Last evening at our informal Friday Night Wine & Dine group, two unique white wines were tasted with one of the chef’s special. The word was received earlier in the day that “fish special” was grilled halibut, thus the choice of the wines. Dinner was at the Vine 18 at the Copper Valley Golf Course. For those unfamiliar with Acquiesce, Susan Tipton rolled into Lodi and decided not only to make white wines in the middle of an area known for producing almost one hundred red wine varietals but choose some “lesser known” grapes. More can be read at:
Two of Acquiesces wines tasted were 2019 Clairette Blanche and 2019 Ingénue. The 2019 Clairette Blanche is a rare varietal in California. Clairette Blanche is a white wine grape known mostly in the wine regions of Provence, Rhône and Languedoc areas in France. The name “Claire” means clear, fair or bright and “blanche” means white. It is one of the few French wines with a feminine name. This grape has been growing since the 1500’s in these areas. The uniqueness of this grape is the citrus quality of grapefruit, floral notes and minerality. Aromas of pineapple, mint and lime can also be found. The finish is clean and slightly nutty.
The other wine tried this evening with the halibut was the 2019 I Ingénue. This is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc and Picpoul Blanc. This clear white wine had aroma of hibiscus and sage. Barely recognizable were a mixture of soft lime and orange. You can read more about Ingénue at:
The Food Pairing
Grilled halibut with a lemon caper sauce server over a Parmesan risotto and summer squash was one of the Chefs’ features. Four of the eight of us ordered the halibut and did a compare and contrast with these two white wines. While both are outright winners, this evenings conclusion was the 2019 Clairette Blanche paired best with the fish by unanimous vote! The depth and citrus qualities provide the right punch with the halibut.
Dessert was a chocolate lava cake with caramel and sweet chocolate with coffee flavored ice cream for “good measure”.
A few other very nice wines were brought to compliment other meals this evening as well as to be shared at the table. All were outstanding.
I have always believed Susan Tipton is unique in her vision for the AVA and has produced wines to showcase her ability as a top rated winemaker and trailblazer. The 2019 Clairette Blanche just made my short list of the Best Wines of 2020! While I have always kept her Picpoul Blanc wine in the cellar, I will now keep her 2019 Clairette Blanche ready for the next fish dinner.