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The Cellar: Quivira Zin + Tabali Viognier

Friday, March 14, 2014


April’s ‘Evening with Wine’ event at the Providence Wine Academy will feature 10 wines from South America, which means that I am in the process of tasting through dozens of ‘candidates’ for participants to sample. A strong contender, a wine I tasted a few weeks ago at the 2014 Boston Wine Expo, is the 2013 ‘Reserva’ Viognier from Viña Tabalí. The warm conditions surrounding Tabali’s vineyards are counterbalanced by the proximity to the Pacific Ocean, which brings cool breezes, especially at night allowing the grapes to relax and thereby preserving the all important acidity.

An exotic white

Viognier is a fascinating grape variety often brimming with exotic orange and stone fruit – usually wrapped in a round, medium to full body. In France Viognier is most famously produced in the Northern Rhone, in appellations such as Condrieau and Château-Grillet. However, these bottling are very limited and often very pricy. Thankfully you don’t have to look far as many South American and even Californian winemakers have embraced Viognier as well. Many of these wines are available locally and very reasonable priced – just ask your local wine merchant.

A delicious red

This week’s second wine is a Zinfandel from Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Californian Zinfandel remains a very popular category with American wine drinkers, loved for its soft texture and ripe, sometimes sweet, dark berries and plums. Among wine critics however, ‘Californian Zin’ is sometimes criticized for being overripe and flabby, lacking focus and structure. For the most part I agree with that assessment however there are producers that master the tricky art of making outstanding and balanced Zinfandel. Quivira Vineyards & Winery is one of them.

I had the pleasure of visiting Quivira during my last trip to the West Coast and was blown away by the beauty of their vineyards and dedication of the people behind these wonderful wines. The ‘Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel’ is Quivira’s flagship wine made from grapes sourced from three different organic and biodynamically farmed Estate vineyards. Made from 80% Zinfandel, 10% Petit Syrah, 7% Carignane, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon and even 1% Syrah their 2011 is restrained, complex and focused. Aged for 10 months in a mix of oak this wine displays delicious dark berries, herbs (especially on the nose) and ripe red cherries on the finish with lingering acidity throughout.



Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy


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