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It’s been a while since I explored something made from Sonoita AVA fruit, and when I was last down, I finally gave Kent Callaghan his long-awaited (I assume, anyway) Turkish wines I brought back from the Queen of Cities last year.  In return, Kent was kind enough to trade me a few bottles at his insistence, and this was one of the bottles I chose.  I do like field blends…


2014 Lisa’s Blend from Callaghan Vineyards

The Wine:  The 2014 Lisa’s is a field blend; part of a yearly series (or seems to be a yearly series).  According to Kent Callaghan, this particular vintage has a high percentage of Viognier, with lesser amounts of Malvasia Bianca, and Marsanne in line. There are also small bits of Falanghina, Fiano, and Petit Manseng.  I have to say, I do like field blends: it’s a good way to get a feel for a vineyard in a particular year.  The wine was aged on roughly 10% new French oak; the rest of the barrels were neutral, and it was aged on the lees for 6 months.  The Lisa field blends are named after his wife. The 2014 vintage is a friendly dandelion yellow in color.

The Nose: I was really surprised by this wine when I first opened the bottle and poured it into the glass, as I was expecting fruity and floral from what I knew of the blend. Instead, this wine opens up with strong herbaceous notes of lemongrass, lime, thyme, and white tea, intermingling with breadfruit and orange blossom.  Once the wine opens, the overall aroma of this wine becomes more floral and fruity, with notes of vanilla, jasmine, gardenia, peach, cantaloupe, and pear intermingling with the breadfruit and lemongrass.

The Palate:  Like the nose, the palate starts off with strong breadfruit and lemongrass notes, with hints of lavender, white tea, and thyme.   As the wine opens, the palate changes: notes of tangerine, peach, green apple, and starfruit emerge and intermingle with the aforementioned herbal notes.  This is a medium-bodied white wine with decent acidity, so it will pair well with a wide variety of foods.  The finish of this wine is long, lasting for 1 minute 35 seconds, with notes of nutmeg, apricot, and flint.

The Pairing: I feel like this wine would pair well with a lavender/lemon roasted chicken, or some sort of smoked, lemon-braized oceanic sportsfish (like Marlin or the like), with a side of wild rice, and roasted vegetables.  It could also pair well with bratwurst and sauerkraut.  For a vegetarian or vegan pairing, a lentil coconut curry or saffron rice dish would work quite well, I think.

Impressions: This is one of the strangest, and most interesting whites to parse through that I’ve had in a while.  I normally don’t recommend (or think about) decanting whites, but this time around, I would, simply because the nose and palate change so radically over time within this vintage.  I also predict this wine should age quite well; it has a nice acidity, and the dramatic change in nose and palate suggests this attribute to me as well.

The Lisa’s is a sunny, friendly vintage, reminiscent of a friendly travel writer or food critic, or even a novelist.  While friendly, there’s a lot of complexity here to reward the careful drinker.