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Wine Review: Pop open the lighter side of wines

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Wine is somewhat similar to clothing preferences; as soon as the weather begins to get warm, off goes the heavy and dark, and on goes the light and white. In the case of wine when the weather warms, the heavy reds are pushed aside in favor of the lighter whites and roses.

It appears the people at Edna Valley Vineyards are both weather and fashion conscious as they have just released their spring/summer lighter wines: three whites and a rose. I’ve found them to be well made, affordable and the perfect quaffing wines during the warmer seasons.

Edna Valley Vineyard Central Coast 2016 Sauvignon Blanc ($16)

Wine from the sauvignon blanc grapes are finally coming into their own. Vintners are producing wines from this variety that are a notch above the familiar and often uninteresting sauvignon blanc wines of the past few decades. While the Edna Valley offering continues to maintain the crisp acidity that the variety is famous for, the winery also has perused the fruit flavor possibilities of the grape. Citrus, grapefruit, melon and gooseberry aromas and flavors abound in this wine, and the dominant flavor changes with each sip. This is a wine that will fit well with almost any spring/summer fare that may be served.

Edna Valley Vineyard 2016 Central Coast Chardonnay ($15)

This is definitely not a run-of-the-mill chardonnay. The aroma is by no means light, flimsy and dull, but rather big, approachable and very multifaceted. It opens with lemon riding on a dense cloud of peach and tropical fruits of all descriptions. On the palate, this wine displays all of the facets that make for a fine chardonnay: a full body, a positive and prominent fruit flavor, and a creamy background that carries over to an exceptional finish. Although totally dry, this wine displays a fruit sweetness that can only be derived from superior grapes and diligent winemaking. The finish is long, fruity and extremely smooth. I put this one into the Anything But Chardonnay Club.

Edna Valley Vineyard California 2016 Rose ($16)

When a red wine does not have enough color, the skins of other red grape varieties are often used to darken the wine. What, then, is done with the leftover, slightly pink juice after the skins are removed? Typically, they make a rose wine, that’s what. But that is exactly what Edna Valley winemakers did not do. They made this rose according to their time-honored and well-respected formula that employs freshly picked tempranillo, syrah, grenache and mourvedre grapes. The result is well above the ordinary. This rose presents an inviting salmon pink color and the aroma of peaches, pears and red summer fruits. The flavor stresses summer berries but in delicate and refined amounts. This is a wine of quality that I believe can lift rose wines out of the doldrums where they have resided for years to become a major warm-weather player, indoors or outside.

Edna Valley Vineyard California 2016 Pinot Grigio ($14)

There can be no question that pinot grigio has become one of the most popular wine varieties to come out of Italy ever since the Chianti craze of the 1960s. This wine is crisp and pleasant, with the flavor and aroma of summer fruits, most specifically apricot and fresh Bosc pear. There is also an understated raisin-like quality coupled with a suggestion of the acid bite of limes. In the background resides the same earthy flavor so typical of Italian-style wines, even those from California like this one.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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