David — one of my favorite wine bloggers and one of the palates I admire most in this big wide world — who posted today on La Clarine Farm’s white Rhône blend…

La Clarine’s 2009 Rhône-style blend turned out to be one of the hits of a pretty formidable lineup. It displayed a rich texture without any of the overt creaminess or heaviness that often define such blends. Though it might not be a sure turn-on for the acid freaks out there, it does have just enough balance of underlying acidity to provide lift to the density of its fruit. Over the course of our enjoyment of the wine, my notes included descriptors such as beeswax coated apples, pear tarte tatin, mint and orange blossoms…. Suffice it to say it was friggin’ delicious, especially alongside a plate of courtbouillon-poached cod served with a salad of sliced cherry tomatoes and roasted corn.

The wine is a co-fermented blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Marsanne (49/48/3%, respectively, for those who fixate on such things), produced from fruit that Hank sources from two vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley district of Amador County, California. You’ll find the rest of the tech specs on the La Clarine website.

Normally, were I browsing the shelves in search of something new or unfamiliar to me, the “Vinted and Bottled by” nomenclature that appears on this wine’s label would send me running, as it tends to suggest a lack of direct involvement by the person or entity whose name appears on the label. In this case, I purchased the wine sight unseen, so the “Vinted” stuff (“vinted” is not even a real word, dammit) came as a surprise. I reached out to Hank for an explanation and he let me know that, in this case, it’s simply a legal labeling requirement as the wine was not only made from purchased fruit but also “vinted,” by Hank himself, at a winery other than his own.

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