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Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: A wine miscellany
Chenin Blanc is one white grape used to make Vouvray. Its classic flavors are honey and mineral, and the flavor profile can run from very dry to very sweet depending on the residual sugar. From its home in France, where it's also called Pineau de la Loire, it has traveled the world, and now can be found in the United States, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.
Pinot Noir, also of France, is a contender for most interesting grape in the world. By world I mean its home in Burgundy, also France, Italy, the United States, Germany, where it's called Spaetburgunder (late Burgundy, which is kind of ironic, because the growing season in Germany tends to be short, unless you are making dessert wines), and Peter Jackson-land. The flavor profile is enormous and varies by region. Raspberries and strawberries are typical flavors, especially when the wine is young, and great Pinots age to mushrooms, vegetal flavors and heaven. Oh, it's rumored they make it in Oregon, too.
In Rhone blends, more than a dozen grapes potentially go into the mix, and the only place in the world where red and white grapes go into the vat together.
Incognito 2009 Red Wine Blend, Lodi, California, $17.99. Well, not really secret, the grapes are Syrah, Cinsault, Carignane, Mourvedre, Petit Sirah, Grenache, and Tannat. Phew! Lots of the Rhone River in this blend. As dark as expected with all those Rhone red grapes, rich dark nose of red and black fruit, and pencil shavings. The palate is very dry, with good acidity, medium to full body, medium-plus flavor intensity of black fruit, blackberry, bramble, some current, both red and white, pepper in the background and a long steady finish. Good quality. Best red in show. It's a toss up for me on the whites. Go forth and taste!