Domestic Selection: Sonoma Vintage White, 1985, Geyser Peak

There is redeeming value in table wines, at times… and only in certain ones. This California white is one of them. To enable me to feature the glorious mature Chianti Classico Ri­serva described on the opposite page, my search for a California white led me to the “table” category of wines.

Now I did not say “jug”. They are different. My definition of jug is the regular or oversize bottles with screw caps, which generally contain pasteurized wine. (Some of those are ok too! they just have that antiseptic texture to them!)

California table wines (with cork finished bottles), are usually blended wines from wineries that choose to have a low end wine in their price list, for exactly that purpose… “to keep on the table” for anybody that drops in (where you do not want to crack that special bottle) or for eve­ryday consumption with regular meals!

This Geyser Peak Sonoma Vintage White stood head and shoulders above the crowd. It is a blend of Sau­vignon Blanc, Semillon, Johannis­berg Riesling and Chenin Blanc.

New ownership at Geyser Peak created a forward posture for this winery. (The previous owners of the winery, the Schlitz Brewing Co. had concentrated on jug wine pro­duction). When the Trione family purchased the winery in 1982, they set out to establish it as a premium winery specializing in wines from Sonoma.. Even their table wine has a Sonoma appellation… and vintage dated at that! (not common with table wines). They also have an im­pressive line of varietals and some new trademarked wines that are making a mark in the wine world

The winery was originally started in 1880 by Augustus Quitzow of Germany who was lured by the gey­sers and mineral springs in the area. Several owners since, each adding something to improve the winery and vineyards, have brought it forth to where it is today. He would be proud to see what happened to his creation. (despite the fact that the mad rush in the 70’s by distillers, brewers, and soft drink giants to get into the premium wine act, had its toll on making Geyser Peak a jug house! This trend has reversed itself and most have backed off.) Here is a result of the rejuvenation.

The wine is lemon yellow in color. It has a fruity, fragrant aroma that is very clean and lasting. It has a medi­um body, full of flavor, with lots of fruit. The finish is long, with depth. No specific varietal character comes through, but the blend is very pleas­ing. Serve well chilled as an aperitif wine. Would be great with chicken or turkey sandwiches.

 

Cellaring Notes: For current con­sumption. Use in 1987.

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